Engine Shed

The last post of the year or first of 2019 depending on when you are reading this. Thanks to everyone who has read my scribblings this year and made me feel that it’s not been such an insane idea to put this blog together.

I’ve been busy over the last couple of months building an engine shed for my layout. It’s nearly finished, but I thought I’d share with you as I’m rather pleased with how it’s turned out. Importantly I have to give full credit to Ken Grondahl Lassen on the Lego Rail Facebook group, who’s design this is and was kind enough to take several photos of his build in order for me to have a crack at building it.

Yes That Is A Series 14 Minifig Pretending To Be Architectual Relief

The fun has been in translating those photos into an actual structure and adding a few little wrinkles of my own. As my wife will readily testify BrickOwl and BrickLink orders have been arriving on a very frequent basis with the roofing alone requiring nearly a thousand 1×2 tiles.

Rear Of Shed With Single Double Door Entrance
That Roofing Is A Labour Of Love And Still Not Quite Complete 

The structure sits on four 32×32 base plates with four lines of track. One is a passing section on one side (as seen in the picture above); two lines run into the building (though only one passes through) and the fourth is a siding in front of a short platform/loading bay – as seen below.

Very Ingenious Roof Ribs

The roof is supported by a clever rib system, which is made of 1×2 plates. This gives it both great flexibility to form the curved spine and is surprisingly strong.

98331A89-1EE2-4260-9134-3F125BD919CA The actual shed itself has opening double doors and a central platform for minifigs and maintenance equipment. It comfortably will hold the longest Lego locos and on the through side will probably hold a steam loco and tender.

Has Anyone Else Noticed That All Lego Vehicle Drivers Have A Coffee Cup?
Plenty Of Room Inside And A Cross Section Of The Tiled Roof

The final build will be making its debut at the Keighley MRC show in March, in a joint Brick Brothers layout, so come along and have a chat.

If anyone feels inspired to have a go at this design, please contact me and I’ll be more than happy to give you a more detailed breakdown of the design and bricks used. If any of our readers have made their own engine shed (or any other Lego Rail designs), please send me some pictures and notes to include on the blog.

Finally , thank you for the 8000 plus views on the blog this year, with nearly 5000 seperate visitors from 80 countries. What started as a record of building my first show layout has grown and evolved this year and I’ll be back again in 2019. Happy new year and keep on building.


MOC Signal Box

For Those Unsure MOC = My Own Creation

Whilst my own (revised), layout is coming along slowly, I’ve been inspired by some of the fantastic creations seen  on various Lego rail Facebook groups. One of which is the ubiquitous signal box, which should have a place on every layout.

The inspiration for my Brickport signal box has come from Lego Northern UK  Railway (LNUR), members Richard Carter and Isaac Smith. I’ve taken elements from both of their designs, looked at real life examples and added my own twist.

Time For A Late Breakfast

The roof is built onto a separate detachable plate and allows viewing access of the inside of the box. This serves my own desire to add lots of little detail, but I’ve also found that when running a display layout the public loves these “dolls house” touches.24A9B8D7-A3FD-4F3A-BA53-3BA54A24C768

The oven is a kit from the excellent onemorebrick.com to which I’ve painted a. yolk to a one stud round tile. The postcard came from brickowl.com and appears to be from a Lego Friends set. The levers move and are 2L bars housed in a bar holder with clip. These are then located onto a 4L bar.

Let’s Hope Those Levers Are In The Right Position

The track diagram is made up of several 1×2 “control panel” plates as I don’t have Isaac’s skills to hand draw one – see below. I’ve also added a small block box/block bell next to the levers for a final touch. I’m quite pleased with the outcome and it will make a great addition to my layout.

It was relatively easy to put together once I had an existing model to use as a base, but not something I think it could have made completely from scratch. I had a lot of parts to start with and the rest came from either bricklink.com or brickowl.com who are undoubtedly the two best resources for procuring bricks.

