Andrey’s scratch built crane

“Dear Al,

I like you site – I can follow foreign layouts and can see different way to realise the dream.

Photos show creation process of soviet railroad service truck with crane, capasity 2 ton

It was created by my friend for me. Model has name – AGM. It was started on December. Finished in April.

It is very detailed H0 scale model. Chassis was built from sheet polystyrene. Wheel are turned (no possible to buy with the original diameter). Air reciever is made of condencer.

It was made without motor. As for motor – it cam be fited under immitation of any cargo box, cable coil etc. I think next model will be powered.

Best regards,


Scratch building at its finest!

Reminds me of Rob’s crane.

A big thanks to Andrey for sharing.

That’s all for today folks. Keep ’em coming.

Please don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to get going on your own model railroad adventure.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

68 Responses to Andrey’s scratch built crane

  1. Alistair Fraser-Peters says:

    Very good indeed. Inspiration for the rest of us with lots and bits and pieces lying around and waiting for the wife to go out with the girls to give us a chance to get on with it!

  2. John Humphris says:

    Well I could do that! If only I had the time, steady hand, precision eyesight, patience, dedication and of course the skill. In the meantime I can only admire your work.

  3. Pat Taylor says:

    What a great job on this crane car. Scratch building done well is truly an art form as this model is a masterpiece. Well done!!!

  4. Mark Allen says:

    fantastic work Andrey

  5. Bonny McDaniel aka Grannytoot says:

    I have loved your mailings and, as a beginner, have used many items in your mailings but, alas, my limited budget does not allow me to spend very much so I will miss this service. Thank you for all you have done.

  6. Rob Billing says:

    Hi Al,
    Unfortunately, i am going to be one of those you will not be mailing to in the future. I will miss the items you send. I have compiled a rather large file on all the different posts that i have received from you. I do however under stand. The fact that i live in South Africa where the Rand is of little or no use any more as compared to the Pound or should i say the Euro, I just can not afford to pay the price asked for on your “golden Key”. Its sad to see you go but then as i say i do understand. To you and those who will continue to receive your posts i will say all the best and happy modeling.
    Rob. Billing

  7. Gene Turner says:


    That is beautiful work. It’s nice that you showed a photo of the prototype first and then the build photos of the model. You are a true craftsman and modeler. Great Work!!


    Sorry to hear that you have to cut-back on the emails, but you have to do what you have to do. Keep it up with the ‘golden key’ subscribers and keep doing the good work that you do.

  8. Ben says:

    dam fine job excellant detailed craftmanship the attention to detail is fantastic Ben Nebraska USA

  9. T.Bailey says:

    How come you have to pay to send e-mails, when everyone else on the entire planet gets to send them for free via Outlook Express ???

  10. Rob McCrain says:

    What patience. It is beautiful work.

  11. Al says:

    I don’t email people one by one. If I did, yes, it would be free – but it would also take a lifetime to do so. I use some whizz bang software that costs me more and more with each subscriber.

  12. Walter says:

    It is unfortunate that it has come to this , But I also know that there are other ways to make the money to pay for your wisbang software, its called advertising , I for one do not mind little ads when it keeps the service I do want cheap or even better free. I have been a sub of yours for 4 years and will miss your post, but I am disappointed that you haven’t come up with a better way to pay for what you do other than passing it on to us .

  13. Al says:

    You are quite right, Walter. And I did mull over going down the advertising route. But it would still leave me shelling out while it got up and running. And what would happen on the months when the advertising didn’t cover costs? I really don’t need those headaches at my time in life. Just quite happy blogging about trains in my own little world.

  14. Jerome Joseph says:

    Wow!!! Amazing. Very inspirational

  15. Jay Reese says:


    WOW!! Incedable detailing and patience to make all the small parts. Good job!

    Jay Reese
    Fairfield, Ohio, USA

  16. Tommy Redman says:

    Sorry to swee you go, but I can appreciate the cost factor. I want to thank you for all that you have put into this website, I have made many notes and it will take a while to digest. I am a big fan as I’m sure are many others.

  17. Frank says:

    Thank You SoMuch I’m to to do I just look u have given Me years
    Of entertainment and inspiration to keep going
    Thank You and ur Wonderful Wife
    U are AWSOME!!!

  18. Brian Messenger says:

    Hi Al, unfortunately I fall into the same category as Rob Billing by living in South Africa where our rand is worth nothing against other currencies. Being a pensioner makes it even harder. As much as I would love to buy the “golden key”, it is way out of my budget.
    I thank you for what you have done to date and appreciate all the effort that you have gone to in producing the fantastic, informative website that you have.
    I also thank you for the postings of my layout progress as well as the photos of my model building and the feedback received from fellow modelers.
    I wish you all the best for the future.
    Brian Messenger
    Cape Town, South Africa.

  19. Bedros Anserian says:

    What an accomplishment with detailing all the parts. Good job.

