Done in a Day

51QJUpVK7hLLike many modelers, I admire the work of Pelle K Søeborg, both because it is amazing in its detail and execution, but also because Pelle publishes his techniques and teaches me ways to be better.

One of the books that I own and take inspiration from is his Done in a Day book (pictured). More than a dozen easy weathering and detailing projects show you how to add realism to rolling stock and locomotives. 

In the book, on pg 36, is a project titled:  A rusted roof is the key to a realistically weathered old auto carrier. Well I am happy to say that I now own the Union Pacific bi-level auto carrier pictured in the article.

How do I come to own a piece weathered by Pelle himself? Long story, but remember Nad who I met on the weekend at the Woodstock train Show? Turns out that he knows Pelle and has quite a few of his weathered models. Nad generously gave this beautiful auto rack and I am proud and happy to include this unique piece in my collection. TTX 254202 will soon be in service on the QGRY.



Serendipity on the GEXR


noun ser·en·dip·i·ty \ˌser-ən-ˈdi-pə-tē\
Definition of serendipity: luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.


Spent today at the Woodstock Model Train Show with Luc Sabourin and met his friend Nad Qureshi. I have a really great story about a very nicely weathered autorack that I bought from Nad… but that is a story for another day.

On the way back from the Show I had to detour off of the 401 due to a major accident. My mild displeasure (that my 90 minute drive home would take longer) turned to pleasure as I came upon this scene.


QGRY 2500 (a GP35 originally built in 1965 for the Southern Pacific) had been reassigned to the Goderich-Exeter Railway (GEXR). I had previously photographed QGRY 2500 in October 2013 in the Ste-Thérèse (Montreal) QGRY yard; and here she was again looking a little worse for wear but still working hard to earn her keep.

Today I spotted QGRY 2500 at Hunt Logistics in Cambridge, Ontario. 2500 was parked at the time but was about to pull (or had just pushed) three cars into the Hunt Logistics spur. The rest of the train was parked 400m to the south. [EDIT: According to the comments I received on this post, QGRY 2500 may not have been working as hard as I thought when I found her parked. Seems like this may be the spot that this engine is parked when not working. Thanks to all who commented.]


I love unexpected railfanning! It was especially nice to come upon a QGRY locomotive completely by accident…. and a perfect end to another great model railroad day.

Hay there!

Recently, I have come across a number of excellent ‘how to’ videos on YouTube.

The best and most exciting thus far has been Luc Towan’s Realistic Hay Bales video (below). I have been looking for a good hay bale for a while now, and these are the best I’ve ever seen. In addition, you can’t beat the price of homemade.

While I do enjoy the $$$$ savings that come with a DIY project, even better is the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a successful ‘build’.

I have tried Luc’s method and as you can see from the pic below, the results were very satisfying.


Toronto Railway Prototype Modelers Meet

“It was 4 feet too long and the ribs were a little off”, is not something that you’d ever hear me say, so I was a little wary when I decided to attend the 2016 Toronto Railway Prototype Modelers Meet at Humber College on Saturday.


Here was I, a beginner/intermediate (at best) modeler, going to an event that attracted the very best of the best prototype modelers, the guys who had been the the hobby for years and years perfecting their skills and honing their craft. Was I crazy?

A very big part of the day is the “bring and brag” component, where modelers display models and answer questions about their techniques. We were each encouraged to bring a model and I wondered if I was worthy – should I bring something?

I decided that I couldn’t very well show up without something in hand, so I’d give it a try. I brought three things; a Russell Snow Plow that I am trying to replicate from my CFL post, an HO scale headless horseman that my then 7 year old son asked me to build for him, and a scratchbuilt dumpster that I saw behind my son’s school. To my amazement my stuff was very well received!


The day also included three excellent clinics:

John Chipperfield discussed how he built the CPR West Toronto station and express building in HO scale. As I am planning on scratchbuilding most of my structures, I found his discussion of how he approached the build especially interesting.

