Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thoughtful Blog Post on the Near Future of Model Railroading

Titus over at the Some Railroad You Never Heard Of blog has a thoughtful post about the future of model railroading (look for more 3D printing and CNC cutting--laser cutters, Cricuts, and the like--but some things like track as we currently know it are here to stay) and model railroading media (streaming video is the future, print fading away). Stop what you're doing and go read it. He's got me wondering if I should have a YouTube channel alongside or even in place of this blog . . .

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Capitol Limited Blog Makes Neighborhood Trains Look So Dramatic

The Capitol Limited/Robert Kaplan
Bob Kaplan is practically my neighbor, though I've never met him. He chronicles his global travels and railfan adventures on his Capitol Limited blog, and his photography eye is excellent.

I enjoy every one of his posts, and this one capturing CSX and MARC in Gaithersburg, MD during a recent snow storm (one of those events that paralyzed the National Capital region, BTW) particularly caught my attention. It's a fine example of a photographer using what's at hand to make railroading that might otherwise seem ordinary (to me, anyway, by dint of its familiarity).

Sunday, April 3, 2016

N Scale Toaster Project Pieces 'n' Parts

A contemporary Northeast Corridor roster would not be complete without an AEM-7, also known as a 'Toaster'. I'm in another intense period of business travel, which has been cutting into my modeling time, but one of the many joys of arriving home is catching up with the model train packages that arrived in my absence. Some key N scale AEM-7 pieces and parts came my way this week.
Prototype AEM-7s were built by EMD based on the Swedish ASEA Rc4 electric locomotive design, so a fitting start to the N scale Toaster project is a proven Rc4 locomotive model. This Fleischmann model (#736503) is an Austrian State Railways Class 1043, which is the European export version of the Rc4. The model is equipped with a European NEM DCC socket, heavy frame, and excellent drive, and the single-arm pantographs are similar to the AEM-7's and can thus be re-used for this project. In short, the Fleischmann model will be an excellent foundation for the N scale Toaster project.
This Imperial Hobby Productions AEM-7 shell and parts printed by Shapeways is the other key component of the N scale Toaster project. The parts are crisply detailed and sturdy, and the fit to the Fleischmann Rc4 seems very close at first blush. The shell and parts represent an early or 'as delivered' AEM-7, appropriate for 1980s and 90s. A more recent or rebuilt AEM-7 would also have recessed ditch lights on the nose between the pilot and windshield, number panels on the sides, as well as some additional frippery on the roof. I'm excited to get this shell prepped and primed!