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ZM-3 Southern Ms-4 with Elesco Feedwater

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject: ZM-3 Southern Ms-4 with Elesco Feedwater Reply with quote

The Southern Railway Ms-4 Mikado 2-8-2
Elesco Feedwater Heater Version

If you have a love affair with steam, as I do, you appreciate the beauty and diversity of steam locomotives, wherever they existed (or in a few cases, still exist), but particularly American steam.

The mechanics and physics of diesel-electric locomotives have been so efficiently exploited as to make virtually perfect machines with no limitations. The mechanics and physics of steam, fortunately, were never perfectible. Consequently, every different operations problem, or combination of operations problems, needed a unique solution, creating an incredible variety of types and designs of steam locomotives with only limited standardization possibilities. Thus, we have the 2-8-8-4 and the 4-8-4 developed for the Northern Pacific because of a cheap source of very low grade coal; the Southern Pacific cab forwards developed because of oil fuel use and miles of snowshed and tunnels through the Sierras; and the UP 4-12-2 because of long stretches of straight track. Every railroad had its different characteristics and unique roster of steam.

Being basically a modeler more than an operator, I have several railroad favorites, one of which is the Southern. There are many reasons why the Southern is interesting, but I give you one of the best ... its modelable, and its modeling future is getting brighter. Here's why. Of all the railroads, it's hard to find one that relied on USRA types more than the Southern. Mainstays on the line were USRA 4-6-2, 2-10-2, 2-8-2, 0-8-0, and 4-8-2 locos.

Of particular interest to me is the Ms-4 class of USRA Mikados. Southern had hundreds of ‘Mikes, and they were a mainstay of their freight locomotive fleet. Over the years these USRA locomotives were modernized with up-grades. In this class, 55 received Worthington Feed Water Heaters and 59 received the Elesco Feed Water Heaters. Though the USRA 2-8-2s delivered before 1928 mounted Baker Valve Gear, those delivered later (#4800 through 4854) had Walschaert Valve Gear. All the Baker units were replaced with Walschaert Valve Gear by time of World War II.

In this article, we will use a set of GHQ pewter detail parts, brass wires and decals (Kit #ZM-2) to turn a standard N-Scale heavy USRA Mikado manufactured by Kato into the Southern’s Ms-4 class mounting an Elesco feedwater heater. A future article will describe the Ms-4 with a Worthington feedwater pump.

Getting Started! Let’s GO!!!

The common “wisdom” is that N-scale is not for serious modelers. “N-scale is for guys who play with toy trains.” Those days are gone, forever!

GHQ locomotive conversion kits offer N-scalers a significant advancement over the hurdles traditionally placed before serious modelers. Now, for the first time, all the important features of a specific prototype locomotive class are included in one easy package. From “plumbing” to decals, and featuring cast Britannia pewter details that surpass brass, everything you need is in this kit. GHQ has even included plans that show the minutest super-details for the ultra- fastidious! Welcome to this brave new world!

If you are new to steam locomotive conversion, this is really not as scary as it looks. Follow some simple, common sense rules, take your time, and soon you will have a model you’ll be proud of forever. Here are some tips:

• Read all the instructions and understand them prior to gluing anything together.

• When working with Kato’s Mikado, don’t use brute force. Their plastic parts are beautifully formed but a bit fragile, so be careful.

• “Measure twice; cut (or bend) once.” Still good advice!

• Use “Super Glue” - CA (cyanoacrylate) glue to cement brass wire, pewter castings and plastic pieces together. We highly recommend gap filling Hot Stuff. Do not use thin “super” glues.

• Use Testor’s Liquid Cement to glue plastic to plastic. As always, a little goes a long way!

• Before beginning, get out your favorite form of magnification. Proper modeling requires great lighting and magnification. Many find an “Opti-Visor” to be most convenient.

• For those unaccustomed to drilling holes with very fine bits, here’s a primer. These bits are brittle: handle with care. Insert the bit into the collet of a pin vise with very little of the tip protruding. Drilling pewter is not like drilling wood: don’t just crank away until the bit bursts out the other side. Every revolution or three, back the bit off counter-clockwise. Don’t allow the waste to clog the hole, as friction will break the tip of the bit, probably fouling the hole. Drilling out a carbon steel bit is impossible – so take your time!

