What's New | Suppliers | Information | Articles & Tips | Photo Gallery | Contact Us

The Proto48 Modeler has moved to a new server and web management service.  For a number of years the site has been hosted by Mike Sisk on his server at no cost to the site.  During those years, George Losse contributed his time to perform updates to the site.   He created the site design and its ease of use.   I would like thank both of these individuals for their contributions.  This site is free and has operated without advertisement or fees. 

Protocraft will sponsor the hosting and maintenance from this point forward.   We hope that it a long and beneficial relationship.   As you know, Protocraft is the principal supplier of Proto48 wheels, trucks, tires, tools and detail parts.    Norm Buckhart has been the driving force in bringing many new products to the marketplace allowing more modelers the enjoyment of accurate ¼” railroad equipment.   We can expect more new Proto48 items from Protocraft in the future and will be featured along with the products of other suppliers as we have always done.

This issue marks the 13th edition to be published on the web under the Proto48.org banner.  You will find a number of new items listed along with more pictures from some of the finest P48 modelers in the country.   We can always use more material that will permit more issues to be published each year.     As always we are indebted to the modelers who take the time to send material to share with others.   We hope that this spirit of sharing will continue allowing us to bring fresh material to the web so that it can be enjoyed by everyone.

The Proto48 movement has been going for over 40 years and has gained the respect of many in the model railroading community. Proto48 exists because modelers desire to accurately model prototype railroad equipment including track gauge and wheel profile.  Many of our newest members migrate from other scales such as HO.   Many O gauge modelers have amassed a large collection of equipment and possibly a layout that would create a barrier to adopting P48.   While the equipment is the same, the wheels and track must change to adapt to the correct 4’ 8 ½” gauge and dead scale wheel widths.     Achieving accurate models in smaller scales is a challenge especially as one gets older. Replicating the detail in ¼” scale is easier and achievable.   We encourage you to give it a try. You will find challenges to model in the scale but that is part of the fun to solve modeling problems. It is a departure from the current trend of open the box and put the train on the track. While you can use ready-to-run equipment built in China, you will have to change the wheels to run on the 4’ 8 ½” gauge. Once you do that you will find that there are other improvements that can be made to the details and soon you will become hooked. Proto48 is a small movement within the ¼” scale community. We have been around since the 1960’s and continue to support fine model building.

Our focus is on standard gauge modeling. Proto48 defines a gauge and wheel profile for locomotives, cars and track but it also expresses concept of finescale modeling. Our models start out with the correct gauge of 4’ 8 ½” and scale wheel profile and continue throughout the model to create an accurately scaled replica of the prototype.

Quarter-inch scale offers railroad modelers a huge potential in terms of size and mass. It is big enough to permit the craftsman to accurately portray things like underbody details, doors, roof walks and ladders. Proto48 standard gauge modelers tend to achieve even a higher level of detail and accuracy like their narrow gauge brethren.

What is New in Proto48 Modeler?
This issue focuses on new products and new photos.   We have added some new photos of models built by several Proto48 modelers.    There is also an short article on building a coupler pocket for San Juan scale shank AAR Type-E couplers.

Lead Photo
The lead photo showcases the craftsmanship of Robert Leners.   He scratch built this beautiful Soo Line AC&F boxcar using styrene and detail parts from a number of suppliers.   The decals were done by Ken Soroos for Chooch Enterprise.    The trestle is based upon a Canadian National design that was featured in the Mainline Modeler.  

Proto48 on the Web
There are two forums on Yahoo Groups that focus on Proto48.  
The first is the Proto48 Modeler
The second is P48 Layouts hosted by Brett Whelan

Naperville 2008 Proto48
This year the Naperville Prototype Modelers meet was well attended by Proto48 modelers with two of the awards were handed out to Robert Leners and Jim Zwernemann.  Robert for his Rock Island caboose and Jim’s T&P caboose.

O Scale Industry News
Glacier Park Models is branching out to offer O/P48 models of C&NW and NP steam.   Protocraft is now offering a new line of steam loco tires along with a greatly expanded line of trucks and wheels.

