Lowell Smith Signature Series https://lowellsmith.net from concept to reality Mon, 23 Nov 2020 18:27:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 https://lowellsmith.net/content/s22/960e29fd-favicon.png Lowell Smith Signature Series https://lowellsmith.net 32 32 Matamerism https://lowellsmith.net/matamerism/ https://lowellsmith.net/matamerism/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 18:27:46 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=17396 Desiring to do the very best that we can, we look for resources in every facet of the models we build. When it comes to getting a color right, it is always best to go to the source. In the case of the Northern Pacific Railroad, we are blessed to have the actual color cards,…

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Desiring to do the very best that we can, we look for resources in every facet of the models we build. When it comes to getting a color right, it is always best to go to the source. In the case of the Northern Pacific Railroad, we are blessed to have the actual color cards, or ‘Drift Cards’ as they are known.  Provided by the NPHS, this is a very valuable resource. But that resource is only as good if you can hold a factory’s feet-to-the-fire so to speak, insisting that the color sample they give on a preproduction train is to our liking.

For the current production release, this batch of coaches for the Illinois Central train, “City of Miami“, and the Great Northern’s Big Sky Blue, we do have several Pullman books with color samples to use. But how do these colors compare to what has been done previously in our scale? (Can you scale color? That is a topic for later.)

Looking at other production runs of several well-known N Scale manufacturers, it is easy to see arguments as to what they think is right. For Big Sky Blue, I found that both Kato and Micro-Trains agreed on the blue. We agreed with the Kato BSB gray, so we sent that sample to our factory to match. For the IC ‘Panama’ colors, as they are known, we only went to the Kato bookcase sets they produced about ten years ago. They appeared to match the Pullman book colors close enough to follow. The prior Walthers run used a true brown which we know was not right, and MicroTrains used an almost maroon which, in our opinion, was too red. We think that our factory knocked the ball out-of-the-park with this batch of passenger cars. We are very sure you will agree! Big Sky Blue and the IC City of Miami will be a perfect match, if you have these well-loved other brands.

The point is this, if prior trains produced are painted well and look right to the Drift Cards, it is best to match those so that you have continuity in your train. Matching colors often creates arguments, but why other than to justify what you purchased. You are seldom standing in front of the actual train to compare colors to a model. And, if you were, is it fresh paint? You can use the argument that a version has a sun-faded effect. And, by the way, you know that colors fade in sunlight so never get darker.

So what about Matamerism? Look that word up! Matamerism is defined: the way that light effects how we see a color.

At the end-of-the-day, a railroad’s actual Drift Cards, or Drift Cards used by the Pullman-Standard Company are always the best way to match a production run that needs to follow a prototype train.

Remember what I said about ’scaling a color’?  Just read the above and everything else is ‘just for arguments’ sake.

Happy Rails! We are committed to bring you the best we can!

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The Florida Trains https://lowellsmith.net/the-florida-trains/ https://lowellsmith.net/the-florida-trains/#respond Sun, 27 Sep 2020 19:27:36 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=17073 Travelers to Florida had several rail lines they could choose to get to Jacksonville. But south from there, there was only one railroad, The Florida East Coast. Owned by Henry M. Flagler, the road was founded in 1895. The simple chart here shows how all lines lead to the FEC. This chart is not at…

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Travelers to Florida had several rail lines they could choose to get to Jacksonville. But south from there, there was only one railroad, The Florida East Coast. Owned by Henry M. Flagler, the road was founded in 1895. The simple chart here shows how all lines lead to the FEC. This chart is not at all complete, but a short summary of major name trains that carried FEC cars in interline service. Of these railroads, only the Illinois Central insisted that the FEC cars be painted in the IC’s ‘Panama’ chocolate and orange colors, (for The City of Miami). All other FEC cars in the streamline era were stainless steel by Budd or Pullman-Standard.The Seaboard eventually had lines to Miami but these were not as direct as the FEC.

Eventually the FEC consolidated north/south trains running these name trains in composite consists. Thus a FEC train would be very eclectic in appearance.

To build an accurate Florida train, you will need cars of these different rail lines to replicate a specific train. These books are a great resource for consists in specific time periods.It is for the purpose of building an accurate consist, that RailSmith is producing these Florida East Coast cars. Cars never before produced in N Scale. All-Aboard for Florida!

Read more about it:

‘From the Mid-west to Florida By Rail ‘Vol. 1 & 2 by Blardone published by the Pennsylvania RT&HS

‘Speedway to Sunshine’ by Bramson

‘Selling Sunshine’  a Kalmbach Video

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Newly Tooled Coach! https://lowellsmith.net/newly-tooled-coach/ https://lowellsmith.net/newly-tooled-coach/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2020 22:40:20 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=16794 New N scale model is in production! Our ’newly tooled’ Coach, is a Pullman-Standard car that follows the plan 7510. We are very excited to bring this car that has never before been produced in N Scale. This coach was seen in several paint schemes and will offer a nice variety to the N Scale modeler…

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New N scale model is in production!

