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Motorizing the Constitution (79111)

JMToddJMTodd Member Posts: 12
edited August 2013 in Building and Techniques
Hi all,

The information on the new Winter VIllage set has gotten me thinking about the holidays...I know, it's July. I am fairly new to trains and think it is time to add a train to the winter village. I would prefer to avoid spending the money on the retired holiday train. I prefer the vintage appearance of the older steam engines and think the LR Constitution #79111 should work nicely if I add a couple passenger cars and a caboose.

With that said, could anyone outline how to add the RC functions to the Constitution? I have seen it done in a video but would not have a clue where to begin.

Thanks,

J
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Comments

  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,678
    You could check out how #10194 is motorized as they are the most similar. It does not use the regular train motors, but a Technic XL-motor and the batteries should fit in the coal car.
    icey117
  • JezzatheshedJezzatheshed Member Posts: 161
    I also want to motorise this set, would be interested if someone comes up with a way to do it, also if anyone has any plans for building a wild west style passenger coach, Ive loads of motors train wheels etc so I just need a hint on where to start!
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 912
    There is a nice article in the current (or at least recent - the one tralking about trains on the front) edition of Brickjournal that talks about exactly this, it looked like a neat solution.
  • meyerc13meyerc13 Member Posts: 227
    I'll second the recommendation for Brickjournal. You should be able to find it at your local Barnes and Noble store, it's generally in the Crafts/Hobbies section - ask if you can't find it. The LEGO store often carries it as well, although I haven't personally seen this issue there yet. You can also order it online from the publisher, but I believe they charge shipping, but I think they have a digital version for a lower price.
  • FollowsCloselyFollowsClosely Member Posts: 1,194
    You could purchase the #5001925 : Horizon Express Kit to get all the motor function you need. If you want to not spend the extra $$ then just look at that picture to see what pieces you need.

    image

    I would recommend placing those power function in a passenger wagon as apposed to the engine as it will be a lot easier than messing with all the friction causing gears.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Btw, if it makes motorization easier, feel free to take off one of the six drive wheels. The original Union Pacific No. 119* was a 4-4-0 anyway, so I'm not sure why they gave it six.

    * The Lone Ranger movie had a scene at Promontory Point, where the golden spikes were driven, celebrating the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Seeing as they don't call this train the Jupiter (CP's engine), I assume it's the UP's engine and they decided to just call it the Constitution for the purposes of this set (it doesn't really have a name other than No. 119). It actually doesn't matter either, because the Jupiter was a 4-4-0 also.
  • FenrisAkashiFenrisAkashi Member Posts: 242
    Good stuff! Thanks for posting.
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    Good job @tensor, will be trying your technique with my LR Train soon :)
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited August 2013
    So I've determined that it's near impossible to install lights without some major reconstruction of the locomotive.

    Btw, connecting to the tender using the above method isn't that big a deal, because you can raise the whole tender up one plate and thread the light cord under the IR receiver, toward the engine.

    One lighting solution I had was to have a single, small headlight that matches the one on the EN, then put the other LED as a cab light, pointing toward the (fake) cab light hanging from the rear of the cab. All works well, but snaking the line to the front is not easy because you'd have to end up boring a path along one of two stud widths, which, being 50% of the structural support of the existing design, means it's not the best plan. I was wondering if anyone had thoughts.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    edited August 2013
    @tensor you drilled??? why not just replace the plate with a technic one. That's what I did with the Toy Story train and it worked just fine. I replaced the 14x6 plate on one of the carriages with 2 of 6x6 plates and a 2x6 technic plate in the middle and you'd never know the difference. Cost me about 50c (EURO) and no Lego was harmed in the process.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    beegeedee said:

    @tensor you drilled??? why not just replace the plate with a technic one. That's what I did with the Toy Story train and it worked just fine. I replaced the 14x6 plate on one of the carriages with 2 of 6x6 plates and a 2x6 technic plate in the middle and you'd never know the difference. Cost me about 50c (EURO) and no Lego was harmed in the process.

