Commander Wolf

Eurobricks Citizen
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About Commander Wolf

  • Birthday 01/06/89

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    c0mmander w0lf
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  1. Hmm, I must be getting jaded. I would have loved to build a massive and crazy layout like this when I was a kid, but now I'm pretty happy watching one train on one loop Still very cool, though, the lights are an amazing touch. Is it just nine trains running on separate loops, or is there some coordination going on between trains on same loops?
  2. Watched the videos in the gallery and curious about the performance of something so big... is that the top speed of the locomotive, and at that speed with that load how much run time are you typically getting?
  3. If you ever find yourself looking for a monkey motor try to find one with a metal pinion (though I don't know how you can easily tell without physically looking at the motor). As I've said all of the ones I've received or owned with plastic pinions have failed, and it's really disappointing. You can tell if a motor has a cracked pinion if it clicks when you run it. For folks looking for the lxf, I've uploaded it to the Brickshelf folder, but out of curiosity if I ever made instructions for something like this would anyone want to buy them?
  4. A lot of people in my club just insert thin neodymium between the stock magnets to increase the pulling power. Anecdotally I'd say it's good for maybe about double the strength of the standard magnets? How much more force would you need?
  5. I saw this some time ago on another forum, but it's still really cool! Just amazing to see that thing running in traffic. I had no idea there was a place where rail and highway intertwined like this, and in California (my home state) no less.
  6. ... and here is the video showing the general performance of the engine: The 1:00 mark shows full speed. And another shorter clip, showing the loco pulling close to its limit; you can already see it losing grip around the front of the loop: Let me see what I can do; I'm not sure how up to date the LDD model is.
  7. It's actually got a surprising amount of torque all things considered. Even if it's small, it's not actually that light considering that you still need all the PF components and batteries (that aren't LiPo) are heavy. I'd say you could probably pull 3 or 4 large passenger cars of the same scale... will see if I can take some videos of max pulling power in addition to the clips I already have. Ya, that's it. It's just an HTTP code referencing something small Gonna say, the form factors of those old geared motors are very nice, but I've had a huge number of them fail on me over the past decade, and it's very disappointing. Cracked magnets in the "regular" geared motors and cracked pinions in the "monkey" motor. It's still TBD how well the current PF motors hold up over time, but if they do remake the old motors, I sure hope it's with better quality.
  8. Heh, trying to build super small is not usually my thing, but this was too good an opportunity to pass up. If you ask me, building small is all about choosing the right prototype! My hint would be that it's related to this old moc
  9. Hey EB, it's time for another train MOC! Today's locomotive is the EMD Model 40, a small industrial switcher made in very limited quantity in the early 40s. The model is approximately 1:48 scale, contains about 360 parts, and weighs about 360 grams. Much like my PRR A6b, this locomotive is an oddity among American locomotives in that it only has two axles, but that's what makes this model possible! The genesis of this build goes way back to the micromotor boxcab I built a few years ago. I was not too happy about various aspects of my implementation, and the model was dismantled after not too long. I had been wanting to try my hand at another micromotor locomotive since then, but I was also waiting for a good prototype to show up. So when forum member jtlan showed me the Model 40 a few months ago, I of course first thought, "hey maybe time for a new micromotor model". Alas, initial investigation indicated that the Model 40 was probably not a good candidate for micromotor traction: the locomotive turned out to be much larger than it looked - almost double the size of the old mini boxcabs. I was going to stop there, but I had a suspicion that prompted me to keep looking at different drivetrain layouts, and eventually I began to realize the size of the engine was more blessing than curse because... At 1:48 scale the Model 40 is probably the smallest locomotive by volume in which you can put a full PF drivetrain. Figuring out how to fit everything in there certainly took a couple nights, but there's basically two "tricks" I had to recognize: 1) The cab is just big enough to accommodate the battery box, but it must be in a studs-sideways orientation 2) What I call the "monkey motor" (because it came from a Creator set that made a motorized monkey) has the output shaft mounted lower than the "usual" 9v geared motor The second point is important because it allows me to connect the motor to a shaft below it with only one gear stage and without excessively large gears (a little more on this in a bit). After solving the layout problem there were of course the usual challenges of how to bolt everything together and actually model the various details of the engine. While the motor and receiver fit perfectly in the two hoods, it was difficult to tile all the sides of each end with the limited peripheral space available: the front and rear grill panels are actually attached from the bottom by hinges. The running boards are only connected near those panels and simply rest on the fuel tanks, which attach to the chassis. The battery box and the cab are connected by gravity: they simply rest on each