Our ’newly tooled’ Coach, is a Pullman-Standard car that follows the plan 7510. We are very excited to bring this car that has never before been produced in N Scale. This coach was seen in several paint schemes and will offer a nice variety to the N Scale modeler and the trains you are building.

Both skirted and un-skirted versions are being made and will be offered where appropriate. This coach, or ‘Chair Car’ as some railroads called them, will feature all the great detail that you enjoy on the other RailSmith cars, such as sprung diaphragms, working knuckle couplers, metal wheels, electrical pick-up, accurate color decoration and road numbers or road names.

The first release will be arriving in January 2021. In that first release, the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and Spokane, Portland & Seattle painted versions are Pullman plan specific with the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific versions being close, or ‘Classic’ versions of those cars.  Photos and reference material are provided on those item web pages for you to refer to. We are starting with both the un-skirted version as well as the skirted version in the first release.

North Coast Limited:  It was important to us to select a car that was both unique and had never been done before.  Also, that they were used on this great train, a train that has never been produced in N Scale until now! It is very exciting these cars were part of the first streamlined North Coast Limited in 1947. They also served on other NP trains such as the Mainstreeter, the Alaskan, and the Coast Pool trains, #407 and #408, which ran between Portland and Seattle. Many of them also lasted to Amtrak in 1970.

These cars are in production now and being the ‘first’ newly created RailSmith cars, are expected to be a nice addition and big success to the line. We appreciate your vote of confidence as the ‘Build-A-Train’ concept continues to roll with other new cars already in the works. We hope you enjoy the journey as we build trains, one-car-at-a-time!

Paint Scheme Plans to look for:

(click the links to reserve yours)

Great Northern – Empire Builder, also Big Sky Blue
Illinois Central
Northern Pacific – Loewy ’Two-Tone’ Green, also 1947 ‘Pine Tree’
Spokane Portland & Seattle – Broad Stripe, also Empire Builder as well as Four Stripe.
Union Pacific – Yellow & Gray , as well as maybe the ‘Challenger’ scheme.
Southern Pacific – Yellow, Maybe General Service ‘Silver & Red’

Amtrak, as some lasted until then. Is anybody interested in Amtrak?

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A Time To Build https://lowellsmith.net/a-time-to-build/ https://lowellsmith.net/a-time-to-build/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2020 03:57:46 +0000 https://lowellsmith.net/?p=16668 “For everything there is a season… A time to tear down and a time to build up.”  Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NLT).  ‘A Time To Build’…. This recent title on the issue of Cowcatcher magazine really caught me.  If we take just that part of the scripture, it sure rings true right now.  It really is a ’time to…

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“For everything there is a season… A time to tear down and a time to build up.”  Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NLT).  ‘A Time To Build’…. This recent title on the issue of Cowcatcher magazine really caught me.  If we take just that part of the scripture, it sure rings true right now.  It really is a ’time to build’.

As a railroad modeler myself, I have been very focused on shipping the many production runs that have been arriving since April, and specifically working earnestly to complete the American Freedom Train’s final release of the Tool Car.  Once that is done, I will finally start working on my railroad, and there will be more about that in another blog story down the road.

I am encouraged right now (and that’s a good thing for me and for you, too) to hear the stories, and see on the internet, the progress that many are making on their model railroads.  I am also hearing that other manufacturers report they are doing well, or certainly much better than expected during the Covid situation.  Shops that have an ‘online’ presence have been pressed to keep up.

Are you making progress on your railroad?  It sure is a different season of life, and I am so thankful that this is a hobby that thrives when we are home to work on it.  The missing part, however, can be the time we spend with others.  Sharing our passion for model railroading whether at a train show, a club gathering, or a friend’s layout is certainly one of the most rewarding parts of our hobby.  I encourage you to reach out to your railroad buddies and engage.

I am a life-long railroad modeler.  One thing I found out many years ago is I don’t need another photo of a train, but would rather have the picture of my ‘friend’ that’s operating the train!  The train may last forever, but friends will not, and recent passing of several rail buddies brings that home.  Reach out, stay connected, and encourage someone, because he/she may need it more than you know.

Please, Stay Well

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Passenger Service on the SP&S https://lowellsmith.net/passenger-service-on-sps/ https://lowellsmith.net/passenger-service-on-sps/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2020 01:40:36 +0000 http://lowellsmith.net/?p=14869 The picture below tells a fun story of this Northwest train, our next Build-a-Train consist. The SP&S Train #2 ran from Portland to Spokane. Train #1 ran the opposite direction. This photo shows its late-day trip west of Wishram, Washington traveling at speed over the fill at Horse Thief Lake, with the mighty Columbia River in the…

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The picture below tells a fun story of this Northwest train, our next Build-a-Train consist.

