The following shows what I have used to model the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range.

Steam Locomotives:

Steam locomotives for the DM&IR are just not available in N Scale.  Good running Steam, in general, is hard to find.  The last several years have made great strides in the area of steam locomotive detail and performance.  But, they still do not match the Missabe locomotive directly.




The following show what N scale models I have used to model the Missabe.  On some of the models, I have made very little modifications - other than paint and decals.  I may eventually add more details to, or modify, the equipment to make it more closely match the prototype.  But, for now, I am having fun.

8 Spot


Manufacture is Atlas.   Stock model runs moderately well.  This one is a good candidate for remotoring.  This particular model has been remotored and runs well.


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The recent release of the Bachmann Spectrum Consolidation is an excellent runner.  Make sure you run one before you buy it - some have been known to not run well (this is good advise for any locomotive).


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This Mikado is made by Con-Cor.  I believe Atlas and RivarRossi also offered this locomotive (they all used the same mold).  A later version should run moderately well.  But, the early ones had very poor motors (they did not last very long).  Consequently , they were good candidates for remotoring.


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This model started life as a Bachmann 2-8-2.  It was remotored, the boiler was lengthen, and a cab from a MiniTrix  was substituted.

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Kato made two runs of the Mikado.  Both run very well.  The second release did run better and had the Kato coupler - which will mate with Micro-Trains couplers.


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This Pacific, by Model Power, is leaps and bounds ahead of steam models they have produced in years past.  This is their new one, and it runs well.

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The Life-Like Mallet is an excellent running locomotive.  It should pull more cars than it does - which is around 20-25 ore cars. Even still, it is a very impressive locomotive and runs very well.

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The RivarRossi 2-8-8-2 can be a temperamental locomotive.  I have found the mechanism is constantly in need of "tweaking".  I suspect the frame is of the material that degrades with time and is slowly fatiguing, or changing shape.  But, when it works, it works pretty good.  And, who can pass up an articulate pulling a string of ore cars.


rr_2882.jpg (167506 bytes)

10 Spot


This 10 spot started out life as a MiniTrix Decapod.  I changed the boiler and added a different tender.  It isn't a perfect match to the what the DM&IR used.  But, the effect is pretty good.

See construction article

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I am still working on this locomotive, so I do not have a picture for it.  But, I do have the tender.  

cc_2104_tender.jpeg (100966 bytes)



It is not weathered yet, but, I finally finished the Yellowstone project.  I figured I would loose interest in finishing it as soon as the Benchmark model hits the market.  So, I decided to finish it before then.  It started out as a Con-Cor Big-Boy mechanism - it has a wonderful tender.  Other than shorten the boiler and make a new pilot - the model is pretty stock.  It is a later model and runs very well.  I loaded it up with 80 Atlas ore cars and it pulled without slipping.  Impressive!.

CC_Yellow1.jpg (145493 bytes)

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I am eagerly waiting the model offered by BenchMark Models.

See BenchMark website


Diesel Locomotives:

All models listed below have been custom painted - unless noted.



The Atlas SD9 model is an excellent running and looking model.

The recent release of SD9, by Atlas, is offered in the Missabe colors - number 111 and 117.  The new model has the slow speed motor and runs very well.  It is also setup for a 'drop in' DCC decoder (Digitrax DN163A0 or NCE N12A0).

atlas_sd9-162.jpg (167714 bytes)atlas_sd9_joe_129.jpeg (58877 bytes)atlas_sd9_front.jpg (121382 bytes)


Life Like SD7/9:  This is a fine model that works well for modeling the Missabe.

lifelike_sd7.jpg (106223 bytes)


Con-Cor offered this model many years ago.  It runs poorly and would be a good candidate for remotoring.  A different chassis mechanism would probably be a better investment.

A little paint over the UP lettering and heralds along with "DMIR" text as well, and this model will be ready to go.  (model shown without handrails) 

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I do not know the manufacture of this model.  I suspect it is Model Power - based on how the mechanism is made - compared to other MP models of it's vintage.  The original model runs poorly and would be a candidate for remotoring.  The model shown has a MiniTrix mechanism and runs moderately well.

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Although the Missabe never really owned these.  They did make a brief appearance on the range as demonstrator units.

This model is made by Atlas.

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The early Con-Cor SW1200  mechanism has some faults.  It can be reworked to provide better operations.  But, the motor in these early models has a tendency to burn out and replacement motors are almost non-existent.

The later Con-Cor SW1200 has a Kato mechanism and is a much improved model.

One shortfall of both Con-Cor models is the obnoxious cab roof line.   The model shown has been reworked to more closely match the prototype.

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The Life Like SW1200 is a great addition to the N-Scale market.  This has been a long over-due locomotive.  It is a fine runner and has great detail.

