New from OST Publications:

Coming in late June: a blue box bash Tony Sissons style

Diesel Locomotive Modeling Techniques, Vol. One

by May 2, 2017General News, Modeling Techniques, The Art of The Craft

I haven’t done much modeling lately. Final preparations for Tony’s first book has been all consuming for me. It’s now at the printer undergoing final proofing and as I write this, in a few days I’ll received a press proof copy to review and barring any major glitches, it’s a go.

This book is the first in a modest number of volumes from Tony that focuses on modern diesel modeling techniques. Tony works in HO but in my mind, the modeling scale is irrelevant. The true value of this series is in his approach to model building and observation of the prototype.

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

Mapping Out A Plan
I spend a few hours comparing the out-of-the-box model with my photographs of the prototype. This begins the process for choosing which engine number or production phase I will do. Once that has been decided I’m able to focus on one specific engine. Then I start three lists:

  • The parts I can purchase.
  • The parts I will scratchbuild.
  • The modifications I must do.

From the list of commercial parts, I decide whether what is available is good enough. There are some details out there that are absolutely awful or the part is not exactly what is fitted on the prototype. Gradually I refine my two lists until I feel comfortable with my plan. The third list of modifications I need to do takes more time. I take each modification and determine how I will accomplish it. This also provides me with an estimate of the amount of hours I will probably put into the build.

I want my models to be an inspiration to others. That’s not a bad goal to shoot for I think, but my main goal is personal. I never stop learning and strive to make my next model better than the previous one. If I can do that I’m on the right track. The more accurate I can make it, the more likely it will look like a miniature replica of the real thing. That’s what a modeler does right?

There’s never a right or a wrong way to build a locomotive and I assume the reader of this book has the basic modeling skills and knows how to drill holes, solder metals, measure dimensions, cut and file shapes in styrene, brass and other materials. My techniques are tailored to my skills and knowledge. They’re not the only way by any means, just my way.

And while I do have three lathes, a milling machine, sand blaster and other equipment, I recognize that not everybody has these tools at home. So in this book, everything was done with the hand tools found on my modeling bench. Nothing has been milled, turned or otherwise machined with advanced tools and I’ve included information on the homemade tools created for a specific job. That’s it then, a book about a blue box bash Tony Sissons style.

As Tony mentioned there are many ways to approach this work. He brings a precision oriented mindset to his modeling, yet others, for various reasons, will find his level of commitment and craftsmanship intimidating. It’s a dilemma this craft has faced for a long time: striving for excellence or a good enough pragmatism? We tend to see the work in polarizing, either/or terms.

Tony and I approach model making in the same way. We both want to improve our work and build our skill set. Perfection is a moving target that will always be many steps ahead of us, yet the pursuit is what we both enjoy. This is the basis upon which this series is built as well as everything else I produce at OST Publications. The hobby doesn’t need another generic modeling guide as there are plenty of those already. What we hope to accomplish with this work is provide a source of inspiration and encouragement for modelers who want more than generic advice.

On the surface this book is about taking a “bargain loco” junker he found at a train show and turning it into a bespoke model. Digging deeper though, this book is also a series of lessons about moving beyond the ordinary and challenging yourself as a model builder.

Please excuse my immodesty for saying this but I think it’s a damn fine book and, barring the unknown, I’m looking at a late June publication date. I’ll have further details on the release and ordering information soon.