Finally credit where credit is due, here’s a picture of Richard’s model

In Action On The Superb LNUR Lego Rail Display

and a great video from Isaac

Show Report – Farnham

Yes, finally I’m back after a brief hiatus and with two more articles to follow in the next couple of weeks – yes really! My inactivity online has matched the lack of work on my own layout as the days grow shorter/weather turns colder.

Anyhow, Brick Brothers South have been busier than ever with several show appearances recently, with this report from the Farnham MRC show in October.

Brick Brothers South Layout Mark 6 Or Is It 7?

Regular readers may spot that Mr Grace Snr’s layout has undergone some changes since the last show report. The length is now heading past 16’ and the harbour area has been modified, making it longer and thinner, whilst still retaining the beloved car loading zone.

There Will Be A Swing Bridge To Let The Boats In/Out

This part has been lengthened and is constantly a favourite of the public, driving (groan – Ed) sales of the Smart Cars and the car transportation wagons we have for sale at shows.

Lego Smart Cars By The Dozen – We Love Them

The station area has lengthened and also has improved platforms which can now easily accommodate six car trains, along with a new footbridge linking all three platforms. The developing plan is for the outer two tracks to be for “International” trains and the inner for local services. The backboards have virtually all been replaced with the one pictured, acting as a divide between the station and goods yard.

Services From Studland to Brickport Leave From Platform 1

The container yard is an ongoing development with vehicle to train switching in place in two directions. The double length container hoists are from Lego 60052 – Cargo Train which is still available as a set from retailers. It’s easy enough to build, though some parts can be expensive on Bricklink and BrickOwl. It can also be picked up on eBay as a separate item fairly cheaply and makes a great addition to a layout.

Intermodal Services In Action With Our Custom Containers

Unfortunately our camera man forgot to take a photo of the football stadium seen at the far end of the first picture. This was nearing completion (and will be by the time you read this) and harks back to a time in Mr Grace Snr and my childhoods when we loved building them together. It will feature roofing with an unconventional use of a certain 1×16 part – more of which next time.

Don’t forget to check out the events calendar on the home page to find our next show dates. Keighley in March next year will be a joint Brick Brothers North & South layout with a trade stand, so come and see us there.

DIY Time – Easy Trees & Corn Fields

Suddenly They Realised Where The Last Of The Genetically Modified Corn Had Gone

Yes, at last I’m back after another short hiatus. My layout has been completely taken apart and I’m at the planning stage for a new 16 foot layout for upcoming shows in 2019, so expect to see a new series of work in progress articles shortly(ish).

I’ve come to realise that trying to fit nearly everything I own onto my old layout, is just too much, both visually and in setting up and packing away time. Inspired by looking at how others display and my good friends in the LNUR group, I’m going to include elements of industrial zone, town and countryside.

Lets Start With 10 2×2 Round Bricks; 4 1×1 Bamboo Plants; 24 4×3 Plant Leaves

Starting with trees, there are many designs that can be found on pinterest and other sites and this is my design which makes a quick and easy tree that can be varied in height and amount of foliage. Below is the step by step stages for putting it together.

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Simple, Effective And Oh So Simple To Put Together

The end result is (in my opinion), a quite effective tree that can be varied in foliage colour and amount of leaves. The pictured one costs approx £2.50 each and I have made them up with both a layer more and a layer less. Several together make a a great forest for the Lego logging sets.

Lumberjack Time

Cornfields are another quick and easy way of filling up space and are cheap to make. I have 16 plants on a 12×6 plate to allow different shapes and formations rather than a large field. Each cornstalk cost about 20-25p to make which adds up to approx £3 for a full plate. Below is the step by step stages for putting one together.

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I’ve found that the best end result is to vary the height of the stalks between none and three yellow plates to reflect different rates of growth. I’ve also added a corncob guy for some humour, but a scarecrow or workers cutting the corn would work.

Corn Growing At Different Heights Makes A Good Visual

So, some quick and easy scenery to enhance your layout. If you have any designs, hints or tips that you’d like to share with our readers, please contact me. Until next time


Lego 60198 Cargo Train Review

Quite Possibly, The Largest Lego Train Box…..Ever!

