Tuesday, December 7, 2010


This Saturday, as you know, I was planning to take Gonou, my T scale layout to the Granite City Train show in St. Cloud, MN but when I got the layout out for a test run this week the controller had developed a mysterious fault. I don't have time to order a replacement controller. So Wingetts Recycling will be heading over there instead.
The Granite City Train Show is at the National Guard Armory in St. Cloud, MN on Saturday December 11th from 9am to 3pm

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Come see the show

Gonou will be making it's final exhibition appearance at the Granite City trainable on December 11th.
Final because after this show I will be ending my involvement with T scale. I've decided to face up to the fact that my eyes can't cope with the small size anymore. It's not so much the rolling stock and the buildings it's the accessories.
A while ago I received a pack or two of the Eishindo cars. They come in two parts a chassis and a clear plastic body shell. I haven't been able to make out the details on the body shell since I got them. So I've decided to call it a day.
So if anyone who reads this blog wants a T scale layout come over to the show and make me an offer over $250 and we'll talk. You could be the owner of a very unique model railway layout.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Damn you England! Getting my hopes up and then putting in a performance of mind numbing turgidity against Algeria...
So in order to cheer me up a bit I went into the garden and did some more accurate measuring and took some research photos.
My Back yard is 52 feet x 70 feet so in my chosen 1:25.4 scale (1mm equals 1 inch) that scales up to a layout size of a smidge over 2' x 2'9" within my guesstimate 2' x 3' and well within my 4' x 2' maximum.
Here are some research photos...
Above: I've always had my eye on this corner of the garden for some kind of garden railway layout.
Above: The line would run along towards the shed where I had envisioned some kind of store room for stock amongst the lawnmower, snowblower and other sundry gardening items kept in there.
Above: Then I could sit back on the deck here and watch the trains go around.
That's how I had always envisioned things and I don't see any reason to change my plans for the model.
The only compromise I might have to make is having things take up a larger area on the model than they would in reality as the model's 3" gauge trains would be approximately twice the size of the G scale stock I have.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Update to the crazy idea

I had a quick pace about the garden last night to see approximately how big it was. I must have looked quite the sight "heel and toeing" across the garden, deck and the three season porch...
Anyway the upshot of this is that a model of my back yard will comfortably fit in 3'6" x 2'. A bit smaller than I expected.
Another bonus is that my wife is looking forward to modelling some of the plants and flowers in the garden in G scale....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A crazy idea

The other day I got a very nice letter from Ed Olson organiser of the Granite City train show, thanking me for my participation and inviting me to attend the Christmas (thats the December 11th) show.
Now a tradition has developed that I attend with some T scale. So I could attend with Gonou as Eishindo have bought out some new trains and stuff lately. Or I could build a new layout...
This is where things got crazy. Trainaidsa the US stockist have the garden train locomotive for advanced order so I ordered one thinking that the diesel outline loco could be converted to work on Gonou.
Then I thought well why don't I build a model of a garden railway?
It has already been done by a member of talking T gauge and very well too, in a cutlery drawer no less. So I wouldn't be breaking any new ground. Perhaps I could put a different slant on it.
It was then my brain went into creative hyperdrive...
I've always wanted a garden railway in my back yard, so why don't I model that!
No backbreaking earthmoving or anything. Just regular modelling. I don't have to go far to measure the buildings to model.
So what scale would I model this garden railway in?
Well I already have lots of G scale materials from my Gn15 days so that's a no brainer really.
Now here's the complicated bit. There are lots of different scales associated with "G" 1:20.3, 1:22.5, 1:24 and 1:25.4
I myself like 1:25.4 which is conveniently 1mm equals 1 inch. So my T scale trains would be models of 3" gauge trains in G scale. Which is nice and easy to explain to people. If I was to model G scale trains in my garden I'd have to use a scale approaching 1:12 or a dolls house scale of 1 inch to the foot. This would probably make re-creating my house prohibitive which is the ruling factor in the layout.
So I thing the first thing to do is to go and measure my house and garden and see what size works best for the space I have. I'm thinking that a size of 4' x 2' would be adequate.
We'll have to see what transpires...

