News: Our Community

S-scale has a relatively tight-knit group of people, where a lot of us know each other via local clubs, train shows, e-mail, discussion groups, or various forms of social media. This page covers information about specific individuals, clubs, train show reports, personal web site updates, etc. Click photos to visit the web sites.

September 13, 2023

Bill Pyper (updated)

On July 23, 2023 we announced that former NASG Dispatch editor Bill Pyper had passed away. In early September 2023, we received an obituary from a family member (we have not been able to find one on the Web). It goes as follows, and is written in a slighty humorous style as was part of Bill's sense of humor:

"Obituary of William Joseph Pyper III, but, please call him Bill.
Bill was born October 9, 1939 in Amityville, NY, yes, that one, to Eunice Booth Pyper, and, big shock, William Joseph Pyper II. After graduating from Amityville High School, where he left his mark as a great baseball player, football player, journalist, and counterfeiter, he joined the United States Air Force at the age of 17. This enabled him to see most of the United States, some of England, Germany, Spain, North Africa, and his commanding officer's daughter. He was a recon specialist, and intelligence officer during his six years. He used his GI benefits to go to college at San Diego State University, buy a first house with his new wife, her two boys, and welcomed two girls. They all moved to San Luis Obispo ("SLO"), CA when he got a job at Cal Poly teaching printing, stripping, and plate making. Later they bought Litho Art Shop to run, and turned it into The Prynters. He was also very involved in softball, SLO Parks and Recreation, SLO Historical Society, and SLO Railroad Museum. After selling the business, he was bored being retired, so he returned to work for the buyer of his business. Later, moving to Oregon to be near family, he became the editor of the National Association of S-Gaugers magazine until he was 80 years old. He passed away July 21, 2023 in Lacey, Washington with is daughter, Megan, caring for him. He was preceded in death by his former wife Wendy Barnard Pyper, his parents, sister Melissa, and brother David. He leaves behind daughters Megan Brown, and her family, Shannon Fraser, and her family, step-sons, Rex Carter, and Brett Carter, and his family, brother Robert Pyper, and many cousins from the Booth side of his family, no relation to John Wilkes Booth, or so we're told.
There will be no services, at Bill's request, and his ashes have been spread over the Pacific Ocean. If you wish to make a gesture in Bill's name, the SLO Railroad Museum, and The NASG can use the dough-nation."

Our original posting in July:
Bill was a commercial printer, writer, editor, and graphic designer in San Luis Obispo, CA, and ran a small model railroad-related business on the side called "Railroad Prynter". He sold building papers and signs in various scales, including S. He later moved to Salem, Oregon. Bill was an O-scale modeler starting at around 1998, but switched to S-scale later. Shortly after that he learned of Jeff Madden's plans to retire from being the NASG's "The Dispatch" editor, and volunteered for the position. He ran the Dispatch starting with the October 2013 issue through the January 2020 issue, during which time he took the magazine to a whole new level, making it rival the big print magazines. After he stopped being the editor, he moved to be closer to his daughter, and restarted his new S-scale layout in his new house. We're glad that he got to spend the last few years of his life with his family. Our condolences to his family and his friends.

As this web site's editor, I interacted with Bill a lot, and he and I got along really well. We saw things eye-to-eye, and he had a sharp sense of humor. Once Bill learned that I was born and raised in The Netherlands, he revealed that he was stationed for a few years on a U.S. military base in Holland, touring the country in some of his spare time, back in the 1950s.

September 13, 2023

The Reality of Age Sets In

Dick Karnes announced that his famous heavy-electric layout has been removed from his home, and has now found a new home in Minnesota. A crew of people showed up at Dick's home in Washington state in late August and proceeded to cut his layout into 13 sections. Dave Jasper headed up the effort, with the intent of re-assembling that layout at the Miniature Railway Institute and Museum in Hopkins, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. All of Dick's engines and rolling stock were part of the move. The museum, of which Dave is the current CEO, is run by a board of directors, so continuation is assured, meaning Dick's layout should be available for future viewing when the dust settles. Dick and his wife are planning on moving into a senior living residence, and he expects to continue to build models of cars and engines.

