My Model Train Resolutions

My Model Train Resolutions

It’s almost the new year, and like many folks you may be making a list of resolutions you intend to keep in 2017. I usually don’t make resolutions, but this year I’ve decided on a short list of my model train resolutions that I will do my best to keep in the coming year. Primarily, they focus on completing projects left undone or starting projects I intended to do but never started.

  1. Finish My SD40-2B – I purchased a custom SD40-2B shell from Big Dawg Originals and an Athearn SD40-2 dummy unit for the frame. I got as far as modifying the frame to fit the B-unit shell and attaching the new shell, and that’s it. I resolve to finish this project by painting it, detailing it, and adding knuckle couplers.


    Custom shell on Athearn frame. Photo by the author

  2. Repaint My MRL SD45 – I purchased an old Athearn blue box Montana Rail Link SD45 last year. As MRL has phased out all of their SD45s (and will be phasing out all their older SD40s), I decided to remove the decals and add new decals for the current MRL paint scheme to turn the unit into a model of the last SD45 in revenue service on the MRL. However, it turned out that the Athearn unit was an older model with silk screened logos – meaning they won’t come off without removing all of the paint. I resolve to strip the old paint, repaint the unit, add details and new decals – and while I’m at it, add a DCC decoder to it as well.

    MRL SD45

    MRL SD45 I intend to repaint and decal for the current MRL paint scheme. Photo by the author

  3. Finish My Old Tyco Hopper – You may recall from earlier in 2016 I did a two part monthly report on adding new life to old model train cars. In the report, you primarily see only one hopper – the blue one for my freelanced Atlanta, Memphis & Western – but I was also working on another one for my freelanced shortline, Badlands & Missouri Valley Eastern. I got as far as repainting the BMVE car and adding decals to one side. I resolve to finish the BMVE hopper by adding the rest of the new decals, weathering it, and adding knuckle couplers.

    Old Tyco hopper

    The second old Tyco hopper, this one uncompleted. Photo by the author

  4. Build My Big Boy Plastic Model Kit from Revell – I have had this plastic model kit for nearly a decade now, and every year I’ve said, “I’m going to build this kit this year.” Last year, I even ordered some custom decals so I can letter it for the fictional Memphis & Western (predecessor to the Atlanta, Memphis & Western). I resolve to build this model and add the decals to it.

    Revell Big Boy kit

    I intend to build this kit, letter it for the fictional Memphis & Western, and use it as a static display in a park on my layout. Photo by the author

  5. Build My Small Switching Layout – Right now I live in a small apartment and don’t have the room to build a large layout. However, I do have the room to build a small switching layout of about 2 ft. x 8 ft. size. I have probably created two dozen possible trackplans for the layout and intended to start it last summer, but never did. I resolve to finally build this small switching layout and have it up and running before 2017 is over.

    One of my many track plans

    One of my many track plan ideas for my switching layout. Track plan by the author

So there you go, my model train resolutions for 2017. There’s only five of them, and a few are projects that are already partially completed anyway, and I plan on sticking to it this year and getting these projects completed.

What about you? Do you have any model train resolutions for 2017? Tell us in the comments!

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Robert Thomson

Robert W. Thomson is a life-long railfan, the son of a former L&N Railroad B&B gang foreman, and an amateur photographer. He was born and raised in southeast Tennessee but now lives in Butte, Montana with his wife, Connie and cat, Charlie. Robert has worked as a park ranger, underground mine tour guide, freelance roleplaying game writer, and ran his own roleplaying game publishing company until selling it in 2012.

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