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  1. Dear everyone, we hope you all have a great start of your autumn! With September drawing to a close, and October quickly approaching, the time has come to announce our latest installment of our OcTRAINber build competition! This year, the challenge is… The Foreign Challenge! The goal of the foreign challenge is to promote outside-the-box thinking and change up people’s build lists. In general, most builders tend to stick with what they know, which is often what is local to them. As such, not as many people break that mold and build something that is not local to them. Hopefully all participants can appreciate building something out of their comfort zone! BMR is certainly excited about this challenge, and we hope to see many rise to the occasion. Rules: “Foreign” is defined as: Any locomotive, rolling stock, structure, or other railroad-related item that was NOT designed OR used in the native country of the builder. So, being from the Unites States, I could not enter legitimately with a United States locomotive such as a Santa Fe F7. I’m sure you get the point. Entries must be original models. No stealing. We are making no rules for the scale you choose to model in. We are welcoming models of 6, 7, and 8 studs, and anything in between or beyond. However, we appreciate detail and accuracy. Reasonably sized models are usually better for that, but we don’t knock anything or anyone with serious skill. NEW BUILDS ONLY. We are willing to accept anything unpublished or anything that was not published before September 1st 2018 as new. We want to inspire and promote a challenging build, entering an old model doesn’t quite work in that regard. Entries MUST be made on our Flickr group in the appropriate thread: real-life entries in the real-life thread, and digital entries in the digital thread. This is the ONLY place we will be looking for entries, nowhere else. Sending photos to us on social media or showing us in person do not count as entries. We will be accepting entries from Midnight on October 1st to midnight on November 1st. There is possibility of a grace period to ensure those that need that one final Bricklink order have a fair chance. Entries and Prizes We are allowing digital entries and real life builds, but everyone is limited to one entry only to keep things fair. We will have three prizes available: Top staff pick of the real-life entries Runner up real-life entry Top staff pick of the digital entries We want to focus on and inspire some real building here, so this explains why more prizes are available for the real-life entries. Prizes will be revealed in an upcoming article on BMR. Different from the previous year, we want to encourage you to show off your WIPs this year as well, to make OcTRAINber really a month that is all about trains within the Lego community. Therefore, extra credit will be given to the best WIP stories and/or pictures during the event. Specific information about WIP points will be mentioned in an upcoming article on BMR. We will pick the winners after we have announced the official close of the competition and have stopped accepting new entries, which will be some time after November 1. Once the judges have come to a sound conclusion regarding the winners, we will post one final article announcing them, and then we will be in contact with those winners regarding their prizes. Judges will also be announced in an upcoming article on BMR. Thanks for reading, and now it’s time for some building! Again, we will only accept entries after midnight on October 1. Until then, start planning! We are seriously looking forward to this competition, especially after how much fun last year was. If there are any questions, please feel free to ask us; we are more than happy to provide clarification. Happy building from the Staff of Brick Model Railroader! BTW: For more information and extras it's always wise to check out both, our Flickr and our Facebook, but we will ofcourse try our best to also answer your questions here on the famous Train Tech forums!
  2. Since the OcTRAINber is almost over, I want to show you my entries. I’m curious what you have to say. Let's start with Union Pacific EMD DDA40X. So I decided to build something big, not usually found in Europe. I hoped across the pond and found a 30m long Union Pacific EMD DDA40X produced by GM. I just love those big locos with 4 axle boogies. I eyeballed the proportions, to get the good overall look. It’s 6 studs wide and who knows how long. ;) It has a distinguished nose of the cabin, and one-piece fuel tank under the frame (which is made out of curved technic panels). It’s more of a stationary model, it’s not motorized (but it can be with some creative constructing, which I did when I built EMD DD35A last year, my favorite one BTW), and with that long 4 axle boogies it cannot handle Lego curved tracks, although there is no problem going straight. The side doors on the body opens to reveal the V16 engine (two of them actually). I did the most detailing I could on just two studs wide engine (that’s all the room left inside the body). Next one is Union Pacific ALCO C855. So, once again I traveled to the U.S. with this exceptional Union Pacific’s ALCO C855 (American Locomotive company’s Century 855) locomotive. This is my first ever 8 studs wide train. It has 4 2-axle boogies, openable little doors to get to the engine bay and a little interior for 2 minifigs. On the inside there are 2 detailed locomotive’s V16 engines (251C engines). The model is motorized with a 9V AAA battery with the switch for it cleverly disguised. The train motor is the inner boogie on the back. And same boogie sides (let’s call them that, because I don’t know the real name) are attached to the train motor, with some creative bricking. Now this one can handle any Lego curved track, because of the separate boogies (that’s the reason why I decided to build it). And the last one (my favorite of the three) is Schnabel Car CCRX 40010. I decided to go out in style. Keeping in with the theme of “big” I designed this (well not so big, only 20 axles) Schnabel car. The ultimate in rail transport. This one is owned by a U.S. company and attracted my attention because of the unusual axle configuration and color. I started off with system pieces and built boogies and main deck trying to replicate the look and shape of the real thing, all the while keeping it strong and functional. But then I went “off the rails”, ditched system bricks and went technic for the main carrier, building it strong and light. The general shape is there but not all the details. All the components are there, including the connection for the cargo that is specifically designed for the Schnabel car, along with the optional deck insert for the cargo that isn’t. I made my deck insert retractable so it varies in length, 31 – 39 studs. The model is 8 studs wide and compatible with all other Lego trains. With 7 pivot points on one side it can handle any curves. I played a little bit with colors so that it doesn’t look too dull. And it looks awesome paired with my ALCO C855. All the pictures and LXF files are available on my Bricksafe page.
