Gallery (Updated 11/16/15)

The gallery of structures including stations, bridges, and a mountain is here.

2005
This was the first train I built. It's very much in the Todd Hoogerland style. I still love his simple, classic engine design. This set has been used and abused by my children over the years.

2010
My second full set included my first tanker.  I was shooting for a little realism with the engine.  I modeled it after an EMD SD9.

2011
This is my third set and first passenger cars.  The discerning eye will recognize the passenger cars as  Thomas and Friends.  This is my first four axel engine that does not include articulated trucks.  I was curious to see how well (or how poorly) it would go around tight corners.  It performs ok--not great but better than I thought it would. I will likely do fewer articulated trucks in the future.

2012
 
One of my children is really getting into the Thomas and Friends TV series.  We don't actually own any genuine Thomas trains (the only mass produced trains we have in the house are Imaginarium).  So I felt like he would be thrilled to get a Thomas engine and this is the result.  I obviously took some artistic liberties but I did try hard to make the train look as much like the real Thomas as possible.  I didn't attempt to anthropomorphize him and I'm glade I didn't.  I'm rather pleased with this one.  I really like the body colored wheels.  I think I may do more of that in the future.  I debated whether or not to stain or paint the logs.  In the end I decided go with the natural look that matches the wood track.

2012
 
When you think about it, the Thomas and Friends series is very male dominated though there are a few female engines.  This is one of them--Rosie (for my daughter of course).  I originally made this as a stand alone engine but I noticed that she was using other gondolas to carry little passengers.  Her passengers are tiny, cheap plastic toys called Squinkies that fit perfectly so I made her pink cars to ferry her Squinky passengers around in.

2012
 
I made this train for my nephew.  I'm still in a Thomas-style phase right now although this isn't a duplication of any particular Thomas and Friends engine.

2013
 
After having made a several fictional toy trains based on characters from the Thomas and Friends series, I was ready to make something more historical.  This is the Santa Fe Blue Goose (reference images here and here).  While building this train I created a detailed, step by step guide of how I make a locomotive.  You can see the lengthy tutorial starting here.

2006
This was my first attempt at building an engine with articulated trucks. The design took a lot of thought, trial, and error.  Mostly error.  But in the end I think I nailed it (the truck design).  It's sturdy and works well.  As you can see on this picture and some others with lettering or writing, I've flipped the images so the text is backwards.  This paint job does nothing for me.  One of these days I'd like to repaint this one.

2007
Here's another attempt at an EMD SD9.  This was completed before I started using decals.  I think it could use just a touch of detail.

2011
I love engines from the streamline era and I created a series of trains that are replicas of actual engines. This is a Norfolk & Western J Class.  This was my first attempt at using home-made decals.

2011
 This is a L-1 Hudson.

2011
This is a Budd built Crusader.  The road name is wrong on my model.  It should be Reading Railroad.  The decal on the tender was a disaster.  I should have scraped it off and started over.

2012
I started this engine a long time ago and finally got around to finishing it.  It is my first attempt at putting a connector on the angled cowcatcher.  Little kids especially seem to get a bit frustrated when there's no magnet on the front of a train.

2012
 
I made these next three engines at the same time as the Thomas set above.  I made an engine for each of my four children.  The older ones still play with trains a little here and there.  This, of course, is Thomas' best friend, Percy.  Technically Percy only has two axels but I preferred the look of three.

2012
 
Here's my interpretation of James.  In the TV show James has black wheels but I felt that would have made him look rather boring compared to his brighter friends.  So I opted for red wheels.  The numbers on these trains do not match the series but I did that intentionally.

2012
 
This is the venerable Toby, a steam tram from Thomas and Friends.  He's supposed to have a skirt, of sorts, covering his wheels but that wasn't feasible.

2014
This is Luke from Thomas and Friends.  He's the smallest engine I've made so far.

2014
Hiro from Thomas and Friends required me to freehand the gold stripes.  While the overall effect is fine, I was very displeased with my uneven lines.  And this picture really brings out my poor sanding job.

2014
Here's something completely different.  I made a small car with Sir Topham Hat.  This was quite fun to do.  I was afraid the figure would be fragile so I made it from a solid piece of dowel on my lathe.  The wheels are inset into the body of the car.  This was a challenge.  I did not set out to create a Lego mini-figure look-a-like but that seems to be the result.  Note that this is my first experience using wheels and axles from Whittle Shortline Railroad.  Although expensive, they were easy to assemble and work well.

2014
Spencer from Thomas and Friends turned out to be one of my favorite builds.