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Book Review
Basic Trackwork
Basic Trackwork for Model Railroaders - Second Edition -
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

Keepin' track
Kalmbach Publishing Co. has been a stalwart of model railroad subjects for generations, publishing books and magazines spanning model railroading and prototypes thereof. Through 88 pages this book presents how to create wonderful trackwork updated with new products and techniques. It features a list of manufacturers at the end of the book.

Basic Trackwork for Model Railroaders - Second Edition -

Author: Jeff Wilson
Format: Softcover; 8 1/4 x 10 3/4
ISBN: 9780890249383
Series: Essential Series

Content
Author Jeff Wilson was an editor at Model Railroader for a decade and has authored 25 books.

Whether you are an electric or live steam model railroader or a modeler of static trains, this book is appropriate for anyone who needs to model track.

Basic Trackwork for Model Railroaders - Second Edition - explains how to model the best track you can create through 12 chapters and sections in 88 pages;

    - Introduction
    1 Prototype track
    2 Model track basics
    3 Roadbed
    4 Sectional track
    5 Laying flextrack
    6 Laying turnouts
    7 Controlling turnouts
    8 Crossings and other special trackwork
    9 Handlaying track
    10 Detailing, painting, and ballasting track
    - List of manufacturers


The book opens with an explanation of why good track is essential to your model railroad enjoyment. NMRA standards and tools are discussed. Next comes an overview of prototype track, with definitions and demonstrations of track components, from fishplates and cross ties to subroadbed. An illustration shows the profiles and composition of single and multi-track roadbeds.

After learning about real track we are introduced to the different types of model track. Rail height, sectional verses flextrack, roadbed brands and types, joiners, everything you need to know. Then the content demonstrates how to put those components on a surface for the layout. I relearned some principals of mounting track and also learned some new tricks - how to spike track without driving spikes into the middle of the ties.

Turnouts can be vexing. This book clarifies how to keep wheels on the rails as well as from shorting out the locomotives. It reveals a useful resource for planning templates. (I wish I'd known about that a few years ago while planning my track!) Additionally, how do you make custom switch systems from sectional turnouts? This book explains and illustrates, including the fascinating hybrid (a cross between flextrack and sectional track) turnout from Micro Engineering. And once the turnouts are down, we are lead down the path of powering them, and also operating and detailing them. Electric machines, manual throws, under-table types, explained in detail.

Diamonds and bumpers and wheel stops are explored, as are roadway grade crossings and bridges.

Ten pages are devoted to handlaying track, including several pages illustrated with the exceptional O scale work of Tom Picciarillo.

Finally, your track is down. Joints are smooth. Turnouts are powered and controlled. What about those shiny rails and glossy plastic ties? They betray your work! The final chapter discusses and demonstrates how to paint track. Colors, variations, techniques and methods. And no matter how good your painted track looks, unballasted track just ain't right! The author leads us through that model as well. Additionally, there are new small detail items out there to make your track as close to the real thing. As with the preceding chapters, we are introduced to these new models.

The text is clearly written, well organized, easy to read. Images are keyed to the parts of the text. The only problem is that the text and images are not always synchronized on the same page, requiring flipping forward or back to visualize what one has just read. Several specific topics are illuminated through sidebars.

Photographs, illustrations, graphics
The text is richly supported with excellent images, again keyed to the text. There are 285 color photos, many black-and-white photos, and 15 illustrations. I didn't count them although the color photos are probably equally divided between models and prototypes. The b/w photos are vintage examples of the concepts in the text.

Kalmbach further illustrates the content with color artwork and gray-scale graphics. These are clear and easy to study:

1. Ballast Profiles
2. Model Rail Sizes: HO and N scales
3. Turnout Components
4. Insulated-frog Turnout: power through rails is diagrammed
5. power-routing Turnout: power through rails is diagrammed
6. Wire Power-Routing Turnouts: demonstrating short circuits; gapping rails; feeding power
7. Power-routing turnouts and DCC
8. Mounting a Tortise in Foam
9. Slide-switch control
10. Turnout Terminology
11. Making a jig for filing rail
12. Filling frog-points
13. Spray Paint Angles: painting track

Conclusion
Basic Trackwork for Model Railroaders - Second Edition - is an educational and informative book whether you model train subjects in military scales or as a model railroader. It is easy to read. The book presents and defines track components and shows the best way to make them authentic. The book includes products and techniques that have surfaced since the original edition was published some 10 years ago. I appreciate the list of model makers listed in the rear of the book. The text refreshed my knowledge as well as expanded it. It gives me confidence that I can handle handlaying track again. (It's been decades since I spiked down a few feet!)

The photographs and illustrations are clear and very helpful. The blend of prototype (vintage and modern) images with well-known inspirational models shows what can be achieved.

I really do not have any complaints other than paste-up / page design allowed some keyed images not to synchronize with the text on some pages.

I believe this book will be useful to model railroaders of all genre. I am glad to have it handy and happily recommend it.

Thanks to Kalmback Books for providing this book for review on RailRoadModeling!
SUMMARY
Highs: Photographs and illustrations are clear and very helpful. It is easy to read. The book includes products and techniques that have surfaced since the original edition was published some 10 years ago.
Lows: I really do not have any complaints other than some keyed images not to synchronize with the text on some pages.
Verdict: An educational and informative book whether you model train subjects in military scales or as a model railroader.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 12479
  Suggested Retail: $19.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 15, 2014
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 93.31%

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)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

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 ©2017 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.


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