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Book Review
Beginner's Guide Rolling Stock
Beginner's Guide to Locomotives & Rolling Stock
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Beginner's Guide to Locomotives & Rolling Stock by Kalmbach Publishing Co. is a new title in their Essential Series of Model Railroader books. Penned by Cody Grivno, it introduces modelers to the basics of prototype railroad equipment, and how to make their model trains model those better.
    Keeping locomotives in good condition is critical to smooth operation on a model railroad. In the newest Essentials Series book by Cody Grivno, Beginner’s Guide to Locomotives and Rolling Stock, modelers will learn:

    • How to choose, buy, and maintain locomotives, freight cars, and passenger cars with a focus on HO and N scales.
    • How to perform basic maintenance and simple upgrades using detail parts, new couplers and new wheels.
    • The basics about steam and diesel locomotives and freight cars.
    - Kalmbach

Beginner's Guide to Locomotives & Rolling Stock is comprised of 96 pages in a 8.25 x 10.75 softcover format. It boast 225 color photographs. It is catalogued as book 12800 by Kalmbach and ISBN 978-1-62700-299-8.

Beginner's Guide to Locomotives & Rolling Stock consists of nine chapters. For some reason, the table of contents on the web page is different than in the book.

Web Page
1. How real locomotives (steam/diesel) work
2. How model locomotives work
3. Maintaining and detailing model locomotives
4. Prototype freight car guide
5. Types of model freight cars (RTR, kits, plastic, resin, wood)
6. Upgrading and detailing model freight cars
7. Guide to prototype couplers
8. Guide to available model couplers
9. Replacing and upgrading couplers on models
10. Guide to prototype locomotive and freight car wheels
11. Upgrading, adjusting, and detailing wheels on models

1. Getting started
2. Prototype steam locomotives
3. Steam locomotive models
4. Prototype diesel locomotives
5. Diesel model basics and maintenance
6. Freight and passenger cars
7. Prototype and model couplers
8. Wheels and trucks
9. Tools and adhesives

The text is well written and highly informative. The text is supplemented with several informational sidebars, i.e., Locomotive Builders, which names the prominent companies of the steam era. The first chapter discusses the difference between model railroads and toy trains, and the joys of each. While a short section, Scale versus gauge is presented as it is very important in determining whether models will run on your layout as well as look right.

Eighteen pages detail the original mighty iron horses in Prototype steam locomotives and Steam locomotive models. How the real locos were built and operated is explored. Further topics include weathering and super-detailing kit and stock model locos, as well as upgrading the engines to DCC. Maintenance to keep the models running is also discussed.

Covering 21 pages, those same general subjects are revisited for internal combustion locos in Prototype diesel locomotives and Diesel model basics and maintenance.

A great deal of data and information is crammed into the next 15 pages of Freight and passenger cars. Kits and RTR models are examined, as is how to detail them and keep them running well.

Prototype and model couplers and Wheels and trucks highlight two essential components of all railway rolling stock. These are very useful chapters because there are so many brands of couplers and wheel sets nowadays. Mounting them or replacing factory mounted types can vary dramatically from manufacturer to manufacturer. Aesthetics of long cars is touched upon, too, including the pros and cons of "truck- vs. body-mounted couplers". The variety of trucks are presented, too. Authentic railcar modelers require this knowledge as truck types date the rolling stock to specific eras. Just like the steam and diesel locomotive sections, the care and maintenance of these components are explored in good detail.

Finally, eight pages present products and techniques useful for any genre of modeling: Tools and adhesives. Tweezers, files, drills and screwdrivers, metal and sprue nippers, gauges, micro brushes, and a host of conventional and specialized liquid and tube glues and adhesives - to name a few - are examined in excellent detail.

What more can a modeler ask for?

Photos, graphics, art
Photographic and illustration support of the text is a highlight of all Kalmbach books. They possess an immense archive of images. Very high quality exposures are used. I did not count them and yet I have no doubt the book contains 225 color photos as well as many black-and-white images. Many are from Model Railroader magazine and other Kalmbach books.

Art and tables include:
    1. Whyte locomotive classifications
    2. USRA locomotive types
    3. Illustration: suggested typical steam loco weathering
    4. Whistle signals
    5. Tank car stenciling and lettering
    6. Freight car lettering
    7. AB vs KC air brake systems schematics
    8. Z scale coupler on N scale Micro-Trains freight car
    9. Components of a typical solid-bearing freight car truck
    10. Wheel and truck manufacturers (models)

All of those supports the text.

Beginner's Guide to Locomotives & Rolling Stock is a super addition to their Essential Series. I find the topics valid for advanced modelers, too. The chapter covering tools and glues is an excellent resource for modelers of any subject.

I do not have any meaningful criticism of this title. I believe it is valuable to all levels of model railroad experience, and even for modelers of any subject who are interested in weathering and advanced assembly methods.

Happily recommended.

Than ks to Kalmbach for providing this book for review. Please mention to retailers and vendors that you saw this book here - on RailRoad Modeling.
Highs: Excellent gallery of photos and graphics. I find the topics valid for advanced modelers, too. The chapter covering tools and glues is an excellent resource for modelers of any subject.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: This is a valuable resource for all levels of model railroad experience, and even for modelers of any subject who are interested in weathering and advanced assembly methods.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 12800
  Suggested Retail: $21.99
  PUBLISHED: Apr 18, 2017

Our Thanks to Kalmbach Publishing Co.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


I'll probably pick this one up. I like the detailed information it looks like it will provide.
APR 19, 2017 - 05:53 AM

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