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About jtlan

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  1. jtlan

    MILS bridge to get to center of display

    I think it's best to have a layout with a longer perimeter and a smaller area -- something that snakes back and forth. This gives you more train running length, and more visual space for scenery without having to fill all the gaps. It's also easier to reach across the layout to fiddle with it. Unfortunately event organizers often offer up a plain rectangle of space...
  2. jtlan

    Powered Up 'M' Motors?

    Unless your drivetrain is really inefficient, you're going to run out of weight (wheelslip) before you run out of torque (motor stalls). I haven't encountered an application where I needed more than two M motors, and that was mostly for convenience of construction. All of my designs have clocked in under 1000g.
  3. jtlan

    Seeking technical advice

    I usually don't agonize over this -- off by half a stud is fine for wheel spacing, given the flanges are already so oversize. Plus, if you use a weird spacing, how are you going to attach connecting rods? Can you share the actual dimensions and wheel spacing for this locomotive?
  4. jtlan

    How strong does my motor setup need to be for this train??

    I assume the wheels are slipping due to lack of traction, rather than the motors stalling. If so, you'll need to add more weight to the driven wheels, or increase the number of driven wheels. 4XLs is way overkill and won't help with lack of traction, other than by adding their weight to the driven wheels.
  5. jtlan

    MOC UP #844 Power System Opinions

    I see this claim made all the time with little proof. @Philo has tested this and there's not an appreciable difference with having a differential in there. Normally I'd question the need for two L motors, but you are running them 1:1 to the driven axle with very large drivers. Are you trying to pull a train very fast?
  6. jtlan

    Narrow Gauge Track with Stock Parts

    I considered those, particularly as they look like rails. The needed spacing is a bit odd (brick and 4 plates between), so clips-in-tile is easier and more compact. Thanks. The video doesn't play consistently for me, but there's some interesting techniques in there with the flat hinge.
  7. Here's some narrow gauge track I've been working on as research for a LUG project. None of these models use 3rd-party parts, which will be a big help at a show when someone asks "Is this all Lego?" First, some straight track: The track on the left uses the straight rail piece, whereas the one on the right uses ordinary tiles held in clips. The gauge is very slightly smaller (20.8mm vs 21.33mm), but trains still run smoothly on it. Incidentally: the rail, the 1x4x1 fence, and the 1x4x2 fence have a rare dimension of 1/3 of a stud. I used the tile-in-clips technique to make an adapter rail for the narrow gauge curves: There are 4 studs of lead-in, of which 1 stud is taken up by the tabs on the curve track. A 1x1x1 panel takes up part of the gap on the outer rail; without it, wheels can drop into the gap and derail. Of course I ballasted a curve... ... and combined two curves into a module: The 4-stud lead-in gives the track an effective radius of 28 studs (centerline). This works out nicely for having a narrow-gauge track take up the outermost 8 studs on a MILS module. And finally, a major breakthrough: A reliable brick-built switch that does not use third party parts, and does not stress any parts! This reliably switches trains between two tracks 8 studs apart. Trains returning from the diverging tracks will "flip" the point instead of derailing, meaning it's possible make a reversing loop. Next up: Ballasting the switch and building locomotives!
  8. Glad to see a properly proportioned model of the Type 4! Sad to have missed this contest; I would have entered my Type 3.
  9. jtlan

    LMS Ivatt 2MT

    I "almost" built this locomotive several years ago -- instead I made the tank version of the Standard Class 2, which was related to the Ivatt 2-6-2T, which was the tank version of this locomotive! It's interesting to see different builders' takes on the same locomotive, and which details we prioritize. I like your use of the back of the 1x1 headlight brick for ladders. I can see the improvements from your last take on the same prototype.
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. 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".
  13. 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.
  14. 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!