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I am new to Lego and a few years ago I bought a Winter Holiday Train, as well as the remote control and battery pack. I assembled it and use it each December as part of my Christmas tree setup. Every year I pack it up carefully, by using tissue paper to wrap all the train cars and engine. I wad up some of the tissue paper and I carefully fit it around the different parts to protect them. Then I pack up the track and the parts and they still, even with all the wrapping and protection, fit in the original box.

The issue is that every year when I open it up I have parts that have fallen off the train cars and have to look things up in the manual to make sure they go back in the right place. Pulling the battery pack of the coal tender always means that car falls apart and has to be re-assembled again. There are other parts that are problematical.

On the engine, the smokestack and smoke repeatedly come off. You can see there's not much smoke because it falls off so easily it's lost. The cow catcher and the wheel assemblies also tend to fall off easily. enter image description here

On the caboose, the lanterns, the doors, the man, and the "lights" on the side of the car frequently come off. enter image description here There are more parts that easily come off over the holidays or during storage. (While the tree display is generally protected, sometimes the train is the victim of the car or grandkids.) However, breakage during the holiday season is not nearly as frustrating as having to re-connect so many parts every year when I unpack this.

I get that, for true Lego fans, the idea of gluing anything is offensive. I did find a good answer on here about what kind of glue to use, if one wants to use that. I understand the reasoning behind not gluing. My intent, with this train, was to have a train that looked nice around the Christmas tree (and the kind of trains I played with in the 60s and 70s as a kid are now in the $300 range or more and the trains I had as a kid, while functional, have older tracks that aren't as "failsafe" for the train, when running, as this set).

I'm sure a lot of people have reasons to store assembled sets, such as for transit to shows, or to keep them safe when not on display at home. Are there any other ways to store this set to keep it intact from one year to the next?

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  • I haven't done this so I don't have the voice of experience, but the first thing I thought of when I read your description was "pick and pluck (aka pick and pack) foam." You can find it in different densities and it lets you create foam forms for custom shapes. If you get small enough pull-out cubes to match your train outlines, that would protect better than tissue paper. Jan 8 at 18:57
  • Models that are transported for shows are often built by the person who then has to set it up, meaning they have first hand-knowledge of what how something was build - and the things that come off during transport often don't need to be placed in the exact same place, e.g. if I had build something like that caboose and the red light came off during transport to some show it wouldn't matter if I placed it on that stud, most people who would see it at that show wouldn't know, and the small number of fellow fans that had seen it before wouldn't care (because they know the situation). Jan 8 at 21:34
  • @FredricShope I'm looking into that - never heard of it before. That might do it - expensive, though!
    – Tango
    Jan 9 at 1:42
  • @Henriksupportsthecommunity Good point about those transporting. As for the placement, yes, the little colored "lights" don't have to go in the same place, but I also have things like the wheel carriages fall off, along with other parts where placement matters - or needs to be symmetrical so it doesn't bug a young family member who gets confused when I don't keep things lined up or balanced.
    – Tango
    Jan 9 at 1:44
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    Something that comes to mind to prevent losing parts is to put each train section inside a resealable bag. That way when things fall off, it's easy to see which section they came from, and makes sure they don't get lost. Depending on how much you enjoy the actual construction process of Lego sets, you could also just dismantle it each year as you pack it away, and rebuild when you set it up. Jan 10 at 3:06

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