May 212013

2013-05-09 012[2]



This is the N-scale layout recently donated to DSED (photo by Bill McKean). We will discuss its future at the June 13th meeting.

One of the things we will need to do, is to solve the puzzle of all the switches / block control.

Apr 242013



Following the last DSED meeting we had a presentation on how to make your own turnout by Wes Garcia (see picture above – by Dave Bauman).
Do you have a clinic, product demonstration or something else related to our hobby you would like to present to the group? Let the superintendent know or leave a comment to this post.


Mar 142013

There’s too much seriousness around here.  Maybe before we get full-on spring weather, it is time for a little wintertime fun.  March is the snowiest month in South Dakota.   While this video is shot in Kansas, it is awesome to see what mother nature does to seemingly huge and invincible human made machines.
Here’s 9,000 original EMD horespower being brought to its knees by water molecules arranged in a certain way as to stop a plow train in its tracks.

Anybody want to take a shot at modeling this?

Feb 252013

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

Jan 142013

Two DSED members will be leading separate sections of Model Railroading 101 this quarter.  Registration is needed for both, so get yours in early, because space is limited in both of these classes.

Alan Saatkamp's switching school at the Ronning Library 2012

Oct 242012


What other model railroad organization in the Sioux Falls area can you test drive for six months absolutely free of obligation?

Individuals that have never been NMRA members before can sign up to be a NMRA member and have your first 6 months reimbursed by the Dakota Southeastern Division. Sign up today at Click ‘Join the NMRA’ to begin.

Railpass Benefits:

  • Experience the fellowship and fun of getting modeling help and discussing the hobby with other members in your area
  • Receive reduced rates on special insurance for your layout or collection
  • Get admission to local model railroad meetings and events
  • Receive 6 monthly issues of Scale Rails magazine
  • Have access to standards information and data sheets
  • Be a part of programs like “Modeling With The Masters,” Pike Registry, Estate Counseling, contests, clinics, the Achievement Program and more!
Oct 072012

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.