It’s been some time since you last heard an update on the BMR Boxcar Instructions. We do have some news, and I wanted to share that with you and, also talk about about future kits we are considering.
The BMR Boxcar
For those new here, we’ve been working on producing instructions for the Pullman Standard PS-1 boxcar that we adopted to carry our Brick Model Railroader logo. The boxcar got a lot of positive response, with several of you asking for instructions. So we decided to do it.
We could have just created an instruction pdf, that you could download and let that be that. But we wanted to do something more special. First we wanted to use the instructions as way to support Brick Model Railroader, helping to pay for web hosting, and other needs for the site. And second, we wanted to give everyone who purchased the instructions a unique experience.
The boxcar instructions include not only the steps needed to build the PS-1 boxcar, but also notes on building the car to help you along, and a history of the actual Pullman Standard PS-1 cars, including their different options, use, and railroads that owned them. And the instructions are printed in a nice booklet, instead of a pdf download. Call me old school, but I love having a physical instruction book in my hands, instead of reading something off a screen.
Adding to the instructions, we wanted to include something else to make your building experience special. Since the boxcar model is a pretty advanced model, it uses more than just basic LEGO bricks. Our model uses Brickarms components (mono pods and U-clips) in the underside brake rigging, and ball bearings in the trucks.
As you can see in the video above, the bearings in the car on the right help reduce friction and make the car roll much easier. Sure, it’s not pure LEGO, but we feel the better rolling characteristics of bearings are worth it, and we wanted to include that in our car.
We wanted to include these custom elements in the car design, but we wanted to keep things simple for you when building. So to keep you from having to go to multiple sites to track down bearings, and Brickarms parts, etc., we decided to include them in the instruction kits. Of course you are still responsible for providing your own LEGO parts, but you’ll only need to go to Bricklink, or dig through your own collection. All the special hardware is already included for you.
Our plan was to have the boxcar instructions available for sale starting at Philly Brick Fest this year, but Murphy’s law slapped us pretty hard. The problem comes down to the bearings we planned to use in the kits. When Andy Mollmann first told me about the bearings he foundto fit LEGO train axles, I bought a few to test and didn’t have any issues. They fit the older and newer style LEGO train axles fine. So I purchased 200 more for my own use not expecting any problems, and then another 200 for BMR instruction kits. Turns out I should have done more testing. Two batches of bearings later and both genuine LEGO axles, and non LEGO equivalents, we’ve found that while the bearings are an excellent fit for the old style axles (the ones the push through the wheel and were in most 9v sets), the newer ones (included in RC and Power Function train sets) are slightly larger in diameter. The older style axles are 1.95mm in diameter, where as the new ones average between 1.97mm and 1.98mm, very close to the inner bearing diameter. Slight tolerance variances in the bearing inner diameter, and the newer axle diameter mean that many of the axles and bearing do not fit properly.
They say you only get one chance to make a good first impression. We at BMR didn’t want to release any product with our name on it that was not the best we can provide, or failed to deliver what we promised. We fumbled a bit on our plans to release the boxcar instructions, but we’ve been working to solve the bearing problem and are pretty confident we now have a solution. We’ve been able to find a source for axles that fit the bearings perfectly while still working with the newer style LEGO train wheels.
So with our axle solution hopefully resolved, we are planing to finally release the Instruction kits. We don’t have an exact date yet, we’re waiting on production of the new axles, but we hope to have the instruction kits available some time in June. We hope to give you a more concrete date at the beginning of June when the axles arrive.
Buying Additional Wheel Sets and BMR Decals
We decided not to include decals for the BMR version of the boxcar in the kits. Some builders may choose to build the car in different colors to represent their favorite railroad, and we didn’t want to make those builders pay for a decal set they may not use. But we do want to make the decals available separately for those who do want them. We’re still working on pricing, but plan to have them professionally printed and available for purchase once the instructions go on sale.
We also understand that some of you may want to build more than one boxcar, and so need more than just the one set of custom parts included in the kit. The Brickarms parts are readily available from many online retailers so we don’t plan to sell those separately, but the bearing and axle combination we use is not so easy to find. So we plan to make those available separately in the future so you can build as many boxcars and other freight cars as you want
Other Cars? Will There Be More Instructions In The Future?
Will we be making instructions for other cars in the future? What about locomotives, structures, and other railroad items?
Well if the PS-1 boxcar instructions sell well, and we feel they will, we will certainly be looking to do more instructions in the future. We have a short list of fright cars we want to start with. We’ve also talked about numerous other train related buildings and equipment we could do. As for locomotives, I have a goal for that.
For me, one of the things I always wanted to do in the=is hobby is produce my own full fledged train kit. This is beyond just the instructions and special parts you get in the boxcar kit. This would be a full kit, with all parts included, plus decals. You open the box and start building. And me being a steam locomotive fan, I feel it’s only natural for me to start with that. I know what model I want to do, and have already started planing. Things are still a ways off though, with Brickworld looming mid June, I’m concentrating on building for that event. But after that I will be moving forward with my plan and hopefully have something to show by fall. So stay tuned.
And thank you for your patience with the BMR Boxcar Premium Instructions.