The SP&S Train #2 ran from Portland to Spokane. Train #1 ran the opposite direction. This photo shows its late-day trip west of Wishram, Washington traveling at speed over the fill at Horse Thief Lake, with the mighty Columbia River in the background.  

Spokane Portland & Seattle, #2 at Horse Thief Lake – 1968

What is interesting is this typical consist. The SP&S #1 & #2 carried the connecting cars for the GN’s Empire Builder and the NP’s North Coast Limited.

From the last car seen here and moving forward: NP Sleeper, NP Dome Coach, SP&S Mount Hood Sleeper Lounge, SP&S Diner Willamette (fluted car purchased from MKT), GN Sleeper, GN Dome Coach, SP&S Coach, SP&S RPO 31, SP&S Baggage Dorm 75.

The Northern Pacific cars will be set out at Pasco, Washington where the North Coast Limited coming from Seattle will pick them up and continue on to Chicago. The remaining SP&S train, now with the Mount Hood on the rear, will travel the remaining miles on to Spokane, Washington for a 1am connection with GN’s eastbound Empire Builder, with the GN Sleeper and Dome Coach now becoming part of that train, which travels eastward to Chicago.

Local riders between Portland and Spokane would ride in the SP&S coach or Mount Hood Sleeper Lounge. Those riding beyond Spokane would ride either the NP or GN cars.

SP&S trains #1 &# 2 never carried a formal name, but were usually referred to as The Streamliner. Since they carried the connecting cars for GN & NP, those trains named Empire Builder and North Coast Limited were also common nomenclature.

History of the Cars

In the late 40’s the SP&S updated its passenger fleet with new cars from the Pullman-Standard company. They were: 1 diner (405), 2 sleeper lounges (600 Mt Hood and 601 Mount St. Helens), 1 Baggage Dorm (75), 5 coaches (301-305). All were delivered to the SP&S in 1950. Three coaches (303-305) received the SP&S four stripe scheme and served on trains 3 & 4 or as needed. The other two coaches (301 & 302) along with all these other new cars, arrived in the orange and green Empire Builder scheme.

Prior to 1952, the NP cars were not carried on trains #1 or #2 as seen in this photo, but were on SP&S trains 3 & 4. So between 1950 and 1952, it was common to see a complete orange and green SP&S train #1 or 2. In those days, rightly called the Empire Builder. 

I think I should have my brother paint this photographed moment in time and bring color to this memory!

Check out the SP&S Streamliner product page here.

Lowell

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Isolated But Not Alone! https://lowellsmith.net/isolated-but-not-alone/ https://lowellsmith.net/isolated-but-not-alone/#respond Sat, 28 Mar 2020 23:12:43 +0000 http://lowellsmith.net/?p=14364 We may be isolated but we are not alone! If you are making lemonade out of lemons, you are spending quality time with your family, and building your railroad!  And, how can that be bad?  I would be working on my model railroad, if it were not for the production of the American Freedom Train, which…

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We may be isolated but we are not alone!

If you are making lemonade out of lemons, you are spending quality time with your family, and building your railroad!  And, how can that be bad?  I would be working on my model railroad, if it were not for the production of the American Freedom Train, which is top priority right now.

Barb and I are doing fine here in Central, Oregon.  We are open for business and shipping trains!

We’re praying you are well, and staying calm and healthy.

Watch for the enewsletter coming soon.  And thanks for not forgetting about your favorite N Scale train maker!  (Could I be so presumptuous?)

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Build-A-Train Success – The Texas Special https://lowellsmith.net/build-a-train-success-the-texas-special/ https://lowellsmith.net/build-a-train-success-the-texas-special/#respond Wed, 26 Feb 2020 19:54:02 +0000 http://lowellsmith.net/?p=13802 The Texas Special roll out has gone very well.  By the end of this year, 2020, we project that all of the cars will be available or close to shipping, with the exception of the Buffet Lounge and the E-7 power.  The power should be announced about 12 months from now. The speed of this…

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The Texas Special roll out has gone very well.  By the end of this year, 2020, we project that all of the cars will be available or close to shipping, with the exception of the Buffet Lounge and the E-7 power.  The power should be announced about 12 months from now.

The speed of this train release is partly due to the ability to allow the real story of the Texas Special to play out, in that, there were heavy-weight cars needed to build a third train set.

It is important to note that RailSmith still plans to produce a streamline fluted RPO and a Diner.  The heavy-weight RPO and Diner announced for this train allows you to have a complete (and accurate) train much sooner.  You are welcome!

There are less than 30 sets of the sleepers left, so be sure to order yours here, if you haven’t already. Please, no tears on the platform if this train leaves without you!

