NEWS: The Passing of Frank Peacock

It saddens me to post this notice about the passing of a legend in the railroad hobby.  Please view this announcement prepared by Ed Hawkins, Norm Buckhart and this author.

Frank H. Peacock

Frank Peacock passed away at the age of 77 on 2 December, 2021.  He had passed away after a difficult battle against Mesothelioma.  The disease progressed quickly robbing Frank of many things he loved doing.  As many of you know, he was a frequent participant in historical society meetings, prototype modeling events and model railroad shows.  Frank was a fountain of knowledge on a number of railroads and had a particular interest in freight cars.  He had a remarkable memory for specific cars including what appliances, paint scheme and truck types.  His knowledge was not limited to just one or two railroads but many.  Ed Hawkins shared his affinity for freight cars and all the wonderful technical details that make this subject so fascinating.  Ed and Frank developed a close friendship that spanned over twenty years.

Frank served our country as Naval officer and dentist.  Upon retirement he decided to try his dental skills working for Aramco Company in Saudi Arabia. Frank settled down in the Austin, Texas area developing close friendships with Bruce Blalock, Jim Zwernemann, A.T. Kott, Dick Harley and Norm Buckhart among others.

Dick worked closely with Frank on a number Union Pacific related projects.  Norm found that Frank was a guiding light on his ¼” scale import projects. He advised Norm on what cars to produce and to be sure the details were correctly executed.  Frank made a visit to Norm’s shop and discovered a major flaw in a number of his car projects.  It ended up costing $65,000 to fix it but was the right thing to do.  Sadly Frank will not be able to see the completion of Protocraft’s latest to import model project of UTLX and General American tank cars.

One of Frank’s passions was baseball.  He made an annual trek to Phoenix to witness spring training.  Like everything in his life, he had each trip planned out in minute detail all contained on a stack of 3”x5” cards.  Many of his trips were repeats year after year each time refreshing his memory as the best places to eat and stay along his path.  It was his analog of a smart phone with navigation.

Frank Peacock will be interned at the Resthaven Cemetery in Jacksonville, Texas on Sunday 5 December at 2PM.

We will miss you.



NEWS: Eight Years and Counting

Yesterday was the completion of the eight year of this blog.  That went by in a flash.  It has been fun and enlightening to share my thoughts and the work of talented modelers.  There have been many who have shared their work with the readers of this platform.   I am only too happy to share their work and to learn from what others have done.  It is difficult to pick out a few names worthy of mentioning.  All of the material worthwhile and of interest to me and viewers.

One thing that I have noticed is that the most popular stories and visual presentations are those which contain lots of finished models.  Weathering techniques seem to be the most popular topic.   Eye Candy is always a sure thing when it comes to new posts.

You may have noticed less frequent postings of late.  Summer is a slow time with folks busy doing things other than the hobby.  However, I am spending time working on new models and my layout.  I hope to be able to share some of my efforts with you during the current year.


Thank you for your support.


Photo Information:

  1. Robert Leners builder and photographer
  2. Bill Yancey builder and photographer
  3. Lee Turner building and photographer
  4. Jim Zwernemann builder and Bruce Blalock the photographer
  5. Gene Deimling builder and photographer

NEWS: The Passing of Ron Sebastian

On the second of October we lost a really nice guy.  Ron Sebastian passed away at home.  It was a shock to receive news of this tragic event.  Not only was Ron a key figure in our hobby but a decent human being, husband, father and grandfather.   Ron was the driving force behind many key projects in the model railroad industry.  Des Plaines Hobbies was his pride and joy and maybe the best store of its kind in America.

Many of us remember his presence at hobby shows and conventions.  I am sure that Des Plaines Hobbies was your destination if you were in the Chicago area.  It was my favorite stopping place when I had time between flights at O’Hare Airport.  Ron was nice enough to drive out and pick me to visit his store.  He was a treasure!

I came across an article about Ron that you might find interesting.  It was in the Chicago Tribune a number of years ago but his story is still relevant.


Rest in Peace



NEWS: The Passing of John Eichman


We lost The Godfather of Indiana p-48 builders on 4/24/2019. John passed mid-day after having lunch with his step-daughter, and preparing to hook-up a new hot-tub that had been delivered. His most recent modeling is an unfinished Mike O’Connell UltraScale NP passenger car, being converted to a Cloverleaf (NKP) parlor car.

