NEWS: The Passing of Frank Peacock

It saddens me to post this notice about the passing of a legend in the railroad hobby.  Please view this announcement prepared by Ed Hawkins, Norm Buckhart and this author.

Frank H. Peacock

Frank Peacock passed away at the age of 77 on 2 December, 2021.  He had passed away after a difficult battle against Mesothelioma.  The disease progressed quickly robbing Frank of many things he loved doing.  As many of you know, he was a frequent participant in historical society meetings, prototype modeling events and model railroad shows.  Frank was a fountain of knowledge on a number of railroads and had a particular interest in freight cars.  He had a remarkable memory for specific cars including what appliances, paint scheme and truck types.  His knowledge was not limited to just one or two railroads but many.  Ed Hawkins shared his affinity for freight cars and all the wonderful technical details that make this subject so fascinating.  Ed and Frank developed a close friendship that spanned over twenty years.

Frank served our country as Naval officer and dentist.  Upon retirement he decided to try his dental skills working for Aramco Company in Saudi Arabia. Frank settled down in the Austin, Texas area developing close friendships with Bruce Blalock, Jim Zwernemann, A.T. Kott, Dick Harley and Norm Buckhart among others.

Dick worked closely with Frank on a number Union Pacific related projects.  Norm found that Frank was a guiding light on his ¼” scale import projects. He advised Norm on what cars to produce and to be sure the details were correctly executed.  Frank made a visit to Norm’s shop and discovered a major flaw in a number of his car projects.  It ended up costing $65,000 to fix it but was the right thing to do.  Sadly Frank will not be able to see the completion of Protocraft’s latest to import model project of UTLX and General American tank cars.

One of Frank’s passions was baseball.  He made an annual trek to Phoenix to witness spring training.  Like everything in his life, he had each trip planned out in minute detail all contained on a stack of 3”x5” cards.  Many of his trips were repeats year after year each time refreshing his memory as the best places to eat and stay along his path.  It was his analog of a smart phone with navigation.

Frank Peacock will be interned at the Resthaven Cemetery in Jacksonville, Texas on Sunday 5 December at 2PM.

We will miss you.



MODELING: And New Stuff

I have been working on a new build project of a Pullman Standard PS-1 boxcar.  It isn’t quite ready so I thought that I need to share some new things with you.


Norm Buckhart has received all of his 50′ boxcars from Boo Rim.  The last shipment arrived just before he left on vacation.


The new cars a beautiful as with all of the models produced by Protocraft and Boo Rim.  They are fully reseached and designed using the skills of Ed Hawkins and Jimmy Booth to produce the finest 1/48 scale model of freight cars.

In addition, there are a couple new trucks that were produced for the cars and available separately.

The first truck is a Commonwealth BX express design with a 5’6″ wheelbase.  It was commonly used on freight cars used in express and mail service.

The second truck released is the Allied Full Cushion design.  This truck was used on WWII troop sleepers and also express cars.   It has a 5’6″ wheelbase and is available in five-foot gauge and Proto48.

Here are two examples of the new 50′ automobile cars that are in stock.  The photos show two version of the wood sheathed automobile cars once owned by the D&RGW.


Ross Dando is getting ready to launch his new website with lots of interesting items featured.  A sample of his new offering are etched spikes that are scale 1/48.

Here are some images of the new spikes.

I look forward to getting my hands on these soon.


Lee was kind enough to share some his work done a while back.  He worked his magic on two Sunset GP-9s that were imported earlier this year.

He also sent a couple shots of details he has created for a heavyweight passenger car that is under construction.   Lee is crafting some interesting pieces for his own personal car.

Thiws vintage radio is complete with a lighted dial and knobs.  Very cool!

The waiter serving up a cold beer is a perfect touch.  He “kit bashed” the figure.


Thanks for stopping by.



NEW PRODUCTS: New Releases from Right-O’-Way

Jay Criswell is likely one of the most productive manufacturer working in 1/48 scale these.  He is a key supplier to many aspects of our hobby.


