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Reading D-8 4-4-0 build

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  • From: Lancaster, PA
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Reading D-8 4-4-0 build
Posted by RDG Casey on Sunday, December 13, 2015 12:11 PM

This is a project I have been wanting to do for a while, but with the work done so far I'm glad it waited getting more practice first. I chose the later version because I like the way it looks and I try to not have a huge time range in the roster. The earlier D-8s with slidevalves would be easier to make as another option. Here is the prototype.

The starting point is a roundhouse 4-4-0. I managed to pick up an Athearn release one with a better motor saving some time effort and money not having to try and repower. The plan for using this model came with some research. The base options for 4-4-0s that are the easiest to get a hold of are Roundhouse (still somewhat rare), IHC and Bachmann. 

I shied from Bachmann since it has relatively small drivers a rather low set boiler that would be really hard to lift up and the back of the frame sticks out pretty far for a camelback. 

The IHC version would be the second choice but the running gear would likely take more work to get right plus big flanges.

The Roundhouse version has decently sized drivers, has a heavier metal frame, the rear driver sits pretty far back on the frame, and comes with spoke lead truck wheels. So over all the Roundhouse model had the most of what I was looking for.

This is the model I picked up minus a couple minor details I took off when I got home with it. Gotten at a decent price but was kind of beat up and the shell shows some zinc rot. To me none of that matters to me but the seller doesn't need to know that and its stuff to look for when you are trying to talk a price down.

 

After the tear down the first thing to focus on is getting the running gear looking right and rolling right. I am also a believer in the don't throw out any parts philosophy and everything used for the running gear re-work is from the parts box.

Everything was made and tested in sections. First was the cylinders, crosshead and guides. The cylinders are Mantua 0-4-0/0-6-0 cylinders, the crosshead is left over from a camelback frame and the crosshead guides are from the same. I use the original main rod and riveted the crosshead in place, available from bowser. Once all in place I made sure everything rolled freely. 

Side note: The pilot is gone because the front of the frame I had looked a little bent and I tried to bend it ripping off the pilot I was only going to get rid of any way.

Then I marked far rear position of the crosshead and used a dremel to trim the guides down.

The stock method of holding the rods on the wheels are plastic pins that just push in. I wanted to replace that so I could secure an eccentric crank. In the parts box were more mantua parts. Planning to use the rod spacer and screw 2 things had to be done. The back of the original main rod had a molded spacer that needed to be ground off and the driver needed to be threaded for the screw. 

Using a technique found by accident a couple projects ago, I threaded the screw on the main driver by spreading a good amount of super glue on the screw threads and inserting it in the hole to glue in place. Let it completely dry and then carefully unscrew the screw, this leaves threads behind in the hole. Be careful to not strip it when setting the running gear but honestly it's not hard to just reset the thread if that happens. The spacer needs to sit flush on the back of the main rod and come through so the eccentric crank can be friction held by the screw like a stock mantua engine. The eccentric cranks are from a random junker Rivarossi cab forward in the parts box, mantua ones would likely work but I didn't find any.

While waiting for the screws for the drivers to dry I figured out how to use the roundhouse tender pick ups on bachmann I-10 trucks. Drill the bearing holes, not all the way through, big enough for the metal bearings. Carefully take the assembly off the old truck, one per side and fit to the new holes. It will take a little bending to fit and will go in upside down. After test fitting they are glued in and the metal wheels can be placed.

With the main rod and crank rolling smooth next was setting the eccentric rod and link, but I needed to have something to set the link on.

The link and eccentric rod were made from .010 brass sheet stock. The link is made from an old roundhouse link in the parts box as a template. The eccentric rod holes are spaced 1/2". When making rods I find the hole spacing and drill them, then draw the rod out around the drilled holes then cut the rod off the sheet. I use a dremel cutting wheel to get the basic shape then a diamond coated cone tip (not an expensive part) for fine shaping. This is one riveted and one in pieces.

The rods are places on the wheels and place holder wires are used to hold the link in the hanger.

The rest of the rods was a lot of rolling the frame to see where the movement of the rods ended in the forward and rear positions, then measuring where the rods needed to be, then made from the same .010 brass sheet stock. I don't have an easy way to explain it just lots of testing measuring and checking. This is the rods pre assembly.

The top piston is ground to be flat on the cylinder to make room for the rods and the triangular shaped piece is glued to the bottom of the crosshead guide. All the measuring and testing payed off, once put together almost no tweaking was needed for the running gear to roll smooth.

An over view of the running gear and basic wheel placement.