  3. As a proud Brit I wondered for a while what I could enter into this fine contest. Quite a lot of the world's railways still uses equipment designed and built right here in the UK, and I wanted to try to build something distinctive and clearly not British. Earlier this year I designed my own LEGO version of the Oslo Tram 2020 concept but, as much as I like it, I decided that I didn't want to rush into building it. Then I had a brainwave. Come with me to South America, to the Andes and the high Altiplano on the borders of Peru and Bolivia. Life is harsh and transportation is difficult over the inhospitable terrain of the Andes. And yet the railways exist even here. But there are no modern express trains whisking extravagantly coiffed socialites in air conditioned comfort, no at-seat refreshment service offering a selection of hand-ground coffees and artisan baked goods, and certainly no high-speed rail connections linking the glittering capitals of these two proud nations. Instead, there is this. It's a 1952 Dodge "Ferrobus", one of a motley selection of improvised railbuses running on Bolivia's metre gauge network. No other rail vehicles are light enough to safely traverse the poorly maintained track, and so these plucky little vehicles ply back and forth across the Andes and provide a lifeline to isolated communities. Even so, derailments and other mishaps are not uncommon and the service depends on the skill and determination of the crew to deal with any situation that may arise. I have no personal connection with these railbuses, as I have never travelled to the Andes to gain first-hand experience of them. However, as a railwayman myself, I have a great admiration for my Bolivian colleagues who run these services and for the vehicles which seem so unsuited to such a large and demanding challenge. My entry will be a tribute to the railways of the Andes and to the people who run them. As you can see, I'm already quite a long way through the design process because I started my designs within a couple of days of the announcement of this year's contest. Most of the body is done, although the roof still needs to be finished together with the roof rack and other details, and I still have to decide where to hide the battery. Some parts of the model have already gone through quite a few redesigns, most notably the front bogie, and there are some parts I'm still not sure about. I'm borrowing the power and control concept from the tiny TRAXX loco I built a couple of years ago, with drive from an M motor, control coming from an SBrick and power from a 9V PP3 battery. My initial thoughts are to run this train on standard LEGO narrow gauge tracks, but this means that a fixed rear axle, as used on the prototype, would be unworkable. Therefore, I have designed a small and hopefully unobtrusive bogie to allow the rear axle to articulate, but I may come back and revisit this idea later.
  4. For my digital entry for OcTRAINber 2018, I have decided to model a Hungarian rail maintenance vehicle of which I found a few pictures online. (Picture found here: It looks to be the right proportion of interest and buildability, with just enough space to hide PF. I have already got quite far with it; I started work in LDD soon after deciding on this prototype. After a long, head-racking session on the model this evening, I had finally got the entire cab and nose shaped up well. So here's what I can show you: Yep. Unfortunately, when moving the model around the "stage" in LDD, most of it disappeared suddenly; I must have hit the "D" key or something. I should have instantly closed the program and reopened to regain my last save point. However, I clicked around a bit and discovered the bricks were still "there"; their blue outlines would show, as if they were "hidden". So I saved before closing and reopening, only to find even the blue lines had gone. So now I'm now left with this. No WIP to show you, and no way to recover the work of the past two days. Oh well, I hope I can rebuild it from memory; if so, I'll be back with an actual model tomorrow. Certainly one way to start a competition entry!
  5. This train was created for the Brick Model Railroad OcTRAINber contest. Rarely seen on the lunar rails is the classic Space Train. This 69 stud long locomotive is an all-in-one train setup for transporting and launching missiles. Up front is the engineer’s compartment with full computer support to enable one man operations. Behind him is the electrical cabinet with satellite communications dish (PF receiver and AAA battery box). After the transformer is the crew compartment (roof opens for ease of access). Designed for comfort, it includes a bunk, microwave, and small pantry cabinet. Besides the creature amenities, it has two workstations. The right side wall console is primary satellite and orbital management while the aft console is for missile operations. Separated from the crew by a duratanium firewall is the missile bay. Due to the need to launch missile from any location to reach the desired orbit, the train itself is designed as the launch platform. When the top hatch opens, the missile is raised to launch position while doors on the side open up to allow the hot gasses to escape. The locomotive is capable of carrying one missile with satellite payload at a time. Behind the missile storage area is the power reactor, defensive plasma cannon, and thrusters. The plasma cannon turret can rotate 270 degrees around and the barrel can elevate to 80 degrees. The main engines provide the majority of the thrust while cruising the lunar landscape. The Swoosh 69 studs long, Power Function equipped, capable of handling R40 curves, and the lights turn on too! Benny would so approve.