As the saying goes, "When it rains, it pours." Gaylord Gill and Roger Nulton are also in the process of preparing to or actually are dismantling their well-known home layouts. Dan Vandermause recently moved, which required the dismantling of his B&O layout, but he is building a U-shaped switching layout in his new home.

August 29, 2023

Southwestern Ohio S Scalers

After a dormancy of a few years, the Southwestern Ohio S Scalers are re-starting their efforts. They cover mostly the greater Cincinnati area. Join in if you are interested in 1:64 trains. The club will hold round-robin style of visits, and are planning to build a small S layout to take to local area train shows to introduce people to model railroading, to S, and to the NASG. If you currently do not have a layout or even no S equipment, but are interested in S, contact the club. Contact Chris Burger via e-mail, or call (513) 764-1986.
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August 13, 2023

Tom Henderson

Tom Henderson passed away August 4th at his home in Ouray, Colorado. Tom was the owner of the online retail store, Sidetracks. Tom has a very large inventory of S-scale products that he has been trying to sell. His wife, Margaret, says that she plans to continue to sell Tom's inventory in the near future via their web site.

August 09, 2023

Gerry Evans

Bill Winans received a report from Gerry Evans' daughter that Gerry passed away this afternoon at the age of 81. Gerry was a long-time NASG member, and was the Western and then Central V.P. for a combined total of 10 years. Gerry pushed to fruition the "Sunkist Packing Shed" NASG project back in 2006 where Showcase Miniatures agreed to manufacture a number of kits for S-scale of their HO-scale structure. Gerry was also instrumental in getting the "Kermit's Kleaning Kemicals" modular brick building kit to market (the project had a very troubling history). Gerry wrote a large number of articles for the NASG's The Dispatch. He was a prolific structure builder, and ran a business called "Best Of Show" through which he accepted commissions for building kits for people, which included structures, vehicles, and figures. He won the "Best-of-show" award for his Glade Creek Grist Mill at the 2002 NASG Convention. Gerry also contributed many photos to this web site.

August 06, 2023

Friends Recall Brian Ellerby's Sn3 Layout

This video is a presentation made in April 2023 by Bill Adkins recalling Brian Ellerby's Sn3 layout. Other friends also comment about Brian's modeling efforts on this recorded Zoom meeting.

July 24, 2023

Jim Brown's Sn3 Layout Tour

Jim Brown is creating a D&RGW-based layout in Sn3 and takes us on a slide-show tour of how he designed and built the layout.

July 11, 2023

Raymond Appler

Long-time NASG member, Raymond Appler, recent passed away at the age of 88. We were unable to locate an online obituary.

July 08, 2023

Traintastic is Open

Traintastic Interactive Model Railroad Museum in Gulfport, Mississippi had its grand opening in June, 2023. It features over 50,000 square feet of space, with 20 operating model railroads, featuring all scales. Private (brothers Glenn and Richard Mueller) and state public funding was used to build this over $7,000,000 facility.

July 06, 2023

Dale Kreutzer's Sn3 Layout in Magazine

Trackside Model Railroading online magazine is no stranger to featuring S. They have previously featured Dick Karnes' layout. The July 2023 issue covers Dale Kreutzer's "RGS Second District" Sn3 layout. The format of this subscription-based magazine is different from others, in that they, typically, only feature two layouts in each issue, but they offer great detail, many photos, as well as video coverage of the layouts. This month's issue is part one of Dale's layout, and part two is scheduled for their next issue.

July 05, 2023

Model Railroader Magazine Photo

Rich Gajnak reports that the August 2023 Model Railroader magazine has a two-page spread in its "Track Side" section showcasing a River Raisin Models NYC 2-8-2 by Mike Tricker.

