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Found 6 results

  1. Commander Wolf

    [MOC] EMD Model 40 switcher

    Hey EB, it's time for another train MOC! Today's locomotive is the EMD Model 40, a small industrial switcher made in very limited quantity in the early 40s. The model is approximately 1:48 scale, contains about 360 parts, and weighs about 360 grams. Much like my PRR A6b, this locomotive is an oddity among American locomotives in that it only has two axles, but that's what makes this model possible! The genesis of this build goes way back to the micromotor boxcab I built a few years ago. I was not too happy about various aspects of my implementation, and the model was dismantled after not too long. I had been wanting to try my hand at another micromotor locomotive since then, but I was also waiting for a good prototype to show up. So when forum member jtlan showed me the Model 40 a few months ago, I of course first thought, "hey maybe time for a new micromotor model". Alas, initial investigation indicated that the Model 40 was probably not a good candidate for micromotor traction: the locomotive turned out to be much larger than it looked - almost double the size of the old mini boxcabs. I was going to stop there, but I had a suspicion that prompted me to keep looking at different drivetrain layouts, and eventually I began to realize the size of the engine was more blessing than curse because... At 1:48 scale the Model 40 is probably the smallest locomotive by volume in which you can put a full PF drivetrain. Figuring out how to fit everything in there certainly took a couple nights, but there's basically two "tricks" I had to recognize: 1) The cab is just big enough to accommodate the battery box, but it must be in a studs-sideways orientation 2) What I call the "monkey motor" (because it came from a Creator set that made a motorized monkey) has the output shaft mounted lower than the "usual" 9v geared motor The second point is important because it allows me to connect the motor to a shaft below it with only one gear stage and without excessively large gears (a little more on this in a bit). After solving the layout problem there were of course the usual challenges of how to bolt everything together and actually model the various details of the engine. While the motor and receiver fit perfectly in the two hoods, it was difficult to tile all the sides of each end with the limited peripheral space available: the front and rear grill panels are actually attached from the bottom by hinges. The running boards are only connected near those panels and simply rest on the fuel tanks, which attach to the chassis. The battery box and the cab are connected by gravity: they simply rest on each other such that it's easy to remove the roof to access the power button and it's easy to remove the battery box to access the batteries. Two more neat details I thought were worth pointing out: 1) I used a set of click hinges to create a structurally integral step, which allowed me to mount the battery box one plate lower than otherwise: 2) There's a little bit of business done to allow 1:1 gearing with 16-tooth gears, and I'm quite happy with the torque/power curve with 1:1 gearing. The underside of the chassis: At this point some of you might be going "waitaminute...", and you might be correct! Until I tried it explicitly, I didn't think installing the 16-tooth gear at the same height as the driving wheels was supposed to work. If you do it with the old 9v wheelsets, the teeth of the gear will fall below the railhead and contact anything at that height. However, the official wheels with the rubber bands are just big enough such that the teeth now clear the railhead, even if just barely! You can see I applied permanent marker to the teeth of the lower gear for testing. None of the ink got scraped off when passing over switches, etc. Other random thoughts: The livery was not intended to be a prototypical. Since all of the 11 units built went to different industrial operators, and many seem to have changed hands some, I felt that the colors of some fictional industry was plausible. The number is kind of an easter egg, but I dunno if anyone will get it. Many of these pictures were taken in a DIY lightbox that jtlan and myself put together. This is the first time either of us have tried photographing models in such a thing, and for the amount of time we spent on our box, the results seem quite good. Other than that, I think there aren't any other construction details worth mentioning that aren't obvious in the pictures. There's a couple more pics in the gallery, but the model's so small there's not that much to see! Video coming eventually; have a nice day!
  2. Hey folks, this is my first time doing a proper scale model that isn't a train, so I wanted to get some thoughts before progressing. Don't see too many ship models either, so hopefully adding some variety too! Kongo was one of four battlecruiser-turned-fast-battleships that served in the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War I and II. The lead ship of the class, Kongo was built in Britain between 1911 and 1913, upgraded many times throughout her life, and ultimately sunk by torpedo in late 1944. The prototype I am referencing is presumably of the ship as she looked around the time of her sinking: I'd been reluctant to try my hand at a ship because the complex curves of a hull appear to be very difficult to model well, but I've also been playing World of Warships for the past few years, and it's inspired me to try my hand at this. The Kongo is of course The Best Ship in The Game. Worrying about the shape of the hull seems to be unfounded so far... once I decided to build it studs-out, I just traced my drawing in plates and the curvature seems pretty smooth (warning this is a big picture). I've made a first pass at everything above the waterline at this point sans some internal structure. I'm building the upper and lower hull separately such that the ship can hopefully be displayed as a waterline model or as a complete model depending on the setting: Overall, most of the features of the ship are probably slightly too tall, but I'm generally pretty happy with the result so far. Any thoughts are appreciated!
  3. Commander Wolf