"Photo Gallery" has several new photos of fine scale models and layouts

  • New article in the "Articles and Tips" section
  • New products that are usable by Proto48 and standard O (rolling stock)
  • We have updated local shows and stocking dealers this issue

Local Shows with Proto48 Content:

O Scale National Convention
18-20 June 2009 Towson, MD

This year the O Scale National will at Towson University in Towson, MD.  The show is in the Baltimore area and is hosted by the Baltimore O Scale Society and Baltimore Society of Model Engineers.   Visit their website for more details.

O Scale West
30-31 January 2009, Santa Clara, CA

Show is held in the Santa Clara Convention Center adjacent to the Hyatt (formerly Westin) Hotel. The show features clinics, layout tours, and lots of sellers. Jim Harper presents a clinic on Proto48 for those interested in getting information from a long-time modeler.

Chicago Midwest O Scale Meet
20-22 March 2009 Arlington Heights, IL
The show is held at the Sheraton Convention Center in Arlington Heights. The show has a huge selling floor, operating layouts including a Proto48 modular display.   Visit their website for more details.

Stocking Dealers:

Des Plaines Hobbies
1468 Lee St, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Has an extensive stock of 1/48 items with some P48 available.

Caboose Hobbies
500 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209

Stocks San Juan trucks and wheels

Coronado Scale Models
1544 Cypress Street, Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 254-9656

This shop has served the needs of fine scale modelers for over 30 years. The owners are active scale modeler having produced some beautiful locomotives and cars. Their shop offers excellent mail order service and knowledgeable assistance. You might check out the Photo Gallery for some of Stan Schwedler's fine work.

Supplier News:

American Switch & Signal
1945 N. Hwy 300 West
Winamac, IN 46996

John Pautz has added several new switch parts to his lineup within the past month. All of the parts are made from Right O’ Way rail and are cast in nickel silver. He has brought out guard rails and points for Code 100 and Code 125. See the latest brochure in the Suppliers section.
All of the parts are done to Proto48 track standards.

Chooch Enterprises Inc.
P.O. Box 1200, Maple Valley, WA 98038

Mike O'Connell is releasing a new Ultra Scale II car kit this winter.  The car is of a MKT double sheathed 37’ boxcar.   The car features a 7/7 reverse Murphy end and a deep fishbelly underframe.    The Katy ran these cars in both the eye-catching Sloan yellow and standard oxide red.   Check out their website for details.

Rails Unlimited
126 Will Scarlet
Elgin, IL

Ted has a number of new urethane kits being offered this winter.  They include a B&O M-53 class wagon top boxcar and PRR GRA class gondola.   Rails Unlimited has an extensive line of kits and is also an excellent dealer for general model railroad merchandise.    He stocks O in depth and gives reliable service.

Glacier Park Models
P.O. Box 244
Ukiah, CA 95482
707-391-4476 (voice), 707-463-6988 (fax)

GPM will offer the two classic 4-6-0s this year.   The first is the Chicago & Northwestern R-1 class.   The second is the Northern Pacific’s S-4 class.    This marks the firm’s first departure from SP steam in ¼” scale.     The locomotives chosen for 2009 offer distinctive designs that are very well researched and accurate built by Boo Rim.  

The C&NW and CMO used R-1s all over the system to perform a wide range of jobs.  The most well know of this large group has to be 1385 that is preserved at Mid Continent Railroad Museum at North Freedom, WI.    In addition, GPM will be imported a model of 1400 (shown below), 50 and 487.     The R-1s ran all over the C&NW and could be found doing a wide variety of chores ranging from way freights to passenger runs.  

The "R-1s" were long lived locomotives, with some seeing 55+ years of service life. And while the C&NW eventually acquired even larger 2-8-0s, 2-8-2s and even 4-8-4s, none of these had the distinction of being able to operate over the entire C&NW system like the R-1's. There were still 70 of them on the roster when steam was retired, and fittingly, of the four C&NW mainline steamers that survive, three of these are R-1s!

The R-1 is the ideal branchline loco for your railroad.