July 05, 2023

Newspaper Article about Shelburne Museum's S Layout

The newspaper article covers the layout at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. In addition to photos of the layout, several of the museum members who maintain the S layout are interviewed and pictured.

July 03, 2023

Hiram Graves

We regret to inform the community of Hiram Graves' passing. Hiram was a long-time NASG member and very active in the hobby. He passed away on March 8, 2023 at the age of 81. The photo is courtesy of Bill Lane. If you had any personal interactions with Hiram and wish to share those, please forward them to Don Thompson who is composing an article for an upcoming NASG Dispatch issue paying tribute to Hiram (Don's e-mail address is:

June 20, 2023

Dan Olson

Dan Olson, of Lake Forest Park, Washington, passed away on April 3, 2023. He was well-known for his knowledge of American Flyer products. Dan started and ran Olson Hobbies in Lake Forest Park, a brick-n-mortar hobby shop, specializing in American Flyer. That store was founded in 1966. We're unsure of when it closed, as one NASG member reported that he bought a Lionel item from him in December 2022.

June 20, 2023

Russ Segner Presents a Tour of his Sn3 Layout

The Narrow Gauge Off The Beaten Path YouTube channel released a video of Russ Segner walking us through his layout space, the why's behind his layout, and photos of the layout. We also have a page on this web site devoted to his layout.

June 17, 2023

Jeff Schwab's Tour of His Father's Sn3 Layout

TSG Multimedia visits with Jeff Schwab, touring Mike Schwab's Sn3 layout. Mike passed away in 2021.

June 06, 2023

Bill Boucher

The Bristol S Gauge Railroaders morn the loss of their long-time member, Bill Boucher, who passed away on June 5th, 2023, just days before he would have turned 94. The linked-to video shows a 1997 interview with Bill and shows his well-known circus train running on the club's layout.

June 03, 2023

S-scale Exposure

Brooks Stover reported that Joe Coen got a two-page-spread photo of a scene on his layout in the June 2023 issue of the Model Railroader magazine.

Jim Martin wrote the "Perspectives" column (and has the NASG ad photo) in the June 2023 issue of the Railroad Model Craftsman magazine.

May 20, 2023

Austin's American Flyer Video

Austin Birkey, who has a fantastic YouTube channel devoted to A.C. Gilbert American Flyer topics, and an article about his YouTube efforts in the most recent NASG Dispatch, has released a new video in which he covers the NASG.

April 16, 2023

Monster Modelworks Owner Presentation

Jimmy Simmons, owner of Monster Modelworks and its parent company Larkspur LaserArt, describes his company and his product line. The company makes S-scale structure kits and provides S-scale scratchbuilding materials.

March 28, 2023

WaiShing Ting

Don Thompson reports the recent passing of Mr. WaiShing Ting. He was the General Manager of Sanda Kan. Sanda Kan was the Hong Kong company that owned many factories in mainland China that made so many of the S-scale models for S-Helper Service, American Models, S Scale America, and Lionel starting in 1993.

March 27, 2023

Sn2 Free-mo Standard

If you are interested in building one or more Free-mo-style modules for Sn2, the standard has now been approved (by consensus), and a dedicated web page has been created for it.

March 26, 2023

Sn2 Is Alive and Well

David Keith shot this video of the Sn2 set-up at last weekend's 2023 Midwest Narrow Gauge Show in Salem, Ohio, sponsored and organized by Portland Locomotive Works. The layout is composed of several Free-mo-style Sn2 layouts by different modelers, brought together for this show. A quick overview of who owns which module is shown at the end of the video.

March 18, 2023

Golden Spike American Flyer Club at Ogden, Utah Show

The club was set up at last weekend's train show in Ogden, Utah. Toy Man Television did a brief tour of their layout. The link is to the video queued up to the point where the A.F. layout coverage starts.

