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Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

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Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by Paul B on Thu 19 Jan 2012, 4:33 am

I have been looking around online at various forums related to model trains, it seems that none really cover L gauge trains at all.

Does a feeling exist in the model train world that Lego trains (L gauge) are not "real" like the other types of model trains and because of this they are not talked about and in some ways "looked down upon" by people with "real" model trains? I wonder why this is the case and what if anything we can do as a hobby to change this and gain support for them?

Paul


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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by wayne.m.j on Thu 19 Jan 2012, 6:32 am

According to Wikipedia, L gauge is an unofficial gauge of track.

What is commercially available could be holding back its acceptance: limited track geometry, overly abstract models.

If you look at Atlas and Hornby, they provide a whole range of products designed at beginner through to advance - this includes curves of varying degrees, straight track of various lengths, track crossings up to 90 degrees, but the main aspect is the models are of real trains and are not abstracts.

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by haz on Thu 19 Jan 2012, 9:20 am

Paul, i would say they aren't classified as 'real' model trains, the same way that Lego cars aren't classified as 'real' model cars.

I think that one of the major qualms is (obviously) Lego's ability to be broken down and re-created into something totally different. Whereas when a model train/plastic kit is built, that's it. It can't easily become something else. I don't know if that makes some people hate Lego, but it's one of the reasons i love it and always will! :<3: As for changing someone's outlook on Lego, it depends on that someone. If they're interested in seeing what Lego can do, then you might have a chance. If they disregard Lego as being a 'kid's toy', then i think you'd be wasting your time. legolaugh

I'm into plastic model car kits in a BIG way. Or rather i was. legorolleyes I'm deep into a six month lull after a series of failures regarding paint and a general lack of interest. However, i'll get back into building kits one day, the same way i might get out of Lego for a while. I feel there's room for both hobbies in my life. legohappy

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by brickie on Thu 19 Jan 2012, 9:51 am

For years at model train shows in SE Qld, Lego trains have always been considered as 'toys' by the ho and n people.

I believe a lot of this is jealousy as the crowd around the lego train display is usually 3 deep all day whereas some dusty old n scale set-up might be lucky to have 3 people stop and look in an hour. Some of these 'purist' set-ups are same each year; maybe a new loco. The lego display changes from year to year.

When parents complain about paying $300 for a Lego train set, I always make 2 points.

1. Go to the trade stands and have a look at how much you will need to pay for a n scale set.

2. If you buy that set, will you let your 5 year old play with it?

Sometimes they will come back and ask more questions about Lego trains so their kids can get into trains.

haz, you are absolutely correct in saying that a Lego train can turn into something else and then into a tram and then ???????? This is the magic of Lego.

A lot of the Lego train sets have been based on real trains and some of them are classics; the Metroliner and Emerald Night stand out.

Some of the 12V trains were very good models of real trains and the current models are excellent as they are built from a larger range of elements.

At train shows, the kids decide what they like the best; it is usually a race between the Lego and Thomas.

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by peterab on Mon 23 Jan 2012, 9:27 am

I'll just add to what brickie said,

it depends on who you ask.

At AMRA model train shows LEGO train clubs tend to be invited every year (unlike other clubs with fixed layouts). The reason is the organizing committees know we draw the kids in. We're the gateway drug.

To some extent in my opinion it depends on the model. Some Lego builders build toy trains others build models of real prototypes. At Brickvention this weekend we had 2 layout I would consider model trains, one based on Puffing Billy in 12 wide, the second was based on a country Victoria scene.


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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by Breezy on Sat 25 Jan 2014, 3:16 am

This is a fascinating question.

Originally I wanted to model in N scale because of the possibility of having a large track expanse and realistic train lengths. The fiddliness and fragility of the scale, together with cost and needing to fold, solder and glue tiny bits of brass etch sheets, polyurethane castings and plastic together for Australian prototype models was a real turn off.

I did a naughty thing and typed "lego" in front of train, discovered BrickLink, AFOLs and the availability of virtually anything ever made by LEGO, and there ended my dark age. I never forgot how well and simply LEGO trains operated compared to anything else. Imagination is the only limit. Ease of operation, durability and play potential set LEGO trains apart from other types. The character of LEGO pieces means designs will always have an abstract toy like appearance, although serious MOC builders get very close to penetrating that barrier.

Integrating the built scale of LEGO trains with the dimensions of minifigs means they have distorted proportions. Post-minifig era trains are very tall, and are necessarily short because of track curve geometry. The minifig is very much a toy, and defines the LEGO train in appearance, purpose and context.

I am comfortable with the notion of LEGO as a toy - for building… anything. In its higher applications it becomes sculpture and art, whether through abstraction or detail. A challenge in designing a MOC is deciding how much detail to include, and how much to leave out.

I like trains in LEGO because through trains the bricks become animated. It was a stroke of genius to develop the train series back in the 1960's, and they really bring town layouts to life. The further advent of minifigs made the towns fun.

Many non-LEGO layouts have random assemblies of unrelated store bought items and in lacking thematic unity, look just as toy like.

In my own build, I'm celebrating old sets and recognisable models from ideas books. The fun part for me is flipping the whole model versus toy argument on its head and doing a MOC of real life structures to look completely like toys, as they might have looked if built using available colours and parts from the 1970's, as the setting for train sets that gave me joy as a child. Naturally there is a little cheating with modern pieces here and there, but hopefully they will blend in.

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by Lightningtiger on Sat 25 Jan 2014, 1:06 pm

In 2011 and last year I was invited to Railshow, and it was only when people saw what I had done in Lego that Lego trains earned their respect.....that was 2011, 2013 I was welcomed by even the N-scalers at a dinner on the Saturday night. I'm looking forward to 2015 and beyond.

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by Bodville on Thu 10 Apr 2014, 10:16 am

Breezy is right in the scale has a few obstacles. The tight radius curves for one. The M>LTC have been running straight curves for some time now which gives them more flexibility.

Myself I always lengthen and lower the standard LEGO trains even the well designed ones like Emerald Night. It gives them a much more realistic appearance.

The railway modellers are typically only modelling scenery which is something quite brick heavy to do with LEGO.

It may be a gateway drug but at the shows we attend we still have the most colourful, fastest trains, the best crashes and more often than not collect the public award for most popular.

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by Lightningtiger on Thu 10 Apr 2014, 1:21 pm

It's very hard to expand the size of Lego trains due to the standard curve radius.......a friend builds 8 wides and true to length.......and they can't take these curves at all !
Hopefully here in SA we can in prove the status of Lego trains after Bricktopia in May.

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by Breezy on Thu 10 Apr 2014, 2:16 pm

I was pretty blown away by the quality of a display that I saw in Perth last year. Everything from Perth Terminal to a very long bridge, and an amazing adaption of 1980's 12v trains like 7740 to 8 wide, which had me doing a double-take. They looked in proportion and so must have been longer as well.

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by Lightningtiger on Thu 10 Apr 2014, 2:30 pm

Yep, in the west and the east huge displays.......that's what I hope Bricktopia will change.

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

Post by Breezy on Sun 13 Apr 2014, 1:47 am

Life sized Duplo trains are the next frontier. Who will arrange a TOC waiver?

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Re: Are Lego Trains classed as "real" model trains

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