As Cold as Ice

Grab your little conductor’s cap and a red bandanna, it’s train time!  The latest effort by Hungarian builder Gabor Horvath is impossibly cool, with inspired windows, striping and one of the most complex examples of a driver’s cab that I’ve ever seen.  The model is a recreation of the German Intercity-Express 3 train, which has a distinctive nose that must have been very challenging to capture in the brick.  The final result may not be quite as rounded as the real thing, but it’s no less stunning.  I think I like the slightly angular treatment better anyway, it looks like it cuts through the air with ease.  Being inclined to see things through the lens of Science Fiction, I couldn’t help but wonder how the nose would look on a spaceship or a train that was more stylized for the future. It’s all about that nose.

For some people it is unfathomable to spend a year on a model of this size, or any size for that matter, but the result is such perfection that I can’t fault Gabor in the slightest.  When I blogged for TBB I made it a point to diversify my interests as broadly as possible and that meant seeking out interesting trains to talk about.  Even though I don’t often build trains and I’m not really that interested in the subject matter, over the course of a year my appreciation slowly increased.  And while I can’t honestly claim to be a ‘train guy’, I still find myself looking for the next great iron horse.



Beyond the build itself, I really enjoyed the way  Gabor enthusiastically describes his build process on Flickr, it’s both genuine and insightful.  The personal anecdote he provides is more evidence that you’re not really a builder/junkie until you wake up in the middle of the night with the perfect solution for a model and start building when you should be sleeping. Gabor also has all the technical stats and train-speak on Flickr, so if you’re interested follow the link at the top of the article and check out the full presentation.

I’m really happy, that it is ready! It took me almost a year to build and become satisfied with the result. You may know, if someone build a train, the front is the most important thing. If it’s not good, it’s unnecessary to build the other sections. Everything started with an LDD model from a front-idea. I built something in the program, but I didn’t like it. Later it came always into my mind and didn’t allow me to be calm. So I started to develope the construction. Some month later it looked nice enough to order some parts and make it in real life. It contained so many interesting and strange techniques, that it was a real challenge to put the bricks together in the program, and with real bricks it was hard, too. And the real 3D model was ugly! But I said, that it has to be possible to find out something, which makes the model better. So I made some changes, and some more, and some more, and finally I liked it, and I thought that I found the maximum! I stored the train (only the front section) and some other parts on the table in the middle of our house. And one night, I couldn’t sleep. I woke up and went out to the table to do something. And I don’t know why, but I put an element into the middle of the front. And I said ‘wow’! It was perfect (for me of course, for you, I still don’t know, but I will read the comments 🙂 )! Some gaps disappeared, some sections got new positions. That element made so big changes on the overall look, that it was incredible! I felt high, but next day I was very sleepy. 😀

I included the video because this train demands some dramatic music and it’s cool to see the ICE in action.  It’s also easier to appreciate all the SNOT work that went into the brilliant nose.  Gabor has a nice Catamaran Sailboat too, if you’re a catamaran kind of person, not everyone is…you have to have a real sense of style.

7 thoughts on “As Cold as Ice

  1. As much as it can be a juvenile bit of fun to rag on the train crowd, truth be told I do really appreciate their stuff quite a bit. That they can take what is a very, very small set of parameters to work in and still create designs that are unique…well it’s impressive. The locomotives often get outshone by the fabulous landscapes and supporting terrain of the layout, so it’s cool to see something like this that focuses entirely on the train.


    1. Yeah bashing on train guys is low-hanging fruit for sure, but it never completely gets old. I never thought of it that way, but I think you’re right, the train is the focus but it typically does get overwhelmed by the diorama because they tend to be, by necessity, very large. I have to admit that I like this train because it looks like a space-train, although I can appreciate the steam engines, it’s just not the same.


      1. So true. Good sci-fi trains are rare and welcome finds. Then again, sometimes all you need is a pointy front and Ice Cube wearing Bengals crazypants and blowing off a few hundred rounds from outstretched meathooks….


  2. Funny thing for me is that I came into the community kind of after the whole train vs. space thing was sort of waning. Just as well because I have always loved trains. It’s the mechanic in me I suppose. But considering that my buddy icon is a steam tractor, it really should not be that much of a surprise or stretch.

    The diorama around the trains are meant to set them off but they pretty much fail at that every time. They become the focus and the train is just passing through at best. Buuut, that is sort of what they do in real life. Can’t say if it’s intentional that they focus on static landscape, train yards, and roundabouts but the overall effect is completely immersive. So kudos to them for that.

    Still waiting for someone to build a Ghosts of Mars layout with train as well as a Snowpiercer.

    Gabor’s train is remarkable! That nose is scary good. Great find, Keith.


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