Welcome to the 29th edition of the Proto48 Modeler. It is the start of the summer season and time to escape the heat and head to the basement or shop to do some modeling. A number of new kits being made available will give you something new to focus your energy on. You could also work off you incomplete projects or unbuilt kit.
We are in a era of change brought on by companies dropping out and others being purchased. The loss of Northwest Short Line appears close at hand. San Juan Model Company has gathered up a couple key firms and moved them to a suburb of Denver. Grandt Line, San Juan Car Company, San Juan Decals and American Limited Models. Change is hard to deal with because of the uncertainty it creates. Over the years a lot of suppliers have disappeared yet the scale continues.
New kits and new suppliers are emerging this year. We have a good selection of plastic and urethane kits on the market. There are a ton of discontinued kits are out there at train shows and eBay. There is a lot to build if you are feeling the urge.
New kits that are on the market currently:
Glacier Park Models Southern Pacific G-50-22 Gondola kit
Modern Era O Scale Gunderson 50' boxcar kit
Twin Star Cars’s new 53'6" flat carkit
Smoky Mountain Model Works AAR 70-ton flat car kit
Learn About Proto48
The Proto48 Modeler website is the place to find out information on 1/4" scale products and modeling techniques. You find current information on products and also for modeling techniques. There are lots of pictures to check out.
Proto48 is a subset of the larger O scale model railroad hobby. We build to exact scale standards for wheels and track gauge.
This e-magazine is focused 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 1/2" and scale AAR wheel profile and continue throughout the model to create an accurately scaled replica of the prototype.
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: The Denver & Rio Grande 50' automobile car was built from styrene and uses modified San Juan Car Company boxcar ends. The prototype was a version of the ARA composite automobile cars. I outlined construction on my blog.
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.
George Losse continues with his website providing information about modeling the Reading in Proto48 and modeling meets. 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/OST Publications
Mike Cougill produces period articles on modeling in ¼” scale. His focus is on modern railroading and feature a number of useful techniques and ideas. His blog is always well written and insightful.
Shawn Branstetter has decided to bring back his enjoyable blog dedicated to modeling. Shawn is a talented modeler and artist. His professional skill as a graphics designer shown in the feel and appearance of the site. I found a number of useful techniques that will be on my list to work on.
Gene's P48 Blog
My blog continues to roll on with information on new products, modeling techniques and construction projects. The latest project featured is a Rio Grande 50' automobile car.
Typical construction article featured in the Myp48 blog
Updates to the Site:
- New products that are usable by Proto48
Industry News, Shows and New Products:
The latest information about new and interesting products that are useful the Proto48 modeler as shown below:
- San Juan Car Company is for sale. Bob Staat and John Engstrom are looking to retire from the business.
Regional O Scale Shows with Proto48 Content:
O Scale West Convention
21-23 May 2020 Santa Clara, CA
O Scale West will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center as in previous years.You can obtain more information about the event at this site http://www.oscalewest.com
Chicago Midwest O Scale Meet
13-15 March 2020, 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.
Each year, the Chicago Midwest O Scale Meet has a wide variety of sellers and lots of models in their contest. Some very nice modelers have been entered in this event.
Railroad Prototype Modelers (RPM):
Railroad Prototype Modeler meetings have become major events in the world of prototype modeling. For years, the Naperville, IL show provided a unique opportunity to take in multiple clinics and presentations, hundreds of fine models and lots of photo vendors and kit suppliers. The show changed location and to Lisle, IL.
You can now attend an excellent show in Coco Beach, FL in January, Collinsville, Illinois in August, Lisle, IL in October and the Western Prototype Meet in San Bernardino, CA in March. There additional shows in other parts of the country. You can visit the RPM website for the particulars.
These shows have been mostly HO and N but the shows are attended by a number of Proto48 modelers. The recent Collinsville show had a P48 meeting and nine P48 modelers attended.
Follow this link to find out more about RPM meets in US and Canada.
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.
10800 W Alameda Avenue, Lakewoods, CO 80226
Old shop with new owners and location.
Coronado Scale Models
1544 Cypress Street, Phoenix, AZ 85006
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.
Modern Era O Scale
Bill Yancey has launched a new company to fill a void in the market for high quality modern boxcar kits. His first offering are based upon a Gunderson Brothers 50’ boxcar with different door combinations available. Bill has done his homework on these kits and provided a complete kit with custom plastic parts and available decals of the appropriate era. The kits are composed of flat urethane casting using high quality stable urethane. Detailing is equal or superior to steam era boxcar kits produced in the last decade. Bill preparing his next kit for a Soo Line 7-post 50’ boxcar.
Lincoln Proto48 Engineering
James Lincoln has been working for a number of years designing very useful parts for Proto48 modelers who build modern prototypes equipment. Jim offers a wide range of parts that are printed by Shapeway in various materials. You can visit his Shapeway store and order the parts.
The URL shown above takes you to Jim’s blog that is full of very useful information on how to use the products he sells. It also provides links to the products offered by Shapeway.
2286 Hampton Way
Right-O'-Way has developed into a key supplier of 1/48 items for standard O as well as Proto48. They incorporated the original Lou Cross track products, American Switch and Signal along with Red Cliffs Miniatures track parts. In addition, they have taken over part of the Protocraft catalog of trucks kits, driver centers and rims along with their line of diesel drives. Jay Criswell keeps busy with this extensive line of hardware.
