Category Archives: Modeling

Postcards from Bone Valley: Great Model Railroads 2017

Note that you can see the acrylic glass reflecting the camera in this picture, giving a sense of what the layout is like live in person

Note that you can see the acrylic glass reflecting the camera in this picture, giving a sense of what the layout is like live in person.

I got to see a copy of Great Model Railroads 2017…since my small N scale Bone Valley layout is featured on page 52. Unfortunately, my layout only got four pages in the issue. That resulted in a trimmed up article and a measly three layout photos included in the article (two of which are redundant). So, I’m posting some stuff that wasn’t shown in the article here. There were also a few errors to the article added by the editor. One thing is that it said Atlas is releasing the U36B in N scale; I have not heard anything about that, only HO. As you can see from this layout plan that I made when I wrote the article back in the beginning of 2015 (which at the time I didn’t intend to be in Great Model Railroads), there were a whole lot more pictures (A thru L) that could have been included than just three. Anyway, as the maker and owner of my layout, the photo-scarce article doesn’t quite do it justice. But this is just step one in what is to be a bigger layout, so there will be more in the future.

n-layout 4x7 Bone Valley

Atlas N B36-7 Out Now

Atlas N B36-7 Seaboard SystemI just got my Atlas Master Line N B36-7 Locomotives. And I wanted to mention something some potential buyers might have wondered about. In the product photos that I’ve seen on various websites, the Seaboard System models have gray fuel tanks. I couldn’t understand that since I never saw any photos of real Seaboard System B36-7 locos with gray fuel tanks. Fortunately, the actual models have black fuel tanks, as they should, unlike the promo pictures. So I just wanted to make that clear. Overall the new models look great. Atlas N B36-7 Locos are starting to appear on Ebay.

Agricola Spur Photos 1990

Ken Goslett shared some more Bone Valley photos. The first three are of the smash board protected diamond where the Agrico and South Pierce Railroad used to cross the Agricola Spur between Bradley and Agricola. In the first diamond photo, the trainman has already turned and locked the north smash board to block the opposing route.  In the second photo, he is turning the other smash board and preparing to lock it.  In the third photos, with both boards protecting his movement, the train is crossing the diamond and he is climbing on board. Then the final two photos are of the Estech phosphate plant at Agricola, which was in its final days in 1990.

Agricola Spur Diamond Agricola Spur Diamond Agricola Spur Diamond Chessie Estech Agricola 1990 Goslett Estech Agricola 1990 Goslett

N Scale Flex Track Comparison Guide

track1Here is a breakdown of the main N scale flex track options available. I personally use Micro-Engineering code 55, not because it is perfect but because it has the most features I want relative to what is available. I’d probably use Peco code 55 if the tie spacing was prototypical for the United States. Atlas code 55 is nice but the spikes cause issues with some of my older locomotives. The ideal track for me would be code 40 Peco style track (where the rail is actually code 80 but half of it is embedded in the ties) with prototypical US tie spacing, prototypical tie width, and small spikes. (Update: there is a new track product “Central Valley N 3001 Code 55 Curvable Mainline Ties” that looks promising. I’ll add it to this list once I have used it.)

 

Micro-Engineering code 55

Pros:

  • Long 36”
  • Small spikes
  • Prototypical US tie spacing and tie width (close enough anyway)

Cons:

  • Somewhat hard to bend into smooth curves
  • Plastic flashing is somewhat common
  • Somewhat fragile

 

Atlas code 55

Pros:

  • Easy to bend into smooth curves
  • Prototypical US tie spacing and tie width

Cons:

  • Short 30”
  • Spikes are too big and interfere with wheel flanges on older equipment. But not really an issue if you just have newer equipment made in the last decade or so.

 

Atlas code 80

Pros:

  • Cheapest
  • Easiest to find
  • Easy to bend into smooth curves

Cons:

  • Not prototypical US tie spacing or spikes
  • Short 30”

 

Peco code 55

Pros:

  • Long 36”
  • Uses code 80 rail embedded in the ties…making it sturdy

Cons:

  • Not prototypical US tie spacing or spikes

Peco code 55 track can be used to make transition tracks from code 55 to code 80. All that is required is a file.

Peco flex track code 55 80 transition N scale flex track 55 80

Bone Valley Photos in 1990

I got in contact with photographer Ken Goslett who took a number of great Bone Valley photos in 1990. He was kind enough to agree to scan some to share on this website. These are the first pictures he sent. The picture of the tower at Agrock is a piece of information I’ve long wanted for potential modeling purposes, since I’d never seen anything showing what it looked like in 1990. The other picture is right across the road from Agrock at Payne Creek.

Agrock 1990 Tower Office

Agrock FL  1990

E-Z App Bluetooth Wireless Control

Check out this Bachmann E-Z App video…if you haven’t heard about it. Once this is available with plug-n-play decoders in N scale, I’ll finally leave the old DC train control world behind. For years now, DCC has seemed behind the times to me. So much so that I’ve held off on investing in DCC for my N scale stuff. My set-up isn’t complex enough to justify it. DC has been good enough. But the ease of just using a cell phone to wirelessly control a train will be something I’ll have to have. Plus it has the potential to make operations richer. Like usual, HO is getting it first. I don’t know how long N scale will take. Blue Rail Trains

Yes! B36-7 in N, Seaboard System and CSX

B36-7 Seaboard System N ScaleAtlas is finally putting out the N scale B36-7 in Seaboard System and CSX paint. Now I can model a Seaboard System Juice Train. However, there still aren’t any truly accurate Tropicana Reefers available. But I’m glad to finally see the B36-7. Now Atlas just needs to change one piece on the U23B to make U36B models and I’ll have the main models I’ve long wanted.

Dmc-12 DeLorean N Scale 1:160 and HO 1:87 Back to the Future

DMC-12 DeLorean N ScaleI took a stab at making an N scale vehicle available. I’ve started with a Dmc-12 DeLorean. If shapeways ever starts offering a clear material that I could use to model window glass, I’ll start making a lot of vehicles. In the meantime though, I’m using my own printed decals as windows for the DeLorean. I printed the decals for my own DeLorean on MicroMark clear laser decal paper using my color laser printer. I cut close around the decals leaving just a sliver of the clear decal film around the edges. Get the printable files here for your version of the model: DeLorean decals N Back to the Future DeLorean decals N Back to the Future DeLorean decals HO DeLorean decals HO

Buy the N DeLorean model here.
And the Back to the Future N version here.
And the Back to the Future HO version here.
And Dmc-12 DeLorean HO Scale 1:87