  20. Don says:

    Hi Al,

    Also a pensioner but I consider this to be the most useful single source of good information and comments I’ve found, so I reckon it’s good value. So here’s my contribution. Please keep em coming and all the very best…

  21. Don says:

    Andrey, this s beautiful piece of work. Congratulations. Love to see more of your layout.

  22. Bill Fitzpatrick says:

    Andrey: That crane is outstanding! You certainly have a talented friend!

    Al; I am so sorry that you have to cutback on the mailing list. It seems that those who can benefit most from your great work are the least able to afford it. In any event we all know that you are not running a charity and we’re all appreciative of all the hard work that you put into this. Also, all of us married
    guys can appreciate Mother Lee’s point of view. The LAST thing we need is hate, discontent and anarchy at the castle. ( I, for one, find the Hot Tongue and Cold Shoulder diet very distressing)


  23. Tom Oliver says:

    A Fantastic model. So much detail! And Al, Thank you so much for such an informative site. Thanks also to all the contributors, who have given so many ideas to me, but unfortunately, I too cannot afford to buy the Golden Key, as even though I have retired, cannot get the pension, as the wife is still working. Thank you again, and good luck.

  24. kenn says:

    Nice work. Just wondering if the guys are green because they are sick from riding in the caboose all day and all night? Sorry for the humor but thought the project was well done.

  25. monty says:

    Hi Al, Thank you so much for your web sit and all of the work that go’s in to making it. I have only been visiting it for about 9 months but have gained a lot of information from you and all of your subscribers, it has been a valuable tool for me so I am very sorry to loose it but I am a pensioner and do not have any money left over after paying all the bills for luxury’s but thank you again and good luck with it all Monty

  26. jezza says:

    Great work Andrey. It’s always good to see other people’s accomplishments.
    Sad to see so many will now be gone from your site Al.
    Most, if not all, will understand the hard decision you have faced.
    I am considering buying your golden key, though I, like many other’s, can ill afford to.
    You have given me many hours of enjoyment and idea’s, one of the few e- mails I look forward too, and I thank you for all of this.
    I am concerned that your posts may only be from the die hards that have purchased the golden key from now on. All those fresh, innovated, outside the box creations, Gone !
    You have not said how new people will be able to buy the golden key in future times, or when people’s financial circumstances change.
    Where will you advertise? Where will your son advertise?
    Clearly your son has not been paying enough royalties ” LoL”
    A big thank you Al for all your time and effort.
    Sad to see you gone.

  27. builder Kim says:

    Want to thank Al for all the year’s of joy I got from seeing the wonderful builds,and also throwing in my share of builds.but I also at the moment cant afford the golden key.As I have been thinking of tossing in the model train.My new DCC and new loco’s and builds and such.maybe take up another hobby.Thank’s to you all for shareing your idea’s and photo’

  28. Ross Johnston says:

    Great Model and the detail is fantastic.
    As for the emails. I can understand your dilema and all i cnsay is thnkyou for wht you hvv done over te past 2 yyers i havbeen viiewing yourr emails. I ae saved nerly veyone so can get ieas when fially start my layout in my 20 x 18 shed. Cheers Rossco

  29. Cameron says:

    Incredible and inspirational HO model. It really is the best scratch modelling I have ever seen and certainly well beyond my own limited skills. Fantastic that such an unusual locomotive had been remembered with such a fine model.

    Dear Al,
    Sorry to here that the postings have put you under some pressure from “she who just be obeyed” at the department of financial affairs. I don’t think any of us would like to see you placed in financial distress as a result of the site and posts. What you have provided to our collective hobby free of charge is truly inspiring and extremely generous. What you need to do to keep it up is perfectly reasonable and should not result in any guilt on your part. Thank you for everything you have done for us all and enjoy your well earned financial break.

  30. james says:

    you got skills

  31. a great model the detail is brillant . the emails i have recieved over the past 2 years have been very imformative. i didnt realise the cost to you Al and your family. i will miss these emails. i must admit i have been very blarsa about the golden key i should have been more aware. good luck Al hope it all goes well and i will miss knowing what goes on in the model train world thanks again heaps.

  32. Paul Gewalt says:

    This is like the loss of a good friend. I will look into the golden key.
    For all you do I wish you would have asked for help before it became overwhelming.

    IDEA; What if you sent to a smaller percentage of folks and then each of those folks could forward that email to 5-10 others. Would that not take the burden off of you and still keep this great information in circulation?


  33. ALEX MCCULLOCH says:

    Al .G’day. luv your posts. have saved 95%. whats this golden key. i have obviously not been paying attention!!!!!
    i’m happy to subscibe . please tell me how. if it’s cheap enough,even those on a strict budget could afford it. maybe a two tiered system.anyway i will contribute. just tell me how. cheers alex.

  34. Toni says:

    For Mr. A. Lee,

    With me being disabled, unemployed and on General Assistance, I will miss your e-mails and access to your fabulous and helpful blog.

