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  1. “Everything that happens once can never happen twice. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.” If there is one thing at BMR that this could apply for, definitely now that September is coming to a close, it would be the month of OcTRAINber. And yes, just like last year, we would like to announce that this year there will indeed be another OcTRAINber building challenge! Just like last year and the year before, OcTRAINber isn’t just a regular challenge, it’s a themed challenge. Two years ago it was all about ridiculous long trains, last year it was all about foreign trains, and this year the challenge is… The Technic Challenge! As you know, OcTRAINber is all about building outside of your comfort zone. Ofcourse, all of us motorize our trains, be it with PUP, PF, IR, 9V, 12V or anything in between. But in real life, not only the wheels move. There is so much more going on in trains and trackside structures that moves around, or wiggles, or turns, or whatever it does, as long as it makes a movement. So, for this year, we thought it would be fun to challenge our Lego Train community to come up with as much train-related stuff that makes movement, other than just the regular motorization of a locomotive. And, different than the last two years, this time it doesn’t have to be a train, it can also be a trackside structure! As long as it has a form of movement not necessary to let it run on the tracks, you are good to go! Rules As per tradition, we won’t tell you as of yet any of the specifics we will use to score builds until October 1st, but, as per tradition, we will give the general rules that are necessary to enter your builds and start planning! “Moving” is defined as: A movement of any locomotive, rolling stock, structure, or other railroad-related item that is NOT indented to propel the item forwards or backwards on track. Of course, the item can have these movements (we even recommend doing this, because static trains are soooo boring), but you will only be scored on extra movements, like doors opening, or running vents, or a moving telehandler on a goods dock… So, you can enter your newly build Acela Express, and it can be 9V powered, but it needs to have some extra modes of movement included as well, otherwise we will disqualify your entry. I’m sure you get the point. Entries must be original models. No stealing. This also means no MODs, only MOCs. 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 2019 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. 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 (meaning October 31st, at 23:59 PDT). There is possibility of a grace period to ensure those that need that one final Bricklink order have a fair chance. Entries and Prizes Keep in mind that OcTRAINber is a ‘quality over quantity’-building event. This means that we rather encourage you to build one amazing build than several sub-par ones. That’s why, just like last year, we will restrict the number of entries to only one per person. We are not accepting digital entries this year to emphasize the spirit of the challenge. We haven’t finalized on prizes yet, but since this is a building challenge, we will for sure have some, just like in previous years. Just like last 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 the kick-off article, but the rules will be pretty much in line with last year’s event. 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 (who, just like last year, will be announced in an upcoming article) 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. So, that’s it for now. We are very excited about this years’ installment, hopefully the same goes for all you train-heads out there! Stay tuned for updates on the start of the challenge, the judges and the scoring when OcTRAINber starts on October 1st. So pack your gear and all aboard OcTRAINber! BTW: For more information and extras it's always wise to check out both Brickmodelrailroader.com, our Flickr and our Facebook, but we will ofcourse try our best to also answer your questions here on the famous Train Tech forums!  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As we announced a bit over a week ago, this year BMR will again run the OcTRAINber contest. OcTRAINber is a contest meant to get outside of your comfort zone and build something you haven’t thought of before. You know, that one truly special build that will spice up your layout like no other has before. All within the realm of Lego Trains, but with a twist. So, let us officially introduce you to the contest and let’s get rolling! OcTRAINber First of all, the name. It’s called OcTRAINber, if somebody had not noticed after two years. Why OcTRAINber? Well, because it’s a great intermediate month between SHIPtember and November. Also, TRAINS. Mostly TRAINS. TRAINS. “The Technic Challenge” Second of all, the subject of this years OcTRAINber. Why the Technic Challenge? Two years ago we had a ‘build your longest’ theme, and last year we were all about ‘building that foreign dream of yours’. Both of them produced some really nice models, but, in essence, they were all static. Yes, some of them were motorized, and yes, some of them even had very fancy motorization that not even us had thought of before. However, in the end motorization was just a nice have-to, not a requirement, which is strange when you think about it. Therefore, we have decided that this year everything is forced to move. The more movement, the better! The Rules The Rules have already been announced in the previous OcTRAINber post, but for completeness’ sake we have pasted them here again: “Moving” is defined as: A movement of any locomotive, rolling stock, structure, or other railroad-related item that is NOT indented to propel the item forwards or backwards on track.Ofcourse, the item can have these movements (we even recommend doing this, because static trains are soooo boring), but you will only be scored on extra movements, like doors opening, or running vents, or a moving telehandler on a goods dock. So, you can enter your newly build Acela Express, and it can be 9V powered, but it needs to have some extra modes of movement included as well, otherwise we will disqualify your entry. I’m sure you get the point. Entries must be original models. No stealing. This also means no MODs, only MOCs. 