25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #6: Holiday Magic (1994)

Folowing our first “25 Days of Trainvertising” post, a BMR Facebook fan pointed out an error on the front cover. The cover featured the train from set 4563 (Load and Haul Railroad). Evidently, a 2×4 red brick was missing from the front of the locomotive.

This catalog comes to us from 1994, so LEGO had a fully year to fix the mistake. However, they must have used the same locomotive in this photograph because it is still missing the 2×4 brick! Perhaps Majisto made it disappear.

The image itself is really fun to look at, though. A snow-covered Metro Station (set 4554). Knights on skis. What’s not to love? Throwing the image on a Christmas ornament was also a really nice touch.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #5: Duplo through the Snow

1993 was a good year for LEGO…I have fond memories of the Dragon Knight sets. Today’s image comes from the front cover of a 1993 UK Christmas catalog. This one gives Duplo trains some love. Meanwhile, Majisto the wizard has hijacked Santa’s job this year, complete with a sled pulled by three monstrous dragons. Who needs eight tiny reindeer anyway?

The second image is from a French advertising insert. It is a slight variation on the first, but is void of any trains. Still, I thought I’d include it for comparison.

Our AAR 53′ 70 Ton Flat Car Premium Instructions are now on sale, plus Restocks!

Our fourth premium instructions, for the AAR 53′ 70 Ton Flat Car are now available for purchase in our store!

See our video review here

Continue reading Our AAR 53′ 70 Ton Flat Car Premium Instructions are now on sale, plus Restocks!

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #4: A Very Spielberg Christmas

Today’s catalog comes to you straight from 2000. The cover art of this U.S. holiday catalog prominently features the engine from “Freight and Crane Railway” (set 4565), originally released in 1996.  This time, Santa takes charge of the controls and ditches Rudolph in favor of everyone’s favorite little astromech droid, R2-D2.

A lot of memorable characters are here, including Johnny Thunder (aka: Joe Freeman & Sam Grant). Emperor Palpatine uses force lightning to shake a package, while Darth Maul is left with nothing but coal to sort through. The Sith may be causing trouble, but Steven Spielberg is calling all the shots.

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #3: Walking in a Wooden Wonderland

LEGO makes a Christmas card for its employees each year, and this was the example made to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary in 1982. It is filled with vintage LEGO goodness, including loads of wooden toys, 1:43 scale Chevrolet trucks, early LEGO building toys and some 1980s LEGO sets under the Christmas tree.

If you look closely, the box of wooden toys contains a special steam engine. Those Chevrolet trucks would also look mighty nice on an O scale layout. LEGO produced wooden toys from 1932 through 1960, following a fire that destroyed the wooden toy warehouse. The plastic Chevrolet trucks were made between 1952 and 1957.

These images originally appeared in the 50 Years of Play book, a LEGO history book given to LEGO employees in 1982. The book is hard to find, but you can read the digital version online via Brickset.com.

 

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #2: Miracle on 56th Street

Our second post comes straight to you from 2001. The winter was cold, and LEGO’s financial situation wasn’t so hot either. In a partnership that will probably never happen again, LEGO teamed up with Department 56 to release ceramic holiday miniatures. These depicted portions of Santa’s workshop involved in the manufacture of….LEGO toys!

I know, I know….You’re probably asking yourself, “where are all the trains?” While there aren’t any trains per se, the Department 56 buildings and figures often wind up in holiday train layouts. Therein lies the train connection….Hey, I have to fill 25 days, people!

On an unrelated note, I think we can all agree that is some nice brick-built scenery.

P.S.: I promise Monday’s image will contain actual LEGO trains. 🙂

25 Days of Holiday “Trainvertising” #1: Deck the Load and Hauls!

“Deck the Load and Hauls with Technic.  Falalalalalalalala.” Trains receive a lot of love around this time of year, especially on the cover of many a LEGO Shop-at-Home catalog over the years. Of all the images produced, this is perhaps one of the best. For 1993, the “Load and Haul Railroad” (set #4563) earned itself a special spot under the Christmas tree. It’s also cool to see that the minifigures are just as animated as the expression of sheer joy on that boy’s face.

If you enjoyed this blast from the past, be sure to check in with BMR every day from now through December 25th. I will be digging through my files and reaching out to friends for holiday advertising, articles, etc. featuring trains. There will be a new image for each and every day, the last of which will be on Christmas day!

4DBrix Announces a Game Changer

Tom Lowa at 4DBrix has worked continuously to bring new innovations to the Lego train hobby for some time now. Using their own on-site 3D printer, they’ve been making things like remote switch mechanisms and modular switch tracks, as well as a lot of monorail components, if you’re into that kind of thing. More recently, however, there has been two new additions to the 4DBrix online store that really gives them some good reputation.

If you missed it or haven’t seen it yet, I don’t blame you. It hasn’t been “officially” announced by 4DBrix yet, but rest assured it IS listed on their site. Enter the “Ultimate Railroader” series. Aside from a clever name, this is 4DBrix’s play at getting into a more serious scale Lego railroading market. Currently, the only two products in this line are nearly the same, but different enough to make someone want one of each (or more). Tom has listed R148 crossovers, in both right-hand single crossover and double crossover configurations, on his website. He was also kind enough to send us a set of the double crossover to review, which will be the main point of this article.

Continue reading 4DBrix Announces a Game Changer

Expert Rebuilder Contest!

Ready for another contest?

The LEGO company is sponsoring a new contest, BE AN EXPERT REBUILDER.  Each contest participant must create a short 15 to 30 second stop-motion film, featuring an original model built using parts from the Creator Expert Modular, Holiday, or Fairgrounds sets.

How does this appeal to us train fans?  Two of the three Holiday sets have train themes!  Check out the LEGO Creator Expert sets online at the U.S. Shop at Home site: https://shop.lego.com/en-US/Creator-Expert-Sets

For complete rules, see the LEGO Rebrick “Be an Expert Rebuilder” contest website: https://www.lego.com/en-us/rebrick/contest-page/contests/expert-rebuilder

Let’s show the world what train builders can do!

StickyLife – A Review

In the brick-built train hobby, one of the often asked questions revolves around how or where to create custom decals for decorating our models with our favorite railroad liveries. Many options exist, including using traditional O scale decals, printing your own on decal paper using a home ink-jet printer, or, like we do for the BMR Premium Instruction sets, use a 3rd party printer like OKBrickWorks.

One difficulty that I’ve had over the years is finding proper decals with white lettering for the cars that I build. I’m a fan of the fallen-flag Rutland Railroad, which operated in Vermont and New York until the early 1960s. Many of their cars, and almost all of their steam locomotives, were lettered in silver or white paint on black backgrounds. While modeling decals for the locomotives are commercially available in compatible sizes for my LEGO trains, I’ve always had trouble finding decent freight car decals.

A few weeks ago, I came across the website StickyLife.com. StickyLife allows you to create a variety of customized items, including bumper stickers, magnets, and vinyl decals. Originally I had thought to use the site to create lettering for my 1:8 scale Live Steam flatcar, but then I wondered if it would be possible to create decals for my LEGO cars as well.

The following is a walk through of the process, and a review of the final product.

Continue reading StickyLife – A Review