New Structure

I’ve been working on the buildings and scenery in the area of the paper plant where the branchline comes into the scene at the back, and where the staging tracks go under the crawl space. Like nearly every layout I’ve seen, mine has places where the tracks disappear into a black hole. I’m making those places less obvious with the careful placement of structures.

The newest structure on my layout is a plain metal building in the area where the various chemicals are unloaded from tank cars. Think of it as a building flat at the front of the layout. I’ll be painting it tomorrow, then adding a roof.

Here's the newest structure. The tracks in front of it lead to hidden staging of woodchip cars and tank cars.

Here’s the newest structure. The tracks in front of it lead to hidden staging of woodchip cars and tank cars. This is actually the reverse angle of what an operator will see. I sat the camera on the layout to get this shot.

This shot puts the new structure building in perspective. The track on the right is where trains enter the scene and the two tracks on the left are staging. Again, this angle is not possible from the layout operators perspective. The new structure is only visible from behind.

This shot puts the new structure in perspective. The track on the right is where trains enter the scene and the two tracks on the left are staging. Again, this angle is not visible for the layout operator. The aisle is on the left.

This shot shows the evolving scene. Many elements are still missing, but the scene is starting to come together.

This shot shows the evolving scene as viewed from the aisle. Many elements are still missing and incomplete, but the scene is starting to come together.

A tighter photo of the same scene as the previous.

A tighter photo of the same scene as above.

I’ll post more when I get the building painting and weathered. Thanks for looking!

What’s New: Structures, Transfer Caboose, Concrete

As I was drafting this post to my blog I realized it’s been quiet on here for a while. Five weeks, to be precise. Surprisingly, my site stats didn’t fall off, which tells me that people are coming back to read through my old posts. I’m pleased to have been writing this blog long enough that there’s some depth here, and doubly pleased that people are actually reading old posts.

Sometimes, projects move in such small increments that there’s not much to report. Compounding this is fact that I’ve been engaged in more thinking than doing. I had to sort out a few things before I could move ahead.  So here’s what I have to show for five weeks of work.


The scene above is far from finished, but it’s far enough along that I decided to pose some rolling stock and take a photo. Staring in the background, you’ll see that I’ve been working on one of the buildings in the paper plant. This is where some of the processing of the pulp and chemical additives takes place. In the middle of the frame is a brand-new Bluford transfer caboose that I bought today and placed directly into this scene. To the left are two of the nine tank cars that I bought from Atlas over the winter. Each needed some work to get them on the rails, and over the past weeks I’ve finished two of them. The most recent work that I completed was the concrete surface in the foreground. This will eventually be a tank car unloading area.

That’s all for now. I’ll try to work faster so I can post more frequently 🙂

Tangent Scale Models X58 Boxcars

Here’s a shot of the North Tonawanda switcher bringing two empty PRR X58 boxcars into the International Paper plant on Tonawanda Island.


These are the new from Tangent Scale Models. Mine arrived from Action Hobbies Kingsville on Monday. They’re really nice models, but that comes as no surprise to me; Tangent has established the highest standard of quality.

I have two of the now out of production Rail Yard Models resin kits for these cars. The Tangent RTR model is of equal quality, perhaps slightly better in a couple of small details. The Rail Yard kits took many hours (80?) for me complete, and they cost me about the same amount of money. I’ve created a “category” in the menu on the right side of the screen, so you can click on that to see my posts about X58 boxcars by both Rail Yard and Tangent.

The Rail Yard kit was superbly designed, and mine built up into the best models on my layout (until now). I happened to buy mine the month before Rail Yard closed, and I was quite disappointed when to learn that I wouldn’t be able to find more without paying upwards of $120 on ebay. Given the fact that the Tangent RTR model buys the hobbyist a ton of free time to work on other projects, I expect to see the used market value of the Rail Yard kits to drop substantially. And on that note, I’ve budgeted to buy a few more Tangent X58s, but if you’re one of those people who has hoarded away a stash of Rail Yard kits that you can’t sell and will never build, do be in touch with me. I’ll rid you of the burden 😉



N5B Cabooses Finished


Last summer, I picked up three undecorated Bowser N5B caboose kits when I visited English’s Hobby Supply in Montoursville Pennsylvania. I finished the last of the three and added it to the caboose fleet on the layout.

The three cabooses depict three different variations on the ‘standard’ paint scheme for Penn Central. I used Microscale decals, as well as some decals from the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society. Modifications to the kits were minor. I had to change the openings of the coupler pockets and the pockets themselves in order for Kadee whisker couplers to work. I also shaved off all of the grab irons and used plastic grabs from Bowser’s N8 caboose kit. Two kits had their roof walks removed. I also used the smoke stack from the Bowser N8 kit on all three. I added enough weight to bring them up to the NMRA standard, and added basic brake details like air lines, mechanical rigging, to Cal-Scale triple valve, cylinder, and reservoir parts. All three received Kadee scale couplers and metal wheel sets as well.

The two on the left will be used for the two local switch crews that operate out of North Tonawanda. The caboose on the right depicts a Canada Southern caboose, complete with unusual lettering provided by a Microscale freight car set. This one will ride on the back of a train passing through North Tonawanda between Buffalo and St. Thomas Ontario.

With the caboose fleet now up to seven, I think it’s time to turn my attention elsewhere.