Boring Brown Boxcar 5-14-16

For my first Lego workshop blog post, I decided to stick to the simple things and build a basic brown boxcar. I've been hoarding brown bricks for months in preparation for this build, in both the new #192 "reddish brown" and the older #25 "brown." While the official shade of "boxcar brown" varies from railroad to railroad, I was only planning on building one boxcar. I initially thought about building the car with a "speckled" look, mixing the older and newer browns for a weathered appearance. This idea was finalized after I saw a forum post where a user had painted an HO scale blue Golden West boxcar with a shade of fresh turquoise patched across the bottom, as though it had been used to mask graffiti. Using my sand-green boxcar as a template, I set to work.

Though building from the bottom-up is the norm, I realized that I wanted to use the new reddish-brown along the bottom of the car, and the older brown on top. Given that I had a much smaller supply of the old brown, I decided to start with the old brown from the roof down, so I could use every last piece of it before merging it with the new brown. Thankfully I double-checked my work, and found that the rail plates (to represent the sliding rack for the boxcar door) were aligned to opposing ends. An easy fix job, and quite soon both ends of the boxcar were done! While the color-merging plan had come out well, I wasn't entirely happy with the blandness of the sides. Most boxcars have reporting marks as well as railroad names or logos, and so should mine! I briefly considered using white bricks or plates built into the side of the walls, but no pattern seemed like it would be convincing. Finally, I dove into my supply of decorated tiles, and came up with a pair of 2x2 white tiles decorated with the Explorien logo, a space theme from the mid-1990s.

 To build the tiles into the wall, I used 1x1 "lamp" bricks, mounted on interior wall reinforcements, with a 1x2 and 2x2 plate behind the tile itself. To cover up the exposed studs underneath the sideways tile, I "underlined" the logo with a blue tile on one side and a silver tile on the other. Depending on which one I end up liking more, I may eventually make both underlines the same color. Unfortunately I didn't find a 1x2 decorated tile that seemed fitting to appear as reporting marks, and using a blank tile or white brick below the flashy Explorien logo seemed inappropriate. Something for the Bricklink shopping list then! The doors use more SNOT techniques, to mount a 6x7 plate array on each side to appear as the sliding doors of the boxcar.

After the final assembly of the carbody, I turned to the undercarriage and trucks. The wheelsets are spaced one stud apart to fit a 1x6 plate with round 1x1s representing truck springs, and then spaced one stud away from the coupler assemblies to give a smoother ride. The bars-with-stop-rings represent brake pipes, with the grille brick and stacked 1x2 plates giving a busier look to the seldom-viewed underside of the freight car. With this done, I then modified both boxcars with additional door details. I am also considering trying a more textured roofline, but that's a project for another day!