legotownlinz

The BlueBrixx Thread

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Hi again to everyone!

So, I've decided to buy parts from BlueBrixx. The shipping cost to Poland turned out to be smaller than I thought it was (9 € instead of 19 €). I've bought dark blue windows and light bluish gray 2x4 slopes. I also wanted to buy train windows, but they have been out of their stock for few months already.

The quality is good, the clutch seems to be ok, and I cannot see any colour difference. Below is a picture comparing original Lego parts (left) and BB ones (right).

Ep6oLCP.jpg

Thank you All for previous advices and your impressions :)

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I really like the Bluebrixx stuff, but lets say there is a reason why it's so cheap. You feel the parts aren't on par with other brands when it comes to quality. The sets feel like they are only designed in a software.

Bogie plates for train sets have a pin, right. These pins are pushed through 2 plates with holes, which means they can't move much, i always have to use a 6mm drill and widen the hole of the top plate to get room for the bogie plate pin.

Also their train wheel sets are just horrible. Too much movement of wheels in all sorts of directions. And train metal axles are too short! You always have to fidle with the track width of those wheel sets.

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Imho the problem with BlueBrixx is, that you do not know the source of their bricks. Most often it is Xingbao, who sometimes have excellent bricks (e.g. the V100), but mostly they are mediocre. Straight forward building techniques like the ones from the LEGO sets are o.k., but having a submodule hanging on just one stud MOC-style: no way. Recently they have snug in some GoBricks-commissioned sets (like for their Blaustein Castle), which are currently the best MOC-ing bricks you can get. But of course they cannot advertise with their manufacturer, else their business would get dependent on said manufacturer... oh my.

On the other hand they offer solutions, TLG is unwilling to give us: Black bogie plates, train wheels that actually do have a metal axle, a rechargeable battery box, chrome bricks etc. And of course train sets, castle sets, pirate sets, sci-fi sets. And they are much cheaper than LEGO.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah those metal axle train wheels... i will change them for the newest cheap lego ones, since these are better.

I don't care for the metal axle, it just has to work!

Edited by Polarlicht

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12 hours ago, Black Knight said:

On the other hand they offer solutions, TLG is unwilling to give us: Black bogie plates, train wheels that actually do have a metal axle, a rechargeable battery box, chrome bricks etc. And of course train sets, castle sets, pirate sets, sci-fi sets. And they are much cheaper than LEGO.

And exactly that is, why I buy their stuff :D

I am always menatlly prepared though that something may not work as "expected" from the other toy manufacturer (who believes that everything not generating skyrocketing profit is for a niche audience and thus negligible) - and then I simply replace things with "original" bricks/plates. Not angry, not expecting anything - because of these favorable price tags and wonderful ideas they have at BB.

With regard to the train wheel sets: Yes, the rod length is horribly off. I have no clue why they simply don't order or tell them (whoever "them" is; I would even ask a local rod producer, they must exist) - 2 mm metal bars for DIY RC models are really cheap. You can cut them roughly to length and then with a little jig get it right. That is what I do.

BB apparently tried that: On my green 6-wide coaches, there were 4 extra rods loosely flying around in the box - still too short (top: 7 bars in the bags and 9 bars flying around in the box; bottom left: LEGO wheel set; bottom right BB wheel set with the "long" bars ...

bb_part_quality_4.jpg

I don't know, but I have the impression, that the bars snap deeper into the BB wheels than into LEGO wheels - mayby they did not get the whole right.

Yes, I know, most folks don't want to mess around with their product, but then: Don't buy the cheap stuff. Just go to TLG and well - do they still make the metal rods? I don't think so, but  may be wrong. Friction on their plastic Technic axles is very bad, though.

And when starting to mess with wheel sets, why not going all the way to the ball bearings ... these are the far superior solution.

Best,
Thorsten   

6 hours ago, Polarlicht said:

I don't care for the metal axle, it just has to work!

Yup. True.

 

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I have just bought three train kits from the Bluebrixx shop that I didn't know was near me. The designs are great but the quality of the bricks are not on par with lego due to the clutch power. Price is amazing though. 

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On 7/24/2022 at 7:00 AM, Polarlicht said:

Yeah those metal axle train wheels... i will change them for the newest cheap lego ones, since these are better.

I don't care for the metal axle, it just has to work!

Ordered newest Lego wheels and wheel holder to replace all BB train wheels!

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Posted (edited)

Dear All,

as many have said (e.g., @Polarlicht and @legotownlinz) the BB “train wheel sets” are simply terrible, – but other than that the stets are mostly "OK".

The “OK” bit seems to include

  • set variety (of the currently 266 BB catalog entries in the Train sub-theme, more than 90(!) 6-wide rolling stock/coach sets are listed as available; there are many 8-wide sets, and numerous engines as well as track side stuff and buildings),
  • decent but sometimes varying clutch power,
  • decent but varying overall brick quality as well as
  • available colors.

