Purists look away now, as we go inside the mind of self-proclaimed LEGO outlaw Randy Sluder and see some of the innovative building he is doing around the LEGO monorail system. Randy calls himself an outlaw because he’s not afraid to cut, drill, sand, and glue to create shapes LEGO never made. However, even he has lines he won’t cross — he only uses genuine LEGO bricks and the same glue LEGO themselves use on their large display models!
TBB: So Randy, tell us a little about yourself…
Randy: I’m a graphic artist by trade and have always liked the Art Deco style, so I gravitated to the Streamliner period of trains between 1935-1955. It was a time when “form follows function” wasn’t in vogue, the emphasis was on great design. And many people don’t know that Art Deco train design was as important to the movement as the architecture.
TBB: Where does your interest in monorail trains come from?
Randy: All my life I’ve been able to hear the sound of a train, at night, no matter where I’ve lived, and because I’m a wannabe “rail fan”, and a LEGO geek! What started as a fun project for the grandkids has blossomed into a cottage industry. In building a track for them I thought it would be nice to have a few more monorails. In researching LEGO monorail designs I found most were childish, block-type designs with the better ones made from current LEGO train bodies. Nobody was designing alternate vehicles for the LEGO monorail system. So after a lot of interesting research, I started creating trains for the monorail track.
Click to read the rest of the interview
Probably thanks to perceptions created by movies like Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, I’ve always thought that funiculars were somehow a uniquely European mode of transportation. Although that’s not actually the case, they definitely have a certain Old World, vaguely steampunk vibe — reinforced by the fact that many of them were first built in the 19th century. Croatian builder Sven Franic has lovingly recreated the Zagreb Funicular, a tram that takes passengers up a relatively short incline in his hometown.
See more photos of this wonderful, working LEGO funicular
You may know them as trams, streetcars, or trolleys. But these seemingly old forms of public transport are increasingly being found in our cities and towns once more. San Francisco is famous for them, but Edinburgh, Sofia, Helsinki, Rome and many more cities have trams running through their streets. David FNJ has built a lovely dark red tram pulling into a small stop, decorated with a bench and some pretty flowers. The tram is beautifully shaped with lots of curves, and the builder has utilised a great combination of highlight colours in the form of Bright Light Orange and Medium Dark Flesh.
I’m not massively sold on the conical trees, but the little stop is a nice addition to set the scene while we wait for the next tram to arrive.
This beautiful recreation of a 1940’s New Jersey commuter train is simply breathtaking with the effort to the details put into it. It was carefully researched by Cale Leiphart who eventually fell in love with what he calls the “Jersey Girl” and set his heart on building it, and the result is astounding.
The locomotive was built with a LEGO Power Functions motor tucked inside the engine. The luxurious looking coach was built soon after, using a local New Jersey coach from the early 1920s as reference.
If ever LEGO was to build an Ultimate Collector Series for trains, this is the level of detail that fans would love to see. Read more about Cale’s journey and inspiration in the documentation of his love story.
The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the late 1700s and saw a shift from manufacturing within people’s homes, using hand tools or basic machines, to powered machinery, factories, and mass production. Factories and steam locomotives were signature developments of the times. Toltomeja has used both of these icons of the industrial revolution in his LEGO diorama. There’s a large factory with tall chimneys emitting clouds of smoke (the part used is the cloth spider’s net) and a steam train loaded with coal. The bridge and the factory are very nicely put together, but it was the brick-built lettering and the little horses and carts that really caught my eye.
The steam locomotive is cleverly built at this scale, using a telephone handset as the coupling rod connecting the drive wheels, while a few treasure chests become the open wagons containing coal.
This week’s Amazon deals include sets from Star Wars, Super Heroes, City and Trains! See more of Amazon’s LEGO Sales and Deals for discounts on many other sets and themes.
LEGO STAR WARS TIE Striker 75154 is 30% off, currently listed at $49.00.
LEGO Star Wars Encounter on Jakku 75148 is 35% off, currently listed at $39.00.
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LEGO City Trains Cargo Train 60052 is 30% off, currently listed at $139.99.
LEGO City Trains High-speed Passenger Train 60051 is 20% off, currently listed at $119.99.
The Hogwarts Express is where it all began — where a young boy met strangers that became the best of friends and spun an industry that’s larger than life. It’s no wonder that Stephan Niehoff and his two daughters put special effort into recreating a beloved representation of an iconic element from their favourite franchise. Lifting elements from the LEGO set 4841, but improving it to give rough edges a more rounded curve and adding delightful details such as the handles of the carriages and a revamped undercarriage, all make this build a worthy representation of what could be a proper train set for a Harry Potter fan to truly appreciate.
The transformation does not end superficially on the outside, but the carriages inside get a more appropriate facelift to the delight of our Harry and Hermione minifigure passengers!
Both my father and my grandfather were train drivers, so you could say trains are in my blood. When I saw this incredibly accurate classic steam engine by Britishbricks, I just had to share it. In Great Western Railway dark green, this beauty is very reminiscent of the classic British engines from the 1950s and 60s. There are so many things to enjoy about this beauty: check out the tip of the pirate hook and black sausage front buffer, along with the LEGO rubber bands as ribs around the boiler. From the working wheel assembly and Power Functions all the way to the tail of the coal tender, this spectacular replica has steamed its way into my heart.
Christmas is coming soon! It’s time to set up your decorations, and if you’re like me, that includes your LEGO Holiday Village. This year, LEGO sent us a copy of 10254 Winter Holiday Train, available now. This great addition to your Holiday Village retails for $99.99 USD, and has 734 pieces.
Click here to read more about the Holiday Train!
Polish builder Maciej Drwięga has spent more than 3 years meticulously planning and building this mind-blowing railway diorama. This is one of those LEGO masterpieces which, once noticed, will make you fill a cup with your favorite drink, lean forward, and spend a good half-hour eyeing every little detail.
The highlight of the scene for me is an unremarkable but appealing model of an ST43 locomotive. I love that Maciej has put no logos or symbols on it. The result is a nifty train, featuring a winning combination of sand green, dark green, and yellow.
However, it’s not just the trains and track that make the diorama, but also the surroundings. A couple of platforms, the train station building, goods storage with ramp, diesel fueling facility, a workshop, an engine shed — you name it, it’s there. Some stunning retro trucks? Here you go!
Truly magical things happen when night falls on the town. The longer you look at these pictures, the more clearly you can hear night shift staff servicing locomotives in the engine shed.
And, of course, go and check the builder’s full album featuring more than a hundred pictures!
Every year LEGO releases a large holiday exclusive set, and this year you can prepare to ride the rails with 10254 Winter Holiday Train. Although last year’s holiday exclusive, 10249 Winter Toy Shop, was a rerelease of a previous year’s winter village set, this year’s Winter Holiday Train is definitely a completely new set from the 2006 Holiday Train set. The train has 734 pieces, and will retail for $99.99 USD when it goes on sale Oct. 1. Let us know in the comments what you think!
Check out the full press release and details below.
Click to read the press release and see more images
For the first time, a locomotive graces our monthly cover photo in the form of this fine SBB CE 6/8 Electric (aka “Swiss Crocodile”) by Vedosololego.
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