Category Archives: newcomer’s corner

Fallen flags…

…is a term used to refer to railroads of the past that are no more.  The Baltimore and Ohio, Chessie, the Milwaukee Road, the Pennsylvania…alas, sigh, groan…the list is long and includes many once mighty roads that used massive beasts that covered many thousands of miles of track.

The model train hobby has a growing list of hobby magazines that could be considered fallen flags–like the fallen roads, they led the way in their own forms of innovation and design, then fell by the wayside as time and fashion caught up with them and passed them by.  I’ll post the cover shots of them from time to time, starting with this one…Volume 2, number 2, February 1972, the Railroad Modeler magazine…it’s flag fell sometime around 1984…

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Alas…sigh…groan…Floquil paint is no more…

…cut my teeth on “Grimy Black” and “Rust”. They made for a great finish by grounding their pigments as finely as technology would allow in the beginning and introduced many a newcomer to the dangers of lacquer and its effects on unprotected styrene…

Dear Mr. ________

There are many changes taking place at The Testor Corporation. For over 80 years, we have provided premium paints and finishing systems to the craft and hobby industry. Recently we announced that we are transforming our business in order to more effectively address the changing needs of our consumers and their interests.

We’ve made the decision to exit the following businesses within the Testor Brand family – Pactra , Floquil , PollyScale , and ColorArtz. This will enable The Testor Corporation to return to our foundation of success providing premium, innovative product that inspires creativity. We will continue to accept orders and ship product for a limited time based on available quantities.

Going forward, the following brands will be critical to our success and development – Testor , Model Master , and Aztek. These brands will be infused with marketing support, innovation and operational efficiencies.

In support of this, we have announced a consolidation of operations at our Rockford facilities. Our commitment to the Testor brand has never been stronger. By implementing these changes, and the ability to leverage all of Rust-Oleum’s world class services, we are more strongly poised to take our business to the next level through product and merchandising
innovations, and increased customer understanding.

If you have further questions, please feel free to let us know.

We appreciate your business!!


The Testor Corporation
Consumer Affairs Department
1-800-837-8677 (1-800-testors)
M-F 8:00 A.M – 4:00 PM CST

Beginning model railroading: Rerailers, a tutorial…

There are two basic types, the sectional track mounted and the removable ramp.  The sectional track mounted type is most familiar, that easily recognizable grade crossing most often found in N and HO scale sectional track…

…it works by simply lifting the flanges of the wheelsets above the rails while guiding them the necessary direction to rerail themselves.  By slowly rolling the car or locomotive back and forth–while gently pushing down on the car—, the wheelsets fall back into place…



The portable ramp has been my preferred method since I first found them in my teens.  Its only drawback is that you do need a straight length of track at least as long as the ramp itself,  plus half a car length to make it work its best.  You simply place the rolling stock on the ramp, roll it against the sides to straighten out the trucks, then slowly roll it down the ramp, allowing the guides to do their magic.  With a little practice and, again, no pushing down on the car with undue pressure, it will roll straight onto the track with ease…




Portable ramps are made in both HO and N gauges, mine are made by Rix Products.

Hobbyline HO scale Fairbanks Morse H-10-44 in Lehigh Valley colors…

…a gift from an online modeler friend. I’ve wanted one of these for awhile, in any form, from any manufacturer. The look is pure brute and the car body was designed by the same guy who did the Pennsy GG1.




Made in a time when the hobby was less refined…come on, can you imagine the caterwauling from the peanut gallery if Atlas stamped their logo on the SIDE of any of their models. And check out the screw on the top of the hood…shameless, I tell you, shameless…thinking some goob could actually enjoy the hobby with such a blatant display of non-scale hardware. That boxing glove for a coupler actually mates with most knuckle couplers today and was only used by HObbyline on their equipment. It just gets cooler with each inspection…


This torpedo tube is actually a device to eliminate light bleed thru the shell and concentrate it towards the headlight, a rather forward thinking detail that sees little use still today.


Then there’s these giant spur gears in the cab, just waiting to puree some hapless HO scale crew that manages to fall into their clutches.

A great piece of modeling history, it appears to have been offered as part of several sets in 1955 — in Lehigh Valley, C&O and AT&SF paint as a passenger train and in C&O and AT&SF paint in two freight sets. Pennsylvania paint eventually was offered but it wasn’t long afterwards that HObbyline became Bowser and the diesel models stopped, most likely before 1960.

Many thanks buddy…it will be a cherished beastie in my fleet…

American Train & Track Corp. HO scale Plymouth diesel…March 1968…

…finally identified, won in a friendly bet with a hobby shop owner, $5 if it didn’t run, $10 if it did.

I won…



The company only lasted about 10 years and is most well known for its model of the Alco Century 415, later picked up by Life-Like. It used mechanism parts and truck sideframes from the AHM RS2 locomotives.