Product Idea |

Steam Tractor


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Fire up your steam tractor, and take to the streets of Lego City! Watch the piston move in the cylinder; see how the power is transferred to the driving axle by chains and gears. Check out the steering: the turn of the steering wheel drives a shaft around which a rope is wrapped, which in turn causes the front axle to swivel. For easier driving, 'hand of god' steering is provided via the smoke stack.

This is a fully functional, minifig-size model that can be built in a whole lot of variations. I just couldn't decide which one I prefer, but since all of these variations are built around the same basic structure, I propose a set that allows building three different variations:

1.) The Showman's engine. Machines like these were used by traveling showmen to pull their carnival rides from town to town. Once set up, the engine was employed to drive the ride, either directly, or via the electricity generated in the on-board dynamo. Some of the Showman's Engines were brightly illuminated with electric lighting - this was a show in its own right! Sometimes you can still see engines like this, especially in England. I have attached a photo of a Burrell showman's engine. For copyright information, please check at the bottom of this page. The most common (and beautiful) color for this would be dark red, with lots of gold trim. I have created a hay wagon loaded with barrels of lemonade to go with this model, so it would complement the Lego fairground mixer 10244.

2.) The farm traction engine. This is the prototype of the other models. It's the most stable, and probably the most playable of the designs. It comes without a roof. Use it on your farm to pull the plough or the harrow, or drive a threshing machine (I just couldn't stop building and made all these). The farm traction engine has a bigger cylinder to give you all the power you need. The originals had a power ranging from some 20 h.p. up to over 100 h.p. My favorite color is green, although dark red also looks quite cool, and dark green would be a possible choice. The wheels could also be red, and maybe spoked. Originals can still be seen at steam fairs, as shown on the photo of the Marshall Sons Traction Engine. Again, copyright information is provided at the bottom of the page.

3.) The road roller. From my childhood on, I have loved road rollers. That's funny in a way, as I have never really seen steam-powered ones. They grew obsolete by the 1940ies, when they were superseded by diesel engines. However, to my knowledge there has not been a realistic rendition in Lego so far. So here it is: pave the road after the demolition guys are finished, pull heavy loads on the construction site, or just lead the centennial parade in style! Watch the spoked wheels; they work out nicely with real Lego bricks. I've created a water tanker to go with the steam roller, which could also serve as slurry tanker on the farm. My choice of color is reddish brown, but I'd also love to see it in earth orange. For this one, even yellow would do. I feel it makes the engine look more modern. The historic originals were mostly painted in dark colors, as they tended to get quite dirty. The color scheme I chose has been seen on a very beautiful French engine on the Dorset Steam Fair, 2013.

If you have followed me so far, you will have noticed that I am quite passionate about steam tractors and Lego. I would love to share my fascination with you and all other Lego enthusiasts out there, so I kindly ask for your support for my project. And, most importantly, please help me spread the word by sharing this with your friends!

Copyright information:

"Burrell showman's engine, Abergavenny steam rally 2012" By Andy Dingley. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

"Marshall Sons Traction Engine 'Old Timer', Gloucestershire Steam & Vintage Extravaganza 2013" By Barry Skeates from newbury, UK [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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