Nov 12, 2014

Vanadium Mill tank car body found, retrieved

The Durango Railroad Historical Society has located and retrieved an 1890's tank car body, which once served the Vanadium Mill near Placerville, on the RGS.

Details and video below:

Oct 15, 2014

Galloping Goose - nice article & photos

Here's a great article recently published on Goose #5, which lives in Dolores but gets around most summers.

Sep 29, 2014

Proto2k stockcars, and proto-freelancing

So, summer is ending, and with my time for spray painting (since I need to do that outside).  Thus, I dug out my dozen accumulated kits of Life-Like Proto2k Stock Car kits.  Which I've been putting off for some time, since they've got lots o tiny details to work with.

Anyway, I finally tackled the whole bunch, and have been working thru adding grab irons and other extremely tiny plastic details.  Here's some photos of that work:

These build up into nice models of Mather cars, but they aren't really appropriate for the RGS.  Or, in my case, even my alternate-history RGS.  What I'd like to do is create something that looks more like the RGS equipment (even though it won't be narrow gauge, or right in lots of other ways).

What I want here, I guess, is a caricature - something that feels like the prototype, w/o trying to copy it exactly.  So here's what the RGS cars looked like:

 What stands out to me is the boards on the outside of the bracing, and that most of the letter is on these outer boards.

In fact, with these old RGS cars, in some cases that's MOST of the lettering.  Details about weight, bearing repacking, etc is so faded its nearly invisible.
D&RGW stock cars were similar, although the pattern of the outer boards is different, and the lettering and detail specs etc are far better maintained:

 OK, so here's what the kit looks like (for now):

My thought was to add the outer boards, repaint and then re-letter.  I'll probably build a number of RGS as well as D&RGW versions.  Not sure when I'll finish, but I'll post here when they're further along.

And, if you'd like more details on the rail Rio Grande Southern stock cars, there's details and photos on my Rolling Stock page here:

Sep 14, 2014

Podcasts... such great stuff out there

Do you listen to any of the great Model Railroading podcasts available?  These are like radio shows you can download onto your phone, iPod, or computer, and listen at your leisure.

They are amazing because there's so many topics discussed - at length - and a lot of interesting people in the hobby get to chat and share their views.  Or, you can call/write in, and participate in the podcasts yourself.

Here's my favorites:

A Modelers Life -

Scotty Mason -

Model Railcast -

Model Rail Radio -

These and other model train / prototype railroad news sources are listed on my links page, at:

And I should note that there's LOTS of other podcasts out there.  Some other topics I listen to include marriage stuff, project management, and even sermons from our own church (we can catch up on a sermons series if we're out-of-town sometimes).


Aug 30, 2014

Railroad Model Craftsman, RMC - acquired and not dying!

Good news!
There's been a lot of rumors floating about regarding RMC - Railroad Model Craftsman magazine, since the last few issues have been late and there's been problems w/ a new printer.  Then, the announcement a short while ago that their publisher, Carstens, was closing their doors.

But now - good news - they've been purchased by a reputable model railroad publisher, and will continue.  Details are in this press release.

Aug 7, 2014

RGS #20 in the movies... Ticket to Tomahawk is now on YouTube

The film Ticket to Tomahawk - which has been difficult to find - is now on YouTube!  The entire movie!

If you're not familar w/ this film, it's a goofy but fun western shot along the D&RG's Silverton Branch and a few parts of the RGS (bridge 160-A, and flatlands near Hesperus). Marilyn Monroe also made a very early apperance here - one of her first films I believe.  She's uncredited, but is the yellow-dressed dancing girl, who appear about 30 minutes in.

The 'star' of the movie is RGS #20, along with one of the RGS cabooses - both dressed up rather  gaudily.  The film company needed the locomotive to be pulled along dirt roads, and - I think - actually attempted that with the real locomotive, which was far too heavy.  They ended up building a very detailed wooden copy.

Today, the real #20 is ungoing a massive rebuild, while the wooden duplicate has been returned to Durango and is being put on display.

May 11, 2014

Trains are finally running again... thru scenery now

Rockwork is officially deemed "good enough for the moment" and operation has been restored.  Here's a few shots of a test train running thru the new scenery.

Apr 9, 2014

Another rock, scenery update

Well, given that RailFun 2014 is now just than 2 months away (and this layout is open for that convention) I had to draw a line and declare the plaster & rockwork done enough - and start switching back to track and getting the layout running again.

So - here's where the rockwork stands today.  It's not finished, but the major colors are complete, and all of the layout's been painted a basic soil/dirt color as a base.

Here's the Enterprise branch:

And a few of Hesperus and Wildcat Canyon:

Here's an overview of Ophir Loop:

 And more Ophir shots:

Here's a couple overview shots of the Telluride branch and townsite (which is a peninsula):

ANd a couple of the canyon on the branch leading up to Telluride:

And one last shot - this is the canyon running thru Ophir; this shot is just upstream of the big 45-A trestle site:

Mar 23, 2014

A rocky update

OK, it's finally time to share some more photos.  I've been working on rocks for what seems like ages, molding, placing, blending.  It's finally time to move on to coloring, as I've decided the blending is good enough (for now, at least).

So, here's a quick tour of the layout's newer rockwork.  It's got a base spray of black india ink  alcholol, just to cover the white.  I intend a dark wash of charcoal, then several successive layers of lighter colors to get the final look.

Here's the Ophir Loop highline area:

And a few of the Ophir Loop townsite, including the canyon running through the town and under the big trestle 46-B:

And a few from the Hesperus / Wildcat Canyon area:

A couple from the Telluride branch:

And finally a few from the Enterprise branch: