Top 20 Frequently Asked Questions


Q:  "When will my order ship?"

A:  Most orders ship the same or next business day. We're centrally located between very large UPS and USPS Hub Facilities. Every package that we ship is taken directly to one of these hubs. That saves days in the process and makes the first part of your package's journey a much gentler ride.

Q:  "What kind of boxes do you use to ship brass model trains?"

A:  We typically use brand new 200 lb. test corrugated boxes that we purchase from ULINE. These are industrial strength cartons that we seal with 2.6 MIL industrial strength sealing tape. We seal all of the seams on every box.

Q:  "What about packing materials inside the shipping box, what's used there?"

A:  We use a variety of new and recycled materials that are appropriate for the size, weight and value of the contents being shipped. Industrial strength bubble wrap is the most common material used, and sometimes we'll use styrofoam peanuts provided the model box is light enough.

Q:  "Before you pack and ship a model, do you inspect the old foam inside the model box?"

A:  Absolutely. We literally wrote the book on safer shipping of delicate brass model trains. If the old foam is still inside the model box we will evaluate whether or not it is of sufficient quality to remain inside the box. Many older models have long since had their old foam replaced with newer bubble wrap. That is the safest method of repacking a brass model inside of its model box.

Q:  "Is insurance, package tracking and delivery confirmation included with my order?"

A:  Yes it is. In fact, as most of our packages are shipped via UPS, we include at no extra cost their signature package tracking. That protects you, us, and the model too.

Q:  "If a model arrives damaged what should I do?"

A:  If a model that you bought from us arrives damaged as a result of shipping, then your package will be the first one damaged—ever!  In all the years that we've been selling and shipping brass model trains, not one of them has ever been damaged because we know it's our responsibility as the shipper, to pack models to survive most any situation during transit. In the highly unlikely event that you receive anything from us in a damaged condition, then please call us right away so that we can create a solution for you:  630-893-5719

Q:  "There are certain models that I simply do not want shipped to me. I'd rather arrange to pick them up in person. Is that possible?"

A:  Yes, absolutely. The same goes for Professional Services work and models being sent to us for consignment sale. Any time that you'd rather drop off and/or pick up your models, we're happy to arrange that for you.

Q:  "Is it possible for you to come to my home to pick up models?"

A:  We're located in Bloomingdale, IL 60108. That's the far northwest suburbs of Chicago. Our normal pick-up and delivery range is 75 miles from our shop. If you have models that require extra special handling, that are very large, of extreme value, or the quantity of models involved requires us to travel to your home then please call us to talk about that. We do make special trips when called for. We're also happy to meet out of state clients at a convenient half-way point if that works for you too.



Q:  "What do you mean when you say professional services?"

A:  In our shop, Professional Services means high-caliber professional results that come from decades of experience working in the brass model train industry. We worked with the builders in Korea, learned our soldering techniques from them, and honed those skills (among others) over the years to be unrivaled in most service disciplines. Our primary service offerings include repairs, painting, weathering, paint touch-ups, re-motoring, installing new gear boxes into standard gauge steam, diesel drive line repairs and adjustments, basic lighting, and setting up models for proper DCC installs by qualified DCC installers.

Q:  "What does that mean when you say you set up models for proper DCC installs by qualified DCC installers?"

A:  Our specialty is repairs and painting of brass model trains. Adding DCC to a model is not a service that we provide. So we outsource that work to several DCC installers who are local to us, who provide excellent service work of their own, and who have a good understanding of proper ways to add DCC to a brass model. (FYI: Many DCC installers have limited experience with brass models so be aware of that. We certainly are—as we must be.) So when a client of ours needs a model painted and DCC installed, we will make the modifications to the brass model before we paint it, in order to make the DCC installers job simpler, and less damaging to the model. This is typically drilling out brass headlights, smokebox fronts, tender back-up lights, and adding wiring holes or tubes where connections might go between locomotive and tender. There's a big difference between drilling holes in a delicate brass model train, and one made of soft plastic. We bring no harm to the balance of the brass model while making these delicate modifications. That's important. Please be aware that every service professional has his or her own schedule of work and with all of this work being so linear in nature, getting firm turn-around dates is a bit like herding cats. That's always been a part of this kind of work account so many variations in what must be done and what is required to start the work, let alone completing it. If you have a scheduling concern, we always recommend asking about that up front.

Q:  "As I understand it, your services are limited to brass model trains only. You do not work on plastic, hybrid or cast metal models. Is that really the case?"

A:  Yes that is correct. In order to properly service any model, we need to have on hand the proper parts that those models might require. With over 40 years of experience working on brass model trains, this is our specialty and what we have sufficient stock of parts to support. Ours is a small, highly organized shop that is perfectly suited to working on brass model trains. It's what we enjoy doing and our clients appreciate this kind of specialization for their prized models.

Q:  "What scales or kinds of models will you work on?"

