Friday, August 31, 2018


Sometimes using a locomotive is a bit of overkill when you just need to pull an empty boxcar out of the shop. This little Trackmobile is just the right size for the job. This is a Matchbox bulldozer which has been de-bladed.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Loader carrier for MoW

The Maintenance of Way crew has just come up with a new transport car. #947, for their loader. They cut off most of an old 40' boxcar, trimmed in the opening so a rollup door could be installed for security and protection from the elements. The loading ramps travel flat on the car and can be placed on the end or sides to offload the loader. 

The boxcar is an old Varney. Loader is a Matchbox "Skidster", $1 from Dollar General. The ramps are from an O-scale window assembly from the junk box.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Compressed gas cylinders

Have some LED Christmas light strings? The "bulb" is fake. It is a just a bulb-shaped plastic sleeve which slides on over the LED. Pull some out and you have some HO scale compressed gas cylinders to paint up and place around the layout. Plus you can also remove the nice 3mm LEDs.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Make a Hi-rail truck for $1

Another Dollar General project! These Matchbox pickup trucks caught my eye at $1 each, and looked like they could easily become hi-rail vehicles for the maintenance fleet.

Matchbox vehicles are generally oversize for HO, but this is a Matchbox Datsun mini-truck. My HO scale ruler measured it at 20 feet long. My full size Silverado pickup is 19 feet long. Close enough - the mini Datsun makes a good representation of a full size pickup in HO.

The body was painted white to be a utility body, with the addition of some tool boxes and gas cylinders. The hi-rail axles are beads glued onto wire. The roof light is a 3mm amber LED with the leads cut off.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day baseball!

Memorial Day little baseball underway at Mudgett Field. Note the dugout enclosures donated by the railroad.

Monday, May 21, 2018

People painting on a picnic table

Camping season has arrived! Over the winter I like to save up little portable projects to take to the picnic table at the campground. This weekend was painting little people. They come pretty cheap from China via eBay ($1.29 per 100, free shipping). The catch is you get to do the painting. Once set up assembly line style, it goes pretty fast. There are 500 people being prepped for the layout. My goal is to have the layout “fully populated” by the September 8 Maine Model Railroad Tour.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A new combine arrives

Here is a Tyco old-time combine modernized for service on my mixed train. First I popped off the clerestory roof and was surprised to find the body had a full roof already. Then the silhouettes and truss rods were removed. The roof was painted aluminum and a couple ventilators added. Weighted up to spec, glazed windows, added a view block inside. Grab bars highlighted with a silver Sharpie pen. Now it’s ready for service in a Cape Ann mixed, picking up fishermen and hikers from those remote flag stops! 

Combine on the tail end of a local mixed train.

Remote flag stop at Cascade serves fishermen and hikers.

Before. Pic from eBay seller mikecdog.

Pop off the clerestory roof to reveal a full domed roof.