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Podcast: Episode 14 - Announcements from Trainfest 2011

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Kids enjoying the Lionel layout at TrainfestYes, it has been a while, but it's time to get this podcast back on the mainline.  So here it is, the next podcast episode full of model railroad announcements from Trainfest 2011!

Podcast: Episode 13 - 2010 National Train Show announcements

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The HO scale layout built by Railroad Model Craftsman magazine.The National Train Show was held in July 2010 in conjunction with the National Model Railroad Association's 75th annual convention.  This year I was able to talk to many of the manufacturers at the show and got some audio for everyone to hear with their new announcements.  Unlike the Trainfest episode last year, this episode has all of the audio in one long chunk.  This episode is about 5 times longer than usual, but here it is.

Modeler's Moment - One way to avoid modeling building interiors

HO scale delivery men from the furniture store

So your layout has progressed beyond the plywood plains to include some basic scenery and a few structures in the city.  But there aren't any tenants in your buildings yet, right?  If you don't want to model interiors and want to have windows that you can see into, you're going to have to find some way to explain the empty spaces within the buildings.  While you could put rental or sale signs outside the buildings, but it isn't entirely prototypical to have every building with such a sign in front of it.  Try this strategy I saw on an HO scale layout recently: place a delivery truck outside the front door of one of the buildings and have some delivery men moving furniture into the building.  It not only provides a reason for empty rooms, but also gives visitors to your layout something interesting to look at.

Podcast: Episode 11.2 - More announcements from Trainfest

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N and HO scale covered hoppers from North American Railcar CorporationIn part 1 of this episode we heard from a few manufacturers who were showing new products at Trainfest 2009.  It's time to pick up where we left off, so let's jump right in and hear from some more manufacturers.

Podcast: Episode 10 - Model railroad tips from show exhibitors

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People installed on an HO scale moduleSome people installed on an HO scale module.

For this episode of the podcast, we're going to focus on model railroading and save the prototype history and data for a later show.  It's October, and now that the days are getting colder and the nights longer, that means that model railroad season is well under way in North America.  Model railroaders are home from summer vacations and are getting together to build, operate and just talk about their layouts with each other.  Also, model railroad shows are increasing in frequency as we head toward the end of the calendar year.  Last week I spent some time asking exhibitors at the Green County Model Railroad Club's annual model railroad show here in Wisconsin for their favorite model railroading tips.

Podcast: Episode 7 - The "Father of Railways", two junctions and selective compression

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Selective compression applied to a model building.A model of the Compressed Manufacturing Company in HO scale.

Never more than a day late, here's the next episode of the Rip Track Podast.  In this episode, we take a look at the life of George Stephenson, "The Father of Railways."  Then we hear the final installment of Randy Garnhardt's discussion of interesting juctions with a look at Clinton, Iowa, and Nelson, Illinois.  Finally, the Modeler's Moment describes the princile of selective compression as it is applied to model railroads.

Podcast: Episode 5 - running trains and delivering coal

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Operating a model railroadModel railroaders at an operating session.

Okay, so this is a day and a half later than the schedule that the first four episodes have followed.  Well, here it is anyways.  First we hear a narration from a model railroad operating session, then we hear an 1899 musical recording describing one sad passenger train ride.  We continue with an excerpt from Jerry Pfeiffer's industry and freight cars clinic where he discusses coal deliveries in the Midwest.  Finally, in the Modeler's Moment, we look at some model railroad uses for items that you might otherwise throw away.

Podcast: Episode 3 - all about railfanning

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Railfans out railfanning.Railfanning near Prairie du Chien, WI, in 2004.

With this episode, things are falling into place and the show is officially fully established. First we hear an excerpt from the Conversations About Photography Conference where Stuart Klipper tells us about some of his inspirations for railroad photography. Then we go over a checklist to ensure that railfanning trips go well. In our Modeler's Moment, we discuss how to use railfanning as a model railroading tool, and finally, there's a little shameless self-promotion to finish off the episode.

Modeler's Moment - anything can be a statue

Monkey statue

We've all got items in our junk boxes that just don't fit anywhere in any of our model building projects. Take a closer look at them. You may find that they would work in a park as a statue, like this monkey statue on an HO scale layout that I recently visited. The thing is, when you create a center of interest on your layout, make sure that the model people around it are all upright and not tipped over like in this picture (especially not flopped over on their faces like the gentleman on the right).

Modeler's Moment - What's supporting the pier?

A floating HO scale pier

Water features always make interesting scenes on model railroads, whether they're models of lakes, rivers, harbors or just puddles. When they're at the fascia edge of a layout, the modeler can make the water a little deeper and embed things in the water material to make it look even more realistic. However, this can also work against the modeler if something doesn't extend below the surface of the water when it should. The HO scale fishing pier shown here is a prime example. Is the pier really as light as an insect that it doesn't break the surface tension of the water? Plan your details before you start pouring the water material.

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