Currently on my workbench is a custom project. I will convert a stock ATLAS EMD MP15DC into an MP15 for Union Railroad (URR) #13. MY client had the special request to add the URR typical walkways and raised sand hatches to the model.

I drew a template for the walkways and had it photo etched from nicklesilver by a local specialist. I turned out very good. The sand hatches were 3D desingned and resin printed by myself.

Here is the curent working state, showing the stripped shell with attached walkways and hatches.


Arnold SW1 URR #470

Today I have a little pictorial of making the URR #470

Base unit for this rather short job is an Arnold Hornby SW1 that came with Boston & Maine livery. Not much off the later final livery but I always strip the whole factory paint using 99% IPA and a ultrasonic bath.

I let the disassembled parts sit in the IPA until the paint peels of, followed by a gently rubbing with soft brush. In this case I noticed that the window inserts were glued to the cab walls. Prying them off is a bad idea as you will damage the small window frames. I let them in place and the IPA solved the glue.

Before the works begin : The factory livery on the SW1

SW1 with stripped off paint.

After striping I paint the base part in a straight white and gave the hood an cab a dark blue coat. I use standard water based flat acrylic paints thinned with 70% IPA to flow trough my airbrush.

The spots where I need to place decals I spray a glossy overcoat. This helps the decals to almost disappear on the model as you will have no airbubbles between the decal and the surface of the model.

After the decals dried I overspray the whole parts with a flat clearcoat, to secure the decals and to have an even and base were my weathering will adhere to.

Paint job done. I let the newly painted models or parts of it sit in an upside down placed fresh-box to prevent dust to settle on the fresh paint.

Decals are in place and the weathering has started.

First step in every weathering process is the blurring of the base color. I did this on the SW1 with a light blue – more sky or baby-blue wash of watered acrylic paint. Several layers applied one after one will sum up and help to control the blurring effect better than using just one single layer of wash.

Rust spots and bleeds are made of up to 7 layers of powdered pastels, each layer secured by overspraying with clearcoat.

Almost there. Assembly of hood and cab walkways and motor drive.

It helps to work after a prototype photo to not overkill a weathering job.

With all parts weathered I gave them a final flat clearcoat to get the surface touch-safe. After this its time to re-assemble the parts. Before inserting the windows I inspect and clean them if necessary.


PRR position light signal

After some time spending on the “best-practice” for assembling the multi-parts head on the PL I came around with a good alteration of the prototype. Photo below shows the last testrun. Tiny SMD 0402 inserted into the lamp holes, and the head glued to the crossarm section.



I also managed to get some more detail parts done, the 3D printed bae and some photo etched ladders and plattforms.



And last but not least, I manged to get the firmware running on the chip and with a littel help I manged to design a circuit board which will incorporate the mast socket and 6 input ports arcording to match the output on a SE8C from Digitrax Inc.


PRR style signals

A working PRR style position light signal in N-Scale ?

My current effort is to make this model available at least for my C&E layout where I need want to install signal protection on two junctions.

At present I spent more than 150 hours of labor and research into this project, starting back in 2016 with an idea on charlieplexing 16 LEDs needed by a full aspect PL.

With this I could reduce the 16 x 2 wires to only 5 wires for the full mast.

Below are two sample vids

First test with 3 mm LED and individual control :

Second test with 0402 SMD in an scale signal head :

International Railroad Exhibition, Cologne – Germany 2016

I attendet our large railroad exhibition at Cologne from 11/17 to 11/20 along with the NMRA European Region A.s.b.l.

Beside some real good chat with visitors I was able to show some of my weathering work live at the show.

Here is a little pictoral of the event :

Our booth at the show. Besides my microlayout and workshop we had two more layouts on board. Alain Kap, MMR – “R.I.P. Car Shop” and Pit Karges – “First snow on the Highline”.


My micro-layout more pictures can be found here.


Some of my recent art?-work in a secured display.


Done during Day #2 at the show. Arkansas & Missouri Boxcar after decent proto flick. On the right half of car #1


I finished off three cars during the show.


Thank you all who came for a visit to the booth

Downtown Spur


My micro-layout “Downtown Spur” will be featured in October issue of MIBA Miniaturbahnen. I entered the layout and some flicks earlier this year.

I am very pleased to be recognized for the contest. There will be an public vote where – so it seems – every one can participate via a website MIBA will anounce later

If you are interested in all contestants please feel free to visit MIBA’s contest site. Downtown Spur is # 17

Link to MIBA contest

Weathering after prototype

Recently I finished a new weathering project after a protoype photo.

I had this PCA boxcar sitting on the layout for almost 2 years and came across a protophoto on showing a PCA box dating to my timeperiod around 1980. Perfect hit.

So here we start off: I need some additional decal to match the two parts COTS and Weight stencils. I also designed a yellow dot, which was used around late 1970 to mark cars with intakt wheels.


Next step after appling the decals was to get a decent initial overall fade to the box.


Followed by various layer of powderized pastels.


And the finished version on an outside shot.



A little engineering

while back I messed around with DCC decoder and their cables. Then I switched over and used drop in decoders.
Now I am on a turning point again, as I want to convert my entire fleet to DCC with sound. There are some drop in decoders on the market that are plug’n play sound decoders.
But what if you want to fit a wired DCC decoder in your engine ?
Ok, you have the decoder, but need some modification on the DC board, you need a place for the LED and speakers. Well, all floating around somewhere ?! … Big mess in little space !

So I sat on the design board and drew some PCB boards.
One kind of adapter which fit into the original split frame notches for power pickup and where you can solder the wire for motor power and front/rear headlight.
And a second board where you can place a SMD LED and resistor of your choice, simply hook up two cables and you have your LED light board.


The PCB sitting on the split frame of a LifeLike GP18



The test-lab on rails. Wired adapter board and both LED boards. I am using a stripped down Digtrax SDN136PS sound decoder for testing purpose. The wire for the rear LED board needs to be longer to get the board down to the frame.



A close-up of the LED board and wired adapter.




Lights on, please !

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