s164.com - focused on 3/16" (1:64) scale modeling

White Mountain Central Railroad

Visit the White Mountain Central Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Conway Scenic Railroad

Bangor & Aroostook Railroad State of Maine Boxcar fresh out of the paintshop at the Conway Scenic Railroad, in North Conway, New Hampshire.

North Carolina Transportation Museum

Southern FP7 at the NC Transportation Museum loacted at the historic Southern Railway Shops in Spencer, North Carolina.

Conway Scenic Railroad Museum

Steam and Diesel power on Railfan Day at the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway, NH.

Mount Washington Cog Railway

Climb to the Top of Mount Washington in the New Hampshire White Mountains on the world's first mountain-climbing Cog Railway train.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Enjoy a ride along the Toccoa River in the Chattahoochee National Forest on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Trains depart from the historic depot in Blue Ridge, Georgia and travel to the GA/TN State Line and return.

South Carolina Railroad Museum

Experience the history of railroads in SC and ride the Rockton, Rion and Western Railroad (RR&W). Located near Winnsboro, SC, the museum offers hour long train rides, BBQ trains, and special events!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pickles for your Model Railroad...

A recent inquiry from a prominent S scale modeler about Pickle cars prompted me to to do some additional research.

Since Pickle Cars, Vinegar Cars and Salting Stations are a unique industry for a model railroad layout, and there are regular inquiries about this industry, I thought perhaps it might be useful to summarize some of the major resources available to modelers.

Without a doubt, the major resource available is the book Pickle & Vinegar Makers of the Midwest - The history and operations of two fascinating industries by David J. Leider. Self-published in 2015, the book is 140 pages chock full of prototype information, excellent prototype photos, drawings and plans along with some references to the modeling press. The book features chapers ont eh midwest pickle industry, the manufacture of pickles, pickle transport, vinegar history, vinegar manufacture and factories, vinegar transport along with numerous charts, tables and plans, including car data from selected issues of the  ORER. If you're looking for THE reference on these industries and the railroad cars that served them, then this book is what you need. The book is currently available on Amazon as well as directly from the author.

If you're interested in the industry, but not at quite that level of detail, then obtain a copy of the article The Pickle Industry and Railroading, also by David J. Leider, published in the December 2011 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.

Also an excellent reference is the article L.C.Forman Co. Pickle Tank Car by Harold W. Russell, MMR, which includes pickle tank car drawings along with prototype photos. The article was published in the NMRA's Scale Rails magazine, December 2009 issue.

For a more complete bibliography of references, please see our new Pickles & Vinegar for your Model Railroad page. There you will find additional references in the modeling press, including articles on building both pickle cars and salting stations.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New S Scale Library Section!

Our new S Scale Library section is growing. In there you'll find various S scale catalogs, kit instructions, past issues of some S scale magazines and newsletters, circus modeling information and various articles of interest. We will continue to add to it over time -- be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

M.T.H. Locomotives - Electronics

Like many in the S community, I'm patiently waiting for the return of the S Helper Service product line and new S offerings from M.T.H. As the pre-order date for their first catalog has just passed, I'm really hoping there was good interest shown by the S community.

One of the areas I am very interested in is the electronics they will include in their locomotives. Between the advanced sound decoders on the market and the advances that Lionel delivered, M.T.H. has a high bar to reach. Like Lionel, M.T.H.'s 2013 catalog items in the Locomotives area are being delivered in one of two ways -- either with a set of electronics to handle all sound and power needs, or delivered as dummy non-powered units.

From the M.T.H. 2013 catalog (starting on the inside cover), every powered M.T.H. locomotive will include their Proto-Sound 3.0 sound and control system. Specifically in the catalog their EMD F3A and F3B powered units will feature Proto-Sound 3.0 units which
"offers authentic EMD 567 prime mover sounds, a first generation diesel horn and bell, crew and station sounds, and the ability to maintain any speed down to 3 scale miles per hour".
 Again from the text on the inside cover page of the catalog:
"Our Proto-Sound 3.0 sound & control system enables M.T.H. locomotives to run in every S gauge environment: conventional AC or DC, NMRA-standard DCC, or our own DCS digital command system.
With a conventional AC or DC transformer, Proto-Sound offers diesel motor sounds that ramp up and down with engine speed...You'll also hear squealing brakes whenever an engine slows down or stops. In addition, the Proto-Speed control acts like the cruise control on an automobile, helping your locomotive maintain a constant speed regardless of hills, curves, or heavy loads -- at any throttle setting from a 3 mph crawl to full throttle.
Add an M.T.H. AC transformer equipped with whistle and bell functions, and you can experience a much larger range of locomotive sounds: horn or whistle, bell, passenger station announcements or freight yard sounds, crew conversations and typical engine sounds such as air pumps...
If you operate with Digital Command Control  (DCC), you'll find Proto-Sound 3.0 locomotives take full advantage of the capabilities of DCC and are completely compatible with all DCC motive power. In fact Proto-Sound engines are already equipped to use DCC functions 0 through 28, to full advantage of newer DCC controllers that use the full range of NMRA standard functions.
To experience the full capabilities of Proto-Sound 3.0, add the M.T.H. Digital Command System (DCS) for full command control and an even larger range of sound and control features." (note: Pages 2 and 3 of the catalog provide a detailed view of Proto-Sound 3.0 features, along with a table of the DCC enabled features.)
At several points on pages 1-4, it notes that more details can be found on their web site at www.mthSgaugetrains.com. The nice thing about the online catalog is that you can click on any catalog item number and get a detailed page for that item.