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Sorry for not being on the ball. But "Hello" to anyone checking in on this blog as a result of my letter to Railroad Model Craftsman and mention of this blog. In my defence, the email was written back in March, perhaps even the end of February, so I'd given up on seeing it in print. Anyway a big thanks to the RMC chappies for printing it and sending you here out of curiosity.
So now you're here you should take a look around at all the things I've done and follow the links to all the other good T gauge stuff out there on the internet.
Keep checking back and I'll post more for you all later.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things are happening too fast...

There's way too much going on in the T scale world right now. To start with I took delivery of my packs of cars and my Hankyu 9000 set yesterday. I'll write more about them later. The cars I can't comprehend at the moment. Suffice to say some of the cars have open doors! I need top look at these in more detail before I report back on them.
Even more interesting to me is that one enterprising T scaler has started producing his own range of T scale US outline buildings though the 3d printing service at Shapeways. I've ordered some of them and will report back on them.
Exciting times. No excuse not to start a new layout now...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Here in my car...

Today I received an email from TrainaidsA the US supplier of T.
At long last the cars (road vehicles) are available. We've been wating for cars for almost as long as we'd been waiting for the Hankyu 9000. Until now I've made do with 1:400 scale aircraft vehicles on Gonou.
I placed an order for both sets immediately and coincidentally a Hankyu 900 set as well.
I look forward to seeing them. My magnifying glass id at the ready

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tempted (by the fruit of another)

So goes one of my favourite songs of all time by Squeeze.
The song ran through my head as I reviewed this website.
T scale UK outline overlays for your Hankyu 9000 body shells!
They look great. They really do.
Being a Brit I'm always looking at ways of building a UK outline model railway.
Perhaps this would work.
Just as I'm getting set to start work on a US outline layout that would involve a lot of scratchbuilding this comes along and makes building an English layout a lot easier.
Temptation indeed. (Temptation by Heaven 17 there's another favourite song...)

p.s. I could always build TWO small simple layouts, one UK outline, one US. I do like to make work for myself don't I?

Monday, May 3, 2010

That didn't last long

So after a weekend messing around with drawings for the Northstar commuter rail coaches I decided that perhaps this isn't such a good idea after all. Each train is a 4 car set that's 8 sides that I have to cut all the same. Plus the fronts and the roofs. At the moment I just don't think I have the skills unless someone has a lazer engraver they'd like to lend me...

Friday, April 30, 2010

Northstar progress

I'm sitting down this afternoon looking at drawings and photographs working out how to make them...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some Northstar thoughts

Just to show I'm taking this idea relatively seriously.
A Bombardier Bi-level coach is 25.9 meters in length. The longest T scale chassis, the KiHa is a scale 21 meters. A deficit of almost 5 meters or 10mm in length. A millimeter or two I could deal with but a whole centimeter is a different kettle of fish indeed. The KiHa chassis will have to be lengthened.
That will affect the radius of curve the vehicle will be able to negotiate I'm sure. As to if it will affect the pulling power or not I don't know.
The coaches themselves shouldn't be too difficult as they are all straight lines and angles. I think the best plan will be to make shells of clear styrene and cover that with a decal for the paint scheme.
I'll just have to have a go and find out.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A crazy idea

Just came to me.
How about Northstar Commuter Rail in T scale?
Four Bombardier Bi-level coaches with an MP36 loco.
You could power two or three coaches depending on their performance and have them push and pull a coach and a dummy loco.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back in the saddle (more from the t elevator)

Well, I'm back!
I've spent the last few weeks preparing my HO scale layout for a train show as well as buying myself a new camera. But to be honest my model railroading heart was elsewhere.
I would have rather been T scaling. So I did manage to sneak a few minutes here and there over the past few weeks to get something done to the elevator and here it is.

