First step to getting a real structure on the layout…

A few years ago, I bought a Walthers ADM Grain Elevator on sale (Walthers flyer). I have read many times on line how much of a pain the silos are, and I have to agree. It was easier to start with an end and a side that it was to start with two side peaces. As many have said in the past, plan to go back with body filler and then repaint. I decided to test fit the elevator on the layout without the dump area for trucks to drive through, and I am also going to come back and add the details and roof. Here are a few pictures to show how it will fit. I also included 4 Atlas hoppers that need to be converted to Micro-Trains couplers (most likely M-T trucks as well). The Atlas hoppers are now part of the Trainman line, but mine have old Unimate couplers. They are great for an N-Trak layout with a 100 car freight drag, but on a little switching layout….

grain1 grain2 grain3Please excuse the rubber bands


Today, I filled the gaps in the silos with Testors putty and painted the flat sections of the roof. I also found that the bracket that holds the filler tube in place was broken….so out came the diagonal cutters and a paperclip!

freight car musings….

So, currently, I have 5 Micro-Trains cars, 2 Fox Valley boxcars, an Intermountain reefer and a BLMA hopper.

Looks wise, the BLMA hopper is an 11 out of 10. When I finally get around to weathering my cars, this might be one that I can’t touch. It looks perfect. When I run it, I would say that it is a 9, the scale wheels look great, it couples well, but if there is a piece of ballast or an issue with a ground throw, it will hit the ties. This does not happen often, but it can.

The IM reefer looks great, I would say a 8.5, runs well, couples well, no complaints. I have not had issues with the axles being warped like other people. My kid did run it off of the layout back in December and broke a stirrup, too bad IM does not make them a separate item like Micro-Trains does. So far, I just turned the car around so it is hidden, but I am leaning towards buying a BLMA stirrup kit…

Micro-Trains, the Cadillac of N Scale…these cars are a 7 to 9.5 in the looks department. Some, like my 40 ft hy-cube just sit too high, while others, like my Golden West bulkhead flatcar have their trucks and couplers painted the same color as the car! I have yet to see a real freight car with blue trucks and couplers. That being said, they couple on the first try and do not derail unless I run them through a closed switch, a total 10 in operation.

That leaves Fox Valley, a 9.5 in the looks dept….etched brass, great graphics, if they had extended coupler boxes, they would be a 10. They track well, they just have one odd issue. they don’t like to couple or uncouple from anything. to couple them, I have to make sure that the couplers are centered, and I have to put a finger on the roof to hold them still. These come factory equipt with Micro-Trains body mounted couplers, the same ones as the BLMA hopper that I love to use. But for some reason, neither one likes to couple to anything, and on both ends….a 5