Now that the difficult part 1, getting the running gear set is done, it is time to start getting some of the other main structures built. I used a dremel to grind off all detail of the old shell as well as sawing off some of the smokebox to make space for the Reading style short smokebox. I wanted to use the base of the original shell as the weight. I'm not too worried about this engine pulling a lot since for me it's going to be on mostly passenger duties of only a few cars, the Athearn version also has a traction tire, so I'm not going to jam pack this thing with weight. Does not have to look nice at all, it is just a weight and a front screw anchor.

A tube was made for the old shell to snugly fit in.

A hole was drilled setting the forward position.

Using landmarks on the frame I cut out the bottom of the tube for the motor assembly as well as trimmed the shell to fit the old shell making sure the tube went to at least half way past the rear driver as the firebox starts before that.

This is where it sits at the moment, ready for a firebox, though I think the boiler needs to be raised a little first.

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Posted by thomas81z on Sunday, December 13, 2015 1:26 PM

Ok modelrailroader needs to give you your own monthly  kit bashing column  \ m /

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Posted by Southgate on Sunday, December 13, 2015 6:51 PM

thomas81z

Ok modelrailroader needs to give you your own monthly  kit bashing column  \ m /

 

I can agree with that. You build the coolest brass locomotives from styrene I've ever seen!

How do you like that particular motor? I'd never seen it until about 2 weeks ago, I saw one on the 'bay. Never knew MDC had other than that small open frame one.

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Posted by RDG Casey on Sunday, December 13, 2015 8:56 PM

Southgate

 

I can agree with that. You build the coolest brass locomotives from styrene I've ever seen!

How do you like that particular motor? I'd never seen it until about 2 weeks ago, I saw one on the 'bay. Never knew MDC had other than that small open frame one.

 

 

As far as I am aware though it is open frame the later roundhouse and athearn releases use a different better performing motor with a little fly wheel then the large open frame motors that came with the 70s kit versions of these engines. I am not totally anti open frame motor, just mainly anti mantua open frame motor.

I have had some interaction with a "harriman" kit with drivers that weren't plated and has a large open frame motor and it never really performed that well for me. But the much later version 2-8-0 used in the I-6 project is of the newer build and performs just fine.

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Posted by Trainman440 on Sunday, December 13, 2015 9:30 PM

Southgate

 

 
thomas81z

Ok modelrailroader needs to give you your own monthly  kit bashing column  \ m /

 

 

 

I can agree with that. You build the coolest brass locomotives from styrene I've ever seen!

How do you like that particular motor? I'd never seen it until about 2 weeks ago, I saw one on the 'bay. Never knew MDC had other than that small open frame one.

 

Southgate:

Remeber this from one of the older MRR magazines?

http://mrr.trains.com/news-reviews/staff-reviews/2012/12/athearn-ho-scale-2-8-0-locomotive

There is the small newer openframe motor which was made after MDC roundhouse became part of Athearn. 

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Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

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Posted by Southgate on Monday, December 14, 2015 12:03 AM

Trainman, I saw what I now know was that very 2-8-0 kit go on the 'bay recently. Had I known enough about it, I might have bid. The pictures were fuzzy, but it had that motor and flywheel. Shoot!

Casey, I'm not anti open frame either. I have a Mantua "Power Drive" Mikado from the 80s, one of the smoothest steamers Ive ever seen run to date. 

There's a chassis you ought to keep your eye out for. They have a much better open frame motor than regular Mantua-Tycos, and a precision gear box. A great combo.

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Posted by RDG Casey on Sunday, December 20, 2015 2:25 PM

Work continued with putting a firebox on the boiler tube, starting with the frame.

Then the .010 sheet went on making the firebox, as well as the jacketing layer. Then the corners got sanded round.

The rear mounting was set using some screws that would otherwise be discarded. A rear plate is glue to the bottom to the firebox lined up vertically (meaning don't follow the back head line) while some square stock is glued to the frame built up enough to reach the rear plate. Then holes are drilled for the screws.

Wanting to get the tedious stuff I don't really look forward to out of the way my focus turned to the pilot. First the beam was set with the coupler pocket, making sure the coupler height was good. With the frame bent downward I cheated a little using an under shank coupler to get the right height without having to set the beam too high on the steam chest.

The height check...

Now the part I wasn't particularly looking forward to. Footboards are easy, just some plastic strips, tube pilots are a lot of precision starting with drilling. I drilled 7 holes on each side of the coupler pocket for .020 wire. 7 because that is what the proto type has.

