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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Custom it is, custom it will be!

Late this week I was thinking about my future LEGO city, specifically considering how my current and later train elements will fit in.  One of the stars of the show is my recently-built Horizon Express set, yet as I glanced at it for the nth time, I began to realize that I wasn't happy with it!

What?!  How?!  Impossibru! Nein! Nein! Nein!

Nah, seriously.  It's a great set.  Looks great.  It's a proper LEGO TGV.  It's just not right for me.  The problem is that anybody can buy it, and well, hundreds if not thousands of folks already have, with thousands more to come.  The big "aha" of the moment wasn't really about the H.E. set at all.  I just don't think I want any pre-made or instruction-built stuff in my city.  I'm all about custom stuff, and that's the primary reason I'm into LEGO at all.  The TGV, it seems, is doomed to be either taken apart, or substantively changed.  Even my top-of-the-want-list Metroliner setup needs customization to truly meet my desires, and so, last night I bought a second Club Car off eBay, and this evening, canibalizing my regular passenger car from the original set, I began modifications to my current assemblies. 

First up, my existing Club Car got a lower level conversion that's not worth highlighting in photos.  Instead of two staterooms with beds, it now has seats & tables, making it a full, normal, daytime passenger car, just double-decker.  More importantly, I did the first stage of modifications to the ends of the car, giving it control cab setup like Amtrak uses for its commuter trains.  This puts a more appropriate end cap on a train like this, rather than terminating at an open passageway that's waiting for another car to be hooked up.

Next, I modified my engine, to be an engine.  Just an engine.  Not an engine/diner combo.  The original LEGO design was a good use of parts and space and added a lot of play value, but the real GE Genesis engine has no passenger compartment, and now mine does not, either.  Again I was limited by parts on hand, but I made do and ended up much closer to where I want to be.  While I was rebuilding this whole thing (every piece rearward of the cabin was moved or altered in some way), I went ahead and modernized the power setup with a Power Functions remote controlled receiver, battery box, and motor.  It all fits neatly into the engine, with an externally accessible depressor to turn the whole system on & off.  The headlights are wired to work independent of the motor.  The receiver's channel switch is also accessible by removing an easy access panel at the back.

These things will be tweaked further, meanwhile my ravaged original small passenger car will be converted into a baggage car to go right behind the engine, followed by the new eBay Club Car, followed by my modified control cab car.

So be it, then! Just say "no" to the run-of-the-mill stuff.  Looks like my entire city is going to end up being just a giant MOC!

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