• Bending brass wire is a bit of an art, so here are a few secrets. Square corners are most easily formed by holding the wire in a pair of pliers and bending against a firm surface. A pair of toothed needle-nosed pliers is good for forming handgrabs: match the width of the grab to the width of a particular tooth, squeeze the wire, and bend the ends over at right angles, again pressing the side of the pliers against a hard surface. Every hand grab made in that tooth will be the same width! When making rounded curves, use a round form (paint brush handle, drill bit, etc.) as a mandrel to curve the shape. One technique worth practicing is to lay the wire across the palm of your hand, and roll a metal cylinder over it to gently curve the wire. Practice makes perfect – you’ll get good at it pretty quickly!

Wire diameter Use Drill Bit
.033 #65
.023 #72
.019 #75
.015 #78
.012 #80

• GHQ has provided all the parts to make a stunning Mikado, even if you choose not to use all of them. If, after reading the entire instruction sheet, you decide to avoid some detailing steps, you will still end up with a model to be proud of. Similarly, if you wish to add even more piping than provided here, take some scrap brass wire, and follow the plans.

• Clean each casting. Use a #11 hobby knife, scrape any part lines off each piece. Note that there are mounting lugs on several parts, do not trim them off. Remove any “drill vents” - tiny nipples of metal that are created during the casting process. There are several of these on all of the larger castings, and a few on the smaller parts. Take your time: its lots easier to clean these up before the parts are assembled and painted!

• Decals should be applied using a quality decal setting system. Both Microscale and Champ offer excellent products.

• Unfamiliar with steam locomotive nomenclature? You won’t be by the time you’ve finished this kit! Here’s a diagram that will help.

• Need more brass wire for super-detailing? This kit includes Details Associates wire.

• Soldiers are trained to field strip their rifles blind-folded. You need to be as familiar with your Kato Mikado. Here, for the first time in print, is the “field manual” for the “Mike.” Review the illustrations that came from Kato.

Inspect the pieces in this kit. You should have:

1 x Elesco Feedwater Heater Tank Ends Sprue (#6)
1 x Elesco Feedwater Heater Exhaust Steam Pipes Sprue (#7)
1 x Fireman Side Mid-Section Walkway (#8 )
1 x Fireman Side Forward Walkway (#9)
1 x Westinghouse Air Pump (#10)
1 x Elesco Compressor Unit (#11)
1 x Compressor Air Filter Frame (#13)
1 x Elesco Heater Tank Body (#14)
1 x Fireman Side Air Canister (#15)
1 x Engineer Side Air Canister (#16)
1 x Pilot Platform Step (#17)
1 x Smokebox Hinge Sprue (#18 )
2 x Tender Coal Bunker Side Boards (#19)
2 x Window Frames (#20)
1 x Generator & Valve Turret Sprue (#21)
1 x Running Gear Cross Beams Sprue (#22)
1 x Brakeman's Doghouse Right Side (#23)
1 x Brakeman's Doghouse Rear (#24)
1 x Brakeman's Doghouse Left Side (#25)
1 x Cab Comb & Air Filter Sprue (#26)
1 x Brakeman's Doghouse Main Body (#27)
1 x Tender Stowage Box (#28 )
1 x Tender Coal Box Rear Board (#29)
1 x Ladder Sprue (#30)
1 x Whistle & Sand Valve Sprue (#31)
1 x Injector Unit (#33)
1 x Check Valve Sprue (#34)
1 x Safety Valve Sprue (#35)
1 x Tender Rear Light Sprue (#36)
1 x Re-Rail Frog Sprue (#37)


Brass Wires:

1 x .033” Brass Wire
2 x .023” Brass Wires
2 x .019” Brass Wires
3 x .015” Brass Wires
2 x .012” Brass Wires

**Note that many of the parts are ganged onto ‘sprues:’ small ‘trees’ with a bar connecting the parts. The numbers in the instructions and diagrams that follow refer to these parts. In some cases, 2 different parts are on the same sprue, so occasionally two different parts have the same number. [For instance, the Generator and the Valve Turret are both on part #21.] By reviewing the illustrations, it should be quite clear which part is which! If any of the parts are missing, contact GHQ at, note the NUMBER of the part, and a replacement will be forwarded. If you need additional replacement parts, the cost is $1.75 per sprue, plus shipping and handling fees.

