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South Jersey S Scale Modelers



I am dedicating the completion of my I1 to my friend Charlie Carangie who passed on 4-25-17. We met in the wye of Rockville Bridge and left there as friends. He was an unofficial mentor for my painting, encouraging me to learn how to finish my own models. Charlie did paint a few of my models like my PRR J1, PRR SD9 and Chessie I12. He was a custom painter as well taking on the most complex schemes and refusing none. Charlie was a walking PRR resource. We had late night railfanning with Amtrak and Conrail near his house in Delaware and slide shows in his basement that got us home as the sun was coming up. I could count on Charlie for a good conversion at almost any time of the day or night.


He will be missed.



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This I1 was made by Samhongsa and imported by Omnicon in 1995. The PRR M1 run and this I1 was a “Gang Of 100” group project. The production number for almost any S Scale brass piece was 100. There was the thought that 100 guys would buy whatever was made to get the project done whether they wanted the model or not. The next model produced might be something they do want. It did not last that long. Charlie Sandersfeld who owned Omnicon had already died, leaving the management to others that had issues in completing the project.



I was rather surprised that I only took ONE photo on 12-2-05, as the before shot, as Omnicon made the model. I usually take a lot of photos!  Photographing bare brass is difficult.


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In January 2008 I started the long process of detailing my I1 in preparation for painting them. Here are 2 videos I shot of them of the test run on 2-13-08. I just wanted to see how well they ran before starting on the detailing. There is no sound in this video clip.



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The I1 was the most modernized PRR loco Omnicon made. But it still had some issues. It was a clash of equipment. Everything that is on the model as built by Samhongsa could have been on an I1, just not on the same loco at the same time. I was told that by removing 1 injector that made the model better. I removed the injector and made the auxiliary air tank that was in its place. I also used my handrail stanchions and some electrical junction boxes. I recycled the pilot beam draft gear casting and fit a custom Kadee coupler. Both I1 are detailed almost the same as shown below.


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Boiler Weight

This is my boiler weight mold I had made many years ago. The M1 had a ***pitiful**** weight. I have used it in my other locos too.


Since I put the speaker under the stack I give up a considerable amount of the new weight, but it is bigger than what the model came with. I just use my milling machine that CHOMPS the lead. I recycle the chips.


Note the square into round screw bushings I designed. The larger square keeps the busing locked from spinning or pulling out. I screw them into the mold before pouring. The assembly screws are now shown.

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New Gearbox

This is the new gearbox, made by my freind Brian Jackson, installed in the drives. The locos would have failed without them.

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Sound Decoder & Wiper

First Attempts


I was just starting to get involved with sound units in 2008. They were expensive compared to a NCE motor decoder only. Soundtraxx was releasing the first Tsunami that was much better than previous decoders. Still I had NO interest in trying to program the chuff timing like all my friends were doing. I wanted to use the sound cam since they all had one. The Tsunami had the sound cam wire that fired the chuff 4 beats per axle revolution. Make 1 CV change to turn it on.


This was 1 of my early “inventions” of the sound cam wiper, which has evolved into my standard wiper. I have used variations on this wiper many times now with great success. It is phosphor bronze wire. When I was in Solidworks School my teacher made this illustration. While nothing for the wiper was made in Solidworks the visual is just awesome!


The screw on the “C” bracket was the fine adjustment on the wiper. This was all internal in the frame with the adjustment accessible from the bottom.


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In 2017 when I installed the new gearbox the above set up would not fit. This is my current standard wiper with some mounting variations, depending on the locomotive.

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Added 2-11-17


There are a number of tenders that can be run with the I1. At least 4 tenders will be included in the painting and completion of my I1 project. I built this tender in 2008. It looked just like the 210F75a tender below when I started the project.  I wanted to make a 210F75a tender without antennas and with footboards. That would mean filling lots of holes for the antenna stanchions and 2 hatches. I decided to make a new tender deck instead. I also added a backup headlight. It was a good challenge. I was very happy with the results.




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This is the stock as built 210F75a tender that came with the Omnicon M1 and M1a. Extra tenders were made with the M1. I added marker lights on the rear tender wall. It is possibly the first 210F75a tender I ever painted in about 1990. It still had the clear coat on, was primered before painting and used plastic windows – all things I have not done in MANY years. The paint job was probably acceptable for most people, but I have to bring it up to my 2017 standards. I did not like the Woodland Scenics fake coal load. I use real coal now. I have to add a brass draft gear. The lettering is the wrong color and would not have matched the locomotive lettering. I am using our Pennsy S Models decals. It is also getting footboards and a backup headlight like the above 210F75a. SO the paint had to go…….


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Shown below, going for the bath in the dunk tank and after a quick blast job. You have to remove the decals before blasting or you will etch and damage the model. Also the floor was difficult to get into the shell so I milled a little off of both sides with my milling machine.