Please visit their website to see all the wonderful products available.
O Scale Turnouts, INC
P.O. Box 8183052 Ratliff Run
Hamburg, MI 48139
O Scale Turnouts has a new #6 Code 100 turnout ready. This is available in addition to the #8 Code 125 turnouts that has been out for a while. 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.
These products 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
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.
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.
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.
126 Will Scarlet
Rails Unlimited has been releasing retooled version of the original Chooch urethane kit. It is nice to see the line has been brought back modern casting resins. The Rails Unlimited website shows that the Milwaukee Road 40’ single sheath is available along with the SP A-50-6 automobile, NP door and half automobile car and GN 50’ single sheathed automobile car.
The Milwaukee Road single sheathed boxcar is one of the original Chooch kits that has been refreshed. The Rock Island stock car is a new kit that is eye catching.
This Southern Pacific automobile car is a former Chooch kit. Like the other earlier Chooch kits, it has been improved upon.
Glacier Park Models
P.O. Box 244
Ukiah, CA 95482
707-391-4476 (voice), 707-463-6988 (fax)
Glacier Park Models has released a new version of their drop bottom gondola kit. The new kit has steel sides rather than the composite of the G-50-23. This version is a copy of the Bethlehem Steel built G-50-22. Most of the parts are the same new kit as the previous version.
Glacier Park Models is about to release sugar beet conversion parts for the original G-50-23. Announcement of this interesting addition should be very soon. Contact they for current price and shipping costs.
O Scale Resource Magazine
Dan Dawdy and his wife are continuing to produce a useful electronic 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.
Smoky Mountain Model Works
35 Springwood Drive
Asheville, NC 28805
SMMW has decided to give O scale a try again after about a ten year hiatus. Jim King is busy developing a 3D design for the AAR 70-ton flatcar. This car is different from the earlier 50-ton War Emergency design. The car was built for at six roads. The appearance is different in that part of the center sill and bolster tops are visible as part of the car decking. The stake pockets are of different design and they were delivered with 5'8" wheelbase 70-ton trucks.
Protocraft will be importing the 70-ton truck in three different spring configurations. They will also be doing at least six custom decal sets for this project. Both are not included with the flat car kit.
Jim's 3D design is printed using a SLA process which produces very smooth masters. The printed parts are molded and cast in very high-quality urethane using a pressure technique.
SMMW is about to release their second kit for a low side Southern Railroad gondola. It is being produced using the same 3D printed/ urethane cast process. An S scale version of the car can be viewed on their website
If you have any questions, please contact Jim by phone.
PO Box 297, Richmond, Indiana 47375
Mike Cougill has a wonderful source of information on scale modeling. The OST Publications has developed into a excellent source of data on their website. He publishes a series of eBooks called the "Missing Conversation". They are worthy of your attention. Mike also conducts a blog with some fascinating topics. He will challenge you to think about what you are doing in the hobby.
7 Edgedale Court
Wyomissing, PA 19610
RY Models is planning to import a series of Mather built freight cars. They are showing the stock car and single sheathed boxcars built by the Mather Company.
Visit their website to catch up on their new releases and pricing.
PO Box 21
Vineburg, CA 95487-0021
(707) 935-7011 (voice message)
Protocraft will be introducing a new line of imported cars this year. It will fill a void in prototype freight cars of this type. Protocraft will announce the new offering when it is available for sale.
Protocraft has released new trucks in their product line. The much-needed Dalman 2-level, SP Vulcan caboose trucks, Barber swing motion caboose trucks and PRR 2D-F12 50-ton freight trucks.
They continue to produce a wonderful array of decal sets for a wide variety of prototype cars and roads. As with all of their decals, they are printed by Microscale using original artwork based upon actual photos.
Twin Star Cars
Ross Dando has relaunched his company this time in 1/48 scale. His first project is a Rock Island 53'6" flat car. The prototype is a rebuilt performed the Rock Island shops on older shorter cars. The resulting car improved its utility to the road. The rebuild produced a unique appearance with large splice plates on the side sill. Ross did the pattern work using old school pattern making techniques. The body are cast in urethane by Jon Cagle of Southern Car & Foundry fame. I have included a copy of the Twin Star flyer for additional information.
P.O. Box 106
Moyie Springs, ID 83845
Rick Leach decal artwork is now in the hands of Protocraft who produced a large number of sets replacing the old line. The only decals remaining in his inventory are the two Northern Pacific screen-printed sets shown below.
RL is currently selling their super diesel decal set that covers all eras and models. It is the definitive set. You can decal several models with the set. Preset number blocks are done for many of the common diesel types. The decals were printed by San Juan Decals using a custom ink that is designed to go over the black body color of the roads diesels.
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.
10124 N.W. 4th Street
Plantation, FL 33324
Scale Hardware has been revived and under new ownership. The new owners are modelers who build beautiful scale automobiles. Their line will carry items useful this segment of hobbies.
Southern Car and Foundry
970 Sunshine Land, Suite D
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
SC&F is working on new projects that will appear in the near future.
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 has created a new page for the O scale parts. It includes a different ordering method than in the past. They are 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 June 13, 2019