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July 2015

Model Railroader has been the leading model train magazine for the past 75 years.  Each month, we bring you step-by-step modeling projects, fascinating photo tours of model train layouts, unbiased product reviews, new product announcements, tips from the experts and much more!

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Step by Step: Build a horse-and-wagon kit

When editor Neil Besougloff asked me to build Jordan Highway Miniatures’ old farm wagon kit for Step by Step, I thought he was joking. After all, I model the modern era. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, horses and wagons weren’t the primary mode of transportation. Neil went on to explain that this issue contains a feature story by Don Ball (see page 36), and wanted this as a companion story. Though the plan made perfect sense, the project proved a good test for a guy who models the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Learn from a mid-size layout built to operate

The Baltimore & Ohio RR has always been a favorite, but in a non-prototypical way. Freelancing has been more of a way of life in my model railroading, and my latest layout fits right into that concept.

Model horses and wagon for a steam-era layout

Don Ball’s HO scale Stockton & Copperopolis is set in 1895, when horses and wagons were commonplace. Follow along as he shares how to accurately model these details, appropriate for any layout set into the 1930s and sometimes beyond.

Tips for improving turnouts

Commercial turnouts are the choice for my layout. There are so may variations and brands to choose from that you can make almost any track layout you want. The rails on commercial turnouts can also be trimmed, which makes it possible to create a more fluid arrangement, especially in yards and other crowded places.

Most of the turnouts on my layout are no. 6 turnouts from Micro Engineering. The ME turnouts come with add-on details I like such as frog bolthead plates and guardrail clamps.


Scratchbuild a large lineside industry

Clay Spur, built in 1928, was the first bentonite processing plant in northeast Wyoming. Never heard of bentonite? Not many have, but chances are, you used something today that’s connected to bentonite.

Bentonite is a volcanic clay abundant in northeastern Wyoming. What makes it special is its ability to ­absorb water. Originally, it was used as drilling mud for oil wells. In the late 1950s, it started to be used as a binder in the process of converting iron ore into taconite. Bentonite is also used for lining dams and reservoirs because it will ­absorb water, swell up, and stop leaks.

Streamliners and steam

The Chicago & North Western, Great Northern, and Milwaukee Road ruled the rails on the late Stan Olander’s HO scale Cornbelt Northern RR. The colorful streamlined passenger trains from all three roads ran along the layout’s 215-foot main line. Occupying a 30 x 54 foot section of Stan’s basement, the layout celebrated Stan’s three favorite railroads and the scenery of the upper Midwest.

How to set up a smart phone throttle

Do you need an extra radio controller for your Digital Command Control (DCC) layout and don’t want to invest in a new one? If you have a smart phone, either Android or Apple, you already have one.


On the Web
From the Editor
Information Desk

Rules for the identification and position of hazardous loads in freight cars


Structure detailing that makes sense

DCC Corner

Installing a diesel WOWSound decoder

Trackside Photos

Featured layouts from your fellow model railroaders

Trains of Thought

Context and a second reality

Index of Advertisers
The Operators

Helping the yardmaster look experienced

5 compact track plans

5 compact track plans

Pack lots of fun into a small space.

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