Modern O Scale has released their Thrall gondola kit.   It is a 52′ model which features a single piece body and a mix of plastic, urethane and brass parts to detail the body casting.   A custom sprue of ABS parts were made for this kit.    Like all of the Modern O Scale kits, trucks, couplers and decals are separate.  This is an excellent first kit the get your feet wet with building an urethane model.   The price is $160 plus shipping.  A second batch is already in the works based upon the customer response.  Use the link above to obtain ordering information and availability.


Glacier Park Models has both the all-steel G-50-22 and the sugar beet version of the original Southern Pacific G-50-23.   The kits are injection molded ABS and do require some patience in the assembly process.

Southern Pacific G-50-22 Gondola kit retails for $99.95 plus shipping.


The G-50-23 gondola with side extensions for hauling sugar beets retails for $135.00 plus shipping.

Twin Star Cars released a Rock Island flat car kit that can be built either as the original 47-foot car or as the rebuilt 53-foot version.   Ross Dando is the owner of Twin Star and pattern maker for this exquisite kit.

Robert Leners tried his hand at building both versions of the kit.   These are beautiful cars that bristle with details on the sides, deck and underframe.

EYE CANDY by Erik Lingren

The master artist, photographer and modeler strikes again.  This time he has taken a Protocraft 1937 AAR boxcar and finished it with paint and Protocraft decals.  The model is interesting that it was built with a Duryea underframe which Protocraft did a great job on.

Eruk makes excellent use of the Colorado sky and small diorama to captue these realistic photos.   I “borrowed” the pictures from FaceBook.

Thanks for taking a look at this posting.  Hope you enjoy with has been presented.


MODELING: Mid-Century Composite Wood-Sheathed Boxcar 2.0

Picking up where we left off on the construction of the Northern Pacific wood sheathed boxcar, the side posts, ends, doors and sheathing are next.

I stopped by my one and only local hobby shop called RC Country.  They have basic supplies like styrene, wire, paint and CA.   I saw this very inexpensive brush by Tamiya.  It looked like something to try for the application of MEK during a model build.   It reminds me of the brushes used in Japan to do Kanji.

It works much better than the typical small paint brushes I have been using.  It delivers a decent amount of solvent without flooding the area.


The steel framing was partially exposed on this composite car.  Approximately 3″ is showing below the wood siding.  The “Z” posts are made from .010″x .060″ strip styrene and .020″ x .060″ strip used as the vertical part of the “Z”.  Once the posts are installed I added Tichy .025″ rivets per the photos and drawings.

Before installing the posts, I marked the location on the base side sheet.  As you can see, approximately 6″ of framing is installed.  Half of this will be covered with the side sheeting.  The lines help with the alignment of the short pieces of stryene.


I salvaged a pair of ends from an old Intermountain boxcar body.  The body was an early test shot prior to adding holes for ladders and grab irons.  Carl Jackson was kind enough to mill the backside to ensure a flat surface.

The casting was narrowed slightly by sanding the sides carefully to obtain the proper width.  In addition, I added .020″ Tichy rivets to the part simulating the prototype patterns.

The ends are then bonded to the car body.  There is a .0125″ wide riveted strip added to the side of the ends. A .010″ x .060″ strip is added to the backside of this strip to build up the thickness to match the side sheathing.  This riveted strip is flush with the sheathing on the prototype..

The Evergreen siding is test fitted to the body.

The door on the left is a modified Intermountain part.  I spliced two door together to get the 6/7/6 rib pattern.   The Intermountain part is incorrect with the 6/6/6 pattern.  They compromised the design to simplify the body tooling (my guess).

The next installment will deal with siding and underbody details.

Thanks for taking a look.


MODELING: Mid-Century Composite Wood-Sheathed Boxcar


I have been itching to build a freight car now that my cataract surgery is complete with improved vision.  My first step in selecting

the next project was to the revisit my “bucket list”.  Lots of things

Photo by Jack Burgess

caught my eye but the one that looked like a good projectI was a double sheathed mid-century composite  wood-sheathed boxcar.  I borrowed this title from an article pubished in the Railway Prototype Cyclopedia volume 23.  Patrick Wider authored the article describing a number of late wood sheathered boxcars.  My two favorite cars ,

NP and GN,  were described and illustrated in detail.   I chose the Northern Pacific cars that were built by Pacific Car & Foundry in 1937 to the then current AAR design except for the use of wood side sheathing instead of steel.  The cars were numbered in the 9480-9999 series and were durable lasting well into the early 1970s when the 40-year rule caught up with them.   The has been lots of conjecture as to why the NP selected wood siding when steel was being ordered in large number by other roads.    The late Richard Hendrickson debunked the theory that the road trying to placate the forest products industry which contributed to a siginificant part of the road’s tonnage. My take is that the road was frugal and possibly slow to adopt new ideas.  The Northern Pacific bought their first all-steel boxcsr in 1941 three years after the composite cars.


One thing I discovered quickly was that the original series were extremely camera shy.  I have seen very few photos in their original number and lettering.  The picture shown above is of a non-rebuilt car pretty late in its life.   The large Monad with the “railway” added and the Main Street of the Northwest was the last lettering scheme for these cars.  Approximately 98 of the cars were rebuilt with new 55 ton trucks.  The cars were renumbered in the 40500-40917 series.

Here is an intermediate lettering scheme showing the Northern Pacific without the railway.

The above image was extracted from a presented done by Dean O’Neal and Rick Leach at a NP Railway Historical Association convention.   This illustrates the as delivered lettering configuration.


Like most models I build these day, I use styrene as the primary construction material.  I start with a basic shell to create a box that will be sheathed with styrene v-groove sheet and ends, doors and a roof salvaged from an Intermountain boxcr kit.  This model could be built by cutting out the steel side from an Intermountain kit and replace it with a composite side.  At one time, Lee Turner offered a conversion side to do just that.

Here is Lee’s model built up and weathered.


Here is the partial plan used to build the model.  The drawing came from the Rick Leach collection via the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association.


I took .040″ styrene sheet and cut the basic pieces used to form the basic box.

The floor piece was laminated with HO 1×10 styrene strips to simulate flooring.  I marked the location of the centersill, stringers and all crossmembers.   Start assembly by bonding the side to the floor.  I use machined blocks to keep to maintain a 90 degree angle while the MEK sets.

Once the basic box is assembled, I added Evergreen channels to create the sidesill. The .156″ channels need to be set back .060″ from the side sheet. I marked the location of the vertical and diagonal posts.

The marked lines will aid with the location and alignment of the exposed side posts.   Once all the exposed frame members are installed the Evergreen 3-1/4″ siding material will be added covering all but about 4″ of the side channels.


I will start to apply the outer sheathing and ends and add



NEW PRODUCTS: 3D Printed Figures

I have noticed a couple suppliers posting information on 3D printed 1/48 figures.   One firm that I have looked at is a company in Australia by the name of The figures are largely patterned after railroad men of the New South Wales Government Railways  (NSWGR).   Their attire is easy to visualize these models fitting right in on American railroads.   They are starting to offer some of the characters with Amrican style hats.

These figures were painted by a famous modeler, Ian Fainges.

These figures are full of character.   They are a little bit expensive to populate a large layout with are perfect a small scene.

Another supplier that I became aware of when Ross Dando sent me a picture or two of some figures finished by Bill Yancey.   He purchased some unpainted printed figures from Modelu 3D in the UK.

Bill posed several of these figures next to his RY Models Baldwin S-12.

Bill crafted a modern look by with a reflective tape jacket and a tee shirt with the Soo Line herald.

The poses are interesting and show a great deal of attention to detail.  I suspect they may have been created by scanning humans with a 3D laser.

Both companies offer their range of figures in 1:48.   You can get the figures custom painted if you lack the skill to do this level of work.

Check these suppliers out.  They produce some interesting products.




MODELING: Mike George’s Latest Car

After scratchbuilding four L&N H-29 consolidations, Mike George has returned to car building.  His latest creation is a Louisville & Nashville ventilated boxcar.   The project started with a photo sent by noted manufacturer, Jim King, of an actual car tied to a H-29.  It was the catalyst to motivate Mike to build the car.

The car was bilt from styrene and used a stamped brass end he had obtained from Glenn Guerra.   The ends needed some work to make them into a good representation of the prototype.  The small metal doors on the sides took time to fabricate and add to the character of the car.   Mike is not quite finished but add some more weathering and such to complete this most interesting car.

The lettering was pieced together from an old set made by Jerry Snow and Microscale railroad roman alphabet.

