NEWS: Update on Protocraft and Other Topics

Progress is being made on the reconstruction of Norm Buckhart’s garage and Protocraft office.  As you may remember, the horrific Sonoma fire last October damaged his home and layout room.  Given the wide spread devastation in the Napa and Sonoma area, contractors and supplies have been in short supply.  Help has finally arrived and work rebuilding has gotten underway.

The above picture shows the demolition of the roof on the garage end.  The first step in rebuilding was getting new roof trusses from the a truss shop.  There was about a four month wait before they showed up.

Tile roofing is being installed at this point.  Looks like there was some salvage of old material.

Once the roof was secure, the interior was sheet rocked and lighting fixtures were installed.

The wall in the rear is temporary and will be removed shortly.  All new ceiling tile had to be installed due to smoke and water damage.  The walls had to be sealed and repainted to cover the smoke damage.

Hopefully, it won’t be too long before trains can be running again on Norm’s layout.  I would like to thank Norm for sharing the progress on his reconstruction.


As most of you have heard that Grandt Line is closing down after 60 plus years of providing wonderful plastic parts and kits.  They provide a huge and important source to the hobby.  It is a real loss.  Hopefully, a buyer will step forward and rescue this national treasure.

San Juan Car Company is now for sale following a failed effort to make a deal for the firm.   They are the core of On3 modeling and has been an important supplier to Proto48.  Again, I hope that a white knight rides up and rescues the line.

It is a simple fact of demographics that is catching up with of hobby. We are all getting older and building less and buying more.  The young generation is not interested in model railroading.   You need only to look around at a hobby show and see the age of the attendees.


Joel Kirk created an interesting scene for his railroad.  I found this on Facebook.  It caught my eye and got me interested in trying a scene like this.

I now a visit to the forest as created by a couple talented European modelers at Grove Den.

“That’s all folks”




8 thoughts on “NEWS: Update on Protocraft and Other Topics

  1. Kathy and I spent Wednesday with Norm and the wall is down. Norm is really good at coming up with a plan and carrying it through to completion. It also helps that he has years of experience working with contractors.

  2. Gene, I can reassure you a lot of us “younger guys” are definitely interested in model railroading and learning the craft of scratchbuilding. The numbers are not as great as they were but “we” are out here. I believe for so long a lot of the older generation of o scale gentleman kept to themselves and really didn’t share layouts, kit builds etc. It’s taking me over 2 years to find a mentor who actually invited me to see a layout and offer to help in anything he could. Couldn’t of done this without the article in O scale Resource by Jim. I really did feel like it was a secret society with it’s own inner circle. I greatly appreciate all your articles and posts. This crazy thing called Facebook, which I never cared for has opened up so much for me in terms of my knowledge, skill and enjoyment of this great scale. Thank you to you and all the other scale artists sharing your years of experience and tips learned through the years. We are out here!

  3. Thanks for updating us on Norm’s status. Even though I am a Ow5 guy I use a lot of his stuff. With all that is going on with the hobby I am glad he is sticking with it.

  4. I see youth joining our hobby, in the late ’20’s-30’s, young people starting to get stable in life, having free time and beginning to have some disposable income. They are also from the DIY/Maker generation, which leans them toward prototype modeling, albeit more often than not I see them modeling more later and later era’s. They seem to be aligned with the RPM movement. I see a lot of Arduino work, DIY DCC systems, etc., and with heavy use of internet resources. We have an active community in our video chats nightly over at YouTube Model Builders. Many just don’t have the space for O scale, but I think there’s room for movement within this group. However, I see so many of the model railroad resources that I came up with, NMRA and others, all but ignore this group. Because they aren’t reachable via dead trees and ever more disappointing NMRA conventions. You have to reach people where they are, and modelers are far too often not meeting this generation where they are. But when you do, you see a wealth of talent that can come to our hobby, if we can open ourselves to them and their world. Regardless, love following your modeling and I have to admit how envious I am of your space now.

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