The Northern Pacific S-4 ten-wheelers shared some of the characteristics of the C&NW and were also built at Alco and Baldwin.   The NP amassed a total of 40 locomotives built for operation on the Rocky Mountain, Idaho and Tacoma Divisions.   The two models selected are the 1369 and 1374. 

NP 1369 operated throughout the Tacoma Division, including Bellingham, Auburn, Tacoma and Hoquiam on locals and transfer runs. The model will be equipped with power reverse, early style low cylinder steps, number boards and tapered stack. A flanger cylinder is mounted on the side of smokebox, with pilot air hose for work trains and tender steam connection for passenger train heat.  This engine used an 11C tender originally designed for F-1 2-8-0's and delivered with L-9 0-6-0's.   They were transferred to a number of S-4's in 1910. Switcher style backup light is mounted high on the rear coal bulkhead.

NP 1374 operated throughout eastern Washington, Idaho and western Montana on locals and work trains. The model will be equipped with a power reverse, number boards and straight stack. The flanger cylinder is mounted low behind the pilot, an air connection for spreaders, air dumps, etc., is on the pilot and tender, along with a steam connector for passenger train heat. With an 8E tender designed for S-4's, delivered with L-9's and applied to eight engines in 1910. Backup light is a road style mounted on the back coal bulkhead.

As with all of GPM’s ¼” models, these will be offered in standard O gauge and with an optional Proto48 conversion wheels.   They will be delivered painted and lettered with operating lights and provisions for DCC and sound installation.   All of the previous steam locos from GPM have sold out within days of arrival in the country.   The models are expected in June or July 2009. 

Mullet River Model Works
118 Hudson Court, Plymouth, WI 53073

Mullet River Model Works has started to offer brass/nickel silver trucks produced from San Juan Car Company truck kits.   The trucks will have nickel wheels with the original Delrin ™ axels with brass filling out the rest of the parts.  The trucks retail for $32 a pair.

There is a new Rock Island 40' 80,000 lbs car class CS B1 boxcar kit that is ready for market. The prototype of this car was designed by Charles Seley.  Seley was with the N&W and designed some of the earliest steel frame hoppers and gondolas. He used the side framing of the car to help carry the load. Seley left the N&W in 1901 and went to the Rock Island where he designed a 40' version of the 36' car he did for the N&W. Seley did not believe in patents and felt that his designs should be available to all. That is why the "Seley" hoppers on the N&W were also used by other railroads. American Car & Foundry used his design for a 36' car for the Rio Grande in 1909. Two of those cars are in the museum in Rio Vista. The cars were examined inside and out and they are nearly identical to the 40' Rock Island cars. The Rock Island cars lasted until 1948.

The model will have a full length brass etch frame for those who use scale couplers. The body is wood and has complete interior detail. The doors are non functioning but can be fastened in the open position. All grab iron locations are burned into the car and decals are supplied. The kit comes with complete K brake system. Trucks and couplers need to be supplied by the modeler. The kits will be ready to ship by mid December 2008.

Next up will be the Rio Grande 36' car with wood ends as built or reverse Murphy metal ends as applied in 1923. The Murphy ends are a new brass stamping that I am working on. These cars will be read to ship around mid December for the wood end version and Early January for the brass end version.

After that Mullet will be doing NYC, Boston and Albany, and Nickel Plate 36' box cars made in 1914-1917. These cars have fish belly underframes and wood super structure with reverse Murphy ends. They will be out around mid January. An off shoot of this project will be the 36' rider cars used by the NYC and Nickel Plate.

Right after the NYC 36' cars Mullet will do the 40' cars of similar design and ends.
The box car kits will sell for $125.00 each.

The next caboose model will be the Western Pacific, Rio Grande, and Missouri Pacific caboose.

Mullet River Model Works is preparing to release a series of new etched brass parts. 

408016 Carmer Cut Levers                                           $4.25
 This will be for 8 levers or 4 cars worth

408017  Box Car Ladders
 This will be for 1 car’s worth side and end ladders. The etching has the holes for the rungs. You need to bend them and solder in the rungs. Then bend the tabs to fit your car. These were the style of ladder used on the B&O M-53 wagon top box cars.

