This site is dedicated to my model railroad, the HO scale Virginia Midland Railroad. This layout comprises a 12X9 room with two levels. The upper level is complete and the lower level scenery has just begun.

I do a handful of train shows in the Virginia/Maryland region with Makin Tracks.
I also can help you find that freight car/locomotive or other hard to find item.

Email: virginiamidlandshops@gmail.com
You tube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/Virginiamidlandrr/

Thursday, December 5, 2019

New wireless soldering iron: with 10% off coupon code!

I was contacted back in November by gentleman that liked my blog and was wondering if I'd do a review of soldering iron.  He was going to send my a free one to try if I'd do a review on it.  The soldering iron is not just an ordinary iron but a wireless one.  It is the Iso-Tip Quick Charge Cordless Soldering Iron Kit: Model #7700.  I didn't even know they made wireless ones and if they did, they'd be expensive.  So I got it from him very quickly and I actually had several soldering projects to do, mainly decoder installs.  All I can say is wireless is the way to go.  No more getting that cord caught on corners or knocking over things on your workbench.  It's hot within 10 seconds and cools off quickly.  Best of all, you don't have to worry about it getting left on.  The push button control works perfectly.  It comes with 2 soldering tips and you can order just about any type.

I highly recommend this soldering iron because it easy to use and definitely affordable. It would work even better on soldering track wires due to the cordless feature.  I actually have to use it on some new feeder wires on the layout real soon.  Glad I have this now.   I will never go back to a wired one again.

If interested, here is the website: www.iso-tip.com
Model #7700 @ $50.95
Use virginiamidland10 for 10% off your order.  Hurry because this offer ends December 31st!

The soldering iron on it's charger. The red push button is used to heat the iron.  Push and hold, it heats up.  Let go, it cools.
The red button rotates so turning it up and holding the button heats up the iron and the it cannot be pushed if it's not in the up position.

This is the basic tip it comes with.  Easily removable.  It also comes with another tip.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Fall Great Scale Model Train Show next weekend: October 26th & 27th

Next weekend is the big show in Timonium, MD!  The Great Scale Model Train October show is the biggest in the Mid-Atlantic.  Show hours are 9-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday.  The weather looks perfect for a train show that weekend, fall like and a little rain!  Hope to see you there next weekend!  I'll be headed up on Thursday afternoon to staff the show and help my buddy Mike at Makin' Tracks.  Virginia Midland Shops will be selling extra cars and locos there.  Make sure you stop by and say hello. 

All show info can be found here:
Great Scale Train Show Info

Sunday, October 6, 2019

That time of the year...

Well after a very warm and dry start to the fall season, we have finally had some "fall like" weather here in central Virginia.  That only means one thing: model railroading season is upon us!   It's that time where we get back into the swing of projects or pick up where we last left off on some.  It also means train show season too and if you know me, I'm a regular with the most of the shows in the Mid-Atlantic area with Makin Tracks.  We have the our Great Scale Model Train Show (north of Baltimore) coming up in 3 weeks too.  This ironically it is our next show. 
Info can be found here: www.gsmts.com

Here are the shows we will be at:

Oct. 26-27   Great Scale Model Train Show       Timonium, MD
Nov. 9-10    Neuse River Model Train Show      Raleigh, NC
Dec 14-15   Greenburg Train Show                    Chantilly, VA
Dec 28-29   Greenburg Train Show                    Virginia Beach, VA
Jan 18-19    Greenburg Train Show                    Richmond, VA
Feb 1-2       Great Scale Model Train Show       Timonium, MD
Feb 15-16    Greenburg Train Show                    Hampton, VA
May 2-3      Great Scale Model Train Show       Timonium, MD

Projects ready to go!  Actually these were completed already!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

2019 Mid-Atlantic RPM Meet is in the books!

Last weekend, the 2019 Mid-Atlantic RPM Meet was held near Baltimore, MD.  We had a great meet and we heard nothing but good things on the few changes we did this year.  We had over 150 people take part in the meet in some shape or form and we are hoping to have even more next year.  The original founder, Norm Wolf even flew in from Utah to check it out.  I've uploaded my pics for the meet and as I have done for all of them, posted on my Pbase account.  For details on the  2020 MARPM, check out www.marpm.org

A few of my prototype models at the show.  I need to do some new ones!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Another video, this time a tour of the upper level

Decided to do a tour of the upper level of the layout.  I'll get to the lower level in the next video.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Another Video: Tools & Tricks of the Trade

Shot another video the other night on tools that make modeling easier and a few tricks that also help you out.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Latest video is out: 2019 April Update

In this episode I talk about the back date on the layout and a vehicle review.  There is a small section without audio.  It's towards the end when I review freight cars.  The joys of new video editing software!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

An Ops session yesterday on a D&H N scale layout

Finally got a chance to operate on Chris Artale N scale layout yesterday.  He lives over in Madison County to the west and models the D&H in the late 1960's. After a relaxing hour ride over, the crew was treated to an excellent lunch and ops started right after that.  I visited Chris's layout for a tour after a James River NMRA meet a couple of years ago, and the stars finally lined up to operate on it.  His layout is in his spacious basement and only takes up about half of it.  Very relaxed atmosphere by the crew of 8 and lots of laughs.  I've done a few op sessions in the past but this was my biggest one yet, plus it had a dispatcher and operated by track warrants.  All new to me but made it realistic to run a railroad.  Thank you Chris for the invite and a great Wednesday afternoon running trains. 
Beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains coming from the town of Orange.  Yes Orange that I model on my layout.

