NEW PRODUCTS: Protocraft’s New 41-ND Truck & Glenn Guerra produced SW-1

Protocraft has introduced a new Proto48 passenger car truck.  The  Budd Company’s 41-ND disk brake passenger truck.  8’-6” w.b., single-pointed 36” steel wheels, ball bearings, fully equalized, removable keepers, all-brass, in black or silver – a very accurate model built in Korea by Boo Rim Precision, using Edw G. Budd Co. factory plans dated April 1946.   $149.95/pr

Glenn Guerra is preparing to offer a much sought after EMD SW-1 switcher.  This will be the third domestic brass locomotive to enter production.

He is working on a SW-1 Phase 3. The trucks will be first. There are 36 casting and 4 etchings in each truck. The model will be an etched brass.
Here are some drawings. Next week patterns will be started for the trucks so Glenn can do the waxes and send them out to Valley Brass and Bronze.  for casting as well as the parts for the pickups. The black parts in the truck drawings will be printed in a nylon resin.
That is the latest on new products.


Getting back to the 1923 ARA boxcar build with this posting.  This edition will show the details that I applied to this rebuilt Atlas ready to run X29 import.

A new 3D printed grab iron end was used to detail the body.  The parts are shown below.  Dan Dawdy decided to create his own version and is offering them.

Since the last posting, Glacier Park Models decided to create a plastic version of the grab iron ends.  They are offering four sprues for $5.00 plus shipping.  The best way to contact them to purchase the parts is by emailing Jim Booth at

The plastic parts are much easier to add eo plastic models using liquid styrene cement or MEK. The parts have asmall pin on the back side which can be used to locate the part.

If you prefer the 3D printed parts you can go to this https//

The alternate rivet pattern was applieed using Archer decal rivets.  In addition I used their rivet decals along the lower edge of the patch panels and on either side of the door opening.  The rivet decals should be applied towards the end of construction since they are fragile.

The car B end requires some effort to install the necessary details.

The Ajax brake wheel is a PSC plastic part with a gearbox from Grandt and the fulcrum from an old Chooch set.  There are other sources available as you may know.

I used a set of Delrin sill steps left over from a Des Plaines Hobbies X29 kit.  It turns out that they still have these in a set that includes ladders.  The Atlas running board is resting on the roof to see how it looks.  It is a bit thick (.050″) compared to a more scale thickness of .030″  Not sure what I am going to do with this part.

The next step will be to paint the model and add decals.  I reached out to Doug Harding who is a fan of railroads like the Chicago Great Western and others.  He provided me with a PDF which offered recommendation for paint colors.

George Toman prepared a presentation for the 2017 RPC describing the construction of a CGW 1937 boxcar.  The presentation outlined paint choices and that the roof and underframe were covered with Texaco car cement (black) and the running boards were unpainted.

The following is a direct lift from George’s presentation:

The color for the 4 paints would reasonably match a medium red-brown such as Tru-Color Paint TCP-188, 193,197 (they are the same). This color was commonly used by numerous railroads in the mid-1940s-1950s, such as SP, Seaboard, NP, MP, NYC, WP, IC, RI, RDG. The color is for a new car and does not take into account any “scale factor” or subsequent weathering effects.
The Pullman bill of materials for paint specs start by instructing “Laps & Joints” of the roof and underframe to receive car cement. The car cement was Texaco black car cement.
Later instructions denote one coat of car cement on the underframe as well as one coat “Stibloy” and one coat of car cement. Also one coat of black paint on the trucks. The sides and ends were to receive either Glidden or DuPont Freight Car Red (75 cars each). No mention is made about painting or not painting the running boards. (I don’t know what “Stibloy” was, but it’s relatively unimportant since it was covered by the car cement.

That is all for this posting.






NEW PRODUCTS: SAL K-7 Wagontop Boxcar

Smoky Mountain Model Works has announced a new urethane kit is in production.  The model is of the Seaboard Air Line wagontop boxcar.  They railrorad purchased a design similar to the PRR X31 class boxcars.  There are a number of differences between the K7 and the X31.  The K7 has a proprietary end and roof with small corrugations in the panels.

 Advancements in 3D printing over the past many months now allow SMMW to print accurate, durable (flexible) parts that once would have been expensive/finicky etchings or require the kit builder to drills LOTS of holes, form brass strip, etc.  The picture shown below is of the much earlier S scale model done before the new printing and resin technology was available.

