​Short slide show on decoder installation in Atlas GP38-2

Fear of Kits                              March 2017   Kurt Clement

Are kits for model railroad cars a thing of the past? Gone the way of home-made bread?  Not on my railroad!

There seems to be a fear of kits today among model railroaders.  With fast food, streaming video and music, and next day shipping from anywhere within 4,000 miles it seems that the days of assembling models from kits are slipping away.  Either people want things “now”, or they are hesitant to open a box and assemble their own model from parts.  I can’t help you with the “now” factor, but I can help nudge you toward a very enjoyable part of the hobby, building your own rolling stock.

Read this posting on my Steel Diamonds blog.

Using an end mill to remove enough metal from the Kato NW2 chassis weight to make room for an N scale decoder.  The area with the wavy reflection has been milled out, as has a wire channel toward the bottom of the photo and another wire channel up both sides and across the top, visible as a shiny rectangle in the upper right.  Plan carefully and take a deep breath before you turn on the drill press.  Milling photo by Kurt Clement

Happy Railroading! Dave Hockensmith, Ozarks Model Railroad Association

Photo by Dave Hockensmith

DCC installation in the Kato NW2 is not for the novice or faint of heart. It requires complete disassembly, significant milling of the weight to make room for even a small N scale decoder, and complete re-wiring. I recommend trying some less complex installations before attempting a Kato NW2. I have not been ambitious enough to try sound installation in an NW2 but others have done it and there are YouTube videos & articles available.  

I use this model on my layout with a Tsunami EMD 567 sound decoder installed under the layout and MUed (in a consist)  to the locomotive on top of the layout so that locomotive speed and prime mover sounds are synchronized.  I got the idea from Kurt Clement who directed me to Lance Mindheim’s excellent blog - see link below. Under layout sound is easy to set up and operate. Using free standing Tsunami decoders and inexpensive amplified computer speakers, I get very good sound without the expense in money and time of installing sound decoders and speakers in each locomotive.  I simply install motor decoders in my DC locos and MU them to the Tsunami’s using standard MU procedures. I can run a much larger roster at far less cost and still enjoy the sound of railroading. Lance Mindheim’s blog post on what he calls “under table sound” can be found HERE.


Custom Frisco NW2

April 2017   David Hockensmith

Frisco NW2 #254 works the flour mill on my freelance HO scale home layout. The Kato NW2 began life in Wayne Feed livery. I stripped, repainted, and decaled the shell in the SL-SF "as delivered" paint scheme. I used Oddballs Frisco switcher decals. If I were to do the project again I would use Microscale decals. I installed a Digitrax N scale decoder and LED lighting.  NW2 photo by Dave Hockensmith.