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Found 135 results

  1. Some years ago, I built a coal train with @HoMas Express Steam Locomotive BR10. Later I learned that this locomotive was primailiy used for long express trains like the Riviera Express. Recently, I decided to go for a Garratt Steam Locomotive which was mainly used for heavy freight trains in southern Africa and Australia. The choice fell on a Garratt designed by Tony Sava and built by @LeifSpangberg. This spectacular locomotive needed some modifications in order to cope with the challenges in my track, in particular humps. The train consists of ten fully loaded coal wagons, equipped with eight 9V engines. And this is what it looks like:
  2. I just got finished replacing the tie bars for my P40 Switch Track from Fx Bricks. It gave me an opportunity of looking pretty closely at the switch itself and I started wondering how it turned off power on the inactive pathway. I just didn't see a way. At first I thought the Switch Rail's connection may somehow depend on if it's switched or not, but it was backwards from that. So, tonight I powered the track up and switched back and forth. And, at all times, both the diverging route and the straight route were powered. (Yes, if I pulled the jumper, there was no power on the diverging route at all times regardless of how the switch was positioned which is not a solution.) So, how would you have a siding for a train if it's always powered regardless of how the switch is positioned? The only possible way I can think of is this switch requires DCC so the train itself knows when it can go or not. I really hope I have something wrong because if I don't, then the P40 Switch Track is not compatible with 9v trains. Yes, it can deliver power, but it can't shut it off if the path is not active. Think of a yard ladder. Every lane would be powered at all times. There's no stopping trains then. All of the trains would be moving. Please let me know I'm missing something because if I'm not I spent a lot of money for nothing that I can use and I'm stuck with Lego's switches for a long time to come. (Yes, I'm stuck on 9v and happy with it, but trying to improve it.) ------ Later addition ----- Ok, I just reread the FAQ that's included in the product guide: >Does changing the switch route also switch the electrical power to the route? >No. The P40 switch does not switch the electrical power between the straight and diverging routes. Both routes are "live" and their corresponding rails are connected together. Then how would you have a siding to park a train? Or a yard ladder with multiple trains parked? All of the track would be powered at all times. Are they assuming DCC for everything? -Corey
  3. The Orient Express has always been one of my absolute favorite trains, with all its history and fame. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to travel with this iconic and mythic luxury train that celebrated its 100th anniversary a couple of years ago. However, to create this spectacular MOC and watch it moving up and down my 9V extreme track is a decent compensation, to put it least ... My Orient Express consists of a steam locomotive with tender, a restaurant coach, two sleeping coaches and a baggage coach. The locomotive has some similarities with the legendary french Class 241-A express steam locomotive which appeared on France's rails in the early Thirties and pulled heavy express trains in the golden period of train travel before WWII. In those days, the Orient Express was operated by "Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens", a company founded by Georges Nagelmackers from Belgium. Back to my MOC and some technical details: The locomotive and tender are built 8-wide, with a total length of approx. 60 studs. The electric headlights are connected to a 9V battery in the tender. Each coach is 7-wide and 48 studs long. The train has a total length of approx. 2.1 meters. This OE is equipped with six 9V engines: two on the tender and two on each sleeping coach. Like for many of my other wagons carrying "coal", I have used a piece of net stockings to prevent "coal" from dropping off. Quite amazing tu use and classify net stockings as Lego train accessories ... Last but not least, I would like to thank Selander for all his advice and support. Much appreciated! And this is what my Orient Express looks like: Bon Voyage! Addition: Shortly after finishing my own OE, I watched the movie "Murder on the Orient Express" with Kenneth Branagh acting as Hercules Poirot (2017). Nice pictures of and breathtaking scenes with the classic Orient Express! All of a sudden appeared a coach at the end of the train that I haven't seen before: a lounge coach with a porch! I decided right away to build this coach as well, and this is what it looks like - crowded, incl. piano player and waiter: My wife and myself. This is what the extended train looks like with five coaches, eight 9V engines - and my wife & myself on the porch, enjoying and toasting to the magnificent views over the Alps and over My Own Lego World! Finally, we got the opportunity to travel aboard this magic train! Cheers!
  4. alainneke

