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Welcome to the 21st edition of the Proto48 Modeler. We are doing the website update in a couple of steps.

Our website provides information on ¼" scale products and modeling techniques. Proto48 is a subset of the larger O scale model railroad hobby. We build to exact scale standards for wheels and track gauge.

Please take a look at our scale and enjoy the models and techniques. Proto48 is well supported by hobby suppliers and is growing. We are enjoying a renaissance with many new products that have moved the scale beyond the realm of scratch builders to allow more modelers with moderate skills to build a operating layout using the new flex-track and switch kits.

The Proto48 movement has been growing for over 50 years and has gained the respect of many in the model railroading community. Proto48 exists because modelers desire to accurately model prototype railroad equipment including track gauge and wheel profile. Many of our newest members migrate from other scales such as HO. While the equipment is the same as other O scale models, the wheels and track are different to conform to the correct 4' 8 ½" gauge and dead scale wheel contour. Achieving accurate models in smaller scales is a challenge especially as one gets older. Replicating the detail in ¼" scale is easier and achievable. We encourage you to give it a try. You will find challenges to model in this scale but that is part of the fun to solve modeling problems. It is a departure from the current trend of open the box and put the train on the track. While you can use ready-to-run equipment built in China, you will have to change the wheels to run on the 4' 8 ½" gauge. Once you do that you will find that there are other improvements that can be made to the details and soon you will become hooked. Proto48 is a small movement within the ¼" scale community.

Our focus is on standard gauge modeling. Proto48 defines a gauge and wheel profile for locomotives, cars and track but it also expresses a concept of finescale modeling. Our models start out with the correct gauge of 4' 8 ½" and scale wheel profile and continue throughout the model to create an accurately scaled replica of the prototype.

Tom Mix’s scratchbuilt CB&Q 2-6-2 is an example of the best in Proto48 modeling

Quarter-inch scale offers railroad modelers a huge potential in terms of size and mass. It is big enough to permit the craftsman to accurately portray things like underbody details, doors, roof walks and ladders. Proto48 standard gauge modelers tend to strive for higher levels of detail and accuracy like their narrow gauge brethren.

Proto48 is more than just model making it covers the building of layouts and the inclusion of prototypical operations. There are an amazing number of P48 layouts being construction around the country. They range in size from switching layouts to large railroads with many hundred feet of scale track. Check out the layout page on the Protocraft website to see a few of the layouts built or being built.


If you don't have room or time to build a layout, you may be lucky enough to find some fellow modelers in your area that you can share your interest.

You will find a number of new items listed. We can always use more material that will permit more issues to be published each year. As always we are indebted to the modelers who take the time to send material to share with others. We hope that this spirit of sharing will continue allowing us to bring fresh material to the web so that it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Lead Photo: Vern Hill's P48 layout in features the Southern Pacific in the steam era. The C-8 consolidation is a Glacier Park Models import converted to P48.

Proto48 on the Web

There are two forums on Yahoo Groups that focus on Proto48
The first is the Proto48 Modeler: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/p48_modeler/
The second is P48 Layouts hosted by Brett Whelan

OST Publications
PO Box 289, Exton PA 19341-0289
Phone: 1-610-363-7117

Mike Cougill, partner in OST Publishing, has several books out on creating highly detailed track and turnouts in P48 and an electronic magazine that covers both P87 and P48. It is called The Missing Conversation. Each magazine provides a progression of thought toward scale railroad modeling.

Proto48 Blogs on the Web

Blogs are becoming a popular way to communicate with modelers of similar interests.   There have been a few blogs that have been going for some time and a new one or two.

Shamokin Division
George Losse has been running a website for some time that is informative and entertaining.  He travels to a lot of the O scale shows on the East Coast and provides a narrative and photos of his visits.   George will often get pictures of new products that are being shown.   You will find a number of helpful ideas and techniques as he builds his Reading Company Shamokin Division railroad in P48.

OST Blog

Mike Cougill is another blogger who provides an informative and useful discussion on modeling.   Mike's slant is towards more modern prototypes.  

Gene's P48 Blog
I decided to try a blog as a method of sharing my layout and model building experiences.  Layout building is new to me and the blog is a way of gathering information from other modelers.