Mike recreated the prototype scene with one of his H-29s and the ventilated boxcar.   Incredible work to say the least.

We all enjoy seeing the craftsmanship exhibited in each new model that Mike George creates.   My hat is off to him!


MODELING: Louisville & Nashville in P48


Tennessee resident, Mike George, is an ardent fan of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.   His focus has been on Hook & Eye Division that operated in his home state.  It was a secondary line but still hosted passenger trains and lots of freight.  Mike loeved this line so much that he wrote a book on it and self published it.   He has demonstrated his historic chops but his real accomplishment is that of a very skilled model builder.  Mike started out in HO and produced a kit or two of L&N equipment.  His business was called Blue Ridge Historics.   Over time Mike got interested in 1/4″ with desire to build models with the correct gauge (Proto48).   Blue Ridge Historics did produce a few resin 1/4″ scale kits as well.      On top of all these accomplishments, he has built a P48 Hook & Eye Division of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.  Mike’s railroad has  been featured in magazines showing his innovative design of a two-level layout.

Mike’s modeling experience ranges from scratchbuilding passener cars and structures as shown above.

This tank car is scratchbuilt using a special tool Mike developed to punch conical rivets in the tank body.  He worked from only a few know dimension and a photograph.  He lives in Tennessee so building models from his home state is his passion. The decals were custom made for this car.

Mike has been working on scratchbuilding four L&N H-29 class 2-8-0s.  Building one locomotive is a major undertaking but four is a herculean effort considering that he has a full-time job and this is a hobby.  I belive one of the locomotives is standard five-foot gauge and is going to a friend.  Building locomotives today like these H-28s was helped  from 3D design and printing.  Terry Van Winkle did some of the heavy lifting in this technical area.

Mike”s range of skills is represented by the scratchbuilt L&N pacific and consolidation crossing a small trestle.

Hope you enjoy seeing Mike George’s beautiful work.




MODELING: Stucco Finish

Stucco is a common exterior finish applied to buildings for a long time.  There are various degree of texture shown depending upon the builder’s intention and/or skill.  In the past, I have used 600 grit sandpaper with and been unhappy with the results.  My friend, Jimmy Booth, mentioned a technique he had developed many years ago for application over wood surfaces.  I decided to give it a try.  I will let you be the judge of the finished product.

Here is my completed wall of the Pleasaton gas station.  The wall has some texture but still maintains a relatively uniform surface finish.  It is not at it’s final color.  One more coat of the final color and I should be good to go.

The technique and materials are simple and easily found.   I use a Tamiya flat acrylic paint diluted with their airbrush thinner.  To this solution I add aluminum oxide blasting grit.  I purchased it from Paasche for grit blasting models.  The object is to create a slurry grit suspended in paint.  Do’t add too much since we don’t want to make a paste.

I mix the stucco up on a small jar and use an old brush to dab it on.  I will sometimes put a few drops of thinner on the surface to allow the grit to flow.  Applying over a primed surface is better than plain styrene.  I have done both and like the primed surface better.  I use Tamiya spray primer in a rattlecan.

The stucco mix was applied directly over smooth styrene in this view.   The finish is a fragile so handle with care once applied. That also means you can sand it to soften the effect or even redo it. The view below shows the effect over a primed surface.

Here is a closup of the painted stucco wall.

I am satisfied with the results.


MODELING: Detroit Terminal Railroad

The Detroit Terminal Railroad served a significant number of industries in the greater Detroit area  The railroad operated from 1905 to 1984 when it was absorbed into Conrail.

The locomotive shown above is the work of Lee Turner using a Car Works VO-1000 brass model.   The model features custom made decals for this small railroad.   He created a striking model of a rare prototype.

Short Gas Station Update

I have been messsing around with the vintage gas station the last week or so.  Starting to get a feel for the “stucco” technique.

The stucco finish still needs some tweaks before I can call it done.  I started finishing the tower by reducing the thickness of the application. I did sand the stucco once the finish was dried.   The recessed panel needs some attention.   The building will get a final coat of a dark yellow finish.


The canopy roof has a gentle curve which creates some issues of forming the curved shape.  I built a web of .015″ strips supported styrene filler strips to create the contour.  The actual roof surface will be two layers of .015″ sheet styrene.  The first layer will be bonded to the strips and the second layer will marked with guide line for the mission tile installation.  The two layers will be bonded together.   The roof installation will occur once the model is nearly complete.

