Congratulations BMR OcTRAINber 2018 Winners!

Our friends at Brick Model Railroader hosted a fun train building contest called "OcTRAINber". This year's build challenge had an interesting twist: you had to build a model train that is "foreign" or outside of your typical model train "comfort zone" geographically speaking. When BMR came knocking on our door looking for sponsorship prizes for the contest we were excited and eager to help!

We offered two prize packages:

1. Holiday Train Conversion Kit + Speaker Wagon + PFx Brick package

2. PFx Brick + XL Speaker package

The team of judges at BMR have recently announced their winners and we must say that we are super-impressed with the quality and creativity of all the entries! Alas, there are 4 models worthy of the Grand Prize (real & digital), Best Foreign Factor and Best WIP Story titles. We are pleased to announce that the Holiday Train Conversion kit grand prize is awarded to Andy Mitchell (aka Hod Carrier) for his sublime Ferrobus model! It is a stunning example of a creative small model packed with clever details!

The winner of the PFx Brick + XL Speaker package is Alexander McCook's Lartigue Monorail. Alexander (aka narrow_gauge) is an accomplished and gifted Lego train builder based in Australia, in particular his narrow gauge steam locomotives are truly a work of art and engineering!

We look forward to sending both Andy and Alexander their well deserved prizes very soon!

Holiday Train Conversion Kits In Store!

We're excited to announce that our Holiday Train conversion kit is now available! It brings the magic of light and sound to the LEGO® 10254 Holiday Train set. This conversion kit comes complete with all of the components you need to rebuild the Holiday Train with added lights and optional sound. You simply combine the contents of this conversion kit with the Holiday Train set and follow our instruction books. When built, you can download the Holiday Train profile from our website and install it into your PFx Brick using the PFx App. This profile pre-configures the PFx Brick lighting outputs and effects, adds steam train sound effects, and pre-configures the remote control actions. Using the PFx App you can modify the profile to change the lighting effects, add/change sound effects/songs, or reconfigure the remote control actions.

Feature Summary

  • Locomotive headlight
  • 8x Tender blinking lights
  • 8x Caboose blinking lights
  • 2x Caboose porch lights
  • Custom light accessory board to connect PFx Brick
  • All electronics pre-wired and ready to use
  • Extra LEGO® parts required to modify and convert the Holiday Train set
  • Colour printed instruction books (+ digital download instructions)
  • PFx Brick profile with steam train sounds, music, sleigh bells, Santa's "Ho Ho Ho!"

To use this kit, you must have the following LEGO® brand items (available separately from shop.lego.com):

  • 10254 Holiday Train Set
  • 88000 Power Functions Battery Box
  • 8886 Power Functions Extension Wire
  • 8879 Power Functions Speed Remote
  • 88002 Power Functions Train Motor

This kit is designed to work with any PFx Brick (IR, 4 MB, 8 MB, etc.) which is sold separately.

There are three versions of this kit:

1. Basic - Lighting conversion without sound

2. Standard - Lighting and sound conversion (adds Fx Bricks M-Speaker brick)

3. Deluxe - Lighting and sound conversion with separately purchased Speaker Wagon add-on kit



The Speaker Wagon is an exclusive custom designed wagon kit to expand your Holiday Train! The visual style of the wagon has been carefully designed to harmonize with the design style of the LEGO® Holiday Train. Of course, the real function of the Speaker Wagon is to maximize the sound performance of the sound effects from the PFx Brick by enclosing a powerful XL Speaker Brick. Even though the XL Speaker is hidden inside the wagon, the wagon roof and end walls have carefully designed grilles to allow the sound to project from the wagon. This charming new wagon will look (and sound!) perfectly with your Holiday Train!

Feature Summary

  • All LEGO® parts to build the wagon (198 pcs)
  • Colour printed instructions (+ digital download instructions)
  • XL Speaker Brick
  • 8x blinking side lights
  • wiring and connections to adjacent Holiday Train wagons

Delivery

Due to the difficulty in sourcing LEGO® parts with guaranteed delivery times, we have only provisioned for approximately 25 complete kits with guaranteed 2018 shipping. These initial kits are offered as an "Early Bird" production batch with a limit of 1 per customer. Quantities after the Early Bird batch will be fulfilled as best as we can but we cannot guarantee shipping for Christmas 2018.

The "early bird" production batch will sell out quickly; so visit our web store and get your Holiday Train conversion kit as soon as you can!

Brick Dimensions Kits now In Store

Custom LEGO® train model instruction kits designed by Michael Gale have been available at Michael's personal site brickdimensions.com for a few years. However, in order to expand the range and possibly offer complete kits (with bricks, printed instructions, stickers, etc.), Michael has decided to host and sell these kits in the Fx Bricks store instead. This will allow the kits to be sold more efficiently through the Fx Bricks e-commerce platform with automatic digital downloads provided by Amazon S3. Eventually, these kits will be re-branded as Fx Bricks products with the intention to expand beyond digital downloads, into printed instruction products and eventually into full boxed "sets" with bricks. Fx Bricks intends to expand its product range for LEGO® trains with some exciting new product announcements in the near future.

New Profiles and Sound Fx for Trains!

Good news for LEGO train fans! We've just updated our sound effects library with a bunch of new train sounds. These sounds have been carefully chosen and remastered for use on the PFx Brick and can be combined with our new downloadable profiles for extra customization. The sound files have been tagged into these major categories:

  • Bells - loop-able bell sounds representing both mechanical and electric types
  • Horns - an extensive combination of popular horn sounds from Nathan, Leslie, etc. mastered in both long and short versions
  • Misc - miscellaneous sounds including couplers, squeals, grade crossings, etc.
  • Whistles - a collection of steam whistles representing a range of locomotive types

The biggest addition to our downloadable resources are new pre-configured sound profiles for steam and diesel locomotives. These profiles combine carefully mastered sounds of actual engine/prime-mover noises which automatically playback based on motor speed. This gives the ultimate simulated sound experience of real locomotives! You can customize the profile with your preferred horn or whistle sounds as well as customize the remote control actions for sound playback. The PFx Brick even has "random" playback of sound effects further enhancing the realism. Combined with the customization of motor speed curves, acceleration, and deceleration--a sound equipped LEGO train takes operation to another level!

We plan to add more sounds effects and profiles in the future. In the meantime, checkout the new profiles and have fun customizing them for your models!

PFx Brick for Trains Part 2: Configuration

As a continuation from Part 1, the video shown below discusses how the PFx Brick can be configured to exploit features specifically beneficial to LEGO® trains.

The discussion is split in to four main topics:

  • Remote control setup
  • Motor configuration and operation
  • Lighting setup
  • Sound effects

The remote control setup discusses how a typical handheld remote can be configured into logical groups of functionality. It also shows how remote control actions can be assigned completely freely and how functionally dense a remote control can be configured. The motor configuration topic is the lengthiest since it covers almost every aspect of advanced motor control in the PFx Brick including speed control modes, speed steps, dual motor operation, speed curves, acceleration, and much more. Sophisticated and automated lighting behaviours such as directional headlights, flashing ditch lights, and adjustable brightness are discussed as well as loading and configuring sound effects.

The video includes a great deal of helpful illustrations to help explain more complex topics, especially those related to motor control. After completing two videos on this topic, it became clear to me that even more videos could be produced since some areas of functionality could benefit from deeper examination. This applies especially to the topic of sound effects.


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