    I know, right? Heresy!

    a) I didn't have a technic plate handy
    b) I'm very impatient, and I didn't want to wait for one to be delivered
    c) I'm very cheap, and didn't want to pay for something I didn't need to
    d) I had a 13/64" drill bit handy
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Oh, and e) I tend to dedicate some things on a permanent basis. As in, short of retrofitting it for a hover conversion in the early 21st century, I don't see me taking this apart anytime soon. So, if there's a hidden non-canon hole in a plate, I'll survive.
  • luckyrussluckyruss UKMember Posts: 872
    On the lights point, could you replace the tan 2x4 bricks with these?
    http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?P=2653

    That would make a channel part way down and maintain the structure. I built the standard engine last night, can recall there was also a LBG 2x3, but not whether this was aligned with the 1x2 technic brick. If you could take these out and add two more 2653s that would get you nearly all the way from the cab to the front.

    Otherwise, I suppose you could always resort to more drilling...
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    That's a thought, I think I have some of those also. I'll have to give those a shot, thanks.

    As for drilling, if it's buried in a model and you can't see it, and it's going to be relatively permanent, it's an option.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    I did end up installing lights, and it actually worked out pretty well. I will warn any faint of heart, I did have to "modify" 2 pieces to do so. Viewer discretion is advised.

    First up is to add an extra black plate layer to the base of the tender, leaving a 1x wide channel under the IR receiver. This allows the light cord to be attached to, fold under, then thread back forward under the IR receiver and into the engine cab, where the light mounting brick attaches. From this, I then dealt with the two lights that split off from that brick.

    First, I used @luckyruss' suggestion of http://www.brickset.com/parts/?part=4211613 which worked out great. Using three of them gives a perfect channel to snake a light cord to the front of the locomotive. Also, I had to raise the boiler up one plate height to accommodate them (see the black stripe in Pic 1. I don't mind this because as with the tender above, a) it was easy and b) it actually gives the engine a little more beef, which makes it a bit more substantial and less "toyish."

    Now here was the big problem. The light cord now made its way cleanly to the front, but there was no canon way I could determine to get the light cord up through the top and into the new headlight housing in a really clean manner. One solution was to leave a hole on one side of the top by replacing one of the curved black bricks (http://www.brickset.com/parts/?part=609126) with a couple black 1x1 plates and a black cheese slope, but I didn't care for that look, nor the resulting gap in the top. What I instead decided to do was cleanly notch that black curved piece near the stud so that the wire could slip by and go straight up. I did the same to one of the two 1x6 black plates that are lined up under the headlight and the smokestack so that the wire could breach the top and reach the headlight. The actual headlight housing consists of two 2x2 black plates, a 1x2 black plate, a 1x2, single-hole black Technic brick, a clear stud and clear mini radar dish. I also replaced the two 1x2 cheese slopes with four cheese slopes because the breakup just looks better. I also raised the smokestack by one plate because I was feeling randy.

    Now, what to do with the second light? Two lights up front just did not work, nor look good on this kind of locomotive. I was considering just burying it in the boiler somewhere to hide it, but then thought I might use it to light up the cab somehow. Then, looking at the cab, the design already has a "light" hanging like a lantern off the back of the cab roof. Well, one black headlight brick and 10 seconds later, and the second light points right into this lantern, giving the impression that it's lit. Then I replaced the two clear 1x1 plates with clear yellow plates to make it a little more "lantern-like." Booyah! (Pic 3)

    Pro 1: It looks and functions great imho.

    Pro 2: The headlight is more prototypically accurate, because it now hangs out over the front smoke box door on the front of the engine (the Chinese hat).

    Con 1: Innocent pieces sacrificed their future usage for the good of the build. I would love to hear alternatives, but I can sleep at night, because these pieces are now fully dedicated to this train.