If you have already completely assembled and detailed the 2-8-2 you plan to convert, it is not essential to completely disassemble the model. These instructions are the easiest way to build the sub-assemblies, minimizing the probabilities of damaging details while handling the model.

1] Disassemble the Kato USRA heavy Mikado (not included). Cradling the model upside-down, remove the Phillip’s-head screw that holds the forward tender truck (with the draw bar) to the tender floor. Remove this truck and set aside. Remove the tender draw bar from the mounting peg. Tying a length of sewing thread around the drawbar to restrain the copper contacts will prevent their inevitable destruction. Replace the screw to avoid misplacing it. Set tender aside.

2] Field strip the locomotive.

A] Remove the cab. This is a bit tricky. There is a tiny peg on the end of the running boards projecting rearward into the cab front walls. These need to be disengaged: Spread the cabsides and lift the cab. It will pop off.

B] Remove the smokebox. Examine the steps at the front of the running boards: They pin into holes in the pilot platform. By flexing the pilot platform down, these pins disengage. If the smokebox braces are already installed (Kato parts C-3 and C-4), they too will pop out when the platform is flexed. Once disengaged, the cylinder/forward running board pieces can be loosened by pulling them straight sideways. But go easy! This is a necessary prelude to removing the smokebox only. There is no need to remove these pieces, and if they move too far, the 3 grey plastic fingers of the piston / valve gear assembly will pop out of their holes in the cylinder, and reassembly is touchy. Slide the smokebox straight forward, off the boiler. It is recommended that you now remove the three rearmost flanges from the bottom of the smokebox (see fig. 2).

C] Remove the cab floor / rear of firebox. It slides off straight back.

D] Remove the boiler. A bit of wiggling should suffice.

E] Remove the main running boards and firebox sides. On each side, these two parts are connected with interlocking tabs. There is a pin on the back of the firebox side that inserts into a hole on the mechanism. Gently pull these pieces straight sideways. Glue firebox sides to running boards.

Detailing the Mechanism

3] Test fit the pewter Running Gear Cross Beam (#22) over the plastic one (fig. 3), shaving plastic detail ‘til it fits. Glue in place, taking care to avoid cementing the valve gear together! Those moving parts have to still move! Repeat on other side.

Detailing the Cab

4] Remove the clear plastic window glazing pieces by flexing the rear wall and prying on the clear piece with a hobby knife. Set aside for re-installation after painting.

5] (Optional) When the crew wished to open the prototype cab side windows they slid the frame forward into a pocket in the cab wall. Most photos show a completely open window. Using a hobby knife, trim all the mullion strips out of the window frame. To simulate a partially open window, trim out the rear “+” from the mullions. For a closed window, leave it as is. Repeat on opposite window.

6] Cement Window Frames (#20) onto outside of cab, set into window well. The sloping shade goes at the top. Repeat on opposite side.

7] The Cab Comb (#26) resembles a curved sword blade. Test fit centered across the rear lip of the cab roof (fig. 4). Glue in place.

8] Add hand grabs to the front edge of the cab, Bend 2 short pieces of .012” wire into “U” shapes .030 wide (interior). Bend both arms 90 degrees .020”. Drill mounting holes where shown (fig.4) on each side of cab with a #80 bit (.014”). Glue.

9] Using the #80 bit (.014”), drill the upper hole for each handrail in the cab rear, centering the holes between the bottom corner of the rear cab window and the edge.

Detailing the Boiler

If you have previously installed the Kato hand rail and stanchions, removing them now would be a good idea to avoid damaging these parts.