other such that it's easy to remove the roof to access the power button and it's easy to remove the battery box to access the batteries. Two more neat details I thought were worth pointing out: 1) I used a set of click hinges to create a structurally integral step, which allowed me to mount the battery box one plate lower than otherwise: 2) There's a little bit of business done to allow 1:1 gearing with 16-tooth gears, and I'm quite happy with the torque/power curve with 1:1 gearing. The underside of the chassis: At this point some of you might be going "waitaminute...", and you might be correct! Until I tried it explicitly, I didn't think installing the 16-tooth gear at the same height as the driving wheels was supposed to work. If you do it with the old 9v wheelsets, the teeth of the gear will fall below the railhead and contact anything at that height. However, the official wheels with the rubber bands are just big enough such that the teeth now clear the railhead, even if just barely! You can see I applied permanent marker to the teeth of the lower gear for testing. None of the ink got scraped off when passing over switches, etc. Other random thoughts: The livery was not intended to be a prototypical. Since all of the 11 units built went to different industrial operators, and many seem to have changed hands some, I felt that the colors of some fictional industry was plausible. The number is kind of an easter egg, but I dunno if anyone will get it. Many of these pictures were taken in a DIY lightbox that jtlan and myself put together. This is the first time either of us have tried photographing models in such a thing, and for the amount of time we spent on our box, the results seem quite good. Other than that, I think there aren't any other construction details worth mentioning that aren't obvious in the pictures. There's a couple more pics in the gallery, but the model's so small there's not that much to see! Video coming eventually; have a nice day!
  10. Why do you feel like the Horizon Expres is not as well appreciated as the other two? (forgive me if this is supposed to be a widely regarded sentiment)
  11. Hmm, thanks for the thoughts folks. I'm actually surprised that people don't seem to like the brick-weathering, but I suppose that's why I made this thread! Maybe that's why I don't see a lot of samples in the first place. I will have to think about it some more. I think maybe the question I want to pose then is if anyone thinks it's possible to get a good weathering effect with unique colors of brick (rather than say the difference between old and new greys)? I'm going to admit I lean towards the purist side, and I'm very reluctant to use things like tape or paint to do weathering. I think using different shades of a color (old vs new or yellowed vs non yellowed) is great, and I do it when applicable already, but it only works if you're building in grey and/or have a lot of yellowed parts in the color of your model, so it's not very practical if say your base color is black. And sometimes I don't think the effect is strong enough.
  12. Let me say this right off the bat: no, I'm not painting anything. A few years ago I built a PRR A6b and, and at the end of the post I threw in this "weathered" version: I wasn't that happy with it, but I wasn't too interested at the time, and I decided I'd look at it later. Well, now is later! Almost all LEGO train models are built with the assumption that the locos or cars are clean and well-kept, but this is really the exception in practice. I've seen LEGO weathering done a handful of times, but I don't feel like I've ever seen it done that well. At the same time, I don't feel like it should be that hard. So after studying some photos of real weathered locomotives, I gave it another go: Here is my U30B in black: This first weathered sample is supposed to suggest dirty with a little bit of wear. The photo exemplifies the pattern I see on such locomotives: the uneven application of dust and grime almost forms a gradient where the lower half is darker/lighter than the upper half (depending on the base color), and this gradient is largely what I'm trying to depict. I think the trick is to strike the right balance between intentional and random - I want the bottom to be primarily grey (dirty) and the top primarily black, but then I need to randomly reduce the number of grey parts as I move toward clean areas of the loco in order to suggest that gradient: This second sample is supposed to suggest rusty less than dirty. This photo is of course of a model, and I think the rust is a little aggressive, but another pattern emerges: the rust is much more evenly distributed across the body but still comes in large patches without clearly defined borders. One of the difficulties in both attempts, but more so in this one is trying to balance resolution with features: I wanted to preserve the panels and such that texture the body of the locomotive, but at the same time I wanted to break up the panels such that I wasn't making entire panels "rusty" at a time. This final sample for now is based on a Conrail N6A transfer caboose I'm working on. The "clean" model is as shown: The weathered model is more of a blend of dirty and rusty. I specifically wanted to weather this model because I could get a lot of "drawing" resolution with 1x1 plates due to the caboose's simple construction. Again, I'm largely trying to make a gradient between the trucks and the body, but I've thrown in some rust spots as well. Overall I'm fairly happy with all three results, but I wanted to get some second opinions. Are the weathered variants any good? Is it too distracting? Maybe most crucially, does anyone think the weathered variants look better than the clean variants? I'm almost certainly going to built one of these in brick to explore what it actually looks like, but any thoughts are appreciated.
