Saturday, June 25, 2011

Railflyer Prototype Models traction motor in action

I reported previously about Railflyer Prototype Models and there attempts to get a scale traction motor assembly to market. Pretty much all components are now ready for production, with only the heatsinks being a couple of days behind. As soon as these are in, they can be assembled and mounted on the trucks to demonstrate a real working truck with traction motors. However, the video here was posted to demonstrate that it does work, a miniature electric motor driving one axle. I am very curious to see how these work once they are mounted to a truck, under a nice heavy loco frame. :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weathering, an art within a hobby

One thing I've always liked to do is to weather models so they look more realistic. There is an enormous variety on materials and techniques available to accomplish this.  One website that is totally dedicated to this part of the hobby is (also see 'useful links' on the right).
But weathering is more than just clever paint techniques, it also involves scars and dents simulating the hard life equipment has on the railroads. A very good example can be seen in the photo of this gondola, made by 'Model Trains Weathered' member Butch. The realism is further enhanced by taking the picture outside, under natural daylight.  If weathering is your thing, you owe it to yourself to at least check out that site.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2012 Walthers Reference book

The 2012 Walthers reference books are now available to pre-order on the Walthers website, and your affiliated hobby shops. The books currently have an ETA of August 28th 2011, the HO costs just shy of $16,- at the time of this blog. These things usually go quick as they're very popular.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Snowfighter loco

A project that I want to do in the future, once I've finished a couple that I'm still working on at the moment, is to build a Southern Pacific snow fighting loco. These were originally SD9's, but were later replaced by some GP38-2 locos, these locos are still in service today, but are now painted in Union Pacific colours, as the SP merged with the UP in the  '90's. They are stationed at Roseville CA. Here's a youtube video of a build, using an Athearn RTR GP38-2, and was painted in the SP colours.

Another look at the Exeter show layout

Earlier, I posted a video from an engineers perspective. Now there is one in birds eye view of the same layout, giving you a good overview of the set up. Hope you like it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Switching layout

Inspired by (the books of) Lance Mindheim (see links on the right), UK model railroader 'Mal' set out to build his own version of a US switching layout called 'Palmetto Spur'.
Here is a video clip of his work, which shows again that bigger, doesn't mean it's better when it comes to a realistic looking layout.  Please let him know you liked it by posting a comment or two at his vid (or here).

Narrow Gauge railroading

I personally don't know much about it (yet), but I know a lot of people like it. I also must say that I have a weak spot for the DRGW K27 type locomotives, one of the prettiest narrow gauge steam locomotives I've seen.
Recently, Blackstone models produced a limited run of an excellent model of one, and are now working on a C-19 locomotive. There will be a re-run of the K27 this summer, in limited numbers and Sound+DCC only.
The Blackstone website has now been added to the useful link section on the right, and the link is here too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My latest trackplan revisions

Here's my latest track-plan revision. As mentioned previously, I couldn't fit the Davis station in without too many compromises. So I cancelled that part, and then pondered for a while what to do with the area. I've now decided that this area will be freelanced, such that I retain some operational interest and purpose, as well as keeping the general feel for the area in which the SP and the CFNR operate(d).  I've changed the right hand side such that I've brought the backdrop fwd towards the edge of the layout, and using some background warehouses (packing facilities), created multiple car spot locations. Using some scenery divide (depicted here by some trees) the main continues along the fwd edge of the layout. Behind the backdrop, there's not enough room for multiple track staging, but the single track remaining can function as such, or as an 'invisible' run around track to make the journey / return times longer.
On the left side, I've corrected my track-plan to more accurately show how the track is currently laid. Just out of view below and behind the CFNR loco-shop, is a small 3 track classification yard/visible staging, and the main continues around the room and connects on the other side, so that I have created the 'dreaded (?)' loop around. This is to be able to just sit and watch a train run, help me set up locomotive decoders (speed curves and top speeds etc) and properly run their gears in , and to please my son who wants to be able to run his train around&around, and asked me time and time again when I would go and expand the layout...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Exeter show in video

Here's a video layout tour from a loco engineer perspective, of the RS tower + branch line US outline layout. The layout won the layout operators award of the show, so it was a great weekend for all involved.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Exeter Model Railway Exhibition , a visit report.

As mentioned in my previous post, I visited the Exeter Model Railway Exhibition today. Being in the UK, of course the vast majority of layouts and traders showed/stocked models to a British prototype, in a variety of scales and gauges. Nevertheless, there was some high standard of modeling displayed among these, of these, I particularly enjoyed the fine scale modelers, and a narrow gauge railway modeling the RhB (Rhatische Bahn)  of Switzerland. At one point in my past I wanted to model this same railway, and actually bought (and still own) one locomotive model (The so called Rhatische Krokodil), however my model runs on 9mm track, while it should be 12mm. (Bemo, the main manufacturer of RhB models, produced their models in two track width for a while, but now only produces '100% correct models).
Of course, my main interest is US railroading, and this was represented by the largest layout on display here: RS Tower plus branchline, totaling up to 120 feet of layout, set up in an S shape. These modules, based on the FREEMO concept (not to be confused with the european FREMO), showed an interested public the charm of US railroading, and went a step further by showing the operations aspect of the hobby, using car cards, trackwarrants, and dispatching via radio etc. This is something that is rarely seen in the UK but is gaining popularity, as it adds a dimension to 'playing with trains' and gives everything a sense of purpose. Members of my local NMRA club (Western Union) helped the crew of RS tower, and operated the branchline. There were a few technical glitches (problems with a few turnouts, causing trains to stop etc) , but in all I got the impression that people enjoyed themselves,  and the public appeared interested in seeing US/Canadian modeling, with it's long, multiple headed trains, and operations.  Let these few pictures speak for themselves. Of course, full view pictures can be seen by clicking on them.