10] Though maybe counter-intuitive, we begin detailing the boiler by removing cast-on plastic details from the boiler. Free standing wires will replace these low relief pipes, etc. and the new details would require different “plumbing.”

With a new, sharp #11 blade, scrape the following items off the plastic boiler shell:

Engineer Side (fig 5)
• Water Delivery Pipe and check valve
• Injector Steam Pipe
• Sand Release Valve Units
• Sand pipes

Fireman Side (fig 6)
• Water Delivery Pipe and check valve
• Injector Steam Pipes (4)
• Sand Release Valve Units
• Sand pipes
• Generator

Boiler Top (figs 5 & 6)
• Turret (file this off – it resembles a box)

11] Using a piece of scrap styrene (not included), plug the turret box hole in the top of the boiler. Allow to dry completely.

12] Prepare the turret for mounting on top of the boiler. The Valve Turret (#21 – sprued with the generator) needs to have the 2 pins shown in figure 7 removed. Use a #78 drill bit to drill a hole into the body of the turret where both of the two pins were removed. Wires will be glued into these holes in step #14 below.

13] Drill a #72 (.025”) hole in the center of the patch where the turret was removed (see Step 11, above) for the peg on the bottom of the valve turret. Glue Valve Turret (#21) in place, with the side you drilled holes in facing forward (See fig. 8 ).

14] Install the steam pipes. For the engineer side, cut a .65” length of .015” wire, and form it to wrap straight down the side of the boiler. Bend the top end 90o, and insert into the first hole drilled in the Valve Turret (#21) in step 12. The bottom end of this rear pipe should end in a notch in the bottom edge of the boiler. (See figs. #8 & #9.)

On the fireman side, repeat steps above for rear pipe on the fireman side. The bottom end of this rear pipe should end in a notch in the bottom edge of the boiler. (see fig. 10).

The final pipe’s top end goes under the Valve Turret (#21), and will end behind the Westinghouse Air Pump. Cut a 1.75” length of .015” wire, and form it to wrap straight down the boiler until just above the handrail location. Bend it there horizontally 90 o forward 1”, then 90 o straight down. Bend the top end 90 o, and insert under the second hole in the Valve Turret (#21) drilled in step 12. (See.Fig. 10 & the photograph below fig. 10).

15] Glue pewter Sand Release Valves (#31) to both sides of the sand dome/ boiler (figs. 10 & 11).

16] Bend 4 lengths of .015 wire about an inch long to form the sand pipes. After studying figs. 10 & 11 for placement, drill #80 bit (.014”) holes abutting the bottom of the sand release valves for the top of each pipe, which should be bent 90 degrees and inserted into the holes that you just drilled. The lower ends should be notched into the bottom edge of the plastic boiler, so that they will appear to continue beyond the running boards to the drivers. Glue in place, then trim any excess wire off at the bottom.

17] Replace two Kato plastic parts with sturdier pewter models! Glue the pewter Whistle (#31) and Safety Valves (#35) in place as shown below (Fig. 12).

18] Install the Generator (#21). On the centerline at the top of the boiler, drill a .025” hole .040” behind the second boiler band, directly in front of the turret, for the Generator (#21). Glue in place as shown in figs. 8 & 13.

19] The Fireman Side Mid Section Walkway (#8 ) is mounted where the water delivery pipe was removed (see step 10 & fig. 6). It is shown in place in fig. 14. Find this casting, and test fit on the boiler. Drill a #72 hole through the boiler band for the mounting peg, test fit part in place, then drill rear hole. Glue in place. Test fit Forward Walkway (#9). Notch for sand pipes, then glue to boiler side where shown (fig.14).

20] Make 2 more hand grabs as described in step 8. Drill and glue them on the sides of the sand dome (fig. 11, and under the arrow to the forward walkway above in fig. 14).

Detailing the Smokebox

21] Glue the Smokebox Hinges (#18 ) in place as shown (fig. 15).

22] Cut a length of .015” wire ± .75” long to form the smokebox handrail. Curve it to form an asymmetrical “smile” – note that the fireman side of the handrail ends abruptly before hitting the lower hinge (#1Cool. Bend the top ends 90o, and drill #78 bit (.016”) holes to insert wire into smokebox face.

