New From AZL For March 1st 2022

New Haven PA-17

For the second PA1 release, AZL brings you New Haven in the striking McGinnis paint scheme! While the PA1 were designed for passenger service, the New Haven used these unit to pull freight as well. AZL Is offering the locomotive in two different road nubmers.   Contact you favorite AZL dealer now.

Another 8,000 Gallon Tanker

I really like the 8,000 Gallon tanker series AZL has produced. This month a single care is availalbe for the Paluxy Asphalt Companty, road number SHPX 4034. Contact you favorite AZL dealer now.

Western Pacific SW1500

Many of you have been waiting for the WP SW1500 and here it is available in 3 different road numbers. As a bonus, AZL’s Innovation Lab is including two adapters that allow the SW1500 to be retrofitted with Micro-TriainsTM 905 couplers. Click for list of authorized AZL dealers if you don’t alread have a favorite or if he is sold out.

Note: We are advising customers not to attempt to remove the shells of the SW1500s. Doing so may result in damage to the locomotive’s shells.

New AZL Releases 2.1.22

NEW Burlington Zephyr E-7

Available in two diiferent road numbers. The Burlington Zephyrs were synonymous with the classic American streamlined passenger trains. The streaks of silver would be seen running the rails through the mid-west and beyond. Classic names of these trains included: Twin Zephyrs, Silver Streak Zephyr, Pioneer Zephyr, Mark Twain Zephyr, Zephyr Rockets, Texas Zephyrs and others!    Contact you favorite AZL dealer now.

And to go with your new locomotive……….

AZL is releasing a number of cars that ran in Zephyr service as well as corresponding EMD E7s. The domes alone will stand out in any train! Contact you favorite AZL dealer now.

Norfolk & Southern SW1500

Three road numbers are available for the NS SW1500.

The SW1500s feature numerous prototype specific details, traction tires, blacken metal-wheels, innovative drive train and truck design, directional-controlled LEDs and AZL’s AutoLatchTM couplers.

As a bonus, AZL’s Innovation Lab is including two adapters that allow the SW1500 to be retrofitted with Micro-TriainsTM 905 couplers. Click for list of authorized AZL dealers if you don’t alread have a favorite or if he is sold out.

Note: We are advising customers not to attempt to remove the shells of the SW1500s. Doing so may result in damage to the locomotive’s shells.

New Tankers Added

1917 8,000 Gallon Tank Cars for The Akin Gas Company have been added in a single, two car and four car offering. Available from you AZL dealer

53’ Container – Pacer StackTrain

For your container needs, a new 53′ container has been added to the line up this month as well.

New AZL Z Scale Releases 1.15.22

R-70-20 SPFE Reefers

I can’t see these lasting long! The SPFE R-70-20 Reefer is available in a four car set, two car set and a single. The biggest complaint with the SPFE cars continues to be, not enough! Check your favorite AZL dealer now.

VIA E-8 Locomotives

If you are a VIA fan, you now have E-8’s to add to your roster. 2 Road numbers available. Click here for authorized dealer list or visit AZLDirect.Com

Kansas City Central SW1500

Just a few months ago, production z scale switchers didn’t exist. Now there are 7 roads with more to come. KCS now available in 2 road numbers. Click here for authorized dealer list or visit AZLDirect.Com

New Z Releases 1.22

El Capitan Sets & More From AZL

Here you go, the first new release for 2022 from American Z Line. First up the El Capitan. Available in 3 differen eleven car sets and an add on set as well. Also F-7 A/B sets with 300 series numbers.

The Santa Fe El Capitan was the economy coach counterpart to the all Pullman Santa Fe Super Chief. Starting in the mid-1950s, the El Capitan pioneered Hi-Level cars developed by the Budd Company. By raising the passenger section, Budd could move all of the supporting equipment below the floor boards, eliminate vestibules, and extend the seating area to the entire length of the car. Not only did this provide a better view out of the higher seating location, but it also increased seating capacity for each car. The El Capitan ran on the same schedule and route as the Super Chief, and offered a quality experience, with full dining and lounge cars, at an affordable price. These Budd Hi-Level cars became the model for modern Amtrak Superliner cars, which are now the backbone of long haul trains in America. Our Santa Fe El Capitan models the train as it appeared in August of 1956. It includes a typical consists of Baggage, Dorm / Hi-Level Transition, Step-Up Hi-Level Coach, Hi-Level Coach, Dining and Lounge cars. The last Step-Up Coach includes a rear drumhead logo of the El Capitan. The packaging includes cavities for four EMD F3/7 units in an A-B-B-A configuration that was typical motive power for the Santa Fe’s El Capitan.

Click here for authorized dealer list or visit AZLDirect.Com


UP SW1500 Locomotives



Also another SW1500 out today in 3 different road numbers. I am sure these will sell out fast, contact you dealer now if you are a UP guy!

