MODELING: Build 1.5 Ton Chevy Truck

Mike George sent me pictures of his latest project.  It is a 1/48 Chevy truck that requires nearly no scratchbuilding.

The model is a very impressive looking truck that would fit in neary any layout.  You will need to to collect the following components to assemble this 1/48 vehicle:

Menards 1947 Chevy Panel Delivery.

Atlantis Models 1955 2 ton Chevy truck kit.  The kit has an issue with the front axle parts.  They will raise up the front end too high.  The axle locators need to modified to prevent the front end is raised too high.  You need to cut off the inside tang so the axle rests on the leaf springs directily.  

Gaso-Line GMC cab for Tamiya truck kit

The above parts are made in France by Gaso-Line.  They can be ordered from a French website or Wannamakers Hobbies in the US.  They are cast in resin.

So when put all the parts in the blender you end up with something that looks like this.

The edie cast from fenders required some work to increase the size of the wheel opening.  The from axle had to be shortened to bring the wheels inside the fender line.  The diecast front end piece retained the running boards.   The Atlantis chassis was fitted to the front end parts.

Side mirrors and a bumper were added.  The etched wipers were included in the cab kit.  You will have to cut a piece of window material which requires some patience.   Mike reused the kit flat bed and side fences.

The above picture I plucked from the web to illustrate how well Mike’s model captured the look.

Thank you Mike for sending your most recent modeling effort.


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,


MODELING: Shortline Modeler Blog

Shawn Branstetter has developed a very informative blog that describes techniques for modeling the railroad scene.   The emphasis is on technique and materials used by by scale plastic modelers.  He has mastered many of the newest modeling paints and materials developed in Europe.  Companies like AK Interactive, AMMO by Mig and Vallejo have created the kind of stuff that allows you to build realistic models and scenes.  Road building is one such tecnique Shawn developed a system using acrylic paste and Hydrocal creating realistic asphalt material.  He shows how to do this in his blog.

Here are a few samples of Shawn’s work on track, layout and building material.

Shawn’s blog is worth a look.




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

MODELING: Tank Car Handrails

Building the tank car handrail is one of those nasty jobs I dislike.  I usually drag my feet until it is absolutely necessary.  In the past, I have used cast brass stanchions to attach the railing to the tank body.   The picture below shows the Back Shop stanchions installed on my Type-20 tank car.  The parts are a little delicate and will break if you are not careful but they are nice looking once installed.

I am in the process of building several GATC Type-30 tank cars and needed a more cost effective and stronger stanchion.  I decided to fabricate stanchions from .010″x .060″ strip brass.  I started by forming the brass around a .032″ length of wire.  This ensure a good fit on the actual .032″ handrail.  Use a pair of pliers to create a loop and pinch the tail of the brass strip.  Solder the tail creating solid staff.

I made a little fixture to hold the stanchion while filing down the tail to approximately .032″ wide.  I wanted to minimize the size of the hole in the tank body so went with a .032″ diameter hole.   

The stanchion is inserted in a pre-drilled hole in the tank body.   The railing is spaced 3″ from the body.  It is also offset downward by approximately 3″.

The handrail is at the longitudinal center of this tank body.

The end railing follows the contour of the tank end.  I formed the shape starting with a paint bottle.  The piece was inserted into a jig that allowed me to create sharp bends to meet up with the side railing.

I use a round-nose plier to form the sharp bend.  The end piece is attached to the side railing using a very thin-walled tubing that is made by Albion Alloys in England. I used a 1.0 mm O.D. size with is a snug fit for the .032″ handrail.   This is a very thin tubing that is cut using a sharp knife blade rolled over tube on a hard surface.  It will easily snap off done correctly.

As a final touch I added short lengths of styrene with rivets added.

The above picture shows the primed tank body that still needs some attention to a few bumps and gaps.

Hopefully, you find this posting usedful in your model building.