    [MOC] Miscellaneous Train Projects

    Finally getting around to posting some of these... I've been doing a bunch of small projects this year that I don't feel warranty their own thread, so this thread is going to be a home for said small projects. PRR MP54 Some years ago I built a set of PRR P54 coaches to go with my PRR T1. At the time I thought a fun future project would be to convert the cars to MP54 spec - the EMU version of the same car. Well, the future is now! Over the past few years I've been trying to build trains using all of various the LEGO motors, and the PF train motor was still on my hit list. I don't like the PF train motor that much because it doesn't have any low-speed torque, and the wheel spacing hasn't been correct for anything I've made so far. Recently I remembered about the MP54, and I thought it would be the perfect application - fast and doesn't need a lot of torque. Here is one of the original P54s as built: And here is the MP54 conversion: Of course the main difference is that there is a battery box, receiver, and motor in the MP54, but I've also updated the original model over the years, most noticeably by slowly collecting all the frames and glass. Other minor changes include the addition of headlights and a more vanilla bogie design to match the PF motor frames. Of course you want to see it go: I was really entertained by how fast it goes! Usually I prefer gearing down such that you get more torque and less speed, but watching this zip along is a fun change of pace. The pulling power isn't actually all that bad either, but as expected, you need to be going pretty fast before the PF train motor is generating any torque. One more interesting thing is that I'm actually using BBB wheels on the PF motor instead of the usual tyred wheels. I originally tried with the official wheels, but I due to the low torque I felt like it was really bogging down in the corners, so I tried the BBBs. This is a much smoother configuration, and it doesn't feel like I'm losing all that much grip. It can definitely pull at least the other two P54s and maybe another car or two. Okay, more to come soon. Hopefully.
  4. Commander Wolf