    Con 2: The locomotive, tender and battery car are now pretty much permanently attached, because the wires are not easy to detach/reattach. It's not that big a deal, but it does make it slightly more difficult to put on and off the tracks.
    Coolsplashthenos
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    This topic fascinated me when I read it 3 months ago, with @TheLoneTensor (where did 'TheLone' bit come from btw?) inspiring me with what he did. So since I got both the Passenger Train and the Constitution Train (my first Lego trains!) at the weekend, I thought I'd have a go at doing something like it myself.

    I'd already decided that I wanted all the gubbins in the locomotive and tender, with nothing in the trucks. So this is what I did:

    First I used the motor from the Passenger train to replace the wheels on the tender. I replaced the base with two 4x6 places, two 1x6 plates and a technic 2x6 plate (oh alright, I didn't have one, so I used a technic 2x4 and a normal 2x2 instead). This saved me having to sacrifice an innocent plate. ;) It also lengthened the tender by 2 studs, which not only covers up the fact that the motor is 2 studs longer than the normal base, but also helps create more space inside for the battery box.

    As the motor base is higher than the normal wheels, I put a 1x12 plate either side to bring the tender sides down a bit. I then built up the sides using the original bricks and some spares. I had to use a layer of black as I didn't have enough dark green, and I added an extra plate layer as well (which I really should have put in black too). This got the tender high enough to hide the battery box (with two tiles under it so it can just lift out).

    To turn it on and off, I used two 1x1 clips on top of 1x2 jumpers, with a bar across them and a wrench-thingy hanging down through a 2x4 technic plate. If you push down on the centre of the bar, it bends just enough for the wrench-thingy to press the green button :)

    I'm not completely happy with how the tender looks, but I think that's just with having to use a layer of black. I think if it was all green it'd look fine. Personally I think it being higher and longer is a bit more realistic-looking.

    With the IR receiver, I originally wanted to put it forward of the cab, in place of two of the black grill pieces, but as there's a bit of SNOT going on in that area there's just not enough space.

    So I compromised and put it at the front of the roof, with the main part of the IR receiver in the cab. This required the disassembly of most of the cab, with the roof and section under the black grills being re-built. I also took the opportunity to add a black plate layer along the length of the train, as I saw @TheLoneTensor do that and it does make the train look a bit more substantial.

    All put back together again, and it works well! I don't have any lights to add, but I can't say I'm too bothered about that. I don't have a Technic beam the right length for the wheels either, but that'll get done in due course.

    I am pleased that I managed to get it all into the locomotive and tender, even if the IR receiver shows through the windows somewhat. I have ideas for modifying that area, but I don't have the elements I need for that yet.
    itsnotmeFenrisAkashiTheLoneTensorEKSam
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    I think it looks wonderful, and frankly, it's an improved design over my original one up there simply because the weight of the battery over the motorized trucks is basically a must, otherwise it doesn't get the traction to pull but only a few cars. Good job.

    Btw, the name change came from having to login via twitter, apparently when you do that it grabs your twitter name as your brickset name. Freaky.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    edited November 2013
    Thanks! I didn't think of the weight advantage, although I did notice it was quite a lot heavier than before!
  • FenrisAkashiFenrisAkashi Member Posts: 242
    Looks great! I have one of each as well for the same reason, glad to know it can be pulled off so well.
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    I put all the power function in the tender. Works great and no wires between cars.
    thenosEKSamPaperballpark
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    More pics. Also built one like this in all black and grey for the ghost train.
    thenos
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    One more shot with loco.
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    Sorry not trying to rob the tread but Ill ad one more shot of the bottom of the tender. This method not only keeps all the electronics in the tender but there is no mods to any elements. Also allows one to super detail the cab of the loco.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    edited November 2013
    I wondered how you got it so low, you've removed the box from the battery box! Very interesting, I might have another play with mine sometime...
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    Right, I do like playing around with the Constitution!