Updates to the Site:

  • New article on rebuilding an On3 turntable for standard gauge
  • New technique on forming grab irons in the Article section
  • New products that are usable by Proto48 and standard O (rolling stock)

Industry News, Shows and New Products:

The latest information about new and interesting products that are useful the Proto48 modeler as shown below:

Regional O Scale Shows with Proto48 Content:

O Scale West Convention
6-8 February 2014 Santa Clara, CA

O Scale West continues in the same venue at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  You can obtain more information about the event at this site http://www.oscalewest.com

Chicago Midwest O Scale Meet
14-16 March 2014 Lombard, IL

The show is held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. The show has a huge selling floor, operating layouts including a Proto48 modular display. Visit their website for more details.

Indianapolis O Scale Fall, Convention
20-21 September 2013
Wyndham Indianapolis West, West 2544 Executive Drive
All fall meet organized by James Canter.   If you live in the area, you should consider going.

O Scale National Convention
TBD 2014

Stocking Dealers:

Des Plaines Hobbies
1524 Lee St, Des Plaines, IL 60018

The shop moved to a new location in the same shopping center. The new store is even larger than the previous location. They stock 1/48 scale and building supplies.

Caboose Hobbies
500 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
Stocks San Juan trucks and wheels

Coronado Scale Models
1544 Cypress Street, Phoenix, AZ  85006
(602) 254-9656

This shop has served the needs of fine scale modelers for over 40 years. The owners are active scale modeler having produced some beautiful locomotives and cars. Their shop offers excellent mail order service and knowledgeable assistance. You might check out the Photo Gallery for some of Stan Schwedler's fine work.

Sources of Prototype Information:

Railway Prototype Cyclopedia
RP CYC Publications Co.
P.O. Box 451
Chesterfield, MO 63006

The team of Ed Hawkins and Patrick Wider has produced 25 volumes of important information on prototype railroads with a primary emphasis on steam and early diesel era subject matter. The most recent issue covers the ATSF Bx-34. -37 and -43 AAR boxcars in great detail. You will also find an excellent article on 50-ton AAR twin offset hoppers.

Steam Era Freight Cars

This website has been around for a while and recently taken over by Rob Adams. The original site was created by Ted Culotta but his Speedwitch business (now out of business) took off and allowed little time for the site. Rob is now updating the website with a new format and more useful information.

Supplier News:

American Switch & Signal
13052 Ratliff Run
Fishers, IN 46037-6266

John Pautz has added several new switch parts to his lineup within the past month. All of the parts are made from Right O' Way rail and are cast in nickel silver. He has a wide range of frogs, guard rails and points for popular rail sizes. See the latest brochure in the Suppliers section.

All of the parts are done to Proto48 track standards.

Link to PDF

Latest Catalog

O Scale Turnouts, INC
P.O. Box 8183052 Ratliff Run
Hamburg, MI 48139

O Scale Turnouts has been doing turnouts of standard O scale (5' gauge) for a while. They are now testing the market to see if modelers are interested in ready to install turnouts in P48. We received a sample of a Code 125 #8 turnout. The rail is nickel silver that is soldered to several PC board ties. The balance of ties are stained wood with the rail bonded using an epoxy adhesive. The key components used are from American Switch & Signal and are cast nickel silver. The sample turnout is in-gauge and flows nicely. It has gaps to isolate the frog for DCC operation.

This produce should start to fill a gap for those who want to use flex-track and pre-built turnouts. Please respond to O Scale Turnouts and support the product.

Buffalo Landing Detail Parts
P.O. Box 7
Bay View
Napier 4149, New Zealand

Buffalo Landing Detail Parts has been producing some very interesting detail sets for the 1/4” scale modeler.   They have focused on narrow gauge but most of their sets are directly applicable to standard gauge.  They several white metal figure sets and a 1937 Pontiac sedan cast in urethane.   The Proto48 Modeler recently received a sample of their figure sets and have to rate them very highly.  

Most of their product line can be obtained directly from New Zealand or from Coronado Scale Models in Phoenix.   

Burlington Roundhouse
Milepost 206 Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 543
West Burlington, IA 52655

A new firm has entered the O scale parts business.  Their first releases are very impressive with a variety of steam generator and metallic steam lines for first generation GP and SD locomotives. The parts are shown on CB&Q diesels but they would work for a wide range of prototype roads. 

Forsyth Rail Services
6331 State Route 2067
Susquehanna, PA 18847

Matt is a very talented builder in brass.  He has established an excellent reputation for loco conversions to Proto48 and for major rebuilding of imported brass.  His workmanship, painting and finishing is first rate.   Recently, Matt rebuilt a N&W K-1 from the ground up for the publisher of O Scale Trains.   Go to Matt’s website and enjoy his photo essay on the conversion. 

If you have a pet project that is in need of professional help, check out Matt. 


