In my previous previous article I introduced the topic of this series – my process for building a LEGO steam locomotive, and discussed researching and choosing a prototype. In this article, I will discuss choosing motors for a steam locomotive, options for batteries and receivers, as well as how to integrate other electronics into a LEGO train, such as lights and sound.
In past projects, after completing my research, I would typically start building up the frame of my steam locomotive. I would focus on articulation between driving wheels, pilot truck, pony truck, and tender and make sure my design could handle standard LEGO track geometry. This time, however, I wanted to build more electronics into my locomotive than just a motor, so I needed to sort out all of the electronic issues before doing any building. Still, I began with choosing a motor.
I began building LEGO trains in a serious way in about 2008. At the time, I had no clue where to start with building something like a steam locomotive, so I looked for ideas and techniques online at places like MOCpages and Brickshelf. There were plenty of people building LEGO trains then, but a few models really stood out. Richard Lemeiter’s 141 R Mikado #840 was one of these.
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:
Railway Stations are massive things, definitely in the scales we as Lego Trainheads are building. A great example is Cale’s post about the PennLUG Lines, which shows that a Main Railway station easily rivals with its Staging Yard when it comes to size. However, that doesn’t mean you should not try building one. And thanks to The Lego Company (TLC), there is now a great example you can visit, as long as you are willing to travel to Kladno, Czech Republic. More specifically, we are talking about a model of Praha hlavní nádraží, the main Railway Station of Prague.
It turns out it’s not only a great model, but it even has running trains (one Shunter, one Main Line Locomotive which is about to couple with a rake of Intercity coaches, and a Metro!), moving elevators, lights… You name it, it’s there!
After Elroy followed up on my article about scaled Lego Trains within an already scaled L-gauge environment, this time around with a moving example, I had to follow-up on that one again. For good reasons though. Just check out the video and see it for yourself.
Of course all credits go to its builder, Alexander.
We as Model Railroaders have a tendency to love locomotives. This is pretty understandable, seeing that without loco’s, our trains would just be big pieces of metal rusting on tracks. However, we should not neglect our carriages, because they deserve our unconditioned love as well. Thankfully Leuchtstein at 1000steine has understood this as no other and has build the iconic Einheitswagen I from the Rhätische Bahn, the well-known narrow gauge railway in Switzerland.
This past week, I watched an episode of James May: The Reassembler. In the opening episode of season two, May walks through the reassembly of his first ever toy train set, a Hornby Flying Scotsman with realistic chuffing sound, which he received one year as a Christmas gift. Quite ironically, a week before, I had begun exactly the same endeavor, rebuilding my first ever LEGO train set.
The 9-volt era had several diamond sets: the Metroliner and Santa Fe Super Chief among them. There were also several oddball sets, with no real prototype counterpart. Set 4561 Railway Express, which I received on Christmas morning around the year 2001, was one such set. But this didn’t stop me from enjoying the set. I built it with the aid of my father and we watched it run around the simple oval track for hours, loading and unloading the wagons countless times. Then, after I got bored of the set, I tore it apart and begun making my first rudimentary train MOCs.
The earlier post on 1:5 scale trains reminded me of an excellent MOC built years ago by Shaun Sullivan. Setting my Wayback Machine to 15 years ago, I perused Shaun’s Brickshelf Gallery to dig up his Piggyback flat car from 2002.
What isn’t clear from the photo is that the train on the flatcar is actually animated. Gearing on the underside of the flatcar allows the mini train on top to circle its own track, all while the flatcar is being pulled in a consist. Originally built before the release of Power Functions, the car uses a standard 9v motor to provide power from the track.
Video back then wasn’t what it is today, but even this short clip shows what an ingenious build this was.
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!