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About Daedalus304

  • Birthday 03/28/90

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  1. BrickTracks: different curves, PF/9V compatible

    It's super awesome to see how these are coming along, they look great! Also, I'm very happy to see that the rail profile matches very closely (If not precisely) to the one LEGO uses. One of my small handful of problems with my ME curves is that the base of the rail is so tall that my BBB-driver locos ride on their flanges instead of the actual 'tire', which isn't super great for traction on my driver-powered locos. These don't look like they're going to have that problem!
  2. TRAIN TECH Help, General Questions & Talk to the Staff

    Oh right, I knew I was forgetting something. I've added a couple links and short write-ups in my last post just to keep the 3rd party stuff all together. Now that I've gone through all of this stuff it's actually amazing just how many 3rd party options there are now for us train guys. What a time to come into the hobby!
  3. TRAIN TECH Help, General Questions & Talk to the Staff

    For signals and such it's probably cheaper and simpler to run your own LEDs to the lights whether you use 9v or PF. The only LEGO train system that really had good support for signals was the 12v system. For 3rd party track, right now there are a couple that each have different types of products at the moment but they all seem to be working towards supplying a larger variety. ME Models (Injection Molded) has 4 larger turn Radii that they offer 4DBrix (3D Printed) has some modular switches coming out very soon, narrow gauge track, some switch motorization options, and some stuff for signals BrickTracks (Currently 3D Printed, plans for future Injection Molding) has larger radius turns, larger radius switches, and more. I've only got some of the ME Models stuff, and the wider radius turns are really nice to have. It comes in individual parts like the old 4.5v and 12v rail systems which brings a few tricky things into the mix regarding rail stability, but just a little glue on the rail tie/connector or a good sturdy ballasting will keep them in line. I'm very interested in 4DBrix's upcoming modular switches as well as the BrickTracks switches, so I think it's likely you'll probably find opportunities for all of them. Also, not track related - if you're going to be building steam engines I would heartily recommend you check out Big Ben Bricks. He sells high quality, injection molded steam engine drivers in more sizes than LEGO offers. If those sizes or styles still aren't enough for you and you're okay with spending a bit more, Shupp has a ton of other 3D Printed drivers you can order off of Shapeways. I haven't tried these myself but they look gorgeous. And last but far from least, hunt down Zephyr1934 and take a look at his fantastic custom drive rods. EDIT: Oh, and as Duq has reminded me, third party PF controllers as well: SBrick - Bluetooth Receiver, pretty much a straight up replacement for the standard IR receiver with 4 ports instead of 2 and a little extra power to the motors, though still limited by the LEGO battery box output BuWizz - Bluetooth Receiver/Rechargeable Battery Box combo, a higher power battery box than what LEGO offers with more capacity as well, with the bluetooth receiver built in. 4 ports like the S-brick, and the same dimensions as LEGO's AAA or Rechargeable Battery box except one brick shorter. PFx Brick - New controller coming soon that can use either IR or Bluetooth. Has support for a wide variety of accessories including lights and speakers. Also, since it was made with Trains definitely in mind it has a lot of neat motor control options for starting and slowing with more realistic speed curves. I haven't tried any of these yet, but BuWizz is the one I'm the most excited for due to the extra power and much smaller amount of required space. The price is pretty high, but it's basically the same as a LEGO rechargeable battery + an SBrick so it's not unreasonable. The PFx bricks modular add-ons are definitely going to give it a good boost in the variety department, too.
  4. TRAIN TECH Help, General Questions & Talk to the Staff