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2020 is an Exciting New Year https://lowellsmith.net/2020-is-an-exciting-new-year/ https://lowellsmith.net/2020-is-an-exciting-new-year/#respond Fri, 03 Jan 2020 04:36:24 +0000 http://lowellsmith.net/?p=12667 You are probably saying this too, ‘Time is sure going fast.’ So much happened last year, and there’s so much to reflect upon. On a connected note, thank you with your well wishes, and similar stories, responding to my last blog ‘Thankful’ (about Prostate Cancer). I am surrounded by friends and that is the’ best’ we can…

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You are probably saying this too, ‘Time is sure going fast.’

So much happened last year, and there’s so much to reflect upon. On a connected note, thank you with your well wishes, and similar stories, responding to my last blog ‘Thankful’ (about Prostate Cancer). I am surrounded by friends and that is the’ best’ we can hope for.

This coming year will certainly be better than last year.  I will ship the last car for the American Freedom Train!  I am so excited to finally get this out-the-door. This car has an amazing story of its own and the result is a beautiful baggage dorm car.  Those of you that have been waiting have been more than patient, and I thank you for that.

We have several projects that you will be just delighted about, and I’ll be telling you about them soon. In fact, you are about to be amazed!

For now, I am very pleased to tell you about the new baggage car that we just announced. It seems that Walthers only ran this body style  ONE time when they owned it. It is so close to the D&RGW car, well it just had to be done!  Fluted below the belt rail, and with full skirts, this car will be a welcome addition to N Scale. It was like a treasure discovery when I realized what I had. 

Very exciting year ahead!

~ Lowell

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Thankful! https://lowellsmith.net/thankful/ https://lowellsmith.net/thankful/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2019 04:30:18 +0000 http://lowellsmith.net/?p=11961 Every year at this time we pause to reflect the past year, and often the cumulative years, of what has brought us to this point in life.  We have so much to be thankful for, but this year I am extra grateful. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago, and this past April underwent…

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Every year at this time we pause to reflect the past year, and often the cumulative years, of what has brought us to this point in life.  We have so much to be thankful for, but this year I am extra grateful.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago, and this past April underwent a radical prostectomy, and it’s not a little surgery I assure you. The doctor’s prognosis is great, and I am doing well with my PSA score ‘undetectable’!  Thank you, Jesus!

I tell you this not only because of being thankful, but I know that some of you may have had this common disease, as well, and I pray that your outcome is as good as mine.  And, if you have not had your PSA blood test in the past year, GET IT DONE, NOW!  Generally, it is slow growing but sometimes, like mine, it is not and can be very aggressive.  Like me, you probably know others that did not get it checked in time.  Don’t be one of those statistics.

Live life, but be responsible to get to the doctor once-a-year as they suggest.  This has been quite a distraction from some productions, such as the last car of the American Freedom Train, which requires lots of handwork on my part.  I appreciate your understanding and patience with me this past year.

I am sure I will receive emails from some of you about your experiences.  If you still have those ‘bad cells’ in your body, I pray they are dissolved and gone, in Jesus’ name.  

Thankful for life worth living,

Lowell

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A Texas Special Day https://lowellsmith.net/a-texas-special-day/ https://lowellsmith.net/a-texas-special-day/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2019 21:49:32 +0000 http://lowellsmith.net/?p=11505 I’ve been blessed the past couple of years being able to attend the RPM Chicagoland meet. Events like this provide lots of inspiration and fellowship – something we all need. Speaking of inspiration, my friends at Modutrak, (Milwaukee based N scale group), are always inspiring, and they showoff some of the finest N Scale modeling…

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I’ve been blessed the past couple of years being able to attend the RPM Chicagoland meet. Events like this provide lots of inspiration and fellowship – something we all need.

Speaking of inspiration, my friends at Modutrak, (Milwaukee based N scale group), are always inspiring, and they showoff some of the finest N Scale modeling I have ever seen. On top of that, they base their models in the 1960’s, and so do I. So, that really hits my button.

Do you recall the blog story title “What San Francisco Train” from last year? This year, I brought a few Texas Special cars to the RPM Meet at Chicagoland and Nate Pierce brought two FRISCO E units to pull them. What a delight that was!

As you see here, in this movie segment, it’s a gorgeous train!  (Thanks Nate!)

The Lounge car for this day is simply a coach with a antenna I installed on the roof, which was a quick visual fix.

Can you imagine what this will look like with Micro-Trains heavy-weight shadow-lined red and silver cars added to this consist>

And, a little further down the road, brand new road specific new streamlined RPO and Diner?

Couple that with two TEXAS SPECIAL E-7A units and this train may just roll into N Scale history as the prettiest train ever!  (That is until the Empire Builder and the North Coast Limited are finished!)

I hope you will agree from seeing this clip, it was a very Texas Special Day!  

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