MODELING: More of Jim Hickey’s Models

Jim Hickey built a wide array models in his lifetime.  Fortunately, A great number of them have ended up in the hands of some lucky modelers.  Jim Zwernemann and Bruce Blalock stepped to help Jim’s widow dispose of the models.  These two friends spent a great deal of time inventoring all of his models and boxes of detail parts to they could be disposed of.  Bruce and Jim started the process before he passed.  Much of the material was offered on eBay and to other Proto48 modelers who want to expand their collections.

Jim Hickey finished this imported brass covered hopper using his own decals (Protocals).   The trucks are Proto48.

Here are two brass imports that Jim detailed to follow specific Southern Pacific prototypes.  Both locomotives were converted to Proto48 by Jim.

I would like to thank Bruce Blalock for providing these beautiful photographs.



MODELING: Santa Fe All The Way

Bill McConnell is the proud owner fof this beautiful ATSF waycar. The modeling is the work of master modeler Lee Turner. Lee used a Pecos River brass import as the basis for this modern caboose. The model is equipped with Protocraft couplers. As with all of Lee’s work, there are weathering accents added to the red paint scheme. The finish shows signs of oxidation and runoff of dirt and grime collected in road service.

The waycar is trailing one of Lee’s own Lehigh Valley cars. They are both stunning models.

By the way, Bill has an incredible GP-9 that he built up the drive with battery. Lee did the finish work on the model. He is the owner of O Scale Turnouts, INC.

Thank you Lee for sharing your work with my blog.


MODELING: Building a GATC Type-22 Tank Car 3.0


I have been continuing to fine tune the build process as I go. My original plan to use laminated plastic running boards.  After playing around with the plastic version I decided to go with brass strips.  I used .016″ x .250″ brass strips made by K&S.  I used coarse sanding sticks and wire brush to add some texture to the brass.  Two strips were laminated with lapped joints at the ends.  I build a simple wood jig to hold the strips in-place while sweat soldering the lamination. A 100 watt iron works just fine for this job.


You can see the overlapping joints at the end.  The bottom layer extends the full width to create the bond.  I was trying to avoid a butt solder joint which has no strength.

The next area of revision was the dome as i discussed in the 2.0.  I made a new flange base for the dome using .010″ styrene.  I taped a piece to the tank and held the dome in place while I traced the shape of the dome base.  It creates an elipitical pattern as you would expect.  I marked multipe points for a 5″ flange width.  Using a compass I roughed in the radius.

It turns out the Plastruct makes a dome with the proper radius and diameter which would save some time in fabrication.

The new dome is 54″ in diameter and 26″ high as measured from the top of the tank.  The first step was to create a dome top.  Again, Plastruct came to the rescue with a cap that had an outside diameter close to the desired size.  I predrilled to location of the two vent fixtures and marked the flat spot diameter for the hatch.  The piece was shaped on my lathe.  I salvaged the hatch and vents from the original Red Caboose kit.

I added a styrene strip to simulate the lapped joint on the side of the dome.  The dome was bonded to the flange which had been added to the tank body.  Next, I did a little body and fender work.  I filled the joint of the dome base to the saddle and one side of the overlapped joint.

It looks a little messy but the excess can be removed with some 600 grit paper and water.  Oh yeah, the sill steps are shown alongside the tank.

The basic tank body is just about done.  I will add a grab iron on the dome side and add the tank bands which will provide the base for the hand rail brackets and dome step.  Once that is done, the car will be primed and rivets added using Archer decal rivets.

That is all for this visit.



MODELING: Protocraft Gondolas finished by Lee Turner

Protocraft imported a series of 53’6″ gondolas from Korea.   I have spent some time looking them over and decided that these are the most accurate scale model of a gondola imported in any scale.  The cars are accurately designed to follow the car builders drawings and photos.  Protocraft captured the right details for each railroad series modeled.  Hand brakes, truck types and stake pockets are all there and done right.  While they may be a bit pricey, they do reflect the state of art and the cost of manufacturer in Korea.  I would suggest you don’t miss out.  They are so superior to the Lionel, Atlas/Roco and US Hobbies models that it is hard to imagine owning any of these cars.

Fortunately, modelers have purchesed these cars and sent them to Lee Turner for finishing.  The models were painted by Lee with his classic weathering touches.  The steel interiors are very realistic in the way he handled the rust effect.  Loads are a favorite detail Lee likes to add to him customer’s models.  He is very creative in coming up with credible items.

I really like the finish and weathering on the Western Pacific gondola shown below.

The orange corner is correct for identifying the “B” end of the car.

Here is a view of the inside of the WP car showing dunnage left over from the last load carried.  The working stake pockets permit this detail to be added.

Lee uses Model Masters acrylic paints on all of his models.  He finds that they are durable even on brass.  Most of the colors seen are blends of a few basic shades of paint. Even the rust is created by mixing basic colors.  There are lots of products out there that can provide the basic colors in acrylic formulations.  I have used MIG/Ammo and Vallejo with decent effect.  Practice is needed to approach the beauty of Lee’s finish.

I am grateful that Lee shared pictures of his recent work on these spectacular Protocraft gondolas.

Thanks for stopping by


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.


MODELING: Ford 1932 Model B and Screens

The Studebaker Silver Hawk (alias Lee Turner) has shared some of his work again. The is time is a couple simple projects that you might find useful.

Lee built this old Renwal 1/48 scale kit for a Ford Model B. The Renwal kits are really pretty nice with a few enhancements. The headlights were reworked and a windshield wiper was added. Notice the sticker on the windshield. Nice touch!

The body was painted with a gloss acrylic. A pin wash of Vallejo European Dust wash in seams and gaps brought out the detail. To get that sheen the body was rubbed down with a q-tip just dampened with the Mean Green cleaner I use all the time. It imparts somewhat of a shine with swirl marks. Sheen is a very important component in modeling something that is fairly clean and shiny but still shows age and realism. That sheen contrasts nicely with the canvas roof insert and rubber running boards in a flat finish.

The second topic is how to make and install “screens” on a piece of rolling. Scaling down window screens to 1/48 is a challenge. Lee may have found the ideal approach.

Hallmark imported a classic steel drovers caboose based upon an ATSF design. Lee built frames out of styrene and used Archer 3/16″ scale simulated screen vent decal (AR35380)to create the screen.

The optical effect makes you think you are looking at a screen grid. The decal was fixed with diluted white glue. Lee added matresses inside. He made them from Durham wood putty. I think the overall effect is quite realistic to the eye.

Thanks for taking a look.