Archive for the ‘Inspirations’ Category

Inspirations #6 – 2 Guyz and Sum Trains

Monday, March 24th, 2008

While not exactly a “traditional” model railroad web site, packs a lot of model railroad information in one loaded web site!

My favorite part of the site is the extensive list of “How to’s” along the right hand side of the page. I assume these articles are submitted by site members. I have found lots of great tips and tricks browsing through the collection.

The main feature of the site is the forum section. This is a place where model railroaders gather to work out problems and to show off their latest creation. The forums are loaded with lots of how too’s, tips, and tricks as well. It’s definitely worth a look and maybe even to become a member (it’s free!).

Anyway, it worth stopping by


Inspirations #5 – The Sipping & Switching Society of NC

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

When the UMG (Un-Named Modular Group) first formed, the Sipping & Switching Society was one of the first websites I visited for information about building modules. I was extremely impressed by the quality of their modules – both in their construction and scenic details. You have to love their 8 foot radius curved modules – a 60″ minimum radius!

Their site disappeared for a a while, but there were other sites that had a few S&SS resources, like TrevinoCircle’s link to their tree making instructions.

Welcome to the non-conformist, iconoclastic but ever so tasteful world of the Sipping and Switching Society

Their site is being rebuilt and I recently found it. The new Sipping & Switching Society of NC site contains a lot of information about building modules. I really like their waffle construction methods and their ideas for running rails right to the module edge negating the need for fitter rails between modules. (photo by Ric Mattar)

The UMG shares a lot of the same tenets that the S&SS has. About half way down their main page they talk about their group structure, or lack thereof. Basically, no formalities equals a happy and cohesive group. The group does not “own” anything and there is no “political” organization within the group. As long as modules are built to a basic standard they can be included in group layouts.

They have some track plans from past shows, and a few pictures of their modules on their site. I’m sure if you look around the internet you’ll find more photos of their very impressive layouts.


Inspirations #4 – Joe Fugate’s Siskiyou Line

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Joe FugateI’m not sure if it’s the layout or the person that has inspired me the most. Joe has built an amazing representation of what the prototype “may” have been if it had been built “as planned”.

The scenery on the layout is beautifully done and its operations seem to be very smoothly orchestrated (well most times anyway). Joe has many videos available for sale on topics ranging from layout construction to operating. From all accounts the videos are worth their weight in gold.

Joe is always willing to share his knowledge with others. He has created a forum where he, and many others, can share their skills and help other model railroaders with their challenges. I especially enjoy his op session discussions. The banter that goes on between operators seems oddly familiar! Ha!

It is definitely worth a visit to Joe Fugate’s Southern Pacific’s Siskiyou Line web site! I encourage you to drop in on his forum discussions from time to time as well. You will not be sorry you did.


Inspirations #3 – The Franklin & South Manchester

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

This layout never ceases to amaze me. The level of detail that George Sellios puts into the F&SM is incredible. You can look at a photograph of an F&SM scene several times and always find something new. His scenes are actually alive with activity.

I was surprised to read in a recent (perhaps a year or so ago – recent is relative to memory) Model Railroader that Mr Sellios is reducing the level of detail on the layout. I can only hope to achieve a portion of what has been done with the F&SM.

I have provided a few links, one to George Sellios’ Fine Scale Miniatures site and other sites with photos and video of the Franklin & South Manchester.

Fine Scale Miniatures

TrevinoCircle F&SM Photos

F&SM Photos on

Mark Fielder’s PhotoBook



Inspirations – Dirt Roads, Bushes, and Grass

Thursday, January 17th, 2008


This week’s Inspiration comes from Harol Minkwitz’s the Pacific Coast Air Line Railway web site. Harold’s site is full of scenery tips that I have “stolen” ideas from. The mountain section at the entrance to the Wholinthall Tunnel uses a technique for grass that I got from this site.

Harold includes step by step procedures with lots of photos to illustrate his methods. It is very easy to follow along and do what he does. Well, almost. There is still an art to some of these things, but practice does make perfect (or close to it).

His layout is O scale, but a lot of his techniques can be adapted to other scales.

So, visit the Pacific Coast Air Line Railway for some inspiration and prepare to be amazed!



Saturday, January 12th, 2008

I thought I’d share with you some web sites that have proven inspirational to me. There have been several over the years that I have been involved in model railroading. Here are two of many. I’ll post others later.

The first is TrevinoCircle - The Home of the Wiscassest, Trevino & Western (click on the “Placement of Stuff” link in the sidebar). James is obviously a fan of George Sellios’ Franklin and South Manchester (so am I). John Allen is probably another one of his influences.

The thing I like about James’ site the most is that he doesn’t just show photos of his scenery and detail. His are almost step by step (before, during, and after) photos of the scene as it develops. The unfortunate part is that he doesn’t go into great detail with descriptive text about how he does some things. Still, his tenements (scroll down on this page or view the Tenement Back Lots) provided the inspiration for my own tenement. I continue to refer to James site off and on for ideas.

The second is Twofoot Bill’s site. He has some amazing pictures and some great how-to’s for doing scenery. These are the two pictures from his site that I’ve used as wallpaper for both my monitors for several years. They are views of the same scene from opposite directions. Now that the BS&T is getting some scenery (and my photo skills are improving) my wallpaper may change.

Yes, it’s O scale but you can apply a lot of his techniques in smaller scales to get very good results. I use Selkirk Scenery leaves for my deciduous trees and have had great comments about them.

Have fun! Perhaps you could share some of your sources of inspiration in the comments section.