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OcTRAINber: The Prizes

Now that OcTRAINber is in full swing and the first entries are coming in (a first recap of the contest will follow in the end of this week!) we would like to take this opportunity to at least show you all the prizes you are contesting for. We are very glad to announce that two of our favorite brands have decided to sponsor us, meaning we have some pretty awesome stuff to give away.

First of all, we would like to thank The Lego Company for their big pack of prizes: Not only did we receive two Packs of Straight+Flex Track and a Pack of Switches, we also received the amazing Winter Holiday Train and the newly released Winter Holiday Train Station!

Next to that, our friends over at BrickTracks have decided to sponsor the contest with their newly released large radii tracks. More specifically, we received both a full circle of their R104 curves and a full circle of their R120 curves! This means that at least two of our contestants will not have to go through the pain of running their trains in R44 curves anymore!

Triggered to join the contest after seeing these prizes? You better be! For more information you can check the official announcement for OcTRAINber here on BMR. Or, just go directly to our BMR Flickr to upload your entry!

Happy building, happy OcTRAINber!

OcTRAINber: Some Extra Information on the Rules

There have been some questions asked over at the Eurobricks Train Tech forums OcTRAINber thread regarding the contest, which we have tried to answer the best as we could. For completeness, we have decided to post some clarification on the rules here as well.

Sizes

For us here at BMR, we normally use the same way of measuring as other scale modellers do, meaning:

US: Over the couplers
EU: Over the buffers

It’s a rule of thumb, so all trains that have buffers are measured like the EU, and all trains that just have automatic couplers are measured over the couplers.

Also, there is no limit on the width of the entry.

Entering old entries in the contest

OcTRAINber is a building contest, meaning that you have to submit a new model specifically build for the contest. To keep in mind: We have set up this contest to inspire people to actually build, so please no old models that have been posted already!

(If it wasn’t put online before, we would be willing to consider it. In the end, the pre-announcement did state that we encourage finally finishing those previously half-failed ideas for something long.)

Third party parts

BMR has always been positive towards third-party parts, as long as they have any way of added value to the hobby. So the rule of thumb is simple:

Lego: Yes
Third Party parts: Yes
Clones: No

Flickr

All entries have to be posted on our BMR Flickr. For this you need your own Flickr account, but trust us, there is an awesome community out there you can be part of!

The Swoosh

There were some questions about how the swoosh should look like. We didn’t state any rules for this so that’s up to your own imagination!

Types of consists

Lastly, there were some questions on what type of units you can send in. To give some clarification on this: Everything that has train wheels underneath it is allowed. So think locomotive, passenger carriage, goods wagon, etc. For semi-permanently coupled units you can think about trams, rescue trains (think SBB in the alpes), MOW equipment, Truck-Train combos like Hupac, the Eurotunnel LeShuttle, etc etc.

Good luck with building and enjoy your OcTRAINber!

OcTRAINber: The Contest Begins!

As you might have seen and read in our previous post, this October (meaning from tomorrow on) BMR will run our first ever contest! So, without further ado, we would like to introduce this contest to you.

OcTRAINber

First of all, the name. It’s called OcTRAINber, if somebody had not noticed yet. Why OcTRAINber? Well, because it’s a great intermediate month between SHIPtember and Novvember. Also, TRAINS.

The Rules

The rules are simple. Build something with train wheels attached to it that is long enough to look absolutely silly to go through a R40 curve, better known as the Regular Lego Train Curved Rail. To make sure “silly” is an objective term, we have made a minimum size requirement: 60+ studs for any single item (can be a carriage, a locomotive, a crane, you name it) and 70+ for a combined (and permanently coupled!) consist. This means we are accepting anything from a steam engine + tender to a diesel loco + slug, or maybe even semi-permanently coupled freigh carriages or EMU’s. However, this also means we will not allow a consist of loco + carriage. It has to be semi-permanently coupled!

Both Real Life and Ditigal builds are allowed and both will have their own category. Since BMR is a weblog that emphasises and supports building Real Life models, the prices in the Real Life category will however be bigger and better (if you ask us at least!) then the ones in the Digital category.

Please keep in mind that this is a building contest, meaning that only new or unpublished builds are allowed.

Points

Points will be awarded for 3 things: Length, credibility of the prototype and “The Swoosh”.

First of all, length. This is a short one; The longer, the better. Simply put: any studs over 60/70 (depending on if you build a single or a semi-permanently coupled unit) gives you pluspoints.

