Get your CNR NSC-built boxcars

They’re here!


Yarmouth Model Works has just released its first S scale freight car kits – for early and late variants of Canadian National Railways 1937 AAR 40-foot boxcars, as built by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario and featuring the manufacturer’s unique NSC-2 end.

These limited run kits feature a one-piece resin body casting, laser cut running boards, custom photo etchings for details such as brake appliance hangers, Des Plaines Hobbies eight-rung Canadian style ladders, and decals from Black Cat Publishing.

(Early version with flat panel roof and initial brake rigging arrangement)

(Later version with raised panel roof and revised brake rigging arrangement)

I have seen the finished production models of each kit (above) in person, and they are spectacular. With more than 5,700 of these cars roaming the rails across North America between the late 1930s and the 1980s, most of us working in 1:64 can justify one of each style on their layouts. (I’ve already placed an order for a few of each.) The unique NSC-2 end will add some welcome variation to our fleets.

You can order car(s) on the Kits – S Scale page at Yarmouth Model Works. (And if you’re going to this year’s RPM Conference in the Chicago area, I know Pierre plans to attend. Maybe you can order your kits now and pick them up at the show, to save on shipping.)

While I’m not part of Yarmouth Model Works, I was among those who encouraged Pierre Oliver and his team to test the waters in S scale. The company has released a number of kits and detail parts in HO, and has won much praise from the Railroad Prototype Modelers community for prototype fidelity, the quality of castings and parts, and ease of assembly. So I’m excited by the opportunity this represents for those of us in 1:64. If these do well, more kits are planned – including unique cars for some popular American roads.

If you have never built a resin kit, these models will be a great place to start.

California Dreamin’ | Sugar Short Line

Pajaro Valley Consolidated RR Logo
(Click on the image to visit Nick’s new layout blog)

While attending the Ontario Manifest in California earlier this month, I was delighted to meet Nick Lisica. Nick’s modelling is exquisite – he went home from this NMRA regional convention with a number of merit awards and category wins from the contest room, including for this lovely O scale model of a steam-powered stern-wheeler, built from a Train Troll kit with many extra details:

Alexandria by Nick Lisica

But Nick is an N scaler at heart, and has picked an obscure prototype to model. The Pajaro (“Paw-haw-row”) Valley Consolidated Railroad was a narrow gauge line created in the late 19th Century to provide sugar beet farmers in the Salinas Valley with an alternative to the Southern Pacific when transporting their produce to a refinery in Watsonville, CA. Nick’s prototype is modest, making it an achievable layout. But the SP absorbed the line in the 1920s – and the PVCRR’s modest nature and short lifespan means it’s a challenge to find information and photos of the prototype.

Port Rowan is not as obscure – it lasted longer, and later, so there are better photos and records. But I face many of the same challenges in modelling my subject as Nick does in modelling his. So while we spoke at the convention, I suggested to him that he start a blog. I pointed out that by putting his work on the web, he would open it up to search engines and therefore to a broad spectrum of people who may have information.

My experience with Port Rowan in 1:64 bears this out. Obviously, when I started it, the blog was followed primarily by fellow railway modellers (because that’s who I told I was writing a blog). But since then, my readership has grown to include people who are interested in Port Rowan, St. Williams, and the area… people who are related to railway employees on the line, and to those who were customers of the railway… and so on. I’ve received as much useful information from them as I have from those within the hobby. I never know who is going to provide the next piece of the puzzle to help me build the complete picture of the CNR’s Simcoe Sub in the 1950s.

Nick took the comments to heart, and recently emailed to say he’s started a blog about his plans for his N scale home layout. I’ve added it to my links (right side of the home page). You can also visit the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad by clicking on the logo at the top of this page.

(Great to meet you, Nick! I look forward to following your progress online…)

California Dreamin’ | PE 985

Danger! Danger! Whoop-whoop-whoop!

PE 985 in O scale

I had a great time in southern California earlier this month. A great time. I’ll write more about it as time allows, but my travels included a stop at The Original Whistle Stop model railway emporium in Pasadena. Which is where I saw the above, O scale, Pacific Electric wood car.

What a beauty.

I have a soft spot (right between the ears) for traction. I attribute it to growing up in Toronto – a city where streetcars survived and thrive. The TTC was a part of my daily life. My parents did not have a car – in a big city, you don’t really need one. My father took the subway to work, and my mother and I would go on all manner of trips through the city – all involving a ride on public transit. Unlike many hobbyists I know, these were my first exposure to the phenomenon of flanged wheels on steel rails.

That influenced my tastes in the hobby for many years. While others my age were devouring the work of Al McClelland and Tony Koester – and building “tribute layouts” around the theme of Appalachian coal hauling – I was absorbing everything I could about Bob Hegge and his Crooked Mountain Lines. I can still remember the month/year of issues with Hegge articles in them and at one time planned my own tribute layout in my parents’ basement. (I started one, but never got as far as stringing overhead, so I don’t know if that’s something I enjoy – or whether I’m even capable of doing it.)

My interest extended beyond the CML, of course. My copies of the traction books from Kalmbach and Carstens are definitely dog-eared. And I have a number of models of equipment from interurban lines, in several scales.

No need to worry: Port Rowan is safe. I have a boxcar painted in the Crooked Mountain Lines scheme – an NMRA heritage car, and the only freelanced railway represented on my layout.

But models like the Pacific Electric car above make my heart skip a beat. I’m fortunate it was not for sale.

