Category Archives: General

Scouting out Train Stores in Brooklyn

Yesterday afternoon, I ventured out to Brooklyn to check out another train store. The trip on the Culver Line was a lot longer than expected because we were re-routed due to construction. When I finally got to Ditmas Avenue, I was utterly disappointed to find Train World closed.

Train World Brooklyn

Is this store open?

I walked past the store thinking that this may just be the loading dock and the store is located around the corner, but at the last minute I decided to try the door anyway. To my surprise, it was unlocked and I found the store open after all.

Inside, a few employees were busy working the phones taking orders and I took a quick look around. The store is well stocked with material in variety of gauges and judging by their flyer they must have much more inventory than what is on display in the showroom. They did have a few PROTO 2000 Penn Central engines but I wasn’t ready to buy anything yet. Prices are decent so the chances are good that I will be back. Can’t make it to Brooklyn? Visit Train World online.

VT 798 blast from the past

My dad sent me two pictures from his archives with his Christmas package. Both depict a late era 4 “Schienenbus” railcar photographed in 1993, shortly before the VT 798 was decommissioned between Seckach and Miltenberg (formerly KBS 566, now KBS 784).

VT 798 in Buchen, Germany

VT 798 railcar in Buchen, Germany. (click to enlarge)

Fast forward to 2010. The manual signals and the turnout in the foreground have been removed and no station personnel works at this post anymore. But hey, at least the trains are still running…

VT 798 railcar near Buchen, Germany

VT 798 railcar near Buchen, Germany.

On this one the railcar is a little blurry, but I like the motion it adds to the shot. This could be anywhere on one of the FREMO:87 modules. Notice how the grass is shorter near the road.

The scene pretty much looks the same today except for the overhead lines, which have been removed a few years ago.

Eisenbahnstudio in 2009

The past year has been a good one and was packed with life-changing events. My wife and I decided to leave Germany and move back to the United States. We both found good jobs and have settled into a nice little apartment on Manhattan’s west side.

I am also grateful for my Eisenbahnstudio readers who come back again and again, read the RSS feedsubscribe to the email updates or follow Eisenbahnstudio on Twitter . Over time, this blog has developed a small but faithful following that I hope will continue to grow in 2010.

But before I start talking about the new year, let’s review 2009 here on the Eisenbahnstudio blog…

The most popular posts

In terms of pageviews, the following five posts were the most popular among readers in 2009. If you missed any of them, review them at your convenience.

Working with TurboCAD Mac Deluxe – The most important features to learn in order to start working in 3D with TurboCAD.

Rail 2009 PROTO:87 Convention – My report from the inspiring PROTO:87 event in Houten, Netherlands.

My new macro photo studio – First pictures from my macro photo studio.

Benchwork for my FREMO project – An overview of the module set-up of the Fessenheim project.

Assembling Weinert’s original coupler – Instructions for optimizing the coupler for operation.

How readers found Eisenbahnstudio

One of the things I find most fascinating about managing a website or blog is looking at the keywords that visitors use to find the site. I went to Google Analytics, exported the keywords and made a tag cloud to visualize how individual keywords rank in searches.

2009 Eisenbahnstudio keyword cloud.*

2009 Eisenbahnstudio keyword cloud.*

Overall, the keywords focus around topics that are representative of what I write about. I expected words such as proto, fremo and related keywords to be represented prominently. To my surprise, a high number of searches included the word marklin, which brought a sizable number of visitors to Eisenbahnstudio. This makes me wonder if I should consider not using this brand name on the blog because I imagine that many visitors looking for Märklin-related content will be disappointed.

What’s in store for 2010

Settled into a new apartment and job, I intend to spend more time modeling and reporting on my projects – possibly including US prototypes.

The interview series with other prototype modelers will continue, and I plan to write more about general prototype modeling topics, report on community events and share PROTO:87 industry news.

If you are interested in anything in particular or have suggestions on specific PROTO:87 topics, please leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks, and Happy New Year!

*Image created by the Wordle.net web application.

My new macro photo studio

I have been thinking about getting a little macro photo studio to better document my modeling activities for a while now. My first attempt was pretty low tech involving two IKEA night-stand lights, two sheets of copier paper and an Apple MacBook. The set-up yielded some decent results, but the background isn’t as white as I would like, and there are too many shadows under the car. The light emitted by the two IKEA lights is probably not enough to make this a viable approach.

The MacBook photo studio.

The MacBook photo studio.

PIKO Tds shot using the MacBook studio.

PIKO Tds* shot using the MacBook studio.

Next, I was looking on the web for a tutorial on building a light tent. The Strobist blog provides a nice step-by-step approach to building a DIY $10 macro photo studio. I bought some white tissue paper at the local pharmacy and got a box in order to try it for myself. As I was cutting out the sides of the cardboard box, it became clear that the box’s skeleton was not very sturdy and probably wouldn’t last long. Besides, there was still the problem with proper lighting and storage since the box couldn’t be folded up.

Finally, I decided to invest a little bit of money in a photo studio tent with lights that I found on amazon.com. The package arrived yesterday, and a friend and I set it up and gave it a test drive. Setting up the tent was a breeze, and we were up and running within five minutes.

A few first shots revealed that the bulbs rated at 2,800 lumens are not quite strong enough to fully light the tent through the lining. This was somewhat discouraging. I may have to get brighter bulbs down the road or use a flash directed at the ceiling for additional indirect lighting. To get around this issue, my wife suggested we remove the front screen, aiming one lamp diagonally in from the front and the other one from the opposite side through the lining. This approach yielded very nice results – the background is bright with subtle shadows behind the car.

PIKO Tds in the new photo tent.

PIKO Tds in the new photo tent.

When we were done, we faced another challenge: correctly folding up the big tent to fit back into the tiny carrying case. There were no instructions and no manual, so we went looking for the solution online. We were pleasantly surprised to find a short instructional video on YouTube that explained how to open and fold a photo tent.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the purchase, and I am looking forward to working more with my new macro photo studio. Now I just need a better camera.

Do you have any tips you want to share about your model railroad macro photography set-up? I am looking forward to your comments.

*The progress on my PIKO Tds project will be covered in a forthcoming article.

Resource on modular model railroads

Looking through my web traffic reports last week, I noticed a number of referrals from modular-model-railroads.com. Turns out that the site mentions my humble eisenbahnstudio blog in their articles entitled In search of the Ultimate module and Module Weblogs. I would like to thank the guys from Modular Model Railroads and reciprocate the link.

The site is a growing resource on modular and sectional model railroad building and offers many useful how-tos, information on benchwork, module clubs, links to photo galleries and YouTube videos. If you are interested in learning more about FREMOdules and other modular systems or would like to become a contributor, pay them a visit.