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Click here for authorized dealer list or visit AZLDirect.Com

Full Throttle

In case you missed the latest from Full Throttle, here are the last two releases. A very sharp Monon Hopper Set and a CPWX 51’ Covered Cylindrical Hopper Set. Click here for a list of Full Throttle Dealers

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Lego Train Kits

To the purist in model railroading, detail is everthing. Even in the tiniest of scales much effort is made to have exact measurements, colors, axles and road numbers. And I think that is great but sometimes it’s good to act like a kid again. When we were kids, our imagination added the detail and because of it, we were able to do so much more. A friend of mine had a bunch of Legos and we would build for hours creations, usually cars, trucks and airplanes. The really cool looking ones might be kept built for a while but most ended up in Lego smash up derbies.

Click on image to view on Amazon

So why are we talking about Legos on a model railroad site? Well Legos has offered a few really neat train building kits over the years. Some are modeled after real locomotives, others are made for the imaginaton. One that really caught my eye is the Lego Set 10277 which is a Crocodile Locomotive. This cool little kit has 1,271 pieces and has a display track. Now if you are a model railroading and you loved playing with Legos as a kid, this would be a great little project. There is a company that makes a lighting set for the locomotive! Or, maybe a gift to stir the love of model railroading in a youngster.

If you are a collector, you may want to buy the 10277 set and tuck it away. Lego sets can be a great investment. Check ebay, you will be suprised at what some of the discontinued sets are going for! You think brass is a good investment, some sets really increase over time. Take for instance the Lego 10133 BNSF Locomotive Kit released around 2005. (Pictured below) Original price was $40 U.S. Now, try to find one unbuilt for under $500!

Click image to see the Lego 10133 kit on ebay.

I know there is a ton of interest in MAERSK container stacks. Well here is another set you should have bought new, the Lego 10219 MAERSK set. Originally at $119 U.S. back in 2011, going for 3 to 4 times that now. You can still find them, but yes it will cost you!

Click image to see the Lego 10219 MAERSK Set on ebay

You will aslo find other locomotives and actual little trains sets from Lego as well. I was surprised to see the wide selection of custom built Lego train pieces as well. There seems to be quite an interest in Lego trains!

Building The Archistories Z Scale Turn Of The Century House

Ztrack teamed up with Archistories to create a nice little series of turn of the century houses in z scale. They have 5 different color homes that can be assembled in a variety of ways so you really could build a nice little neighborhood. I have built a few different N scale structures over the years but never in z scale. I was a little concerned about how they would go together as I looked at the pictures with the incredible detail so I thought I would give it a try.

Archistories Turn Of The Century House Z Scale

I decided that I was going to try something somewhat new for me, that is following the directions, building in the sequence called out it the plans. I was also going to set up an area with proper lighting and work at a slow deliberate pace. For tools, I had just the basics. For cutting a single edge razor blade. I know a hobby knife is the tool of choice but I have used razors for years building R/C airplanes and it is just what I am comfortable with. I also used the razor blade as a straight edge, sliding pieces flush in position. For applying glue, a simple tooth pick. I also used the tooth pick to position very small pieces. A small sanding block was used to clean up parts if necessary (only on the thicker stock!) I also have an old balsa block that I have used for years that I could use to pin the assemblies down. I used it as a cutting board at first but found that as it was soft it wasn’t a real good choice for cutting card stock. I did use a tweezers to place the tiny little handrails on the porch but I think using the tooth pick was a good choice for the window frames and trim. For glue, I simply used thinned Elmer’s Wood Glue. With the card stock it worked so well for me! It was loose enough move smaller parts into final position and really set up fast.

The kit is built starting with a substructure. This part of the process is straight forward using a thicker stock that has interlocking tabs. Cut the parts out only as needed, you will lose them! I used my razor and good lighting to cut the tiny little tabs that hold the parts to the stock. Follow the sequence and dry fit everything first. I did pin some of the smaller substructures to my block but the main section didn’t seem to require it. I did make sure everything was aligned properly before glue set.

Once the substructure is built you will place the siding, which is much thinner than the stock on the structure, so use a light touch. Dry fit first to see where each panel should sit in relation to the adjacent panel. If it is positioned correctly, your windows should be centered. Take care when applying glue to stay away from where the clear window will sit.

