NELUG and Brick Model Railroader will be at the 50th Amherst Railway Show January 27th and 28th

On Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 January, the New England LEGO Users Group will be displaying their amazing Lego train/city layout at the 50th Annual Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show at The Big E Fairground in Springfield, Massachusetts.

NELUG layout from the 2015 show.

About the Show

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.

Continue reading NELUG and Brick Model Railroader will be at the 50th Amherst Railway Show January 27th and 28th

Take a ride on an epic LEGO garden railway.

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.

Brick Model Railroader and PennLUG Travel to the 2018 World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour Show in Monroeville PA

PennLUG, and Brick Model Railroader visited the World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour’s first stop of 2018 this past weekend in Monroeville, just outside of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Both myself and Glenn Holland were filling dual roles supporting our club, PennLUG’s, LEGO® train layout, and representing BMR at it’s first show in 2018.

Ma&Pa no.43 waits in Red Lion for a passenger train to clear the line.

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LDraw Parts Update Released

On December 30th, the team at released the newest parts update, 2017-01.  According to the website, the new release adds 717 new files to the library, which includes 509 new parts and 33 new primitives.  There are also updates to the configuration files for colors.


For those not familiar with LDraw, it is an open standard for defining parts used by a number of LEGO CAD programs.  The open nature of the standard allows for numerous parts authors, including those who model 3rd party parts such as Big Ben Bricks wheels.  Parts are reviewed before release to ensure compatibility with the standard and conformance to the actual part.  CAD programs using the LDraw format are used by many modelers to create virtual MOCs and instruction sets.  Having been around for over a decade, the LDraw library contains many parts not found other virtual building platforms, including parts that have been long retired, but that may be available to builders via BrickLink or other 3rd party sources.

Check out the website for more information, and enjoy the New Year!

Calling in the “Big Hook” A Bangor and Aroostook Wrecker from William Dumond

The Wrecker, or railroad wreck crane/derrick was once a common part of a railroad’s Maintenance of Way fleet in North America. They we’re kept at the ready in railroad yards in a wreck train waiting for the call to service any time the railroad had a derailment or wreck needing cleaned up. Today most railroads subcontract wreck cleanup to outside companies, but a few railroads still hang on to a wrecker or two for emergencies, and many vintage wreckers can be found in railroad museums today. The wrecker is a fascinating machine to model, even sitting idle in a yard it can provide much interest to any one’s model railroad.

Today we’re taking a look at an awesome build of the Bangor and Aroostook’s X127 Wrecker from William Dumond.

Bangor and Aroostook Wrecker from William Dumond

Packed up and ready for the next call to service. William’s model has all the right details.

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Year-End Updates

Hello again to all of our awesome fans and supporters!

Christmas and the holidays are now past us and we find ourselves looking ahead to 2018. We have just a few things we wanted to cover in this article, which will likely be the last general article of the year. We have a year-in-review planned to go up soon, so be sure to check in later for that article.

Brick Model Railroader Is Going To The Train Show

First off, we’d like to announce that Brick Model Railroader will be present at the World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour train show in Monroeville, Pennsylvania on January 6th and 7th. We’ll be there as part of the PennLUG layout once again (Cale and Glenn are in PennLUG).

Worlds Greatest Hobby on Tour Monroeville PA

Instructions For Sale

Next, some information about our premium instructions.  We still have some premium instructions available fore the USRA 55 ton hopper and AAR 53′ flat car ad D4 crawler. You can find these available in our online store.

BMR Store

We have had a resounding success with our first four kits, and we plan to continue offering more in the near future. However, we can’t keep producing the same four kits forever. We need to make room for more new stuff, so here’s our plan:

We’ll be offering all our our first four premium instructions for a limited time. They will be available as pre-order only, meaning that we will fill as many orders as we get. After the order period, we won’t be making any more. We’ll announce the pre-order dates at a later time.

We’re Finally Making A Caboose

We’re also planning ahead for our fifth premium instruction kit, which will be the North Eastern caboose. We’ve had a lot of requests for a caboose for some design, so we’ve finally decided to answer those prayers! One of the problems we ran into is that a lot of caboose designs are specific to one or a small handful of railroads. We chose the north eastern caboose because it spanned dozens of railroads in the United States, and this will allow us to produce several decals to be used with the kit. We’ll have more information on the north eastern caboose later.

North Eastern style caboose in Reading RR paint.


We’ve also been getting more questions about selling PDF copies  of our premium instructions. We have deliberately decided NOT to sell PDF versions. There are a couple reasons for this:

  • It would not be fair to those who have already purchased the premium instructions of that car.
  • PDFs are easier to duplicate or resell.
  • There is no convenient way to package the wheel sets separately.
  • When we decided to start selling instructions, we wanted them to be a premium product. We wanted them to be special and to feel like you got something of value. You just can’t beat a physical product for that. We want you to be able to pull our Instructions off the book shelf long after you’ve built the model and still find them worthwhile

Our First Locomotive Kit

A very early WIP photo from the first BMR Locomotive kit.

We’ve also been making serious progress with our locomotive. On December 28, we (Cale and Glenn) had one of our last major work sessions on the locomotive, and we seem to have solved every operational issue that we’ve come across. Our drive train is robust and reliable, and the rods move properly. Seeing the model run circles around the living room floor was amazing!

We’ve also confirmed that it WILL negotiate R40 curves if the tender drawbar is extended by one stud. This is a concession we had to make, but we had to make the locomotive work on R40s. It’s the principle of the thing. HOWEVER, the locomotive cannot navigate through a standard LEGO turnout (switch). This is pretty unfortunate, but it’s an unfortunate reality. It should also be made clear that this is not a problem with the locomotive, but rather a problem with the design of the switch. The flanges of the driver will always ride ps on part of the rails and derail the locomotive. But seriously, who cares about standard switches anymore?

Regardless, we’ve been quite happy with the locomotive thus far. We’re still hoping to announce the locomotive in January 2018 with an announcement of our sale plan following that.

So that’s all we have this week. Look for our 1 year Anniversary Article soon. And thank you for supporting us. We love this LEGO Train Hobby, and we love sharing it with you.

The BMR Team

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #25 (on day 26): What’s in the Box?

This 1984 U.S. Mail Order Service (Shop-at-Home) brochure isn’t necessarily a holiday brochure, but I do think it sums up the feelings of anticipation and wonder that are characteristic of this time of year.

The rear cover features the classic battery-operated train set # 7720, as well as three sets of rails. As for what’s inside the packages being delivered by the mail carrier? We’d like to think there’s some LEGO train goodness inside them.

We here at BMR hope you and your family had a wonderful and happy holiday. We also hope that great things will be in store for you in the coming year!

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #24: A Window of Wooden Toys

Since we are one day away from the big day, I wanted to share a very special piece from 1984. This one is from another Christmas card that the UK LEGO Club sent its members. It really captures the spirit of this time of year and is a wonderful scene…There are so many details to soak in.

The main reason I chose this one for day 24 is that the toys in the window display celebrate the early history of LEGO. That’s right; a number of toys in the window display are representations of LEGO’s wooden toys! And yes, one of them is a train. Read on to find out more, and have fun comparing the illustrations of the wooden toys with their brick-built counterparts in the window display!

Wooden Sailing Ship – Image from
A Red Cadillac-esque Convertible from the 1946 or 1947
Soldier Stacking Toy – From the collection of Richard Bintanja

Wooden Train with “Pop-Up” Figure – Image from

Images come from my collection, the website and the collection of Richard Bintanja.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #23: A Greeting Card within an Ad

Here’s a unique piece of advertising from 1979. This Christmas card appeared in a 5 page LEGO advertistment, printed in the November 1979 issue of the UK magazine, Radio Times. I would have shown the ad in its entirety, but my scanner can’t accommodate it. It features LEGO Christmas cards sitting on a brick-built mantle. This card features 4.5V set 182, which was originally released in 1975. Look at all the cypress trees!

Here is a larger part of the page the image comes from, just for frame of reference.