    Taking inspiration from the way that @crazycarl motorised his, I took my tender apart last night and completely re-built it to contain the battery box and IR receiver.

    This morning, I took the cab apart (I'd had the IR receiver in the cab before), and re-built it and the back of the firebox, keeping the basic shape, but adding rather more detail to the cab.

    See what you think...

    image

    image

    image

    image

    image
    thenosTheLoneTensor
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    I dig it paperballpark. Bet it runs a lot smoother with all the weight on the power truck. That's what I noticed anyway. I like your cab detail too. Glad I could inspire.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    Thanks! I was rather pleased with the cab detail, especially being able to put a proper fire box in.

    I haven't run it on track yet, but I would imagine it'll be similar to how it ran when I had just the battery box in the tender.
  • thenosthenos Twin Cities, MNMember Posts: 444
    Wanted to stop and say thanks to all of you, spent last night trying to backwards engineer a train for the first time. Especially @crazycarl. I'll probably be tinkering with it more too. ;)
  • EKSamEKSam Member Posts: 349
    Thanks for the inspiration guys! Planning to motorize mine to go around the winter village, will post questions here if I get stuck. :-)
  • Wil348Wil348 Member Posts: 240
    edited November 2013

    Right, I do like playing around with the Constitution!

    Taking inspiration from the way that @crazycarl motorised his, I took my tender apart last night and completely re-built it to contain the battery box and IR receiver.

    This morning, I took the cab apart (I'd had the IR receiver in the cab before), and re-built it and the back of the firebox, keeping the basic shape, but adding rather more detail to the cab.

    See what you think...

    >

    Thanks for posting! I'll have to try something like that, at the moment I have the receiver in the cab.

    Has anyone found a way to add lights to the engine?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    edited November 2013
    @Wil348, @TheLoneTensor did, see his post above.

    I'll warn you, it involves brick mutilation!
  • Wil348Wil348 Member Posts: 240
    @Paperballpark Do you think you could possibly show us building steps for the tender? I really like the design and would like to give it a try on mine for our Christmas train.

    Thanks :)
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    I'll try to take photos in the next few days. It's quite simple - just three walls really.
  • Wil348Wil348 Member Posts: 240

    I'll try to take photos in the next few days. It's quite simple - just three walls really.

    Ok thanks :)

    I think I can just about figure out the walls of it, it's just the PF placement that I'm not sure of.


  • Wil348Wil348 Member Posts: 240
    Just found a way to add lights without modifying any parts. Just use @TheLoneTensor method, but when you get to the front of the boiler, leave a small gap like in the picture I attached. Hope this helps. I also added lights the the fire, thought it would look nice when the door to the fire is open.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    Yeah I don't think @TheLoneTensor wanted to replace the rounded 1x2 bricks with the cheese slopes, from what I remember.
  • Wil348Wil348 Member Posts: 240
    I don't think the cheese slopes effect the shape all that much, but if you want to add lights without modifying bricks, then I think this is the only way. But if you want to keep the shape of the boiler completely intact, use @TheLoneTensor 's method.

    By the way @Paperballpark, I figured out how to do you method for the tender now, so I don't really need a picture. Would be useful to post one for others who want to do the same though.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    I have an idea how it's possible to do it without replacing those bricks and without modifying bricks. I might have a closer look, although I don't actually have any lights to do it with.
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    Also wanted to add if any of you guys own the Ghost hunters train you could just make a black shell for the tender and slap some train wheels on the cars and it could run on Lego track too. My wife and I use that one for our Halloween display and the Lone Ranger will be for the Winter Village. Ill Add some pics of the ghost train in a minute.
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    Here it is:
    TheLoneTensor
  • crazycarlcrazycarl USAMember Posts: 392
    ^^^^Meant to say "Monster Fighters" not Ghost Hunters. Been watching too much TV. It rots the brain. Now back to Lego!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    Right, first things first. @Wil348, here's two shots of the tender, so that you can see how I incorporated the PF gubbins.

