Late in 2006 I finished and delivered a small 6' x 10' layout for a RAILDREAMS client in Florida. The theme was Pennsylvania logging in two simple contiguous loops.

A tall spine of high trees down the center provided a view block on each side with log loading on one side and the mill and pond on the other. The corners featured different vignettes as you can see from the plan and aerial photo below.

The layout was displayed at the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Durango in August 2006 and delivered to Florida in October. Here are a few pix to illustrate the fun in 1/4" scale.

Picture 1: Most of the layout is visible in this aerial view... The tall bridges are on the left, engine facility, center and the town on the right.

Picture 2: For some topographical relief, I wanted the loops to cross a couple of high trestles over a canyon with a hobo camp and highway bridge below. I put 1.5v lights in the pickup for effect. The trestle bents are all scribed balsa.

Picture 3: Around the corner, a two stall enginehouse services all the logging and road engines. This structure is now available from me in a kit form under the Russian River RR Co. label. See a review and ad in July/August 2008 Narrow Gauge Gazette and check my "On30 Enginehouse" page for more details.

Picture 4: Coal is King in PA. Behind the engine house, these two slackers shovel their fill into a scratch built elevator.

Picture 5: The chief industry in Tuscarora is the hardwood sawmill, an imposing structure scratch built in balsa to fit the available space.

Picture 6: Mogul #31 crosses Main Street in downtown Tuscarora. The gas Station is an Evergreen kit.

Picture 7: As the evening mixed train leaves town, activity is still brisk at Darrow machinery, a rather large Cedar Hill Designs kit.

Picture 8: Up the hill from the town, life is idyllic in rural Pennsylvania.

Sawmill with Sierra West machinery

Currently underway for a client is a 1/48th scale sawmill based on the gorgeous Sierra West(ex CHB) machinery. The module is 30" x 60" and the building istself is 30" long and 14" wide. The log haul extends another 10" into the pond. The structure is primarily built of Balsa, scribed and detailed.

County Courthouse

This structure started as a Downtown Deco Far East Trading Co. kit. The walls were cut apart and rearranged to make a more imposing government building. The footprint is roughly 6" x 17" but has no backside since it will sit against the backdrop. The clock face is a picture of my own clock, reworked in Photoshop. The Statue of Lincoln is a 1/35th scale pewter casting on a painted plaster base.

Fuel and Water Tanks

The funky tank perched above the concrete piers is a reworked Bachmann On30 tank car fitted with a styrene walkway and ladder. The decking and upper ladder are etched brass. The piers were cast in plaster using a styrene mold, scribed with a wood grain texture. The rust was accomplished using a salt mask technique.

The backwoods water tank is a straight forward Rusty Stumps kit. I used real wood logs for the base rather than urethane "logs" provided with the kit and added a lot of ground foam "moss". You can almost smell the mildew.

Machinery Shops

The North pacific Coast RR machinery shops service all the non-rail equipment inclduing a ditcher, bulldozer, and crawler track laying crane. The dozer and crane were kitbashed from HO Kibri kits and the steam shovel is a reworked Lionel product. The brick structure was, again, Downtown Deco walls with Grandt windows, cardstock roof etc.

Emils Texaco

Using walls from a couple DD kits I developed this 40's era gas station, adding Grandt windows and doors, Berkshire Valley and Russian River details and Ertl vehicles. More photos can be seen at
Custom Modeling

This 1/48th dozer began as a Kibri HO Komatsu. I added styrene seat, tank, hood, toolboxes, and a 1/25 scale car engine. Everthing else is stock. On30 Critter #3 started life as a ModelPower 4-wheel diesel switcher. With a shortened hood and scratchbuilt cab, she's towing a string of Bachmann's side dump rock cars out of the local quarry. My first scratchbuilt project was this abandon blacksmith shop. It featured several scratchbuilt wagons as well. notice the shadow left by the sign on the false was fabricated from the bottom of a Swanson's chicken pot pie tin. Modern day O Scale. the client wanted a modern coal mine with flood loading silos. The mine itself was built with many sheets of Evergreen corrugated styrene and the silos from cardboard sono tubes. They stand about 30" high. missing from this photo are three conveyors that ran from the building to the top of the silos.

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