Spraying is much better than brush painting don't you think?
Some weathering powders on the roof, some ladders on the front and it will be a very accepable structure for the new layout.
New layout?
What new layout...

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Spring is sprung. The Sun is shining. New trains are available (when you can get them, they are in short supply) and new T scale bloggers have appeared.
Welcome Dan MacKellar and his T Time blog. Dan has been a member of Talking T gauge for a long time and has now started to blog about his T scale adventures.
Glad to have another T blogger around. It's been rather lonely of late.
As for me I'm a frustrated T scaler at the moment. As you know I've lots of projects on the go. What with T scale grain elevators and freight cars and other things. But with an exhibition looming on the horizon for my HO scale layout I've got to work on it instead.
I'd rather be T scaling...
Hmm I think there's a T shirt design there.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Boxing Cleverer (part 2 of the box car story)

It has to be said that I was very disappointed with the roof line of the first box cars. I don't knw how I let myself get away with it I really don't. Any way another couple of attempts at making new ends and working out the most effective of fitting the ends, sides and floors together. (Ends and sides sit ON the floor and the ends fit BETWEEN the sides) Another more reasonable representation of a boxcar emerged from the shops...
Better but still not perfect. I still have a ways to go with learning to apply tiny amounts of CA (superglue) to fit the ladders in place.
Also, this one might actually be a bit tall. Probably by the thickness of the floor (.5mm) Not much you might say. But in T scale that's over one foot and enough to knock the proportions out of whack.
But it looks much better than the last efforts and I have no qualms about using this one as a grounded car body in some kind of scene on a layout.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Boxing (not so) clever

So with the Gondola conquered to my liking I decided to turn my attention to a must have for any US railroad model. The Boxcar. My subject was a 40' model the drawing was found in a google book online. All the dimensions were there so it was an easy, if not somewhat tedious job to convert them to T scale and make a drawing using open office to help to see how to put everything together. The actual construction of the car isn't too difficult just have to be careful. The smallest piece of styrene cut for the mode was the ends which are about 6.5mm x 7.5mm so not tiny. If you've built in N scale you've likely handled smaller pieces of styrene. Here's the picture of the progress complete with some failures in the background. The car is 1 inch (25 mm) long
So there we go. The sides are made from 2.5mm v groove embossed styrene and the ends are .75mm metal siding embossed styrene, with some of the ribbing shaved away up in the eaves area. The ladder is from a ship models etching.
It looks OK. I'm very pleased with the effect created by the metal siding styrene for the ends. I couldn't hope for much better.
The thing that bugs me on this test model is the roof angle. Its too steep. It's difficult to cut a shallow angle when you're slicing through the ribbing of the embossing.
So its another good start. Boxcars can definitely be built in 1:450 scale. Just need to sort that roof out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The T scale world is on fire now.
I have just received word that Hankyu 9000's are here in the US and for sale! I think I ordered mine from Japan though, so why haven't I heard anything from there?
On top of that turnouts will be here in April too.
Too much excitment.
Then TrainaidsA has secured some KiHa and Hankyu units in a kit form for scratchbuilders to play with. I'll take some of them then.
Way too much excitement.
Mr Harai of K.K. Eishindo was in the US recently as the guest of TrainaidsA and announced an intention to manufacture US outline loco's and rolling stock! Typical, just as I start making my own...
Way way too much excitement . I don't know how I sleep at night...

Friday, March 5, 2010

O Sole Mio...

That's what those Venetian gondoliers are alleged to always sing isn't it?
But what does that have to do with T scale modelling?
Well, I've built another gondola. This one is based on a picture of a 61' Algoma Central gon. It was chosen because I though that the end detail would be easier to model than the forming on the previous one I attempted.