Awesome entrance to Chris's house

One of my many Track Warrants on the day.
Great handout of the crew with all the valuable info in it.

Inside the pamphlet

Map of the layout.  The staging yard is self staging!

Different trains on the layout
Don runs the yard at Ft. Edward

The entire layout.
My first train was a switching job out of Ft. Edward to the Fenimore Branch.

Lots of switching here at the paper plant.
The locomotive facility at Whitehall Yard.

Feedmill at Ganesevort with Chris on the left and John on the right checking out staging.

My second train was a passenger train 34 or 35.
Whitehall yard takes up the entire backside of the layout.

Here is 34 or 35 waiting at the end of the Whitehall yard limits.

An empty coal drag waits at Ft. Ann.  

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter and spring cleaning

Wow it's been 2 months since my last post in February and really nothing to post on the railroad or the like.  But want to keep my faithful & patient followers updated.  The last post talked about some new power for the layout.  A few more posts ago, I revealed the desire to backdate the layout.  So I have been doing some purging of cars and locos in order to get to around 1987-88.  So all CSX patched cars are gone and most graffiti is not out and about.  Of course those were thrown into my excess pile for train shows and several sold just yesterday at a smaller show.  I also purged some of my loco projects and those also sold easily yesterday.  I will continue to do this until I get down to a only a few projects.  It seems that when I have several projects going on at the same time, that's a turn off for me.   That makes it a challenge of even walking into the layout room to get anything done. 

So Spring Break this week for me.  I hope to get a few more things done and hopefully a post or two!
Go this painted on a warmer weekend about a month ago.  Time for decals and hooking up lights and eventually the sound decoder.  This is a SDP35

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New power for the Virginia Midland

Been working on some new motive power for the Virginia Midland here lately.  Finally had a weekend to sit down and do some sound installs.  I prefer the Tsunami 2's over ESU/Loksound at this time.  I think they sound about the same but prefer the T2 with the plug-in for their Current Keeper.  This gives me reliability in the sound on dirty tracks.  So, since I have backdated the layout some to about 1988, I've got some older power on the layout.  Not that I didn't have older power already! I've always wanted to provide a history on the layout too.  Older paint schemes and patch out schemes tend to be the norm on the Midland.  So instead of having new logos and paint schemes, I'm looking for older ones and ones that could just make do. 
Here are new locomotive projects: Ex-PC H16-44, RS3m chop nose, and a SDP35.  Very random locomotives but all will be headed for the Midland.

Added the Tsunami 2 to this yesterday and she runs and sounds great.  It will be patched and be one of the first locos for the Virginia Midland.  It's use on the layout will be switch jobs and reserve power.

This RS3m started from a shell CMR products shell and I added the details.  It will run on an older Tsunami until it can be up graded.  I need to redo the rear light.  I totally botched it as seen in the next photo.   The paint job will be a green dip job with the older Virginia Midland spelled out.

Definitely have to redo that headlight.  A case of my eyes aren't what they used to be!

My inspiration for the chop nose RS3m: Mike Confalone's Allagash #302.  Photo by MRH/Mike Confalone
My last loco was a Train show find for $50.  I love the short 6 axle power on my SD20-2 (Ex- SD35) so I found this SDP35 ready to be painted for a great price.  Most of the details were already added.  But I'm missing a stanchion for the rear hand railings. It will be in the standard green and gray scheme.

Even had time to try some new weathering products.  These weathering washes are simple brushed on.  Does a great job on brown boxcars since they tend to be hard to weather.  

The Vallejo products I used.  Lighter to darker.  

The other untouched side.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

February Happenings

Been over a week since the big train show in Timonium, MD back on Super Bowl Weekend. Last week was a tough week getting over a sinus infection that flared up at the show.  It was an excellent show with over 4000+  through the doors.  Easily, the busiest in several years. A great time and a great show! 
Here we are right behind the main entrance
Sign in the hotel 

The Makin' Tracks 4 Horseman: from Right to left: Tom, Mike, myself and Kevin.
Mike and myself cranked out 10 cars before the show that weekend.  We sold all but 2 of them.  Still have more to come. Let me know if you are still interested in getting one.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Big GSMTS Train Show at Timonium this WEEKEND!

This weekend is the big show in Timonium, MD!  The Great Scale Model Train February show is the biggest in the Mid-Atlantic.  Show hours are 9-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday.  The weather looks perfect for a train show this weekend, chilly and no snow!  Hope to see you there this weekend!  I'll be headed up on Thursday afternoon to staff the show and help my buddy Mike at Makin' Tracks.  So please stop by and say hi!

All show info can be found here:
Great Scale Train Show Info

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Happy 2019 and snow is on the way!

The Mid-Atlantic region is bracing for a good moderate/heavy snow starting late this afternoon.  Calling for 6-10"+ in my immediate area.  So looking forward to some snow days next week to get modeling done.  It's been a crazy past week with a sick son (stomach problems that come & go for the last 9 months) and my wife cracking a tooth.  Hopefully this coming week is less eventful.   So I'm going to enjoy the snow and get some modeling done in this snow break! Updates will be posted!
A NS test train in ACL livery back in January 2007 in Remington, VA