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Does anyone frame drawings/artwork they find in train magazines?

The reason I ask is I have all the issues of Mainline Modeler and there are some fantastic drawings in many of them.  I'd like to frame a few, but wonder what to do about the creases and staple holes.  Many are in O scale.

The "collection" is taking up space and to be honest, I hardly ever look at them anymore unless I have a project and need to find some data.  Just going thru each magazine to select what drawings I would like to frame is a daunting task, but hey, I'm retired so have plenty of time (I hope).

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Hey Bob...I encourage you to go ahead and get those "train artworks" framed! You would be ahead of your time to do it, IMO, because these days so much advertising art seems to be computer assisted/drawn, or enhanced to a "unbelievable" degree.

My daughter has been presenting me with train travel artwork for a few years now, and those artworks not only will never be repeated; the subject matter....vacation train pretty much a thing of the past...go for it!

My 2 cents, but this will probably cost you a lot more.  Find a shop that will scan your artwork, clean up the staple holes (simple photo-shopping) and then print to a nice firm surface in the size you want.  Then frame and hang the result.

And for researching issues of Mainline Modeler, one of the historical societies (I think it's the C&O) sells a DVD (it might be more than one) with all issues that can easily be searched.  Then, donate the mags to either a forum member, a library, an LHS, or some local kid who might make better use of them.


It really isn't that expensive.  Have them blow it up to O Scale - 133%.

My #3 is an AC8 Cab Forward, done by blowing up the drawing in the MRR Cyclopedia to 17/64 scale on Mylar.  After I finished, I framed the drawing.  I think it was three bucks, but that was 35 years ago.  They took a photo with a precision camera.

Since then I have done dozens using Hundman's drawings, but usually just have them xeroxed.  Around 17 cents each.

Magazine Artwork...

Went through a spell a few years ago that I went after the railroad artwork found on "Railroad" and "Railroad Stories" type pulp paper magazine covers. I would scan them, fix flaws (rips, creases, etc) and save them for printing/framing. I have a few ready to go. My issue is finding wall space in my two "man caves" that I have. Backdrop covers all of the smaller man cave room, and most of the larger man cave building.

Anyway, here's a couple examples of what I'm talking about.



So, yup, I enjoy RR art... just don't have room to hang all the 8x10's I'd like to hang!



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I have purchased Mylar protective holders for some of the prewar advertising foldouts and advertisements that I have found over the years.  It works out nicely, as one can handle some very fragile items without worrying about wear/deterioration.

I also purchased filing cabinets that were previously used to store blueprints, as one can store these items flat, without having to fold / unfold them to view and store.

Here is a view of a 1921 newspaper ad from the Sunday comics.



@PRR1950 posted:

My 2 cents, but this will probably cost you a lot more.  Find a shop that will scan your artwork, clean up the staple holes (simple photo-shopping) and then print to a nice firm surface in the size you want.  Then frame and hang the result.

Scanning at high res and then retouching the defects in the artwork is the way to go. I have done this hundreds of times for various publications over the years. I would be glad to help. If you can do the scans, I can do the retouching. But before you scan anything, read my "primer" below.
@bob2 posted:

It really isn't that expensive.  Have them blow it up to O Scale - 133%.

This is not exactly correct. There are no hard and fast percentages that you can use when scanning artwork. It all depends on the size of the original art you are scanning and the size of the finished print you want to end up with.
Here's a little primer on how to size digital images.
  • To print a high quality digital image, the image resolution should be set to 300 dpi. All this does is tell the printer to lay down 300 dots per inch on the printed page.
  • The final size of the printed image is determined by how many pixels are in the image. For example:
    3,000 pixels horizontally equals a 10-inch wide image @ 300 dots per inch.
    6,000 pixels horizontally equals a 20-inch wide image @ 300 dots per inch.
    9,000 pixels horizontally equals a 30-inch wide image @ 300 dots per inch.

  • If you want to print an image at 11" x 14" at 300 dpi, your images must be at or close to 3,300 pixels by 4,200 pixels. This is a 35-40 megabyte tif file.
  • If you want to print an image at 18" x 24" at 300 dpi, your images must be at or close to 5,400 pixels by 7,200 pixels. This is a 110 megabyte tif file.

As you can see, images suitable for good, high-resolution printing can get very large!

, if you want to try this, I'll set you up with a link to my DropBox account so you can upload some scans. These images are too large to send as email attachments.

Last edited by Rich Melvin

My comment was addressed to the Mainline Modeler line drawings - they are quite accurate at 3/16 to the foot.  133% brings them sort of close to 1/4" scale, and Xerography is now quite good enough for display as well as model construction.

I believe Rich is referring to color prints, about which I know almost nothing - my background stopped with the old Robertson camera method, which is now obsolete.


