Page Updated 07/1999

This is a description of the custom built locomotive component of my railroad model building business. If you are interested, I encourage you to have a dialog with me so that we can fully discuss your interests and what I can do for you.

Custom Building

I see other people who construct locomotives referred to by the magazines as scratch builders, or custom builders, when in fact they may have scratch built a few parts to turn a model of one prototype locomotive into a facsimile of another, or they have used an extremely loose definition of accuracy - off the shelf cylinders that aren't close to the prototype, off the shelf valve gear ditto, etc., when identifying parts for their project. These people can build a loco for less than I can and faster than I can. But why spend all that time and money for something that isn't right?

My custom built locomotives are built to be exact replicas of the prototype. If a ready made part is not right for the locomotive I am building I either modify the ready made part to be correct or make the correct part. The locomotive is either right or it is not! Occasionally it is necessary to make exceptions (with the customer's agreement) to this for cost reasons; however, that is exception, not the rule.

Custom built locomotives are delivered tested, painted, and ready to run, and have the following features:

The amount of detail is a trade off between durability for handling and fragility, and cost. My standard level of detail is oriented towards the operator and is equal to or better than the detail on U. S. Hobbies locomotives. To keep costs down, castings are used if correct and available to reduce the cost of detail parts. A cast white metal backhead is installed and other large cab interior details such as brake stand, throttle handle, seats, are installed; built up backheads using individual brass parts will be provided at extra cost. If the customer wants and is willing to pay extra for very high levels of detail, I will detail the model accordingly.

Do not be misled by the level of detail on production run imported locomotives - those castings are made in Korea for a specific production run, and as far as I know are not available in the U.S.A. - I can't get them to use on my locomotives. It is possible to have castings made in Korea, but the cost per locomotive would be quite high if the casting can't be used on a variety of locomotives.

Since I charge for research time, you can help to lower the cost of your custom built locomotive by helping with research. The important things I need to build a locomotive are scale (any scale) front, side (both sides), and rear drawings of the engine and tender. Since the drawings seldom show all the small details, photographs are used to fill in the missing information. Several large railfan-type photos that show the engine as you wish it modeled will help to locate details and determine the routing of pipes, etc. Worth their weight in gold are photographs of both sides of the same locomotive on the same date, the boiler and cab top, and the tender front, rear, and top. If my library does not contain all the preceding information, I will expend chargeable time to locate it if you do not provide it.

Note: photographs must be prints, not photocopies. The latter are often too grainy and minute details cannot be accurately determined.


Custom built locomotives, tenders, and rolling stock are identified by "RM" and a serial number stamped on their frame.


Custom built locomotives are warranted against defects for as long as you own the locomotive. Failures caused by faulty maintenance or abuse are not warranted.


Interested in learning more about 2-rail O scale? Please visit the O Scale Kings web pages.

These web pages were designed and implemented by Rod Miller.
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