I’m pretty sure a motorhead like Donald Duck would love to get his wings on this beautiful toy steam locomotive. David Liu has turned Mickey Mouse into a coal car, while Goofy makes an adorable passenger car. Built for his son, the model has built-in radio control, however, his son prefers playing with it with his hands.
The color schemes look perfect and instantly recognizable – even from a thumbnail. Donald’s sailor’s hat on the engine smoke stack is a fantastic touch! And you really need to join Mickey and Minnie for a refreshing beverage in the passenger car.
One of the buildings that most large cities have is a railway station, and LEGO cities are no different in this respect. morimorilego has built this rather traditional looking railway station with its bell tower and pleasing arched design, using a complimentary combination of greys, reddish brown, and tan. Every station needs a clock at the entrance to help passengers decide if they are late and require a last minute dash to the platform.
There are plenty of nice architectural details and interest with the main façade. The Mansard-esque roof and floral displays bring a touch of class to this building but those light stone steps will definitely be high maintenance on rainy days when muddy footprints strike.
Some classic LEGO themes are wildly popular, but somehow feel underrepresented by custom LEGO models, such as LEGO Pirates and Wild West. At least for the latter we have a new build to enjoy in this frontier train station by Marcel V. With its unique roof and prominent clock, the build looks almost steampunk, but there are no fictional elements to be found.
There are a lot of interesting bits to see here. The semi-circular section’s construction is quite impressive, as is the roof itself. The railroad tracks look very good, done with a technique I am seeing more and more in fan creations. And as a cherry on top, Marcel has sprinkled the creation with all sorts of clutter, from sacks and guns to the local wildlife — all of which breathes life into the scene.
There’s a strong possibility that I’ll be traveling to Japan for work later this year, and I’ve spent the last couple of evenings revisiting childhood haunts via Google Maps and looking at rail connections to get from one end of the country to the other. This train station by Japanese builder Kaz Fuji was thus quite timely as I plan potential rail travel to places like Kyoto and Nara.
See more of these Japanese trains and the train station
I adore futuristic LEGO trains, but sadly it’s a very small niche that we rarely see. Fortunately builder Frost has broken tradition and created a wonderfully futuristic planetary express, complete with trans-green accents and lots of mechanical detailing. The model looks like it would be right at home jetting across the surface of a distant planet.
The builder has even incorporated power functions to propel the train and power 16 working LEDs.
This 2-4-10 configured steam locomotive is known as the Texas configuration because of the arrangement of its wheels, and such locomotives were first used in the US back in 1919. What’s unique about Gerald Cacas‘s minifigure-scale train is that the wheels and tracks were not made using the typical LEGO train elements, but emulated using other, more-everyday parts.
There’s also a bit of detailing going on in the cab section of the train to give it that complete look:
Did you ever design your own “dream room” when your were a child? I did, and it looked something like this boy’s room by John Snyder. Built for the final round of the ABS builder challenge and largely inspired by César Soares‘ amazing kid’s room, John says of his latest creation “it was really enjoyable to build a modern interior for a change, something outside of minifigure scale”. The scene is stocked to the gills with toys including (but not limited to) LEGO, action figures, costumes, planes, trains and even a castle! The stand out features for me are the working bi-fold door, fish tank, and brilliant red telescope.
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.