First of all, a posting by David Woodhead on FaceBook caught my eye.  He purchased a pair of wood beam archbar trucks from Right-O’-Way and added wood brake beams.  The truck is of a very old design but suprisingly lasted in service into the 1970s on cabooses.  The truck was originally developed by Mike O’Connell at Chooch Enterprises.  I believe the pattern was done by the late Oscar Neubert in the 1970s.  Chooch sold it in a delux version which was extremely challenging to assemble and get it to track (my own experience).  Jay has invested time and money in the old Chooch trucks bringing them back to life with improvements.

As you can see, the truck is a set of brass castings with Protocraft steel wheels.  This is the Nova version which is very simple to assemble.   The sideframe has a button cast on the back that fits in a slot in the bolster.  This is similar except for the fact that the bolster is all new based upon a 3D design by Terry Van Winkle.  The truck is now held in-place by two small screws that hold the cover plate to the bolster capturing the button.

David Woodhead set up a simple fixture to attach the brake beam using .020″ phos bronze wire.  He soldered the wires to the coverplate and bent the wire to go around the axle.  The brake beams were drilled out to accept these support wires.  This is a technique that has been used by narrow gauge modelers since the early days.  It is much easier than suspending the beams from the car body as on the prototype.

Here is David’s truck assembled and painted ready for operation.

The Soo caboose shows the road’s use of wood beam trucks well into the 1970s.


Right-O’-Way came up with a very useful part to convert Intermountain and Athearn trucks to Proto48 using a brass bolster and wheelsets with the proper axle length.  It allows you to quickly reuse your Intermountain and Athearn trucks for P48 operation.

Here is the bolster installed in an Intermountain truck along with P48 NWSL custom wheels.

Jay ordered a custom run of new wheels, axles and insulators.  The latest owners are producing very finely machined products.  Look at the smoothness of the wheels shown below.

The new axles were cut to fit the Intermountain sideframes.

The new bolsters sell for $8.00 per pair plus shipping.  With the new wheels the package sells for $30.   Right-O’-Way also has new P48 wheelsets available for $22.00 (4 axles).

Right-O’-Way will be supplying new cast frogs in O and P48 based upon 3D CAD work by Rick Leach and printed by Terry Van Winkle.   Jay should be announcing the release soon.


I have started to build or more properly rebuild a Lionel PS-1 boxcar.  So stay tuned.


MODELING: My Son’s Sn3 Modeling

I recently visited my son ,Mark,who lives in the area.   He has been a railroad modelbuilder for a long time.  Most of his modeling efforts have been building HO modern equipment.  Lots of diesels with DCC and sound.  Mark has taken up laser cutting wood and laser board based upon his CAD designs.  I have included a shot of his D&GW coal tower and depot.

Mark’s skills include steam locomotive modeling.  He purchased a well worn P-B-L K-27 that needed driver work, paint, weathering and DCC/Sound.  Sn3 has become his primary modeling interest

Another locomotive he built is a Railmaster white metal locomotive.  He said it was a challenge to build complicated by the inadequate instructions and missing parts.

Mark has expanded his skills by starting to do 3D CAD and printing using an inexpensive printer.  It was a bit of a shock to see how nice the parts looked coming from a $200 printer. 

This machine uses a UV light source to harden the resin.   The printing platform is approximately 4″ square.   No 1/48 boxcars but lot of detail parts.

He created this backhead for a D&RGW narrow gauge rotary plow. The front end piece for the rotary plow was a freeware part developed for garden railway.  Mark decided to add a lot more detail to the cowl and the fland assemby..

Needless to say, I am very proud of what my son has accomplised in modeling and his life.  Besides modeling, he is a police officer and a loadmaster on the California Air Guard.


MODELING: Classis F100 Build

Menards has imported a number of true 1/48 scale vehicles over the last several years.  Last year they imported a model of the 1953 Ford F100 pickup.  I purchased a few when they were less than $5 each.   Straight out of the box they can serve as a prop for the background scene.  However, the model is pretty close to scale and has promise.

