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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!

How to build it wrong - basic scratchbuilding and kitbashing techniques

So you've built a few structure kits and placed them on the layout. But what do you do when the structure you want on your layout isn't available commercially? Build it anyway. Often, you'll be able to find a structure kit that is almost just like the structure you want or another kit that has a wall or two that would look right. It's times like these that you throw away the instructions and build it wrong!

Download the clinic handout

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.

Modeler's Moment - Don't put off getting your reference photos

Sturtevant depot on August 3, 2009I've said it many times before in Modeler's Moments and in the podcast, but if you're thinking about going to photograph something, go get your photographs now because your subject won't be there as long as you think.  This credo was demonstrated to me again this past weekend when I went to watch SP 4449 work through southwest Wisconsin (I expect to have a little more about the history of the locomotive and Daylight trains in the next podcast episode).  I wanted to photograph 4449 as it passed the former Milwaukee Road depot in Sturtevant.  What do I see when I finally get there on Sunday, but the depot has been cut into sections and lifted onto steel beams so it could be moved away from its original location.  What I was able to see from the tracks is just the center section as shown in the photo here; the two wings of the depot were already moved around the corner and behind a tree line.  The station will be preserved, but in talking to local railfans in Sturtevant, this depot is going to be moved a few miles northward to the town of Caledonia later this month where it will be maintained as part of a park.  So I say it again, go get your photographs now because the subject you want to photograph will likely not be there next week.

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 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 - Open doors (or windows) and structure interiors

Open doors and detailed interiors

Model railroaders are a weird bunch. We like to see cluttered structures and tons of stuff just lying around inside buildings, at least we do if the clutter and stuff is within a scale model structure. When you build a structure with open doors, you've got to add some kind of detail to the structure's interior. Think about your goals in modeling the structure and what would realistically be inside that structure. If you're modeling an empty building, there should be a "for sale/lease" sign or contractors' trucks and equipment outside to explain why the building is vacant. If the building is occupied, fill it with appropriate details, like in this scene of a small garage on a narrow gauge logging railroad.

Modeler's Moment - Supports must support something

Saloon model

When you build a structure with visible supports, make sure that the supports actually connect to and support something. This saloon model was entered in the model contest at the MWR convention in Waupaca last April. If you look closely at the image, you'll see that the support poles at the far right and far left on the porch don't actually support the roof over it. A mistake like this takes points off construction, which is the largest emphasis in NMRA's AP judging criteria, unless you can show documentary proof that the supports on the prototype structure also didn't actually support the roof.

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