So 2018 comes along and Lego gives us not one, but two new trains this year and as an added bonus a new control system to go with it. With the popularity of the S-Brick blue tooth system that has been available for a little while, Lego have jumped aboard. With the new set you not only get a new control pad, you can also use your smart phone or tablet to drive the train.

Unfortunately You Can Only Control One Train At A Time With Your Phone/Tablet

This (to my knowledge), is the most expensive rail set that Lego have produced with an RRP of £180, which is some £50 more than the previous freight set – Lego 60098 Heavy Haul, which can still be found in shops and online. The price seems to reflect a general trend with Lego products being more expensive than a year or so ago. Shopping about can bring the price down to £162. Fortunately for me I had a long service award from work which I used via Amazon to take the actual cost down to £30.

22200 FRET Electric Loco In Action

The loco appears to be loosely based on French Rail (SNCF), FRET Haulage 22200 electric loco and as such brings a new colour set to your layout. It’s a quick and easy build and much easier than previous sets as the IR receiver is now redundant. The motor attaches to the battery box with a USB connection now and there is a spare usb port to connect the soon to be released new light sets. The new battery box slips into the middle section without the previous fight for room and pushing of cables about to make it all fit in!

There is a new crane/recovery unit – the first since the hard to obtain Lego 7898 – and using the same lift mechanism as the container stacker from Lego 60169 Cargo Terminal, released towards the end of last year. Speaking of that set, it fits in very well with the new train and I can’t think that Lego did not have these two planned as complementary pieces. If you haven’t purchased the Cargo Terminal yet, it’s still available and now under £45 from a lot of retailers, some £20 cheaper than the Lego store.

New Crane Truck and Lumber Flatbed – Both Welcome Additions

The lumber flatbed wagon is a nice piece and one that I’ll be making copies of to make up a dedicated train. The ties that hold together the four piece stack of rail track slot into the black upright pieces on each side to easily enable an additional row of “timber” to be added to the wagon. Again this would appear to be a planned complementary piece to both Lego 60059 Lumber Truck and Lego 60181 Forest Tractor. Forest module here I come methinks.

The set also comes with a new forklift, which must be at least the fourth variant in the last two years and a side opening bank security van. The latter fits in very well with the modular build brick bank set if you are using that building as part of a town layout. There is an additional flatbed wagon that takes two of the smaller containers and can easily be converted for larger ones.

The train runs smoothly and quietly and on the controller (which is VERY small), runs on 10 speed settings. I found speed one not quite slow enough and speed three scarily fast. Syncing the controller with battery box isn’t as quick/easy as the previous IR system and you can only control one train at a time, which some may view as a backwards step.

The key selling point of the new sets are the bluetooth connectivity. The instruction manual directs you to the app to download and then it’s a choice of which train you own, this or the new “Eurostar” set – Lego 60197. Controls are simple to use and I love the six different sounds that you can use, especially the squealing brakes.

Speed is much slower on this which is great for operations in sidings/yards. Five on the settings equates to a three if using the controller. Members of the LNUR group were reporting being able to control the trains from well over 50 feet away using the bluetooth controls.

So what do I think? It’s a nice set and with something new and modern, but comes with a hefty price tag, which would make me wait awhile if having to fully fund the purchase. The bluetooth is a step in the right direction, but needs working on further. For example, you need two sets of Lego 60197 to make a complete train, but can only use the engine in one to power the unit, as it won’t work properly with both battery boxes on. Having said all that, I love this set and the way it complements several existing ones to make your layout even bigger and better.

Adding Buildings To A Layout #2

Let’s start with a quick apology for the lack of any content in June and to let you know I’m planning to make amends with at least two (probably three), articles this month. So thanks to all my regular viewers, and for those discovering the blog for the first time, welcome.

The first question to ask yourself when adding buildings to your layout is what overall look are you trying to achieve. Is it the dominant feature or a small part? Then your budget and building skills will dictate where you go to next.