I started this project by doing a little online research.  I found a dimensioned drawing for the truck and a few photos.  Actual truck photos showed lack of chrome compared to the model.  The other visual aspect that caught my eye was a rubber gasket surrounding the windshield.  Vehicle models either don’t have windshields or one’s that don’t fit very well.  This model has some gaps around the windshield.  The other point was that the wheels are too far out.  I haven’t fixed this since I tried to pull the rims off the axle with no success.  I didn’t want to risk damaging the rims. I may go back and cut the axles and push them in.

This drawing shown above is for an eight foot bed.  The model is shorter than this.

Start by removing the screws from the bottom and remove the cab and bed.  I decided to see what I can do to improve the appearance of the grill.  I am not entirely happy with it.  I decided press on since it is a supporting actor and life is too short.

I painted this grill to cover the chrome.  My choice of color was way off and changed it later in the build.   I added a black wash to the grill openings.  I also painted the space behind the grill black.  Not sure how much it shows.  Mike George did a quick check on books on old Ford trucks and found that the bumpers were not chromed at the factory.

The windshield gasket was made from .5mm lead wire.  I purchased the material from UMM-USA online.  Roll a length of wire to straighten it.  I blackened it followed with a coat of black paint.   The wire was pressed into the windshield opening.  I used canopy glue to hold it inplace.   Try not to get any on the glass.

The photo above shows an untouched diecast truck and my model that is in-process.  I think this photo shows the effect of adding the black paint to the grill opening.  It creates some depth to the model.  The Ford crest is way oversized but I don’t have a simple solution for replacing it.   The windshield gasket does add to the finished model.

I added a side mirror to the door of the truck.  I found this Tichy part in one of my parts bins.  I sliced one of the “insulators” off and added a piece of .020″ wire to create the mirror.  A drop of thick CA created the mirror surface.

Here is a side view of the truck with the side mirror in place and a gas tank filler.  This was made from styrene tube and a Tichy nut,bolt,washer casting.  Drilling the cab casting takes some time will create a more solid mount for the details.

I need to add side windows to complete the cab.

A steering wheel was created out of a spoked wheel casting made by Tichy.   The seat was painted a dirty gray color to show better.

The final touches included weathering the body and running gear.  I started with an Vallejo acrylic black wash to highlight and darken features.  I then applied a wash of Ammo Oil Brusher dust color.  It help tamp down the shiny paint.   Oh yes, the paint on the model likely contains lead some don’t chew on it.

The nearly finished ’53 pickup is parked next to the latest Menards release.  It is a 1951 Ford F-1 truck.  This will get a similar redo once a I get some more things done on the layout.


MODELING: Finishing My Type-30 Tank Car

This construction project got underway when Norm Buckhart decided to create the Clinton decal set.  A discussion between Norm and Jimmy Booth result in a joint project in which I did a fair amount of the heavy lifting.  How did that happen?  Oh well, we will have a unique tank car model.

I decided to try out a new paint made by Mission Model  It is acrylic paint with an urethane additive to improve durability.  I chose MMP-105 which is called Worn Black Gray Tires.   I s a decent color for viewing the model on a layout.  I am still learning how to work with it.

I decided to decal the frame while the tank was separated.   It does make it easier to avoid breaking details during the decal work.

The Protocraft decals provide all of the lettering to completely detail the frame.

This picture shows the frame lettering installed and tank mounted on the frame.  I started decaling the tank with the herald.

Here is a shot of the lettering complete.  I still need to airbrush a flat finish and add a bit of weathering.  It has been a interesting project that was made possible with help from Norm, Jimmy Booth and Frank Hodina (Resin Car Works).



MODELING: Build 1.5 Ton Chevy Truck

Mike George sent me pictures of his latest project.  It is a 1/48 Chevy truck that requires nearly no scratchbuilding.

The model is a very impressive looking truck that would fit in neary any layout.  You will need to to collect the following components to assemble this 1/48 vehicle:

Menards 1947 Chevy Panel Delivery.

