Volume 1

Joe Fugate was kind enough to send me a review set of his Siskiyou Line videos. The five volume set covers almost all aspects of the design, construction, and operation of his HO scale Siskiyou Line layout based on the Southern Pacific’s Siskiyou Line in the 1980’s. I tripped across Joe’s website several years ago and was struck by the excellent scenery (especially the trees and ground cover) so I was really pleased to have a chance to see the videos he has made.

Volume 1: Modeling a prototype is a really nice overview and I found it reminded me favorably of Allen Keller’s Great Model Railroads series in overall format. The DVD starts with a rail-fan style trip following trains around the 800 square foot layout. We then meet Joe as he describes the creative process he followed to end up with his layout’s concept. One twist is that he maintains a strict 20 year date offset so if it’s July 4, 2008, then it is July 4, 1988 on his layout. Next we see how the layout’s mushroom configuration and clever construction plan allows a functionally 1200 square foot layout to fit into his 800 sq. foot space.

Vol1 still 1

After that Joe takes us section by section through the layout describing how each relates to the prototype and features of operational interest he’s implemented. Next we follow the Coos Bay Hauler along its route as Joe demonstrates the dispatching and schedule system he uses. I’m a small line steam guy and plan on strenuously avoiding most operational paperwork but Joe shows that attention to this detail can help you feel immersed in running the train over the branch.

I have say it: I found a continuity error. Joe carefully demonstrates how he realistically includes adding and dropping water cars (cars which drop water to help prevent fires) from the train but immediately after dropping the two black water tank cars the train pulls out and the siding where the tank cars were spotted (indicated by the red arrow below) – is mysteriously empty.

Vol1 still 2

The video closes with a straight how-to showing how Joe uses ordinary brass door bolts to manually actuate his turnouts.

Production quality is good. I viewed this video on a 46″ HD TV and it looked good and sounded great.  Joe is an excellent narrator and my son and I both really enjoyed watching the video. Joe did an excellent job introducing and orienting us to the layout and I’m looking forward to seeing how he builds his excellent scenery and track work.

Minor nit picks: Joe’s lighting is a bit too shadow-free and could have used key lighting. Admittedly, this is tough to do on many layouts. The editing pace is a tad slow.

I think Volume 1 is free-standing in the sense that it is a good value all by itself without the rest of the series. However, I’ve already gone on to Volume 2 (full review later) and can report it presents a wealth of new material and is a great follow-on to Volume 1.

Joe’s DVDs may be purchased at model-trains-video and retail for $24.95 each.

One Response to “Joe Fugate’s Siskiyou Line video Volume 1”

  1. Bookmarks about Train Says:

    [...] – bookmarked by 3 members originally found by ErroR0390 on July 13, 2008 Joe Fugate’s Siskiyou Line video Volume 1 http://www.polyweb.com/dans_rr/blog/index.php/archives/75 – bookmarked by 4 members originally [...]