    TUTORIAL Custom power pickups

    What happens if you mix LEGO, black Delrin and some 0-gauge railroading stuff? Well, with the right tools you can make custom power pickups (no LEGO modification necessary). Here's how: Custom power pickup (parts) by alainneke, on Flickr From top left to right bottom: steel 0-gauge wheel, custom made insulated flanged bushing (which fits the steel wheel to a standard 2mm LEGO train axle), ball contact (rubs against backside of the wheel), spring (pushes the ball contact against the wheel), custom made flanged bushing (holds both the ball contact and spring and fits in a Technic hole), Technic brick, miniature connector. The steel wheel is manufactured by NWSL, the ball contacts come from a German website specialised in 0-gauge stuff and the connector is a standard Marklin connector cutted in half. The bushings are machined from an 8mm rod of Delrin on a mini-lathe (for the curious, a picture is in my photostream) and made to be a friction-fit to the wheel and Technic brick. Custom power pickup (partial assembled) by alainneke, on Flickr Putting these parts together, you get a train axle with steel wheels (both insulated from the axle) and a spring-loaded ball contact. Custom power pickup assembly by alainneke, on Flickr Combining these two, add a wheel holder and voila: a custom power pickup. Custom power pickup bogie by alainneke, on Flickr After soldering on some wires, I've fitted the pickups to one of the bogies of my Emerald Night tender. Emerald Night tender with steel weels by alainneke, on Flickr The diameter of the 0-gauge wheels is the same as the standard LEGO train wheels, but the flange is a lot smaller. This gives a nice clickety-clack on the turnouts, but can also lead to derailments. It turns out that the manufacturer of the steel wheels also makes 'pizza cutter' style wheels, and these have already been ordered... Emerald Night tender with steel wheels by alainneke, on Flickr The wires can be connected to the LiPo battery, a DCC chip, a PF motor, lights, ... The pickups actually work better than the ones on the original 9V motor: the wheels make contact with the railhead using the tread instead of just a little part of the flange. Please comment!
  5. (Click to skip to the post with the latest photos) The Backstory: For years I've wanted to be able to display my 12v collection at shows/exhibitions/libraries or wherever, but the wiring is a challenge - I reckon on my last full layout there was 250 to 300 feet (75-90 metres) of the stuff, which on a static layout is one thing, but one built in modules for transport is a challenge. Three or four months ago I came up with a solution (more on that below) and the dreaming started. After much playing in Bluebrick, and nostalgic posts appearing here about older era trains, I settled on a plan. I still had a bunch of my old blue track from the 4.5v era, but no motors. Off we go to Bricklink then! The Layout So, here's the plan. Ten years ago I had a small portable layout on 4 modules, each 3x5 baseplates, and over the years have simply added more of these. Following my Bricklink spree, I now have 2 working 4.5v motors, so rebuilt the loco from set 183 and I have the loco from 7720 in progress. These 2 will feature on the 4.5v loop below, which is 3 of those modules. Next to the 4.5v loop will be the showpiece, the main 12v loops. 12v Lower by andyglascott, on Flickr And on the right of the layout will be the 9v loops. Unlike the other 2 eras, I will have 9v track left over, so this is likely to be expanded in due course, particularly as @michaelgale releases motors, power supply etc. 9v Loops by andyglascott, on Flickr Lastly, there will be another 12v loop, elevated, which will run across the back of all three eras. 12v Upper by andyglascott, on Flickr Putting all of those together looks like this (the white baseplates are roughly where the mountains, tunnels etc will be for the elevated sections. The green and grey sections are simply so I could keep track of where the 3x5 modules were to try and avoid having curves/points on more than one module. When it all comes together, in most likely a couple of years, I'll be able to run 6 trains at a time. Whole Layout by andyglascott, on Flickr The Beginning After all the planning, and clearing away of my last (incomplete) layout, I've finally started building the first module, part of the 4.5v loop. I decided to start here as this will be the quickest era to build, and to a large extent, each era can also be displayed as a stand-alone smaller layout. These three modules will be countryside/farmland, and the trains will reflect the farming side of it when they get built. Module 01 Pic 02 by andyglascott, on Flickr The 12v Wiring The solution that I've come up with is fairly simple, but does involve taking a drill to some baseplates.... At each of the 12v points or signals I'll drill a small hole through the baseplate and the wood for each module, thread the wire through and attach either the original Lego plugs or a quick connect/release plug/connector so that when the layout is set up I'll use already measured lengths of wire to go from that point to the control panels, which will be on their own module. This is going to be a heck of a journey, and build, I'll post updates from time to time, particularly at landmark moments such as completing an "era". I always said, growing up, I was keeping my Lego for my kids. It was really only an excuse, and I'm really glad I didn't sell my old blue track even though I didn't, for years, think I'd use it. Sadly my original 4.5v motors, battery boxes, lights and even signals are long gone, but I was only 7 or 8 when I got 7720....
  6. For long, I've wanted a small strong mini Lego Technic motor, smaller than an M-motor. As I recently learnt how to draw Lego parts and had the opportunity to use 3D printed nylon (using laser sintering) , I decided to try a small motor as well. As the PU motor stuff is getting big and heavy, this is my response: a small easy-mountable motor with a case of only 5 by 2 by 2 studs. 70% of the motors in Lego Technic models don't have to be large. Only the mount of this tiny motor is 2x3 studs. The mount is tailor made for Technic applications: if you build often with M-motors you will know that an M-motor always must be connected to a 1L beam to ensure that the gears won't slip and to mount the M motor securely. The mount design of this new motor eliminates the need for the beam, so that's one stud saved already. Because the motor is only 2 studs wide, 3 mini motors can be in the space of 2 M-motors. Also, 3 mini motors take up the space of one XL motor.. The exterior design is derived from a PF M-motor, because I like the design and want to keep using the PF looks. This is still a work in progress as I need to mount a 9V connector and insert the inner electric motor(already in stock here). I also need to do some more painting and sanding. Nonetheless, the printed parts are quite accurate. I will give an update soon when the motor is working. The motor gets internal electrics that work up to 12V so also third party remote control bricks will be allowed to use their boost modes. My big hope is that TLG understands that we need small motors and remotes, not big ones. The length of 5 studs makes this motor very easy to put in all kinds of leftover spaces. Thanks for reading. I'm open to design improvements!
  7. It's finally finished! Luas full length Luas is the tram here in Dublin, and I've been wanting to build one for a long time. I started about a year ago, when I got the general concept for the cars figured out, but then abandoned it for a while. Sometimes the inspiration just isn't there... Anyway, over the past few weeks I figured out the cabin, the connections between the sections, improved the doors, which required a different way of doing the roof.... One thing I decided right at the start is that I wanted to do the micro-stripe yellow above the purple. The first idea was to use brackets (1x2/2x2 and 1x2/2x4) and you can still see those in the middle section. Luas middle section However for the outer sections I had to change the concept, as the plate part of the brackets got in the way of the sideways built doors. I ended up using flags, but getting enough of them in yellow and in the old mold (the clip is slightly different in the newer ones, and unfortunately Bricklink doesn't differentiate) was not easy. It's powered by a 9V train motor in the middle and it can manage the tight curves: Luas inside curve It does have a bit of an overhang, so don't park close to the tracks ;-) Figuring out the shape of the 'dressed up' bogies was not easy, despite the simplicity of the final design. Getting the bodie shape around them was even harder. The connectors between sections were another headache that's gone through umpteen different designs. In reality they're an accordion-type structure which is impossible in Lego. So I needed something that would keep the sections close on the straights, and would allow the tram to go around standard curves without showing a big ugly gap. For transport it also had to be easy to take the sections apart and for reliable running the connection has to have some flex when the track isn't perfectly level. I managed to do all of that:
