Satisfy the Modeler: Steve Brown

Rose Hansen

“Regular guy” Steve Brown poses next to his structure. Picture by Steve Brown What was your very first train established (or locomotive)?  I was about 6 or 7 years previous, and it was approaching Xmas. My mothers and fathers ended up constructing anything in one particular of the spare rooms […]

“Regular guy” Steve Brown poses next to his structure. Picture by Steve Brown

What was your very first train established (or locomotive)?

 I was about 6 or 7 years previous, and it was approaching Xmas. My mothers and fathers ended up constructing anything in one particular of the spare rooms of our property. When I asked them what it was, they told me it was a sewing cupboard for my mother.

When Christmas Day arrived, my dad and mom took my sister and I upstairs and showed us our big provides. She acquired some thing definitely amazing that experienced her jumping about in enjoyment. I, on the other hand, obtained the sewing cabinet. I started out crying, believing Santa had enable me down. My father begun laughing and went above to the cabinet and dropped the doorway. On it lay a 4’ x 8’ HO scale format, entire with a station, a siding, a spur, a steam locomotive, and rolling inventory. I went ballistic with exhilaration.

I performed with that format for a pair of yrs. Then, my passions transformed a minimal, and at some point the railroad went into the trash. I am not sure what took place to the locomotive and automobiles. Even even though I did not have a railroad anymore, for the future couple many years I normally fell asleep at night planning my up coming pike.

About five a long time back I made the decision I wanted to construct yet another design railroad. I purchased an N-scale, Bachmann “Empire Builder” prepare established. It came with a Northern 4-8-4 steam locomotive, 7 freight cars and trucks, and a caboose. My authentic program was to establish a steam era format, like I had as a kid, and the first variation of my format was precisely that. However, a few of several years afterwards I caught the diesel bug and my steam locomotives obtained shelved. My existing structure is primarily contemporary, but some of my older scenes can even now be located on the layout.

When I purchased the Empire Builder package, I had tiny comprehending of the ability of DCC. All I understood was that it was a lot more expensive, and I did not see the need for it. This kit was straight DC, and I designed my individual power block switching console to isolate locomotives in numerous regions. That is when I figured out why DCC is the way to go if you are managing extra than 1 locomotive or teach. My recent structure is all DCC and some of it is automated making use of DCC.

Though I do not use the DC steam locomotive anymore, the freight autos can nevertheless be found on my layout. Finally, the Empire Builder train set was a excellent expense. It got me back again into the hobby in a simple way, it allow me operate trains, and it was the basis that I built my knowledge and love of the passion on. Now, in my adult daily life, I am noticing all those goals I experienced for all individuals yrs.

Describe your product railroading philosophy in 6 words.

 My product railroading philosophy can be summed up in 3 text. “It is my railroad.” When I got back again into product railroading, I actually did not know too much about it. I started off poking close to on the online and I uncovered remarkable sources for the design railroader. But I also uncovered have been what I get in touch with “purists.” These are people who would remark on my tips, modeling, and development in these types of a way that it was distinct they did not think about me a “real” design railroader. It received me in this sort of a lousy area that I regarded supplying up the interest.

Then, I experienced a lightbulb moment. I am the one particular expending the time and funds on this format! Who cares if some of my scenes do not particularly fit into the identical period? This is my railroad. So, I just shoved off. I have never ever regretted it. Some of my products are brag deserving, and some of them will never be demonstrated to the masses. But, at the close of the working day, I am enjoying the difficulties and the pride in accomplishment.

I can also inform you this: anytime pals and family members come to visit my hobby room, and see my structures and facts, all they do is Oooo and Ahhhhh. These are folks that do not know anything about eras or prototypes but take pleasure in what I have been ready to make. All those individuals are the kinds whose opinions I treatment about most.

Apparently, my philosophy resonates with tens of countless numbers of other design railroaders. It is empowering to know that it is your railroad, and you can do whatever tends to make you content.

What has been your major modeling success?

My most significant modeling good results has been my influence on standard guy modelers just like me. This is why I begun It is My Railroad. I wished to encourage individuals by displaying them that primary, common man capabilities, can develop some terrific things. This passion is for guys and girls, young and old, folks with primary competencies and master techniques, people today with compact budgets and massive budgets, and folks who appreciate staying by yourself and people who love remaining a portion of a local community.

What was your greatest modeling mistake?

My major modeling mistake was constructing a double-deck format. I observed numerous movies of people’s double deck layouts, and I was fired up about the quantity of mainline I could get from it. So, I created and built the existing edition of the Brown Smith Railroad. At the time of this creating, I am about 2-1/2 a long time into my establish.

Initial off, I have some wicked grades – 2.5% to 3% – to get from a single deck to the other. I do not have a helix but even if I did, the internet consequence would be comparable. I can pull trains up my grades with two locomotives lashed together but I can only pull about 20 cars. I was hoping to have a format wherever 30-40 automobile trains would be managing. It is a minimal disappointing but for now I am building do.

Next, when I require to function on the bottom deck, I usually locate myself leaning in less than the leading deck. I have to sit in a chair and then stand up when required. This usually takes a good deal of entertaining out of running operations and modeling. I obtain I truly take pleasure in doing the job on the major deck, but lament when one thing requires to be finished on the base deck.

Base line, I will never construct a double deck format again.

Model cement plant
Steve is doing the job on an N-scale concrete plant. Photo by Steve Brown

What is your least beloved modeling undertaking?

It could shock some individuals that my the very least preferred modeling undertaking is laying keep track of, dropping feeders, soldering that alongside one another, and hooking it into the buss. The truth is, with out observe there are not any trains! For some rationale my track-get the job done under no circumstances will come out as pristine as a person would see the masters put in it. I try to take my time and observe all the suggestions from the industry experts. Then, at the conclusion of the working day my trains derail or brief out right here and there. I almost certainly spend as considerably time correcting my monitor as I used putting in it.

What job(s) have you been working on just lately?

Correct now, I am functioning on three initiatives. Initial, I am scratchbuilding a concrete plant for a location on my format I connect with “Caleeinte Flats.” Next, I am starting a series of movies for Trains.com where by I am modeling a prototype crew keep track of that is right around wherever I operate. There are some awesome genuine-environment facts in this scene that I are not able to hold out to model and share with the railfans. I am likely to exhibit fellow normal person product railroaders how they can pull this off in N-scale.

[Check out Steve’s trains.com exclusive “Scale it Down” video series! —Ed.]

A train on a model railroad
A prepare crosses Dead Man’s Go on Steve’s Brown-Smith Railroad. Picture by Steve Brown

What advice would you give to a new hobbyist?

My assistance for new or returning modelers is to just shove off. Much more occasions than I can depend I have browse remarks where by fellow modelers get pleasure from what they see me do but are apprehensive about executing it them selves. I usually tell them, just shove off and make one thing you’re very pleased of.

That is all component of the enjoyment! It is far way too effortless for anyone to sit on the other close of the online and bash your attempts. Do not let that get to you. About the previous couple of years, I have operate into countless numbers of common dude design railroaders just like you. All of them just love watching folks like you giving it a shot. No issue what, just rail-on my friends!

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