    I'm going to throw in some more information, since I feel like PF trains are really being undersold here. I'm going to headline with an extraordinary claim here and say that as a whole, Power Functions is without a doubt the key to all around more realistic and more powerful locomotives. I make this claim for several reasons: Variety of motorization choices, better power, finer speed control, more operation options on your lines, wider variety of track configurations, and better railyard options. Seriously, in all of these Power Functions wins just about hands down, and I'll tell you why: 1. Power Functions has 4 different motor types to choose from, the PF train motor being a more powerful equivalent to the one and only 9v motor option. These different motors have different rotational speeds and torques to choose from, and the M, L, and XL motors can all easily be geared up or down to help get the perfect Power/Speed ratio you need. The 9v motor's power and speed are both tied to the track voltage, so if you want your locomotive to travel slower you're taking a proportional hit to your power as well. The way the PF electronics work, you get much more power at lower speeds and you can specifically build slow, lumbering powerhouses that can pull ridiculous amounts of weight. Also, because the limited choice of 9v motor, many steam locomotives classes are off the table unless you either build a powered car or forego using proper drivers with moving rods. A 9v 0-8-0T that moves under it's own power with rods is not going to happen. 2. Having each engine under their own power means you can have multiple engines on the same line that don't have to be doing the same thing. If all you are wanting is a simple loop or two and are fine with that, then 9v is okay. But if you want two trains to share the same loop for any amount of time with a 9v setup, then they need to be headed the same direction at the same speed. If you have, for example, a branch line that shares a short run with the main line before branching off again, perhaps into a yard, it can be very tricky to make sure that your engines are okay to be synced up or that you're not going to cause an electrical short. Again, if you're just looking for something simple like a loop or only want to run one engine at any given time then this is very nearly a non-issue; but multi-engine operations on more complex layouts are PF's stompin' grounds. 3. Most of the time the biggest points awarded to 9v over PF are these: It's easier to use 9v because the PF electronics are bulky, and changing out batteries is annoying. These are both true. But, IMO, the advantages start and end there and they are not the achilles heel for PF that they are made out to be. There are many good examples to be found of incredibly compact and amazing looking steam and diesel engines built with Power Functions. It is more difficult, but the challenge is well worth the effort. Not every engine can be built realistically with PF, but 9v is even more limited due to the single style of motor. As for the batteries, I have found that even my most power-hungry engines can get nearly 4 hours of life off a set of batteries. You can invest in some rechargeable AAA batteries, or if you don't want to partially disassemble your locomotive then the PF Rechargeable Battery Box is great. It's expensive, yes, but 9v Train motors are very expensive and are only going to get worse, so IMO it's a fairly close race price/value wise. If you are just starting out, the amount of money you're going to spend buying old 9v motors plus the incredibly expensive 9v track is going to far, far out-pace the cost of the initial PF investment. 4. Third-Party options are right now another thing PF has going for it. Custom track is starting to make a (relatively) large boom in the LEGO train community. Wider radius turns and switches are showing up all over, and all-plastic has the double-whammy advantage of wider variety and significantly lower costs. The only 3rd party manufacturer I know of who has 9v product right now is ME Models, and their metal track requires special adapters to connect to the LEGO stuff. The 9v options will expand down the road, of course, but they will always be more expensive. Also in the PF Playground you will find S-Brick and BuWizz, bluetooth controller alternatives to LEGO's Infra-Red Offerings. These are both more expensive than the default PF equipment, but they offer even more options and opportunity for realistic, powerful control. And, if you are down for making the trade-off for price vs compactfullness (Note: not a real word), The BuWizz is both a super-powered rechargeable battery AND receiver together in one unit, a whole brick shorter than the PF battery box. This should be relatively easy to hide in almost any train out there, even 6-wide diesels with 4-wide hoods can probably hide this thing behind the fuel tank. Power Functions isn't always the easiest, but it is incredibly rewarding. I understand that it's not for everyone, and these forums are filled with die-hard 9v fans who have their reasons for sticking with it. My intent here was to offer a wider perspective on the seldom-mentioned strengths of Power Functions. In the end it all comes down to what your goals and intentions are, and if none of the strengths of PF are worth the extra effort to you and 9v sounds like it's what you want, by all means do go the 9v route. I've made a lot of extraordinary claims above, so before I go I'm going to leave a few links to some Power Functions locomotives. Small PF Steamers: Bricknerd's 2-4-0t Prussian Steamer Jayhurst's Vulcan Iron Works 0-4-0T Medium-Sized Steamer: Cale's CNJ 4-6-4 Large Steamers: Shupp's Erie Triplex Video Tony Sava's Hudson & Shupp's Triplex My Santa Fe 4-8-4 There are plenty of great 9v engines out there as well, of course, and I heartily recommend checking out Carl Greatrix, Swoofty, and Steinkopf for a good variety of 9v stuff. Either way you go, welcome to the LEGO train community and I wish you the best of building and happy tracks ahead! :D
  5. Assembling a small shunting engine