  8. 29.09.2023 - new locomotives Hello there and thank you for stopping by! Since posting last time i mocced up 3 more locomotives. They have been kept in the same "9V era plus style" i usually build in. The first new addition is a EMD GP "High Nose" Locomotive. It is based loosely on GP7 and GP9 Locomotives and is build in a CN Paint scheme to not look out of place when it runs together with the 10133 BNSF Loco. Speaking of 10133, the lower part and the longer hood-roof is heavily based on this set. EMD GP Highnose CN by Henrik S, auf Flickr EMD GP Highnose CN by Henrik S, auf Flickr EMD GP Highnose CN by Henrik S, auf Flickr EMD GP Highnose CN by Henrik S, auf Flickr Next we have a EMD Switcher Locomotive. Again, it resembles no particular prototype, it is basically an attempt to capture the general vibe of this type of locomotive in a 6 wide format. EMD SW Switcher Locomotive by Henrik S, auf Flickr EMD SW Switcher Locomotive by Henrik S, auf Flickr EMD SW Switcher Locomotive by Henrik S, auf Flickr EMD SW Switcher Locomotive by Henrik S, auf Flickr EMD SW Switcher Locomotive by Henrik S, auf Flickr The 3rd Locomotive is a european one, it is loosely based on the swiss Bernina Crocodile. Most of the parts used to build this locomotive come from set 10277 ( which was killed to create this 6 wide, 9V powered baby crocodile ). Bernina Krokodil (10277 Alternative) by Henrik S, auf Flickr Bernina Krokodil (10277 Alternative) by Henrik S, auf Flickr Bernina Krokodil (10277 Alternative) by Henrik S, auf Flickr Hope you enjoy, comments and constructive criticism are always welcome! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ It´s been a long time since i last posted in this thread . Some pictures on flickr were lost since then, some mocs got updated, some got dismembered to loot pieces for other projects. So i decided to revive this thread, and to show you some of my Mocs, mods and stuff i´ve been tinkering with since then. The Introduction of the 9V tracks from fxbricks in bigger radiuses triggered me to dust of my beloved 9v sets and to get into the rabbithole of lego trains again. I always had a soft spot for the 9V system, the sound of the metal rails.. It is a fondly remembered part of my childhood, many happy hours were spent playing with it . My models are obviously not exactly to scale. Some are not even prototypical. My goal has been to build something which resembles sets of the 9v era, including the wide range of new parts introduced since then. Another goal is playability. If possible I try to incorporate many play features (minifig seatings, working doors and mechanisms, cockpits and interiors, etc.). Locos: 4551 - crocodile I do not own this set, but i always liked the look of it. My adaptation of the crocodile has been color switched, from the ÖBB red to the german green color sheme. The „beaks“ of the original set were prone to derail. They have been changed to avoid this problem and have been shortened to look more prototypical. Other changes include the addition of 2 windows in the main section and a different roof. Lego 4551 Crocodile - modded by Henrik S, auf Flickr Lego 4551 Crocodile - modded by Henrik S, auf Flickr Lego 4551 Crocodile - modded by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4564 - 3 axle Shunting diesel Almost completly different from the original 4 axled locomotive found in Set 4564, i rebuild this loco to a 3 axle configuration. I always liked small shunting diesels like the german v60 or the vossloh G6, so the design of the superstructure resembles them. Lego 4564 - Modded by Henrik S, auf Flickr Lego 4564 - Modded by Henrik S, auf Flickr Lego 4564 - Modded by Henrik S, auf Flickr MOC – 4 axle modern diesel shunter A 4 axled diesel shunter with guardrails for operating safety. Loosely based on Vossloh and other very rectangular modern designs. Modern Diesel Shunter by Henrik S, auf Flickr Modern Diesel Shunter by Henrik S, auf Flickr Modern Diesel Shunter by Henrik S, auf Flickr Modern Diesel Shunter by Henrik S, auf Flickr DB BR 111 – electric locomotive An electric locomotive for passenger train services, heavily based on the german Baureihe 111. Build in the striking ocean blue – tan color sheme the DB used quite some time ago. BR 111 by Henrik S, auf Flickr BR 111 by Henrik S, auf Flickr BR 111 by Henrik S, auf Flickr Here it is with 4 passenger coaches. BR 111 with Passenger Train by Henrik S, auf Flickr The dining car, with pantograph to power the kitchen. Dining Car by Henrik S, auf Flickr Dining Car by Henrik S, auf Flickr 10183 - Modern electric locomotive This engine is loosely based on modern TRAXX locos. The base for this loco lies in a B Variant of set 10183 – Hobby train. After building the B model i kept tinkering with it, and over time it evolved into something resembling a modern TRAXX Locomotive. I actually have this loco 2-times: One in a red color sheme like DB uses, 10183 - Hobby Train Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr and one in a black color sheme based on MRCE (leasing service for locomotives in Europe) Lego Hobby Train B Version (V2) by Henrik S, auf Flickr Lego Hobby Train B Version (V2) by Henrik S, auf Flickr Lego Hobby Train B Version (V2) by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7938 - Commuter train A lot has been changed. The middle waggon was removed and the remaining two parts are now connected with a jacobs boogie. The pantographs were removed, as the prototype for my version is powered by diesel. Another noteworthy change is the addition of implied doors. 7938 Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7938 Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7938 Mod - Cockpit by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7938 Mod - interior by Henrik S, auf Flickr Rolling stock: Container car; 2 and 4 axle versions It is build to carry the classic 4 wide containers common in the 9v era. The 4 wide containers look a bit small sizewise, but i like the versatility they offer. They can be transported by the classic 4 wide lego trucks, they can be grabbed by the Container Stacker. So in short, the playability outweighed the scale here. Container Cars by Henrik S, auf Flickr Container Car by Henrik S, auf Flickr Container Car by Henrik S, auf Flickr Container Car by Henrik S, auf Flickr Tank car A 4 axled tank car. The tank can be build in a variety of colors. The solution for the fairly round tank is not by me. I think i have seen the design somewhere here on eurobricks, but i don´t know by whom unfortunatly. So, if you read this and this is your design, please let me know and i will add your name for this technique! The original Design is by Phoxtane, check his tank car here: Tank Cars by Henrik S, auf Flickr Tank Car by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4537 – Twin Tank Car I fondly remember this waggon from my childhood. The original set rocked the classic white-green-red octan colors. On my quest to achieve a round and 6 wide design, this iconic color sheme unfortunatly had to go. Now it is dark bluish gray, which i think is a pretty common color for this type of freight car, so it is okay with me. Twin Tank Car by Henrik S, auf Flickr Twin Tank Car by Henrik S, auf Flickr EAOS - gondola car A car which can be seen countless times here in europe. There is not much to say about this car really, i tried to keep the weight down and the model features working doors. EAOS Gondola car by Henrik S, auf Flickr EAOS Gondola car by Henrik S, auf Flickr Small Box Car A classic of the 9V Waggons, in my oppinion it holds up nicely even today. The only change to it has been the addition of a curved roof, which in my oppinion looks pretty nice. Small Box Cars by Henrik S, auf Flickr Buildings and other stuff: 4554 – Trainstation Another classic 9V set (which i got for christmas in the 90s). I did not change much. Mainly the switch to a tan paint job and the interior of the station are different. The Rest is largely unchanged. 4554 Trainstation by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4554 Trainstation by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4554 Trainstation by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4554 Trainstation by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4554 Trainstation by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4554 Trainstation by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4555 – Cargo station Much like set 4554, not much was changed. I used the modern profile / masonry bricks to get a bit more detail into the building. The interior was tiled and the sparse furnishings were a bit extended. This set is part of the reason why i kept the 4 wide containers. I really like the old grippers in this set, which are also used on the container stacker set. 4555 Cargo Station by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4555 Cargo Station by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4555 Cargo Station by Henrik S, auf Flickr 4555 Cargo Station by Henrik S, auf Flickr Dockside crane Like the old harbour sets of the Lego town days, the base for my dockside is made of the elevated baseplates. The crane works and is able to unload the cargo from boat into freight cars (or into cargo trucks). Dockside Carne by Henrik S, auf Flickr Dockside Carne by Henrik S, auf Flickr So, thats all for now. I plan to update this thread kinda regularly, and to upload more content in the near future. Please let me know your opionions, critics and suggestions. I hope you have fun looking through these pictures!
  9. Hi all, I've got something cool to share with you. I've been planning how to tackle my next 9v layout where I want to control multiple trains on a interconnected set of loops. On a regular 9v layout, you cannot do that. This is my solution: It's a 9v motor with the motor taken out, feeding into a bridge rectifier (into the A/C connectors) so that the output polarity is always the same. Then from there it goes into a step-up converter set to 10v output (track power is ~12v, but a bit lower on the frog). From the step-up converter it's connected to both a TCS KA3 keep alive and a PFx Brick. The keep alive ensures that the PFx Brick stays powered (and keeps the motors running) if power suddenly cuts out very briefly. Let me explain why that is important: For the reversing loop I'm using a TCS dual frog juicer. Basically, the "loop" part of the reversing loop is an isolated section of track, which we'll call the frog. You connect track power to the dual frog juicer input and connect the output to the frog. When the train drives from normal track onto the frog and the polarity of the frog is "the wrong way round", then it will automatically switch the polarity of the frog. This happens very fast, but it's enough of a delay when going into the bridge rectifier and then into the PFx Brick that the PFx Brick shuts off and turns on again, effectively stopping the train. That's where the keep alive comes in! Demonstration: (watch the indicator LED change between red/green, this means polarity gets switched) 1.mp4 2.mp4 In the demonstration I used a PF remote. For my layout I'm going to be using Vincent Vergonjeanne's fantastic piece of software to control the PFx Brick with a Powered Up remote using bluetooth. That way I can control every train even when they are going through a tunnel for example. Here is the full post about the software: [link] I hope you found this interesting :) Thanks to Lazarus992 for the tutorial on how to open up and remove the 9v motor
  10. Haddock51

