James Mathis

Eurobricks Citizen
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Posts posted by James Mathis

  1. What do you all make of the silver keychains: 2x4 brick, skeleton, and construction worker minifigure made under license from TLG? Where do these rate on the rarity, desirability, and price scale?

    silver construction worker minifigure keychain

    Worker - Sterling Silver (925) Key Chain at Bricklink

    video of the silver skeleton keychain minifigure

    Skeleton - Sterling Silver (925) Key Chain

    2 x 4 Brick - Sterling Silver (925) Key Chain

    Fun topic to read through and discover all of the rare, collectible, and pricey items.


  2. Indeed, from the days of old: your skill with the old bricks shines through my childhood 1980s era filter spectacles!  My teenage memories smile with affection for your dedication to build with the non-train battery and motors: you demonstrate vision, creativity, and production that I could not envision back then. Well done Gray Era!

  3. Stunning. Love the deep rich color. The freight wagons by Hod complement nicely. Great textures and details achieved. I wonder if my 11 year old self saw Baby Deltic prowl the line in 1981 when I lived in Lincolnshire for a brief Spring... I certainly fell for the British Rail system's livery an modern Intercity 125 as they swooshed through town, but I had an affinity for the working diesels.

    Nicely chosen build. A proper representative.

  4. @HoMa I’d not thought much of sets exclusive to the US market. Must have really been a different kind of company structure back then with separate independencies to explore and offer unique sets to regional market.  I had (and have) the 7777 Idea book. I used to dream of being able to build the massive layout— and there it is, you did it! You were able to build it: very cool. Now, you’ve produced your own Idea book: very cool, indeed!

  5. Your pictures of your childhood town and train are fantastic. I, too, like many of you who have replied, grew up with the late-70s to early-90s town and trains. I have a couple of pictures somewhere-- need to look for them-- to post. Will do as I can find them...

    So cool that you have the town bank and the train cargo crane. In the USA, I remember seeing those available only via the S@H mail order catalog.  If memory serves, it took a fair few weeks to order, process, and receive the S@H sets in the 80s. I see on your shelf boxes, a blue and yellow crane, as well, that I only ever saw in the S@H mail order. I'm wondering if those sets in the USA market were only available via the S@H mail order service, or did some brick-and-mortar toy shops offer these sets?

    I also recall that some of the train accessory/trackside sets offered in the USA S@H catalog such as that trackside crane (and auto carrier?) each included two 12-volt gray conducting rails. In response to whether 12v trains were offered for sale in the USA, I like to cheekily say, "yes-- kind of." Learning of the 12-volt train system, and that it never made its way fully "across the pond" was exasperating for this child of the 80s. Luckily, my dad had a business trip to England in 1982 and returned with the glorious 7740. I drooled longingly over the 12-volt trains pictured in the in-box catalog for years, eventually securing additional track and a few train cars from friendly contacts in England.

    I've kept all the instruction books, but the boxes were tossed years ago by a misgivings of the teenage hormones. Today, my collection resides in storage or as train MOC remnants in an aged brickyard.

    My town and train layout from the 1980s.


    My set list:


    My town and trains (and pirates, forestmen, too) in the storage condition:

    Thanks for posting about your historic layout and collection to remember these wonderful good times.

    I found some more pictures of my town layout and updated the Flickr album:




  6. The red passenger wagons: I might have an upgrade to the doors, so they swing open (nope, didn't work). I also might remove a set of doors, as it looks like I forgot that (some) panorama passenger cars such as these have doors only at one end of the carriage.

    I've ordered up parts for the brown Rhaetian Railways "Baby Crocodile" Ge 6/6 and wagons, so I'll be able to test operations in a week or so. I bought all the parts from USA Shop at Home Pick a Brick for about US$260. I didn't buy the Power Functions train motor, IR receiver, battery pack, nor the trackside "snow scape". I bought parts for two (instead of three as in the images) St. Bernards. Oh, and I didn't buy any of the pictured minifigures. Also, the transparent clear window glass inserts for the green passenger car aren't available from PaB. Even though they are available via Customer Service Bricks and Pieces service, I forgot to order them. The green passenger car uses qty 11, and I think they're a little over US$1 each from Bricks and Pieces.


  7. My own Alpine model trains inspired by Swiss rail Rhaetian, Glacier, and Bernina designed with LEGO(R) bricks.
    My own Alpine model trains inspired by Swiss rail Rhaetian, Glacier, and Bernina designed with LEGO(R) bricks.

    Thinking of a scenic winter wonderland MOC train under my Christmas tree. Built exclusively with elements from Shop at Home Pick a Brick, except for one piece, the transparent window inserts on the earth green passenger car which can be had at Shop at Home Bricks and Pieces service. So, if you like it, you could buy it and build it.

    I caveat, that I haven't built these trains... yet, so I highly recommend that if you think you might try to build them, please critique the LDD lxf file and use your good critical judgement, make your own assessment and any changes you like or find necessary. If you do, it would be awesome if you followed up with your results both LDD lxf file and pics of the bricks.


    you can see more pictures, the LDD files, and PDF part lists generated from the LDD instructions "HTML" instructions generator here at my Brickshelf account  

    Inspired by Swiss Rhaetian Railway

    Inspired by Glacier And Bernina Express

    If you were to buy parts-- in full or to augment from your personal existing parts collections-- from Shop at Home to build a train, I wonder if you could notify them at time of purchase that the bricks are going toward this train build?

    thanks for looking, maybe building, and possibly your own inspiration to design within the Pick a Brick palette.




  8. It is a beautiful book in both word and photographs. Alas, I can't read it. But, I certainly appreciate the hard and careful work you gave to produce such a technical guide for interested LEGO train builders.

    Reading* my friend Holger Matthes' book titled "LEGO® Eisenbahn: Konzepte und Techniken für realistiche Modelle".

    *by reading, I mean looking at pictures and words I vaguely struggle to remember from college semesters on the language.

    I know I miss quite a lot of commentary and discussion lost in translation, while the photographs perform quite well as stand-ins for a thousand words.

    Thank you, HoMa, for casting our cooperative model of the ICE-3 as a cover model and for including the building guide within the pages.

    I hope his book finds the home and meets the satisfaction of many an aspiring and expert creator of model trains using the medium of LEGO® elements.

    Me, co-creator with HoHa, of the white train with red stripe (caricature of the iconic German DB ICE-3) fake-reading HoMa's book of train concepts and techniques using LEGO® elements.

    Holger Matthes' book titled "LEGO(R) Eisenbahn:  Konzepte und Techniken für realistische Modelle".

    The entropic state of many a creation conceived, built, operated, bagged and tagged, and scrapped in the boneyard. 'Twas a starting point for a model ultimately featured in Holger Matthes' book titled "LEGO® Eisenbahn: Konzepte und Techniken für realistische Modelle".


    The details of a proposed under roof hinged storage bin for minifigure suitcase.

    Holger Matthes' book titled "LEGO(R) Eisenbahn:  Konzepte und Techniken für realistische Modelle".