Then wire was placed, shaped like a L and super glued in. The were made long and will be trimmed at a later step.

After set I tweak the rods in to place bending them trying to keep them symmetrical.

With space for the extra to hang down I put the engine on track to figure out where it all was going to be trimmed. This is where 2 .010 strips were then placed glued to a point at the center. I have tools to hold the sides in to curl around and glue in place.

After set the rods were sniped close to the plastic edges set then with a dremel I ground down the remaining to be flush with the bottom edge of the plastic. 

The center 5 rods have their own little frame not directly attached to the bottom of the  coupler pocket. Starting with .010 strips for the side then a strip with 5 holes drilled is centered in the side strips.

The rest is the same process as before just smaller pieces.

To make her a bit more presentable I thought is was time for a face. Starting with a base layer of .040 cut large and sanded down to the edge of the boiler. Then layering .040, .010 and .040 made the bulge and the door layers. The hinges, latches and number board are .010 styrene. For a headlight bracket I normally use a generic bowser one, but didn't have any. I didn't feel like ordering 1 part (having pretty much everything else I need to finish the project already) so I made one out of .010 and put the Reading style grab iron at the bottom. Also the stack will be trimmed down a little I just wanted to put something there and got the base piece in place.

The tender started like a real one with making a frame. Made from .040 except the rectangle rod for the end beams.

I cut the old clips off the bachmann trucks and drilled for the screws I am using.

Here is the frame fitted with the trucks. The shell friction fit frame was placed, also some tender steps I happened to have.

Using dimensions from a previously built camelback, the shell went together rather quickly. Extra glue was added to the side seam to be sanded later as a filler.

With the basic structure in set the corners got sanded to a round edge.

This is where the project sits now, next will be getting the running boards and cab in.

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Posted by Bernd on Sunday, December 20, 2015 4:37 PM

Another fine modification. Love following your builds. They're just amazing.

Bernd

New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

protolancer(at)kingstonemodelworks(dot)com

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Posted by Trainman440 on Sunday, December 20, 2015 7:00 PM

Great job!!

Would you have used a brass casting for the cowcatcher?

If so why didn't you? 

Thanks,

Charles

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Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

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Posted by RDG Casey on Sunday, December 20, 2015 7:22 PM

Thanks Bernd!

Charles, I have used a brass casting in the past. Making my own is part trying to learn everything I can and part being cheap. Really this one has turned out the best of the ones I have done and is only going to encourage me to do more with what I figure out on the fly. With being cheap why buy a $20 part when I can make one for at most $1 worth of material. Footboards, stacks, domes, smokebox fronts, etc. can all be baught, doing it myself saves in time in the long run not waiting on parts and really drives the cost of projects way down.

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Posted by Trainman440 on Sunday, December 20, 2015 9:17 PM

True, it is a good skill Big Smile (Im going to have to learn it some day!)

But my theory is: If it takes per say 2 hours to build this thing and saved $15 and lets say I could spend this time to work and could earn $50. Then I would think that it isn't worth while building this thing to save money. Now on the other hand, I don't have a job yet, so....  (I just turned 15 yesterday Big Smile)

You could argue that my theory dosn't make sense, but I think it works for me Smile

Charles

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Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 20, 2015 9:58 PM

Charles:

I'm not sure you can measure the value of the sort of scratch building that RDGCasey does in terms of dollars. If I had the choice of earning $50/hr at some mundane job vs spending time at my workbench, I would gladly go without the $50. Spending time modelling is worth far more than money. That's easy for me to say because I'm retired and don't need the money. I recognize that at 15 your situation is a bit different.

Now, if someone would pay me $50/hr to scratch build......well thenSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

RDGCasey:

Your modelling is excellent. I love your ability to make fine, accurate details like the valve gear parts and the smoke box fronts. You set a very high standard! 

Recently I got a bit of an understanding of how much work it takes to form things like sand domes out of styrene. I'm working on back dating a Tyco 4-6-0 to something like what the original Grand trunk Railway ran in Ontario. I needed to make the sand dome a bit taller so I built up two rings and a cap of .040" styrene on top of the existing dome. Getting that styrene round and smooth was no small feat. However, compared to what you are doing it was peanuts.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Bernd on Monday, December 21, 2015 6:37 AM

Quoting Dan.

Your modelling is excellent. I love your ability to make fine, accurate details like the valve gear parts and the smoke box fronts. You set a very high standard! 

Definitely excellent work. I am also captivated by your fine work on the valve gear parts. I'd be interested in a step by step on your procedure, especially how you arrive at the dimensions, if you ever get a minute from your busy engine modification schedule.

