Building Up Prussian Steam

Today we’re looking at something with a high cool factor.

Meet Falk Schulz, or “bricknerd” on Flickr, a very talented builder from Germany. He’s certainly no stranger to Brick Model Railroader, having been featured in a past article highlighting some his Prussian electric models. Falk is known for his amazing work with diesel locomotives, having built several North American models. My favorite is probably his Rio Grande SD   40T-2.

Falk’s Rio Grande diesel. 7 studs wide and all the right details. I particularly like the brick-built logo.

However, as can be seen by the title, we’re not focusing on his diesels today. Instead, we’re looking at a steam locomotive. A small one, too.


The Prussian T4 locomotive was a 2-4-0 tank locomotive which was built in several variations from about 1894 to 1898. The use of the “T” in the classification system designated a tank locomotive, and the following number showed the power of the locomotive. Higher numbers meant higher power rating, with a medium power locomotive receiving a “3”.

Falk’s model is a Lego engineering wonder. Anyone who has dealt with Power Functions before knows very well how difficult it can be to stuff the necessary elements into a small body like a tank locomotive. Falk manages beautifully, using 100% standard Lego Power Functions elements.

The locomotive is driven by an M motor, geared with a 1:2 ratio, providing a significant amount of torque to the L-size drivers. The IR receiver is mounted just above the motor, with the dome protruding out of the cab roof.

The chassis, while being fairly simple, is also well designed. The pilot wheels move just far enough to negotiate R40 curves without fouling the cylinders and crosshead. (Well done there, Falk).

The T4 has begun to take shape. The battery box is very well hidden inside the boiler and tanks. It is powered on using an awesome trick which I’ll highlight in just a moment. I want to point out the chimney on this locomotive. I’m a detail guy, and to me, one of the more defining characteristics of a locomotive is the shape of the chimney. Falk captured that quintessential Prussian look perfectly.

This is probably one of the coolest tricks I’ve seen recently.  The dark green slopes resting on top of the tank just above mid-frame connect to the battery box in the gap. These parts have just enough flex when connected using the turntable head, so turning on the model does not require any disassembly at all.

The result of all this is a wonderfully performing tank locomotive. Falk has posted a short video of the locomotive in operation:

Building Up Prussian Steam...Part 10

And here is an update showing the eccentric motion:

Building Up Prussian Steam...Part 11

It’s not complete just yet, but I certainly love where it’s headed. If I were going to start building Prussian locomotives, this would definitely be one of the first.

Check out more of Falk’s creations on his Flickr page.

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