I was pretty much right. It was a little tedious gluing the 6mm lengths of .5mm strip in place. But as with T scale its one of those tiny tasks that if you are in the mood its no problem otherwise it can be a struggle.
I certainly feel the effort is worth it. It looks right. I have considered making up decals for the end forming of other cars but that will look too flat I think. This still needs some work. So for now I'll be happy with these 2 gons and send them to the paint shop to complete

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gondola Progress

I'm still reluctant to refer to this as the first piece of T scale freight stock. But no one is rising to put me straight. The nearest I've had is an. "I thought about it but I never got around to doing it"
Carrying on from yesterdays entry. You'll recall that the thing causing me the most concern is how to recreate the ribbing on the sides of the gon.
Today I was in a hobby shop looking at all kinds of styrene strip deciding what would work for the ribbing when I came across a sheet of 2.5mm batten and board embossed sheet. 2.5mm is exactly the spacing I was looking for. The battening didn't look too deep so I thought I'd give it a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I went home cut a "new kit of parts" for the gon and assembled them. The finished result is seen below.

This most definitely looks like a gondola now though how to do the ribbing on the ends remains a mystery.
An exciting weekend for me then.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A T-scale first?

Is it a first or not? I am wary of making such a claim. But this could very probably be the first scratchbuilt US outline freight car in T scale. When completed, it will be a model of a 65' 6" C&O mill gondola. What possessed me to start on this when I could have built a T scale water tower or depot building or some such?
Well, as is the case with me when I get fired up about an idea there is no rhyme or reason. I go with what I go with and it just so happened that when I awoke on Friday morning with the day off work, I wanted to try to see if building a T scale freight car was practical. Nothing too clever, just a "proof of concept" model to see if I could do it. Many T scalers have talked about doing it. But to date, as far as I am aware, no-one has done it. So, I'd be the first, and boy doesn't my ego love that idea! Plus it also gives me an excuse if anything goes wrong...
I searched through my model railway magazines and the first US outline scale drawing I found was in an old issue of RMC for the mill gondola.
"Great." I thought. "Something pretty easy." I was thankful that I didn't find a grain hopper drawing. So I measured the drawing up and found that I had some suitably sized styrene strip to hand. So I set to and started cutting and gluing.
A set of bogies were removed from an expired class 103 car and simply by drilling a hole into the floor of the gondola the bogies were fitted in place.
When I saw what you see above, I was pretty pleased. No, I was very pleased. So I decided to add some detail to the body to make it look like a gondola. I added a lip to the body as well as end extensions and most importantly side ribs.
I chose .5mm strip for the ribbing. As you can see though, it looks way over scale. So I am on the lookout for some .2mm strip instead. I also need to find a method to accurately locate 3.5mm lengths of .2mm styrene every 2.5mm along the side of the gondola. It might sound a arduous, tedious task. But for the roof of the building on my 7 day model layout I used some styrene sheet that was grooved every 5mm or so that I placed strips of .15mm styrene in and glued in place. I'm not saying I can cut grooves in styrene sheet. But if I can butt a length of strip up against a score line marked on the sides of the gondola that might work. I also think that the ribbing and lip should be added to the sides before assembling the gondola.
In short then. As a "proof of concept", it works. I can do the things necessary to assemble a T scale freight car and I will proceed with making another, better version.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lets go round again (part three of the elevator saga)

So last week we left the grain elevator ready to be painted.
Justifiably proud of my work. I was determined to give the paint job my best shot. So I washed the model and even gave it a coat of primer. Then I set to and painted it. The result is below.
I was distraught. Once again I'd made a real pigs ear of the paint job. I feel it's so bad I don't even want to show it. But it happened and you followers need to know the full story. So after I had picked myself up and sought advice from fellow T scalers at "talking t gauge" I decided to strip the paint off and start again. Alas, my inexperience stripping paint let me down and even though the paint came off quite nicely the styrene softened and the model began to separate. So, once I had picked myself up yet again. I set to and built another one. Below.
I have to admit I'm very, very nervous about painting this one.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meet the press

