MOC: SP Pacific

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I think I’ve built my masterpiece, I doubt I’ll ever be able to top this one. Just over a year ago, after the Emerald Night came out I decided to build a better Pacific. My chosen subject was the Southern Pacific Railroad, 4-6-2 ‘Pacific’ type steam locomotive. Several of these locomotives survived into commuter service and were preserved at the twilight of steam in the US. Two were operational in the past decade (2467 and 2472) and a third is under restoration (2479).

I had planned to use the banded drivers from the Emerald Night and finally power a steam engine via the drive wheels. But then I saw Cale’s PF Y at Brickworld and pffft, now I had better propulsion to pursue. I stuck with the SP pacifics though.

I finished the model a few months back and have been waiting for something special for the public debut. Since I will not make NMRA this year, what better reason than Brickworld?

On the surface this model captures many distinctive details from the prototype- opening cab windows, boiler arch between the domes, cab roof vents, the roof tapering at the rear, curved hand rails around the nose, Vanderbilt tender with running boards, three axle tender trucks, and much more. Under the surface the two XL-PF motors deliver a lot of pull and the suspension under the engine can handle very bumpy track.

A quick (and incomplete) list of the highlights, first the brilliant tricks blatantly borrowed from others,

  • pilot/cow catcher- Tony
  • main rod- EN (yeah, it is bulky, but is it any worse than pinning together half beams? I wanted to do something more decorative, but decided to go with functional for this model)
  • cylinders- Cale (with tweaks)
  • propulsion- Cale/Swoofty/Tony/et al
  • front cab windows- Garret
  • marker boards- Jayhurst (hey, why aren’t you in COLTC)
  • cab steps- Garret

and the tricks/features I came up with on my own (some wheels have likely been reinvented)

  • curved grab irons on nose
  • smoke box door- it is safely secured
  • five chime whistle (repurposed crystal- bonus points for use of useless part)
  • 3 wide steam domes (okay, I stole that one from myself on an update of my NP tenwheeler)
  • arch in the boiler between domes (I was having troubles capturing it with my camera, but it is there)
  • hatches in cab roof
  • cut on rear cab roof
  • opening windows on cab
  • running boards on Vanderbilt tender
  • almost all of the major piping on the locomotive
  • reverser gear
  • tender truck frames
  • suspension (she’s well hung)
  • hiding two XL motors and all the PF gear in the tender (she’ll pull a Buick alright)
  • and more...

During a shake down run last fall, she pulled 33 passenger cars, most of the time with the train in four separate curves. I’ll post photos from under the PF “hood” and videos as soon as I can.


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Excellent work, zephyr1934! :thumbup: I am especially fond of all the details you put into your model, as well as the positioning of the crater plate to give the appearance of smoke coming from the smokestack.

-Toa Of Justice

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AWESOME steam train 'zephyr1934' - beautiful lines and curves - you have done a very good job ! :grin:

Very clever using that plate to show smoke leaving the smoke stack !

I'm a conformist! ! :sweet:

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that is for sure your best train yet, just a heads up i'm gonna steal the running boards on the tender.

the cab is brilliant and i can't wait to see it it person!

great job Benn!

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I am no train expert but your engine has a very powerfull look to it. I like the many details and colors you have added. Very clever idea using the moon plate as smoke. has that been done before? I haven't seen it anyway. Very beautiful train MOC!

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Great details. Nice use of that baseplate for the background; while it's not part of the actual MOC, it's still a nice little addition to make it more realistic.

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I'm not much of train guy, but I don't need to be one to say that this is a fabulous work of art! :thumbup: Great job 'zephyr'! The amazing amount of detail just goes to show how much effort you put in researching, designing, and building this masterpiece of a train. I like the way you captured the overall look of a classic steam-engine train. Gotta love also the clever use of moon plate as the steam.

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I usually dont put much into train stuff with my legos, and am not so much of a train enthusiast myself. HOWEVER-

I MUST compliment you on your wide variety of creative details here.

1-everyone noticed the "smoke"/baseplate of course.

2- the next detail I noticed, the crossbow in the wheel system.

3- the cauldrons for smokestacks- took me a few to notice at first, but brilliant.

You have used alot of pieces in ways I never thought of.

for this, i give you the thumbsup!'


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Great Job! Plenty of details and although black is hard to make it so well in the photo you managed to do it!

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Excellent, excellent looking steamer. When I get to Brickworld, I am definitely going to take a close up look at how you did the running boards on that Vanderbilt tender. Vanderbilt's are such a pain in the butt to build, and yours is just about perfect.

As to why I'm not in COLTC, I'm actually only about an hour away from the MichLug guys, but I'm about 2 hours away from COLTC. Both groups are appealing, but it's simply all about easier logistics and less abuse on the old gas tank. So, MichLug won out due to proximity.

However, MichLug as a group is not going to have a layout at Brickworld this year, so my trains and I are headed up there in a kind of a free lance mode. I'll be there by Wednesday night, and I'll be willing to trade layout setup help to anyone who needs it, for tracktime/yardspace for my steam engines.


Edited by jayhurst

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A really good looking and power full train! Are those bent antennas in the front? How did you power up the wheels from the XL motors?

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Thank you all for your kind words. Though I'm not quite sure how to take, "the neatest thing about this model is the background..." (grin). No seriously, I was quite tickled with that idea myself, glad everyone noticed. After a few folks complained about my backgrounds for earlier MOC pictures I decided to reach back and get the 48x48 baseplates for this one. Well, I had to knock over the crater plates that were in my way and that was when inspiration struck.

What you can't see in the photos is the sheer power this engine has. I've posted an otherwise mediocre video of it pulling 33 passenger cars (comparable to the Super Chief cars) rather slowly HERE. These cars are fairly heavy, so the impressive part is that it shows just how much a pair of XL PF motors can pull. The longest comparable trains that I've pulled were 22 of the passenger cars with FOUR 9v motors (two transformers) and 28 of the passenger cars with SIX 9v motors and more HERE (three transformers). So in this configuration it would appear that the XL motor is at least as powerful as three 9v train motors. I ran the 33 car train for about half an hour using the rechargeable battery. After about 20 min it's speed had dropped by 25% (based on time to complete a loop). The one very annoying feature of the PF trains is the fact that when the battery dies, the train simply stops dead. So you don't want to run PF trains for long periods if you have spots where you won't be able to reach a dead locomotive.

As I've learned from earlier steam builds, I built, tested and debugged the mechanicals before designing the rest of the locomotive (hence the suspension to handle bumpy track). At which point I worked from pretty much every photo I could find of the locomotives and it is as faithful as I could get (except for the aforementioned choice with the drive rods). Fortunately it is a lot easier to find pictures of preserved steam engines than it is for locomotives that are completely extinct. When putting the original post together I neglected to link to photos of the prototypes. Here are a few for the curious folks 1 2 3 4. The kicker of it was that only after I finished building the model did I find the detailed schematics someone had posted.

jayhurst: who's to say you can't belong to two lego clubs? COLTC already has MattH and Gcarstensen. Pull you in and we could reopen the Lima locomotive works (grin). Seriously though, it would be great to have you in for the occasional show.

Zblj: Yep, bent antennas. This model is 100% uncut lego (bent, not broken). As for how I powered the engine, see this RailBricks post for the basic idea. As soon as I can, I'll add a couple of photos to my gallery from preliminary testing of the the tender innards (it is packed very tight to get everything in there, hardly a stud to spare).


PS, I'll have a few more PF trains debuting at BW too, but you'll have to wait until June 17th to see those.

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