MODELING: A Tool for Minutia

I came across a few things that I would share with you. First is a somewhat esoteric tool that is probably over the top in terms of worrying about the minutia. I was cruising through the Unique Master Models (UMM-USA) website and found a tool that will punch out tree leaves. Well, tree leaves do have a place in detailing a vignette on your layout.

This is a simple punch that works ok on dry leaves pretty well. The tool just arrived today but after the rain had started. Fortunately, I did find one near the door. The resulting leaves are produced in four different sizes with the smallest being for 1/48. The fall foliage is nearing its peak in color right now. I hope to collect some different leaves to create a bunch of leaves soon.

The resulting leaves aren’t perfect but have possibilities.

UMM offers several different styles of leaf punches. You can get maple (the one I bought), birch, lime and oak punches. They are $14.99 each.


The two shots shown above are the work of Chuck Doan.  He is an accomplished builder of scale models with few peers.  The winch assembly is part of a donkey engine that he building in 1/18 scale.  The model was designed in 3D CAD and printed by Shapeway.

See you next time,





MODELING: Zwernemann Time

Jim Zwernemann has been featured in my blog postings in the past. It is always a treat to be able to view and share his modeling.

The West India Fruit reefer is a modified Chooch Ultra Scale II reefer kit. Jim did the masters as a Fruit Growers Express reefer. West India used FGEX cars were slightly smaller so Jim modified the urethane kit to the represent the series used.

The SFRD reefer is a scratchbuilt replica of a dry ice car once owned by the company. The model is scratchbuilt from styrene a number of years ago. He used Clover House dry transfers for markings. The silver and black scheme is a standout in any train.

Thank you for sharing the pictures Jim.


MODELING: More Vehicle Modeling

As the comedian W.C. Fields once said: ” never follow a kid or an animal act” Well, Lee Turner is neither but he receives much more attention. His touch with the overall finish is the best.

I finished up my Tamiya 1942 Ford Fordor Sedan. The Tamiya a first rate accurate scale rendering of a WWII staff car. It turns out that Ford did produce 468,022 cars before switching over to military only on February 10, 1942.

A little detail I tried was to paint the tail light ends with the chrome pen and a touch of the Tamiya Clear Red. I like the effect.

I found that the body fits the frame better if you file the tab on the frame. This will allow the frame to slide back a little further. I found that the rear tires fit in the wheel well better.

One of the features about this era auto is that the post war version were largely the same design except for the grill and maybe some paint choices. It is possible to rebuilt one of this models into a Tudor or a Woody. Mike George did the Tudor conversion and shared it on the Proto48.IO list.

The door length, window post and shape are the differences between the tudor and fordor. It does require some body work but nothing too difficult.

The pillar was moved back and old door seams filled. The shaping of the rear window does require some attention. The model that Mike built is of a 1948 so the grill is new.

The grill bars can be formed out of Evergreen half-round shapes I would guess. The parking lights move to under the headlights.

Mike’s conversion looks very good expands the choice of models in 1/48 scale.

So that will probably will cover vehicle for a while. I have a few more projects in the works like a 32′ Kentucky moving van and post-war Railway Express truck.

Thanks for stopping by,


MODELING: White COE Tow Truck

Like many model builders, Lee Turner needed a diversion from the day-to-day grind of working through a large number of custom building and painting commissions.  Lee decided to build up this neat little tow truck based upon the Revell White 3000 gas truck. White built a variety of chassis lengths and could tailor to a customer’s requirements.  In this case, the tractor wheelbase was used and the fifth wheel was cut off the frame casting.

As you can see, the model reused the basic chassis and cab.  The wrecker body and boom were scratchbuilt from styrene.  Lee managed to recycle part of the Revell stake bed Chevy for the fend and running board.

The basic model is nice but doesn’t have the WOW factor you come to expect from a Turner creation.  Lee applied the paint, details and lettering to the project and it really popped.

Now this really pops!  It is eye catching for sure.  Imagine this Lil’ Bulldog parked next to the local filling station on your scene.  It will draw the eye into the scene.  The faded red and white color along with subtle weathering is very credible.  Notice the clear spot on the windshield where the wipers pass.  I find the weathering most interesting. It lifts the model above the typical vehicle imported from China.

Tools and supplies further enhance the models realism.  Notice that they are not all rusty like some modelers try to portray.  They are dirty but still in service. I like the peeled paint on the gas can.  Typical of what gasoline will do to painted metal if it is subjected to it for a while.

Lee created a sling style towing attachment.

Thank you Lee for sharing this fantastic little model.  Hopefully, it will get the creative juices flowing.


MODELING: Another Proto48 Blog

This morning I was checking the Word Press Reader and discovered that I have been following an interesting blog on building a New England short line in Proto48.  I guess that I didn’t pay close attention to the content of the Reader.   I spent some time looking at the individual posts and must say that I enjoyed it.  Wayne Slaughter is the author and builder of the Dominion & New England. 

In reading Wayne’s background, I immediately like his approach since he cited the old Model Railroader Magazine track plan for the Iron Ridge and Mayville. Paul Larson created this simple out and back scheme that followed a lesser line of the  Milwaukee Road.  It has been an instant classic and a source of inspiration.  Wayne pointed out that the Iron Ridge and Northern concept of a simple layout design designed for operation dates back to 1955!  Sixty-seven years old and is becoming “in vogue” again.

I noticed that Wayne is using light rail and few if any tie plates.  It is prototypical for the ancient Boston and Maine line he is following.

The Dominion & New England is set in the 1950s with light rail and small locomotives.  Good stuff!

I suggest you check it out and follow Wayne as he builds his empire.



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.