February Layout Update: Backdrops, new trains, and other stuff

Well I had expected to have made more progress on the Auhagen kit bash, but things are slow, slow, slow.  The truth is, the building is pretty much complete now, having finishing the wiring and final details yesterday and today, but in order to place this building on the layout, I've decided to start to finish the backdrop area behind the terminal station tracks where this building will go.
So I removed the two scratch-built structures that I had wired in here and removed the entire street section (it was made to be removed) so that I can add street markings, street lights, holes for other buildings, and various details.

The goal is to get this area to look more like this, and its much easier to do this kind of work on my work bench rather than leaning over the passenger terminal!
But I thought I would share some other 'news' around Quinntopia that I haven't mentioned (yet) or isn't worthy of a full post on its own.

Rivarossi Chapelon:
On what should be some exciting news, I was finally able to get a very hard to find Rivarossi Chapelon 4-6-2 (in proper French designation, it would be a 231E) in the georgeous brown Nord colors.   The more photos I see of this locomotive, the more I think this is one of the greatest looking steam engines around!  So do a lot of other people as these seldom for less than $200 on eBay!  This is a 20-30 year old train!
Back to my model: Its still in its original "DC" only / analog condition and seems to work fine on my little DC test track.  Unfortunately, this is also an example of when eBay can be a bad buying experience.  The locomotive was advertised by the seller in 'mint' condition.  I could tell from his photos that there appeared to be a light bulb showing at the front of the smoke box.  That obviously looked strange, but I bid anyway with the hope that this part might be included with the locomotive in the box.
When I received the locomotive, it seems that calling this item 'mint' was totally inaccurate, even with the photo that did indicate the smokebox cover was missing.  For one,  the blue 'Rivarossi plastic' that this locomotive comes packed in was cracked (not a good sign), as I feared, there was no front piece for the smokebox, and to top it off there are clear indications of where someone had done a terrible job with CA glue attempting to reattache one of the external boiler features (look at the top of the boiler in the first photo above and you'll see the tell-tell shiny residue of CA glue).  ARGHHH!!!  I'm generally pretty easy going on eBay and cut sellers a lot of slack, in this case, tossing around words like 'mint' while also being absolutely unwilling to offer a return, etc...  Well, I gave my fist piece of negative feedback.  This is in my opinion how us buyers can protect each other.  Oh well, I am hopeful someday I will find the smokebox front....

Christmas Trains!
On a much happier note, I recieved three trains for Christmas!    Two locomotives from Hobbytrain; a G2000 in the SNCF livery, and an HLE 18 in the SNCB livery!
 I also got a 5 car MicroAce KIHA 261 set! 
All three of the above were digitized and I've been running them around the layout for the past several weeks in preparation for a more formal review (coming soon...I did complete the reviews this weekend, but now I need to edit the content down before I upload to YouTube).


  1. Jerry, sometimes I think you're just copying ;)
    I have the exact same 231E from Rivarossi. I bought it at least 12 years ago, and also still needs to be DCCed. Please post your experience if you convert it, I was too afraid to damage mine!

    Your layout still looks amazing and your electic rolling stock choices are really interesting. Keep up the good "work" !

  2. Hi Jerry. 125,00eur


  3. Hi Jerry,
    This loco, didn't by chance come from Italy. I bought a DB class 44 (also used in France after WW2) Roco a year or two back in 'mint' and 'working condition'. To find that the box was in perfect condition and the loco was missing its front buffers (cut off with pliers), motor runs but gearbox is ??, and the solder rework, once the cover was off, terrible.
    The loco is sitting in a box waiting for rainy day, with a few other locos that I bought as 'not working'
    Thanks for the Great Blog, I tune in every week or so!

    Bruce (Australia)

  4. Hi Everyone! Sorry for the late response, I had to travel down to Arizona for work this week so internet time was short!

    @ Pierre - great minds think alike! First I need to find a smokebox 'front' so I feel like I'm wiring up a real locomotive! If I ever get this fixed, I'll let you know! Thanks!

    @ Luis - Thanks for the 'tip'! Hmmm, that's very, very tempting! But I'm traveling to Europe next week for work (and some fun) so need to save some money...but who knows! (I need to spend more time at your shop!).

    @ Bruce - No, not from Italy, from California! But I suspect that these sort of sloppy sellers come from anywhere! I have a new Minitrix Class 44 that I love! Great looking loco!

  5. The colors on the KIHA 261 make it look like it belongs to NJ Transit! ;-)

  6. Did you ever find a smoke box cover? If not, I can help.

  7. No, I did not...I am still hoping to find an old Junker with the shoebox... but they don't come up often! If you can help, let me know! email me at quinntopia at Hotmail dot com! Thanks!