Howdy, and welcome to this infrequently used and updated blog. Hopefully, I remember to make this a series.
Today, I want to discuss what went into the making of my recent Casey Jr. LEGO project. But first, a bit of history. The first steam locomotive was invented by Richard Trevithick in 1802, in Great Britain. In 1825, George Stephenson(who would later become known for the invention of the Stephenson valve gear, the simplest form of valve gear, as used on Casey Jr.) built Locomotion 1 for the Stockton and Darlington, the first public railway in the world.
Fast forward to 1901, when Walter Elias Disney was born to Flora and Elias Disney. Walt loved trains, and when the Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923, first as Disney Brothers Studio, many of his movies and the yet unbuilt Disneyland would reflect this. As I am not a historian, I won’t go into all those details here.
Let’s move ahead to 1941. Railroads were king. Back then, everything was hauled by rail, as lots could be moved quickly, and somewhat inexpensively. In 1941, Walt Disney Studios released Dumbo, the story of a young elephant who has such large ears, that he can quite literally take off, and fly! Now, remember I said Walt was a train fan? In the original novel of Dumbo(I learned this recently), the train was not fleshed out. Casey Jr. was created by Walt, and Ward Kimball. Being railfans, they knew all about how steam locomotives actually worked, but because they were cartoonists first, they made many changes, including the fact that Casey Jr. need not have an engineer. He, quite literally, is both engineer and locomotive. Being cartoonists, they exaggerated features to create a character that was both realistic, yet appealing.
So, for my first post, let’s cover the little locomotive himself. Starting with his headlight. Normally, when designing a locomotive, be it LEGO, model, or real, you don’t want things to look odd, so you set a scale( 2.
a. A proportion used in determining the dimensional relationship of a representation to that which it represents: a world map with a scale of 1:4,560,000.
b. A calibrated line, as on a map or an architectural plan, indicating such a proportion.
c. Proper proportion: a house that seemed out of scale with its surroundings. https://www.thefreedictionary.com/scale just so nobody complains about citations.)
So, anyway, I decided that rather than try to set a scale, I would try to take a page out of Walt and Ward’s book. I took the route of trying to make it look adorable. As you can see, I overexaggerated the headlight, and the cylinders(the headlight is his ‘hat’, the pistons his ‘arms’, and the cylinders are his hands. He may look slightly odd this way, but I find him charming. The wheels are standard LEGO steam locomotive wheels, so he can run.
As per almost usual, his tender is pretty much an unassuming box on wheels, designed to carry his coal. Fun fact, west of the Appalachians(CA, NV, etc) there are plenty of trees, so locomotives were wood burners, east(NC, SC, WV, etc) coal was king. As Casey serves the eastern seaboard, he’s a coal burner. Next time, I’m going to cover his passenger car, so expect(hopefully) about a 5 part series.