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Overland Models offers a brass model of the SD45T-2 the DM&IR used.  This is a very fine looking and running piece of equipment (right out of the box).

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Other Diesels:



I know the DM&IR never had these locomotives in their fleet.  I just like the look of them and thought they added variety while still preserving the large diesel look of the Missabe.


Atlas high-hood SD35

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Atlas low-nose SD35

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Atlas SD50

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The Atlas ore car is the only ore car available in N scale.  It is not a perfect match for the car typically found on the Missabe.  But, it does a very good job of providing a convincing illusion when 100+ cars are being pulled by a consist of SD9s.  The pictures (at right) are Atlas factory painted ore cars.  The rest shown on this page have all been custom painted.

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Ore Car

Atlas ore car, custom painted and used the ore car decals provided by the Missabe Railroad Historical Society.  Notice the close coupling.

atlas_ore.jpg (166209 bytes)

Mini Quad

These taconite cars are the Atlas ore car with either a Fine-N-Scale taconite load, or extended sides (styrene strips) for an empty car.  Four cars are close coupled to form the quad. 

atlas_taconite.jpeg (79227 bytes)atlas_taconite1.jpg (103374 bytes)

Scale Test Car

This Missabe Scale Test Car is a modification of an Atlas ore car.

atlas_scaletest.jpg (115166 bytes)

Test Car


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Test Car


atlas_oretest_white.jpeg (98032 bytes)

Tank Car

Atlas Tank car (custom painted).

atlas_tank.jpg (98010 bytes)

50' Box Car

Bachmann boxcar (custom painted).

bachman_boxcar.jpg (169977 bytes)

Wood Box Car

I painted this boxcar (unknown manufacture) as a test for color and to try one of the sets of decals I had obtained from the Missabe Railroad Historical Society.

box-1.jpeg (94117 bytes)

Covered Hopper

Covered hopper offered by Model Power - factory paint.

(Yeah, it should be three bays.  But, it does give a good effect).

mp_hopper.jpg (142876 bytes)

3 Bay Covered Hopper

Bashed - unknown manufacture.

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Con-Cor Gondola - custom painted.

cc_gondola.jpg (158251 bytes)

2 Bay Hopper

Sand Car

These are a stock Atlas 2 bay hopper.  They work fairly good for the Sand Car - custom painted and decaled.

atlas_sand1.jpg (100756 bytes)atlas_sand2.jpg (117768 bytes)

New Taconite Car

(test cars)

Recently, the Missabe tried a new car design as a possible replacement to the aging ore car.  

These models were originally an Atlas Coalveyor car.  By shortening the car, it becomes an almost perfect match for the Missabe test ore car.

atlas_coal_testcar.jpg (120300 bytes)





Steel Caboose

This a stock Atlas caboose, custom painted in the right colors.

atlas_caboose.jpg (115307 bytes)

Wood Caboose

This caboose was inspired by a friend's caboose (see next photos).  This model started out as a Micro-Trains wood caboose.  It was shortened to more closely match the one the Missabe used.

mt_caboose.jpg (136518 bytes)mt_caboose_dtk.jpeg (63586 bytes)

Wood Caboose


(see above)

This caboose is also a shortened Micro-Trains caboose.  It is modeling a version of the rebuilt wood cabooses.

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G Class

BenchMark models will be releasing a G-1 and G class caboose as a companion to their Yellowstone model.  Should be a nice addition to the fleet. (details for follow their release)

no photo yet (see BenchMark website)

Early Caboose

Bachmann Old Time caboose - painted and decaled to look like the DM&N caboose.

bachmann_cab1.jpg (89001 bytes)






A Con-Cor heavy-weight observation car was used in the modeling of this Northland passenger car.

rr_northland.jpg (168348 bytes)


Kato recently made a RDC which runs very well.  This model works well at representing the one the Missabe used.  The factory silver paint was fine for this model.  However, the red and white stripes on the ends and the lettering on the side (and a few other details) were needed to finish it off. 

kato_rdc_joe.jpeg (79176 bytes)


Modules (layout):



Proctor Round House

N-Trak Module

This Round-House model is built into a 4 foot N-Trak module.  It has seen many shows and draws quite a crowd.

Ore Dock

N-Trak Module

The ore dock is scratch built, the ore boat is a Sylvan kit, and it all resides on a 4 foot N-Trak module.  (liberties were taken in the "selective compression" area) (235745 bytes)

Proctor Diesel Shop

(a friend's modules)

 Click here for pictures

Ore Dock

Use to be part of my home layout.

dc_1.jpg (173093 bytes)dc_2.jpg (190385 bytes)dc_3.jpg (188685 bytes)