The biggest difference in comparison to the market leader though is the price for any of the sets, which is only a fraction of what TLG would be asking for if they were making them – but they simply don’t.

I bought a couple of BB coaches as well as straight track, parts packs, and other sets and I can only confirm what others have reported: I am >very< happy with what I got for my money. Did some changes here and there using pieces from TLG, but other than that, all is fine.

With one exception: BB “train wheel sets” are simply terrible. I have no clue why they don’t change this. It leaves me a bit speechless: The wheels almost slip through the rails sometimes and in addition, they also have too much “vertical” freedom and immediately come in contact with the bogie frame resulting in severe friction:

bb_part_quality_3.jpgbb_wheels_vertical_freedom.jpg

 (Top: TLG bogie with TLG axle and wheels; bottom: BB axle and wheels; right: too much axle freedom ;))

But now that I have regained my speech, I’d like to report on the actually terrible part(s) regarding the wheel sets. In 100% analogy to TLG’s design these consist of the a) train wheel bogie (TLG: #2878), b) two wheels (TLG: #57878 without through hole), and c) a 2 mm diameter metal axle (TLG #X1687). So what goes wrong here? To me, it appears to be a two-fold design flaw.

What comes readily to mind: Either the axles are too short, or they can be pushed too far into the (closed) hole of wheels. So let’s check on that first: According to the L-Gauge Wiki, the back-to-back gauge of a TLG wheel set is 34.0 mm. I took some of my old and not so old 9V bogies and found that most are in the range 33.6 – 33.9 mm, which appears to be OK, as all these cars run fine on my layout. However, on any of the BB sets I have, the back-to-back gauge is less than 33.2 mm. which is >not< tolerable. The BB metal axles come in “varying” lengths (sometimes both are provided in one set!): 38.5 mm and 39.2 mm (and maybe other as well, who knows …) whereas TLG’s metal axles for the closed hole wheels are 40.0 mm long. This may then already be it: Just replace the BB axles with 40 mm long, 2 mm diameter metal axles of any other supplier. Quick check: Fitting a 40 mm TLG axle with 2 BB wheels results in a back-to-back gauge of 33.8 – 33.9 mm. Which is entirely within specs, see above. All seems to be good.

BUT: Still rather bad performance when using a BB bogie with a TLG axle and BB wheels. Which leaves us with: BB bogies are bad and/or BB wheels are bad as well. With regard to the latter: The depth of the hole in the BB wheel is correct, see above, the wheels seem to have the correct overall geometry as well – except for the “pointy center bit” on the outside. BB wheels don’t have that – they are rather flat:

tlg_57878_small.jpg   bb_wheels_small.jpg

 (Left: TLG #57878 wheels; right: BB wheels - forgive me my crappy photography)

In the good old days, when TLG used wheels with through holes (#2879) and a 44.5 mm long metal axle of very nice double-spearhead design, you could easily push the axle tip through your thumb when putting on the wheels for the first time using some extra force :pir-murder:

tlg_2879_small.jpg

 (Most beautiful axle design of TLG and #2879 wheels with through hole)

The axle tips are sitting in the two recessed regions of the bogie and restrict the lateral freedom of the axle/wheels to a minimum and in addition restrict the vertical freedom of the axle. Axle tip and bogie recess thus resemble some type of bearing. The axle is only loosely held in place by the center clip of the bogie. When these axles were phased out (too bad …) and replaced with the 40 mm long version not going entirely through the wheels, the wheels themselves had this center tip on the outside. Tip-to-tip distance of this assembly is indeed about 44.3 mm – nicely matching the 44.5 mm original metal axle length. Without these pointy tips on the BB wheels, they simply cannot perform at all:

bb_wheels_no_bearing.jpg

(Top: BB wheels w/o "bearing" tips; bottom left: TLG's #X1687 axle + #57878 wheel; bottom right: TLG's original 44.5 mm axle + #2879 wheel)

 

Result:

40 mm long axle + TLG wheels work fine in TLG as well as in BB bogies.

 

Summary:

BB wheel sets are terrible because a) their metal axles are too short and b) their wheels don’t have a center tip, which thus cannot guide the wheels correctly. The BB bogies are as good as the TLG version.

 

Solution:

a) Get 40 mm, 2 mm diameter metal axles from TLG (I could not find them on PaB though), or BL. OR just buy a pack of 2 mm stainless steel (VA 308L) TIG welding rods and cut them to length – you get about 60(!) 1 meter long rods for less than €20, which results in roughly 1500 axles at a price of 1.3 cent each.

b) Get the #57878 wheels from TLG (could not find them on PaB though), or BL OR you may even try this BB parts pack: https://www.bluebrixx.com/de/wheels-and-tyres/604492/BPP57878-black-TRAIN-WHEEL-RC-TRAIN-X-50-BB-Part-Packs. I have no clue what kind of wheels these actually are; on their website they look exactly like original TLG #57878 wheels …

 

 

Best regards,
Thorsten

Edited by Toastie

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Also bought a BR 18-201 steam train (from a different toy brand... can't stop getting new things :D), but it only comes with one passenger car.

