This German idea leaflet is from 1965 and features a wonderful illustration of a construction site with a narrow gauge (known in German as Feldbahn) engine in view. The reverse side of the sheet features an artistic rendering of the train, presented in such a way as to aid those interested in building it.
The rough translation of the German text is as follows… “Dear girls and boys, take a close look at this construction template. It’s that easy to build the construction site. Just start right now! By the way, do you have enough LEGO bricks? You know, you can get them in every good toy shop. I wish you success.”
Would any of our readers like to have a go at building this?
Even though we unfortunately can be almost 100% sure that Monorail will never make a comeback and even though the parts haven’t been produced in 20 years (luckily at least one 3rd party retailer have taken up this loss by producing their own replacements) I still consider Monorails part of our trains universe. Yes, they can be a bit wonky, and yes, they are far from prototypical and don’t look like anything you would see in the real life, but they just look so cool! Most of the monorails that are build by AFOLs nowadays are trying to look contemporary, but this week I spotted one that looks like it just escaped from 1989. Which is btw not that strange, since Frost (the builder) was inspired by a prototype-theme from exactly that year.
As one of the few (maybe the only?) contributors to BMR from across the pond, I felt like I really should share something European again, this time a BR 01.5 steam engine of the Deutsche Reichsbahn (the national railways of the DDR) by FLBRICKS. There are two reasons why this is such a great model: One, it’s spot-on, and two, the pictures are gorgeous.
Many have been asking when we will be restocking our first four Premium Instruction Kits, and we’ve been listening. Previously, we’ve made a batch of kits to sell, and when they’ve sold out, you would have to wait until we could restock again. We’re going to do things a little different this time though. Since it’s hard for us to gauge demand for each kit, this time we are going to do a pre-order run. So we are opening up pre-orders today, February 5th and will keep it open until March 5th, and how ever many orders we have for each kit is how many we will produce. Once orders are closed, we will need a little time to get the instruction books in from the printer, parts for the wheel sets, and assemble kits. We hope to start shipping orders in mid to late March.
We are doing this for two reasons. Firstly, we hope by doing this that every one who has not had a chance to buy one or all of the cars yet will be able to get them. Second, as we are looking to produce new Premium Instructions for 2018, we want to focus most of our energy toward those new projects, so we are hoping we can do one last big run of the four original cars before diving headlong into new ones. Don’t worry, the original four won’t be gone for good by any means. We hope you’ll agree with us when we want to offer more exciting and new stuff, ideas for which are more than plentiful.
Every year late in January or early in February, the Amherst Railway Society holds its Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (The home of The Big E) in West Springfield, Massachusetts. More than 22,500 railfans and public attended the Show each of the past five years.
This year, the show was held on Saturday January 27th & Sunday 28th. The New England LEGO Users Group was there displaying their amazing Lego train/city layout, and I traveled up to see it, represent Brick Model Railroader, and experience the show.
Premium Instruction Re-releases, New decals sets, Our first Caboose, and maybe a Locomotive
It’s been a busy winter so far. Train show season is in full swing and Brick Model Railroader has been traveling to several, including the 2018 Amherst Railway Society show which we’ll have a full report on later this week. But as busy as we’ve been, we have not forgotten about our BMR projects. Here’s a run down of what is coming soon.
Premium Instruction Re-releases
Many have been asking when we will be restocking our first four Premium Instruction Kits, and we’ve been listening. Previously, we’ve made a batch of kits to sell, and when they’ve sold out, you would have to wait until we could restock again. We’re going to do things a little different this time though. Since it’s hard for us to gauge demand for each kit, this time we are going to do a pre-order run. Our plan is to open up pre-orders this coming Monday, February 5th and keep it open until Monday, March 5th, and how ever many orders we have for each kit is how many we will produce. We are doing this for two reasons. Firstly, we hope by doing this, that every one who has not had a chance to buy one or all of the cars yet will be able to get them. Second, as we are looking to produce new Premium Instructions for 2018, we want to focus most of our energy toward those new projects, so we are hoping we can do one last big run of the 4 original cars before diving headlong into new ones. Don’t worry, the original four won’t be gone for good by any means. We hope you’ll agree with us when we want to offer more exciting and new stuff, ideas for which are more than plentiful. Continue reading Coming to the BMR Store in February 2018→
“Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. LEGO, always a new toy.” OK, I don’t speak French, but that is a rough translation of the major parts of this 1975 French Canadian advertisement.
This advertisement is unique in that it was done by Samsonite. In 1972, Samsonite lost the license to produce and distribute LEGO products in the U.S. Meanwhile in Canada, Samsonite was still responsible for marketing LEGO products through 1986. They also received royalties up till 1989.
This particular advertisement features set # 182, train set with signal. It is also unique in that it shows both boys and girls enjoying LEGO trains. The little girl has her eyes fixed on her older brother’s train set, and it looks like she built a Duplo water tower to go along with it.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the partnership between LEGO and Samsonite, LEGO fan-site BrickFetish has an excellent write-up. Click here to read it.
Lately on Social Media platforms, there has been an uptick in “Can I have building instructions for…” type requests. While some of these requests are very specific, and the answer from other builders is usually “You’ll have to design it yourself,” there are sources available for a number of train related building instructions.