    My Own Lego World - Update

    This topic was my second large topic about my Lego room after Lego Trains 9V Extreme - ready! which was published on June 6th 2017 A lot of things have happened since then. Attached are pictures and links about additions: New Lego Trains 9V since june 2017: Two Swedish Passenger Trains with Rc- and Da-locomotives (built by Selander) Additions to My Own Lego World since June 2020: Tivoli: Loop Coaster Space: NASA Apollo Saturn V International Space Station (ISS) (together with Space Shuttle Discovery) Famous Attractions: Colosseum Eiffel Tower Famous Historic Aircrafts: Orville and Wilbur Wrights Flyer (Kitty Hawk) WW1: Sopwith Camel and Red Barons Fokker Dr.1 147/11 Triplane Other Lego Sets: Motorized Lighthouse Piano Piano Typewriter Chess Brick Moulding Machine MOCs: Bistro chez Daniel (with mini loudspeaker) Waldenburg Castle
  11. XG BC

    9v power pickups

    Hello folks! today i discovered something: a video where one guy showed how to make any powered up/powerfunctions/rc motor a 9v motor! he used the pickups normally used in slotcars (he used carrera 124 pickups, i used the carrera digital 132 ones and they work too) and i had to try it myself. needless to say it works very well. you dont really need the copper tape neither do you need to solder, just wedging the cables in works too. i cant say anything about switches as i dont have 9v switches currently (will probably make ones with conductive tape) but i tried and it looks like it should work. the distance of the pickups is longer than the switch distance. the guy in the video also tried switches and it worked. here is the video: and here is a link to the playlist with more of the same stuff: maybe this helps anyone wishing to jump into 9v.
  12. A review of the first elements from the FX Track system The forthcoming FX Track system promises to restart the 9v Lego train system that was discontinued 15 years ago. Unlike modern Lego track that is all plastic, the 9v track sections had metal crimped on top of the rails to supply power to the train motors. So with the 9v system all you needed to power your train was to replace one truck with the train motor, there was no need to hide a battery box or receiver on board your train. As a result, you can build a lot smaller models than is feasible with (unmodified) PF or PUP, and do not need to worry about routing wires. This fact makes it a lot easier to build and detail six-wide locomotives. I was fortunate enough to be asked to review the forthcoming 9v FX Track elements. I received three sets of track for review on Friday, including a full circle of R72 curved track (16 segments) and one set of "2x" straight tracks, each at 32 studs long, (8 segments). My complete review took place over a few weeks, broken into several parts. As I progressed I updated this initial post, and it is now complete. [ full gallery ] Part I- First Impressions Summary of Part I The packaging is amazing The production quality of the track elements rivals the Lego 9v track The basic FX design improves on the 9v in two ways: track size noted on the end studs and added cutouts to make it even easier to attach the power leads The FX design greatly expands the geometry options: wide radius curves (R72) and double length straights (32 studs) with a promise of R88 and 1/2 length straights coming later this year. It is incredible to finally have wide radius curves for 9v trains I am coming to appreciate the advantage of double length straights Only one minor issue so far- when the R72 is assembled into a 90° turn and set loosely on the ground it exhibits a small negative cant where the inside rail lifts off the ground and is higher than the outside rail. It appears to completely flatten out when a car rolls over it or you pull it flat. I will examine this more in future parts. Figure 1-1, the unopened boxes Figure 1-2, the interior packaging of an R72 box. The slide out tray is reminiscent of Lego sets from the 1980's. Note the individual track holders and the embossed "Fx" logo on the end of the tray. Figure 1-3, a close up of the R72 track in the box Figure 1-4, another view of the R72 packaging Figure 1-5, the 32 stud "2x" straight track is similarly packed Figure 1-6, another view of the 2x straight track packaging Once opened, it was time to inspect the track elements. The production quality really stood out. Aside from the new geometry these looked like classic 9v track elements, molded in dark stone gray (I did not do a side by side color comparison, that will come in a later installment). There were a couple of unexpected details, first, at the power connection point, there are two pass through channels under the rails, allowing you to easily connect the power from either side of the track. Figure 1-7, a close up of the power connection on the R72 tracks Figure 1-8, and a similar shot on the S32 tracks While this two sided connection is not a critical feature, the fact that it was included shows the depth of thought that went into the design. This feature is more important with the longer track segments than with the short R40 and S16 track from Lego. The other detail is that the track size is clearly but discretely indicated on the last row of studs on either end of the track segment. This feature will become critical as other radii curves are released. Figure 1-9, the R72 mark Figure 1-10, the S32 mark After unboxing, I found the clutch between track segments to be a bit stronger than Lego parts, but that might just be the fact that the track is new. Regardless, it snapped together with plenty of strength and separates just fine. Here's what the track looked like out of the box Figure 1-11, the R72 top and bottom Figure 1-12, top side of an assembled R72 curve Figure 1-13, bottom side of an assembled R72 curve Figure 1-14, the S32 top and bottom When I set the assembled R72 track down to take Fig. 1-12 I noticed something odd, the inside rail seemed to be lifting off the ground. Somewhere between 1/2 plate for a 90° turn to one full plate for a 180° turn. So far this negative cant seems to be completely cosmetic. It appears to completely flatten out when a car rolls over it or you pull it flat. I will examine this more in future parts. Figure 1-15, a detail of the negative cant on the assembled R72 curve. This shot is the most extreme example I had and probably includes some lifting due to the curve being compressed. In general the lift seems to be less than 1 plate high. It does not appear to impact operations and flattens out when a train car passes over. [ full gallery ] Part II- Operational experience Summary of Part II Operational performance is better than expected In my Lego room I normally have a two track mainline of 9v track circling the room. I step over the track on my way in, and then it either skirts the wall or goes under the furniture to stay out of the way. I had to reconfigure my layout to accommodate the new curves. For this part of the review I used a roughly 10 x 10 ft square (3.2 x 3.2 m) shown in Fig. 2-1. The red switch and white S16 are all from my existing layout, while the brown R72 and purple S32 are the new Fx Tracks. The red S16 in cell A2 on the top left shows the power connector for the loop, unchanged from my normal layout. Not surprisingly, my 9v trains have always slowed down in the bottom right corner due to the long distance from the power connector and the large number of rail joints increasing the resistance. I would expect the worst performance for trains running counter clockwise coming out of the lower right curve since it is the furthest point from the power connector. Figure 2-1, the test layout used in this part. To help compensate for the distance from the power connector I used the S32 tracks leading into both approaches to the bottom right curve. So as a result, this layout should have lower drag from trains in the curves due to the wider radius track and lower power drop in the furthest corner due to the elimination of 8 rail joints. For the test train I turned to my GN Empire Builder, essentially a MOD of the Super Chief locomotives and cars. As such, this train represents a long but otherwise typical 9v train. Each engine has a single motor and NO added weight. The lead unit has a 9v light. There are total of 12 cars in the set. They are on standard 9v wheels that have been notched out to reduce friction, as per Fig. 2-2. So these cars should roll a bit better than the normal Super Chief cars. The engines and cars have seen many hours of operation, so none of the mechanical parts are new. Ordinarily this train requires three 9v train motors to run for extended periods on R40 curves. So I have two A-units and a B-unit, each with one motor. Since the Lego 9v transformer only supports two motors at a time, the train normally requires additional power. Figure 2-2, some 9v wheel sets would experience friction because there was insufficient clearance on the frame for the flanges. To solve this, other builders came up with a trick of notching out a few mm of the frame where the flanges are most likely to rub. After rebuilding the track I ran the train for at least half an hour, which helped remove any oxidation on the existing rails. The train ran fine, slowing a bit in the far corner due to the number of rail joints, while still passing the power connection at a safe and reasonable speed. My plan for this test was to use just two locomotives (the A-units) so that I could use a normal 9v train transformer and keep adding cars until the train would go too slow or stop in the far curve. This did not happen by the time I added the 12th car, but it was getting close to the limit, so I did not seek out another car to add to the consist. The simple fact that the 12 car train was able to run fine with just two locomotives shows the benefits of the wider radius curves. The following figure shows the final test train used in this part, note that the train was always in one curve and often in two. Figure 2-3, the test train used in this part I am THRILLED to finally have wide radius curves for my 9v trains. Not only do they reduce the drag on the curves, the trains simply look better on the R72 curves compared to R40's. Figure 2-4, an example of 32 stud long cars on R72 curves, a huge aesthetic improvement over R40 curves A six wide passenger car built to scale could be 52 studs long and an eight wide could be 68 studs long, they would still look a little awkward on R72 curves, but they should be able to take the curves and the Fx Track box suggest that R120 and larger radii are in the long range plans. Figure 2-5, an example of a 4-8-4 steam locomotive on the R72 curves. This engine was designed to comfortably negotiate R40 curves through the use of a sliding mechanism on the drivers, but like the cars, it looks a lot better on R72 curves. Figure 2-6, a panning shot showing the 12 car long train pulled by two locomotives passing through the curve furthest from the power connection. This video shows the test train approaching the "far curve" at full throttle (speed setting 6) and this video pans through the curve as the train passes. With 9v trains the slow speed operations are probably a greater challenge than the high speed due to the power drop of the rail joints and oxidation on the rails. I don't think I would do the following test unsupervised, because a stall could damage the motors if you do not cut power quickly, but with supervision it is interesting to see how slow the train can go with Fx Tracks. The 12 car train would start on speed setting 3 and run indefinitely. This video shows the test train approaching the "far curve" at speed setting 3 and this video pans through the curve. When I dropped to speed setting 2 it stalls in the corner furthest from the power connection. That's pretty amazing given the length of the train and distance from the power supply. I repeated these tests with the steam engine. Note that this locomotive is powered by two 9v motors, one for the pilot truck and one for the trailing truck. I had to set out three cars for it to comfortably run at a reasonable speed over ground at speed setting 6 on the transformer. One of those cars is countered by the addition of the unpowered tender, while the other two cars likely is due to increased drag from the long wheelbase of the steam engine and the added drag from the running gear. The steam engine would not start until in speed setting 4, but once moving I could drop down to speed setting 3 and it would run indefinitely. If I had a second power connection on the far side of the layout I am sure I could have dropped to speed setting 2, but that would negate an important part of this test. On the other hand, the track in the most demanding location was new and clean. So as I said already, I would not do this test unsupervised because a stall could damage the motors if you do not cut power quickly. [ full gallery ] Part III- My personal thoughts so far As I've said, I am excited to have the R72 curves, but after working with