NEWS: Announcement about Grandt Line and San Juan Car Company

The new owners of Grandt Line and San Juan Car Company posted a comment the other day on this blog.  I have copied it over to create a post on this important information.


We happy to announce the acquisition and merger of Grandt Line Products, The San Juan Car Co., San Juan Decals, American Limited Models and The Leadville Shops. The new company is called The San Juan Model Co.
At the request of the Grandt family the “Grandt Line” name has been retired. The extensive catalog of former Grandt Line products is being merged with the On3, O Scale and P:48 products offered by The San Juan Car Co.
This new combined catalog of products will be available this fall directly from The San Juan Model Co. web site as well as from our current distributors.
The extensive line of high quality screen printed water slide decals produced in house by San Juan Decals will be augmented by the dozens of decal sets offered by The Leadville Shops. This growing catalog of decals will also available directly from The San Juan Model Co. web site. In addition, San Juan Decals will continue to offer custom design and screen printing of the highest quality water slide decals.
American Limited Models will continue to offer high quality imported HO scale RTR models as well as other new RTR models in other scales.
Best Regards,
Doug Junda and Bob Stears





I have come to the realization that I need to take a break from the blog and other web activities.   There are a couple matters that need my attention.   I am not sure how long I will be goofing off.  Hopefully, I will get back at it soon.

Stay Tuned


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”



NEWS: Latest News from Lake Wobegon

Like the story about Mark Twain’s death ” being greatly exaggerated”, reports of PROTOCRAFT is alive and well. I read several postings on another forum of the demise of the business. For this reason, I am mentioning the subject again.  For the next week, Norm Buckhart is busy taking care of getting his home repaired.  Subsequent to that, he will be resuming operations to process orders and ship Protocraft products.  Yes, there was damage to his buildings.  It will be fixed and business will continue in parallel.

Stay Calm and Buy Protocraft products.



It is not a provocative acronym for some nasty subject.  It stands for Bare Metal Foil.  Any scale automobile modeler know of and have used BMF for years.  Us sheltered model railroaders only have a smidgen of information on modeling worlds outside of trains.  I for one has ignored most other hobbies most of my life.  My own brother is avid plastic modeler and has tried to enlighten me from time-to-time.  Of late, Lee Turner has shown me the light in other universes.  He has adopted many materials and methods from the plastic modeler world to build more realistic railroad models.  Facebook has shown me a lot of new techniques and products using acrylics finishes made in Europe.

One product that I have tried thirty years ago is Bare Metal Foil.  Didn’t use it properly and discarded my sheet.   It has been around a long time and is a staple in the auto modelers.  The foil is extremely thin with an adhesive on the backing.  You cut out the size of material need plus overage to help with the application..  Start lifting the foil off the backing and carefully place it on the model.  Use a toothpick to press the foil to the feature of the model.


The foil is very easy to work onto the model.  Lee told me that you should pull the toothpick toward you and don’t push it away. Use a sharp new #11 blade to outline the feature you want to chrome.








So the resulting BMF treatment looks like this.  It is very easy to do once you get the feel of it.  It can be used to other details like clearance lights on the truck cab like shown below.  I applied the foil of the cast-on light. Cut away the excess foil and add color using a Tamiya Clear Acrylic paint.  The clear acrylic has an orange tint and is thick and is easily applied with a toothpick.  It may require a few practice runs before going for gold. I need to touch up the lights.



Mike Cougill posted a blog on OST Publications  . that is worth reading.  Mike tells a good story and makes a few points that may be overlooked by modelers.  His perspective is likely sharpened by a background in the arts.

Having a focal point to each scene on a layout is of value.  The viewer is likely enjoy the experience more being drawn to this point.  Many modelers tend to overdo their layout to the point that a viewer doesn’t see much of it. Too much clutter creates confusion in what is being said.  Advertisers learned a long time that a simple phrase or picture conveys more information than a page of text.   At any rate, give it a read and learn from Mike.

Thanks for stopping by.