Custom-printed parts drastically reduce kit-building-time while adding a higher level of prototypical authenticity, compared to “close enough” when using commercially available parts that are generic in nature.  Some of you have seen what my printer is capable of spitting out … scale diameter ladder rungs and grab irons, for starters.  The SAL box would include printed parts for Ajax brake wheel/housing, platform, retainer valve and air line, grab irons, steps, corner Apex grid roof platform, and a 1-piece AB brake system (including piping and levers, but not brake rods).  The 1-piece body, underframe, and door patterns would be 3D printed, then cast in grey urethane just like previous kits.  Trucks not included.  Kadee 740s will be included if desired. There will be a production run of 50 kits.  This will be a limited run kit … once produced, the patterns will be stored, and the kit removed from the market.   The price will be $190.00 plus shipping.




NEW PRODUCTS: Solution to Vanishing Vendors in 1/48

As most of you know, Mike O’Connell sold his Chooch business to Walthers.  The sale didn’t include the 1/4″ scale Ultra Scale II product line of resin kits and plastic detail parts.   As of this date, the line remains dormant.   The plastic freight car parts were a source of details for the modeler upgrade older models and the kit manufacturer.   The resin kit producers like Southern Car & Foundry, Twin Star Cars and Yarmouth Scale Models are having to work around the situation by finding alternate sources of detail parts.  Replacing the plastic tooling would be very expensive and the market size creates a marginal business case.

Well a new Proto48 modeler in Austria decided to tackle the problem.  New technology is facilitating a way forward.

The person is Sarah Griessenböck. She has been developing her 3D modeling skills as an aid to model building.  Her skill level has amazed me and others with some of the latest parts she has designed and printed.  One of the early tasks was to create the classic Camel door closing device. She not only created the “J” shaped lever but the latch.  While Chooch had the Camel closing device on his sprue, he did not do the latch.  This part is really needed for boxcars.  I will be able to go back and add that to my cars as soon as it becomes available.


The parts turned out to be replicas of the prototype hardware.  This 3D technoloy can render parts that are nearly impossible to make in tradition injection molding.   Dan Dawdy obtained the STL file from Sarah and printed the parts shown below.   He also took the photo and posted it on Face Book.

Sarah has created new designs for the Creco (Chicago Railway Equipment Company) door closer device and latch assembly.   Creco sold the design to Superior for use on their panel door in the early 1940s.  The hardware became know as Superior door hardware.

The closing device is at the top left and the door lock and track detents and stop are below.

The latch pin keeps the door from moving until the handle is pulled up.

Here is the detent that keeps the door open.  Otto Vondrak took the three prototype photos shown above.


Photo from Denver Library collection

The Superior door hardware is a first in our scale and be perfect for upgrading a number of models like the Lionel PS-1 or the expected Twin Star USRA rebuild kits.

There are many parts needed in 1/48 and 3D is the way to go.  Smoky Mountain Scale Models has demonstrated what can be done with his S scale freight cars.  The photo below shows his Milwaukee Road ribside boxcar in S scale.   Jim King has offered to produce replacements for many of the old Chooch parts using 3D printing.  Parts like the hand brake, ladders and grab irons would be great to have in our scale.  Sadly Jim’s offer fell upon deaf ears.

We are very fortunate that Sarah is willing to share her talent with new parts.

Onward and upward!





Lee Turner sent me a few pictures of his most recent work.  He is painting a number of figures and items to go into a car he is building to add to his collection.  Figure painting has always challenging for me but Lee offers a few tips as to how he does it.

Here is Lee’s short course on painting figures:

I have come to really enjoy figure painting and I have found doing African American skin realistically a challenge. I start all figures with a coat of Tamiya fine primer and then airbrushing Tamiya flesh on the face and any exposed skin. Tamiya’s color is the most vibrant and makes a great base for any skin tone. The figure is then sealed to protect the base layer with Krylon matte finish from a rattle can. Shadows and tinting the skin to various shades is done with my old favorite, Vallejo dark brown wash, this makes for a transparent layer that allows the base color to show through to add a lifelike warmth to the figure. So many times I have seen representations of darker skinned people they look like they have been dipped in chocolate! It never looked right to me. I’ll use artist markers in black,  brown and red tones for shadows and rosy cheeks or to even look red faced. The markers are not permanent and can be blended with a Q-tip to soften the shadow and color.

Radio was the entertainment source for long-distance train travel.  Lee Turner built this classic for his project.  It is complete with lights.


Two new fifty-ton freight car trucks have arrived from the Boo Rim factory in Korea.

