Category Archives: LEGO® News

News about LEGO® sets, set reviews, and other stuff from the company

PFx Brick Returns!

The PFx Brick is back on Kickstarter!

After an unfortunate end to the previous Kickstarter campaign, the PFx Brick is back, and they’re already more than halfway there! The new goal is $50,000. The new model has bluetooth compatibility for use on devices, and is also easily customizable from the computer program. As before, the brick supports light, sound, and motor controls with ease, with a WIDE range of options and cool features. The new Kickstarter campaign also has a wider selection of backer rewards.

Long story short, the community gave their opinions, and the PFx guys listened.

Hopefully you’ll consider supporting the campaign!

Duluth, Missabe, & Iron Range “Yellowstone”

It been a while since we’ve seen a big articulated steam locomotive from LEGO® train builder Anthony Sava. But the wait is over as Anthony’s long planed model of the Duluth, Missabe, & Iron Range class M4 “Yellowstone” is finally completed.

Powerful Brute

Continue reading Duluth, Missabe, & Iron Range “Yellowstone”

**IMPORTANT** Announcement Regarding Boxcar Premium Instructions

The staff at Brick Model Railroader has an important announcement regarding the premium instructions set to be released for sale today, April 21, 2017.

We have encountered an unforeseen problem regarding the ball bearings used in the freight car trucks. Essentially, the metal Lego axles that would sit in the bearings are too large to be installed properly without ruining the bearing. Therefore, we are not able to install bearing in the Technic bricks either.

The BMR staff does not want to deliver a product that we feel does not meet our quality standards, and we also do not want to deliver a product that is not what we said we would deliver. We would like to humbly ask the Lego train community for more time until practical and workable solution is achieved.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and we apologize for not being able to launch the premium instructions today.

We appreciate the continued support of the community, and we hope we haven’t let anyone down.

 

Cale Leiphart and Glenn Holland

Brick Model Railroader Staff

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!

Introducing PFx Brick: A new sound, lighting and motor control system for your LEGO® models

If you’ve been to a model train show in the past several years, you may have noticed that the layouts on display have more than just trains running around track with some static scenery in the background. Modern scale train layouts are becoming increasingly more dynamic, with sound, advanced lighting, and animation beyond just the trains. These elements add a whole new world to the typical model train layout, from stock cars emanating the sounds of livestock, to signals flashing to let engineers know if it’s safe to proceed with their train, to animated scenes on the layout such as kids playing on playground equipment. These bring a train layout to life, and make the experience more fun for all. Many builders in the LEGO community have incorporated these elements into their own creations, but there’s never been an off the shelf, “Plug and Play” solution to creating and controlling many of them until today. From the minds of LEGO hobbyists Michael Gale and Jason Allemann has come the PFx Brick.

Continue reading Introducing PFx Brick: A new sound, lighting and motor control system for your LEGO® models

LEGO Contest – Mini Building Madness!

A few days ago, The LEGO Group announced a contest with a pretty amazing prize package.  Since model railroads are as much about scenery as they are about trains, I think many of our readers will be interested in this one.

From the announcement:

Today we’ve launched a new contest on LEGO Rebrick, one we’re only sharing with RLUG/RLFM members. To mark 10 years of Modular Buildings, we invite you to build a mini modular for a chance to win the grand prize of all modular buildings as well as the Mini Modulars! This includes:

• 10230 LEGO Mini Modulars
• 10182 LEGO Café Corner
• 10190 LEGO Market Street
• 10185 LEGO Green Grocer
• 101097 LEGO Fire Brigade
• 10211 LEGO Grand Emporium
• 10218 LEGO Pet Shop
• 10224 LEGO Town Hall
• 10232 Palace Cinema
• 10251 Brick Bank
• 10246 Detective’s Office
• 10243 Parisian Restaurant
• 10255 Assembly SquareWe will also have two runner-ups in this contest, who will win the 10255 Assembly Square.
For more information on how to enter. Including rules and size requirements, please visit:

http://rebrick.it/minimodulars

The contest closes May 12th at 10:00 a.m. EST. Don’t forget to share this contest with your fellow RLUG/RLFM readers/subscribers/readers/subscribers!

Most exciting about this prize package, other than the sheer size of it, is the chance to win some pretty incredible retired sets.

– Brick Model Railroader is a Recognized LEGO Fan Media (RLFM) outlet.