Second, credibility of the prototype. This means we will be looking at how much the build represents the real life prototype. This means the quality of the build, but potential scale etc. If you are sending in a fantasy model, we will look at how credible the build is; would it fit in, does the backstory make sense?

Thirdly, The Swoosh. What is The Swoosh, you ask? Well, thats pretty simple: it’s a video of your train running through a R40 curve. It’s the same as The Swoosh as the Spacers know it, but even more awesome, because it uses a train and track. Please keep in mind that only R40 curves are allowed for The Swoosh!

The Judges

This contest will have four judges. Why four? Well, because it’s more than three, and, as you now should now, we are a fan of ‘more and longer’. The judges will be, in no particular order:

All four have a history in building trains that look absolutely silly when going through curves and are thus the perfect people to judge!

Timeline

Since this is OcTRAINber, entries will be accepted from October 1st to October 31st.

Entries

Entries are to be send in via our own BMR Flickr! There are two discussions; one for the Real Life entries and one for the Digital entries. Next to that, please also add your pictures in the pool!

The Prizes

No contest without prizes! We are very happy to tell you that The Lego Company was generous enough to donate four sets which we will be giving away as prizes. Next to that, we are at least equally happy that BrickTracks has donated some of their new curves as well. Which prizes specifically will be made public as soon as possible, so to keep the hype train running for a little bit longer!

Extra Parts

We here over at BMR are very, very excited about this first contest and we are looking forward to all those entries. We are really looking forward to see what the community has to offer in terms of creativity and we hope that all of you will be stimulated by this contest to finally build that one beast of a train / loco / waggon that you always wanted to build, but never did.

During the contest, we will regularly post updates about the entries that have entered the contest here at BMR.

By the way, if there are any things that aren’t fully clear, you can always reach out to us by posting your message below.

All aboard OcTRAINber!

Get ready for OcTRAINber!

All aboard the Hype Train!

For the moment we cannot unveil all the details yet, but yes, Brick Model Railroader will indeed be hosting their first ever building contest. Behind the scenes we are currently discussing rules and prizes, which will be made public before October 1st.

What we can however tell you is that it will be known as OcTRAINber, which also means that the contest will start on October 1st and end on October 31st.

The other thing we can tell you is that the contest will be centered around building something* (with train wheels!) that that looks absolutely silly when it goes through regular corners but looks awesome when going through some R104’s or R120ies. Think very long car or locomotive. Call it the Train-equivalent of the Swoosh, or just call it the reason why you never built it in the first place. Both are fine, just as long as you realize that this contest will be about finally building that monster!

Anyways, OcTRAINber is now officially a thing, so get ready to participate!

 

*Size to be determined

The Modular Track Switch System, Now on Kickstarter!

We as Lego Model Railroaders are being treated pretty well these days. After the launch of the PFx Brick Kickstarter 10 days ago (who, by the way, have just said they will include Bluetooth in the PFx Brick!), 4DBrix decided to launch a Kickstarter for a 3D printed Modular Switch Track System.

Until now, there was not really any way to obtain other than the standard L-Gauge switches for your Lego railway, unless you were into some forms of extensive modding. Thanks to the Modular Switch Track System, this will be a thing of the past. 4DBrix actually has come up with a pretty nifty system that could rival with TLC’s own ideas:

I had the opportunity to ask the founder of 4DBrix, Tom Lowa, some questions in regards to using these switches for ‘pros’ like us. Mostly, I was wondering about any anti-studs on the back of the switches, how durable 3D printed switches are, and also, why they don’t do injection moulding.

Continue reading The Modular Track Switch System, Now on Kickstarter!

DIY Tracks – What The Others Already Did

After Glenn Holland showed the types of curved tracks that are currently available on the aftermarket and what can be expected, I thought it could be interesting as well to tell about the ways how to make your own track. Some if it is from before the ME Models era, some of it actually is a bit younger.

In any way,  it shows our community is far more versatile and creative than one might sometimes think, even back in the days when the 9V system limited us to 1 radius, 1 type of switch and 1 type of straights.

Seeing how much there is out there nowadays, I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list. So, if you have any additions, feel free to add them in the comments.

