The home of The Rip Track podcast, disseminating information about model railroading and worldwide railroad history.

I'm working on an update to the site; check out the public beta at http://riptrack.net/dev.

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I model railroads set in...

the 21st century
0% (0 votes)
1980-2000
43% (3 votes)
1960-1980
14% (1 vote)
1940-1960
29% (2 votes)
1900-1940
14% (1 vote)
1860-1900
0% (0 votes)
1800-1860
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 7

What am I working on?

Long time readers of this site will know that I had hoped to put up one review per month. Obviously, I'm far short of reaching that goal. So, I think it's time for an update on the items that I'm looking at for review material. Rather than an in-depth on each item, I'll give you a quick first impression on each item. (Read more to see my initial thoughts)

Modeler's Moment - Broken decals are prototypical!

UP 9038 cab

Unless you're modeling equipment straight out of the paint shop, it's OK if your decal is chipped. It happens on the prototype too, like this UP locomotive passing through Rochelle in 2005. A lot of railroads use large scale "decals" of their own to apply uniform lettering and numbers on their equipment, and their decals chip just like ours do on our models.

Modeler's Moment - Careful backdrop positioning

high backdrop

Avoid positioning your backdrop images too high. If the horizon is above eye level, it won't look right to a person standing in front of the layout, and it especially won't look right when you put your camera down at track level.

Modeler's Moment - Trailers are rail equipment too

SBD trailer at NRM

When you're building up your fleet of rolling stock, don't forget to include some semi trailers. This former CSX trailer (note the CSXZ reporting mark on the front and side) behind one of the buildings at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay shows its Seaboard System heritage with a very faded logo.

Wait, what's happening here?

I'm doing an upgrade. I should have the site theme back to normal shortly... For more issues, check the details on this story.

Okay, no more anonymous comments!!!

That does it! 11 pages of spam comments from an anonymous user. One little &%$*($ has ruined it for everyone. You now need to be logged in to leave a comment or to vote on the polls.

Ah, SQL is a handy tool when you need to delete more than 500 spam comments. Baleeted!!! B-)

Anonymous voting on polls is restored (for now at least).

Modeler's Moment - Scenes that tell a story

Live steam?

Disney Imagineers will tell you that the scenes they design for the parks' various attractions all try to tell a story. Using this same idea in your model railroad can really help liven up the layout, like in this scene of a "live steam" layout within a larger O scale layout. What stories are you telling on your layout?

Modeler's Moment - Modeling dragging equipment

dragged equipment

Don't forget to model the effects of dragging equipment. Run your hobby knife or saw along the ties between the rails for a distance to simulate the damage caused by dragging equipment. Just be sure to keep the damage at the same horizontal position on the ties. This example, which goes on for a mile or two, is on the former Algoma Central Railway in Ontario.

Modeler's Moment - Threaded rods for helix supports

threaded rod helix

Using threaded rods for helix supports can be a quick and simple way to get your helix up. However, doing so requires precise placement of each helix lap so the rod can pass through the benchwork uniformly over the entire rise of the helix and over time the nuts may work themselves loose if they aren't soldered (think plumbing solder here...) in place.

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