NEW PRODUCTS: Modern Modeling

Model and photo by Ed Nadolski


There is an aspect of Proto48 modeling that I have overlooked in my blog.  It is prototype modeling of modern equipment.  Modern is this case defines a period of the 1960s through the present day.  As a modeler I have not had an interest in it since I am hopelessly stuck in the 1950s.  However there is a lot of railroad modeling that I have not paid attention to.  At one time I did railfan here in Cali and Oregon with camera in hand but it never stimulated me to model what I observed.

In recent years the O scale importers like Atlas, Lionel, MTH and the now defunct Weaver have done a number of moderns pieces of equipment.   Several modelers and designers have produced some very interesting items that allow a modeler to jump into the era.  The modern era eliminates the one issue that holds back steam era modelers, drivers.

Model and photo by Patrick Welch

I would like to make readers aware of the development of parts and equipment for modern railroad modeling in 1/4″ scale.  Interest seems to be building in the era and equipment.  When you start to look around you realize how much is out there. One supplier has been making the task of modern modeler much easier.  James Lincoln has produced 3D designs for things like conversion bolsters for Atlas and Lionel modern equipment.  Lincoln Proto48 Engineering is Jim’s firm and he makes the parts available through Shapeways. The link above will take you to Jim’s blog which has multiple links to Shapeways.  The Chinese-made equipment looks pretty good and can be refined even further with some modifications. 

Lincoln Proto48 Engineering has recently produced this cushion coupler pocket for an Atlas boxcar. The picture on the left shows a simple conversion of adding Protocraft 70-ton ASF trucks and the cushioned pocket.  This one of many parts available.



Bill Yancey has decided to get involved with the creation and selling of a new series of urethane boxcar kits.  He has picked a line of FMC-built 50′ cars that started production in the 1970s.

The following car configurations will be made available:

A   Single 10′ sliding door car

B.  Combination 6′ plug/10′ sliding door (ABOX)

C.  Centered double 8′ door

D.   Diagonal double 8′ door

The double door cars are available with either Youngstown or Superior 5 panel doors.

These cars have not been produced before and are very popular with railroads in that era and later.  The masters shown above and below are now at the caster for production of the pilot model parts.



One of the most popular diesel models in 1/4″ scale has to be the Red Caboose GP-9.  Leon Fairbanks picked a prototype that would cover a wide range of time from the 1955 era to the present time.  The original kit has a drive invented by Roco for the original Atlas F-9.  It was inexpensive and ran well but had several weaknesses that would show up over time.  Des Plaines Hobbies and Pat Mitchell came up with a machined brass plate that would adapt the Weaver drive system to the model.  It replaced the flimsy plastic frame.  A lot of folks went this route as an upgrade including myself.

Finescale 360 is a new supplier who is produced custom machined frames and gear towers to upgrade the original Weaver drives.  Kelly Regan, owner, developed the parts as a result of a lengthy series of posts on the old Yahoo Proto48 group.  By the way, the group is now on Groups.IO.  The frame and tower really make a huge difference in the Weaver drive.  You can go a step further and upgrade with P&D Hobbies brass Blomberg trucks and change out the gearboxes for ball bearing version produced by Right O’ Way .  Jay Criswell, Right O’ Way owner, can do all of the heavy lifting if you don’t feel mechanically inclined.

Here is the Finescale 360 frame for the Red Caboose GP-9 


The above photos show the tower installed in the Finescale 360 frame and the one below shows the tower components in the kit.  Contact them directly via their website.

Here is a shot of a P&D Blomberg with Weaver components installed.  The brass castings and wheels are for P48 conversion.  They were offered by Protocraft but now are available from Right O’ Way of Clovis, California.  Shawn Branstetter’s website the Shortline Modelers posted this picture of the truck and parts.

The Blomberg shown above is the work of Ross Dando and is going into his Rock Island GP-7.  Weathering really punches up the details on the truck.

Hope that you found this posting of interest and even useful.  I will try to include new items that surface as I become aware of them.

Back to our regular programming,




13 thoughts on “NEW PRODUCTS: Modern Modeling

  1. I did an article in O Scale Trains some years ago for a chain tighten bearing for these P&D trucks. I made some of these for Joe as well. Our Alco FA-1 is still running as is our Red Caboose GP9.

    Ray & Renee Grosser

    1145 Linn Road

    Eubank KY 42567-9579

    (606) 379-6590

    “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” General William Booth

  2. Great Blog Gene and emphasizes the need for more modern equipment in !/4″ scale, P48 and otherwise.

  3. Hi Gene, very good point regarding drivers. Many people don’t like plastic driver centres, but I have had a set of P48 drivers for a TH&B Berkshire that you might like to take a look at. They were 3D-printed in Black-Strong-Flexible by Shapeways. I wasn’t sure if the spokes would render properly but they turned out just fine. I haven’t been able to test them under load yet but they seem to be plenty stiff enough. Best of all, the set of eight centres only cost US$14.46 plus freight and all you have to do is press everything together with a drop of loktite here and there, no machining. I can send a photo or two if you are interested? Regards, Paul, Whangarei, NZ.

  4. Hi Gene where can I get in contact with Bill Yancey? I’m very interested in his FMC kits.

    Regards Daryl Blake

    Regards Daryl Blake

      • Hi Gene,

        Thanks for your reply. Any ideas where best to keep an eye out for Bill’s website?

        Regards Daryl

      • Thanks kindly Gene.

        I’ll watch out for it. The castings look great.

        I haven’t started my layout yet and I’m still tossing up whether to go Proto48.

        Your posts certainly make it tempting.

        Regards Daryl

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