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This is the stock as built tender that came with the Omnicon I1. They were not available separately but I have 3 of them. In 2008, just for a goof I built this 3 man dog house to go on 1 of the 90f82 tenders. I later found out that the rear wall of the 3 man doghouse was angled. Oh well – I am using it anyway.


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Added 3-21-17

When I first started DCC I was adamant that would be NO wires or plugs between the loco and tender - ever. This meant the tender had to be made self sustaining picking up booth rails and a decoder had to be installed in the tender just to run lights. I was fine with the idea.


This was possibly my first version ever of a wiper system. It is a brass tube completely insulated from everything except 1 wheel. There is a small jumper wire soldered on the tube going to a hole in the wheel. A spring loaded brass bar rode on the brass tubes. I wanted maximum contact and minimal drag.


That idea has not made it to the layout yet for testing even after 15+ years of making them. I am sure it would work very well. Making the special wheels were VERY time consuming.


My long time “standard” now is cutting grooves in the back of the wheels for .015 phosphor bronze wire wipers to ride in. No 2 locos are done exactly the same but the idea is constant. Getting the wiper tension just right is tedious. I give the groove a liberal dose of oil without any pick up issues. I have this done on at least 20 locos now both steam and diesel. I have just found my original I1 tender wheels and will be using them with grooves cut instead of this early wheel pick up design.


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Adding the access door and “droopy” cable

This is the same 210F75a tender above that got stripped after about a month of work. The footboards added along with a backup headlight and the casting that represents the correct way the Trainphone antenna went through the tender deck.

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Tenders that had antennas had an access door in the side. I wanted to simulate that. It was a scary thing to scribe a rather significant rectangular line in the smooth side of a tender I already did a lot of detail work to it. One slip is a big problem. I made a template. That was one issue. Making sure it was straight for the scribing was another issue. I thought about soldering the template on but the clamp just worked fine. I also had to temporarily take out the mounting angle that ran right across where the latch castings went.  It all worked out pretty well.


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I have seen photos of a small equipment box at the rear corner and conduit or a “droopy” cable running along the bottom edge. I added the equipment box and wanted to try the droopy cable. The effect is just what I wanted. This tender is now done for detailing. Onward to the tender electric work.


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Added 3-26-17

Detailing is DONE

Adding wipers to the 8 wheel trucks was simple. Of course I replaced the brass screw with a nylon screw.

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I took the Hippos on a final victory run before painting begins. The I1 looks small with these tenders!

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I just LOVE the red marker lights. ALL are LEDs.

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Let The Painting Begin!

Added 4-2-17

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Masking, Masking, and More Masking

I paint the minority colors first, then mask for the Brunswick Green. I am a bit obsessed with trying to spray everything. That is why my mask jobs take HOURS. I say this is like painting a cactus one color and masking to paint the needles another color. It is brutally tedious. The brass starts to tarnish the second you touch it. Since I know this was going to take a long time, for the first time ever I masked the outside of the tender shells while I masked the parts to be painted. It took between 20 and 25 hours of masking the 2 boilers and 4 tender shells. There is zero fun going on here. I don’t trust the masking tape to go through the oven so all tape is removed before baking the paint. What is hours of masking comes off in a few seconds. I did have some adhesive residue issues anyway.  I HATE MASKING.

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I am pretty sure that when I made the new tender deck I bolted the 2 castings on so I would not have to mask around them!

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Added 4-23-17

The obsessive masking paid off. There was truly almost no hand painting touch up needed. I was so happy to finally see my 3 man doghouse painted.


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Completed 5-14-17

After 3 months of SOLID every possible minute on the weekends work, my Hippos are finally done. Completing steam locos has to be a winter project without the demands of swimming pool care or dachshund parties. It would drag on for much too long otherwise. I was hitting my attention span wall as it was, and starting with the 3 month completion of my PRR L1, I was working on steam locos for 6 months straight. That was too much for me. I like variety. The last 3 weeks were not much fun. It was just a drive to get them done before spring started. Still this is by far a record for me of completing 4 steam locos and 6 tenders in 6 months.



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The 90F82 tender has my scratchbuilt 3 man doghouse

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Lotsa Tender Lights

Besides the work to the trucks and wheels there was an obscene amount of work getting the tender lighting set up. All 4 tenders have a NCE D13SJR decoder just to run the lights. I have a 50 ohm resistor across the orange and gray leads to simulate the motor load. I remapped the marker lights to F6. Almost nothing happens with the TCS sound/motor decoder using F6. This is 1 of the 90F82 tenders with the decoder and LEDs installed. I should be able to program the tender address number to another loco if I wanted. This is the first and possibly last time I am making lit marker lights. Peeling the aluminum backs off of the 1/16” diameter MV lenses so they could be lit was very tedious.



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Happy Hippos

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Photo Stacking with Helicon Focus

Added 12-27-19

These are a number of photos taken at very slightly different focus points compiled by Helicon Focus into 1 photo for amazing clarity and depth of field.

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Updated 12-27-19

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