NEW STUFF: New Tool for my Bench and a Signal Bungalow is

Ross Dando showed me a picture of a tool maker vise that looked really useful.   I did a little searching and found the vise available from several sources such as Amazon.   They range from two inches up to six inches.  I purchased a  two inch remanufactured vise from Amazon.   The tool maker vise is different compared to my old Unimat vise.

The topside looks similar to a conventional vise.  The allen wrench tightens  the jaws over a limited range.  There is a mechanism on the underside that allows you to make large changes in jaw location.  A toggle engages a series of notches that the right jaw is moved to the closest notch.  You can tighten the jaws with great precision and power.  It is easy to flatten brass wire or hold a part firmly for fabrication work.

This vise a useful tool.  I really like it.  Thank you Ross.

Here is my old and trusty Unimat vise.  I purchased  an Unimat lathe in 1968 which came with this old vise.  Time to retire this old friend.

The Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association (NPRHA) commissioned a small company to produce a nifty signal bungalow that appeared along the railroad lines.  The prototype is based upon a General Railway Signal design that held relays and other electrical devices to support the railroad’s signal system.   The NPRHA developed the structure in HO and O (1/48).

  The picture shows the components that create the bungalow.  All are resin cast from 3D printed designs.  The building consist of a one-piece body, roof, concrete footings and two vents.  I just received the little kit and haven’t had a chance to finish it.  The picture below shows the bungalow near the baggage car.

They will be available shortly throught the society’s website. The expected price will be $22 for a pair of these nifty buildings.   I will let you know when they are available.  General Railway Signal products were used by a number of major railroads so the bungalow has many applications.


Thats all for this post.



NEW PRODUCTS: A Few New Things

Summer 2021 is the beginning to return to normalicy.   One sign was the O Scale National Convention that was held in Denver this past week.  An interesting note is that the San Juan standard gauge styrene boxcars are coming back to the market after a long time.

Right O’Way has developed a new joiner bars that are easier to use than the older style joiners which were cast as a pair with a spacer.  I have never liked this style but used them on my layouts.

The joiners are soldered to the rail for one side of the joint.  The new bars seem to fit the rail better.

The mating rail slides into the soldered joiners.

Jay Criswell is in the process of adding this new piece of jewelry to his website.

Here is an useful product for preserving CA and the container.  The caps are actually made from the silicon and used for powder coating metail. The silicon material will not stick or bond to CA.  It is perfect for use as a cap for the CA containers.  I have been using the caps for a while and they seal the spout tightly and keep it from hardening.  James Booth provided me the information on these silicon caps.  James suggested buying them on Amazon.  I did buy them on Amazon and were less than $8 for a lifetime supply.

Ammo has released a new range of colors in acrylic.  The Dry Brush paint is a thick and smooth finish.  I tried a sample application on a piece stripwood.  Dry brushing works best with a short and stiff bristle brush.  LIghtly dip the brush in the paint and wipe off excess on a paper towel.   Brush lightly onto the surface.  The effect is interesting but I must admit that more work is needed on my part.  You can find the paint in dealers who cater the armor and airplane modelers.

Protocraft is expecting to receive the first shipment of their new 50′ automobile boxcars.  There were some quality problems on the initial samples.  Norm Buckhart returned them for correcting problems.  Anyone who is familiar with the brass importing game, will understand that it is a normal process.  Currently the production models are on their way to the US.  Norm kept a few of the models and had them finished.  The C&O car is shown on Norm’s railroad.

Hope that information is useful to followers of this blog.


MODELING: Bill Yancey’s Super Models

Bill Yancey has become an accomplished builder of modern freight cars.  He developed a line of urethane freight car kits.  After shuttering the kit business, Bill has been very active building rolling stock for his own layout.

Bill sent me pictures of his latest creations. Here are some pictures of the two wood chip gondolas. They were scratch built of sheet styrene and shapes.   The former BN car was built using drawings from MR in the May & June 1977 issues.  I was hoping to do a construction article on it if permission to use the published drawings comes through.

