Getting it Right

Set to ‘release’ soon is the latest in my Executive Line Series of business cars. The Norfolk Southern’s ‘West Virginia‘, is beautiful! In fact, the entire NS ‘Office Car Special’ is a beautiful train! I have several connections in that area, and with the NS, and they have been most helpful in providing photo details, as well as actual paint from the Altoona Shops. Since I have never seen these cars, other than in photos, it is very important to get the color just right. Often times we only have photos, and we base a model on our interpretation of that photo. When you understand that there are so many elements that will effect a photographs image, ‘getting it close’ is often as good as it can be. But in the case of the NS-OCS, the cars are there to be seen, and the paint can be matched. That’s the only way I can do this special run. Interestingly, but rather common, these cars also have a hi-gloss finish. You know where the slang term ‘private varnish’ came from, right? These cars, including the roofs, have a beautiful gloss finish. I asked Micro-Trains to finish the cars with a semi-gloss clear coat. Hi-gloss in N scale would not look prototypical, in my opinion. In the course of production, I asked for samples of everything, and was amazed when the roof sample arrived. Having a black roof with a semi-gloss clear coat on it was amazing and actually took me to early N scale Rivorrossi heavyweights from ‘back in the day’. All passenger cars once came like this. As I held the new roof sample in my hand, it reminded me of how far we have come in our production quality and modeling standards. It looks just perfect, and I expect that you will say so, as well – not too shiny and yet giving the effect I want, for the Norfolk Southern’s ‘Office Car Special’. Shoot, let’s do the whole train!

West Virginia

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Lowell Smith

A native of Portland, Oregon, Lowell Smith married his church choir sweetheart Barb in 1978. After a lifetime of rail-fanning, Lowell and Barb ventured out in 1992 to launch a new business in Portland, Oregon. Read more


  1. ljj on May 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Sounds great – was wondering how you would handle the finish… Can’t wait to see mine. And definitely consider doing the rest of the train, I think there are a lot of NS modellers who will support you!

  2. Brad on May 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Outstanding. I cannot wait to see it! Hopefully you decide to produce more of the OCS fleet!

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