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

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Modeler's Moment - A different color for weathering

BNSF 405508

Did you ever wonder what the almost white color is used for in your weathering powder set? It's to simulate the cement that is spilled over the side of cement hoppers. Similarly, the yellow color in your weathering set is used to simulate molten sulfur that spills on the side of tank cars.

BNSF wants you!

Yesterday, BNSF put up a press release to recruit railfans to help secure the railroad. In a program called Citizens United for Rail Security (CRS), interested railfans are asked to register (name, address, phone number, email and birthdate) to receive an identification card and access to additional news and security info from BNSF. It doesn't say so in the press release, but I'm guessing that this ID will make it easier for us as railfans to explain our hobby when local law enforcement is asked to investigate us.

Modeler's Moment - Simplify your trackage

complex trackwork

Handlaid track, like this track on an HO scale layout in Chicago, allows you to make some very complex track configurations. Just remember a few key points: every switch point and crossing frog is a potential derail location, and prototype railroads do whatever they can to simplify the tracks that they install both for ease of use and reduced maintenance.

Modeler's Moment - Elbow room

wide aisles

When you're planning your model empire, look at the places on your layout where you plan to have a lot of switching (the yards and heavy industrial areas). These are the places where your operators will congregate, so leave enough room in the aisle that they can get by each other. Sometimes it will require curving a yard around a corner, like you can see here. Believe it or not, this photo is from an operating session at a home layout.

Modeler's Moment - Use jigs to speed construction

fence and jig

When you need to build several copies of the same item, build a construction jig when you make the first copy. Use a material and glue in your jig that won't be affected by the glue that you use on the final parts. For wood parts, jigs made of styrene work well because wood glue does not bond very well to styrene; the opposite is also true, jigs made of wood work well for styrene parts. Yes, this still counts as scratchbuilt for NMRA contest judging.

Modeler's Moment - Creating anachronisms

Old cars

An anachronism is when an object in a scene does not fit with the time period being portrayed, like when you spot a digital watch on an actor's wrist during a movie depicting a scene from the late 1700s. However, adding an anachronism to your model railroad, like the cars in this scene, makes the viewer want to look more closely at the rest of the layout to find other "what's wrong with this picture" elements.

Why I joined, and stay in, the NMRA

There have been quite a few letters written to various publications about the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) and its value to the average modeler. Many of the letters that I've seen boil down to the question "what's in it for me?" For me, personally, there's quite a lot in it. So why did I join the NMRA and why do I stay a member? Read more to find out...

My layout construction is...

still in the armchair
15% (2 votes)
being planned
15% (2 votes)
up to the room preparation
0% (0 votes)
in the benchwork phase
15% (2 votes)
up to where I can run a train
23% (3 votes)
at the plywood plains
8% (1 vote)
up to structures and scenery
0% (0 votes)
adding details to a fully scenicked layout
15% (2 votes)
0% (0 votes)
never finished
8% (1 vote)
Total votes: 13

Modeler's Moment - Interior details

Interior details

Adding interiors to your foreground structures can not only get you extra points on NMRA contest judging, but their presence on your layout makes the viewer believe that your background buildings are also as detailed, even when they aren't. The model pictured here was entered in the structures category at the Seattle convention.

Modeler's Moment - Pioneer Zephyr

Pioneer Zephyr, observation end

On this date (May 26) in history, the Burlington's Pioneer Zephyr made its famous "dawn-to-dusk" non-stop run from Denver to Chicago in 1934 at an average speed of 77 mph; the trainset was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago on May 26, 1960, and it can still be seen there today.

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