John was a consummate fan of the Nickle Plate Road and loved Proto48.  He was an early adopter of the exact scale standard.  Indiana was fortune to have four long-time Proto48 modelers: John Eichman, Warner Clark, Jim Canter and Carl Jackson.  I am sure that this small community had felt the loss.   Carl always talked about his joy of getting together with John for lunch on a weekly basis.  He also mentioned that John had completed equipping his large roster of freight cars with the correct axle size using Grabowski/Protocraft steel wheels. His background in railroading with the Norfolk and Western drove him to getting a basic thing like the right axle size for the capacity of the car.   We modelers often overlook this detail.  Protocraft does offer P48 wheel sets with different axle diameter all the way down to 30-ton.   I have been told that John’s layout ran like a fine Swiss watch.  Trackwork was impeccable as were the drives on his locomotives.

I was fortunate to have met John once at O Scale West.  He was a very helpful person.  Once, I asked him for help on a possible NKP project for Chooch.  John was very helpful in sending me a good deal of information to help with the project.

John was seven weeks shy of his 90th birthday, leaving his wife – Markie, several children from his first marriage; and several step-children. He will be greatly missed by those infected with the p-48 virus and the Nickel Plate Railroad.

Nickel Plate Road
I want to thank Warner Clark for letting me know of John’s passing.


NEWS: Thank You

I have enjoyed all of the comments written about my blog.  It is nice to see the feedback.  Now that we are into the 7th year, I will be adding new material shortly.  I have more material Lee Turner to share with you as well as more on the GATC tank car build.

Keep your eyes peeled for notices of new chapters being posted.


Thank you

Gene Deimling



YEAR # 6: The Book is Closed on the Year

My blog has been bumping along for six years now. It has been a journey for me.  Along the way useful information from fellow modelers has been shared.  Prototype data, plans and pictures have been shared.  Modeling projects from my workbench and that of others have appeared in the period posts.

I have enjoyed the experience. It fulfills my desire to communicate with fellow modelers and share interests in the hobby.  Trevor Marshall’s Port Rowan blog interested me in changing my own aspirations to a more managable objective.  His approach was to pick a less complicated railroad theme.  It is a lesson that tends to be ignored by most who build their dream layout.  Most build beyond their ability to maintain or for that matter finish it.  I have become a firm believer in this approach.

My blog started out as a description of how I built my Proto48 railroad.  Well  as longtime followers know, that didn’t happen quite the way I planned.  Building a modest railroad has been a lifelong dream. The dream is still there but a dream without a plan to accomplish the goal.  I am refining my plan and will start on the next generation of development soon.  I have a few more cars to build before I launch the build.  I keep thinking about the Port Rowan story told by Trevor.  It is a lesson in “KISS”.  Keep it simple stupid not the blokes in whiteface and unusual clothes.

My blog ratings have dropped off this year. There were just under 50,000 views during the year.  That is down from 86,000 in 2017 and 88,500 in 2016.  I am wondering why the blog has dimished so much in the past year.  Not sure if the content was lacking or the subject matter was uninteresting or is blogging in general is passe.  I don’t have a clue but I am not discouraged in writing about my journey in this hobby.

If you have any suggestions or comments I would appreciate hearing from you.


Visitors: 13, 600

Views: 49,902

Followers: 387

Posts: 33 new posts during the twelve month period

Comments: 232


The past year had a few builds completed. A couple worked on and a new start on a tank car. The Rio Grande 50′ Automobile Boxcar was the most complex of the projects

I rebuilt an ATSF Bx-27 boxcar to improve the paint, lettering and weathering. It was a fun project.

As a result of seeing pictures of a Lee Turner tow truck rebuild, I tried my hand at building my White 3000 truck.

And I tried my hand at an automobile…

There have been lots of beautiful modeling shared by Bruce Blalock, Mike George, Jim Zwernemann, Jimmy Booth, Lee Turner and others. The pretty pictures seem to draw the viewers more than anything. The statistics suggest the modeling projects are declining in popularity. I am trying to provide the “eye candy” as it becomes available.

Jim Zwernemann built with photo by Bruce Blalock

Mike George built the locomotive, bridge and layout in P48

Norm Buckhart’s large P48 layout

Jimmy Booth’s signature weathering was applied to a P-B-L locomotive for a customer.

One of Jim Zwernemann’s fantastic buildings featured on his Proto48 railroad.


The coming year will see the continuation of the GATC tank car build.  I hope to finish up a caboose shortly and maybe start some benchwork.

Thanks for your interest in my blog.


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”