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Model Railroader

Model Railroader May 2020

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The world’s most popular model railroading magazine publishes the information you need to build your own railroad. Get Model Railroader digital magazine subscription today for step-by-step how-to projects; great model train layouts; and realistic track plans. You'll also get reviews of the latest locomotives, rolling stock, and accessories in HO, N, O, and other scales, expert tips, and more!

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United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
on the web

Boston & Maine online extras On page 36, you’ll find an update on Thomas Oxnard’s HO scale Boston & Maine. The 18 x 28-foot layout features city, country, seashore, and mountain scenes inspired by New England in the early 1950s. This month, visit our web-site to download the above photo to use as computer desktop wallpaper. Subscribers will also find video highlights of Tom’s layout shot by contributing editor Lou Sassi. ModelRailroader.com/B&M Rehab the MR&T The popular Model Railroader Video Plus series returns, and this time the guys are tackling a waterfront scene on the Model Railroader staff’s own lay-out, the HO scale Milwaukee, Racine & Troy. Visit MRVideoPlus.com/Jones1. Model Railroader Video Plus subscribers have access to exclusive HD videos covering all aspects of the hobby. Sign up today at MRVideoPlus.com/27deal. PRODUCT REVIEW ScaleTrains.com C39-8…

2 min.
the best in model railroading

You’ve made your decisions, the votes have been counted, and the results of the Model Railroader 2020 Readers Choice Awards are printed in this issue starting on page 46. Putting together the annual awards is a task requiring a high level of coordination between various departments within Kalm-bach Media and the many hobby manufacturers. But each year, once we have the framework in place, the important work of deciding the year’s best and most innovative products is placed in your hands. That’s the way it should be. Al Kalmbach printed the first issue of Model Railroader in January 1934. From the start, he saw the magazine as a vehicle for an ongoing friendly conversation between hobbyists. This sense of community has been a hallmark of the magazine and its strength for more than 80…

11 min.
locomotives big at 2020 amherst show

Amherst show report HO scale 2-10-0 Russian Decapod steam locomotive. Bachmann offers this model decorated for Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; Erie; St. Louis-San Francisco (“Frisco,” with doghouse); Western Pacific; and painted black but unlettered. The HO scale 2-10-0 features a dual-mode TCS WOWSound decoder; a Keep-Alive capacitor; Chuffinity technology; a cog V-belt flywheel drive; separately applied stack, domes, cab, bell, whistle, pop valves, uncoupling levers, handrails, and stanchions; and painted crew figures. The Decapod is priced at $549. Bachmann Trains, 215-533-1600, bachmanntrains.com Steam and diesel locomotives took center stage at the 2020 Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show. The two-day show was held in late January at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Mass. Bachmann displayed a production sample of its HO scale 2-10-0 Russian Decapod. The steam engine (above) features…

1 min.
soundtraxx celebrates 30th anniversary

SoundTraxx, a well-known manufacturer of sound decoders and HOn3 narrow gauge trains marketed under the Blackstone Models label, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The company is based in Durango, Colo. SoundTraxx was founded in 1989 as the Throttle Up! Corp. in Pocasset, Mass., producing the Hyperlight lighting system. In the 1990s the company began manufacturing its line of innovative sound decoders. SoundTraxx announced it was entering the model train market in 2004. “The two owners, myself and Steven Dominguez, felt as though we wanted to diversify the product offerings,” Nancy Workman said. “Since we were both modeling the narrow gauge and living and working in Durango, Colo., home of the former Denver & Rio Grande, it seemed like a natural fit.” As SoundTraxx has continued to grow, it has used a…

6 min.
ask mr

How best to shrink a structure’s footprint? Q I’m in a conundrum and would love to hear an expert’s opinion. I’m planning to build a replica of an Alexandria, Minn., cold storage building for our club’s HO scale layout. If the structure is to fit the space, it will have to be selectively compressed, compromising its accuracy. To remain proportionally accurate, it would have to be built in TT scale (1:120), which is about1 ⁄3 smaller than HO scale. In your opinion, which is better: to model the building “full size” in TT scale or to selectively compress the model and keep it in HO? Lloyd Berger A Selective compression is an accepted and common practice in modeling, and not something that needs to be avoided in the name of accuracy. It can…

4 min.
bringing light into a black hole

The universe has its black holes, and we who model in N scale have ours: black loco-motives and rolling stock. The details are lost, especially if our layouts aren’t well lighted. Of course, black-painted models also occur in larger scales, and they’re a challenge there, also. The difference, though, is N scale’s small size. Surfaces are smaller and less in relief, making it more difficult to differentiate them. Put another way, there’s a lot less room for light to bounce around on the surface of an N scale model. Carbon black cars. I’m going to illustrate this article with the ScaleTrains.com 5750-cubic-foot carbon black covered hopper car released a year or so ago. This is a beautiful model and fits my 1985 time period, so I bought two, knowing scarcely anything…