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  1. February 1905: New prototype electric multiple units delivered to the Lego Railroad and Tramway Company (LRTC). With Botanical Gardens completed, I wanted a nice straightforward project to round off, and so I decided to create some appropriate Edwardian trains to go with the station. The first electric commuter railways ran in the UK in the 1900s using a variety of designs - many influenced by American practice - mainly using third (plus fourth) rail DC systems. Rather than pick a particular train and fail to replicate it, I decided to create a variety of atmospheric Lego-esque motor coaches with the same basic structure, representing the pioneering designs of times past. 8-studs wide was chosen because I wanted them to hold a useful (for commuter rail) number of minifigures (the lowest capacity design seats 12 with 9 standing). The advantages of imaginary rolling stock means that the designer is the sole arbiter of realism! Inspiration comes from the London Underground and Lancashire & Yorkshire railways amongst others, as well as later designs by the NER, L&NWR and L&SWR. I wanted to model tumblehome - a distinctive staple of British railways - with companies trying to squeeze as many people as possible into the restricted loading gauge. Doing this realistically either involves mind bending SNOT or else lots of extra weight and no room inside for minifigures (or both). In the end I settled for aircraft parts to get the smoothest simplest result. The result is a bit extreme, but I think I just got away with it. The Intention was strong imposing looking period pieces. Thoughts: These are all unmotorised and the doors don't open, I am completely at peace with that! The colour scheme is determined by part availability, I'm not a Great Western fan! Annoyingly, the new lantern has a stud both sides, meaning it can't hang vertically from a clip (surgery was required). I am looking forward to a red version, yellow as a safety colour is a relatively recent invention. Suggestions for improved door handles welcome, the plates used almost work but are not quite right. Ditto luggage racks, the solutions used don't work well for many reasons, but whatever I use has to be implementable in a two-studs-wide and six-studs-wide version. Car No 1 has external wiring on the roof for electric lighting. The wires are chopped up antenna (unfortunately not available in white). Bars would be too thick, leading to the dreaded half-plate problem. Suggestions for less clunky lamp holders welcome, they need to be circular. All other suggestions welcome, including for variations on these designs, I have parts left over.
  2. Unfortunately, progress on Botanical Gardens is now delayed while TLG decides whether 2022 parts (which were available on the old B&P site) should be made available on their new, 'improved' combined site.In the meantime, here are photos of where I have got to.The original Botanical Gardens project is here: new version will have improved construction and detailing. The full station includes restaurant, offices, lift, telephone exchange, grand staircase, ticket office, Post Office counter, left luggage counter, stairs down (to toilets, platform 2 and underground station) information desk, kiosk, news stand and florist. Platforms and glass canopy will follow in 2023.It is now joined by a twin building on the opposite side of the tracks: a substation for supplying power to the electric trains, which features four rotary converters and a control room. If Lego ever release balloon parts in trans clear, then a mercury arc rectifier will replace one of the rotary convertors.Hope you enjoy the photos, and that TLG decides to release 2022 parts soon. PS, if you can't see photos you might have a router problem, try rebooting your router
  3. I've not posted for a while but that's because Lego is a winter pursuit for me and the dark evenings have prompted me to get busy again. My Art Nouveau Station, Botanical Gardens, was everything I wanted it to be, and I've decided that I have to complete the building: The first instalment was only 1/3 of the conceptualised structure. So, here is a teaser for the next stage to be completed, the middle section, with grand staircase, lifts (not working), left luggage and entrance to stairs down (to underground station, toilets, and platform 2). The rest of the design is in my head, with the front of the station and the platforms/glass roof already planned.
  4. I've posted elsewhere that the new(ish) 3x3 windows are well-suited to railway carriages, but unfortunately they are currently only available in tan, dark brown, and dark purple. The Gate Stock Tube trains I posted earlier do look stylish and authentic in dark red and tan but I wanted to try and make good use of all three window colours with train liveries that might have appeared 100 years ago. So, out came the colour swatches to see what might go together, and I spent a month on Bricklink trying to get my head around colour-part availability (headlights, clips, windows, ugh, nothing makes sense). PURPLE WINDOWS Lets get the big mistake out of the way first. I was trying to see what might go with dark brown, a really nice stylish colour. Red worked well on the swatches, so I gave it a try. I find Lego standard red unsettling. It looks very plasticky (yes, if I don't like plasticky I am in the wrong hobby, but bear with me) and also a little bit fluorescent. It killed the dark brown, I didn't even bother photographing it. Purple is a really troublesome colour in general, and there is something particularly lurid about Lego dark purple. With those unwanted red parts from the failed dark brown experiment, I decided to give it a try. Noooooooooooo! This was horrible, the two difficult colours together gave the combination from Hell, almost literally. I couldn't bear to commute on a train in these colours, it would be like riding inside body parts. So, I needed an interesting colour (not tan or grey) that would complement and tame the purple, and be available in the necessary parts. The only contender I could find was bright light blue, which actually works reasonably well and is surprisingly available. I don't think you would have seen a livery like this 100 years ago, but does anyone have any other suggestions? To be continued ...