408018  Box Car Side Walk Supports
 This will do one car. The etching glues to the underside of the center roof walk and make the side walk supports and the car end roof walk supports. These support the side walk in a proper manner off the deck of the roof.

RY Models
7 Edgedale Court
Wyomissing, PA 19610

RY Models has been importing a number of Proto48 models in recent years.   They have the Baldwin S-12 switcher and the National B-1 50-ton freight truck in stock.   Check out their website and see their extensive line of products in standard O Gauge and Proto48.

Nickel Plate Models
13732 Lakeside Drive
Clarksville, MD 21029

Here is a firm that has been around for a while providing O scale modelers very accurate decals and imported kits and finished models. The models follow the Nickel Plate Road prototype but have use to a wide range of models. They have recently released custom decals for the NKP yellow striped diesels both road and switcher styles. They have imported a range of custom etched and formed passenger cars and freights car from England. They offer Proto48 trucks for their recent war emergency caboose. Their products are high quality and are worth a look.   They are also the source for many different NKP decal sets including the NKP War Emergency boxcar release by Chooch.

18498 Half Moon Street
Unit 203
Sonoma, CA 95476-4835 
(707) 935-7011 (voice message)

Protocraft is a key supplier of Proto48 wheels, parts and conversion sets. They have released most of the old Chooch line with the addition of passenger car trucks.   The trucks have required considerable engineering work to get them to fully equalize and track.    The patterns were done by the master pattern maker, Oscar Neubert III.   He had master much of the old Backshop line and also many of the castings sold by the Irish Tracklayer.

Protocraft is completing a run of wheels with Steve Grabowski.   They will be replenishing the stock for the most popular styles.   

Protocraft is now offering a complete line of P48 driver tires cut in 12L14 leadloy steel.  They have also added replacement driver centers and tires for the NWSL 2-8-2T.  

Protocraft is releasing a line of Microcast (Korea) streamlined passenger car trucks.   They are available with P48 wheel sets and come with ball bearing races to improve performance.  

Norm Buckhart, the owner, has released a new catalog. We recommend you contact Norm directly to get the latest information. PDF

RL Design
14123 206th St.
S.E., Snohomish, WA 98296-3947

Rick Leach is busy working on his latest project for a comprehensive set (s) of decals for Northern Pacific diesels including switchers, GP/RS first generation and freight F-units.   The decals will screen printed with accurate color matching.   Look for the release of the decals later in 2009.

Greg Komar
13704 Country Court Drive,
Tampa, FL 33625
Komar offers a wide range of high quality dry transfers covering Midwestern and Eastern railroads in some detail. I have used his sets with great success on several models. He doesn’t have a website but we loaded his latest listing on the site as a PDF.

San Juan Car Company
P. O. Box 1028
Durango, Colorado 81302
Phone: 970-385-5256

San Juan is still promising to release their long-awaited SP G-50-23 GS gondola.   John Parker had been quoted as saying that it would be out by O Scale West.   We will keep our fingers crossed.

Irish Tracklayer
2682 West Palo Alto Ave, Fresno, CA 93711-1107

John Houlihan continues to release new parts all of the time.   Check out his website for the latest product information.   You will find tons of brass detailing parts for steam, diesel, rolling stock and signals.   John has released a few new parts such as centenary hangers, pole steps for signals and crossing signals.    He has added a few new parts for his complete interlocking plant with levers and rod carriers.    You will be able to create a highly detailed scene for an important junction.    

Southern Car and Foundry
970 Sunshine Land, Suite D
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

Jon Cagle is ready to release the 40’ RPO/Baggage, followed with a 60’ baggage and 60’ RPO.   The cars are urethane with one-piece bodies.   The kits are complete with underbody details including the correct Schedule LN brake equipment.     Correct decals will be offered as well.  

SC&F will be offering a series of Standard Tank Car Company tank cars with single and multi-dome configurations.   The cars will be cast in urethane and very similar to his new HO kits.  
We can expect to see a lot of new things from this talented company. 

This update posted: 01/22/2009