@bob2 posted:

My comment was addressed to the Mainline Modeler line drawings -

Okay... now I've got 'cha.

When you said this is your original post:

"Does anyone frame drawings/artwork they find in train magazines?"

I thought you're talking about "drawings" (as in "scale drawings")  and "artwork" (as in painted artistic renders).

Instead, you were only talking about scale drawings.

Mea culpa.

Carry on, this time without my intervention!



Thanks Rich!  I need to look at a few to see what I want and then I'll contact.

There were so many drawings in each MM magazine, and in different scales, that I can't recall which were 1/4".  I do recall a lot of 3/16" and of course HO.

Hundman did a good job of covering the Seaboard Air Line and Atlantic Coast Line, so those I'll be searching for.  Plus the N&W "J" and many others.  About the only engines I've never cared for are the Camelbacks and (as he hides behind a brick wall) the GG1s.

Not just engines, there are plenty of caboose and rolling stock drawings that draw my attention too.

Many of the folds/creases can be flattened by using parchment paper on top of the crease on an ironing board with an iron.  Different magazines have a variety of paper so practice heat levels on similar pages of that particular issue. 

I discovered parchment paper ironing when making large water filled play mats from 6 mill construction polyurethane .

You can close up small staple holes by using a dull butter knife or lino knife and starting a half inch or so from the hole, press the smooth rounded knife edge into the surface of the paper in progressive steps toward the hole.  Come in from different directions toward the hole.  Go slow. practice on similar  sample paper.  The thicker the paper the better the response.  You will discover the amount of pressure to use with each type of paper.  This was a trick I learned in repairing resilient flooring seams and pin holes.  I have some nice framed rag pictures that defy source.

Last edited by Tom Tee

Here's an example of how Photoshop can rescue a bad image.

Here are three shots of the 765 spotted in Northwestern Station back in 1983. The original film was a 35mm Kodachrome slide. The photographic situation was a difficult one. The sun was shining in the morning sky, but the 765 was spotted in deep shade caused by the nearby buildings. The contrast range (the range from the brightest element in the image to the darkest)  was beyond what a digital scan could handle in a single pass, but it was not beyond the range of the film! When I examined the slide with a magnifying glass, I could see that the shadow detail was there. I just had to dig it out. Grant Geist took this shot and he had exposed the film perfectly. 

Here is the original scan. In order to properly scan this slide so the bright morning sky was properly exposed, all the shadow detail was lost. You cannot even see the 765. Also note the keystoning of the buildings. Willis Tower appears to be leaning to the right. This is caused by the wide angle lens used to shoot this shot, and the fact that the camera was tilted up slightly to compose the shot.

This is a second scan of the same slide. On this scan I set the scanner to overexpose the slide to bring out the deep  shadow detail that was present in the film. But now that gorgeous blue sky is all blown out to white. And the building is still leaning.

Here is the final result. I combined the two scans in Photoshop to make this composite image that shows everything. And, thanks to the Photoshop "Distort" tool,  the building is now straight.

This is just one little thing that Photoshop can do. It is an amazing program for photo work. I use it almost every day. I'll see if I can dig up a few more examples.


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Here's another illustration of what Photoshop can do.

I took this photo of a set of F3 diesels on a trestle several years ago on Gayle Rotsching's layout. The trestle itself is fantastic, but there was no scenery behind the train, just a dark wall and some distant scenery.

I spent a few minutes building a "path" (an electronic outline) around the locomotives to use to cut out the background. Then I looked through my image library for a suitable stone wall to use as a background. I had to find something with the light coming from the left, in order to match the lighting angles between the locomotives and the background. This is the result.

However, we have a problem. Because these locomotives were stopped on the trestle for the photo, there was no power on the track. We've got no headlights. That's not legal!

OK...we're legal now. The headlight and Mars light are on. Both lights were added in Photoshop, not by turning the power on to the track.

Adobe's a wonderful thing. 


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Last edited by Rich Melvin

Bob, you don’t need a steady hand to draw a Photoshop “path” around an object. You place points one at a time around the object you want to cut away from the background. The lines can be straight or a Bézier curve. And once you’re done, you can go back and tweak the path by moving any single point slightly. No steady hand required.

In the F3 photo above, I had to draw a path around the locomotives, and that included the horns and the tiny American flags on the top!

This digital stuff is painful!  I just struggled through something called "Shutterfly."

I programmed computers in ones and zeros.  I was the go-to guy for our 737 data base for a couple years.  Now I just want "easy and fun."

even Hotmail drives me nuts.  I adapt to it and they make it "better."  Yuk.

Anyway, Delbridge, did you get your drawings framed?  Let us see the results.

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