||If you only buy one Model Railroading
book, it should be this one. This is the unofficial "bible" and it
contains a plethora of useful information. Get it, skim it, read it
cover to cover, read it again.
Read this book before putting your track plan into practice. It can only change it for the better. 144 pages.
||Covers all aspects of making realistic
scenery. Contains a ton of great information and techniques. For my
money, the best scenery book.
Colors, textures, adhesives
Background & Backdrops
||I consider this a supplment
to Dave Frary's book (above). It adds new techniques and materials to
The best chapter for me was the last. It deals with forced perspective, drawing the viewer's eye and illusion. There is some great information here.
Groundcover including rain and snow scenes
Trees - 25 pages
Water including beaches
Backdrops in detail
(Advanced) Tips & Techniques
104 Pages (I'd like to see about 40 more)
||This is almost a specialty book.
The second half is devoted to 17 topics covering neat details that are
found on real railroads and will improve any model.
The first half of the book covers trackwork.
Turnouts and switch machines
Profiles, ballast and weathering
Lineside Detail (17 sections)
The single bad part of this book is that it is only 96 pages long. I would like to see some of the excellent topics expanded.
||This is a good supplement to John
Armstrong's "Track Planning ..." book. Tony Koester gives us far less hard
engineering/designing information. Instead he brings in the right brain
concepts that can make a difference between a technically good railroad
and a great one.
He stresses "Plausibility" or "does this make sense?"
Freelancing vs Prototype Modeling
Timeframe and modeling the passing of time
Image & Graphics
Geography & Scenery
Visable and invisible parts
Construction & Maintenance
Crews and Jobs
Only 96 pages. Please give us more Tony!
||This is almost a specialty book.
Almost. Since every railroad should have yards and since many of us model
yards as our focal points, I include it here.
At only 88 pages, this is a short volume. I would very much like to see expansion of many areas. Particularly more details of the design process. Probably by showing more sample yards and explainations of why and hows they were designed. This is not the best reference for a true beginner.
That being said, I still liked this book and learned from it. Details like a scale track, locating magnets, ladders and throats were great touches and the operations chapter was well done.
Basic Yard Functions
Track by Track
Favorite Model Yards
||This is another 88 pager and again
it could be excellent with some expansion.
The explainations of real industries are very well done, but the suggestions for modeling those industries are too few and too brief. The number of industires covered should also be increased.
Again I say, "I like it but please give us more".
||The sub-title "How to run your
trains like the real thing" sums up the focus of this book.
For those of use interested in operating our railroads, this is a valuable reference, if a bit short, at 96 pages.
Basics of Operation
Classification and Staging Yards
Shortcuts to operation
The Operating Session
[Looking to the future]
||If you want to know about the hows
and why of bridges, this is 152 page reference is a great place to start.
It contains a collection of 37 chapters developed from articles in "Model
It contains explainations of bridge design (but not much of the true high level math - you can't use to build a 1:1 scale model) for all of the major types, detailed instructinos for building specific models, and a lot of information about bridges in general.
This compilation is an excellent treatment of a specialty topic.
is one of a series of books about the Ulster & Delaware and associated
roads by John Ham and Robert Bucenec.
The series, although a tad expensive, contains a wealth of prototype photographs and explanatory text. There are also some maps and track plans, engine lists, etc.
To any student of Catskill Mountain railroads, these books are worth the price for the photographs alone. Highly recommended for those interested in this fascinating area of the northeast.