My son's first

Today I visited the Exeter modelrailroad show, more on that in a separate blog soon. However, I was able to 'corrupt' my son to buy a train. :-) Actually, I didn't need to do much, he just enjoyed watching all the layouts and trains running, and then said he wanted one of his own. Now most items for sale were british outline, but one vendor had some US HO scale locomotives too. So all I needed to do was to convince him to go American too, so that he could run his train on daddy's layout. :-) And so it happened that we left the show with a Bachman Spectrum  GP30, of the Nickle Plate road. We couldn't afford buying any of the more modern power that would have suited the layout better, but hey, it's a small concession to make.
I've also donated all my older rolling stock to him, so he now has a complete train, fitting the engine nicely.
It is DC only at the moment, so I'll have to convert it to DCC at some point so that he can run it together with mine, but it was fun. Here is a quick pic, made with my mobile phone to show you his pride, pulling his string of older freight cars. :-)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sweet home Alabama

UK based modeler Jon Grant is a master in creating realistic scenes/scenery. Here's a picture of his latest project, called 'Sweet home Alabama'. The scene is not even finished yet apparently, but already comes across as incredibly realistic. One of the keys to realistic scenery is using a blend of colours and textures, and not using too much of the same in one area. Great work Jon!
 (picture (c) Jon Grant).

Friday, June 3, 2011


For those that can't make it to the Exeter show, the following weekend on Saturday the 11th of June, sees the Trent Valley show, also including a lot of US/Canadian modeling in various gauges. Here is the link to the show website with all further info. June sees shows both in the North and in the Southwest of the UK this way!

A modeler's nightmare

This made me smile, and just had to post it when I saw it.
I guess the picture says it all....

Photo (c) Jon Grant.
Model railroad, and cat, owned by Jon Grant.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Sorry to post this so late, but I didn't have the full details until now.
For those of you having nothing to do this weekend, live in the UK, and fancy to see a fantastic modelrailroad show, On the above dates, the Exeter modelrailroad show will be held, and it includes a huge American railroad, by my friends from RS Tower, and assisted by the crew of my NMRA group 'Western Union'.
The show is organised by the EXE Model Railway Society .

Some additional info:

Matford Livestock Centre, Matford Park Road, Exeter, Devon EX2 8FD
OPENING TIMES:  SAT 10am-5.30pm, SUN 10am-4.30pm.
ADMISSION:  Adults £6.00  (Children go free)
Concessions £5.00      

The annual exhibition held by the Exe MRS since moving to our new venue, the Matford Centre 3 years ago is fast gaining a reputation as one of the premier shows in the South West. This venue gives us the space to accomodate 30+ layouts, demonstrations and trade stands in one large ground floor hall with plenty of room to view our exhibits. We try to cater for all interests, with layouts in all popular scales including British, continental and American.

The following layouts and traders are in attendance.

List of Layouts Attending :List of Traders Attending :
Rheingauz, (Z)
Midsomer Norton, (N)
Grovedale, (N Modern Image)
Mallingford Central, (N 1980's)
Brigstow, (N BRW)
Exeter N Society, (N 3 Layouts)
Yeoton Wharf, (3mm Mixed)
009 Society, (009 9 Layouts)
Andeer, (Swiss Modern Image, DCC Via PC)
Four Lanes, (00)
Lulworth Military Railway, (00 1944 Wartime))
Trevellyn Bridge, (00 BR 63)
Wiveliscombe, (00 1950/60 BR)
Orchard Road, (00 Modern Image)
Chinehurst, (00 1950/60)
Southurst, (00 BR/SR 1950/60)
Exeford, (Modern Image)
Oswestry Road, (00 BR/WR 1950/60)
Leigh Road, (00 1950s BR)
Rolvendon, (P4 1920s)
Tiverton, (EM)
Rock Springs ( HO American)
BW Dugelshaven, ( HO Continental)
Godshill, (O GWR)
Halsdon Road, (O Modern Image)
Stapely, (O BR 1950s S&D)
Tinkers Green Sidings, (S7 1946/55)
Haven Hill Junction, (On30 1940s Usa)
Trains in Your Garden, (G Area Group)
Model Bus Federation (Display)
Mike Doherty, (0 Gauge Demo)
Scaleseven Group, (Scale 7 Track Demo)
The Weatherman, (Weathering Demo)
DCC Demo,
Engram, (Demo)

Railroom Electronics,
Titfield Thunderbolt,
Rural Railways,
Rob Doidge Railwayana,
Richards Spares,
Model Express,
Finnishing Touches,
Eric Walford Models,
Dartmoor Railway Association,
The Model Shop Exeter,
Lynton & Barnstable Association,
ZTC Controls,
Wessex Wagons,
Daves Videos,
Exe MRS Sales.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Great modeling

One of my favorite railroads is the Southern Pacific. One of my interests in the modeling hobby is to detail diesel locomotives , including paint and weather them etc. So if the two can be combined, all the better. Now I am under no illusions. There are many modelers that are much more skilled than I am, and one of the best I've seen so far (if not THE BEST) is US based modeler Elizabeth Allen. I like to not only admire their (and her) handy work, but also to learn from them, and in such a way increase my own skills.
What she can do to turn a model train, into a miniature replica of the real thing is amazing. Here a picture of a real loco, with one of her models next to it for comparison. The level of detail and weathering is incredibly realistic. The longer I look, the more details I find, particularly under the frame!
 Hats of and a deep bow of respect to Elizabeth Allen!