I’ve begun working on my next Lego project. I’m pretty happy with the way that Thomas has turned out so it’s time to make him a friend, Annie. Also I need a carriage to contain the power and RF receiver for the Powerfunctions.
This is the first project that I completely designed in Lego Digital Designer first before building in Lego. Previously I would create some prototypes with the blocks I have. I knew I would have many of the part that I might want and it would a fairly simple build. That is it’s pretty much a brown box on wheels.
Quite early on I decided that Annie should be 7 bricks wide. There are two reason for this. Firstly her face, especially her nose, I wanted it to be centred in the middle. Secondary, I find it a little disappointing that with the Lego train sets that the interiors are often very basic and sometimes with sets just on one side. Going with 7 studs wide would allow for a gap of 1 stud to be at least a bit of a representation of a isle.
The rest of the design is petty basic, I wasn’t really sure how or what detail to add to the sides. Looking a pictures online I’m assuming that Annie would have many doors along her side.
James was the first thing I built in Lego Digital Designer. It was based on the real one I made out of my old Lego bricks from when I was a kid. I wanted to see what it could look like with the nice curved slopes that are available theses days.
I also had a rough idea in my head of how to create the sideways arch. I remember as a kid with my first Technic set and learning the method of placing bricks at right angles to each other. <I’ll need to find or draw a diagram of this> Since then I’ve been very interested in the ratio of width, height and depth of a Lego block. I see it being similar to the ‘Golden Ratio”. There has obversely a lot of design gone into working out the best ratio a Lego blocks sides and height should be.
After a little while I stopped working on this model, for James is a Longer Train. Also I should work on one of my son’s favourites first. So will it be Thomas or Percy…..
During my daily trawl of various Lego blogs I came across one about the Lego Ideas project for Ghostbusters HQ had reached 10,000, https://ideas.lego.com/projects/60632 . After watching their video of it being built piece by piece and seeing them looking a their laptop with the instructions on it and thought what is that.
Oh that’s Lego’s Digital Designer software. I thought what was just to make simple 3D Lego creations that I’ve seen on the Lego site ages ago. But hay that’s actually pretty great. So I downloaded and installed the software and begun…
It didn’t take me long to get up to speed with it. The only tricky part was finding train wheels. It turns out they become available when you load the extended theme which allows you to go nuts making ever piece available and in any colour.
So it starts like this. My 2yr son likes trains, especially Thomas and I have always liked Lego. A few months ago we went to a model train expo and they had a Lego display featuring Thomas and James. I was inspired. So I pulled out my old Lego train sets and begun to build. Nothing special as I’m using bricks from the 80’s. The only feature of it is the half brick offset between the cabin and the boiler. My son loved it and so begun my journey into the land of Thomas the Tank Engine and curved Lego bricks available these days .