March 18, 2023

Marc LaChey is an MMR

Sn3 modeler, Marc LaChey, has received his NMRA's Master Model Railroader certificate, number 725.

March 12, 2023

Philip Rentz

We recently learned that long-time NASG member, Philip J. Rentz, out of Ottowa, Illinois passed away in August 2021.

February 21, 2023

Alco vs. EMD - an S-scale Story

Terry O'Kelly shares another very nicely-produced video covering some of the history of Alco vs. EMD, using S-scale models running on his layout for the animation.

February 14, 2023

Dale Kreutzer Sn3 Layout Tour

Dale provides a tour of his layout, focusing on how he built three specific scenes.

February 05, 2023

Peter Beckerle

We were informed by a family member that Peter Beckerle, of Lake Luzerne, New York, passed away in July of 2022. Our belated condolences go out to Peter's family and friends. He was only 67 years old. Peter was a member of the NASG. He had a very nice American Flyer-based layout, photos of which he shared with us a few years ago (see the link below).

February 03, 2023

Badgerland S Gaugers Layout Finds New Home

Ray Puls announced on the OGR forum that the Badgerland S Gaugers' club layout has finally found a new home, after having been in storage for the past 4 years. They now have space at the Waukesha County Gandy Dancers. Their first excursion was at the Waukesha Janbourie.

January 31, 2023

Bob Iannacone

Bob Iannacone, of Brentwood, Tennessee, passed away on January 19, 2023 at the age of 85. Bob was a long time S supporter, a member of the NASG, and owner of the "American Flyer Trains" web site, which showcased and sold AF products. Bob advertised in the NASG's Dispatch routinely. On behalf of the NASG, we offer our condolences to Bob's wife, his daughters, and their extended family and friends.

Bob's web site is set to expire in January 2024. No word on if anyone will continue it. It shows plenty of A.C. Gilbert and Lionel American Flyer, but also some S-Helper Service items.

January 29, 2023

TTOS Set-up at Ophir Tintic and Western Train Show

The Toy Man Television reports from this Utah show. The video starts at the point where the S-scale layout is featured.

January 23, 2023

Doug McLaughlin

We received notification that NASG member Douglas McLaughlin, 77, has passed away. We have no further information. On behalf of the NASG membership, we offer our condolences to Doug's family and his friends.

January 23, 2023

Makerspace Directory

On the Sn3 mailing list there has been a discussion about how to make one's own "kits" to build a model given a CAD design. Dave Hodge recommended looking into Makerspace facilities. These are groups of people who own or rent space where various tools are available for use, such as table saws, band saws, laser-cutters, 3D-printers, etc. Typically the way these work is you become a member of the group near you, and for your membership fee, you gain access to these tools. This allows you to build what you want without having to buy the expensive tools. This is also great for people who live in apartments or small homes where there is no space for these kinds of tools (or the noise isn't tolerated). The link is to a worldwide directory, where you can find one near you. Alternatively, do a general web search for "makerspace" and the name of a city near you.

January 17, 2023

3D-printed 4740cuft Covered Hopper

Ben Trousdale shares photos of his latest revision of the 3D-printed grain hopper project that he has been working on. When you go to the page, click on the photos to see a larger version of them.

January 17, 2023

Kelvin Kramer

We were informed that NASG member Kelvin Kramer of Clear Lake, Iowa passed away on November 6, 2022, at the age of 73. On behalf of the NASG membership, our condolences to Kelvin's family and his friends.

January 05, 2023

Changing a Lionel U33c EL to a SCL/LN One

Chuck Kemper details how he bought a Lionel U33c decorated for the Erie Lackawanna, repainted it for a SCL/LN one, and installed the TCS WOW 501 sound decoder, which also controls the Lionel smoke unit. He also installed all the possible LED lights that these engines have in the real world. Note that the LED flicker is due to the incompatibility of the camera's recording rate and the YouTube compression algorithm; the LEDs are steady in-person.