The Proto-Sound 3.0 system really seems quite comprehensive. As always I'm even more interested in the reality of the delivered models. Until the S locomotives are delivered, the best I can do is review written material.

One data point that I do consider very useful is what they are delivering with Proto-Sounds 3.0 in their HO engines. Model Railroader magazine in the July 2013 issue (pages 64-65) has a detailed review of M.T.H.'s new HO scale Proto-Sound 3.0 equipped GP35. While it might not be an exact match to the S gauge unit, I suspect it will be close to the capabilities of the Proto-Sound 3.0 units in the S gauge models. The Proto-Sound 3.0 system is noted in Model Railroader's review as a highlight of the model. Find a copy and read the review for more details.

Also in the same review it is noted that the M.T.H. GP35 user manual is downloadable from mthHOtrains.com -- here's the GP35 Owner's Manual direct link. This provides considerably more insight into the specific DCC features implemented in the Proto-Sound 3.0 unit for the GP35. Again the DCC implementation looks pretty comprehensive -- including a number of advanced DCC features like user-defined function mapping, user-defined speed curves, and active functions at the consist address that are found in many DCC Sound decoders along with some M.T.H. specific DCC controls.

A little more to think about while waiting for the delivery of the models!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

MotorMax 1:64 Dioramas

These came out a while ago, but over the last week, I have run across two variations of this products that I had not seen before -- Bustling Metropolis has a subway stop with a Ford Crown Victoria yellow cab, and Down Town has a Savings & Loans with a white 1956 Ford Thunderbird. Here's the complete selection of 1:64 dioramas I have run across -- but there have been numerous variations from what I understand...


Hinkle's Package Store

A new kit from Bar Mills Scale Model Works in S Scale  is Hinkle's Package Store. Available from your friendly S scale dealer who carries Bar Mills' products, or direct from Bar Mills, Hinkle's footprint is about  2.75"w x 3.5" deep. Of course you'll need a little additional room for real-estate.

This little "package store" comes complete with everything from window signs to a fire hydrant. Bar Mills tried to keep this one "simple", making it a quick & fun-build for modelers of almost any modeling skills. A small footprint combined with colorful graphics & an awning help to make this type of structure versatile... whether using it in a small eastern town or a "narrow-gauged" setting it's generic enough to look right at home pretty much anywhere. The figure does not come with the kit... but anything from the mailbox to the sidewalk does. At MSRP $37.95 for S scale it's a good deal.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Stairs, Stairs, Stairs...

Recently the Bristol S Gauge Railroaders visited for our
monthly meeting. During the course of the afternoon some of them noticed some kits for stairs that I had in stock. They were not aware that these S scale stairs are available, nor where to get them. So in the interest of  providing greater visibility...

The S scale stair kits are produced by fellow S scale modeler Mike Fyten at Kaw Valley Designs. Mike has four different S scale stair kits available:

  • Kit #301 - Straight Stairs
  • Kit #302 - U-shaped stairs
  • Kit #303 - 2 pair of straight stairs
  • Kit #304 - L-shaped stairs
The kits sell for $11.95 each plus $2.00 for shipping. Buy any three kits and shipping is free. These make a really nice addition to any structure where stairs are needed and not included. Stair kits can be ordered from Mike at: Kaw Valley Designs, 6801 Nolan Rd., Shawnee, KS 66216 USA. If you have questions, you can contact Mike via email (remove all spaces) mike   @    kvrr-usa   .com.  Here are some photos of the available kits.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

S Scale Stockade Fencing

If you're looking for stockade fencing for your S scale layout, you don't need to look very far! Branchline Trains offers S scale 6 foot tall stockade fencing. Available is a package that provides 88 feet of fencing for your layout.

BRA #705 includes 10 sections of 6 foot tall by 8 foot wide panels as well as 2 sections of 4 foot gates. These can be laid out to separate one yard from another, or by using multiple packages, to enclose the entire back yard or property. The fencing can painted or stained as desired.

Featured Post

MotorMax 1:64 Dioramas

These came out a while ago, but over the last week, I have run across two variations of this products that I had not seen before -- Bustling...

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An active modeler in 1:64 scale (S scale) since 1998 and a new On30 modeler, Michael's primary interests are in model railroading, structure modeling and control systems for model railroading. Michael is a life member of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) and a member of the National Association of S Gaugers (NASG) and the Bristol S Gauge Railroaders.

Michael and his wife Deane Louise co-own Pine Canyon Scale Models, a manufacturer of S Scale and O scale structures.

Michael is a past chair of the NMRA's Digital Command Control (DCC) Working Group and was a contributor to the NMRA's DCC Standards activities. Michael continues to play an active role in the use of NMRA DCC in S Scale model railroading.

Michael currently serves as the Librarian for the NASG's Russell M. Mobley Memorial Library.


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