Raising Steam

Iron Girder 1Sir Terry Pratchett’s decision to add steam and the railways to his phenomenally successful Discworld series may not have made for his best novel, but the idea of a fantasy steam engine crewed by humans, trolls, goblins and dwarfs does make for an excellent LEGO model.

This is the final form of Sir Richard Simnel’s famous Discworld engine “Iron Girder”, in its history-making journey from Ankh-Morpork to Überwald, carrying the Low King of the Dwarves, Rhys Rhysson, to reclaim his kingdom.

Iron Girder 2

“Iron Girder” underwent countless modifications from its origins as the first Discworld steam locomotive, so this version of Iron Girder is a far more advanced locomotive than most Terrestrial early engines; more akin to LEGO’s own gorgeous Emerald Night.  I’ve built her as a classic British-style 4-6-2 express engine vaguely modeled on the famous “Flying Scotsman” and/or Gordon the Big Engine from the Thomas franchise.

Silver with green highlights seemed an appropriate livery for the Disc’s own Queen of Steam, and I’ve tried to include most of the main characters from the novel.

Iron Girder 3

The engineer Dick Simnel is driving the engine (recogniseable by his flat cap), accompanied by the formidable Stoker Blake.  The dwarfish Low King is in the first carriage, accompanied by some other dwarfs, the second carriage carries some other passengers, mostly goblins and Sir Harry King, while Commander Sam Vimes, Moist von Lipwig and the goblin Of The Twilight The Darkness are atop the carriage roofs.

Iron Girder 4

At the back is a flatbed bearing the considerable bulk of Constable Bluejohn the troll.

Iron Girder 5

I’ve tried to pay as much attention to the working details as the bricks will let me, so the engine has most of the expected pistons, coupling rods, funnels, domes, whistles and fireboxes.  If I left anything out, it was probably because I couldn’t find a decent way to put it in.

It’s been great fun building this steam engine, and even more fun building it as a Discworld model.

I’m wondering what I can build from the Discworld as a follow-up…


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