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4543-1: Railroad Tractor Flatbed
Published 2 months ago
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The inventory is ~98% accurate. I excluded the Tractor's 3x6 bucket, as the vehicle looks okay with just a crane arm. I still made a MOC assembly to replace a sprung wheelbase. All stickers are missing, too.

=MISSING PARTS=
1. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2484c01/wheel-holder-sprung-2-x-2/
2. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3317/brick-special-1-x-2-with-digger-bucket-arm-holder/
3. https://rebrickable.com/parts/3314/construction-vehicle-bucket-arm-small-2-x-6-x-2/
4. https://rebrickable.com/parts/2347/construction-vehicle-bucket-7-teeth-3-x-6/
5. https://rebrickable.com/parts/4093c/vehicle-base-train-6-x-28/

=MISSING DECALS=
1. https://rebrickable.com/parts/164585/sticker-sheet-for-sets-4536-1-4543-1-4546-1-4551-1/

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This small set no. 4543 'Railroad Tractor Flatbed' (marketed as 'Transport Waggon' in the UK) came out in 1991 as part of the "Trains" theme.

That year, LEGO began to roll out a brand-new 9V Electric system in Europe and UK that replaced two voltages that co-existed in "Trains" for over 15 years: battery-powered 4.5V (1966—1985) and 12V (1969—1993) that plugged into an electric wall socket.

The Tractor Flatbed's authors were Torben Plagborg (https://brickset.com/sets/designer-Torben-Plagborg) and Bjarne Juhl Larsen—they co-developed the entire "Trains" 9V program, including electrical infrastructure (Transformer and Speed Regulator unit, new railway tracks) and most of the theme's '91 line-up.

The build features two main elements: a red flatbed railway platform and a yellow Tractor/Bulldozer with several accessories (that fit on a flatbed). The platform features multi-segmented sideboards on both sides and came with two non-motorized bogies. (These included the new Train Wheels pair assembly, Part #2878c).

The yellow Tractor had a few curious items. The vehicle featured two buckets—a smaller one extending on a crane arm. Inside the double-sided cabin, two mini antennas represent crane arm controls. Notably, both the steering wheel console and antennas came entirely in black, which isn't a typical color scheme for these assembled parts. I also like how the vehicle features three different LEGO tires and rims between the Tractor and Trailer; somehow, it still looks elegant! Another neat item is built-in parking brakes.

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=TORBEN PLAGBORG'S LEGACY=
https://brickset.com/sets/designer-Torben-Plagborg

Torben Plagborg began working on LEGOLAND "Town" in the mid-80s. He designed some of the most common and functional LEGO System individual parts, which are still widely used:

☒ 2x2 Corner Brick (Part #2357) and Plate (#2420)
Since 1987

☒ 1x2 Profile Brick (Part #2877)
Debuted in '91

☒ 1x2 "Grille" Flat Tile (Part #2412a/b)
From 1987 till '97 (first version, without a bottom lip)
Since 1990 (current generation)

Notably, the iconic Grille initially met resistance from LEGO's Managing Director Godtfred Christiansen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godtfred_Kirk_Christiansen), who argued it wasn't functional without studs on top. Eventually, the mold got approved with the company's President, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen's support (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kjeld_Kirk_Kristiansen).

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=MORE "TRAINS" BY TORBEN PLAGBORG=

4558: Metroliner (1991)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/b82xKmJ1a1z

4536: Blue Hopper Car ('91)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/1k2q10n12E0

4544: Car Transport Wagon with Car ('94)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/79a8nKRrj8w

4547: Metroliner's Club Car ('93)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/7l2BPrOqv0N

4537: Octan Twin Tank Rail Tanker ('93)
https://www.mecabricks.com/en/models/Vyvnk6y4al3
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