P48 MODELER: Robert Leners


Modeling Proto48 is not limited to a few geographical regions of the country.  There are many talented builders in places like Colorado, Washington State, Maryland, and Tennessee.  One such modeler located in the Minneapolis area is Robert Leners.  I first met him in 2009 at the Naperville Prototype Modelers meet.   Prior to meeting, he had already impressed me with his workmanship and volume of models produced.  The more I conversed with Robert the more I realized that we share common interests in the hobby.  He is an unabashed fan of the late Paul Larson, former Model Railroader editor, and the old Soo Line.  We each built some of Larson’s published construction projects.   I built a few of Larson’s models but Robert has built some that were published in the Railroad Model Craftsman.


Here are two examples of Larson inspired projects executed by Robert.    He built the structures and positioned them on his layout that was under construction several years ago.   Robert is scratchbuilding a 1/4″ scale version of a C&NW depot at Jefferson Junction, WI.   Paul Larson built a HO version for his Mineral Point & Northern Railway. I suspect Larson went down to Jefferson Junction and measured the depot.  Robert was able to obtain a comprehensive article in the C&NW Historical Society magazine to guide his construction.  The factory was described by Paul Larson in the Railroad Model Craftsman.  Robert built this structure years after I had built my version.


Robert is building a replica of the Benton, WI branch end.  Model Railroader did a prototype study on this C&NW facility.  It was an interesting choice for 1/4″ scale modeling since it has only a few switches, a turntable and small depot.  The turntable started out as an On3 kit.  It fit his layout concept well.




Four outstanding scratch built freight cars were built from styrene.   His work is crisp and clean.  The Frisco boxcar was built using drawings that appeared in the Mainline Modeler.  The Soo boxcar was built using information from a number of sources.  To date no plans for these early (1914, 1915) boxcars have been found.  Some were converted to work service which allowed information to be collected.


Robert converted an Intermountain single door boxcar to follow a Soo prototype.   He followed an article that I wrote for the Soo Line Historical Society magazine.

CMO FowlerCNW Bx 4 R Leners

Here are two more scratch built styrene models.   Each one is a superb rendering of the prototype.  Both were based on drawings that appeared in Mainline Modeler.


Robert built this early Chooch Enterprise Ultra Scale II kit.  He did an excellent job on the model.  The black ends were accurate for cars prior to the early 1950s.   This 10,000 series boxcar was a signature car for the Northern Pacific.

There are more wonderful models coming from Robert.  He continues to turn our new projects and share them with fellow Proto48 modelers.

5 thoughts on “P48 MODELER: Robert Leners

  1. Gene,
    Excellent presentation of Robert Leners’ superb modelling.

    I notice that, although all ties have tie plates, most are not spiked. This gives a delicate appearance that is very prototypical. Since the rail is painted and weathered, am I correct in assuming that it is finished?

    I really like the appearance and it would sure save a lot of time. I might inquire whether or not the tie plates are glued or not?


    • Bill
      I need to check the pictures again to see what you do. My guess is that Robert isn’t finished yet. Gluing rail is problematic and not likely his approach.


      • Gene,
        I am referring to fastening of the non-spiked tie plates. Our four spikes per tie on every tie is overkill with respect to mechanical strength and tends to make the presentation less realistic due to the oversize spike heads. Rail spiked every fifth or sixth tie to ties without tie plates usually make the oversize spikes really stand out. Looking at prototype photos, the spike heads are barely visible if at all.

        Robert’s track without every tie spiked but with every tie being tie plated looks really good to me. The presence of tie plates hides the absence of spikes. It is best illustrated in the first photo but also shows in the station scene.


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