    Nice find, Freestorm! I might still try to reverse engineer it anyways, just for fun.
  6. Assembling a small shunting engine

    Hi Legotrainfan! I have not seen this locomotive before, but looking at the pictures I am pretty confident I can reproduce it for you in Lego Digital Designer. I will work on what I can do with just the pictures, but if you want to send the half of the instructions that you do have that would certainly help me make sure it's more accurate. This build is pretty neat and it seems like the designer was pretty consistent with their work, so I think we should be able to get this back together for you with the information you've got.
  7. [LDD] Detention Block Rescue

    I was actually just thinking about trying to do this, but you've got it pretty spot on! Also, the 220 parts likely includes the 8 parts used for Han and Luke, plus the extra 2 stormtrooper helmets. So part count wise, you are probably exactly on target!
  8. Just Another BNSF SD40-2 ... In 6 Wide!

    Nice BNSF! Your shaping is pretty much spot-on and it's just nice overall. The black and orange is always very eye catching. By the way, if you're looking to finish the yellow striping around the ends of the loco Michael's has some pin striping sticker rolls that should work well for you, if you have a Michael's nearby. The yellow is actually almost a perfect match to LEGO's yellow and one of the yellow stripe stickers is actually almost exactly a plate thick, so it's perfect for finishing the yellow stripes around the ends. I used those on my 8-wide BNSF SD40-2 and really like the result. I don't remember the brand off the top of my head, but later tonight I will take a look and see what they are.
  9. (MOD) Anio's AT-AT

    These are great, I would say an improvement over the original in every way. Good work!
  10. BrickTracks: different curves, PF/9V compatible

    I really love what I am seeing here with the switches! I don't know if it is a bit soon to ask, but do you have any idea when you might get your Kickstarter going for these switches? Also, any basic rough idea of generally what a size of pledge would be good for a pair of switches? I understand that there's likely no way to get anything resembling an exact number, but if I know a single pair of left and right r104 switches will cost say $50-$100 then I know what to try to put aside in the budget to make sure I can back these when the time comes.
  11. BNSF SD40-2

    Sure thing! Sorry I didn't have more info to give! Hey thanks! 8-wide diesels don't seem to be as popular as 8-wide steamers I've noticed, but that's okay; to each their own! I've been meaning to put together some SVGs of the numbers and BNSF logos to get some good-quality stickers to get the lettering and numbering on it, but I keep getting distracted. I tend to be pretty bad at finishing off the sticker/decal stage of locos I build... Thanks!
  12. A1 Peppercorn Locomotive

    Thanks, everyone! I haven't tended to put a lot of detail or attention into cabs in the past, they've all been really really rough approximations. This one still isn't exactly close enough to be a proper scale model of it - but I did spend a lot more time trying to capture some of the more prominent bits. I had a lot of fun with it, especially the bits on the right-hand side. LNER A1s have always been some of my favorite locos, with all the curvature around the cab and firebox area they sort of hit this perfect sweetspot where they have the style of a streamlined engine while still looking distinctly like steam locomotives. I agree about the coaches, right now I've got three Emerald Night coaches for it to pull that look really nice behind it, but after I finish my next huge train project I might put together some proper 8-wide coaches for it to pull. I'm glad you like the outdoor photography. I have never had a good "proper" indoor photography set with the neutral backgrounds and the fancy lighting, so a sunny day and a park table is what I have to work with. Not all the shots turn out quite like I'd like, rogue shadows and whatnot, but to me it almost makes the engines feel just a bit more real!
  13. BNSF SD40-2

    Thanks! I had a lot of fun taking pictures of this engine. I considered the livery with the dark green for all of .002 seconds before I realized that I was just not up for trying to figure out all this crazy SNOT and roof detailing with the limited parts palette of dark green, especially since my other main build colour was orange. If you can do it, I would absolutely love to see it! Ah well, I spent quite some time looking through CodeFox's thread and the information he provided and realized pretty quick that between the fact that I have incredibly shaky hands and the fact that I have no soldering experience whatsoever, there was little chance I'd be able to build one. So I cheated and bought one that Legoman666 put together for me. :D
  14. A1 Peppercorn Locomotive

