Monday, January 6, 2014

New HOn30 MiniTrains

This is the new HOn30 train set from MiniTrains. I have two sets, this one which is all green and a second set with a black engine and brown cars.

Right out of the box this little green engine ran for 24 hours on my test layout. It never wavered. I though it might overheat but it didn't. I did lubricate it before I ran it. The engine has a can motor in the cab powering a gear train to the wheels. There's a flywheel in the boiler. These are DC only but I read where a fellow in England has installed a Z2 DCC decoder in the cab beside the motor.

Both sets are lettered for the fictional Fiddletown & Copperopolis narrow gauge railroad made famous by the Carl Fallberg cartoons which appeared in Railroad magazine.

These trains and more are available directly from the MiniTrains website.

This little HOn30 boxcar is also made by MiniTrains. It resembles many of the little cars seen around Europe and the UK. 

When I received this car it was stark white. I wanted to weather it a little while still retaining the look of a fairly new car. It just so happened that a friend received a copy of FineScale Modeler for Christmas. Tucked inside the plastic bag along with the magazine was a 2-page modelers tip sheet called "Using a Sludge Wash." The article was written by Paul Boyer and was aimed at military modelers. My friend sent me the tip sheet. I spent an hour fooling around with the sludge wash.

The wash consists of 5 parts water, 2 parts Polly Scale paint (I used Roof Brown) and 3 parts liquid dishwashing soap like Joy. These are gently mixed together and applied to a model. Paul warns in order for the sludge to work correctly the surface has to be glossy. What you do is brush it on, let it dry, and then remove as much as you want using a Q-Tip (lots of Q-Tips.)

The sludge seems to work best on new plastic or metal. I also tried it on wood that I painted, sprayed with acrylic gloss, weathered with the sludge, Removed the excess sludge, and then sealed the surface with a matte spray. 

The technique is worth a try to see what works best for you and all my experiments took less than 60 minutes!


  1. I like it, thanks for giving a link to the website

  2. Would very much like to see your display layout you are talking about. Can't find it anyway, except in the background above, which looks very nice!.