Archer Transfers
PO Box 1277
Youngsville, NC 27596

Archer Transfers has solved one of the more difficult problems in modeling steel equipment.   They have invented a process to deposit a 3D resin on Microscale clear decal film.   They have expanded their line to include various rivet patterns and sizes, safety tread material, fasteners, panel lines and even louvers.   The product is very useful not only to solve difficult fabrication projects but it also saves a lot of time.   The decal is cut out and applied to the model like a normal Microscale product.   We recommend you do not use any decal solvent until it is has evaporated all of the water and you are happy with the position.   Then you can apply the solvent around the edges.   The film will disappear.   The decals must be covered with paint since it will chip off otherwise.  

Rails Unlimited
126 Will Scarlet
Elgin, IL

Rails Unlimited purchased the old line of Chooch urethane kits that were sold to Berkshire Valley.   In addition, Rails Unlimited has released a new kit for a Lehigh Valley wood sheathed boxcar.   The patterns were done by Lee Turner.   The kit comes with a Duryea underframe found on the prototype cars.   Ted announced his latest urethane kit for the Northern Pacific 36' double sheathed boxcar.   He also releasing a series of 1932 ARA steel boxcars based upon the old Turner patterns.

Glacier Park Models
P.O. Box 244
Ukiah, CA 95482
707-391-4476 (voice), 707-463-6988 (fax)

Glacier Park has announced their latest ¼" scale project.  They are planning to import a series of logging tank Mallets.   The models will be detailed, painted and lettered for specific prototype locomotives.  They will cover Clover Valley #4, Feather River #4 and four different Weyerhauser locos (#108, 110 and 111).   The models are being built by Boo Rim and will be offered with P48 wheel conversion kits.   Contact your dealer or GPM for details.   Don't wait to the last minute since they are only building what is ordered.    GPM locomotives sell out within the first month of arrival in the country. 

See the following catalog pages for images of the prototypes:

Tank loco flyer page 1

Tank loco flyer page 2

Tank loco flyer page 3

O Scale Resource Magazine

Glenn Guerra and Dan Dawdy have launched a new online magazine called the O Scale Resource Magazine.   The first issue is now available on their website and is free.   Their first effort is well done and is a worthwhile read.    The magazine will be published bimonthly and be available online.   You can also sign up to receive a notification when the next issue is released.


Mullet River Model Works
118 Hudson Court, Plymouth, WI 53073

Mullet River Model Works has slowed down on production due to the economy.  They have decided to be careful with building up inventories of parts and kits.  However, there are new items in the works.  They have been busy preparing new kits for you.   The latest models are the CB&Q caboose shown below. The kit consists of laser-cut wood, etched brass underframe and details and decals.   Mullet River is moving into the world of Rapid Prototyping using 3D CAD to design objects and having them created in a 3D form.  The RP part is often done in wax so that the part can be used in the lost wax investment process.

OST Publications
PO Box 289, Exton PA 19341-0289
Phone: 1-610-363-7117

Mike Cougill, partner in OST Publishing, has several books out on creating highly detailed track and turnouts in P48 and an electronic magazine that covers both P87 and P48.  It is called The Missing Conversation.  Each magazine provides a progression of thought toward scale railroad modeling.

RY Models
7 Edgedale Court
Wyomissing, PA 19610

RY Models continues to import good quality brass rolling stock and trucks.  They expect to receive the ATSF Bx-6 double sheathed boxcar and Sk-2 stock car very soon.  The model has been well received and is nearly sold out.  Prices at his factory in China have gone up and this being reflected in product pricing.

Visit their website to catch up on their new releases and pricing.

18498 Half Moon Street
Unit 203
Sonoma, CA 95476-4835 (707) 935-7011 (voice message)

Protocraft has released a number of new decal sets for freight cars.  Many of the new sets are for current and future imported brass models.   The quality of the decal artwork is some of the best available today. 

Protocraft continues to be the principal supplier of Proto48 wheels, trucks and track parts.   They offer track parts, detail parts including etched running boards, drive systems for diesels and their extensive line of imported brass cars.   Protocraft is also a dealer for Glacier Park Models O scale and Proto48 models.   They continue to add new products frequently so it is worth a periodic visit.

Protocraft is offering a high current DDC/Sound module that uses the Tsunami DCC receiver.  Protocraft performs an aftermarket modification to the basic HO unit to permit it to handle a continuous load of 3.5 amps.   They added a larger heat sink and changed out the bridge rectifier.  The engineering work was done by a digital engineer and has been tested under extreme loads up to 6.0 amps.   No need to have to use two DCC controllers to have sound and control when installed in a high current O scale model.   Visit the Protocraft website to see the different sound configurations you can order.    

