I overpaid for this ’80s-vintage Model Power boxcar at the train show in Cicero last December. I mean, look at it: crude, heavy molded-in detail, exposed assembly tabs, graphics printed directly on raw plastic. I paid $5. It’s not worth a nickel over $3. But still, that color! Oh, the color! Glorious, gaudy traffic-cone-orange plastic! It practically glows in the dark. Just what I need for the Windlenook project.
So I handed over the whole $5, took it home, pried off the shell and the horn-hooks, and proceeded to spend way too much time installing Kadee couplers. I had to do a surprising amount of surgery to both the underframe and the shell to get everything to fit properly, but it’s back together now. It’s prone to wobbling, however, and I’ll probably spend way too much time fixing that.
But the color!
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…)
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…)
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…)
The big night is here: you’ve invited esteemed members of the local model-train community to operate your new Basement Empire for the very first time. You’ve printed out waybills and switch lists, set out snacks and beverages, even swept most of the junk off your workbench. As the guests filter in, you show them around the engine terminal, gesture towards the bare plywood where great mountains will arise, and hand out the throttles.
“So, what era are you modelling?” asks one of them.
“My railroad is set in the mid-Fifties,” you state proudly, as you survey the mixture of steam power and first-generation diesels in your yard.
“But the ICC banned billboard reefers in 1937,” he says, pointing to your wood-sided beer car. “This car doesn’t belong here.” (more…)
Heading to the Batavia, New York train show tomorrow? My clubmates and I will have our brand-new 30th Anniversary N scale box cars (shown here with the optional user-installed roofwalk), just in from Micro-Trains. As usual, we’ll have a T-Trak layout running, too.
See you there!