December 30, 2022

Austin Birkey Visits With Miami Valley S Gaugers Club

In this video recorded in November, made by one of the top promoters on YouTube of A.C. Gilbert A.F., Austin was invited to visit with the Miami Valley S Gaugers club. He visits with one of the club member's, Dave, to view his layout. The video is recorded with a drone hovering over the good-sized layout, offering some unique perspectives. He also visits the Lima Museum, showing a Shay and more. At the end he shows the box car that the club is offering for sale for their upcoming Spring S Spree at the end of March 2023.

December 29, 2022

Dick Bird

The State-Line S Gaugers report that their long-time member Dick Bird passed away on December 23, 2022. He was an avid collector of A.C. Gilbert American Flyer (especially hopper cars - he had at least one of each), Plasticville, as well as Lionel, S-Helper Service, and American Models. Every Thursday he'd drive down to the club layout and bring something to run "at warp speed" the way toy trains are "supposed" to be run, according to Dick.

December 13, 2022

Utah Toy Train Collectors Layout at 2022 Intermountain Train Show

The group had their layout at the recent event in Layton, Utah. The group has two layouts next to each other, one featuring Lionel, and the other featuring A.C. Gilbert AF. The video is nicely done by Toy Man Television (a couple that really enjoys trains). The link below is queued to start at the first viewing of the S layout. There is another visit to the layout starting at the 8:55 mark, which shows the other side of the layout. John Pratt's S-scale modular layout is shown starting at the 19:45 mark.

November 28, 2022

Vincent Manjoney

We were just informed that Vincent "Vinnie" Manjoney from Stratford, Connecticut passed away on September 17, 2022. He had been an NASG member since 2005, and was a long-time member of the Connecticut S Gaugers. He had a large collection of A.C. Gilbert American Flyer items. On behalf of the NASG membership, our condolences to Vinnie's family and his friends.

November 25, 2022

Daniel Emick

We were informed that Daniel Emick, of Scranton, PA, passed away on October 9, 2022. He was an NASG member for 28 years. He was retired Air Force, having flow in Japan and Korea. He loved trains, both prototype and models. He did repair work for Scranton Hobby Center. Daniel was very active in his community. On behalf of the NASG membership, our condolences to Daniel's family and his friends.

November 25, 2022

Sig Fleischmann

Sig Fleischmann passed away just a couple of weeks shy of his 96th birthday. Sig was a founding member of the Southeastern Michigan S Gaugers back in 1978. He was a member of the NASG since 1977. He was a big promoter of the hobby and of S-scale, and attended a number of NASG Conventions. Sig's son, Ron, provided a couple of photos of his father's 12' x 21' layout. On behalf of the NASG membership, our condolences to Sig's family and his friends.

November 08, 2022

Eugene Sankowski

We were notified today that Eugene V. Sankowski, of Charlotte, North Carolina, passed away on March 30, 2022 at the age of 78. Both Eugene and his wife were avid American Flyer enthusiasts. Eugene was a member of the NASG for 22 years. He was an active member of the Piedmont S Gaugers (North Carolina) and of the Atlantic Coast S Gaugers. On behalf of the NASG membership, our condolences to Eugene's family and his friends.

October 30, 2022

Bill Black's Sn3 Layout Tour

Bill Black describes the history of the construction of his layout, and provides an overview of each area of the layout, all within the context of some great story-telling.

October 05, 2022

Roger Jensen

Roger Jensen was a long-time member of the Southeastern Michigan S Gaugers and of the NASG. He passed away on September 30, 2022 at the age of 85. Roger was an exquisite modeler, focusing a lot on small diesels like 44-ton industrial switchers (including Whitcomb, Davenport, etc.), and a great historical expert on Ohio and Indiana interurbans. On behalf of the NASG membership, our condolences to Roger's family and his friends.

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