    So this locomotive is out of my usual fare these days, and given that my fledgling layout is going to be modelling an area of southwest American desert this may seem like quite the anomaly. This engine is the result of a few things that are significant to me. though. The Emerald Night in 2009 was my first glimpse at what a LEGO train could be, before that my only knowledge of them was the previous rather undetailed 9v stuff and the My Own Train line was, to me, the best LEGO steam had to offer. I bought an Emerald Night as soon as I could and started trying to learn to build my own, at the same time I went online and found the massive AFOL train community and struck it big when I stumbled across MOCs by Tony Sava, who's work astounded me. From there it wasn't long until I found Cale, Bricktrix, and the rest of the greats and began focusing most if not all my building attention on local steamers, my old 8-wide emerald night conversion gathering dust. Then, I found out about Tornado, the brand new A1 Peppercorn. Growing up, I didn't have a lot of real, personal interaction with railroads - there were no running lines near enough to my house for me to ever see one. My introduction to the world of trains was the same as many young childen - Thomas the Tank Engine. As I grew up and started getting into trains more, getting some HO stuff, I became more focused on American locomotives - but those beautiful British steamers have always held a place in my heart. Tornado, the first brand new steam engine, was a huge milestone to me and I've always wanted to build a model of it. Since then, a few LEGO models of Tornado have been built. I loved Andrew Harvey's Tornado model as well as Michael Gale's, which is fantastic. And each time I saw them I knew I had to build a Tornado of my own. So these two things finally came and melded together two weeks ago when I saw my pair of old Emerald Night mods sitting on a shelf, still gathering dust. It was time. This model was built as a model of Tornado, but due to my love of the Emerald Night I've given this locomotive the name and number of good ol' 10194. Since this engine is going to be running on a layout with American rolling stock, I decided to leave the red buffer beam flat instead. I had been thinking on passing on it altogether, but I just flat out like the red there better. The A1 Peppercorn has a lot of really beautiful shapes and curves that I wanted to try and make sure I got, and I am pretty happy with how it turned out. As for the technical details, this engine is powered by a single L-motor hidden in the firebox with the rest of the PF stuffed into the tender. This engine is probably one of my best runners, decently powerful and will take all manner of curves, switches, and s-bends at full speed without failure. And finally, my rough approximation of the Tornado's cab. I could not fit minifigures inside using the standard LEGO seat piece, but with these custom ones a driver and fireman can sit inside comfortably. I've got a few more pictures of my A1 Peppercorn "Emerald Night" on my Flickr, as well as much larger resolution pictures. Thank you for your time!
  15. BNSF SD40-2

    Hello all! I've finally gotten around to taking pictures of my BNSF SD40-2 that I built a little over a year ago. Usually I'm a steam engine guy, but all the bright orange BNSF locomotives I saw on my road trips along the Interstate 40 really caught my eye after a while. OF course, there's a pretty good variety of engines that run, and I'm not sure I've actually seen an SD40-2 on my road trips, but this was the loco I chose. I really like the shaping of it and I've always really liked the big porches on the ends. My SD40-2 is powered by 2 L-Motors, one per truck geared down 2:1. This makes it somewhat slow, but very powerful. The PF LiPo battery is hidden upside-down in the center of the engine, with the top of the battery box accessible through a hole in the center of the fuel tank for charging so I never have to disassemble the locomotive. My original design had just barely enough room for a PF IR Receiver, but I instead upgraded it with one of CodeFox's BrickSter Bluetooth controllers, which I really like. One thing I didn't expect going into this was the complexity that would be required to get all the shapes and proportions just right. Building in orange made this even more complicated, but it was a good fun challenge and I really like having such a brightly coloured locomotive. I would have liked to be able to include just a bit more detail on the long hood, but between the 8-stud long tile section in the middle and the massive motors and gearboxes in the rest I couldn't find any good consistent way to do any hatch detailing. Still, I'm happy enough with the shaping of the rest of the engine that it doesn't really bother me. Most of the yellow striping is brick-built, but in the places where there was just no way I used a thin yellow pinstripe sticker I found at Michaels. It colour matches the real LEGO yellow extraordinarily well and one of the stripe sizes perfectly matched up with the thickness of a plate. I'll leave off with this last photo for this post, but if you would like to see more pictures I have plenty more in my Flickr album, including some WIP screenshots of older stages of the design. The album can be seen right here Thanks for your time!