It's good to see that T scale has made the mainstream Model Railroad press here in the USA. The March Issue of Railroad Model Craftsman features a three page piece as an introduction to the scale.
It's good to see such a positive piece written by someone keen on the possibilities for the scale. Though having read the article its seems clear that quite some time has passed between Tom Knapp, the writer, submitting the article and its publication though. The most obvious omission from the piece being the lack of a mention for "talking t gauge". Perhaps its only me but I'd think that if you're encouraging people to take up a new scale you'd want to tell them where you can find like minded individuals to share your experiences. In this day and age that is an internet forum. But like I said, this omission could still be a result of the time lag between writing and publication.
I have written to the editor to inform him of up to date developments in the scale.
I would hope that as a result of this article more folks are now aware of T and some of them want to have a go.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Favourite waste of time (part two of the elevator saga)

Once I get into a project there can be no stopping me a times. This elevator is a case in point.
Fridays are my half day at work. Once I arrived home I set to and started work on the model.
I felt that I had a grand start on the model and decided to continue with it. I found an excellent Flikr site for Grain Elevators and leafed through that making a note of what a proper elevator looks like and adding bits and pieces here and there to my model. So that my model, though not an exact copy of any one elevator has the look of a typical midwestern grain elevator. I added a couple of extra lean to structures and clad it in .64mm V groove styrene sheet. Here are a couple of views of the progress so far.
(the T scale car is there for a size comparison and also for the auto focus of my camera to hold on to, it didn't like the plain white styrene)
I'm definitely very very happy with the way things are looking. The happier I got the more I did to it. The doors in the lean to structures were formed by cutting out the holes for the doorway and then rotating the cut out piece through 90 degrees so that the vertical planking of the doors contrast with the horizontal planking of the structure.
I started working on the project about 1pm or so and finally finished the session at about 8pm or so. With a 20 minute break for dinner. It's difficult to quantify the exact construction time spent on the model so far. But less the research time spent looking at pictures there has to be close to 7 hours spent on the model to this stage. A figure that I find difficult to believe. Strangely my wife has no trouble believing it. At least now most of the work is done. The next report should see it finished.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Loving an Elevator...

I know you lot. You'll all be expecting me to post about the construction of my T scale doodlebug given my last post on the subject. But you'd be wrong. Oh so terribly wrong.
That would be obvious.
Never do the obvious. So instead I set out to build a grain elevator.
Why a grain elevator? Well, they are pretty much an integral part of the scenery in the Midwest. If I'm going to model a Midwestern railroad scene in T scale there will have to be a grain elevator in it. Another thing is that they are pretty simple looking structures. So they have to be easy to build.
There were plenty of pictures in my new book on the M & StL Railway so, using the dimensions from a drawing in the Kalmbach book "Lineside structures for Model Railroads", I set to and started.
The great thing about working in T scale is you can't ever take everything for granted when making a structure. These things are so small (even this elevator is no more than 2" high) it often pays to look around to see it there is anything that you can use as a short cut. With this model I started out to build a shell of 5mm foam core board. Thinking that would work for the distinctive front profile. This I then covered in a paper wrapper that I printed out on the computer. It kinda, sorta works.
It kinda, sorta works. A bit more care in the assembly would help. But the walls are too flat they need some relief, some texture. Look at this wooden sided elevator in Estherville IA by way of a comparison.
So there were two courses of action open to me:
One: learn how to create that sort of texture on the paper wrapper, or;
Two: Build another one out of embossed styrene. So that is what I did.
I just happened to have some .75mm "V" groove embossed styrene that I could try as an experiment. So I built a shell out of some 1mm styrene sheet and then quickly cut some section of the embossed stuff to cover some sides to see if I liked the effect.
Which I did. It's a tad overscale to my eye. So I'm going on the look out for some .5mm embossed sheet. Which should look better. All in all, for a first serious attempt at a US outline structure it's a pretty good start. Good enough to keep me going.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Well, the inspiration comes thick and fast on the doodlebug front. It's a topic that many folks on talking T gauge are interested in. Mainly because it is felt that it will be the easiest way to get something running in US outline. A page on trainweb lists a lot of online pictures and plans for Doodlebugs. Even a good selection of pages on the M &StL Doodlebugs. Honestly! You want to talk synchronicity? It's a bit difficult to argue against it currently.
Jason's model is not the first T scale Doodlebug. Oh no. It was most remiss of me not to acknowledge this fact earlier, but a T scaler who goes by the name of the other Lionel on his Adventure in T scale blog he shows some pictures of his project. Which rather than making a new body to slide over the Eishindo original he just added bits of styrene to the Class 103 body. It's a great example of what can be done by a creative mind. You can see it a short way down this page of his blog. Once again it's brilliant. A really clever use of bits and pieces.
But wait that still isn't the first one. A short way down this talking t gauge page is the Victorian Railways DERM built by Paul.
Would you believe it? I'm still not finished with railcars. One of the first projects detailed on talking t gauge was the construction of a Budd RDC. You can follow the entire project on this thread.
Seeing work like this makes me proud to be associated with such a creative bunch.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


