Today, January 6th 2017, marks our first official week at Brick Model Railroader. And we have to say that the response so far has been awesome! We can’t thank you readers enough. It is for you and the LEGO® train community that we wanted to start BMR. You have all been wonderfully supportive of us as we get this project off the ground.
In our first week of BMR being online we’ve had 5,500 views to our site, 64 registered users, 15 published articles, and 275 likes to our Facebook page. And this is only just the start. We look forward to growing and serving the LEGO train hobby for a long time to come. But in the meantime, to celebrate our first week we have something special for you, our readers.
I’m sure many of us know that the LEGO® company has been producing train sets based on their plastic brick system for 50 years. And that’s an amazing length of time. But did you know LEGO trains go back farther than the bricks we all know and love?
The LEGO Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. LEGO continued producing wooden toys until 1960. During the wooden toy era of the LEGO company there were several wooden train toys offered for sale. Bellow is are pages from a 1950 LEGO catalog showing several different wooden trains offered for sale.
Just like our big sister from which we draw part of our inspiration (and part of our name), the Brick Model Railroader will have a recurring item where we (re)-visit layouts. For inspiration, to draw inspiration from, but also to showcase all the great stuff that has already been displayed across the world and had an impact on the Lego Train Hobby. Without wasting any more time, we would like to present our readers with the first showcased layout: Ararat 1972.
I mean, just look at it. You wouldn’t say from a distance that this is build with Lego bricks, do you? So let us dive a little bit deeper in this layout and learn why this is such a great piece of work.
Germany has always been one of the more respected Railway countries in Europe. Their transport system, combining ICE, IC and Regional trains with busses, trams and metro’s, has always been a fan favorite in Europe, definitely if your country shares their longest border with them. But even the Germans had some issues with the profitably of certain routes. As a solution, in 1950 the Uerdinger Schienenbus was introduced. In the year that the first ones are becoming 67, and thus reach (future) legal retirement age in Germany, Florian (Flogo) has managed to recreate one of them in our beloved bricks.
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.
After having seen several old-school trains here on Brick Model Railroader, it’s now time for some contemporary models, like this Pesa Dart. It is owned by PKP Intercity, part of the Polish State railways, designed by Mateusz Waldowski.
Poland is a very interesting country when it comes to modern motive power to model. Thanks to the privatization of several repair & service workshops after 1989, a vivid train manufacturing industry has been set up. Just as back in the days, you can now see on Polish rails again EMU’s, DMU’s and modern locomotive power, all made domestically. The best known one is currently Pesa, and the most recent addition in their fleet has been a 160km/h EMU for PKP Intercity.
Understanding LEGO® track geometry, and best track layout practices, can be a little tricky for fans new to the hobby. And even veteran builders can learn new things about how the various LEGO track pieces can be used to create new layouts. Fortunately Hungarian LEGO train builder Ashi Valkoinen has written an excellent PDF on LEGO track Geometry, which we are happy to share with our readers here on Brick Model Railroader. It’s a great resource for any one who wants to understand better how to work with LEGO track.
You can read the PDF here, or you can download Ashi’s original PDF on LEGO 9v Train Track Geometry from the link bellow.
I Scream Clone and his son (Trainiac) decided to try their hand at building a narrow gauge railway. Originally built for the April 2016 Sydney Brick Show, the steam engines and coaches were based off a failed LEGO Cuusoo design by Concore, the diesel design was all ISC and his son!
Some of the most interesting railway subjects to model can turn up when you start digging into all the experimental and prototype designs that have been tried over the years. Such is the case here with this set of 1914 Prussian, electric demonstrator train equipment by Falk Schulz (a.k.a. bricknerd of Flickr).