As I noted earlier, I’ll have more to report on my trip – to an NMRA convention, and seeing the sights – as time allows. Stay tuned…

Paint Storage Solution | small bottles

Thanks to everyone who responded – on blog and through private messages – to yesterday’s post about paint storage options. As it happens, I was running errands yesterday and visited a local gaming store (Meeplemart), where I picked up a laser cut MDF rack from Vallejo:

Vallejo Paint Rack

This assembled in about five minutes (as a dry fit – I must go back and glue everything) and holds 52 small bottles, a handful of larger bottles, and more brushes than I’ll ever use. It sits nicely on my desk or workbench and its tiered design means I can see all the paints, inks, washes and so on that I’m most likely to need when painting.

I’ll need to explore the options at Meeplemart (and Wheels And Wings, a local plastic modelling store) for larger paint bottles, such as Scalecoat.

But at least I have the Vallejo under control!

Paint Storage Problem

I have one:

Too much paint

Most of us can relate to this. It doesn’t take long for the number of little bottles of paint to overrun a workshop. I’m currently looking at a few options – including laser cut paint storage racks available at my local gaming store. But I’m interested in the creative solutions that you’ve devised. So if you have solved your paint storage problem – and have a link to the rack manufacturer or to photos of what you did – share in the comments, and thanks in advance.

I’m not looking for suggestions along the lines of “How about something like…” from people who have not done it themselves. I’m looking for ideas that have actually been put into practice. Let’s see what you’ve got!

New Resin News | CNR 1929 boxcar, painted

My friend David Clubine at Ridgehill Scale Models* is very close to releasing the company’s newest S scale kit – a resin model of the CNR 1929 40-foot single sheathed boxcar.

This kit is being produced for Ridgehill by Pierre Oliver and his colleagues at Yarmouth Model Works – and Pierre recently shared the first photo of his test-build subject in full paint and lettering:

CNR 1929 in full paint

I have no further details about availability or pricing – that’s up to David to announce – but I’ll be sure to share the information when I have it. Meantime, I know I’ll be adding a few of these to my layout when they’re released.

(*Ridgehill Scale Models has not produced a new kit in a number of years and as of this writing it does not have a website. There’s a listing on a friend’s website of past models. I’m hoping that once this car is made available I’ll be able to add a new website to my list of S scale suppliers that I frequently use. As always, check the “Links” section on this blog’s home page for the most up-to-date links.)

Decals and Data on TMTV

Recently, I had a question about applying decals. I’m no expert, but my friend Pierre Oliver is – which is why I was more than happy to host him for a segment earlier this year on TrainMasters TV, all about applying decals:

Applying Decals on TMTV
(Click on the image to head directly to the decal segment on TrainMasters TV)

And since you’re already heading to the video chair, why not also check out this companion piece on deciphering all that freight car data that you’re about to apply?

Deciphering freight car data on TMTV
(Click on the image to head directly to the freight car data segment on TrainMasters TV)

I don’t often mention TrainMasters on my site since my work on that show is not what this blog is about. But we have had a lot of positive feedback on these two segments – including from people who are experienced freight car modellers – and I know I learned a lot about decals and data in the process of hosting them. I’m confident you will, too.

TrainMasters is a subscription-based service, but your subscription comes with more than an hour of network TV quality programming each month, for less than the price of a magazine. Becoming a member is easy

New Resin News | NSC-built “AAR 1937” CNR boxcars – now with lettering

My friend Pierre Oliver shared photos of the finished sample models for a new resin kit coming for S scale enthusiasts. Pierre and his colleagues at Yarmouth Model Works* are making their first foray into 1:64 by offering two versions of their first S scale kit, covering some 5,700 boxcars built for the Canadian National Railways by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario.

This is the early version of the car, with a flat roof and the brake reservoir located perpendicular to the sills:

CNR - NSC Boxcar - early - lettered

And here is the later version of the car, with raised panel roof and the brake reservoir located parallel to the sills:

CNR - NSC Boxcar - later - lettered

As I have noted in a previous post about these cars, the kits are coming soon – definitely before the end of the year. Ordering information, including pricing, will be posted on the Yarmouth Model Works website when they’re available. I know I’ll be buying a few of each for my layout!

(Note that unless stated, the kits on the Yarmouth Model Works website are in HO scale)

The Ontario Manifest is this weekend

I’m headed off later this week to attend Ontario Manifest – the 2017 annual convention for the Pacific Southwest Region of the NMRA. I’ve been invited to deliver the after-dinner speech at the banquet on Saturday night. I’m ready to go and looking forward to it!

I like California – a lot. I’ve been a couple of times, including for hobby-related events – and there’s a lot of spectacular railway modelling taking place in the state. The people are a ton of fun, too. I’m looking forward to spending a couple of days with them.

PSR-NMRA Banquet Speech

For the banquet, I’ll be offering up some thoughts about where the hobby is going, where we’ll find the next generation of serious hobbyists, and what we can do to foster them. I spoke on this topic at the Niagara Frontier Region NMRA convention in Ottawa, Canada just over a year ago, and had a lot of interesting feedback from those who attended. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts in California.

I’m also looking forward to my first visit to the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

And yes, I’ll post all about the trip when I return…

Please Stand By

As a consequence of being out of the country for a week, I’ll be tardy about responding to comments on my blogs until late next week – and if you’re a first-time commenter, your post may get held in the moderator’s cue until then. Apologies in advance – that’s just the reality of the Internet these days: everybody gets moderated the first time.