Prior to adding the roof, I will add to LED bulbs to the canopy roof.

That’s all for now.


MODELING: Pleasanton Gas Station #1

Like most of us, I am stuck at home with lots of time and a short honey-do list.   I have been looking at the mission style gas station in Pleasanton, California for nearly forty years.  It has been on the bucket list along a bunch of other project.  Now is the time to build it.

I took some measurements a while back and found that my wife’s 12-foot tape measure made it challenging.   I was able to a sense of the general size of the basic structure.  There were a few parts that I wanted to use.  I have some old Chooch plastic windows that looked like it might be a good stand in.   these windows simulate a metal frame design with a hinged panel.  I turned the window on its side to copy the orientation of the real window.  The castings have less panes but I didin’t want to build four windows from scratch.



As you can see I have juggled the dimensions just a bit.  I guess you have to wait to see if I can capture the feel of the building.

Styrene is the material of choice for me on this type of project.  Form core board could be used since the wall are 12″ thick.  I am not sure what was used to construct the actual building.  It could be wood framed with screen and stucco over shiplap.   I used .030″ thick sheet styrene for the basic walls.  I used .100″ and .080″ to frame the wall interior bracing.  I framed the outline of windows and door with this material.  I used two size to get a feel for a proper

The basic dimensions of the building are shown in these annotated photos.  I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the building dimensions.  I did a little “adjusting” on the information collected on my short visit.

west elevation

north wall elevation

south front elevation

east elevation

The window openings will have to be adjusted to fit the part you choose if you can’rt find the Chooch window.

The store front has been installed in my model and adjusted to fit Tichy windows and door.

I am using Tichy masonry windows for the office wall.   The door is also a Tichy part that used without the frame.

Here is the old Chooch window that is going to be installed on the three major walls.

I next step will be to build the mansard roof and the tower.   The stucco finish will be applied after those steps are completed.

See you next time.


MODELING: Another Rock Island Fowler Boxcar

The Rock Island Fowler clone boxcars have been featured in three different postings on my blog.  The first story appeared on October 25,2019 that described modifications done to the original Rio Grande Fowler kit produced by San Juan Car Company.   The November 18 showing the car painted and decaled.  The last story appeared on December 11.

Now fast forward to a car built by Robert Leners that did not use the San Juan kit.  He scratchbuilt this Fowler clone using the traditional methods of individual siding boards assembled to recreate the prototype construction.  Robert picked the last version of the Rock Island Fowler car built for the railroad.  The car was built in 1927 featured a 3/4 Dreadnaught end and a Youngstown steel door.  The roof was a Murphy radial design.   The railroad car diagram is shown below.


There are published drawings for the original Fowler clone ordered by the Rock Island.  The undeframe is essentially the same for all three of the car configurations.  Robert used the kit underframe as a guide in constructing a new one.  One could reuse the kit underframe but building a new one is what Robert wanted to do.

Reusing the rest of the kit is not really worth the effort.  The car requires a new roof, steel door and Dreadnaught ends.  The diagonal straps on the car side are different on the steel end cars.  Robert went ahead and built new sides using scale-sized ( 5-1/8″ wide) boards along with exterior posts made from .010″ styrene strips and Evergreen .060″ angle shapes.

The sides show the amount of work Robert invested in applying a ton of Grandt Line #9 nut and bolt castings.  The prototype cars held the siding in-place using stove bolts with nuts applied on the outside of the steel post.  The boards were not riveted to the frame since periodic maintenance would call for the replacement the wood boards.  Rivets were used to assemble the “steel” parts together.   Robert used .025″ Tichy plastic rivets on the car.  These details show up on this restored NP boxcar.

You may have noticed the Dreadnaught end has a vertical seam in it.  The end was cuto off of an Intermountain boxcar kit.  The car had to be narrowed to match the correct car width.

Robert took a no-compromise approach to this build.  This called for a scratchbuilt door.  This might look like a lot of work butit goes very quickly using Evergreen and Plastruct styrene shapes.

The car starts to really pop when primer is applied.

Robert is a master at his craft.  His work is crisp and flawless.

Paint and decals are done.  Robert has a few more touches to apply before the book is closed.  I couldn’t wait for the final touches so I decided to go ahead and post the material.

Thank you for sharing your work with us.