Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Prototype Pic of the Day #21

Lake State Railway GP40-3 #4303 | Image Courtesy of Kevin Burkholder via
This one just happened to be on the homepage of today I thought I would post it here. This one again features the Lake State Railway, although these locomotives do not have any ties to the Detroit & Mackinac. I love the look of this picture with the night sky and the reflection in the water. It was taken in the city of Tawas, MI where LSRC/D&M used to have a yard and roundhouse before it was all removed to make way for a Walmart.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Prototype Pic of the Day #20

Lake State Railway Alco RS-2 #469 | Image Courtesy of Steven McKay via
Today's picture is another one featuring a piece of the former Detroit & Mackinac railway. This is Lake State Railway #469 shown sitting at the LSRC yard in Saginaw, MI. As far as I know, this is the last Alco still around from the D&M. I even have a picture of myself up on the front of this exact locomotive from back when I was a kid and was exploring the LSRC facilities in Alpena, MI. Click here to see my post about that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

More Accessories for the Office Shelf Layout

There are plenty of accessories that I plan on using for this layout, but I only wanted to start with a few for now so I don't get overwhelmed. In addition to the switch stand kit and the Ford Maverick, I picked up some shelving for the interior of the commissary building and some track bumpers for the far end of the layout.

The track bumpers I got are the Hayes style and come from Peco. Click here to see more about them. The kit came with pieces for two bumpers, so that worked perfectly for the two tracks I have. This was a great little kit, the pieces went together very easily, I didn't even glue them. All I have to do now is decide how to paint and weather them. Even though they are listed as code 83, they actually don't look too bad with my code 100 track.

My new Hayes bumpers fully assembled and ready for paint.

Another item I bought was a set of pre-finished shelves from Model Tech Studios. Click here for more about them. These I plan on putting somewhere inside the commissary building. They look great and were reasonably priced.

Pre-finished shelving from Model Tech Studios.
My plan is to fully model the interior as realistically as I can given the lack of depth. I'm hoping to get some more things like this and then add some lighting so everything inside can easily be seen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1:87 Ford Maverick for the Office Shelf Layout

Another part of my purchase was a 1:87 red Ford Maverick from Motor Max. I bought this so I would have at least one vehicle to place around the layout for judging scale. It's kind of hard to plan things out for cars and trucks when you don't have any to mock things up with.

This one is supposed to be from 1970 as evident by the year on the front license plate. I had never heard of this car before seeing it on the ModelTrainStuff website, so that tells you how not old I am. It is still a nice looking car though and it a pretty good representation of the real thing. It is way better than any of the cheap plastic 1:87 vehicles I had for my layout as a kid. Kind of makes me want to order a few more now.

A side view of my new Ford Maverick from Motor Max.
A look at the front end.
A look at the other side.
This this was well worth the $3.50 that is cost me. The level of detail is just right for this layout. The only thing I may want to do is hit it with some weathering so it doesn't look brand new. To look realistic, this car will have to show 15-20 years of wear and tear to fit in with my late 80's to early 90's theme.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Switch Stand Kit for the Office Shelf Layout

Part of my recent order from ModelTrainStuff was a switch stand kit from Central Valley Model Works. I thought this would be a nice touch and add some more realism to the layout. I've never worked with a small kit like this before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. One thing I will say is these things are tiny and not the easiest to work with. I guess that's to be expected though when you're trying to realistically model something in 1:87 scale.

The kit came with parts to make six total switch stands. I only really need one for this layout, so I figured worst case is I have five chances to screw up the assembly process. Luckily, I've had pretty good success putting the first one together. All I need to do now with it is paint the target red and glue it onto the piece of wire that holds it up. 

A look at my almost completed switch stand kit, shown next to my new Ford Maverick for scale
So far I really like how this kit is coming together. While it is just a static piece for display, I think it will look great on the layout. The only problem I have now is figuring out how to work it into the track I already have glued down. I used an old Atlas turnout so it has the larger piece of plastic between ties that moves the track. For me, I don't care as much about the functionality as I do the appearance, so I'm going to tweak this a bit. 

The old Atlas turnout that will need to be modified.
What I want to do is take out the plastic moving piece and replace it with some brass rod that looks a bit more realistic. I also want to rip out the two large blocks of plastic against the rails and replace them with two ties that look just like all the others. These two will then be extended out toward the camera and that is where I will place the switch stand. 

The extended ties that need to be placed under the track for the new switch stand.
As much as I was hoping to avoid this, I ended up having to remove the entire turnout from the layout for now. Luckily I was able to easily pry it up and slide it out of the connections with the remaining track. Now all I have to do is make the modifications to it and then put everything back together.

Is it just me, or is something missing from this picture?
Once those steps are completed, I will probably have to touch up the paint a bit then I can call it good. I'll make sure to post some more pictures at that point.

Friday, May 8, 2015

New Stuff for the Office Shelf Layout

I've been working on the office shelf layout for quite a while now and one thing I had not done until this past week was order something online for it. I've gotten a few things from eBay for my Detroit & Mackinac collection, but nothing specifically from one of the many online retailers. I had some Christmas money left over in my PayPal account so I decided to start shopping online for some things that would fit nicely with this project.

After plenty of searching and comparing I decided to buy from, which turned out to be a great decision. I'll explain that later on. I ended up buying ten things altogether and spent just under $60 including shipping. While it isn't really all that much, here is a look at everything I got.

My first purchase from

A few of these are essential to the plan for the layout (DPM walls, Pikestuff loading dock) and some are just for fun like the 1970 Ford Maverick. The reason for that was I needed at least one vehicle to place on the layout to get a proper sense of scale for the parking areas. I'm still on the lookout for some box trucks for the loading dock area.

As far as the overall experience with ModelTrainStuff, I would give it a 10 out of 10. The prices were reasonable, the checkout process was nice and easy, and they went above and beyond packing these parts for me. They all came in a single sealed bag inside of a medium sized box filled with packing peanuts. Even with the cheapest shipping option, I still received it all on Wednesday after placing the order around 2 AM on Saturday. I will definitely be ordering from them again whenever I can't get something from a show or the hobby shop.

Now, off to start playing with these new toys...