Rolling Stock

Attempting to Relax With Kit Assembly, and Succeeding

Remember me saying how kit assembly brings out the perfectionist in me? How my anxieties bubble to the surface whenever I put tools to plastic? Well, I still haven’t finished that Erie Station kit yet (let alone the Bickles project), but I have discovered model kits that bring me joy, relaxation, fulfillment, and just enough challenge. You’d never guess what.

Vintage HO scale boxcar kits! Really! (more…)

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Freight Car Rescue

Remember my HO-scale freight car buying spree last year? That project is moving forward, so I’ve been taking some time to whip those cars into shape. I’m relieved to discover that upgrading old HO cars is no more difficult than working on N scale cars. Actually, it’s a little easier. (more…)

I Purchased Some HO Scale Freight Cars. Please Stop Freaking Out.

These days, I’m known amongst most of my fellow hobbyists as an N scale guy, although there are a few who still remember my S scale past. I’m not one of those people who switch scales every couple of years. I have never, ever dabbled in HO scale, even though it’s the most popular scale. So when I picked up some used HO scale boxcars at the spring shows, my friends naturally started freaking out.

“You’re not getting out of N, are you?” they asked, perhaps anxious that I’d no longer be able to help them with their Micro-Trains coupler problems. (more…)

Upgrading My Broadway Limited

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I remember my first trip to the big show in Springfield, nearly ten years ago. I carpooled with some clubmates, and we spent a weekend operating on a very large Ntrak modular layout, with members of several clubs participating. On Sunday afternoon, there was a competition known as the “Parade of Trains.” The idea was simple: put a train on the track, and run it for three laps around the layout, past a panel of judges. My entry was a mix of mid-Sixties freight cars, weathered, pulled by three diesels in two different paint schemes. A lot of the other entries were passenger sets, matched cars taken straight of of the box and dropped onto the railroad. “That’s pretty lame,” I said to myself, “I’d never do something like that.”

Actually, that’s exactly what I do with my Kato Broadway Limited passenger-train set. I have to eat my words now.

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Little Victories

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Atlas, one of model railroading’s most established manufacturers, came late to the online-ordering party. They finally have a web site where you can add items to a virtual cart, feed in a credit-card number, pick a shipper, and have merchandise show up on your porch. You know, the kind of thing that everybody does these days. Half the part listings have no pictures. I never received a shipment notification, let alone a tracking number. I read complaints from other N scalers that shipments would take weeks or months to show up. But I pulled the trigger on Monday anyway,  the box appeared on my porch Saturday, and it was full of stuff that solved old problems. Celebrate the little victories.

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