Where is your club based?
Unlike some model railroad clubs, NILTC does not have a permanent display anywhere. Our members are spread out over northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin making it hard to have any singly located display. The Club tries to meet once a quarter at Club members houses in varying locations throughout the western suburbs of Chicago.
How do I join?
The Northern Illinois LEGO® Train Club is an adult club of LEGO® enthusiasts. To be considered for membership you need to be:
• 18 years of age, or older
• Have reliable transportation
• Have a reasonable source of income (this is an expensive hobby!)
If you meet the above requirements, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, age, where you live, what you like to build (city, space, castle, etc), links to any on-line picture sharing sites you have a presence on (Brickshelf, MOC Pages, Flickr, etc.), and any projects you might be working on. We will invite you to our next meeting to see how everyone gets along, and if all is good we will ask you to work a show with us. It’s very different seeing the display all set up, as opposed to all the work that goes in setting it up and tearing it down. If that seems to go well then we will ask you to display something with us to see where you are in your building. It could be vehicles, rolling stock (rail cars), a building, or a whole table display (30” x 40”). If that works out, then we will have a vote and ask you to join.
Is this ALL made out of LEGO®?
Yes, for all practical purposes. The vast majority of what we build is from LEGO® bricks and parts. Some members also make custom decals, or stickers for their creations to add realism. Some members also use custom lighting to get effects. The models themselves are all LEGO® and you can get the parts in any LEGO® Store, or at http://shop.lego.com . . . LEGO’s online store.
Where did you get all this LEGO®?
The entire display is all made up from private LEGO® collections. Most of us have been collecting for a long time!
Does LEGO® sponsor you?
Nope. LEGO® has been slow to embrace the community in a helping manner, but they are making positive steps to do so. In the last few years, the LEGO® Company has created some special programs for AFOL’s (Adult Fans of LEGO®), especially those that are involved in club that are out promoting their product for them.
Mostly though, everything you see at our shows is either privately owned LEGO®, or material that has been purchased by the club.
Did you design all of this, or are these kits?
95% of what you see on the display has been designed, or created by a club member. There are no instructions, no step-by-step processes, just a lot of imagination and hard work. Most members work either from reference material, a picture, or just use their imagination to create their MOC – My Own Creation. LEGO® has made some really great sets though, and you will find those sprinkled throughout the display, mostly vehicles and some of the trains.
Is the train battery powered or does it have a track pickup?
The LEGO® System works similar to a Lionel train in that it picks the power up off the track. The tracks are electrified by a LEGO transformer which controls the motor that is attached to the train. You can tell the motor because most of the LEGO® train wheels are black, but the LEGO® motors wheels are chrome/silver.
How do I get LEGO trains? I haven’t seen them in stores.
Yes… we wish LEGO® trains were easier to find.
For the latest line of LEGO® trains, extra track, train accessories . . . your best bet is to buy directly from LEGO®, using their Shop at Home service. They have a mail/phone order catalog they send out quarterly, and also an online store: shop.lego.com. You can also visit your local LEGO® Store as well, but they often do not carry everything you will find on-line.