Book Review: Guide to Narrow Gauge Modeling - Kalmbach Books

A Model Railroader book written by Tony Koester

I picked up this book some time ago, and have casually read it over the last year or so. Unknown to most, I have a casual interest in Narrow Gauge railroading, and have always wanted to model something.

My primary interest lies in the Quincy & Torch Lake, a short haul mining railroad that was located in Michigan's Upper Penninsula. The equipment was unique so its a true modelers railroad.

Quick Review: Bachmann HO Scale ACL-42 Amtrak Day 1 Scheme

Released in late 2021, this attractive model of an ultra-contemporary Diesel Locomotive represents the current day orders for Amtrak's new generation of long distance passenger units.  Models come equipped with DCC WowSound, or non-sound.

My model here is decorated in Amtrak's "Day 1" 50th anniversary scheme, however Bachmann also released road #300 & #305 in their 5 unit "Phase VII" scheme.  I'm still waiting to see what units #306+ will look like in the next standard Phase VIII scheme proposed.

Quick Review: Walthers Special Edition Athearn AMD-103

Walthers Special Edition Athearn AMD-103 (P42DC) in HO scale. My pre-order through Maders Trains arrived on Saturday the 24th [2009], just in time for my birthday!

I pre-ordered these units months back, and they shipped just in time for my birthday, and the best part is one of the two units was paid for by my wife, as my birthday gift.

Walthers commissioned Athearn to produce their P42 version of the GE AMD-103, in officially licensed Phase V paint.  These units are only available through Walthers, and are not sold direct from Athearn.  The October 2009 release (seen here) contains road numbers 44 and 139.

Quick Review: BLMA Models Billboard

In early 2009, BLMA Models released this billboard in N scale, and later in the year, HO scale.  Also included is a hint to the hole size required for HO scale.

Quick Review: ScaleTrains Kit Classics Havelock Shops Gondola

Released in October 2021, this simple to assemble kit comes in a multitude of paint schemes, representing 2 real and several foobie schemes.  These affordable kits are great for the budget conscious, but also represent a rare prototype assembled by the CB&Q Havelock shops.

According to ScaleTrains website the prototype dates from 1967/1968, built for the CB&Q (Burlington), by their own shop.  When I heard these cars were coming, I jumped on a preorder for the three green BN cars.  Although my era would better be represented by black BN or BNSF cars, I desired odd BN/BNSF gondolas for my layout.

Quick Review: Broadway Limited UP AC6000CW

The Broadway Limited AC6000CW is based off of the real GE AC6000CW. The railroads that bought the AC6000 are CSX and UP. They are primary used for coal traffic. BLI produced a nice model of the AC6000.

Here's a video of a test run:

Quick Review: ExactRail 4427 Covered Hopper

I never did (yet) get a first run ExactRail 4427 low side covered hopper, but I pre-ordered a 2nd run, BNSF car, back in September 2009, here's my thoughts on it.

ExactRail did an amazing job on these 4427's, much better then the old Walthers model!  My car is fully assembled, in BNSF paint.  The paint is smooth, and all printing fully legible.

Quick Review: Rapido HO scale Flexi-Flo

Release in the fall of 2020, Rapido Train's much anticipated, and quickly sold out Flexi-Flo covered hoppers are a welcome addition to any 1964 to 2015 era layout!

Officially carded as the American Car & Foundry (ACF) PD3500 Covered Hopper, the name "Flexi-Flo" came from the New York Central.  More details on the Prototype can be read on Rapido's website:

The Model: Rapido expertly created the model in HO scale, sparing no details.  This isn't the first model of these cars in HO scale, with brass imports, and even AHM made a model during the 1970's and 1980's!  I've seen in the past a few modelers who have turned great replicas from the AHM version, and I even started one myself in the late 2000's.  Plano Model Products released a replacement etched walkway for these old AHM models.

The clear plastic allows for viewing of the model in the packaging, but Rapido includes a smooth, foggy plastic liner to separate the model from the clear plastic clamshell, so the model is hardly "visible."

Quick Review: Intermountain Value Line AeroFlo Coal Gondola

Released in 2019, these inexpensive cars herald back to LBF/Hubert's kits, marketed by Intermountain in their appropriately coined "Value Line," these cars are now RTR.

Ages ago, in the 1990's LBF, later Hubert's marketed these cars, and several others.  Those old kit cars are numerous, and easily acquired even today.  Now that Intermountain added the line to their repertoire, they're once again found new in hobby shops, but this time in RTR!  Prices are more than reasonable, under $30 a car.

Quick Review: ExactRail 2420 Gondola

Decent, cheap RTR Gondola

I pre-ordered an SP version, to model SP 800012.

ExactRail's new Express Series has a great entry model.  This SP decorated 2420 Gon is well done.