the Fx Track, I've come to two realizations that I was not expecting. First, going into this I thought that R72 curves were actually on the small side. I have several loops of large radius plastic track from at least three manufacturers. I love the look of R120 curves at shows. While the R72 is leaps and bounds better than R40, had there been a selection of 9v radii I probably would have gravitated to R104 and R120. After installing the R72 curves in my Lego room I realize that R120 would never work in my home layout. After these tests are over I plan on installing the R72 permanently on my home layout and to start lobbying my club to invest in the larger radii 9v curves. My other preconception going into this was that double length track segments would be nice, but I've got a "ton" of track already. In retrospect, by 9v standards I do have a lot of straight, but only enough to double track a 10 x 10 ft square (3.2 x 3.2 m). So that alone makes the availability of straight track enticing to me. Now the fact that it is double the length of Lego straight track means it has half as many rail joints, and so the power loss should be much less. I could see someday converting my mainline to the double straights and using the 9v Lego track for yards and sidings. Part IV (added Feb 10) Summary of Part IV Round trip time results show that the new track improves the running speed Added additional images of trains in the curve In an effort to quantify the impact of resistance (both electronic and mechanical) I undertook a study of the time it takes the test train (Fig. 2-3) to complete a loop of the test track (Fig. 2-1) with three variants: (1) as shown in Fig. 2-1, (2) replaced the S32 straight tracks each with a normal pair of S16 tracks, adding 8 track joints to the layout, and (3) replacing the R72 curves with R40 curves only in the lower right corner (the other three curves remained at R72), and adding back in four S32 segments to keep the number of track joints the same as case 2. These three variants are shown in Fig. 4-1. Figure 4-1, three variants of the "far corner" used to study the time to complete a loop of the test track For this study I used a cold start of the train under each condition. I let the train make approximately 3 loops before beginning testing. I then timed 5 consecutive loops at speed 6 followed by 5 consecutive loops at speed 3. Throughout I tallied both the individual loop times and the total loop times for the 5 loops. In all cases the individual loop times fell within a 1 sec range, most likely reflecting my reaction time. No stalling occurred and the full 12 car train was used throughout. In this case adding the 8 additional joints going from #1 to #2 added 4% to the round trip time at both speeds, then converting to R40 going from #2 to #3 (#1 to #3) added 13% (17%) for speed 6 and 21% (26%) for speed 3. Table 4-1, average time to complete a single loop of the layout at speed 6 and speed 3 (1) R72+S32 18.0 s 35.8 s (2) R72+S16 18.7 s 37.3 s (3) R40+S32 21.1 s 45.1 s Table 4-2, relative increase to case (1) or (2) at speed 6 and speed 3 (2)/(1) +4% +4% (3)/(1) +17% +26% (3)/(2) +13% +21% Next, extending Part II I have added a few more pictures. Figure 4-2, a comparison of the same train in an R40 curve and an R72 curve Figure 4-3, an example of 52 stud long cars in the R72 curve [ full gallery ] Part V (added Feb 20) Summary of Part V A deeper look at the negative cant Pre-ballasting considerations Counter-clockwise climbing of the rails For this study I revisited the negative cant. After first observing the phenomena I wrote Michael Gale about it and he replied, Your observations about the R72 "cant" is not something we have seen with R72. However, it is something we have observed with a few or our R88 iterations! We suspect it is either the result of "settling" of the product from the climate in Hong Kong vs. North America or it is accumulated stress in the metal from imperfect crimp points. I wonder if a slight twisting back and forth along the long-axis of the track might help "wiggle out" any accumulated tension in the metal/plastic crimp locations? In any case, bends and twists in Lego track items is not uncommon. I've observed this phenomenon in Lego brand track elements in both 9V and RC. Big molds such as the S32 and R72 are more expensive to tool since the mold requires water cooling channels to precisely control the cooling profile of the plastic in the mold. If the cooling is not controlled properly, then stresses accumulate in the plastic from differential temperature/solidification profiles. When resetting my layout I have one hard to reach corner under a shelf that is behind a table (I personally like a layout where the trains disappear for part of the circuit). I put a 90° segment of the R72 tracks back there and as I did, I twisted the rails a couple of times to relieve the stress. It seemed to work, but it was dark, on carpet, and I didn't feel like taking any measurements. Today I sought to quantify what I observed. My first step was laying out baseplates to ultimately pin the track down. Figure 5-1, Cant exploration Figure 5-2, With the track loose, the cant was about 1 plate in the middle of the 90° curve Figure 5-3, Pinning the track down as if I were going to ballast. Figure 5-4, I had thought that simply pinning the track down would have pulled it flat, but the 1 plate gap remained. Figure 5-5, After a bit of twisting (about 3 cycles back and forth on each segment), the cant had diminished but was still evident. Further twisting seemed to yield marginal improvements. Figure 5-6, But I had not captured all aspects of ballasting, this time I added one S16 on either end of the curve and plates over all rail joints. Figure 5-7, The cant seems to be down to about half a plate at this point. Figure 5-8, Time to get tough, I resorted to twisting the track in the opposite direction of the cant, pressing down in the middle and up on both ends (I actually used two hands to do this, but I couldn't fit the camera in my mouth to photograph it, so you'll have to imagine my right hand in the picture) Figure 5-9, That seemed to eliminate almost all of the cant, but a hint is still there. Figure 5-10, Here's an R40 on the inside for reference Figure 5-11, These R40 have been used a lot and do not show any cant I do not know what the cause is, but after spending some time working with the track I wonder if it has to do with the rail connections, the track segments are pretty flat on their own, they only arch up when connected together. As noted previously, the cant does not seem to impact operations at all. All of the testing to this point has been with the cant. I've also run several hours of other trains on the R72 without problems. In my experience the cant flattens out when a train goes over. Figure 5-12, While I had the baseplates out, I also investigated the S32. Note this layout includes a joint at the edge of a baseplate and another joint in the middle of a baseplate. This test was to make sure there was no significant accumulation of error due to the rails being a fraction of percent too small or too large. Figure 5-13, Everything tacked down good and snug, no apparent problems. Figure 5-14, With the track tacked down, I checked the clearance of typical boundaries and no conflicts were found. Next up, revisiting the possibility of climbing rail joints when running counter clockwise through curves (more details about the problems with 9v R40 curves here). Figure 5-15, 9v R40 curves risk climbing at the rail joints Figure 5-16, Test layout for climbing at rail joints. The "D" shaped loop has two 90° R72 curves and two 90° R40 curves, all with straights in between. The PF test locomotive was my worst offender for climbing R40's. After running the locomotive for about 15 min there was no complete climbing event on any of the curves, but it did "jiggle" a lot on the R40 joints. At which point I noticed that almost all of the wheels had traction bands on them (all four small wheels on the pilot truck, and all four flanged drivers). My recent experience with the Crocodile locomotive has led me to suspect the traction bands grip 9v rails better than they do the plastic rails. So I pulled all of the traction bands off except a single flanged driver. Most of the jiggle was gone when going around the curves. The pilot truck bounces on just about every R40 joint, and very occasionally on any other joint. I then ran the locomotive for another 1.5 hrs with no derailments. So my conclusion here is that the traction bands probably do exexperate the problems when running counterclockwise on R40, even without the bands I still don't think I would run counter clockwise with this locomotive on R40 curves on a raised layout. I would feel fine running counterclockwise on R72 curves (9v or plastic). [ full gallery ] Part VI (added Feb 28) Summary of Part VI power connection colors and clutch bonus track This part details my final experiments. Figure 6-1, An example using the two wire pass throughs, the Lego brand tracks only have one pass through. This allows you to use the 9v connectors from either side, which is particularly useful on the curves or double track sections. Figure 6-2, Lego RC track in the middle, between two Fx S32 to compare colors. Figure 6-3, Old gray Lego 9v track in the middle, between two Fx S32 to compare colors. After comparing the colors I did a spot check of clutch using 2x4 bricks comparing Fx S32 against Lego RC S16. This test was purely subjective and I found no difference in the clutch from both the top and bottom of the track segment. I repeated on the R32's, again I did not find a difference. Figure 6-4, With the formal experiments complete, I reassembled my layout (note plastic ME R88's standing in for future Fx and rare metal ME S8 in the shot). It is really nice to have the wider radius curves in the layout. The straight segments are a bit shorter but the curves are so much better. Figure 6-5, The surprise bonus of the conversion are the 40 segments of S16 made surplus from the addition of the new curves (4 per 90° of R72 and 6 per 90° of R88). [ full gallery ] Closing thoughts (added Feb 28) I suspect the primary customers for this first round (and probably 2nd and 3rd rounds) of the new 9v track will be people who already have 9v trains. As someone with 9v, the wide radius curves are AMAZING. These early rounds are not enough of a system to lure a plastic track builder over to metal rails, nor are they meant to be. Power pickup wheels will probably be the gateway to the plastic track folks. If you can charge your batteries from the track while running or when sitting on a siding, that will entice some to invest in a bit of 9v straight track. Once there, the prospect of charging while running with half a loop of 9v track will become enticing and before you know it, you might want to (literally) close the loop and buy track powered motors. Each successive round will bring this closer to being a complete system, but each round depends on the success of the rounds before it to provide the development costs. I think it is amazing that Michael is so transparent with his costs. Now it is up to the market to decide. The prices are not to be sneezed at, but if you need 9v parts the prices are very reasonable. And if you need wide radius 9v, they are the only mass produced option to date. If you still run 9v and your space is wider than 30 inches (77 cm) the new Fx wide radius curves are a no brainer. It is nice to have the option of new 9v straight track and as noted above, the reduction in rail joints also reduces the resistance. Beyond the reduction in joints, the new straights do not add a new geometry, but back in the day I never seemed to have enough straight track. If you have a ton of plastic track and PF/PU trains, wait and see what develops. Perhaps 9v might never be for you. It would likely take a future killer app to lure you in, e.g., power pickups for charging on part of the loop or while parked on a siding, or DCC for more extensive control. If you run PF and have not yet made the jump to PU, it might be worth holding off making a large investment in PU to see what develops with the Fx 9v system. Similarly, if you are just getting into Lego trains and you do not like the hassle of batteries or hiding the battery box in your builds, it might be worth holding off making a large investment in plastic track and see what develops with the Fx 9v system. The cost of the S32 are comparable to used S16 at current bricklink prices. Dark blay S16: new $7.50, used $4.75 Dark gray S16: new $8.00, used $4.20 Dark blay S32 new: $8.75 (or $4.40 per 16 studs) I believe set 4515 (8x straight rails) was $16 ($20.50 today) when it was discontinued in 2007, but brickset has it listed as $13 ($16.75 today). Putting the price for new S16 from Lego between $2.10 and $2.60. So the Fx are about twice the price of what Lego sold the rails for. But Lego was losing money on the metal track when it was discontinued, so Michael has