  13. Hi all, I'm mainly a train guy, but I have a mild interest in architecture and an opinion on what I want in building design. This year I decided that I would build a house for our LUG's annual Christmas show, and of course it took me basically the whole year to design and build something I liked. I actually started with three design "concepts" that I felt were worth trying to implement: "open" house, "indoor-outdoor" house, and "workshop" house (this one). I won't say much about the former two since I may still want to build them in the future, but workshop eventually won because I had more issues shrinking the other two (more on that in a bit). The concept behind the workshop house is simple: the bottom floor is entirely workspace and the second floor is entirely living space. That's it. I build scale models for my trains, so I originally intended to make a scale model for this house, but it very quickly became apparent that a scale model would be really, really big, even after I reduced the scope (fewer rooms) of the design. It was only on the third revision that I finally decided to make it more of an "architectural concept" than a scale model, and tried to design it with the same level of fidelity as say a Creator or Modular building. And that's the one I actually built. In this design I also tried to manifest some themes I'm indirectly interested in exploring: the contrast between old and new, open floorplans, and the inclusion/intrusion of nature. For example, the workshop section of the house is built to suggest brick, something very heavy, while the top is designed to look more modern, something more light. The kitchen/dining room/living room are all in the same space, and the only private sections are a bathroom and bedroom. Finally the workshop has wide sliding doors on both ends such that it can essentially be transformed into an outdoor space. Finally, because I was looking at Creator sets for inspiration, the house also folds open down the center. I'm not sure how much play value there is in a thing like this, but at least you can see inside. Looking at the furnishings I can elaborate what I meant when I said "architectural concept" vs "scale model": in this house there isn't explicitly all the things you would need to make it livable, which is what allows to not be huge. There isn't like a shower or a kitchen sink or a refrigerator, rather there is a suggestion that there is a bathroom and a kitchen in their respective locations. Most of the furniture is stolen from official sets. I'm really not into furniture as much as the building-level idea. Those doors aren't really supposed to be clear, but I couldn't find anything opaque, and I wanted viewers to be able to look into the rooms. Finally there is a laundry room on the roof and an opening thing that was supposed to be a skylight (you can see it in the LDD model), but the old skylight piece turned out to be very hard to get. I think that's everything I have to add; there is of course a full gallery if it ever gets moderated, and if you are in the SF Bay Area you can see the house for yourself at the BayLUG Christmas display.
  14. Any link to these? There's actually supposed to be another greeble on the feedwater heater to make it look rounder, but it requires the "backpack bracket" in black, which I wasn't able to get at the time. Totally forgot about it 'til now though, but would still like to see other options. These sorts of things are annoying because there still really isn't a good 1.5 stud round element. It's not a matter of track compatibility, just a matter of how our club runs trains. In general PF is a more convenient power solution than 9v, but during multi-day club displays people so far haven't shown that much inclination to run PF trains, so I would like the ability to run 9v. In practice it means that it needs to be pushed by an external power car and as such you want it to have as little rolling resistance as possible because the 9v motors don't have much torque at low speeds. Regarding the PF motor choice: the E-motor is indeed very fast when the loco is running light, but it's likewise very under powered if you are pulling anything of substance. Whether I do change to double Ms or something else probably depends on how much I end up regularly pulling with the thing, so TBD.
  15. Pretty sure you can't use the 9v cables on the 4.5v motors without modding. The connectors are entirely different. There is a 9v Freestyle motor that looks very similar to the old 4.5v train motors, maybe that is what you are thinking of?