Category Archives: Inspiration

Real life train subjects to inspire your building

FINDING INSPIRATION IN STRASBURG PENNSYLVANIA: PART 2

It’s time for part 2 of my Finding Inspiration in Strasburg Pennsylvania. In part 1 I introduced the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the models I’ve built, that have been inspired from there. That article can be found here. Now it’s time to take a stroll across the street, literally, to the Strasburg Rail Road.

The Road to Paradise

Strasburg’s 89 is pulling an opening day passenger train past 475 as it waits in the siding with a special photo freight charter.

Continue reading FINDING INSPIRATION IN STRASBURG PENNSYLVANIA: PART 2

Bridging the Gap part 1: How the US met Europe

There are a lot of divisions within the Model Railways community. They can be about scale (our own L-Gauge, 0, h0, N, TT, Spur 1, G), but also about era (Epoche I-VI), type of railway (continuous vs. point-to-point). Or, more specifically for our hobby: Stickers, Glueing, 6/7/8/9-wide and cutting.

There is however one division which is easily neglected: Geography. Or, more precise: The division between modelling European or American railroads. Seeing BMR is supposed to be blog about all Lego trainheads,  I thought it would be a good idea to explore ways how to bring the two continents a bit closer together. Therefore, this will be a series of articles which will try to bridge this gap. The emphasis will not only be on prototypes, but will also showcase some models that already have been build, for even more inspiration! Continue reading Bridging the Gap part 1: How the US met Europe

Lego Model Train Inception

Have you ever thought about owning a 1:5 (more like 1:2 if you read Glenn’s post on scaling, thanks for  pointing that one out Matt) scale Garden Modelrailway? You know, like the ones you sometimes see in parks that can actually pull carriages with actual passengers? But you, just as me, don’t have the finances, nor the will to build something like that? Thanks to domel, you can now make this dream come true! Not for you ofcourse, but your minifigs!

Micro Nohab by domel

Continue reading Lego Model Train Inception

Matson’s Landing in L-Gauge – A Layout From Start to Finish

For several years I’ve wanted to write a set of articles covering the design and building of a LEGO® train layout from start of finish. With the new year and the launch of Brick Model Railroader, I have the opportunity to do so. This post is the kick-off to a series of articles that I’ll write as I design and build a new layout: Matson’s Landing.

The original Matson’s Landing is an HO scale layout designed by modeler Jack Matson. I discovered the layout years ago while scanning through “Micro/Small Layouts” at the Carendt.com blog. While many model railroading publications feature the grand basement-filling layouts of master modelers, Carendt.com focuses on small track plans that fit into a minimum amount of space. The designs on this site perfectly capture what S scale modeler and author Trevor Marshall defines as “Achievable Layouts”. In other words, layouts that are small enough to be worked on in a reasonable amount of time, but large enough to be entertaining. Given our large track scale, Achievable Layouts are perfect for the L-gauge builder.

As can be seen in the original track plan, the Matson’s Landing layout offers lots of opportunities for a LEGO builder. The display contains two scenes, divided down the center of the plan. One side showcases a waterfront logging camp, where logs are off-loaded into the river/lake to be floated to a mill, while the other side of the display features a wooded landing area where logs are pulled out of the forest. While not a lot of space is allowed for train cars, there is plenty of room for switching a few loads of logs with a small steam or diesel locomotive. The setting of Matson’s Landing could also allow for some steep grades with lots of brick-built scenery.

My initial plan is to scale up the HO design to fit L-gauge track size and geometry. For the article series here on Brick Model Railroader, I hope to cover the following topics:

  • Benchwork – The base of the display
  • Layout Design – How the track geometry is planned
  • Landscaping – Everything visible above the base, covering brick-built hills and valleys
  • Locomotive Design – Planning, testing and building of a small steam-driven logging locomotive
  • Car Design – Planning, testing and building of log cars, and possibly others
  • Scenery – Covering trees, water, shrubs and other natural features
  • Building Design – The logging camp area features a couple of small buildings that are perfect for the LEGO medium
  • Operations – How the layout is run, and various options for running it differently

During the process of building this layout, I encourage readers to offer suggestions as we go, making it a community project. I look forward to everyone’s feedback, and welcome the opportunity to learn from other builders.

Finding Inspiration in Strasburg Pennsylvania: Part 1

One of the regular features we wish to provide here at Brick Model Railroader are articles to inspire builders. We’re not just LEGO® Train fans here at BMR, we’re fans of trains and railroading in all their forms. From scale model trains to full size, and from collecting books and RR paraphernalia to visiting museums and tourist railroads, we have a wide range of experience and knowledge in trains and railroading which we hope to use to help builders find that next project, and to increase the enjoyment of the LEGO train hobby.

This being the first of such articles, I wanted to highlight something that has been a regular source of building inspiration for me, and show how it has shaped what I build. Here is part 1 of my article on Finding Inspiration in Strasburg Pennsylvania.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

RR Museum of PA 01

One of the great rail fan joys of living in South Central Pennsylvania is that you are not far from one of the best railroad museums in North America: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. And when you’re a LEGO train builder looking for inspiration on what to build, why not go to where the real trains are? Especially when that museum has more than 100 historic locomotives and railroad cars that chronicle railroad history in the state of Pennsylvania. The museum is located in StrasburgLancaster CountyPennsylvania, and is a hot bed of railroad history, and home to numerous railroad and train themed attractions. Which we will cover more of in part 2.

Normally I would not write about my own, older models here on BMR unless it was to highlight something i felt was worth noting. So bear with me here, but since many of my MOCs are modeled on equipment at the museum, I thought they would provide a nice tour of the great exhibits there, and an example of how real world inspiration can shape your model.

Continue reading Finding Inspiration in Strasburg Pennsylvania: Part 1