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About TJJohn12

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  1. TJJohn12

    71044 Disney Train Rebuild - Ideas and Tips

    So when I worked on my Retlaw 1 consist, I was also sketching out a Retlaw 2 consist for the Holliday. It's still on my "someday" list, but it's slid down a bit as I've both been moving into Disneyland architecture and letting HO scale railroading steal some of my brain time. Here's where my boxcar sketch was headed: My designs are aimed at keeping the "toy-like" style of the original sets, so they're a little more chibi than others. I've been trying to strike the balance between prototypical and fun, if that makes sense. *But* I just caught this really nice and far more realistic set of Retlaw 1 mocs by DejaDoink that might help spark some ideas for you too: I'd love to see where your sketches have been heading though.
  2. TJJohn12

    Roller-Coaster Track and Narrow Gauge Reloaded

    First, I'm really liking this proof of concept. I think @Andy Glascott is right that the tracks could be made a little less industrial and/or roller coaster with some creative ballasting. For me, what starts killing the concept is the radius of the curves, particularly for real scaled rolling stock like yours. This looks comical going around those curves, which I know you realize. I think this solution could work for minifig-scale narrow gauge models that have a shorter length - maybe 8-9 studs max - to look a little less awkward on the curves. But then the struggle becomes cramming the motors, battery, and gearing into that much smaller footprint.
  3. So, I was designing specifically for their 3" x 3" inch sticker sizes using Inkscape. I set my work-space to 3" x 3", and then dropped small calibration squares into the corners (so that the image always sizes out to full measurements). You can see my calibration squares in the corners of the sticker photo actually. I didn't really discover that bumping up sticker size doesn't make them much more expensive until recently, or I'd have likely designed to 3" x 5" for my rail cars to avoid two-part stickers. I have a set of cheap digital calipers that help me size parts. Then it's as simple as creating a shape in Inkscape the same dimensions and designing within those boundaries. I've found knocking a millimeter or two off that shape helps a little because Stickermule prints *close* to exact size but not always 100% on. Designing with a little white space at the edges can also really help make sure everything fits. Export as a PNG with the transparency and BAM! it's sticker time. Shipping turn around time is really quick, too. So if you botch something majorly it's relatively cheap enough and quick enough to fix. I haven't done many stickers that span multiple parts, but if you take the measurements of your target space for the sticker well it shouldn't be that hard at all.
  4. So, I haven’t shared these details, but seeing the plethora of locomotives churning out from all you guys of late and the custom livery of many of them, I thought it would be appreciated. When I was creating my custom Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad cars - and the engines to go with them - I wanted to make sure the stickers looked as accurate as possible but still within a LEGO-ish design aesthetic. I did my research and worked up some SVGs scaled to the proper size. I used LEGO color RBG values, traced historic photos, etc. But how to print the stickers? This is where the tip goes afield of what most of us use. No custom printed waterslide sheets. No need for a printer at home. I paid less than $10 and had way more stickers than I needed. [See these stickers on the loco] The secret is Sticker Mule. They make an intriguing product I’m using entirely off-brand: clear product labels. The quality is great. They use a white base print with color on top, so color is bright and full saturation. The color was a dead-on match for LEGO colors as well (I used these RBG values). For my Disney trains, I fit my stickers to the basic 3”x3” footprint - but bumping to larger sizes doesn’t up the price much. They send AT LEAST 10 stickers when you order a custom sample - some orders I get include 3-4 extras on top of that. They aren’t absolutely perfect solutions - the stickers are obviously uncut, so you’ll need to use a razor and tweezers to make sure they get in the right spot. But for the price, I thought the hassle of clipping out the stickers was well worth it. And with so many spares, if it got botched it was no big deal. The train stickers were so good I've branched into other applications: Hope this can help some of you bring your locos and rolling stock to life economically.
  5. Thanks! I'm slowly getting there. Parts are on order for 1956-style Skyway buckets next. Though there's a few (Snow White, Pinocchio, Pooh) that aren't all that interesting at this scale that I'll likely skip, frankly. Peter Pan will likely never get a good set of instructions - the build is just too complex and it's hard to get the order of operations right. There's some gravity-pinned elements that happens to get the hull shape right, and it's so hard to explain that in print. BUT! Stay tuned - I might have a fun set of instructions for you soon. :-) Thanks so much!
  6. I'm loving this standard, @Cale! My brain is churning already on how to break it. ;-) Is BMR thinking of suggesting a specific container length for LUG/LTC swapping? One of the joys of the LUG/LTC swaps was that there was one footprint and design for those specific projects.
  7. TJJohn12