    TTX Articulated Intermodal Spine Car

    This project started, in a wholly different form, several years ago in response to two thoughts I had: "How can I make a long train without making excessively expensive?" and "I really want some modern rolling stock". Originally the obvious answer was articulated well cars. Well cars have very little structure to build, and Jacobs bogies mean relatively few wheels and even fewer couplers per unit length (compared to a train of the same length made up of "regular" 4-axle, 2-bogie rolling stock), both of which are particularly expensive parts. I would need to build containers to "fill out" the train, but that did not seem to be a big issue. Unfortunately the articulated well car project got to something like 95 to 99 percent completion when I pulled the plug. The car looked fine, that was never a problem, but they turned out to have more operational and structural issues than I had hoped: most poignantly they couldn't clear switch handles right after turns and the bottoms would fall out after extended running. Furthermore, to make the car look "filled" enough, I would need to build something like 15 to 20 TEU worth of containers, which increased part count and weight. Double-stacking containers also decreased stability and made the bottoms more likely to fall out. So the well cars ran empty at like one BayLTC show, and then they were shelved while I tried to think of solutions that I never found.Fast forward another year and I found out about articulated spine cars. Spine cars are similar to well cars in that they are articulated and intermodal, but spine cars trade density for flexibility: they can't carry as many containers per unit length as well cars, but they can carry containers or trailers and can fit in a small loading gauge. From a modeling perspective, spines have even less structure than wells, and more importantly can be filled with half of the 15 to 20 TEU worth of container, saving more weight and more parts. So here's the model: The car itself is 214 studs long and comprises just 1018 parts, giving a part per stud length of 4.76. For comparison a relatively tame looking "regular" piece of rolling stock like my flat car is 33 studs long with 335 parts, giving a part per stud length of 9.85 - almost twice that of the spine car, so that gives an idea of how efficient the spine car actually is. Construction is very simple. Everything is studs up save for some of the trim. The center of each section is actually pretty strong since it's just stacks of plate, but there is still a bit of structural non-integrity around the bogies since the spines have to taper down to a single plate for clearance. The most difficult part was of course making sure nothing scraped or interfered with anything when the car goes through a full R40 curve: I mocked up three sections of the car before committing to the final build: And of course, the build would not be complete without containers. With the well cars, I built an ad-hoc collection of 20 and 40 foot containers, each with a slightly different design, partly because I didn't feel like it was the main part of the build, and partly because I needed so many. Since the spine cars would need much fewer containers to load up, I decided to make them good. There's essentially two kinds of containers here: a "detailed" type and an "efficient" type. The detailed type is actually what I call the "RailBricks Container", which appeared in issue 14 of the now defunct(?) publication. The efficient type is just made of panels and detailed with a sticker in order to be light, but all the containers at least have tiled roofs to clean up the lines. There is also a trailer mostly designed by @jtlan And all the bits put together: All the weight-saving seems to have paid off as the loaded car doesn't seem to be that heavy - even my EMD Model 40 can handle the whole thing just fine. Having run it at several local LUG meetings and a full-day event, I think I have run it long enough to verify that the cars don't develop structural issues after long periods of activity. There is of course video from these runs: 0:23: Test run with the Model 40 0:31: Clearing the switch handle 0:43: Running under 9v power Full gallery here, and have a nice day!
  5. Commander Wolf