Following other designer’s instructions is a great way to learn different building techniques and trends. While it’s sometimes frustrating to see an amazing build and immediately want to build one yourself, it’s often better to step back, assess your skills, and start small. I’d wager to guess that most of us who currently design our own models started by following official LEGO instructions. After a while, we would modify those builds, adding our own touches (my first “designed” train was a modification of the My Own Train line from back in 2001). After modifying official models for a bit, we’d start experimenting with the techniques we’d learned, and we’d begin designing our own builds.
The following are some sources (other than buying sets) of train related building instructions that may help builders get started. Some of these are older resources, but the techniques displayed are as valid today as they were when they were originally assembled.
First, of course, is our own Brick Model Railroader Premium Instructions. Designed by Cale Leiphart and Glenn Holland, these models are in the 8-wide scale, designed specifically for builders looking for prototype realism in their models. Instructions are printed in book form, and include any custom parts needed for the builds.
Next, The LEGO Group, on their Customer Service website, offer Downloadable Instructions for official sets. Not all sets are available, but this is a great resource if you are looking for just the instructions for current or recently retired sets. Some older sets are also available, but again, not everything is there. Instructions are provided as downloadable PDF files.
Two other sites also offer instructions of official LEGO models. These sites include some of the company’s older sets, which may be of interest to builders wishing to delve into the history of LEGO trains and building techniques. Brick Instructions.com includes downloadable PDF files of instructions, or onscreen image files that a builder can scroll through.
The second site, Peeron.com has scans of instructions from as far back as 1955. Peeron was THE fan-created database of LEGO sets twenty years ago, and still contains a huge amount of information, including set inventories and catalog scans.
On the fan side of things, there are a number of resources for building instructions.
Back in 2004, Jake McKee, who used to liaison between the LEGO Group and the fan community, wrote Getting Started with LEGO Trains. Published by No Starch Press, the book included a history of LEGO Trains, as well as building instructions for a diesel locomotive and a number of freight cars. Though out of print, Getting Started with LEGO Trains can still be found at a number of used booksellers.
No Starch Press also publishes a number of other LEGO related books, including the new The LEGO Trains Book by Holger Matthes. Available in both print and PDF form, the book includes tips for different building techniques, as well as some step-by-step instructions. Glenn Holland reviewed the book for Brick Model Railroader back in October.
A third publication, this time in magazine form, was started back in 2007 by Jeremy Spurgeon. RAILBRICKS published 6 issues, in PDF and Print On Demand format, through August of 2009. In 2010 the magazine was revived with Jeremy passing editorial duties to Elroy Davis. The volunteer team of authors and content creators that made up the RAILBRICKS team published another 9 issues, ending publication in July of 2014. Each issue of the magazine included building instructions for things like locomotives, rolling stock, or scenery. An archive of the RAILBRICKS magazines is available here on the BMR website where each issue can be downloaded in PDF format. Print issues of the magazine can also still be purchased from MagCloud.
In addition to publications, a number of builders offer instructions of their designs via their BrickLink shops.
A search for “Custom Instructions” on BrickLink turned up shops selling instructions for locomotives, rolling stock, scenery, and modular buildings.
One of the largest offerings of instructions is Anthony Sava’s SRW Locomotive Works. His designs includes steam and diesel locomotives, as well as passenger and freight cars. I just recently finished building his Light Mikado, and can recommend his instructions as clear and easy to follow.
Bricks Northwest offers a number of diesel locomotives, including CSX, Canadian National, and Conrail liveries.
For the fans of the Emerald Night set, Zac’s Brick Place sells instruction sets for custom coaches in the Emerald Night color scheme.
For those who like high speed rail, LT12V in Italy sells instructions for three different passenger trains.
Next, Brick City Depot has a nice offering of rail buildings, trains, and maintenance of way equipment.
The BrickLink shops listed above are by no means the complete list. They are just a few of the instructions available from fans that I found with a little searching.
Finally, there are a number of fan sites out there that offer instructions as well.
One of my favorites is the L-Guage wiki. Instructions for ballasted track, roads, viaducts and more are available as downloadable PDF files.
A similarly named site, LGauge, offers a large amount of instructions for freight cars, as well as few diesel locomotives and small scenery pieces. The instructions can be followed online in HTML format, or downloaded as PDF files.
Michael Gale, of the L-Guage wiki, also has custom instructions for sale on his Brick Dimensions website. These include both passenger and freight models.
Like BrickLink, this small list of sites was found with just a quick search on Google. I’m sure there are other sites out there with similar offerings
Instructions are awesome, and while there are many available, nothing really beats just sitting down and experimenting. Don’t be discouraged if your initial builds don’t work out they way you think they should, and don’t compare yourself to builders who have a couple of decades of experience. Remember that we all started at the same point. Follow the instructions for a while, then have fun striking out on your own design path!
Every year late in January or early in February, the Amherst Railway Society holds its Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (The home of The Big E) in West Springfield Massachusetts. More than 22,500 railfans and public attended the Show each of the past five years.
Varda Elentári Furrer recently shared a fun video of their LEGO garden railway on Facebook. A camera was placed in front of the train to give us an incredible view from the engineer’s seat.
They layout is expansive and packed full of incredible detail. Varda’s excellent models include railcars, bridges, buildings, signals, and more. Everything is expertly crafted in a scale which appears to be close to G-scale.
While Varda’s MOCs are beautiful, the natural landscaping brings this layout to another level. If we didn’t know any better, we would guess Varda must be one of the gardeners at LEGOland. It really looks that good.