Trevor Marshall extolled the virtues of S Scale and  discussed the opportunities and challenges of modelling a specific prototype in 1:64 in his clinic entitled When I’m 1:64. He also talked about why he writes a blog about his layout and why he considers it as essential to building a layout as having a good supply of ties and rail.

And finally, Sean Steele (pictured above) showed the use and effects of using commercially available chipping fluid to mimic severe paint flaking and damage in his talk: Chipping Fluid for Weathering. I am off today to get a cheap bottle of pump hairspray to give the technique a try. Thanks Sean!


In addition to all the great info and inspirational models, the best part of the day for me was meeting some really great (and talented) people. I was especially happy to bump into Chris van der Heide who has commented on this blog in the past and who blogs on his excellent Algoma Central in HO Scale. Chris has put together a fantastic step-by-step article on how to construct the custom flatcar lumber loads pictured above.  In addition, Chris has made available over 60 printable templates on his blog for different lumber wraps. My goal is to make one of Chris’ lumber loads and bring it to next year’s meet.

It was also great to see ‘Muskoka’ Steve Juranics, Trevor Marshall, Steve Hoshel, and to meet Barry Silverthorn, the Executive Producer of Which brings me to my last observation; it was incredibly inspiring to me that all of these fantastic craftsmen are so generous with their time and so willing to share their tips and techniques with other modelers. I felt like I came away with a ton of new ideas and ideas that I’d like to try.

A very excellent day with a great group of guys and a day that will now be on my list of not-to-be-missed model railroad events. 

“This is the layout I’ve been dreaming about since I was 3 years old.”

Saturday was the 33rd Annual DOUBLEHEADERS Model Railroad self-guided home and club layout tour. This was the second year that I attended the tour that takes place in Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph, Ontario and I managed to see seven of the over 30 layouts on the tour. Here are some of the highlights, along with my thoughts:


David Johns’ Ayr Junction Railway was my first stop of the tour. Besides being a fantastic layout depicting CPR operations in the mid 50-60s, in Southern Ontario and British Columbia, this layout features computer operated lighting. David has an Arduino controlling the lighting animation with 1 minute equalling 1 hour. In the 24 minute rotation we experience both day and night operations on the layout.

This really inspired me to thing seriously about lighting for my layout as it added such a wonderful dimension to the model RR experience.


David works for CP Rail as a Locomotive Engineer and is involved in cleaning up after derailments as was evidenced by the excellent scene above. It’s amazing how each layout is such a personal reflection of the owner and I enjoy all of the unique and personal touches that railroaders incorporate into making a scene. One of the great parts of this layout tour for me is was to see clever, new scenes that will act as inspiration for my modeling.



The nice thing about the Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph, Ontario location of DOUBLEHEADERS was that you could stop for a bit of railfanning in between layout tours. Here is a nice little spur scene in Ayr, Ontario.


Kevin Miller’s Lehigh Valley New York Div. layout was my next stop. The amazing part of Kevin’s layout was the large  collection of railroad collectables that he had in the train room. It never ceases to amaze me the many ways that people approach this hobby. I guess I have some bare walls to fill in my layout room.



The largest and most ambitious layout I have ever seen was Jim Moir’s Canada and New England Railroad. This unbelievable layout features three levels, each double decked with over 3000 feet of handlaid track and a 1600 foot main line. If my math is correct, Jim has modeled 26 miles of main line track!!!!!!!!!


Jim, a retired Civil Engineer told me, “This is the layout I’ve been dreaming about since I was 3 years old.” There is no way to do the layout justice with a photograph, so I tried to capture a bit of the scope and scale with the video (below).


Charlie Ellis’ mailbox (below) indicated that I was in the right spot. Not sure that I could get this bit of home decor past my Chief Decorator (wife).



Ended my day at Steve Juranics’ Muskoka Central. You may remember Steve from the  Whether (or not) to weather post and his wonderful Maple Leaf Trading Co. project. Steve is one of the best prototype weatherers around and I was looking forward to see what was new with his layout.


Steve built a wonderful trackside pond scene complete with a couple of my HO scale 3D printer beavers that I gave him. The scene turned out beautifully and will in turn, inspire my beaver lodge efforts.