steam engine. newbie advice please.

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Thanks guys! Next time I visit the parent's I'll try digging out some bits and have a play while I work out what I need for a proper train.

Does the bogie need any room to move sideways or just pivot on the spot? And chance of photos of the underside of your engine?

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Not the best pics I'm afraid:



As you can see, the two plates-with-holes that sit on the bogie's pin fit in the hole in the tender base and connect directly to the bottom of the battery pack.

Edited by Srbandrews

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Thanks for that! I've ordered some wheels today so depending how long they take to arrive will have a play and try to work out what else I need to order. Will put a link to my results.

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Hi all. I've just come across this wonderful model by someone called Michael gale. (can't add a photo via mobile sorry).

I've got lots of track from my younger days and seeing this I'm tempted to get back into trains. So where would I start? Where do I get the wheels and are there any instructions online for anything similar to get me started? I'd like to power it using the 'old' wheel unit (via the tender?). The ones from around the mid 90 ' s as that's what I have. On a budget so would prefer to use these new fangled infrared things if possible.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks ☺

Greetings Covenant84

There are a few places where you can find a few free steam building instructions, railbricks mentioned earlier (there are also some instructions in the magazine itself), and LGauge. You can also download the EN instructions from customer service. Even if you never plan on building these locomotives perusing the instructions will probably be helpful. There are also several articles in railbricks with tips on how to build various details on your steam engines. Oh, and there are several folks who sell instructions (Tony Sava for one).

That locomotive you spotted is very detailed, hold off on something like that until build 4 or 5. Michael Gale has a web page with more of his lego works (but I don't think there are any steam engines there). Oh, one thing to notice on his engine are the custom rods. I THINK those were cut out of 1xN bricks, but I'm not sure.

Hi all,

Thanks for the responses, I must say out of any forum I’m on (including non-lego) that’s been the quickest and best set of responses I’ve ever had to a topic!

Sounds like I have the 9v system (black motor bogie with metal wheels that draws power from the track. Is the new track and flexi track still compatible with this or is it all plastic now that powers via a battery box with power functions?

I did see the Emerald express over the weekend, sadly out of my price range, especially as I’d use it for bits. Will keep an eye out for the lone ranger set, but think I’ll try to track down specific bits I want a few at a time and try to build something more specific. Will probably start with some of the big ben wheels. I’m a bit of a purist but these don’t seem to bother me, I guess it could be because it’s an essential thing. I’ve seen some people use non lego coupling rods too – do these make much of a difference or do lego parts work just as well?

Will have a nosey through some of the instructions for ideas. I’ve not been back into lego for a long time, but the amount of bits has really expanded since I ‘ended’ my kids days. Last time I even considered a steam engine I don’t think there were any curved bits other than the odd basic curved brick- there seems so much choice now making those round shapes look good shouldn’t be too difficult!

I suppose the next step is to pick something to model – that’s going to be tough!

Thanks again – any further advice is still very welcome!

If this is all quite new to you, I'd suggest starting out with a modest first goal, e.g., building the EN in a different color or using my instructions to turn the lone ranger locomotive into something much more respectable. As for the lone ranger mod, no, you do not have to use my rods to do it, you should be able to also use similarly sized technic beams.

Segueing into custom rods the two biggest things they bring are (1) aesthetically they get rid of all of the unnecessary holes in the technic beams, and (2) you can keep the rods thin for longer than 7 studs (the longest half width technic beam). You might want to hold off on custom rods until your 2nd or 3rd steam engine MOC (at least for me it too me that many tries before I got to something I liked how it ran).

If you are heading in the direction of a pure MOC, I would strongly suggest that you start by building and refining a "sketch" with all of the mechanical gear to make sure you have all the clearances correct. Then test it on the roughest track you anticipate (e.g., laid out on top of a carpet).

Oh, also what I found to be incredibly beneficial as I started getting into MOCs was the designer software, either Lego Digital Designer from or It is great to have unlimited free bricks that you do not have to put away. Both tools are good, but also both have their frustrating parts. LDD forces you to obey physics... sometimes to the point where it will not let you build something that could be built. LDraw does not care if two items exist in the same space or if something is floating in thin air.

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Thanks srbandrews and zephyr. Have ordered wheels and bricklink (awaiting invoice). Both are a first! Have an idea of what I thInk I'm trying to do so hopefully I've got the bits coming that'll get me close for a first attempt. Have had a play with lid but don't have a pic at home so it's a lunch break job, between time and my preferred 'play with the bits and see what hàppens' method I wouldn't actually get very far with that. As you say haven't bothered with custom rods. Will see how I get on with technic. That's at my parents packed away with the trains from years ago so fingers crossed they can find it out.... otherwise I've got nothing to attach wheels to just yet!

Bricklink seemed good once I found the main green bits I wanted. Amazed at some of the prices though. (Both cheap and expensive parts). In the end I think I've got nearly 600 bits for just over £41 plus £22 for wheels. Will recycle an old motor and some chasis bits. That doesn't seem like too bad a price. You'll have to let me know when it's done.

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