recreated an expensive production system on a much smaller scale and is still able to retail for a fair price. Of course what is fair and what one is willing to pay is a personal matter that varies by individual. Each 90° curve conversion from R40 to R72 frees up four S16, that's 16 straight track segments per loop. Converting from R40 to R88 increases that to six and 24, respectively (net of 200" or 16'8" or 5.1 m). With my double track main line that frees up 40 straight track segments. So the R72 conversion frees up 16*$4.20 = $67.20 in used straight track and the R88 conversion frees up another 24*$4.20 = $100.80. Assuming you do not expand your footprint, after the conversion the straight segments are a bit shorter but the curves are so much better. [ full gallery ] Pricing and availability (added Feb 14) Fx has provided information on pricing and availability, available here. R88 impressions (added Aug 22) I preordered a loop of R88 for myself as soon as the ordering window opened. Note that a loop of R88 is roughly twice the cost of a loop of R72 because the number of track segments in R88 is double those in R72 (90° takes 4x R72 or 8x R88). On the other side of the cost equation, the R88 saves you an additional 8x S16 compared to R72 on a loop of the same size. I got my R88 loop and installed it this past week. It is amazing to see my 50 stud long cars remain over the track on the curves. But anyone could have guessed that, grin. The other thing I noticed is that I still have a large power drop on my roughly 8'x8' (2.5m x 2.5m) layout, which is NOT a surprise since it is simply a function of the number of rail joints. As someone with surplus 9v parts, I fished out several 1m long 9v extension cables from my collection and added another power connection on the far side of the layout. Aside from dealing with a bad cable the solution went smoothly and the trains barely slow down anywhere on the loop. Even with R88 I do not feel comfortable going above the 5th notch (out of 6) on the Lego transformer, the train is simply moving too fast. The need for additional power connection points should not be overlooked. This issue is simply a function of the 9v system due to the relatively large resistance at the track joints. In that respect the S32 will help you build bigger with fewer power connection points. In any event, my loop has 80-90 track segments in it, so I would estimate that I would need another power connection for every 40-50 track segments in the loop. Of course the exact number of segments might vary depending on the weight and drag of your trains.
  13. Book Review (Review by Thorsten Benter) Almost a year has passed since initial publication of this book. There are a number of on-line reviews available – this one on EB seems to come in a bit late. Well, I don’t think so, in contrast. This book is a comprehensive how-to-build-a-train resource rather than a compilation of what is out there. And this sets the book aside from so many others. It will be up-to-date as long as The LEGO Company produces bricks and sets. Plus, with the arrival of the Powered Up system, more space becomes available inside the train body as compared to comparable PF functionality: The dedicated receiver becomes obsolete and no line of sight is required for communication creating some additional space – space for sophisticated building techniques! This books tells you everything you need to know about the historical LEGO train theme development at TLG, about scales and widths, about pivot points, microstriping, SNOTing and offsetting, and so much more with relevance to train building! (Note: A PDF copy of this review with higher resolution pictures will be shortly available at Holger’s website) Summary: A must-have for every LEGO train fan, for people entertaining the idea of getting into LEGO trains, and for people who still don’t know that they will become train fans after reading the book Superb photography of LEGO models, outstanding renders of CAD models In-depth analysis and assessment of the different LEGO train eras Demonstration and teaching of advanced building and design skills My personal LEGO book score: 10/10 About the book: Author: Holger Matthes Published: Oct. 2017 by No Starch Press Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA. Hardcover, 135 pages + 90(+) pages reserved for 4 full building instructions (ICE train, gondola car, Swiss Crocodile, and a vintage passenger coach), 150+ most relevant and educational figures (excluding the beautiful chapter openers or page breakers as well as the set building instructions), 20+ tables including bulleted lists. ISBN: 1-59327-819-5 Price: € 14 (Kindle edition, Amazon); € 23 (Print edition, Amazon) both as of 9-2018. $ 19 (ebook only), $ 25 (ebook and print edition, both as of 9-2018. The present English edition published by No Starch Press is based on the initial German edition “LEGO Eisenbahn – Konzepte und Techniken für realistische Modelle”, which was originally published by dpunkt Verlag Heidelberg, ISBN: 978-3-86490-355-7. The initial German edition of the book based on Holger’s manuscript composed in 2015/16 caught the attention of foreign publishers: It began with the present English edition in 2017. It then took a bit longer until the Chinese publisher “Posts & Telecom Press” (who has already published a bunch of LEGO books written by fans) very recently released the Chinese version: (ISBN: 978-7-115-48419-2): After publication in 2017, No Starch Press’ English version became the reference for further translations. In summer 2018, the Spanish (“LEGO TRENES”; LEGO TRENES and the Italian (“TRENI LEGO”; editions became available. And the Russian version is on its way (sorry, Holger couldn’t tell me any further information about its availability): (Note that the Russian cover on the right is purely made up by me – Google translator says the Cyrillic headline reads “in preparation” – but who knows …) About the author Holger Matthes is a hobbyist who has been building with LEGO since 2000. He was involved in the creation of various official LEGO projects such as the Hobby Train set #10183 and frequently presents his models and gives workshops at LEGO exhibitions worldwide [copied from Amazon website]. Table of content of the book (short version) Part 1: Overview and history Introduction A history of LEGO trains Part 2: Building your own train models (My own creations – MOCs) Basic principles Designing your own models Case studies in design Part 3: Building instructions A note on the included building instructions Appended to the body of the book, you’ll find four high quality and carefully composed instructions in addition to two free online instructions: Inter-City Express (ICE; driving and trailer cars, PF motorization, windshield designs) Gondola car Swiss electric Be 6/6 “Crocodile” Vintage passenger car Steam Engine BR 10 (as bonus online available at Steam Engine BR 80 (as bonus online available at There is further information available online. Holger directs you to; but most of the very valuable stuff is actually hosted on his website. I highly recommend to visit his site: You will find a wealth of background information, tips&tricks, how-to, and much more. The Book Let’s face it: Almost one year after initial publication, Holger still sets the stage with this book for LEGO train fans. It will be tough to get it much further; not on 135 pages (not counting the instructions pages), not with regard to the topics covered, not with regard to the width of the audience addressed. This book provides diverse perspectives on the art of building LEGO trains, coaches, and rolling stock – and is at the same time always determined, focused, and addresses most relevant “issues”. Train builders repeatedly face tough challenges: A train is not a building, which simply resides in all its beauty; rather trains are work horses – either hauling heavy cargo loads or endless passenger coaches, or switching rolling stock for hours and hours in a train show – or on your personal layout. At the same time, a LEGO train is “beautiful” and “esthetic” in the recognition of a train fan - as a building is for City fans. However, to be able to render real trains into LEGO models, regardless on the scale used, requires some serious knowledge about the myriads of LEGO bricks available, about advanced building techniques, and even electrical wiring skills. There simply isn’t much space in a LEGO train. Space as in “Space … is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.” [Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, 1979]. It is usually >extremely< packed inside a LEGO train model, particularly when electrifying it. Shaping the outer appearance with advanced building methods such as SNOT or angled and carefully secured pieces usually eats up all the space inside the hull. And lastly: Trains need to be sturdy. They not only haul heavy loads – they also have to run endless distances on track – in the best case on long stretches of straight track and smooth curves, here and there a bit bumpy – in the worst case negotiating endless and sharply bent curves and switch points in complex rail yards. This is exactly what Holger addresses in his book: How to achieve a sturdy, reliable, and at the same time esthetic and beautiful train. And we should just get it straight from the very beginning: Stickers are frequently recognized as the “icing on the cake”. And this is certainly true. BUT: Believe it or not, you can also legally “build” tiny lines, sloped coloring, narrowly split windows and much more when using advanced building techniques! And that sets aside this book from so many postings, building instructions, and other resources: Holger shows us how to accomplish “brick-built stickering” by using the endless variety of bricks and plates to build streamlined and nicely accentuated and smooth surfaces – rather than using the bulky, essentially non-LEGO-philosophy-but-by-TLG-released ICE #55768 nose with stickers attached all over it … There is so much more in the book. This is what I am trying to highlight in the following. Holger’s book is a must for us all: Beginners, advanced builders, as well as Train Tech gurus! And those who believe that they already are. One more thing to add: Photography and CAD image rendering. Or: A picture is worth a thousand words. Holger says: “The biggest thank you goes out to my old friend and master photographer Andy Bahler, without whose pictures this book would have been useless. His commitment, night after night, was above and beyond expectation …” The pictures are spectacular – you will notice right away. Organization of the book There are three parts in this book, although there is no such explicit assignment in the table of contents. Holger tells us on page 2 though: “The first part of the book gives an overview of LEGO trains over the different eras, covers some history, and answers questions about how to combine old LEGO trains from the attic with today’s kits. The second part of the book is about building your own LEGO train models, also known as My Own Creations (MOCs). Using my many years of experience building LEGO models, I’ll show you how to create proper train models, covering both the possibilities and the limitations. Finally, the book ends with step-by-step building instructions for several models.” Usually, the table of content is a good starting point for the organization analysis. However, this book is extremely focused and self-contained in each of the chapters of the three parts. This is very helpful (and also very different from other books), as the LEGO universe, including train worlds, is as diverse as it possibly gets. The number of pieces alone currently available through TLC’s official channels such as LEGO sets, PaB, and LEGO stores – or even more so – through the uncountable BrickLink stores around the globe is truly mind-boggling. Well, it is not only the sheer number, but more so the endless combinations possible – and what you achieve with such. Chances are: One gets rapidly lost and a little frustrated. Exactly this is NOT happening when “reading” this book. OK. We do it differently – as it seems appropriate for a “different” book: We walk through, as the very nice and focused organization of the book simply allows that. Part 1 “INTRODUCTION Decades ago, the toy designers at LEGO likely never imagined how durable their work would be. Today, parents can dust off their childhood LEGO trains and play together with their children who have just received their first brand-new LEGO train set. And fans of all ages can revive older sets and parts to create entirely new models.” In order to prevent such an almost natural “disorientation” or lost in parts and ways to connect them, in part one the book begins with a review of on-line resources. Information-, instruction-, and brick-availability-wise. Holger lists only the most relevant internet locations. Start here and progress further on your own. It makes your building life so much easier. As with every