23] Assemble the bell, bell platform and marker lights as shown in the Kato instructions.

24] Before mounting the Elesco heater, drill holes for the wires. Figures 16.1 and 16.2 show the wire sizes: choose the correct bit and pre-drill all holes. Glue Elesco Heater Body (#14) to top of smokebox, (drill a mounting hole with a #72 bit – the hole should be on the top centerline half way between the front of the smokestack and front lip of the smokebox). Glue Elesco Heater Ends (#6) in place: riveted end is on the fireman side. Consult figs 16.1 & 16.2 below.

Detailing the Engineer Side Running Board / Firebox Side

25] Glue the Engineer Side Air Canister (#15) to the bottom edge of boiler as shown (fig. 17)

26] Create main water delivery pipe. Cut a piece of .019” brass wire 2.5” long. At the angle shown in fig. 17, use a #75 bit to drill a clearance hole through the running board. After studying the plan, bend the wire to rise from below the cab, run forward at a slight angle up along the firebox wall, diagonally up and through the hole in the running board, then horizontally along the side of the boiler.

27] Drill a #76 hole in the end of the two Check Valves (#34) to accept the end of the water delivery wires. See Figure 17 (also figs. 1 & 5).

28] Test fit the boiler onto the engineer side running board / firebox piece. Trim the leading edge of the wire to position the Check Valve (#34) over the spot where you scraped the molded plastic check valve (see fig. 5) off.

29] Glue a Check Valve (#34) onto wire delivery pipe. See fig. 17 above, also fig. 10.

30] Create a staple of .012” wire by bending it around a piece of .019” wire. Drill 2 #80 holes into the firebox wall where shown (fig. 17), one above and below the water delivery pipe, and glue staple in place to anchor pipe.

31] Optional: GHQ has included the Injector (#33) casting for the super-detailer. Consult plans (fig. 18 ) for the rest of the connections. Though a beautiful addition to your Ms-4, it will also be very fragile. If you choose to NOT use the injector casting, trim the water delivery pipe near the lower edge of the firebox side. (Trim near where it says “water delivery pipe (to check valve)” in fig. 18 )

32] Glue a Ladder (#30) descending from the running board immediately ahead of the cab (fig. 18 ).

Detailing the Fireman’ Side Running Board / Firebox Side

33] Remove the two Kato plastic air canisters and Westinghouse air pump/filter. You will be keeping the forward air tank, but removing the rear tank. Gently pull the air canisters straight sideways, disengaging four small pins from the mounting blocks.

34] Measure forward .656” (21/32”) from the rear of the fireman’s side running board (where it abuts the front edge of the cab) and cut squarely though the running board. Remove the entire running board forward of this mark, including the hanging coiled pipes.

35] The Elesco Compressor (#11) and the Westinghouse Air Pump (#10) are both glued onto pegs on a pewter Compressor Air Filter Frame (#13). The two pegs on the back of this frame (marked “E”) mount in the two holes where the Kato plastic rear air canister had been. Glue frame in place. (fig. 19)

36] Studying fig. 20, decide which wires you’ll be adding to the Elesco compressor (3 wires), Westinghouse air pump (2 wires). The Air Filter (#26) has a pewter “wire” that should be inserted into the Elesco compressor (again, see fig. 20). Pre-drill all holes now.

37] Glue the Elesco Compressor Unit (#11) and the Westinghouse Air Pump (#10) to the Mounting Bracket (#13) where shown (fig. 20).

38] Cut and bend wires as shown in fig 20. Glue in place. “Staple” the main water delivery pipe to firebox wall. (See step 30 for details on creating and mounting a ‘staple.’)

39] Glue the Air Filter (#26) on where shown (fig. 20), bending the pewter pipe on part #26 to contact to the Elesco Compressor (#11).

40] Glue a Ladder (#30) descending from the running board immediately ahead of the cab.

Putting it All Together

41] Re-assemble the locomotive. Make sure everything fits, make any adjustments necessary.

