Simanaitis Says

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THIS MAY SET a new record for procrastination on my part: Back on August 27, 2016, I ended the SimanaitisSays item “Building the UGears Pneumatic Engine” by saying, “All in UGears fun. Now, on to the Tram.”

What with one thing and another, it was only recently that I picked up where I left off with my UGears Tram.

This, of course, is the beauty of a hobby. Deadline? Schmedline!

UGears Alive and Well. As shown by these videos, this company headquartered in Kiev, Ukraine, is prospering, offering many more models since 2016. There’s even a Fabergé Egg-like Mechanical Flower-etui and a Roadster VM-01 inspired by the Morgan Four-Passenger Family Tourer.

The Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg, Germany, is one of the largest annual toy and hobby fairs in the world. Among this year’s debuts were new UGears kits, including a Dream Cabriolet, a Flight Starter, and a Dice Tower.

Image from Ugear.

The Tram. The Ugears Tram has 154 parts, laser-cut and numbered on four sheets of 1/8-in. plywood. Several spares are included, as are toothpicks to connect elements and serve as axles. No glue is used.

The first two pages of the Tram’s 28-page booklet offer construction tips in nine languages: Ukrainian, English, German, French, Polish, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, and Russian. The rest of the booklet gives language-free step-by-step assembly instructions through clearly detailed illustrations.

Among UGears kits, the Tram is midway in complexity between the Date Navigator (24 parts) and the Dream Cabriolet (739 parts).

My Pneumatic Engine.

My Pneumatic Engine’s 81 parts gave me introduction to UGears assembly. For example, I found both it and the Tram profited from careful alignment of various axles to reduce friction. Extra toothpicks were useful to replace ones I had accidentally blunted.

The Tram pieces come out of their laser-printed sheets with gentle prodding. Thus far (touch wood for luck), I’ve not had to use the extra bits to replace damaged ones.

I didn’t have a candle handy for greasing parts prior to fitting. However, a dab of lip balm does the trick as well. The blade, file, and scissors of my little Swiss Army knife are handy for trimming parts and snipping toothpick ends.

This isn’t a Tram part; it’s a UGears measuring gauge.

The Tram is rubber-band powered to climb its gentle incline. I’ve not quite finished with it.

Tram and its unfinished rails.

In fact, I’m a bit reluctant to complete the Tram and try it out. (It’s akin to regret finishing a good book.) My next UGears project is the V-Express Steam Train with Tender. It has 538 parts, and I’m making no prediction about its production schedule. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019


  1. Bob
    October 16, 2019

    The post war Germans had their variant. Gears were made from a wood impregnated with some resin and compressed. So hard that a hand drill had to be sharp and carefully used. Called “Linguee-something.”I found that my mother’s clear nail polish and emery boards were great tools.Spending a couple years in a remote Chateaux with three brothers and three English speaking friends, I explored combining Erector sets, English Meccano and German Märklin-Metallbaukasten kits. The latter was VERY motion oriented, and would do things like saw wood. Later when we moved to Germany, it was fun to add the pellet powered steam engines to create mini factories. (frustrating was the English vs Metric hardware)Cheers, Bob

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