The Imagination Unlimited

We have journeyed under deep seas and to far away lands.
Across galaxies to cities, towns, castles and crowns,
Pirates' buried treasure, and frontiers without measure!
Next stop, Celebration Station at the Home of the Brick. All Aboard the Imagination Unlimited!
The head on view of an incoming steam locomotive is an iconic image that dozens of photographers have captured over the years, but I had never seen that likeness captured in LEGO before... so the challenge was on!
I looked at dozens and dozens of train pictures long before I started building. The Imagination Unlimited isn't any train in particular, but it is a combination of steam engines. I tried to take the most iconic parts from many different steam engines and combine them together into a familiar shape that would (hopefully) be instantly recognizable to everyone. Through the process I became amazed at how many little details there are to trains that you don't particularly notice when looking at them, but really notice when you've forgotten to add them to your artwork! It was a fun opportunity to learn the anatomy of steam engines.
The Imagination Unlimited is the fourth Q-Framing model to date and the first one to feature no minifigure. This posed an additional challenge because usually a minifigure is the focus, so extra care was required in making a brick-built focus - in this case, the train. At least 50% of the design time was taken up on the train, with several iterations such as different smoke stacks, headlights, cowcatchers, and versions with different cab styles. Another good portion of time was spent on the steam, with at least 4 attempts restarting from scratch! It's painful when you can see what you want in your mind but can't quite capture it with bricks. This was certainly one of those situations. But it's situations like these that give you the opportunity to improve yourself as an artist. Perseverance is the key to conquering, and it's hard to beat how great that success feels.
Many parts in this build came from 10717: Bricks Bricks Bricks and 11011: Bricks and Animals. I find it helpful to source parts that come from specific sets to ease the expense in creating large models. Both sets have an excellent price per brick, which makes them great candidates for this.
The Imagination Unlimited is one of my entries into the 2022 LEGO House contest on LEGO Ideas, and was selected as a winner to be put on exhibit at the LEGO House. It's always a great honor to display a MOC at the LEGO House and to be a part of such an excellent exhibition. Thank you so much, LEGO House!
If you happen to be visiting the LEGO House in 2022 or 2023, be sure to look for this in the exhibition!
You can view the original submission on LEGO Ideas here.