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. Also, the building of Train-related builds which aren’t trains themselves (trackside structures etc.) is stimulated, so no need to even join the 6 vs 7 vs 8 wide wars this year! NEW BUILDS ONLY. We are willing to accept anything unpublished or anything that was not published before September 1st 2019 as new. We want to inspire and promote a challenging build, entering an old model doesn’t quite work in that regard. Type of Entries Unlike the previous two years, we will only accept real-life builds this year. This has everything to do with the subject of this year’s challenge. It’s just virtually impossible to show movement in digital builds, and to prove that it actually works. To level the playing field we have thus decided not to allow digital builds. However, we will have to separate categories of Entries: Direct Drive and Indirect Drive. To explain this a bit further: Direct Drive entries are entries that are/could be driven by a separate motor that is specifically meant for that moment. So think moving crossing poles, a truck that runs around, waggling ducks, a moving carousel… You name it. The Indirect Drive category in the other hand is meant for entries that move around because of a movement that is already happening. So think a train that is already running around due to it’s train motor, but that has some movement that is kinetically powered and only moves when the train moves. Does your Entry have both? Well, then you are in luck and you can enter it in both categories! That’s just a gesture from us here at BMR to stimulate some extra movement :) Third party parts BMR has always been positive towards third-party parts, as long as they have any way of added value to the hobby. So the rule of thumb is simple: Lego: Yes Third Party Parts meant specifically for use with Lego: Yes* Clones: No *Other than the previous years we have made some extra specification to the Third Party Parts. All Third Party Parts this year have to be meant for use with Lego. So BuWizz, PFx Brick, sBrick etc. are allowed, but Arduino and Raspberry Pi are not. Rule of thumb: If it has studs and/or connectors to one of the Lego electric systems, it’s OK. If not, it isn’t. Points Points will be awarded in three categories: Credibility, WIP Story and Movement Factor. First of all, credibility of the prototype. This means we will be looking at how much the build represents the real life prototype. This means the quality of the build, but potential scale etc. If you are sending in a fantasy model, we will look at how credible the build is; would it fit in, does the backstory make sense? (Please note that this means an entry does need to be based in the real-life in some way, so no fantasy universes like Star Wars, etc.) Second of all, the WIP story. This refers to both showing off your building process, but also to how and why you decided to model a certain prototype. The better the story and the more updates you give and the more elaborate your building story is, the better. (Also, feel free to cross-post these pictures in our WIP-thread while you are still building!) Third and last, the Movement Factor. This is all about the how of the movement of your build. So, is it powered in a special way, or does it have some crazy movement, or does it have some special functionality, etc. The more the merrier, but as always with OcTRAINber, it’s about quality first, and quality second. So it’s great if you have some wobbling pigeons, but if one of them also flies up and down… that could definitely add some points. The Judges This contest will have four judges. Why four? Well, because last year we also had four. Just like last year we will have a guest judge related to the building contest. This year our guest judge will be none other than Peer Kreuger, better known as Mahjqa, one of the most well-known technic gearheads out there. Almost (if not all) of Peer’s builds have some funky motorization in them, which time after time surprises and makes his builds even more fun. We are delighted to have him and we hope it will give you guys an extra incentive to build! Glenn Holland Cale Leiphart Gerbrand van den Eeckhout Peer Kreuger (This year’s guest judge!) Timeline We will be accepting entries from Midnight on October 1st (being right now!) to midnight on November 1st (meaning October 31st, at 23:59 PDT). There is possibility of a grace period to ensure those that need that one final Bricklink order have a fair chance Entries Entries are to be sent in ONLY via our own BMR Flickr! There are two discussions; one for the Direct Drive Entries and one for the Indirect Drive Entries. 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. Next to that, please also add your pictures in the pool! Also, we have a special thread for WIP pictures, just to keep OcTRAINber going. However, do keep in mind that pictures in this thread don’t count as entries! The Prizes No contest without prizes! Just as last year we have some really nice prizes from several outlets. Which prizes specifically will be made public as soon as possible, so to keep the hype train running for a little bit longer! Spare Parts We here over at BMR are very, very excited about OcTRAINber 2019: The Technic Challenge and we are looking forward to all those entries. We are really looking forward to see what the community has to offer in terms of creativity and we hope that all of you will be stimulated by this contest to finally build that one amazing moving MOC that you always wanted to build, but never managed. Also, if there are any things that aren’t fully clear, you can always reach out to us by posting your message below. So pack your gear and get aboard OcTRAINber!
  2. 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 Brickmodelrailroader.com, our Flickr and our Facebook, but we will ofcourse try our best to also answer your questions here on the famous Train Tech forums!
  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: https://www.flickr.com/photos/markizay/34556999890/in/photostream/) 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.