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71044 Disney Train Rebuild - Ideas and Tips

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I've had the Disney train set since it came out, and recently I've been trying to improve it. From other threads I've read, I'm not the only one. My current project is reconfiguring the engine and tender so the tender has more of a resemblance to the C.K. Holliday,  which requires moving the motor to the driving wheels. 

This is my first time altering a Lego set, and I was hoping for some tips/ideas for the rolling stock. My goal is to have two open gondola cars, three cattle cars, and the caboose. Just like the picture below.

Here's a jam packed Disneyland Railroad... - Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet |  Facebook


From some of the other threads I've seen, there's a lot of really neat changes, and I'd be excited to get some feedback.


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So when I worked on my Retlaw 1 consist, I was also sketching out a Retlaw 2 consist for the Holliday. It's still on my "someday" list, but it's slid down a bit as I've both been moving into Disneyland architecture and letting HO scale railroading steal some of my brain time. Here's where my boxcar sketch was headed:


My designs are aimed at keeping the "toy-like" style of the original sets, so they're a little more chibi than others. I've been trying to strike the balance between prototypical and fun, if that makes sense. *But* I just caught this really nice and far more realistic set of Retlaw 1 mocs by DejaDoink that might help spark some ideas for you too:

I'd love to see where your sketches have been heading though. 

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