A:  Mostly HO and some O scale with the occasional S scale model too, mainly US prototypes in standard gauge. Our sweet spot is steam locomotives in basic black paint. We also enjoy working on freight rolling stock, cabooses, m.o.w. and company service equipment, snow plows, and structures such as coal, water and sand towers.

Q:  "So what models then do you avoid completely?"

A:  That list has grown considerably over the years account the condition of many of these models today. We do not work on plastic, hybrid or cast metal models. Many older brass models have cast metal driver centers or gearboxes that are crumbling now. While we do offer remotoring and can install new gear boxes into HO standard gauge steam (including proper re-quartering of the drivers) it's an impossible task to service a steam model that has crumbling driver centers. There are no true replacements available except to buy another model in better condition.

There are also certain brands of brass models made during the late 1960s through the 1980s that had poor assembly to begin with and now suffer from severe solder decay as well. As both grit-blasting and ultrasonic cleaning (used to clean and prep brass models prior to repairs and painting) eat away soft metal like solder, it can quickly become a losing proposition to work on one of these models. So typically—it's just not worth the effort since the repairs alone could cost more than the value of these models. Most clients, understandably, say no thank you to such a situation.

We no longer do paint jobs on multi-color steam, diesel, or passenger car models, though we do offer repairs. The inherent difficulty in securing proper decals and getting new paints to perfectly match older paints from days gone by make many of these kinds of projects extremely time intensive. Most clients can't afford the time it takes to paint these models today so we avoid them completely now. We don't take in narrow gauge models either account we have no ready supply of parts there. Ours is typically a standard gauge service business for sure, with the possible exception of narrow gauge geared locomotives made in Japan from PFM/United. We do a lot of Shay, Climax and Heisler work with PFM models.

There are exceptions to these guidelines but this covers the basics. The quickest way to know if we can repair or paint your model is to send us a quick email through our CONTACT page. Tech Support and Consulting fees don't kick in until we know we'll need an hour or more to discuss your project or needs. See our BRASS MODEL TRAIN TECH SUPPORT AND CONSULTING page for more details on that.

Q:  "I'm planning to buy a brass model train from another dealer but I want you to make a few repairs, maybe paint and weather it too. Can I have that dealer send the model directly to you?"

A:  Yes, of course. We accept models from many dealers on behalf of their clients who become our clients too. 

Q:  "I'm concerned about the value of my model. Are you insured?"

A:  Yes we are. We are a licensed Illinois corporation and we carry all peril business insurance that covers your property while it is on our premises. Our shop has very robust security systems installed. And to our advantage, both the police and fire departments are just down the street. Any potential problems, are quickly resolved. While we do carry insurance on your property while it's here, chances are good that you have coverage under your own home owners or business policy too. Check with your agent to understand what coverage you have before you ship your models. It might come in handy one day.

Q:  "How long does it take to complete a repair, paint or weathering job?"

A:  It's no surprise that small repairs and simpler paint jobs require much less time than complicated ones. More than anything else, it's very much a matter of when you contact us. Chances are good that there are going to be many jobs  in line ahead of your request. It's also a matter of the condition of your model and whether or not you sourced all of the required parts and decals ahead of time. Decal manufacturers used to be plentiful. Now limited, when a particular decal set runs out of stock it's usually 1-3 years before those decals are made again. Anything a client can do to help find parts and decals always makes a positive difference. We do provide referrals to other pro shops we know and trust. But please keep in mind, any repair shop or paint shop that is worth using is already well known and very busy with their own long line of projects. That is the nature of this business. Having patience is a must.



Q17:  "What kinds of Tech Support and Consulting do you offer?"

A:  We offer several different kinds on support here. The best way to learn about that is to visit our TECH SUPPORT page located at the top of our home page.

Q18:  "What is the process to get tech support?

A:  This fee-based consulting covers our time to provide you with a Brass Model Train Tech Support Service you won't find elsewhere. The process is simple. We cover a ton of ground over the phone so be prepared to take notes.

Here's how it works.

  1. You book an hour of time.
  2. We contact you through email.
  3. You respond with a general list of topics you want us to address.
  4. We schedule a time that's convenient for both of us.
  5. Then we call you. If more time is required that's easy enough to add.

Q19:  "How do I pay for your Consulting Service?

Here's the direct link to get you rolling:  BUY NOW

Q20:  "Can I call you to ask a simple question or two without buying any services to begin with?

A:   Yes, certainly. Simple questions about what we do, don't do, if we have a certain model in stock, etc. are always fine. Feel free to call us during our business hours shown below. If you do get the answering machine please leave both your phone and email address in case we need to send you something to answer your question. 

That's it.

Feel free to call us if you have a question not covered here in our FAQs, our ABOUT US page, or on our TECH SUPPORT page.

Thank you for your interest in our business.


Jeff Lemke