printed book, online references may become outdated at some point in time. Holger names thus only most reliable web portals, which will most probably exist for a long time. “A HISTORY OF LEGO TRAINS Let’s explore the evolution of the LEGO train systems from the earliest set to the present.” Next, there is a historical review of which type of train system was available at what time defining an era. This is rather significant. First of all, this approach results in a theme classification rather than a temporal evolution of sets: The blue, grey, 9V, RC, and PF era. As the pieces from different areas are naturally largely interchangeable (otherwise it would not be LEGO!), you may mix them as you see fit. Nevertheless, each era has a certain typical appearance – if you want to capture that, you need to know what was going on during that particular era. As an example, people in love with the grey (12 V) era often capture the look and feel of that time – for example studs everywhere, not many curved bricks/diverse slopes (as they were not available at that time) – rather limited colors schemes, black, red, and yellow ... The reader learns what has been produced when and in what color scheme. There is also ample of information on the technical features of each era – it appears as if the author is deeply involved and well connected in the LEGO train community – all the way up to participate in the design of selected sets. Holger shares his knowledge with the reader – always in a concise and focused way. It is pointed out that Holger is not even attempting to compile a complete list of sets available within the different eras – in contrast, he is summarizing the unique era characteristics and features. He focuses on power sources, tracks (including switches and crossings), and other elements (wheels, baseplates, in addition to unique features, such as trucks, couplings and buffers). The grey (12 V) era sections stands out of course, as this was the most diverse and most creative train theme ever (IMHO, of course!). Here you will find an – again unique – compilation of “remote-controlled accessories”, “windows and doors”, “light bricks”, “weighted bricks” … What I personally find extremely useful – and it must have been a considerable effort – is i) a summary table, listing the most important features of each era, and ii) Holger’s evaluation of these features he headlines as “Seen from today’s perspective”. Even long-time and experienced train enthusiasts will surely find valuable information in this chapter! Part 2 “BASIC PRINCIPLES Let’s dive into the world of LEGO elements and explore the endless ways to connect them.” Now that one knows the individual features of the different eras, Holger opens part two of the book with a compilation of relevant LEGO pieces for train building. It is really surprising how many there are! I have built trains myself – seeing all the various elements nicely grouped and organized makes it so much easier to get an overview of individual pieces, select the ones you may want to try out – and compare them to other options. This section is extremely helpful when you start off with a new model – or when you want to overhaul an already existing train. In the following section, Holger introduces typical train specific building techniques (although you can use many of them throughout the entire LEGO universe!). And is not surprising that there are eleven dedicated pages on SNOTing and fractional-plate offsetting in all three dimensions. These are the most crucial techniques when shaping the look of a train. SNOT (studs not on top) is a powerful technique and has become very popular among train fans. Originally rather restricted to a few elements, which allowed to “reverse” the building order, the LEGO Company has released a broad variety of SNOT elements over time. These are of course also shown in the preceding chapter on relevant LEGO train pieces. I’d say that this chapter is extremely important for beginners and of great interest to experts as there are various approaches shown side-by-side. At least for me this chapter is highly inspiring. The same is true for plate offsetting, i.e., building with only one half stud or even less displacement off the stud grid. First, the look of a train becomes much smoother even when not using curved bricks; secondly, this technique allows you to literally “build” colored surfaces with fine structures and even thin stripes (called microstriping). Without using stickers that is … Ever used minifig guns to create pantographs? Or ice skates as door handles? No? Well – Holger shows you! “DESIGNING YOUR OWN MODELS You might be wondering if you’re ready to begin making your own models. Which train should you build? Maybe you should start with the commuter train that takes you to work every day, or a freight train? And who hasn’t dreamed of a beautiful steam engine in LEGO?” Now we are getting down to business. The following two chapters of part 2 are not about “building a train” – they are about “how to do it right”. We are talking about scaling and modeling rather than “pushing along”. Before Holger goes into details though, he points out the importance of thoroughly choosing a scale. This is an extremely important decision to be made when attempting to model a real-world train. How much detailing is required? How much abstraction is allowed? Citing Holger again (page 73): “Building a recognizable model isn’t about scaling every part exactly, although proportion matters. Intentionally omitting some details or exaggerating others is usually necessary. Scale modeling with LEGO is a bit like drawing a caricature: the end result may not be an exact likeness, but it is recognizable and undeniable.” We learn about model scales (1, L, O, HO …), alternative approaches (scaling by wheel size) as well as choosing a model width (6-, 7-, 8-stud-wide). Don’t mix these up – almost any scale may be used for any track width! There are so many diverse examples here on EB. Holger narrows the scope of widths covered in his book to 6 - 8 stud wide (see cover page of the book), as these are the widths most builders choose – in addition to the official 6-wide LEGO models. He discusses the advantages and downsides of each of these widths in detail. A very important aspect when designing and building a LEGO train – regardless of the model scale – is the official LEGO track geometry. Maximum distances of fixed axles, alleviation of this rather restricted distance using articulated single trucks (a theme repeatedly discussed here on EB), sliding middle axles in three axle trucks – you will find all the answers in this book. When it comes to attaching cars to each other – even more design aspects have to be considered, which are all discussed: Pivot points vs car distance, additional pivot points to reduce car distance, the effect of pivot points on design issues, to name a few. And then: Steam engine design: 7 full pages! As far as I am concerned, steam engines are the most challenging models to render in LEGO. To say it with Anthony Sava’s words: “I'd buy a set with a steam engine in it, but I have little interest in buying a box on wheels.” (EB Forum, April 2nd 2018). Holger shows us all the challenges and caveats. The remaining sections in this chapter are: Power and Control, discussing mostly the implementation of PF elements, Modeling Details, and Track Design and Layout. Again, extremely valuable information and guides are given. One comment on third party suppliers: At the time of writing this book, both SBrick controllers (as a replacement for PF receivers, featuring wireless Bluetooth connectivity) as well as ME Models (as a supplier of wider radii curves) were actively present on the market. As of now (i.e., August 2018) though, the new LEGO Powered Up system introduced lately makes SBricks for trains almost obsolete – and Me Models have gone out of business some time ago. There are a good number of very good 3rd party alternatives for additional track pieces – large curve radii, complex switch point geometries to name only a few. They come as superb injection molded pieces which are almost indistinguishable from original LEGO track, as well as 3D printed varieties. I believe that a book of the format Holger has chosen simply does have to deal in-depth with such developments as they are much more volatile than almost any LEGO product. Taking aside the LEGO RC interim solution of course. But again, Holger gives a full account of why RC happened at all and why its lifetime was even shorter than that of many 3rd party small businesses. I really enjoyed this section very much. Regarding very recent developments by TLG naturally not covered in the book (the original German manuscript was written in 2015/16): The introduction of the Powered Up system leaves much more space within a train engine so that all the building tips and tricks provided in Holger’s book become even more intriguing! It appears as we can even more freely combine advanced power/remote control options with the present advanced building instructions. Which makes this book even more valuable! “CASE STUDIES IN DESIGN Armed with the tools and knowledge about LEGO modeling covered in the previous chapters, we’ll now take a closer look at the actual design process using some of my own builds as a guide.” This chapter needs to be explored – interpreted – by yourself. This is – as far as I am concerned – the heart of the book. Here you will learn how to begin designing a model. I find this part the most difficult: How to begin – looking at the all the bricks, plates, slopes, clips, there are so many of them … so we should take this to our heart: “Designing a model is a creative and personal process: there’s no right or wrong way to build a successful model. The guidelines in this section are meant to get you started. You’ll certainly develop your own strategies along the way.” Along with: Decide on a scale and choose the width: 6-, 7-, or 8-wide? Decide how the train will be powered and what type of track it’ll run on. Choose a target audience: should it be a realistic, recognizable model, or are play functions more important? You will notice: This is about >you<! Nevertheless, you will also learn a lot in this chapter. Holger has chosen a regional express train (Bombardier double deck train), a powerful electric locomotive (Siemens Vectron engine), and a (well, Holger is German after all …) steam engine (BR 10) as case studies. This is a very clever selection – as the techniques he shows apply to almost every engine I am aware of – including American diesels as well as American steamers … or all the various European trains, Emanuele (EB member LT12V) is currently presenting here on EB … And finally … Part 3 “BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS! Get inspired with these step-by-step instructions for building an Inter-City Express, a simple gondola, a Swiss Electric Locomotive Be 6/8 “Crocodile,” a vintage passenger car, and a steam engine.” From page 136 to 227 you will find first class, high(est)-quality building instructions for the above referenced models. There is nothing more to add. As said: This book is a must … Play Well! @Jim Thank you very much Jim for giving me the opportunity of writing this review for EB - it was a great pleasure. And for sending me this wonderful book! @HoMa Thank you Holger for writing this book. And for all the additional information you gave me when writing this review and for your comments! Thanks for reading, Thorsten
  14. I bought a set from bricklink a while ago and tested out the electronics, only to find that they were acting really strange. I'll try to explain it is as clear as possible but i may mess up a bit. So the set came with 4 motors, one of each kind, XL, L, M and Servo, and these all work perfectly fine on my own battery packs and recievers. But now i hook them up to the included recievers, so XL on red, L on blue, but then only the XL motor works. Now i'll switch them arround, but yet again it's only the XL motor that works, but now on the red channel. The L motor does function correctly when hooked up to a different reciever or straight to a battery pack. Further testing shows the XL motor works on all my recievers, both red and blue channels. The L motor works on 2 out of 4 recievers but only on either red or blu side, not both sides on the same reciever The Servo motor worked on none. And the M motor worked on 3 out of 4, also on just one side per reciever, either red or blue. And again all the motors work directly on the battery pack, or when hooked up to known good reciever. So what's going on here? How does one motor work on a reciever, but another does not? Can i throw away the motors or are the recievers at fault here? It's really frustrating because i am in the midst of making a deal with the seller aswell, but i can't without knowing exactly what's broken. It's like the recievers are picky in which motors they want to actuate and which ones not, but how's that even possible?
  15. Haddock51

