News: Recent News

This page shows a listing of news entries from the past month or so. Click photos to visit the web sites.

October 02, 2023

Berkshire Valley Models Web Site Gone

The owner of Berkshire Valley Models, Richard Rands, reports on his Facebook page that the company with which he hosts his web site has gone belly-up, and so his web site is gone. He is working on a new one.

October 01, 2023

InvisaTrax Transport System by CatzPaw Innovations, LLC

CatzPaw Innovations have researched multiple methods of moving figures through scenery. CatzPaw is now in the final development stage of their InvisaTrax™ Transport System. InvisaTrax makes it possible to move things! Lots of things, not just Big Foot. The linked-to web site shows all of the components of their system, and includes demonstration videos. Speed and direction of the animation is controllable. The included speed controller can be replaced with a DCC controller to control the speed and direction from your throttle.

You can help support this project by pledging a dollar amount, or by pledging the amount for a specific starter system (early-bird specials are in effect now). Be sure to thoroughly read the linked-to page to learn about all of the possibilities of this project.

October 01, 2023

Outdoor Scenery Items by Model Tech Studios

These models are painted and ready for your layout.

September 27, 2023

The Oct/Nov 2023 S Scale Resource Released by The Model Railroad Resource

The issue is available for viewing or downloading.

September 26, 2023

Another New Animated Sign by Miller Engineering

The company also announces this animated sign for release in October 2023. Both large and small versions are available; see their web site.

September 26, 2023

Phil Scandura Layout Photos

Phil Scandura shares photos of his previous L-shaped shelf layout as well as a track plan, and a track plan for the current around-the-room layout he is building.

September 24, 2023

New Halloween Figures by Miniprints

The company has released new figures to get your layout ready for Halloween.

September 23, 2023

New Placerville-based Structure Kits by McCarville Studios

The company has introduced two new kits based on Placerville, Colorado prototypes. Of course, both of them are generic enough to be able to be used on just about any layout.

September 20, 2023

New Race Tractors by Ertl

September 20, 2023

New Vehicle by Maisto

September 19, 2023

Moonshine Still by Model Tech Studios

This model of a moonshine still is layout-ready; painted and weathered.

September 19, 2023

Steam Traction Engine by James Regier's Models

James Regier has made available, in S-scale, a 3D-printed model of a steam traction engine. These were 30hp engines built starting in 1910. These are unpainted kits. They come in two configurations: the base model, and the base model with additional steps and cylinder oiler platform. A separately-available add-on canopy can be ordered as well. Contact James via his Facebook page.

September 19, 2023

New Farming Trailers by Miniprints

These are 3D-printed, unpainted models.

September 19, 2023

More 2023 NASG Convention Photos

Jeff Madden sent in a number of photos taken at the 2023 NASG Convention that were not covered by the other photographers.

September 17, 2023

Wizard Water Works Vat Car by B.T.S.

B.T.S. announces the availability of their vat car. The car's design is based on a Central Pacific 1880's drawing. These cars were used to transport any kind of liquid. The kit does not include couplers or trucks, but does include the Wizard Water Works decals. O-scale version shown in the photo.

September 17, 2023

How-to Couplers Page Updated

The How-to section's scale couplers page has been updated to include information about the new Inventive Models brass couplers.

September 17, 2023

Product Gallery Updates

The following were added as we did not have photos of these items:

Jamie Bothwell sent in photos of three Exacta Scale Models heavyweight passenger cars. These were scale model metal kits made in 1947.

Lindsey Neas provides photos of the Coronado Scale Models archbar brass trucks.

September 16, 2023

S2/4, RS-1, 2, 3 In Stock by Railmaster Exports

John Agnew, owner of Railmaster Exports, reports that North Yard has resumed producing chassis (frame, motor, trucks, wheels) and so Railmaster Exports has the RS-1, RS-2, and RS-3 metal kits back in stock. He has one more Alco S2/S4 kit (uses NWSL trucks) in stock now also.
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September 16, 2023

Product Gallery Train Sets Category Revised

The Train Sets category of the Product Gallery section of this web site has been completely revised, and significantly updated. Thorough research went into trying to find all train sets ever made in S over the decades. If any are missing, please contact the webmaster. Update: all of the known S-Helper Service train sets have been added, and photos of those sets have been included, where found.

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.

September 13, 2023

New Truck by Maisto announces this model.

September 13, 2023

New Tractor by Ertl announces these models.

September 10, 2023

New Freight Car Kits by B.T.S.

B.T.S. announces several new freight cars in S-scale. The McCabe flat car kit is available now. The kits for the others are currently in production.

September 06, 2023

NASG Annual Convention Meeting Notes Available

The NASG's Secretary has provided the summary notes of the NASG Annual BOT meeting, and the NASG Annual Membership General Meeting, which took place at the 2023 NASG Convention in Harrisburg, PA in July. You will need to log in to the "Members Only" portal to be able to view the reports.

September 02, 2023

NASG Open Positions (updated)

We are currently looking to fill these positions:

Assistant Dispatch Editor
With Dick Karnes' announcement of retiring as the "scale" assistant editor for the Dispatch, we are looking for someone to take over that position. If you enjoy writing and/or helping other members tweak their submitted articles, please consider applying for this position.

Service Committee Chair
We are looking for a person who will be establishing and coordinating projects that serve the NASG's membership. While those projects change over time, they currently involve the following: the Company Store, the Annual Member Car, the AF Commemorative Car, the Library, the Membership committee. Unlike other committee chairs, this person is responsible not only for directly supervising or organizing a specific project, but also coordinating the various subcommittees listed above and working with the BOT to have a consistent and coordinated range of services to serve the membership. We are looking for a "people" person with good communication skills, who will be able to work effectively with a range of volunteers in the NASG organization.

Please contact the NASG president, Jim Whipple, and he will be able to guide you to the correct person.
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September 02, 2023

2023 Fire Brigade Christmas Model by Hallmark

For over 20 years, Hallmark (the card company) has been releasing fire truck Christmas tree decorations. Sometimes the models come out to be S-scale in proportions. This year's model is of a 1956 Dodge fire truck. It illuminates (batteries are included and can be replaced), the wheels rotate, and the decoration-hanging hook is removable.

September 02, 2023

September/October 2022, 2023 Dispatch PDFs Available

The public version of the September/October 2022 issue of the NASG's Dispatch is now available. Also, the members-only issue of the September/October 2023 Dispatch PDF can now be downloaded via the "Members Only" portal.

September 01, 2023

ICC Wide-vision Cabooses by ScaleTrains

ScaleTrains announces their third S-scale release, which is the ICC wide-vision caboose. These are the same cars previously released by S-Helper Service. MTH was going to do a run of them, but in the end, did not. ScaleTrains is offering some of the same road names as what SHS had done, some with different paint schemes, and some as new road names not done before. They come with hi-rail wheels and couplers (installed) and scale wheels and couplers (included in the box). These have LED-lit interiors and LED-lit marker lights. Details are separately-applied for fine detail, and have see-through roofwalks. Discount order deadline on these is September 4, 2023 with an estimated delivery date in February 2024.

Update: pre-orders are due by Tuesday, September 5, 2023.

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