jtlan

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About jtlan

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  1. Decided to combine two of my hobbies by building Lego minis for the X-wing miniatures game. Some of these are based on models from the advent calendars, with some tweaks. Y-Wing: U-Wing: The wings fold, of course. Your humble TIE Fighter: And the TIE Bomber: Most of these are pretty simple, though I did make instructions for the U-Wing. Cheers!
  2. jtlan

    [MOC] Caltrain C-50-9 Caboose

    I actually considered this during development, but switched to alternating 2x3 plates and tiles to capture the "corregated" look of the roof.
  3. jtlan

    [MOC] Caltrain C-50-9 Caboose

    Rather than choosing a stud-width, I build all my rolling stock to the same scale: 15 inches/stud. Based on that, I figure out the correct width for the model. I find this makes for better models because they will all be the correct size relative to each other. Look how much larger the locomotive is than the caboose in real life: Another benefit is this method frees me from the mental constraint of stud-widths. In this case, the caboose is 8 studs across at the bays (as is most American rolling stock). Meanwhile, the body is 6 studs + 2 plates, a solution difficult to see if one starts with the assumption "I'm going to make this model 6/7/8 studs wide".
  4. Having built one of Caltrain's switchers, I decided to follow up with another piece of maintenance-of-way equipment. Caltrain inherited much of its equipment from Southern Pacific, and these cabooses (two total) are no exception. International Car Company (by then a subsidiary of PACCAR) built the steel-bodied C-50-9 series of cabooses for the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1980; the model number indicates they were the 9th order of the C-50 series. The two units reside in the San Francisco terminus on Caltrain. My understanding is that JPBX tacks them on to work trains and uses them around Christmas for a "Holiday Train" special service. Despite this, and despite the relatively large number of these cabooses owned by Southern Pacific, I found it hard to locate diagrams. Fortunately, the Western Pacific Railroad tacked on 6 units to the Southern Pacific order (source), and I was able to find a drawing of that to work from. Internally, this model is a riot of SNOT; there are studs pointing in every direction, including upside-down! I'm particularly proud of the technique I used for the bay windows, where 1 x 2 x 1 panels close flush with sloped tiles. 2x3 tiles made some details sturdier, but the real MVP is Brick, Modified 2 x 4 x 2 with Holes on Sides! Finally, for this model (as well as the MP15DC) I tried out a new "sticker" technique. Inspired by a frustrating experience with trying to cut and align sticker paper, I instead printed the caution stripes on regular printer paper, then attached them to the model with an ordinary glue stick. The longer "open time" allowed me to reposition the "stickers" slightly while applying them, making them easier to line up. Next step: printing up some gigantic Caltrain logos. The end! Full gallery here, pending moderation.
  5. Silicon Valley, California, is not particularly well-known for trains, nor public transit in general. Caltrain operates a commuter service along the peninsula. While most of its modern rolling stock is too large for regular track at my typical 1:48 scale, they also own and operate a pair of MP15DC switchers: EMD offered the MP15DC as a successor to the SW1500 series of switcher, the key difference being longer standard trucks and a higher top speed. Caltrain's two units (#503 and #504) were acquired from Union Pacific, which in turn acquired them from Southern Pacific. I believe the two are usually based in San Jose, though they can be seen up and down the peninsula running various maintenance-of-way jobs or "rescuing" stalled Caltrain commuter sets. This is the first "normal" diesel locomotive I've built in a long time, and the first time I've built something local. It's relatively straightforward mechanically: two 9V "mini-motors", one driving each truck, with the battery box in between them and the receiver in the cab. Pulling power is plentiful as the locomotive is reasonably heavy for its size. Pressing down on the single exposed stud on the hood powers the battery box on/off, and the power state can be checked via the small clear window on the hood. I took advantage of many recently-introduced parts on this model, such as they grey Collectible Minifig base which I used to plate over the sides and hide the works. Grey 1 x 2 x 2 windows, truncated corner tiles, and 2 x 1 wedges are relatively recent parts that help capture the shape of this locomotive. One innovation is an improvement on the technique I used for the cab windows on the TP56 locomotive. In this model, each "half" window is held captive by rotated tiles, greatly simplifying construction (a technique that @Commander Wolf absolutely loathes). The full Brickshelf gallery is here, pending moderation. I also took a number of work-in-progress screenshots in LDD, which you might find useful. Until next time, and may your commuter train never have to be rescued by one of these!
  6. jtlan

    [MOC] PRR G5s 4-6-0

    68", according to this live steam page. BigBenBricks XL should be about the right size at 15"/stud scale. Articulating this locomotive will be tricky. As a side note, turning on "outlines on bricks" in LDD will make the model much easier to see.
  7. jtlan

    Powered truck via M motor.

    Here's a simple design for an M-motor truck: (red pieces attach to the frame) This one isn't any shorter than the train motor, mind you, but you'll get a lower speed and much better pulling power at those low speeds.
  8. This is what I was getting at -- a rigid 2-axle car will stay on ordinary track (albeit with increased friction!), but the discontinuous geometry of switches will derail them.
  9. I was initially concerned about this as well; however, on the Umbauwagen 3yg the front and rear axles always turn together. The three axles are in a straight line in the middle of an S-bend, which works because the track is approximately straight there: For a wheelbase of this length (20 studs axle-to-axle), the deviation is small enough that the wheel flanges don't rub on the track (Try it and see! Big Ben Bricks wheels are slightly thinner and so are affected less.). The articulation is mostly needed to reduce friction in turns, and to keep the wheels from riding up the point or guard rails of a switch.
  10. jtlan

    FS 207 - Badoni / Breuer type IV

    I didn't know Breuer tractors were made under license. They seem to be much beloved across Europe! I previously modeled a Breuer Type 3, but its small size at my typical scale kept me from motorizing it. Since you need a separate car for batteries, maybe it would make sense to motorize the auxiliary car instead?
  11. jtlan

    Wagons for DR Class 99

    How cute! One of the prototype photos you worked from is the same one I used for this MoC -- it's always great to see another interpretation of the same prototype.
  12. jtlan

    Wheel slippage

    Almost certainly it's a weight issue, unless looking at the tires you see wear. I'm not familiar with off-brand track, so it's possible that the track itself is wearing, leaving dust on the wheels and reducing friction. If you don't see any dust looking at the tires, put something moderately heavy (the battery box) on top of the car that has the motor, and see the motor continues to slip.
  13. jtlan

    LEGO Train Bogie Problem

    If you have a train of multiple cars, you could rigidly attach the outermost axles to the bodies of the outermost cars, then connect the inner axles in pairs to form bogies: Sort of like Jacobs bogies in the middle. The long distance to the outermost axles might still cause problems, though.
  14. jtlan

    L Motor Freezes

    Power functions trains usually require a certain amount of mechanical expertise and fiddling, so the problem may not originate electrically. Would you mind posting pictures of your design so I can assist in debugging? One other thought -- disconnect the motors from the model and try running them. Do they still seize? What if you load them lightly (by grabbing the output shaft)? If so there may be an electrical issue; otherwise, I'm inclined to believe the problem lies in the design of the drivetrain.