Touring the Sundance Central Modular Railroad DVD

Learn more about an amazing modular, large scale railroad
Touring the Sundance Central Modular Railroad DVD
Sundance Central
Running time: 41 minutes
Price: $19.95 + $4.95 s&h
The Sundance Central Modular Railroad (featured in Garden Railways, December 2013) is a 1:20.3-scale model depicting western narrow-gauge railroading in the 1930s and ’40s. It was built by (originally) eight members of the Tampa Bay Division of the Florida Garden Railroad Group. This DVD program chronicles the railroad, its history, and its features.

When not on the road, the Sundance Central, along with other examples of fine-scale modeling, can be seen at the Suncoast Center for Fine Scale Modeling near Tampa, Florida. The railroad covers an area 40' x 40', but can be broken down into its component modules, packed into a pair of trucks, and hauled across the country, which it has done.

The video describes the genesis of the project, showing still photos of it in pieces. It goes on to describe, in some detail, various features of the railroad, including its impressive trestles, the logging camp and sawmill, a gas station, engine house, turntable, passenger station, fish camp, and more. Comments on the construction of each of these things, sometimes along with still photos of the construction in progress, is offered the viewer. The railroad’s trees are discussed, as is its scenery, including the making of rocks out of lightweight foam. We are promised more detailed how-to videos on various modeling topics in the future.

The railroad’s locomotives and rolling stock are also touched on. Engines are battery powered with Airwire control and Phoenix sound boards. Sound modules from Innovative Train Technology provide ancillary ambient sound throughout the modular railroad.

Separating each brief descriptive segment are shots of trains in action on various parts of the line. By the time the program ends, the viewer has a good sense of all of the thought and work that went into this superb railroad.

The DVD itself is well done. The narration, done by Jim Hopes, one of the builders of the line, is clear and professional. Photography is excellent and the pace holds the viewer’s attention. The modeling is outstanding—as good as you’ll find anywhere, in any scale, and this program showcases it beautifully. If you’d just like a pleasant 40-minute diversion or if you’re looking for large-scale inspiration for your own work, you’ll find it here. Highly recommended.


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