The author reviews three different ways to connect two parts of the layout while still allowing people to pass through into the layout. He then describes how he built his bridge.
After mentioning several other major changes in the model railroading industry, the author opines about the need for the S-scale community to adopt the new NASG S-scale standard.
This first installment covers selecting the proper drivers, the matching axle, the cylinder blocks, and the crosshead assemblies. Next, the author uses steel or aluminum U-shaped shelf brackets for the frame. Next up are making scale drawings.
The author discusses several topics to help determine if the hobby is dying. If not, what is it that we can do to help bring in new blood?
In this guest editorial by Sam, he reflects on the 2005 NASG Convention and how he believes that the hi-rail modelers are now the main force in S-scale.
This article covers why you might want to hold operating sessions, what you need to have to do operations, and detailed planning to bring it all about.
The author tackles some design problems that they locomotives have to make them run smoother.
The author reviews the book by Brooks Stover, which covers the prototype BC&G railroad, and how he modeled it in S-scale.
The author builds and reviews the two-stall engine house kit released by B.T.S. Includes several built photos.
The author tells a "prototype story" of how his personal layout was sold to the W&OD club, and how he is taking a break from model railroading.
The author describes why he decided to demolish the 25 year old layout. He then continues by sharing his thoughts on what the new layout will be like. Includes a track plan.
The author is starting a new column in the Dispatch discussing what it takes to get a layout built and running. In this column he starts off with handling all of the common complaints.
The author helps dissuade negative thoughts that prevent people from building a layout.
The author presents the idea of a "train layout" as a 3D sculpture.
How to decide which curve sizes your layout needs.
The author shares a letter he got that describes how the modeler got out of his comfort zone, to tackle layout construction. They are part of a round-robin group, the organization of which is discussed in this article. Photos of the author's layout are included in the next several pages following this article.
How to transcribe the track plan design to the actual layout space. Also covers how to build table-top sections.
Scenic curves can either be mathematically planned, or can just be put in position until the layout builder likes its position. Either approach is acceptable. The author mentioned that actual construction always differs from detailed planning.
Why are we drawn to buying locomotives and cars, but not structures?
The author makes the case for incorporating grades in your layout. Includes information about how to calculate a grade and how to deal with the vertical transitions.
Change can be hard to deal with, but the author makes the case that making minor or even major changes to your layout can breathe new life into your enjoyment of the hobby.
The author shares his opinion about building kits by various manufacturers.
This article describes grade crossings and ideas for how to model them.
Sam has come to the conclusion that we tend to criticize our own and even others' layouts. This article reminds us that this is just a hobby and that model railroads are because we enjoy the act of creating and enjoying the results.
The author describes various ways to make the space wherein the model railroad resides more visually appealing. Includes several photos of his layout.
Stress is a killer, and model railroading, in moderation, can be the cure, or so the author proposes.
Keeping notes about your layout in a three-ring binder, even if some information is stored in a computer program, because you can bring a notebook with you when visiting friends. Keeping information such as the background story, track plans, prototype info, operating scheme, etc.
"The Magnificent Seven" - Seven S gaugers who influenced Sam. They are Ed Schumacher, John Bortz, Frank Titman, Wally Collins, Claude Wade, Walter Graeff, and Jesse Bennett.
Sam discusses what operations are, why people like operating session or don't like them, handling stress preparing for a session, car-card system, and how to start the first session.
How does one get foreign-road cars on one's layout? Via the Interchange Track. This unique and easy-to-model track is fully discussed in this article, which includes how to integrate it into your layout's operational scheme.
The author's layout models the Pittsburgh area, but he had never actually been there in person. A trip with camera in hand allowed him to better model the area.
This installment covers the creation of the Mt. Washington backdrop for his layout. Includes a few photos. The backdrop is made from sections of insulation foam.
The author describes his struggle with the last major scene on his layout, that of capturing the city of Pittsburgh, which also happens to be the first scene that visitors to the layout see when entering the room. He describes building a raised scenic base, since it is also a staging yard. Includes many photos.
The reality of never finishing projects, and how to deal with that reality. How to overcome "destructive" habit in your hobby, and still enjoy the process.
The author shares what it was like preparing for, and holding, the first operating session on his layout.
The author makes the case for associating with model railroaders that are not into S-scale, such as the local NMRA, other conventions, etc., especially after one retires.
The author describes 6 details that will make a difference in a structure model.
What to do when there is a house-supporting pole in the middle of your layout space? The author's solution was to build a four-sided building around the square pole, which, when the camera is set a the right angle, makes the pole invisible.
In this next installment of the series on how build your own steam locomotive, the author starts the work of building the frame and installing the driver wheels.
In this installment the construction and installation of the side rods is accomplished, including how to resolve any binding. Also covered is drive quartering.
This final installment of building a steam locomotive frame will deal with the main rod cylinder set and crosshead assembly.
The shallow-depth structure was perfect for the author's new town on his layout, so he built it and provides us with his commentary and construction hints.
The author reviews the flextrack and turnouts produced by Tomalco Track now owned by Larry Morton.
The author shares his thoughts about the compromises we all have to make when designing a new layout.
The author describes the thoughts he went through developing a design, track plan, and realistic integration of his layout into this available space (he had several options). Includes a sketch of the track plan.
How to make the AM coupler be self-centering and some fine-tuning to get it to operate smoothly.
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