Now the windows and doors. This was not near as bad as I thought it would be. First you insert the clear window without glue. Make sure the glass is sitting down flat. I did have to trim one piece. I think I had a little glue residue in the spot from adding the siding. If the glass doesn’t sit flat, the frame won’t set in properly. Now you will insert the tiny little window frames. I found if I added just a little glue on an edge or two on the frame, it wouldn’t slide around when I added the frame. I used my toothpick, the little touch of glue held it while I put in place. I added glue with my tooth pick to the outer frame and lowered in place. There are etched outlines where the window trim should line up. The window frames and trim pieces are very thin. This is not a complaint, they look great, just treat them with care. You may want to decide at this point where your entry and addition may go as a window frame may interfere with attachment. This may also free up a window frame in case you damage one.

The roofing is fairly straight forward to apply as is the trim. With some of the tiny trim pieces you will need to refer to the parts diagram to make sure you are grabbing the right piece. Again, do not cut the part until you are ready to install. Same goes with the stair pieces and chimney. I have to comment on the chimney. There are 5 pieces on this part that is maybe 1/8” square. But with the thinned wood glue, patience and proper lighting, very doable.

The final section to build is the porch. Hopefully when you get that far, you have honed your skills a little as you are dealing with some very delicate little frame work. This area gave me a little trouble. While trying to push down on the roof section, I used a little to much pressure and crushed a corner of the porch! Fortunately, I was able to fix and hide as it was up against the structure when done.

Once all the parts are completed, you have options on where you want to position the entry, addition and porch. You can create a variety of looks. My final choice in part was to hide my mistake!

To say my take away from the Archistories Turn Of The Century House kit build is very positive would be an understatement. I in no way consider myself a craftsman but by working slow with the proper tools, lighting and glue plus following the directions in the sequence given, I am very proud of the what I built.

Model Railroad Layout Design Software

Model railroad layout design software may not be needed for a basic layout or if you have a layout plan already that calls out track pieces needed. But if you want to have a little fun or if you are designing a more complex set up, you may want to give AnyRail a try. AnyRail model railroad layout design software is easy to use and works with any scale and really is very moderately priced for what it will do.

AnyRail has an extensive library of track sections from most all suppliers in all scales G-Z (including some I didn’t know existed!) I do mainly z scale and I am very impressed that the library has all the manufactures latest turnouts, crossovers etc. so I can design with current pieces available. As you get into the other scales, you will be pleasantly surprised with the choices. Most of my layouts are fairly simple table top designs with no elevation. Below is a super simple double oval for z that uses a crossover switch so you could run two trains. Pretty boring layout but I wanted to show what you can do in under 5 minutes with the AnyRail model railroad layout software. I drew this with their free limited version that limits you to 50 track pieces.

Simple Double Oval With Rokuhan Track Drawn In Under 5 Minutes With AnyRail.

Now check out a more complex design drawn with AnyRail model railroad layout software. Here is where you can see how this is really a fun software and the real power of it!

HO Scale Layout Drawn By Michael Carver With AnyRail

Click here and you will see more examples of what users have drawn with this software. There are some incredible designs that have even more detail. Some really simple little layouts, some fill a whole garage! You can really plan your dream layout and envision not only what will work but what you need for track. You can also place buildings trees, mountains, hidden tracks, power breaks, elevation and so much more. And here is another cool thing from the site I realized, you can download the examples into your copy of AnyRail and modify! What a great idea.

As I mentioned at the outset, this model railroad design software from AnyRail is simple to use. It is very intuitive and reminds me a little of Power Point with simple drag and drop usage. If you spend any amount of time with the software you will become very proficient very quickly. You can try the limited version for free. It limits you to 50 track pieces, the full is really the way to go with a great price point.

I have to laugh when I think about how I used to tell my father that he should have a computer to design his massive n scale layout. After I would tell him all the benefits of model railroad layout design programs, he would reach into his pocket, pull out his mechanical pencil, click it a couple of times and say “I have my computer right here”. For those of us not as smart as him, I recommend giving AnyRail a try.

AZL Brass

AZL Brass is so hard to come by. When AZL releases anything brass, I would buy it up. Below are just a few pieces of AZL that have come up for bids over the years on ebay. It’s incredible what some of the items have sold for! Others have been let go way to cheap. This is a good page to watch. if you are looking for AZL z scale brass. Click on any of the images and you will be taken to current offerings on ebay. Many times, you will find nothing at times though I have seen 5 or 6 really nice pieces com up.

AZL Brass SP E-8 Locomotives. Only 10 produced!
AZL Brass ATSF PA 60 Produced.

The AZL brass Santa Fe PA is one of my favorites. While 60 where produced, I have only seen one maybe two come across ebay in ten years. I guess everyone else loved them to. The chrome finish on these was very well done.

AZL BrassSP | D&RGW Krauss-Maffei ML-4000

One of the more recent releases, the AZL Krauss-Maffei ML-4000 locomotives demonstrate the need to buy quick. I think they were sold around $900 and so sharp. I had a D&RGW I had bought to hold on to but had to let it go.

Check out some of the current AZL offering on ebay!