Hybrid PF/9V Systems

Following up on my previous article introducing LEGO’s 9V system and their Power Functions (PF) system, I’m going to go a little more in depth about building hybrid systems that utilize both PF battery packs and 9V train track. I’ve developed and iterated through several different systems that combine the best of both and have come up with several easy to implement systems.  Anyone with a few dollars, a volt meter and a soldering iron can hack together one of these hybrids in a matter of hours. Continue reading Hybrid PF/9V Systems

3D-Printed Steam Driver Wheels from Nate Brill

Nate Brill of PennLUG has been very busy recently. Rather than go on about his work, I’ll let him tell you himself:

“Several members of my club have discussed the need/desire for larger and different sized train wheels, and the possibility of 3d printing them. Earlier this year, I was down with a back injury for a while, so I used the time to figure out some 3d design fundamentals and make my own. I don’t have any 3d printing equipment so I put them on shapeways for my own use.

I have had a couple requests for these since word got out that I made them, so I set up a shapeways store:

www.shapeways.com/shops/shupp-s-brick-train-stuff

Here are some sample images:

 

I have made XXL sized (the next size up from Ben Fleskes’ XL sized), a size between medium and large, and a medium diameter train wheel i.e. not a steam driver, just a thin train wheel but with a larger diameter.

These are being offered at cost (I make no money) because I cannot guarantee the fit of the pin and axle holes and other aspects of the production which are out of my control, nor can I make any easy changes that would solve the problem. Anyway, I hope they work for anyone who tries them. Feel free to let me know.”

New driver sizes are always welcome and much appreciated in the community. Head to Nate’s Shapeways shop if you want to get a set of some sweet wheels!

Matson’s Landing in L-Gauge – Choosing Motive Power

This is the second in a series of articles documenting the creation of brick-built layout, from start to finish. For part one, see Matson’s Landing in L-Gauge – A Layout From Start to Finish.

Before starting on the layout proper, I first want to define and build my motive power and rolling stock. The actual design of the track plan, including grades, number of cars spotted, and so on, will depend upon the equipment running over it. There are a few things to consider before beginning:

  • Scale – Six-wide or Eight-wide? I used to build six-wide trains, but I’ve come to enjoy the detail that can be added to the larger eight-wide trains. Six-wide would make for a smaller, more portable layout, but eight-wide allows for more space for batteries and motors.
  • Era – Most logging operations that are modeled seem to fall into the late 19th or early 20th centuries. Choosing a specific year, or year range, will help narrow down what kind of equipment to build.
  • Location – What part of the world should I aim for? Eastern or western United States? Maybe another part of the world?

Here’s what I first selected:

  • Scale – Eight-wide. I really want to be able to add detail. This will make for a larger layout, but I think it will be worth it in the end.
  • Era – I’m aiming for the turn of the 20th century. This seems to be the height of logging by rail type operations, and research material for this time period is plentiful.
  • Location – I live in northern New England in the United States, and logging operations were plentiful around here back in the day. This also opens up research material, as I can literally step outside of my door and look at scenery that was logged by rail at one time. One of my favorite hiking trails, in fact, runs along a portion of what used to be the Lye Brook Railroad, a small logging operation run from 1914 to 1919 by the Rich Lumber Company of Manchester, Vermont.[1]
Lye Brook Railroad
Lye Brook Railroad as pictured in Volume 14 of the Walloomsack Review. Now a popular hiking trail.

With my basics defined, I started researching equipment. Generally, when one thinks about logging railroads, they think about small wood-fired geared steamers slowly crawling up steep grades, pulling strings of weather-worn log cars. The big three that immediately came to my mind where Shay, Climax, and Heisler.

Building the Clishay
“Building the Clishay” by Bob Maynard

A lot of builders put together Shay locomotives, with good reason. They look great while running! The exterior gear shafts provide some movement not seen on rod driven machines. I don’t consider myself to be a steam builder, or a Technic builder, though, so the gearing was a little off-putting for me. A Heisler, with its gear shaft underneath, might be workable, but, due to another of my other hobbies, I had Climax locomotives on my mind. In my Live Steam life, I’m working on a 1/8th scale “Clishay” locomotive. Billed as a cross between a Shay and a Climax, the Clishay[2] screams “small logging operation”. I love the hand-built look of it, and since the gearing is pretty simple, I thought it would lend itself well to a LEGO® design. The basic layout is similar to a Class A Climax with a vertical boiler. This, then, was where I began my prototype research.

In the next installment of this series, I’ll talk about the Climax designs that I looked at, and where I am currently with the build.

[1] Bristow, Preston. “Vermont’s Long Trail and Logging Railroads.” Walloomsack Review 14:31. Accessed January 6, 2017. http://benningtonmuseum.org/library/walloomsack/volume-14/vermonts-long-trail-and-logging-railroads.pdf.

[2] For a great overview of a Live Steam scale Clishay, visit https://youtu.be/hBkAVHcHCJk.