42] Connect the major pipes into the Elesco Heater Tank Body & Ends (#6, & #14) atop the smokebox. Consult the plans, photos, and figures 14, 15, 16.1, 16.2 & 21. Cut and bend wires to fit, then glue in place. Remember that you will need to dis-assemble the subassemblies if you ever have to service the motor. For instance, cut the fireman side water delivery pipe behind the Westinghouse Air Pump (see “cut wire here” in fig. 21): glue top part of this wire to the boiler, the bottom part to side. Add the pewter Elesco Feedwater Heater Exhaust Steam Pipes (#7), drilling holes in the plastic saddle for the bottom pins (fig. 15).

43] Glue the Pilot Platform Step (#17) to the two wire railings, provided by Kato, which connect the smokebox to the pilot platform. Refer to fig. 15 for correct placement.

44] There are 2 tall handgrabs, one on either side of the rear of the cab. Holes were drilled for the tops in step 9. Form the handrails out of .015” wire, and drill holes for the lower ends. Do not glue this railing in, as it must be loosened to disassemble model for motor maintenance. (see fig. 4)

45] Re-install the long handrails, provided by Kato, that run the length of the boiler.

Detailing the Tender

46] Glue the two Coal Box Side Boards (#19) to the sides of the tender, aligning the notched lower edges with the tops of the plastic walls.

47] Test fit the Coal Box Rear Board (#29) onto the shorter plastic one, curved edge up. Glue.

48] Assemble the Brakeman’s Doghouse. Test fit the Side Walls (#23 & #25) onto the Main Body (#27), then the Rear Panel (#24) (this is the panel with the door). When all the joints are aligned, glue to the deck of the tender. It should be centered on the deck, with the door facing toward the rear, and the leading edge (the “back” of the doghouse) gently touching the rear coal board of the coal bunker. (See fig. 22)

49] Form the two hand rails for the edges of the roof of the doghouse using .012” wire. Drill the 4 #80 holes, and glue handrails in place (see figs. 22 & 23).

50] Glue Tender Stowage Box (#28 ) to underside of tender floor where shown in
Figs. 22 & 24.

51] Each corner of the tender has a full height hand rail. Study the illustrations (figs 22 & 23), then make and install these handrails using .012” wire.

52] Glue the low profile Tender Rear “head” Light (#36) to the rear of the tender, after drilling a .025” pilot hole for the peg. See Fig. 23.

53] The Rerail Frog (#37) hangs from the engineer side tender frame .125” ahead of the rear step (fig. 24). Glue in place.

54] Install the plastic rear ladder as described in the Kato instructions (fig. 24).

Painting and Decaling

Each modeler has his or her own favorite paints and methods. We recommend using an airbrush to apply quality hobby paints, either acrylics or enamels, to your Ms-4. You could either paint each sub-assembly separately, and then put the parts back together, or reassemble the model prior to finishing.

The overall color is “black,” though we recommend a dark grey. The tender top behind the coal bunker and either side of the coal bunker in front are oxide red. The interior of the coal bunker was usually also oxide red, though grey may have been used occasionally. The cab window sashes and number board panels on the headlight were a bright red. The smokebox and firebox sides were usually bright graphite, but both quickly weathered.

Weathering is a personal decision. We very lightly drybrushed a steel color over raised details, and then applied an overall turpentine based black wash. Be careful not to “gum up” the mechanism! If you have an airbrush, it can be used to add a thin layer of dust, particularly on the walkways and lower sides of the tender. A satin overspray is recommended, after decal application.

Decal Placement:

Large numerals- centered on tender sides

“SOUTHERN” - centered under cab window

Small numerals- centered under “SOUTHERN” side of sand dome below handrail, rear of tender (see fig. 18 )

Division Letters- forward lip of tender coal bunker side

10,000 Gallons- above handrail, rear of tender (see fig. 18 )

Warning label- rear of tender (see fig. 18 )

This kit can be purchased here on the GHQ website:

Thank you for looking,

Ms-4 plans © Model Railroader Magazine, 1982.
Used by permission.
For more information on the Ms-4 class,
See the January 1982 issue of Model Railroader

Last edited by GHQ on Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you like this article? Do you like the IC 2-Bay decal article? Do you like the Burlington O-4 article? Why? Why not? Do you like the idea of an onoing series of Ho-to articles in this format? Do you have any suggestions? Comments?