Bernd

New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

protolancer(at)kingstonemodelworks(dot)com

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Posted by RDG Casey on Monday, December 21, 2015 7:04 AM

Charles, Knowledge and practice is far more valuable then the money. If I really wanted to save time I'd just buy a brass D-8. :)

Thanks Dave and Bernd, I'd be up for doing more of a how to on running gear, but the best way would probably be a video. There is a lot of eyeballing and moving the parts through the motions to figure out spacing. To a certin extent it's not that specific since there is not real timing of the rods, they just need to move freely. I'll try to get that together on the next one I do.

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Posted by Bernd on Monday, December 21, 2015 10:54 AM

Dave,

I checked out your Flickr account. Nice tutorial on scratchbuilding a boiler for a camelback. That's what I'm kind of looking for. But a video would be even greater. Thanks in advance for that. I'll be looking forward to it.

I've got an idea that once you show how you get the dimensions to use that technique to cut them out on my CNC mill.

Bernd

New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

protolancer(at)kingstonemodelworks(dot)com

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Posted by RDG Casey on Monday, December 28, 2015 6:11 PM

Before the cab was started, putty was added to make the base of the sand dome and stack. This is done before the cab so there is room to sand.

Before and after sanding...

The pencil mark on the boiler in the after sanded picture is to mark where the front wall is to sit for the cab. This is made easier by using a mantua camelback cab from the parts box as a bit of a template. Parts like these in general are very useful for reverse engineering.

Getting ahead of myself a little attention went next to the running boards (which the cab sits on) but, to place the fireman's side properly the air compressor was placed since it sits so low on the running boards. The boiler mounting bracket that comes with the calscale single air compressor was used up side down to have the bracket rest on the boiler properly making a triangle mount.

The .040 for the running boards are cut to not exceed the width of the firebox. First glued to the front of the firebox and the fireman's side had the added glue point being able to tack it to the compressor itself. The engineer's side just needs to be looked after until set again glued to the front of the firebox. Once the cab is on the running boards are pretty solid. 

Using tube stock the steam delivery pipes are fitted which is a lot of test fitting and trimming until it looks right using a slow setting glue to tweak as needed. Then .040 running board pieces are notched to fit the pipe.

The front and rear walls of the cab are made by placing the boiler face down on .040 and tracing the outer dimension of the front, then find the center of that circle. having the running boards set you can easily measure the width which should be around the same as the firebox width, but .020 skinner to account for the cab sides. Using the center line on the circle made from the boiler front center the width measurement (half the total either direction) and you have a box centered on boiler. Using the mantua cab for measurements you can set the heights. After the basic shape is cut out the door openings are cut. The walls are then glued to the boiler, I use testors glue (red tube) for this because it does not set quickly and will help fill any minor gaps.

Trying something a little different I did the quick gist of cab controls and painted the cab interior before putting the cab sides on to help streamline the process and it makes it easier to paint.

The .010 cab sides are made again using a mantua cab as a bit of a measurement template and the window frames (that the crew didn't take out) are placed, also .010.

After the sides are placed I have been adding some .040 supports to strengthen the roof and the top of the cab side from warping over time which can happen. Also the train control box was added for no reason, an optional part.

The roof is another part with a lot of test fitting before gluing down, the underside is also painted before gluing. The roof detail is then added, made mostly from .010 except the .040 spacer of the center hatch. 

The rear running boards were then added cut to fit in line with the bottom of the windows of the cab and not to exceed the width of the firebox.

The rear shade or second cab starts like the center cab tracing the firebox to get the arc line. The width was eyeballed from the tender about as wide as the coal chute opening. Here is the test fit.

Another piece with a ton of test fitting the roof is bent and fit around the base glued to the edge of the firebox. The marks on the piece are what will be trimmed off.

The piece is then trimmed and glued in place. To hold the shape in the rear a little .040 support is fitted towards the rear.

The air tanks were then fitted using tube stock. I tried a new method of capping the ends and sanding them round like the top of a dome. .010 was added to act as mounting straps as well as small .040  triangles to act as supports. 

This is where the project sits now.

 
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Posted by RDG Casey on Sunday, January 3, 2016 2:39 PM

Since the major construction is done it is time for a lot of little things. I have been experimenting on different ways of making my own washer plugs, these are the most recent incarnation. Started by drilling a hole in rod stock then backed with .010. A little piece (a cube) of .040 is added in the center to act as the plug head. Then the piece is glued pretty flush with the boiler, I liked setting them a little out then trimming or sanding down to the boiler level.