Any Bluebrixx passenger car recommendations (6 or 8 wide)?

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47 minutes ago, Polarlicht said:

Any Bluebrixx passenger car recommendations (6 or 8 wide)?

Don't have any BB 8-wides - but this set of three 6-wide dark green passenger cars and one dark green baggage car for a grand total of €100 are a very good fit to my 7-wide BR23 (motorized version of Ben Beneke's version):

what_you_get_for_100_euros.jpg

However, these had 4x4 bad wheel sets, I replaced wheels and axles and all is good. The interior is essentially "empty" - but I can't care less. Also, I will change the sliding doors on the baggage car, as they stick too far out - and I don't play with the doors at all.

Best,
Thorsten 

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Haven't really found anything. 6 wide probably looks to small (set of the 18201 is 8 wide i think), and 8 wide not much variety. Especially when i would need dark blue. Maybe i build my own, or maybe more models will follow

1 hour ago, Toastie said:

Don't have any BB 8-wides - but this set of three 6-wide dark green passenger cars and one dark green baggage car for a grand total of €100 are a very good fit to my 7-wide BR23 (motorized version of Ben Beneke's version):

what_you_get_for_100_euros.jpg

However, these had 4x4 bad wheel sets, I replaced wheels and axles and all is good. The interior is essentially "empty" - but I can't care less. Also, I will change the sliding doors on the baggage car, as they stick too far out - and I don't play with the doors at all.

Best,
Thorsten 

Haven't really found anything. 6 wide probably looks to small, and 8 wide not much variety. Especially when i would need dark blue. Maybe i build my own, or maybe more models will follow

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Polarlicht said:

Any Bluebrixx passenger car recommendations (6 or 8 wide)?

In 6w, I personally can recommend the 1928 Rheingold sets (my personal favorit; 102581, 102580, 102579) and the DRG "Passenger car dark green" (103880) and the Henschel-Wegmann cars (103083, 103082; the locomotive not so much though).

In 8w, I only have the Middle entry car 2nd class and 1st class (104523 and 104522): The design was o.k., but the bricks were meh. But I honestly am still searching for ANY decent 8w passenger car of the DRG, be it set or MOC. :/

Edited by Black Knight
add set numbers

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1 hour ago, Black Knight said:

In 6w, I personally can recommend the 1928 Rheingold sets (my personal favorit; 102581, 102580, 102579)

Oh man, this is on my list as well, but I simply ran out of space. But they're really nice. Good to know also "in real" - thank you for that assessment!

Best,
Thorsten

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2 hours ago, Polarlicht said:

Maybe i build my own, or maybe more models will follow

True. But certainly not from TLG :pir-wink:

Best and good luck,
Thorsten

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Bluebrixx is really knocking it out of the park with their Star Trek lineup this year. Wish I had a thousand quid extra (don't we all) to blow it on their big TOS Enterprise, Enterprise D, Klingon bird of prey, Runabout, Delta Flyer, Voyager, and Defiant. And then all the midsize models, too. Between the Monkie Kid Galactic Explorer, the Lightyear XL-15, the 90th Anniversary Galaxy Explorer, the City Space sets, and the Inquisitor Scythe transport and new Jedi Starfighter from Star Wars, this is already one of the best years for Space fans in a long time, but the Bluebrixx Star Trek sets really push it to the next level. I've been wanting these sorts of Star Trek sets from Lego ever since I was a kid, and now they're here! The only problems: they're not from Lego, so the parts quality and instruction quality are bad, and the shipping is expensive and slow; and they're coming all at once instead of spaced out over several years so I can't afford them.

Edited by icm

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40 minutes ago, icm said:

The only problems: they're not from Lego, so the parts quality and instruction quality are bad

Hmmm - that is too boldly stated for me - had many different experiences, particularly with their Star Trek series. As well as with their trains. And with their MK sets. And their parts packs. All non-Technic, as I believe there are many issues, but I have not purchased any of their Technic line sets. This is also discussed within the CaDA thread in the Technic forum.

41 minutes ago, icm said:

and the shipping is expensive and slow

to the US, I guess - as it is blistering fast and rather cheap within Germany.

42 minutes ago, icm said:

and they're coming all at once instead of spaced out over several years so I can't afford them.

Well :pir-laugh:. That is a bad thing for you, of course - but others may find the choices they have now very appealing. I just picked one set - and I am very happy having it.

Best,
Thorsten

 

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On 9/12/2022 at 10:19 AM, icm said:

Bluebrixx is really knocking it out of the park with their Star Trek lineup this year. Wish I had a thousand quid extra (don't we all) to blow it on their big TOS Enterprise, Enterprise D, Klingon bird of prey, Runabout, Delta Flyer, Voyager, and Defiant.

:classic:

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