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  1. Charles Smiley

    Retirement and the layout choices

    We have been looking at places to retire and it has included Texas and Arizona. I have noticed that in places like Kingman, and Bullhead City, AZ that you can sell a So.Cal home and buy a palace for half that amount. AND! The newer homes in many cases are adding not only a 3 car garage (Yay!)...
  2. Charles Smiley

    Cement Local and Silver Streak caboose kit

    I can add this video of a cement local on the SP in the 1956 time frame. The second half has a kit bashing feature of a old craftsman wood/metal kit by Silver Streak that was actually available back in 1956. Cement Local 1956
  3. Charles Smiley

    Cattle car local

    This video is of a Western Pacific livestock local in 1950s. It has a few modeling tips for cattle pens etc. near the last half. cattle local
  4. Charles Smiley

    Giant Sink Hole in 1/87th scale

    This first photo shows the surviving chickens looking into a deep sinkhole where their chicken coop used to be. The next photo is the replaced coop. Actually I put a 2-1/2 inch speaker under the layout to make a chicken and rooster sound loop seem to come out of the coop.
  5. Charles Smiley

    Layout video SP an WP c. 1956

    Hi... I just posted this layout update video on youtube. I finally added signalling to the entire 400 sq. ft. of layout. I took a while!
  6. Charles Smiley

    Ho scale forklifts

    I built this from Suydam's metal solder together kits many moons ago. I'm ready to install it on the layout extension and I need a bunch of vintage-looking forklifts. The Wiking ones are way too modern looking for the 1950s. The foreground forklift was one I found in the late 1980s and I wish...
  7. Charles Smiley

    County road bridge

    It's been awhile since adding any photos... This bridge is in HO scale - using an N gauge Atlas railroad bridge as a starting point. I just used the sides. It saved lots of work. I was only about an inch wide but now its 4 inches wide. Everything was built with Evergreen styrene shapes -- once...
  8. Charles Smiley

    Help finding 2-inch pink foam

    I can't find anyone in the San Fernando Valley (CA) that carries the extruded pink foam sheets. I've tried every lumber yard, Lowes, Roofing and insulation suppliers and plastic suppliers. Anyone here in the SF Valley know of a reliable source near the Northridge, Chatsworth area?
  9. Charles Smiley

    new Athearn Genesis F3 problems

    I have a pair of Athearn Genesis F3s fresh off the boat -so to speak... Both had problems with limited truck swing and I had to trim a bit off the brake cylinders and the pilots side steps. The worst place was frequent derails on a number-8 curved switch. The switch is a Walth-Shinohara...
  10. Charles Smiley

    BLMA 4002 Dwarf signals

    Does anyone have the wiring diagram for these BLMA 4002 HO scale dwarf signals? I need to know if the three color LEDs have a common cathode or anode and how many leads come out the bottom - 3 or 4 wires. I found nothing on their website and I won't buy them without knowing the details...
  11. Charles Smiley

    Lenz DCC and anroid

    What's the easiest way to have Android tablet control on a Lenz DCC system? I already adapted the Lenz to use CVP wireless throttle controls. I like the Lenz boosters but they are about 10-years behind in throttle designs now. I have 8-inch Lenovo tablets but have no interest in using smart...
  12. Charles Smiley

    Old-school railfanning

    This was shot in color but I wanted to force it to black and white just like most rail fan photos were back in the 50s. I just finished putting end markers on this caboose. They are Tomar LED versions.
  13. Charles Smiley

    Oakland, CA industries circa 1955.

    Night scenes have been the main projects this week. This was shot with the Hollywood "day for night" technique.
  14. Charles Smiley

    My Cal Pack Del Monte plant.

    This is a flat model along my backdrop. Some of it is real modeling using DPM and Walthers modules and some of it is artwork from Photoshop to improve the illusion of depth. The lighted sign is real but the second floor building in the distance is not.
  15. Charles Smiley

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    On the way to grandma's and delayed by a train.
  16. Charles Smiley

    Rural electrification

    The cattle loading spur's barn, and the little cowboy camper trailer, now have electric lights.
  17. Charles Smiley

    Street lights on main street

    Walnut Creek now has proper streetlights installed on Main St.
  18. Charles Smiley

    Walthers HO street lamp have problems

    The street lamps that plug into their flush mount sockets are giving me lots of problems. They become intermittent in short order. The socket contacts, I think, are cheap and what I consider to be a poor design having only one spring-contact on the center pin made of a material that loses it's...
  19. Charles Smiley

    The farm on the model railroad.

    This photo is with an 8-foot long backdrop I painted made that I can hang from the ceiling for a backdrop just about anywhere in the layout room.
  20. Charles Smiley

    Oakland, CA Westinghouse plant in the 1950s

    This is my Oakland, CA Westinghouse plant in the 1950s. I'm working out the interior and lighting effects to get the right levels and color-temp for night scenes. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.