Protocraft has imported their second series of brass freight cars from Boo Rim of Korea.  The car selected was the Modified 1937 AAR 40' boxcar.   The word "modified" identifies the fact that the interior height was increased from the original of 10' to 10'6".  This became the standard for boxcar order from the early 1940s on.  Protocraft selected 15 versions that would cover 25 railroads by using variation in roof, doors and ladders.   The cars come with trucks and unpainted but sealed with a clear lacquer.   The trucks are available in standard O gauge (5') or Proto48 and feature ball bearing races on the axle ends.   The car should move with ease on your layout.

RL Design
14123 206th St.
S.E., Snohomish, WA 98296-3947

There are new freight car lettering sets coming from RL Design this fall including a twin hopper set that will work for offsets as well as the USRA twin hoppers.

Please note that Rick is now taking PayPal for payment as well as checks and money orders. Check out the catalog sheet for ordering information.


Red Cliff Miniatures
2166 Thomas Trail
Santa Clara, UT 84765


Jim Harper has purchased back his old line of switch and track detailing parts from his former hobby shop.   He is now offering an extensive line of Code 100 and 125 track parts.

San Juan Car Company
P. O. Box 1028
Durango, Colorado 81302
Phone: 970-385-5256

San Juan has recently completed tooling of their new standard gauge Type-E coupler and is in production.   The couplers will be available along with their new standard gauge frameless UTLX tank car by the end of the year.

Scale Hardware
1736 NE 16 Street
Ft Lauderdale, FL 33304
(954) 609-4108

Scale Hardware offers a wide range of small details machined from brass that will become an indispensable part of your parts selection.   The offer scale machined rivets and simulated square nuts and hex nut along with bolts.   In addition, you will find a range of very small threaded bolts, nuts and taps.   The smallest threaded bolt listed is .5 mm which as a .020” threaded body.  

Southern Car and Foundry
970 Sunshine Land, Suite D
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

Jon Cagle has been busy this winter preparing new models for release.   He still have some of the 40' and 60' Harrimans in stock and a few Bx-12 boxcars.  New products will be coming from SC&F this Spring. Correct decals for the Harrimans are now available from Protocraft in both Aluminum Bronze and Dulux Yellow.   Charlie Morrill built this kit shown below and used Bayshore Car Dark Olive paint that was formulated by Scalecoat.   Tru-Color is now offering SP Dark Oliver in their line of acrylic lacquer paints.   In addition, P-B-L has this color in their Star Brand line.     

Wild Swan Publications, LTD
1-3 Hagbourne Road
Didcot, Oxon  OX11 8DP

Wild Swan Publications has a wide range of books on English railroading.  Recently, the published two soft-bound books on Modeling Trees by Gordon Gravett.  The first part covers Broadleaf trees and second on Conifers.   The basic technique involves build an armature (trunk) of florist wire and covering it with a mixture of plaster and PVA glue.  The author has illustrated the book with many model and actual tree photos along with a number of very useful techniques.  

A third volume is about to be released.  The latest book by Gordon Gravett deals with modeling grasslands and landscape detailing.  I have not seen the book yet.

I first learned of the books through Trevor Marshall and his Port Rowan blog.  It is S scale but he is an entertaining author and shows many techniques for layout building that work in any scale.   Visit Trevor's blog and enjoy.  http://themodelrailwayshow.com/cn1950s/

You will also enjoy seeing Gordon Gravett's work on a 1:50 scale French meter gauge railway.  Everything is scratchbuilt.  Stunning work to say the least.


Chooch Enterprises Inc.
P.O. Box 1200, Maple Valley, WA 98038

Chooch Enterprises is a key supplier of critical detail parts for rolling stock both freight and passenger.  Mike O'Connell recently mentioned that he has recently restocked all of the parts listed on his website.    You find really accurate details for boxcars and reefers as well as rebuilt passenger cars. 

The parts can be ordered directly from the Chooch website.

Chooch offers the most complete set of wood and steel door hardware available in O Scale.  This includes the Camel #32 top and the Camel #50 bottom roller.

Steel freight cars used this type of bracketed grab iron.  The part is intended to upgrade Intermountain parts.

This ladder and stirrup set is designed as an upgrade to the Intermountain boxcar hardware but can be used on other models as well.


Updated  September 2013