Styrene was used to build up the side and underframe ribs  Bill used a small square to ensure alignment of the ribs.

The ends of the wood chip cars were designed for end dumping.  Bill included the hinge details on the car end shown below.

The former UP car was also scratch built of styrene and H columns.  The walls were carved up to look like plywood sheets before assembly.  The load cover was made of unbleached cheesecloth to resemble load netting.

The former BN car was covered by a tarp which was made by hammering thin lead even thinner.  The tarp was painted with Rustoleum semi gloss black then weathered.

Both cars are equipped with Protocraft roller bearing and Type E couplers.

These cars are really fantastic and represent the state of art of modern modeling.  I appreciate that Bill provided us with information about his latest models.




MODELING: Soo Line Caboose Redux

The above painting by David Oram captures the feel of the old Soo Line.  Their wooden caboooses were part of the railroads character.

As a followup to the last posting on the Soo caboose that Robert Leners built, I have some additional information to share on the subject.

Robert sent me a picture of the underframe prior to painting.  The AB system is a San Juan kit.  The installation seems to be fairly common for rebuilt wood Soo cabooses. Dennis Storzek pointed out that the needle beam are farther apart compared to the majority of the rebuilt cars.  This was an artifact of the original car’s longer length.

Stu Nelson posted a followup on the Soo History on  He is a retired Soo employee and historian of the railroad.   Here is what Stu posted today:

 A little information on the caboose 99090 and that series.
Haskell & Barker built a series of cabooses in 1909 for the WC.  
WC numbers  WC 152 to WC 201  became renumbered 99056 to 99095.
Believe all were the  design of 4 windows on each side and cupola  closer to one end.
     99090 was built  Feb 23, 1909  as  WC 196.  32 ft 6 in long
Renum  99090  on Nov 29, 1909 
     Further info   Window Curtains inst at  Stevens Point  Dec 1923
        Permanent back-up pipe and whistle,    Steel Center Sill,   Refrigerator inst  Stevens Point  Nov 1927.
         Shatter proof windows inst   Fond du Lac  Dec 1938.
I believe the major reconstruction of the sides to the 3 window on one side and one on the other
was done during that session at Stevens Point  in 1927.

This is an excellent rundown on the car’s history.

Here is a CAD drawing done by Dennis Storzek.  It shows the general arrangement for rebuilt Soo cars.

That’s all for now



MODELING: Soo Line Caboose by Robert Leners

The Soo Line maintained a large fleet of vintage wooden cabooses with the newest being built in 1921.  The railroad was frugal and rebuilt their cars over their life.  One such example is car # 99090.  It was built by Haskell and Barker for the Wisconsin Central with a different side windows and cupola.   The rebuild was extensive to the point where you would not recognize the two as being in the same series.  The picture below is of an unrebuilt car in the same series.

The above photo shows what the 99046-99095 series looked like.  This particular car survived the rebuilding process to a large extent.  The photo was provided by the Soo Line Historical Society.

Robert Leners is a long-time ardent follower of the Soo Line and a very skilled modeler.  His style is always precise and clean.

Styrene is the ideal material to build a model of this calibre.  Robert is well versed in working with this material.

One of the interesting feature of many Soo cabooses is the single window on one side.  The original Haskell & Barker cars had four windows on either side.  A hallmark of the road’s cars was the tall cupola which could be found with a single window or double as shown with this car.

Robert’s approach of painting and decals a partially completed model is a bit unorthodox.  I can understand that some paint on part of the model will likely motivate one to complete it.  I recently did something similar with a tank car build.  I painted and decaled the completed frame.

This closeup of the end shows how careful Robert is with his work.  It is flawless.

The “W.C.” initials on the right letterboard indicate Wisconsin Central ownership and does the 99000 series number.



As always, I am grateful to Robert for sharing his work with you all.

Thanks for taking a look at Robert’s work.