... The backbone of model railroading is the building of railroad models...

You kind'a hate to paint it

covered hopper carThis is an old Quality Craft kit that followed me home from a trainshow recently. I knew it was going to be a challenge to build, but that's why they called them "craftsman" kits. After many hours of fun I'm proud of my work.

If you keep your eyes open for any of these great old kits they just beg you to build your skills while you build them.

Bob Fink MMR

Remembering old layouts and old friends

C V and S boxcarMany of us have custom decals made for our own cars. You can still find ads in the model press for custom decal printers. Some folks even use their home computers to do it. The fun is to build a car, letter it for your road, and then "interchange" it with a friend for use on his layout.

Here's a car from Fred Schneider's Cherry Valley Southern. Even though Fred is gone his memory and that of his layout live on with those of us who were lucky enough to have one of his cars. Nice job, Fred. That box car and the hobo inside will see many more miles!

How a MMR Does It

a series of partially completed modelsBefore there was "shake-the-box", long before RTR, there were still terrific models. This miracle came about by way of a technique called "scratchbuilding". If you read the mainstream magazines you might think that this is a nearly extinct side of the hobby, but never fear. It's magic is still being praticed in basements all over the Miami Valley!
This example comes from the workbench of Bob Fink, MMR. Bob needed some B&O Wagontop boxcars, but no kits were available. Starting with a formed wood block for the basic shape, Bob added handformed ribs, detail parts, and paint to achieve the delightful result shown here.
A scratchbuilt model won't be complete overnight, but it sure will be something to be proud of when it is finished.

O Scale Beauty

PRR MikeMike Mereness brought this O Scale model of a Pennsylvania RR Class L-1S 2-8-2 Mikado to the March meeting. This demonstrates the amazing detail level possible in larger scale models. Makes you dream of a half-acre basement and unlimited funds, doesn't it? Click on the photo for a full-size image. (325 KB file).

More O Scale

GG-1A GG-1 in all its glory! Rick Lach acquired this beauty at a recent train show. Brings back memories of the NE corridor in the '50s.

Being Kept in the Dark?

John Smith brought us a home made Uncoupling Probe. John tells us that he uncouples his Kadee couplers manually and sometimes has trouble seeing between the cars in darker areas of the layout. He took a commonly available key-chain LED light and drilled a small hole into which he fastened a piano wire probe. Problem solved! Thanks, John, for this great tip!

Fine Tuning Unit for Rolling Stock

Here's another clever tool from the workbench of John Smith. The easy way to fine tune cars for the layout is here. John attached a Kadee coupler height gauge on each end of a two foot section of track mounted on a wood strip. Near the center he placed a piece of spring wire to use as a retainer for the wheel cleaning towel. This keeps the "air hose" on the couples from snagging the paper. When the paper is dirty, just pull it sideways to access a clean section. You can check rolling action, coupler position and clean the wheels all in one step. Keep the car weight calculator shown below at hand, along with your scale and NMRA gauge, and you will be set to do a complete retune of your rolling stock.

Cars Heavy Enough?

This 10" rule, shared by John Smith, has a scale that is marked in 1/2 inch increments, but the numbers are the weight in ounces for an HO car of that length. A quick way to save brain burn while fine-tuning your rolling stock. We're hoping to have this available as a .pdf file that you can download and print on cardstock.

Locomotive Wheel Cleaner

Terry McTaggart showed us this track section designed to clean HO locomotive wheels. It is a simple construct of a section of rail mounted with an old power supply. Hold the loco on the track with your cleaning product and run up the power!

Building from Dalmatian Switching District

J. Hedge Brought us this building from the Dalmatian Switching Districe. This is the cotton mill from the Town of Argyl. There will probably be additional buildings to be built to this standard.

Note: Do you have an item for this page? bring it to a meeting to share and we'll photograph it, or you can send the photo(s) to the webmaster, along with a description of the project and he'll take it from there.