    My Own Lego World

    Three years ago, I finished my Lego Train 9V Extreme Project. And now it's time to inaugurate My Own Lego World, a Project that - on and off - has been ongoing for approx. 30 months. This layout includes many vintage Lego sets from the time our daughters grew up. Most of these sets are from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. Some originate from more recent years. My Own Lego World covers the following themes: City Paradisa & Beach Container Port & Shark Bay Outdoor activities World Cup Soccer (1998) Space & Space Center Airport, Aircrafts and Air Show Tivoli Train 9V In addition, it also includes several MOCs (e.g. signal box, track traverses, observation tower, stairways, open-air cinema, church, windmill and cableway base station with "elevator" tower) and a battery driven cableway (Rigi Lehmann). Addendum #1: Technical data & details Construction: Level 0: 74 cm above floor Level 1: 17 cm above level 0 Level 2: 36 cm above level 0 Top of Lego World: 214 cm above floor Layout dimensions: Level 0: 3.8 x 3.8 m (with two islands of 0.75 x 0.75 m) Level 1: 0.5 x 3.6 m plus 0.5 x 0.5 m Level 2: 0.5 x 2.1 m Total layout area (excl. Moon Base and Top of Lego World): approx. 17 sqm Train 9V: Total track length incl. sidings and dead-ends: approx. 51 m Total track length incl. Lego Train 9V Extreme layout: approx. 224 m with - all in all - 67 power connections to rails Including train shelves, 2 296 rails and switches are now deployed in this room with a total length of approx. 311 m: 1 871 straight (whereof 675 for train shelves), 330 curved, 51 modified straight (4, 8, 10, 12 and 14 studs), 19 standard-, 14 halfcurve and 11 crossover switches (eight switches are electrically operated). Movable train bridge between My Own Lego World and Lego Train 9V Extreme layout Gradients: approx. 6.5 and 8 percent Min. clearance: approx. 12 cm Track Design Program: Track Designer Application (R) version 2.0 by Matthew D. Bates (Matts LEGO (R) Train Depot) Electrics/Electronics: 1 power supply unit Voltcraft EP-925, 3-15V(DC), max 25A 2 modified train speed regulators (4548) with LM350T regulators, 3A diodes, outside heatsinks (with a thermal resistance of 1.9 K/W), mini fans and digital thermometers to measure temperatures inside the speed regulator boxes 3 standard train speed regulators (4548) 15 power connections to rails approx. 200 m RK cable 1.5 sqmm 1 LED strand (2 m) with dimmer Märklin pins and sleeves Cableway: Distance: aprox. 4.8 m Height difference: approx. 1.0 m Construction materials: 10 tables 0.75 x 1.5 m and 3 tables 0.75 x 0.75 m wood (45 x 45 mm) and wood strips (22 x 43 mm) MDF boards (6 and 10 mm) ground grass and ballast (Busch, Faller) fishline 0.47 mm cable conduits angle irons straps paint Addendum #1: Pictures Addendum #3: Videos Cableway:
  16. The Glacier Express with Panorama Carriages (Stadler Rail) - one of the world`s most beautiful and mopst famous trains - is now part of my train collection! The GEX has been on my wish list for many, many years. And now, this train dream has come true - what a great feeling! This train evokes so many memories, not the least our GEX journey from St. Moritz to Zermatt in First class some years ago, a fabulous experience with breathtaking sceneries and a superb service onboard. My Glacier Express is built 7-wide and consists of: a Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) locomotive type HGe 4/4 II with two 9V engines and a length of 40 studs, four Panorama Carriages First class (Rhätische Bahn) with a length of 46 studs each, a Dining Carriage (RhB) with two 9V engines and a length of 46 studs. The total train length is approx. 2,3 meters and the total weight amounts to approx. 3,8 kg. All beams are strengthened with supermagnets. To build this train has been a journey with multiple challenges, not the least all the decals. Special thanks to Knivsta Tryckeri, our local printing house, for their superb support! And thank you also to Selander for his inspiring advice during this project. And this is what my Glacier Express looks like: And this is what the Glacier Express looks like in reality: PS: The Glacier Express is a registered trademark.
  17. There were two trains at Disneyland opening day in 1955, and these were the Retlaw series. Retlaw 1 was the passenger train which consisted of one baggage, four passenger cars, and the observation car. Five of which are no longer used or were sold. (but the observation car is still used - as the Lilly Belle parlor car as seen in the official set) However, in this fictional revised version of the train, this retirement didn't happen, though they were modified. (Also, Retlaw 1 was NOT normally pulled by the engine C.K. Holliday, instead, it was pulled by the E.P. Ripley. But I forgot about this fact when I digitally built it / took the pictures.) The real Retlaw 1 was originally a yellow painted train, featuring front facing seats until it was mostly retired in 1971. The observation car of Retlaw 1 then became a parlor car known as the Lilly Belle. (named after Walt Disney's wife Lillian) This fictionalized train is in the revised, post-1971 color scheme of the Lilly Belle also has two passenger cars plus a baggage car with opening side doors. These cars all have side facing seats, as if Retlaw 1 were around and used in modified format after the 1971 overhaul of the Retlaw 1 observation car into the Lilly Belle. As a side note, each of the cars feature a removable wall for getting at the inside details, as in set 71044. The baggage car features two sliding doors in red, though other colors are an option to stand out more. (I prefer black doors, but that's not prototypical!) The side wall comes off, as it does on all the cars, to reveal seating. In this car, that means luggage room and two seats. The two coaches are identical in every way, and are also quite similar to the parlor car at first glance. The inside features side seating, as in the Disneyland park... this also allows for easier moving of figures, and placing them in any of the five seats per car. This is the stock LEGO set 71044 version of the parlor car, but I thought you guys would like to see it alongside everything else. The inside of the Lilly Belle is different than the other cars, featuring a table, three seats, and a bunch of table-top items (I couldn't find the teacups in my program, or make the flower pot work, so they are missing here!) The rear of the whole train. This train was designed with my father and his trains in mind, though he doesn't want to build them in real life. (This explains the 9v motor hooked onto the tender, as that's his preferred system) Thus I'm going to give away the LDD file for them, which you can find it at on my Bricksafe page.
  18. You can find a sneak preview od the 3D printed sample on our IG: Performance is around 10% faster RPM and torque compared to the 5292 motor (cca 20% more power). The polyfuse protection will be increased from 0,9 A to around 1,35 A - still testing the balance between performance and longetivity. Improved attachment possiblities, everything fits as it should in the studless building system The final version color will be between LGB and DBG. It will come with a 30 cm long PF cable plug, so it's compatible with BuWizz 2.0 and PF. Preorder here: More info when it becomes available.
  19. Pelzer117

    (9V) RED train motor

    Hi everyone, I know I am asking for a "non existing" part, but I want to create a collective thread for this topic. Maybe someone will find a way.. I am not sure any more because in realitiy this part should not exist, but I can swear that somewhere I saw a german loco (BR 51 or 53) with RED side covers for the 9V motor. Sadly the only thing I found was a "dark red" or "brown" version, what is in fact on a chinese (AUSINI) train. But it depends on the photos. At some pictures it looks like more red then brown: Interesting is the video, where the motor is dyed (not painted), maybe this could be a way to "create" a red train motor. 9V Red Train Motor (dyed) I also thought about to convert a 12V motor into a 9V or PF motor (because of the red cover of the 12V). Did someone tried this out?
  20. I have an android smartphone with an ir blaster and the rcx uses ir so can I control it with my smartphone? If I have to use some specific tools or need to do something complicated so it'll work I can.
  21. So, this mod started with me wanting to rebrick the 7760 Diesel Shunter. The plan was to replace the expensive parts with similar cheaper ones. After doing so i wasn´t really happy with the frankenstein-like 9V - 12V mix i had created, so I decided to redo it and mod the Engine with modern parts. This is the result: 7760 - Diesel Shunter 9V Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7760 - Diesel Shunter 9V Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7760 - Diesel Shunter 9V Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7760 - Diesel Shunter 9V Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7760 - Diesel Shunter 9V Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr 7760 - Diesel Shunter 9V Mod by Henrik S, auf Flickr Feel free to comment and critize, i hope you enjoy the pictures
  22. Eki1210

    [MOC] DB Class 111

    Hello everyone. I´d like to present you my version of a DB Class 111. DB Baureihe 111 by Henrik S, auf Flickr A view of the front. I used bley frames for the windows, i think it fits well and looks very much like the prototype. I´m not quite sure if it would look better if the windows were rotated to their sides. It would certainly need a lot of tinkering and a bigger change to the front-section of the loco. DB Baureihe 111 by Henrik S, auf Flickr A closer look at the Pantograph. I´m quite satisfied with how they came out . DB Baureihe 111 - Pantograph by Henrik S, auf Flickr Please feel free to tell me your opinions and offer critique where you see fit. Best regards and thanks for stopping by! Reference picture
  23. So I was thinking about using some parts in ways they weren't meant or in a unique way. But I found something much better than that. THE LEGO 9V SYSTEM. I saw connectors that are stackable on bricklink. Could you connect them in a way so the result is a parallel or series connection? Just think about the possibilities. Like 18 volt to a motor or not having to change the batteries in your set for double the time. You could also take the rechargeable battery boxes and make a fake and at the same time totally Lego buwizz clone. And it would perform even better. If I'm right the buwizz can supply 11.4v while a rechargeable battery box can supply 7.5v so 7.5v*2=15v! Please tell me that this theory is true. Edit: Ok I found it the names are plate with contacts. I found it on bricklink.
  24. So I bought an rcx 2.0 and have some power functions extension cables that can also convert between PF and 9v. If I would connect PF to an rcx would it work?
  25. Mestari

    Parisian Restaurant

    Hello! I would like to show you my rendition of the Chez Albert Parisian Restaurant :) There aren't many things in common with the beloved modular, I simply wanted to have my own idea about what a Parisian restaurant may look like. And the one from creator was simply too small.. So without further ado, here it is: It all began in January 2018 when we visited our family and they had this painting on the wall (reproduction of a fragment only): This served as inspiration to my build which of course was not an exact representation of that building, but it was a good start. It took me around 18 months to complete this party due to size, family obligations and some "great" ideas I had like including all interiors and a 9V lighting system for the ground floor and one of the rooms on the first floor. But I like the effect :) You turn the lights on and off by removing part of the awning which gives you access to old style 9V battery box: The building is modular: On the ground floor there is the restaurant together with toilet for the guests and restaurant kitchen. There is also a staircase leading to apartments upstairs: I also thought that including a part of build that no-one will ever see or notice is brillaint idea, here is the restaurant ceiling for you to enjoy ;) You can also see all the lights - 3 for restaurant, 1 for the entry and 1 for kitchen. Then there goes floor number one and first apartment with bathroom, corridor, bedroom and living room with kitchenette. First view from the top: and view of the kitchenette: Second floor has similar layout, just different finish: The attic is a typical place for singles ;) No dedicated bedroom... and a view of the kitchenette (a shot from a WIP): and last but not least - the roof! It was supposed to be flat, but since this is LEGO it bends up like a boat... I plan to complement this building with another one of similar size. Together they will form a small wall of buildings, a mini version of a street. This is already a work in progress that will likely not be finished this year. But who knows ;) I hope you enjoy this one for now :)