  5. This new train came about as a result of my combining some parts and suddenly getting a flash of inspiration, that aircraft pieces might make a rather nice Tube Train. The basis for this is London Underground Gate Stock, the first generation of EMU trains used on the earliest tube lines. of the small tunnels (just 12 feet diameter) not only were the trains reduced in size, but early electric motors were too large to fit under the passenger saloons. The solution was to have large powerful motors plus all electrical and air equipment together on a motor coach in a big compartment behind the cab. Long trains could have a motor coach at each end but motor coaches were forbidden in the middle of trains because of the safety requirement that passengers should be able to walk from end to end of a train in case of emergency without encountering electrical equipment.Air doors were not introduced on the London Underground until the 1920s. Until then, cars had gates at their ends, opened and closed by gate operators. A six coach train would require a rear guard, four gate operators and a driver. Initial passenger loads on the new Underground lines were disappointing and labour costs were ruinous, plus boarding/unloading, and departures were slow.But back to Lego City, where the year is still 1905 and a new tube line has opened to Botanical Gardens. Hmmmm, the track in the yard is somewhat uneven! The rear car is a control trailer, with no motor but controls for operating the motor coach remotely. You can see, posed next to the main line EMU trains, just how much I have shrunk down the tube trains. I could have gone even further, but I wanted a top-hatted figure to be able to sit down in the saloon. You can also see the size of the motor bogie compared with the trailer bogie. The tram wheels are awful but in the end they were not a bad size relative to the standard wheels for showing the effect. Here is a gateman, signalling to the rear guard that all is clear for his section of the train. More details of the gate end, and lots of illegal build techniques in evidence, but the gate top was so perfect I had to adapt it. The large round central buffers are prototypical, so the coupling distance is not too awful. Not many seats, one per window. Minifugures are too wide but these new 1x3x3 windows are perfect. This is how I joined the cars together. There is just enough clearance for a thin liftarm. Annoyingly it is not quite long enough: the corners of the rear platforms just catch each other on curves. If I motorise this, I will either file off the corners or else stick to R56 track. Motorisation is unlikely because of the drag caused by five bogies of those wretched tram wheels. Spot more illegal build techniques. Once you have killed your first Lego brick, it becomes easier to do it again.Final thoughts: I am not quite happy with the fronts, I think that the problem is the windows, which should really be dark red. Lego produces a terrible range of windows in a lamentable range of colours. I could have used clear panels, but they would have looked too modern for a train this age I wish I had sorted the dark red pieces before using them. The two shades are noticeably different. I am currently investigating flexible hoses for air and electrical connections between cars. I am also investigating self-adhesive printable vinyl to depict opening side windows. These coaches are slightly longer than the main line EMU prototypes I showed before, so now these will definitely have to be lengthened. really need a tube station to go with these, a wonderful one was posted here years ago, but it looks as though it would eat up bricks for a full length train.
  6. Well, now it seems that Botanical Gardens Station is also going to be served by a new Underground line, and for the Edwardian era, that means Gate Stock: [google Underground Gate Stock for lots of great photos] I have mocked up something to test various ideas for a three car train. As you can see, I have managed to keep the overhang under control, just! To save a bit of space, the trailer bogie is offset, so first question: Currently the trailer bogie is on a turntable with a couple of hollow stud plates so that I can offset it. Can anyone think of a way to save a plate's height and still offset the bogie without raising the floor? Second question, and this is my undoing, what am I going to do about couplings? I don't think there is enough clearance under the Airline parts, and raising the fuselage(!) up will be a shame. I do hope this problem is going to be fixable, because it's going to look splendid when it is finished. Any other comments appreciated. As ever, I am designing for Lego rather than striving for authenticity.
  7. Just another imagining of Emmett's house from after the events of The Lego Movie 2, in colors of set 70831, (Emmet's Dream House/Rescue Rocket!) but in the style of 10228. (Haunted House) The model opens up like a dollhouse, and lock shut on a technic pin. This flight of fancy is 100% build-able in real bricks, should I ever choose to do so. The black antenna you see on the roof is for the TV inside the house. You may ask: "Why does a Edwardian home have a vintage TV antenna?" Here is the answer: The home is based in the interior decorating styles of the 1950's, but was originally built in 1910's. It was bought as a gutted wreck by Emmet and Lucy a couple years back, and they restored it to it's former glory. (with some mid-'50's-esque additions, of course) On the side of the house is the kitchen door, which leads to the car in the driveway. On the opposite side of the home is the chimney flue, with TV antenna attached at the top. Inside the front door is the living room, with vintage rabbit-eared TV, Planty, a lamp, and Aqua-colored couch. Also on this floor we have the stove / oven unit. Upstairs is the rotary telephone and grandfather clock. The double bed, record player, and a display cabinet are also on this floor. The studs on the new fireplace should have number tiles reading 1914, as that's when the house was built.... and it's 100 years before the original LEGO Movie came out. (The two medium blue posters on the second level should have stickers depicting Emmett & Lucy both as pictures in frames.) The car is inspired by this recent @hachiroku Indiana Jones 4 build as seen here. This car fits in with Emmet's original smart car color-wise, but just a little older style-wise. (Most of the car model is already built from my last model of Emmett's house, but a few parts for the new lower side skirts are still needed.) The rear has a license plate and two (new!) coverings almost fully obscuring the rear wheels, in true early-'50's style. Six new brackets are missing from the car model on the rear bumper. (Two of these pieces in Light Bluish Gray, along with Four of this part in Black are required to finish the car.) The roof is held on by four studs, and is as such removable. I have also included light bluish gray upholstery for the back of the seat, which can fit two people next to each other. (Emmett and Lucy are the most likely occupants, obviously.) LDD file available for the complete house and car at Bricksafe here. Well, what do you think? Comments, questions, and complaints welcome!