Atlantis Models 1955 2 ton Chevy truck kit.  The kit has an issue with the front axle parts.  They will raise up the front end too high.  The axle locators need to modified to prevent the front end is raised too high.  You need to cut off the inside tang so the axle rests on the leaf springs directily.  

Gaso-Line GMC cab for Tamiya truck kit

The above parts are made in France by Gaso-Line.  They can be ordered from a French website or Wannamakers Hobbies in the US.  They are cast in resin.

So when put all the parts in the blender you end up with something that looks like this.

The edie cast from fenders required some work to increase the size of the wheel opening.  The from axle had to be shortened to bring the wheels inside the fender line.  The diecast front end piece retained the running boards.   The Atlantis chassis was fitted to the front end parts.

Side mirrors and a bumper were added.  The etched wipers were included in the cab kit.  You will have to cut a piece of window material which requires some patience.   Mike reused the kit flat bed and side fences.

The above picture I plucked from the web to illustrate how well Mike’s model captured the look.

Thank you Mike for sending your most recent modeling effort.


NEW PRODUCTS: New Kit Producer in 1/48

Yarmouth Model Works has launched a new kit in 1/4″ scale.  They have released a urethane kit for a Pennsylvania Railroad X31f automobile car.   The prototype is a 40′ double door car modified by the railroad to raise the roof allowing cars or Jeeps to be stacked at an angle.

The kit is composed of an one piece body casting, with the iconic roof having been rendered in 3D.  You willl find laser-cut running boards, etched ladders along sill steps and other key details.  The brake equipment is from San Juan Model Company (former San Juan Car Comany) injection molded plastic.
Custom decals were produced by National Scale Car for this project.   National is now the producer of Speedwitch HO decal line.  The decals appear to be nicely done.

The link below will take you to the Yarmouth website.

Future kits are possible if Yarmouth is successful with this launch.

The kit retails for $165.00 plus postage
Currently there are only 46 kits available


After a long delay, the Protocraft 50′ automobile cars are starting to arrive from Boo Rim.  COVID-induced labor shortages and shipping capacity has been frustrated Protocraft and their customers.  The model shown about is a Denver& Rio Grande Western composite 50′ car based upon an ARA design.  Like all of Protocraft’s products a great deal of research and effort has gone into producing an accurate rendering the prototype.

Till next time,


MODELING: Shortline Modeler Blog

Shawn Branstetter has developed a very informative blog that describes techniques for modeling the railroad scene.   The emphasis is on technique and materials used by by scale plastic modelers.  He has mastered many of the newest modeling paints and materials developed in Europe.  Companies like AK Interactive, AMMO by Mig and Vallejo have created the kind of stuff that allows you to build realistic models and scenes.  Road building is one such tecnique Shawn developed a system using acrylic paste and Hydrocal creating realistic asphalt material.  He shows how to do this in his blog.

Here are a few samples of Shawn’s work on track, layout and building material.

Shawn’s blog is worth a look.




NEWS: Eight Years and Counting

Yesterday was the completion of the eight year of this blog.  That went by in a flash.  It has been fun and enlightening to share my thoughts and the work of talented modelers.  There have been many who have shared their work with the readers of this platform.   I am only too happy to share their work and to learn from what others have done.  It is difficult to pick out a few names worthy of mentioning.  All of the material worthwhile and of interest to me and viewers.

One thing that I have noticed is that the most popular stories and visual presentations are those which contain lots of finished models.  Weathering techniques seem to be the most popular topic.   Eye Candy is always a sure thing when it comes to new posts.

You may have noticed less frequent postings of late.  Summer is a slow time with folks busy doing things other than the hobby.  However, I am spending time working on new models and my layout.  I hope to be able to share some of my efforts with you during the current year.


Thank you for your support.


Photo Information:

  1. Robert Leners builder and photographer
  2. Bill Yancey builder and photographer
  3. Lee Turner building and photographer
  4. Jim Zwernemann builder and Bruce Blalock the photographer
  5. Gene Deimling builder and photographer