    I hope this helps!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    edited November 2013
    Secondly, this is how I would do lights. As I said, I don't actually have lights, so can't test if there'd be enough space for this, but I think there probably would be. If @TheLoneTensor wants to give it a try, please feel free!

    Note that this method only works if the boilder has been given an extra plate in height.

    The pictures are out of sequence. Don't blame me!

    Pic 1 shows the separated boiler, with the round bricks/plates and the grey 2x6 plate replaced by this piece in grey and black.

    Pic 4 shows a close-up of the top of the boiler.

    Pic 5 shows the hole extending all the way through the boiler from the front.

    Pic 3 shows the top of the boiler above the bottom part. Note the fire box I did the other day. This is where my lights theoretically exit at the moment, although were I to actually put lights in, I'd probably remove one stud from the top of the wall dividing the fire box from the cab, and lead it through just under the cab roof.

    Pic 2 is me shining a light through from the cab.

    Pic 7 shows how I'd get the gap under the light (I used red bricks because I don't have black in those bricks)

    Pic 6 shows from the front with the dish at the front removed. Here you can see the intention, that the wire runs the entire length of the train, exits into the back of the dish and then goes back under the lamp support. This is the bit I'm not sure about - the wire looks small enough to fit in that gap, but until I have one in front of me, I can't be completely sure.

    Thoughts?
  • Wil348Wil348 Member Posts: 240
    Thanks @Paperballpark, I thought it would be something like that, just wanted to be sure.

    Also, I'm having trouble with drive rods. Whenever I try connecting them to just the two drive wheels, they often shift daigonally, and when I connect them via all three wheels, it sometimes jams. Is it to do with the way the wheels are connected?
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    @Wil348 No idea, I've not tried yet. Have you quartered the wheels?
  • Wil348Wil348 Member Posts: 240
    edited November 2013

    @Wil348 No idea, I've not tried yet. Have you quartered the wheels?

    It's okay, I've sorted it now. The middle wheels need to be on one same axle, while the driver wheels need to keep the tan technic pins. All three wheels need you gave a grey technic pin in them, and then attach whatever driving rod design you want.

    Seems to run perfectly with no jamming.

    -----------------------

    Here's a picture of my Constitution. Idea for the front lantern was @TheLoneTensor 's, and idea for the tender was @Paperballpark 's. Thanks guys, really appreciate it!

    Edit: Oops, forgot to attach pictures! I'll post them below.
  • Wil348Wil348 Member Posts: 240
    Here they are. Sorry if they're upside down, it happens when I take photos on my iPad.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    edited January 2014
    I know this is an old thread but I just got this set for Christmas. I knew I was going to get it so I've been setting up my 9V set (4559) in anticipation. It was always in my head to put the 9V motor from my set into this one.

    After building the train, I'm thinking of using the motor in the coal car instead of the engine because it seems like the undercarriage (? ) will fit easier than trying to modify the whole engine. I haven,t actually looked at everything physically yet, I just finished the train last night.

    I was surprised at the way the cow catcher was attached to the front. Are other Lego "steam engine" trains designed like this or is this the first one to have the engine slide separately on top of the cow catcher? I've wanted to buy the Hogwart's Express but couldn't afford it and still can't. Is that train designed the same way? I'll probably stop dreaming about owning it if it is.

    I don't know a lot about trains but this seemed like a strange design to me. I'm assuming I will have to change the way the wheels are attached to the front if I want to make the train more realistic? Or is this going to make it impossible for the train to turn? Guess I'm going to find out. :}
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,226
    The problem is that Lego's corner tracks are unrealistically tight, so you need to use tricks on steam trains to get them to go around corners. The way they did the Constitution is one such trick, although there are others.

    I don't know about other steam trains, as I only have the Constitution, but I believe the Emerald Night has a similar arrangement.
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