Also boiler bands were finished and the trim on the rear shade was added.

While things were drying on the plugs the rest of the cast parts were added on to the boiler, bell, saftey valves, whistle, check valves, marker lights and front air hoses. The only major detail on the fireman's side is the compressor.

There is a little yoke/crosshead guide support on the engine, this was made from .010 glued to the link hanger frame. The piece is not connected to the crosshead guides so there is room for the crosshead to move all the way to the rear.

The Reading style smoke box step was added, .010 and while I was at it the steps behind the cab were too.

The steps off the rear running board are placed about half way down the back head made of .010.

The final piece of the rear of the boiler added were the two fire doors, I just make some pieces to represent them, since they are somewhat hard to get a hold of and are a part hard to see, especially since I put the cloth curtains on.

The last thing added were the pilot steps, following the prototype they stick back rather far so the bottom step is trimmed a little on the inside for lead truck clearance, wanting the engine to run on 22" minimum.

The little things on the tender started with the trim around the top perimeter, using thinly cut .010 strips. Also in the images is a side view of the rear headlight that sits on a piece of .040 supported by 2 small pieces of .020 wire.

Along with the rear head light the water hatch was made, a .040 base capped with .010, the hatch split and hinges are .010 strips.

The front of the coal bunker is made of .010 as well as the split and latches.

The last little bit of castings are the rear hoses and steam heat line. 

The rear ladder starts with 2 pieces of .010 cut in extended C shapes to fill most of the tender height. Then those pieces are placed. The spacing was honestly eyeballed if a measurement is needed I would use the spacing of a ladder on another engine I had.

Little strips of .010 are cut then glued into place using something that doesn't set right away to have time to tweak the rungs into place. Then a little rear number board was added.

The engine is now ready for some decal rivets, then final detailing. I will likely be doing some test running too just to make sure then is no real unforeseen problems before the more delicate plumbing is on.

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Posted by Trainman440 on Sunday, January 3, 2016 6:36 PM

Tongue Tied.....

Seriously, you gotta teach me!!!

Good job like always Big Smile

Keep it up!!

Charles

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

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Posted by RDG Casey on Monday, January 4, 2016 6:32 AM

Trainman440

Tongue Tied.....

Seriously, you gotta teach me!!!

Good job like always Big Smile

Keep it up!!

Charles

 

Well I do want to do a whole project on video, that should help with things I know I don't think about and kind of gloss over. Smile I have an idea on what that will be, just there will probably be a couple other projects first.

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Posted by RDG Casey on Sunday, January 10, 2016 4:06 PM

A lot done and not much to show. Some test running was done to find running gear tweaks as needed. Then rivets went on, easily a few hours work but far faster then individually punching them.





Then final detailing started, I tend to start with the tender since there is not much to finish it.




Then the engineer's side was started and that all the further I got this week.


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Posted by RDG Casey on Saturday, January 16, 2016 4:45 PM

The rest of the detailing moved along through the week.



Painting started last night and the project wrapped up today. Decals are from some champ sets I cam across at a show.

Pre-weathered



Ready for service.




And the video of it in action.

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Posted by CandOsteam on Saturday, January 16, 2016 5:10 PM

Wonderful. Smile

Your love of camelback type locomotives reminds me of Bill Henderson, who had many fine articles in MR years past on his Coal Belt based on the Reading and D&H.

In a Keller video, l recall Bill saying he loved those "ugly ducklings".

Thanks for taking the time to share the ball you're obviously having.

Joel

Modeling the C&O New River Subdivision circa 1949 for the fun of it!

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, January 16, 2016 6:12 PM

Casey,

As an NYC modeler, although I wince when seeing a NYC locomotive changed to "another road name", THIS in an OUTSTANDING transformation and kudos to you for doing it.

I wish more folks here on the forum would post their how-to/kitbash/scratchbuilt projects.  They both inspire me, as well as challenge me to be a better modeler.

Thanks for posting, Casey! YesCool

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, January 16, 2016 6:13 PM

 Yes, almost forgot about him. There were many great protoype looking photos published of the Coal Belt, all those Camelbacks and the well done period scenery made that one of my favorites.

               --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by RDG Casey on Sunday, January 17, 2016 8:51 AM

Thanks everyone!

Joel the anthracite interest comes from having family that worked for the Reading, plus my father worked at Steamtown which is another anthracite capitol, but I also just like them. Smile

Tom I have no malicious feelings toward the NYC it just happened to be the cheapest I found, I myself have the 3 Rivarossi hudson versions haha.

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