    Some Weathering Experiments

    Let me say this right off the bat: no, I'm not painting anything. A few years ago I built a PRR A6b and, and at the end of the post I threw in this "weathered" version: I wasn't that happy with it, but I wasn't too interested at the time, and I decided I'd look at it later. Well, now is later! Almost all LEGO train models are built with the assumption that the locos or cars are clean and well-kept, but this is really the exception in practice. I've seen LEGO weathering done a handful of times, but I don't feel like I've ever seen it done that well. At the same time, I don't feel like it should be that hard. So after studying some photos of real weathered locomotives, I gave it another go: Here is my U30B in black: This first weathered sample is supposed to suggest dirty with a little bit of wear. The photo exemplifies the pattern I see on such locomotives: the uneven application of dust and grime almost forms a gradient where the lower half is darker/lighter than the upper half (depending on the base color), and this gradient is largely what I'm trying to depict. I think the trick is to strike the right balance between intentional and random - I want the bottom to be primarily grey (dirty) and the top primarily black, but then I need to randomly reduce the number of grey parts as I move toward clean areas of the loco in order to suggest that gradient: This second sample is supposed to suggest rusty less than dirty. This photo is of course of a model, and I think the rust is a little aggressive, but another pattern emerges: the rust is much more evenly distributed across the body but still comes in large patches without clearly defined borders. One of the difficulties in both attempts, but more so in this one is trying to balance resolution with features: I wanted to preserve the panels and such that texture the body of the locomotive, but at the same time I wanted to break up the panels such that I wasn't making entire panels "rusty" at a time. This final sample for now is based on a Conrail N6A transfer caboose I'm working on. The "clean" model is as shown: The weathered model is more of a blend of dirty and rusty. I specifically wanted to weather this model because I could get a lot of "drawing" resolution with 1x1 plates due to the caboose's simple construction. Again, I'm largely trying to make a gradient between the trucks and the body, but I've thrown in some rust spots as well. Overall I'm fairly happy with all three results, but I wanted to get some second opinions. Are the weathered variants any good? Is it too distracting? Maybe most crucially, does anyone think the weathered variants look better than the clean variants? I'm almost certainly going to built one of these in brick to explore what it actually looks like, but any thoughts are appreciated.
  6. Well, it's been more than a year since I started work on my last locomotive MOC, the China Railways QJ. Having built most of the practical engines (not too big for R40 curves) that I was visually interested in, I had to wait a bit before my interest was piqued again on the locomotive front. My inspiration came from running the QJ at most BayLUG meetings for the past year and change. The QJ isn't necessarily unreliable or difficult to set up, but it's still not very convenient: the model isn't that easy to move around or manipulate due to the size, the tender, and the number of fragile bits. The lengthy drivetrain with its fair amount of friction and torque also prevents the engine from generating smooth low-end torque. Finally, BayLUG still runs 9v at most of our shows, and the QJ can't easily be converted to run on 9v. So this is really my second locomotive to be born of functional requirements (the first was my U30B): 1. It should be easy to transport [from here to there] and move around [a layout] 2. It should be designed with robustness as a key feature 3. It should be easily convertible between PF and 9v operation 3b. The PF components should be easily removable (also helps with charging) 3a. It should run smoothly when pushed [by a 9v power car] Requirements 1 and 3 really insist that this engine be a large tank engine: for 1 I don't need to deal with a tender when transporting or moving and for 3 it needs to be big enough to fit all of the PF stuff. It actually took me quite a bit of time to zero in on the X-10-a as large tank engines are apparently pretty rare in the US and North America: it seems that even most of our branch line and shunting steam engines were tendered. But eventually I found a drawing and the work began! What I learned from the QJ is that if the weight of the loco is properly distributed, one powered (and tyred) axle is good enough to generate usable torque. From this notion I designed the chassis to have exactly that one powered axle, which I could easily remove to remove tyres and gearing for 9v operation. For the same reason, the driven axle isn't cranked either; in the QJ I would have had to remove all of the cranks and all of the wheels to access the tyres or gears. The lack of cranks on the driven axle also lets me keep the chassis articulated, which should help minimize rolling resistance for 9v operation (say compared to a 6-coupled flange-blind-flange configuration for the drivers). The drive rods are made using the half-pin in rod-track technique, and there's a bit of a hack: the connecting rods have to go around a corner due to the articulation, so the travel is longer than the usual three studs, and the connecting rods are both loosely pinned down and made of flex. As far as I can tell this arrangement doesn't add significant friction, probably because the corner is very small. The engine is designed to be powered with two M-motors, but I'm using the E-motor right now for the novelty. Unfortunately it wasn't quite possible to get as much weight as I would have liked over the driven axle: the battery box must go behind the boiler due to its height, and that really limits weight distribution options. The loose 9v motor in the front is simulating the weight of a second M-motor, and it helps bring the net weight over the driven axle to maybe 60 percent? Here you can also see how all the bits come out of the engine: almost all of the top surfaces are detachable. Whether this is convenient enough to fulfill requirement 3 remains to be seen. Construction of the body is actually very similar to that of the QJ: structural integrity is mainly provided by studs-out beams and everything else is studs up. Stickers are created at 300DPI and printed on 3M 3200-L mailing label material. This is a small detail, but it is actually one of my favorite parts, inspired by and stolen from 60052: And finally a video showing the locomotive running. The first 70 seconds is PF running and the last 20 seconds is 9v running. For PF running I'm using the AAA battery box with AAA Eneloops and the aforementioned E-motor. The E-motor is actually pretty neat: it has a wider dynamic range than the other PF motors and it is quite quiet as well. Sadly it is a little bit underpowered as well; I'm geared down 3:5 and you can still see it struggle a little in the corners during the PF segment. The 9v segment is a bit hazy, but we ran out of sunlight because DST. The engine is actually smoother than I would have guessed in the unpowered configuration: you can see how it basically doesn't lose *any* speed in the turns, and the regulator is only turned up to notch 3. Alright, I think that's all the commentary I have on this. There is as usual a full gallery if it ever gets moderated. There's a bunch of build and reference pics there that I didn't show. Have a nice day.