This series of How-to articles is new for us. Please give us some feedback. This is planned as an ongoing project, any feedback that you can give us will be much appreciated.

Thank you,
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like any ideas and 'how to' articles. The problem, I suspect, is that far too few people are even aware of this forum's existance.

You may want to actually - officially - get the word out a bit and post to some of the public MRR forums (I'll try Atlas RR again myself).

N Scale Talk:

The Gauge:

That's a couple that seem to have some action going on. Might get people to 'have a look' at GHQ's site (and products, please).
"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of java that the thoughts acquire speed. The hands acquire the shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion." - Programmer's Mantra
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your input. Just to clarify, we are not all-together unhappy with the number of views on the articles that we have posted. Obviously more views is much better, but the numbers of views for a new project like this are not disappointing, especially considering the very limited amount of promotion that we have done. We that being said, other forums/bulletin boards/etc. are generally not happy about about having outside ventures make postings promoting their own websites/forums/bulletin boards/products/etc. If you know of any places that may have others who you think would enjoy these articles, please let them know about the Zen Master articles.

We would really appreciate feedback. Do you like an article? Why? Why not? Do you have suggestions? Why would they be good? Are the articles too technical? Not technical enough? Do they have too much historical background? Not enough historical background? Creating a dialogue is helpful. There may be others who share your questions/feelings. Do you subscribe to any model railroading magazines? Do you often do the projects that are shown in the articles? Do you ever do them? Do they inspire you to do other projects? Do you do any model building, or are you strictly a ready to run person? Are you a ready to run person who has ambitions of doing some actual model building, but doesn't know where to start?

We see model railroading as a MODELING hobby. Everyone who creates a model railroad has a vision in their head. Rarely, if ever, is that vision able to come to life the way that you see it by strictly using ready to run, out of the box, models. In order to make your layout fit your vision, and keep it from looking like everyone else's, you are going to need to do some kitbashing, decaling, weathering, etc. That is what we are trying to foster here- model building. In addition, model railroading is a very social hobby. That is how techniques are developed, perfected, and spread to others. We are trying to create a model railroad modeling community. Please help us spread the word about what we are doing, and give us some feedback on what we are doing.

Thank you for your support,
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The articles I have seen so far are very good, very thorough. Currently, I can't do much modelling (of any kind) due to a lack of time/money/room etc...

One of the major stumbling blocks in N-Scale is the lack of a variety of QUALITY products, whether RTR or in kit form. This has been getting much better on the RTR side, but somewhat worse on the kit side. There are still some bright spots out there and GHQ is one of those.

As to these articles, if I had time/money/room these would come in VERY handy since they contain a great deal of prototype information as well as good guidance on the processes needed to upgrade a stock model into something special. I believe the format is good and clear and the photos do provide a solid visual to backup the text.

I can't thnk of anything wrong with any so far, since I can't really put them into practice as such. The only way to be sure about them is to use them to actually modify a stock model.

I hope this isn't useless feedback...
"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of java that the thoughts acquire speed. The hands acquire the shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion." - Programmer's Mantra
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Joined: 16 Jun 2009
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is great stuff.

How about a kit to convert a Life-Like Berkshire into an Erie S3 ?
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"How about a kit to convert a Life-Like Berkshire into an Erie S3 ?"

Or for that matter a correct boiler and details to do a C&O Kanawha.
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Joined: 06 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Feedback Reply with quote

I never fail to learn from this series that for sure. Even if I don't model the Southern or the CB&Q there's always plenty of modeling techniques that are useful to me.
I have purchased somewhere on the order of 100 GHQ Milwaukee passenger car kits and I enjoy working with GHQ kits. I am planing on adding a few CN 8 hatch reefers !!!

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