syn-chro-nic-i-ty (n) coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related.
Now I don't know about you but I don't think I'd ever even given such things a passing thought, apart from that album by the Police back in 1983....
But here's the way things are playing out.
1. Feeling somewhat disappointed with T scale my enthusiasm is re-awakened by Jasons magnificent models.
2. Whilst at the Minnesota History Centre this weekend I was taken with a book "The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway a Photographic History" by Don L Hofsommer. I always flick through railway books you never know what kind of inspiration you'll find in them. I was right. Plenty of inspirational photographs. But nothing that I could justify starting a totally new layout over. Then I turned a page an there it was, a picture of a GE Doodlebug not at all dissimilar to that created by Jason. It wasn't just one picture. Oh no, from then on it was page after page of GE Doodlebugs. It's like someone was shouting at me to create a T scale model of a Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway scene. I hope it wasn't Sting...
So there you go. I don't know if I should listen to that voice. In fact I agonised about buying that book overnight before I finally decided to purchase it. But the book is bought now. So I guess the pictures will scream at me until I do something about it.
Will I? Won't I? If I do, how long will it take me? Will new T scale stock from Eishindo materialise before Christmas?
Too many questions to answer. But what it does seem to show is my T scale days are most definitely NOT over.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Header Photo

Now that layout is almost finished I thought it about time to add a new updated header photo.
Do you like it?
I sure as heck do. When I look at it I feel pretty proud of what I have achieved in T scale I don't mind telling you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Enthused again

I am very happy to say that my enthusiasm for T has returned.
No. I've not started on a new project layout and no, the new products from K.K. Eishindo have not materialised yet. So what has got me fired up?
This work seen below that recently appeared on talking t gauge. Stunning isn't it? It's the work of Jason who would is the proprietor of fannocreek designs. A provider of Z scale kits. He has become interested in T and has produced some custom laser engraved work for his own T scale project. Look at these and enjoy them. Then realise that the railcar has a cross section no greater than a typical pencil and marvel at the work.

Normally work like this can make me feel like giving up. This has had the total opposite effect I'm fired up. I'm already scheming for some kind of US outline layout. So stay tuned!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm not dead yet...

A recent post from T scale guru David K Smith on his T scale blog got me thinking about my T scaling. I've been away for a good 2 months now and still no new stock has materialised from Messrs Eishindo. So am I done with T? Am I "flatlining"?
You know what? I don't really think so. I look at those pictures from the Granite City Train show and I think to myself. "That was really fun, I want more"
I'm still pretty peeved that no new stock has appeared. But I'm not ready to give up on it yet. New pictures have appeared of the forthcoming items so I still live in hope.
I hope to get some of the new items on their arrival and try them out then we'll see where things go from there.