PC-219-P Coil-Eliptic 50-ton freight truck in Proto:48.  The addition of an elliptical leaf spring replacing the middle coil spring provided a dampening effect of the friction between leaves which tended to resist sudden movements and reduce oscillations.  Protocraft’s model is based on Symington-Gould (Gould Coupler Corporation of Rochester, N.Y) drawings.  Both Symington and the Buckeye Castings Co of Ohio, were the chief exponents of coil-elliptic trucks which were adopted as a system standard by the Pennsylvania Railroad and several smaller lines such as the Chicago Great Western.

  Protocraft’s all brass construction, based on Symington’s drawings, has ball bearings in each journal box with working journal box lids, leaf springs are hinged and fully workable, full brake detail and rolls on Protocraft’s unique sintered 70% steel and 30% stainless steel blend for a very hard rolling surface, and is fully equalized. Axles are all stainless steel for added strength. Left unpainted, wheels will rust, and this is desirable in the model as in the prototype. Treads take a shiny finish for a realistic running look. Fabricated in Korea by Boo Rim Precision. $52.95/pair
PC-218-P  Vulcan 50-ton freight truck in Proto:48.  This truck was popular during the 1920-1930’s and using the Vulcan patent, had cast steel side frames with separate journal boxes.  It is distinctive by the extended side frame casting past the journal box on each end. The design enabled the journal boxes to be bolted directly into the pedestal jaws, eliminating the need for the bottom retainer bars such as the Andrews side frame.  Protocraft’s all brass construction has used American Steel Foundries drawings, has ball bearings in each journal box with working journal box lids, full brake detail and rolls on Protocraft’s unique sintered 70% steel and 30% stainless steel blend for a very hard rolling surface, and is fully equalized. Axles are all stainless steel for added strength. Left unpainted, wheels will rust, and this is desirable as in the prototype. Treads take a shiny finish for a realistic running look. Fabricated in Korea by Boo Rim Precision. $52.95/pair
I added a pair to my scratchbuilt Rio Grande automobile car to finish the car off.  A little touch of weathering was added as well.
That’s all folks!

NEW PRODUCTS: New Urethane Kits Coming

Southern Car & Foundry and Twin Star Cars are preparing several new urethane kits for release.  The kits focus on the steam era spanning to the second generation diesel era.

Southern Car & Foundry

The next release is available now.  Owner, Jon Cagle, will have the pilot model in hand at the Chicago “March Meet” this weekend.  The prototype is an ARA alternate design single sheathed car.  The initial configuration is the series purchased by the Columbus & Greeville shortline.

Here is the prototype shown in this 1950 view prior to an update to schedule AB brake system.

This car was photographed in British Columbia in the early 1950s.  The cars seem to show up in other parts of North America.

The silver roof and triangle shaped herald are eyecatching features of these cars.  The kit includes a one-piece urethane body, separate floor and doors.  You will find a laser-cut running boards and a selection of plastic detail parts, AB brake set, and ladders.

The cast underframe features all of the details of the prototype.   The pilot model has Protocraft couplers installed and a new decal set for this kit.


Master pattern maker, Jim Zwernemann made this kit for Jon.  The basic kit parts will be reconfigured with a new door type and roof to create cars for the Missouri Pacific and  Louisiana & Arkansas like what is shown below.

Great choice of prototypes by Jim and Jon along with new decal sets from Protocraft.

TWIN STAR CARS is preparing a series of boxcar kits based upon USRA double sheathed rebuilds.   The cars will offer one-piece bodies with separate floors or roofs (patterns are just started).  The pattern work is a collaboration between myself and Ross Dando.  The models will be cast by Southern Car & Foundry so they will excellent quality and stable resin.  Protocraft will be doing specific sets to cover a range of cars planned.  The project will fill a void in the 1/4″ scale freight cars produced.

The Rock Island version of the car is shown above.  The railroad rebuilt the original double sheathed boxcar with replacement steel sides purchased from suppliers like Bethlehem Steel.  The car height and cube was raised with a spacer between the top two panels of the original USRA 5/5/5 end.  The new interior height at 10′ which is the same as the 1937 AAR steel boxcars.   Interesting that the road retained the original USRA Andrews trucks but did replace the roof with a SRE raised panel steel roof.  A new Youngstown door replaced the old wooden door.  The new steel sides were attached to the old sidesill with cast steel brackets.

Ross Dando’s pattern is for the side with 3D CAD brackets that acurately capture the prototype design.  The base for the side has already been machined to simulate the lapped plate construction of the side.

The second car in the series will be the C&NW/CMO design.  It is nearly identical to the Rock Island design except for the use of a Viking roof and a one inch higher interior height. There were variation in handbrake type used on the RI and C&NW cars.  The kits will use the SMMW printed handbrakes correct for the specific car lot.

A number of these cars migrated to other railroads like the Soo Line ,Ft. Dodge Des Moines & Southern Railway and Muncie & Western (The Ball Line).

Another car that is planned is the ATSF Bx-32 boxcar. The railroad was famous for rebuilding their older cars into modern all-steel designs.

The USRA fishbelly underframe is quite noticeable in this view.  The interior height of these cars was bumped up to 10’4″. All of the cars received Ajax handbrakes as did all Santa Fe cars of this era.

Another project planned is the Elgin & Joliet Eastern rebuilt USRA double sheathed boxcar.  Many these cars wore a medium green paint with orange lettering.  The roof is a Standard raised panel and modern Morton running boards and Miner handbrakes.


Jim Zwernemann built this prize winning models a number of years ago.  The lettering was done by the late Jim Hickey using an ALPS printer. I have always loved this car and have been planning a build.  I did the USRA 5/5/5  pattern a long time ago in anticipation of building this car.  I also built the USRA underframe pattern for another project.

Here are the pieces that are done (raised panel roof is done but not included in the picture).  The side was cut from an Intermountain car body and reduced in height.   The parts are ready to go to the foundry to be cast and then assembled into a one-piece body.  These EJ&E cars were the same height as the original USRA car.  A few railroads did not raise the interior height.  The Frisco left the original roof as well as the ends and underframe.

USRA double sheathed (original and rebuilt) cars that were upgraded with AB brake schedule have the components on the same side of the fishbelly frame.

So this is the plan.  No timing has been offered so please be patient. It is great to see several cars on my bucket list checked off.




NEW PRODUCTS: New Products to Stoke Your Interest

TWIN STAR MODELS Is in the process of releasing several new items in 2022.

First up is a very useful detail for diesel modelers.   It is a spark arrestor used on a number of railroads.  The parts are etched in nickle silver and are easy to assemble.  The final price is not set at this moment.  Ross Dando has a new website coming online shortly.

The production samples are shown installed on a Red Caboose GP-9 hatch and a P&D F-unit fan panel.

Ross Dando is pictured at a recent RPM in Cocoa Beach.  The modern freight cars are new to TSM.  These cars were previously offered by Bill Yancey.  Ross decided to upgrade the kits a one-piece body rather than the previous flat kits.  These kits will be on the new website shortly.

The gondola underframe is all about adding the detail parts contained in the kit.

Ross tried a little modification removing the blank panel where the door goes and some dunnage left over from the last load or two.

Twin Star Cars has a number of detail parts for steam era freight cars as well as some very nice brass castings for diesels.  Down the road you might just see a few steam era freight car kits.

SOUTHERN CAR & FOUNDRY is preparing a couple new car kits in the works.  First up is urethane tank car kit.  The prototype is an 8,000 gallon three compartment tank car.  The prototype was built by Standard Tank Car Company (STC).  STC was acquired by General American Tank Car around 1930. The tank was rebuilt converting it into three compartments with the addition of two small domes and internal bulkheads.

SC&F is preparing a kit composed of urethane castings and etched details like the sill sets.  The rivets on the tank body are dome shaped like the prototype.  Tank car rivets are different from the normal rivet used in othe types of freight cars.  Jon Cagle invented a technique for creating rivet strips like what Archer sells but made from perfectly formed urethane rivets not ink dots on decal film.

The preproduction model shows off the unique STC bolster.  SC&F produced an HO model of this car which is shown below.  Protocraft offers the decal set for this car.

Several other tank cars are planned based upon STC designs.  In addition, SC&F has a couple new boxcars in the pipeline.  The cars are based on the 1923 ARA design with wood sheathing and exterior posts.  A steel sheathed version was represented by an earlier kit of the Sand Springs boxcar.  Jon is talking about doing about doing the Columbus and Greevile and the Missouri Pacific.  These cars differ in door designs.  Jim Zwernemann did the pattern work on this boxcar series and they are excellent.

It is wonderful to Jon turning his incredible talent to producing superior 1/48 freight car kits.

Small Scale Ruler

I found this six inch architectural ruler eBay.  I have been using my short ruler all the time.  Take a look you might find it useful.

That’s all for now.




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.


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,