  • Current or previously available Lego buildings
  • Purchasable step-by-step designs where you source the bricks
  • Build and design yourself (My Own Creation) MOC.

Now I lack the skills to be able to design things using programmes such as Lego Digital Designer and as much as my wife loves Lego, she certainly won’t allow me to purchase it ad infinitum to have the quantities required to “experiment” If you have those sorts of skills, I’ll refer you to the latest creations of my friends in the LNUR group.

The Most Ambitious LNUR Layout To Date At The Suitably Named Bricktastic

Regular readers will know from my previous articles and pictures of my layout, that I have a mix of small scale pre bought Lego buildings and several creations using plans from the fabulous http://www.brickbuilderspro.com where I source and purchase the bricks myself.

I’ve recently started to drift towards the much larger modular buildings that Lego has been producing for the last 10 years (check out http://www.lego.wikia.com). Most Lego train displays at shows seem to feature large towns with these buildings interspersed, with same scale plan bought and MOC’s. This coincides with my wife having fallen for these buildings, but both of us don’t like the price tag they come with. Currently £120+ in the shops for the in-production ones and hefty prices on the secondary market for those retired.

You Decide – One Of These From Lego, Or Two From Lepin?

Now short of this being a Lepin love fest (again! – Editor), our friends in China do make it awfully hard not to succumb, when they are selling you two for one against the real deal from Denmark. Yes, you get the odd wonky or missing brick, but the overall quality and speed of service is very good. Put several together and it makes a big impression on even a single road town scene.

One Of These Is a Real Lego Building, But Which One?

At present Lego builders have never had it so good in terms of what is available to buy and the amount of product available on the secondary market. Anything from whole creations to a single stud brick are available for purchase at the click of the button, so what are you waiting for? Go on, treat yourself and add a little more detail to your layout.

Lepin 21006 – Maersk Train

Now here is a set that I’ve been wanting to get for a while and have just purchased at (yet again), a substantially reduced price to the original Lego version.

The original Lego version came out in 2011, retailed at £92 and was only available for a short period of time as a Lego “exclusive” before disappearing from  sale. This was sold as a non powered train and also had no track. What you did get is a faithful rendition of a Maersk SD30 loco; two US double stack wagons; three containers and a transport lorry. For a more detailed description check out http://www.lego.wiki.com and in particular their train section.



As a result this has become a highly collectable (as well as beautiful) set with prices reaching eye watering amounts on secondary sites. A quick peruse on eBay today shows that the cheapest prices are as follows:

Loco £100; wagon with container £75 and the boxed set at £250.

Unsurprisingly our friends in China have for a while realised that this is a set where demand far outweighs the availability and you regularly see two or three models on a layout at shows. Current Lepin price for their version is £50! plus shipping which will vary depending which Lepin reseller you purchase it from. A couple have sneaked onto eBay recently at that price, but Lepin listings are usually removed pronto.

I’ve managed to pick mine up from a friend in the UK who has been selling some of his collection. Now Lepin compatability is always very good apart from some minor quibbles over their sticker colours. However, this set is especially good, sticker quality near perfect and it would take an exceedingly close examination to realise it wasn’t made by our Danish friends.

Ready To Roll Into Brickport’s Container Yard”

The container wagon is the double stack variety that largely features in the US and occasionally in Europe and is a superior model to the long retired 10170 TTX Intermodal Double-Stack Car. The containers fit snugly on top of each other or nose to tail to make a more conventional height and are 16 studs long with opening doors at one end.

Double Stacked Just Like In The US of A
You Can Either Go For Two Smaller Or One Extra Long Container

For those looking to create a US rail set, then it’s the perfect addition to the still available 60052 Cargo Train & retired 10133 BNSF Locomotive. Highly recommended and I can’t wait to get mine powered up and out on my set.

Oh Yes The Quality Is VERY Good

To finish and by way of comparison, here’s a shot of the real thing in action and doubled up with a Norfolk Southern loco……err Lego/Lepin, can you make one of those please.