Continue reading DIY Tracks – What The Others Already Did

Building an European Railcar Part 2 – The Design

Last time, I spoke about how to start modeling a typical European style goods railcar. I have been speaking at length about all kind of fancy ways of making sure you understand your prototype. I hope you have been making notes because today we will immediately dive into the fun part: Building! Let’s just take off where we left now, shall we?

Step 4. Choosing your materials

After the scale has been set, it’s time to decide which part will be essential for your design. This might sound silly, but in my opinion every train model has 1 defining part (or technique, meaning several parts combined) around which the whole model is being build. In this case, I settled on the Lego Chair in brown, since I had a lot of them and wanted to get rid of them without selling. Also, the idea was that brown would nicely mimick the rust on the prototype (And trust me, some of them were far worse off than the one you just saw). Turning them into a railcar seemed to be the right solution. It didn’t work out as planned however…

Continue reading Building an European Railcar Part 2 – The Design

Building an European Railcar Part 1 – The Prototype

As I already said in an earlier post, I’m a big fan of railcars and I do believe they should get more attention. Locomotives are nice, but when they can’t haul a big rake of railcars, they just look silly, if you ask me. In the end, a locomotive is meant to pull railcars, not run around looking all nice and shiny.

However, I know it’s difficult to pull off a nice railcar, because in the end, they are all quite boring, definitely when it comes to goods railcars. By accident, I have been documenting my last railcar build pretty well, so I thought it could be interesting to share. This will be a three-parter with three easy topics: 1. The Prototype, 2. The Build and 3. The Bragging. However, let’s start at square one, OK?

Continue reading Building an European Railcar Part 1 – The Prototype

The Wonderfull 7-Wide World of Erik

Erik (Adult_Boy) should not be an unfamiliar name within the Lego Community. However, after having build quite a lot of Space and Sci-Fi themed stuff in the last years, he has now gone on a train-related building spree again. Most of what Erik builds is 7-wide, but he manages to very skillfully merge Lego’s own building style with a high level of details, closely mimicking the prototype he is recreating. However, I think it’s best if the models just speak for themselves:

Pere Marquette 1225 with Modified Troop Sleeper
M53, based on Baltimore & Ohio “wagontop” style boxcars
Make the town theme great again!
CLUB CAR 1OOO2
grain train

Want to know more about how Erik did this? Click!

Continue reading The Wonderfull 7-Wide World of Erik

Taking it to the next level – Corfe Castle Station

After the previous post on Ararat 1972 and Cale’s piece on Brick Model Railroading as such, I think the pieces are now set for the next installment in the series of inspiring layouts: Corfe Castle Station by Carl Greatrix. Lately, Carl has been the guy who has brought you the Caterham Seven and a lot of the visuals in the recent Lego games, but next to this, he is also a real trainhead and a lover of Scale Modelling. With the Corfe Castle Station layout, he had decided to fuse both of these to create an unique layout.

Corfe Castle Station – the eye-catcher and starting point of the layout
The (almost finished) layout at STEAM 2011

The first thing that you notice when looking at Corfe Castle Station is that it follows a typical “British” approach. At least, that’s how it looks like for me after having read so many British Model Railroading Magazines (like Railway Modeller) when I was young. This means that we are looking at two mainline tracks and a siding, with a station as the main visual element. In fact, it’s just a very big diorama. The layout is an oval of which more than half is the fiddle yard and thus not part of the diorama. So, just as with Ararat 1972, there is no large yard where you can show off your trains. However, it does have two continuous loops which are ideal to show of your trains in high speed!

Overview of the layout – Two ovals and a fiddle yard.

What sets this layout apart of most other Lego Railway layouts is the design choices he makes: instead of using studs everywhere, Carl uses Scale Modelling techniques for making roads, gravel and mountains. This means that not everything in this layout is made out of Lego! The effect works surprisingly well. Instead of looking like a layout made of Lego, this is a layout that uses Lego as one of its mediums.

An example of combining Lego with scale modeling techniques

It becomes even more interesting when inserting his trains. This is because Carl, unlike most Lego Train builders, tries to use as little selective compression as possible. The result are models that are so accurate, that they don’t even look out of place in an actual O-scale layout.

Carl’s trains in an O-scale layout. Not part of Corfe Castle, but too nice not to show.

As said, the layout not only uses Lego. Carl was nice enough to keep a diary over at Flickr in which he shows how he designed the whole layout.  This gives us the great possibility to dive a bit deeper into the layout and the way how it’s build.

Continue reading Taking it to the next level – Corfe Castle Station