    1225 North Pole Railroad

    All this! Instructions are REALLY hard to get right. It's part of why when I released my SF&D passenger cars, I released the instructions for free... I wanted them to exist so the idea of the cars gets out there in the world, but I didn't want the "pressure" of getting them 100% right. So releasing them free meant they didn't need a warranty. In opposition, I'm working on a non-train instructions book, and the amount of brain cycles and revisions I'm having to put in is INSANE. I think I'm about to render out every page of the book for the 20th time because of not only step order tweaks, but just general graphic design and layout changes. Is this train out of my price range? Yes. But I'd love - after @coaster sells out of his run, which will happen - to take a gander at the instructions to learn from them. And with the price he's charging for the model, I can rest assured that the build is a solid one with damned fine instructions when he releases them for sale. :-)
  8. Guests were put in the shoes (tights?) of Peter Pan himself, flying from the Darling's nursery on to Neverland to battle Captain Hook. Guests did not quite grasp the concept of *being* Peter Pan, wondering why a Peter audio-animatronic wasn't present in the ride named after him. This was true of all of Fantasyland's dark rides - placing guests into the shoes of the main character. Audiences weren't quite ready for the new idea, so later Peter Pan AAs were added to the attraction when it was rebuilt in 1983. Peter Pan's Flight is still reliably one of the most popular rides - and longest waits - in each of the "castle parks" around the world. ----- This model was a real struggle to get right. The vibrant and varied colors of the pirate ship ride vehicles offer very particular challenges - so many colors in such a tight space required extensive SNOT work. Like the real ride vehicles, the LEGO version seats two minifigures in a somewhat cramped space. The model has studs facing every direction. The diorama at the base depicts the iconic show scene over London's street, a fantastic use of forces perspective in the actual ride. Just like the ride, the line of headlights in the street are illuminated - in this case with LED fairy lights. [See more on Flickr]
  9. TJJohn12

    [MOC] 4-Wide Scale Track

    You wouldn't need to power the rails if you designed the system right - there's one intriguing part that could let you do it at this scale: That 4-wide motor - along with notched train wheels - would allow you to run on just the plastic. You'd need to position and hide the power bases every so often (tunnels? covered station platforms?). But in theory, it could work nicely. I've seen one MOC build a narrow gauge line with this concept in the past. EDIT - found that MOC:
  10. TJJohn12

    [MOC] 4-Wide Scale Track

    I'm liking this idea too, but I'd liken the difference to Bachmann track versus laying track on a cork bed and ballasting. Each has a useful place - yours looks more "toy-like" and @Hod Carrier's looks more HO-layout like.
  11. TJJohn12

    [MOC] 4-Wide Scale Track

    So I've been playing with the hybrid curves others have made out of 12v rail recently, trying to get them to a point I'm happy using 1x6 plates as ties. But I haven't tackled the problem in earnest yet because the train I'm designing requires some rarer parts I need to source first (red 2927 wheels to be specific). No train, no need for rails. ;-)
  12. TJJohn12

    [MOC] 4-Wide Scale Track

    The rails are stellar! Now - the $64,000 question: how are you planning on tackling curves. As someone who has been playing with narrow gauge minifig scale of late, I'd love to see where your brain takes a solution.
  13. TJJohn12

    [Technique] Boat concept with Part 54090 (hijack)

    OK, this is amazingly elegant! NPU!
  14. TJJohn12

    Cable propelled rail systems?

    I think if you're looking at trying something like this, 12v grey rail will be the key. With stock modern track, the fixed ties will make things extremely difficult. But you could leave a trench between old school grey rail to house the mechanics and wire run. The idea reminds me of ER0L's slot car system, though obviously yours will be on rails as well.