Great Sioux Falls Model Railroad Train Show & Swap Meet




Train Show Swap Meet

DME Down Under Blog

There are more DME modelers in more places than one might imagine. Many DSED members have met Brad Hinton of Canberra, Australia who has been part of operating sessions and TLR conventions. He has a wealth of research and information on his DME modeling project on his blog:   – check it out.


Pictures of DSED Modular w/ new yard from today at Train At Christmas

DSED Modular w/ yard!

Progressive Rail Layout by Alan Saatkamp, MMR

DSED Member Alan Saatkamp, Master Model Railroader, will be featuring his new Progressive Rail switching layout at the 2013 Trains At Christmas November 23-24 at the W.H. Lyons Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.

The pictures below shows a schematic of part of the layout and a scene from Hamburg Ave. on this model of the real deal known as Airlake Industrial Park near Lakeville, MN south of Twin Cities.

Kids will have an opportunity to try their hands at operating (run trains)!


DSED will also be there with the modular layout, and we hope to feature never before seen yard modules.


We hope to see you at Trains At Christmas!

PGR Schematic PGR

Modular Layout Update

DSED is making great progress on the yard for the modular layout thanks to donations, time and effort from many.

Below are some photos by Jay Manning and Wes Garcia from the 8/17 work session.


Yard in progress

Yard in progress

Yard, and yard, and some more yard

Yard, and yard, and some more yard

Scratchbuilding HO Scale Freight Cars

How to get started building freight cars. An online clinic by Alan Saatkamp, MMR.

Click here to download the PowerPoint clinic slides.

Make Your Own Great Looking Pine Trees

Tools and misc supplies:

  • Electric drill with a hook of some kind (I made one from a coat hanger)
  • Wire Cutters
  • Scissors
  • Waxed paper

Shopping list:

  • Ace Hardware
    • Sisal twine
    • 18 gauge wire
    • Cheap gray or black spray paint
  • Lewis Drug
    • Hairspray – Aqua-Net Extra Hold unscented –  cheaper really is better.
  • Hobbytown USA
    • Fine Turf – weeds (shaker) Woodland Scenics
    • Other colors of fine turf if desired
    • Glue – Walthers Goo  and gluing tips OR Sticky Bond
  • Hobby Lobby       
    • Brown floral tape


  1. Prepare the twine a few days before you want to make trees.
    • Boil the twine in water for 30 minutes to soften and straighten the fibers.
    • Dry the twine by hanging it over a pipe or somewhere it can drip-dry.
    • Weight one end of the twine while drying to promote straightening of the fibers
  2. Once the twine has dried, cut and sort the twine to length.   For HO scale, cut several strands of approximately three lengths of 2,  1¼  and ½ inch each.   Sort into piles.

  3. Decide what height you want a tree at.  Take that figure times two and add about 4-6 inches. Cut this length of wire and fold it into a V-shape.     Try to make sure the arms of the V are in a plane.

  4. Apply adhesive to one arm of the V.   Start and stop around two inches either end of the arm of the V.    If you choose the Sticky Bond, then allow around 10 minutes for the glue to dry.
  5. Take one piece of twine and begin to separate it into strands and flatten it out.
  6. Place the strands onto the adhesive where the adhesive so that the wire intersect the strands at about mid-point at a right angle.

  7. Repeat step 6  until you have covered the sticky part of the wire with strands.
  8. Place the open ends of the V into a vice or clamp.    The top of the wire forms a loop.   Put the hook on the drill through the look and gently twist the tree together.

  9. Cut off the wire near the crown of the tree where there is no more twine.
  10. Gasp the tree by the trunk and turn it while pausing occasionally to trim excess twine.
  11. Spray the tree with gray paint to hide the wire trunk and light strands that form its branches.

  12. Spray the tree with hairspray and immediately dust with the turf material over some waxed paper.  
  13. Dust away from where you paint and spray hairspray so that the excess ground cover remains dry and can be recovered for re-use.
  14. Re-coat the tree with hairspray and a dullcote if desired.
  15. For trees that will appear in the foreground, use floral tape to treat the exposed trunk


  • If you model in HO or O, use smaller ‘N’ or ‘Z’ scale trees to ‘force perspective’ that the trees are a long distance away from the viewer.

  • We made many of these small trees on one cutting of wire and separated sets of twine strands by a few inches so he would only have to drill once for several trees.
  • You may wish to use different colors to simulate different species, ages and health conditions of

Individual trees.   Don’t be afraid to overcoat or mix the turf material to get

  • Try not to make your trees too much the same as each other individuals in each species can vary greatly based on growing conditions and genetics
  • Research the trees in the particular locale you want to model to find out what species and characteristics you need to portray. 

Douglas Fir

Ponderosa Pine

Colorado Blue Spruce

Colorado Blue Spruce

Western White Pine

Black Hills Spruce

Thank you!

Thank you to all of you who purchased tickets and visited us on the 2012 open house model railroad layout tour in Sioux Falls and Harrisburg, SD today!   We all had a lot of fun and hope you will join us for future DSED events.

The November  meeting of DSED will be held in Harrisburg.   For details, please reply to this post.

DSED Modules to Appear at Jamboree

This coming weekend (Aug 24th – 26th 2012), DSED will be traveling to Madison, SD to display the club’s HO Scale modular layout.  Come join us at Prairie Village’s Roundhouse for HO scale model railroad action!

For more on Historic Prairie Village, visit their website.