    I agree with Mr. Paul Gewalt’s idea of passing on your e-mails to other members on your list for you. Some of your Golden Key members would be your master e-mailers for you and they in turn would mail out to members in their area and those members could re-mail to others in their area, again. It should help to cut down your cost and I for one, would be willing to do so in order to help.

    If your Golden Key members are agreeable to this idea, I can be contacted by e-mail
    (I am in the south bay area of San Francisco, California, U.S. of A.)

    In the mean time, Please keep up the good work and I wish for you many more years of a successful web/blog site.

    Thank you kindly,
    Ms. Toni Olivar

  35. Ian Brown says:

    What fabulous work on that scratch built railcar. The hook block for the crane is mind blowing. I have built models and small machine parts all my life, but I don’t think I could ever have made anything so jewel like. Certainly can’t anymore with eyesight going and hands shaking. But I can really appreciate what this model required.

  36. Rod Mackay says:

    Al, thanks for all you’ve done to encourage people to get started in this great hobby, have a long and happy one.


  37. Jaaques Shellaque says:

    Thanks, Andrey. Such detailed photos are
    a blessing.

  38. Barry Lawrence says:

    Hi Al, I can understand your costs, as I used to run an internet business many years ago. As I understand, the “Golden Key” is a one of lifetime payment, but what then happens when those payments fall below your internet costs?, a “Platinum Key” maybe. Your reply will determine if I buy a key, as I am about to retire, and funds are limited.
    Regards, Barry

  39. Dennis Davidson says:

    Well Al, I can’t imagine not receiving your emails, so have purchased the “Golden Key”. It works exactly as described and will save me a lot of hunting time in the future when I want to find information relating to my own S scale (American Flyer) expansion that is underway.

    Thanks for what you do!
    Vashon Island, Washington, USA

  40. peter says:

    HI Al,
    Firstly thanks for all the pleasure that you have given us in your newsletters. We look forward to them every day and you have helped and inspired us more than you know.
    We are really sorry that this will now come to and end. Having been swindled before we do not buy things online any more so will not be able to subscribe to your ‘golden key’. Such a shame that an excellent service such as yours goes exclusively to those who have the money to pay for it.
    Thanks again for all you help. Your missives will be sorely missed.
    Peter and Jean.

  41. Carl Eilbeck says:

    Hi Al,
    Thanks for all the great information, etc over the years – we will miss you even though we understand your situation.
    I, too, have been remiss and not absorbed your previous information about the “golden key”. I am a pensioner also, however I would be willing to consider the key. Would you publish details of it one last time me, and everyone else, to consider.
    Thanks again and good luck.

  42. Bernie Glynn says:


  43. colin gibbs says:

    Hi Al,
    So sorry to hear your news especially so soon after the massive input from everyone in support of your service following an unpleasant email you received. I quite understand but had no idea you were struggling with costs. Is there a different way of doing this whereby you post the members contributions and we access it like a website, (sorry I’m not very knowledgeable about the internet) I will miss the amazing contributions from around the world, and the regular contributors who I feel I have almost come to know. Thank you for everything and good luck. All the best Colin

  44. John Reynolds says:

    Amazing work…
    I need to find out how to access the golden key and make it work…
    It was purchased… I just need to find out how to access it…
    Your site is amazing….
    What about a modest annual subscription…
    Say in the neighborhood of $10.00 US?
    Your site is worth more but alas, many of us are having to choose where we invest scarce resources.
    Just thinking…
    John Reynolds

  45. David henady says:

    I, too, have only a meager fixed income. Your posts are one of the few enjoyments I look forward to. Rather than emailing your blogs, why not post them to a web site where they can be viewed and searched easily by everyone? You won’t need your expensive email program and you can sell advertising on your web site. The more visitors you have to your web site, the more you will gain in advertising. I don’t want you to disappear, but I have to pinch pennies, too.

  46. harry says:

    Hi Al, I like many others am on a fixed budget I LOVE and LOOKFORWARD to your emails but as an army war disabled pensioner I find it hard to come up with lumps of money all be it at times, small amounts, I do not know how big your email list is but it must be large from all the emails you get to send to us, so how about we all chip in $1 a month on direct debit or an amount you feel fit to charge, which would pay for your superb service ( SECOND TO NONE ) and help our less well off brothers and sisters. I do hope you can keep us all together and also get a few bob for YOU and MRS A into the bargain. ALL THE VERY BEST TO YOU AND YOURS, GOD BLESS, thanks for everything Harry.

  47. Patrick says:

    Great work I wish I was that skilled

  48. Patrick Potter says:

    Andrey, this is very impressive it takes an art to be able to work with that kind of small and tiny material and not only is it an art it is a special talent, again, very impressive, Patrick

  49. Charles says:

    I, too, have a financial timing issue that may last a couple of months. I have no doubt about your costs or value, I just can’t right now. When I can poney up will I receive the back posts ? Thanks for your great work !

  50. steven stclair says:

    Every day is just fantastic with all of this information being shared. I did send you some pictures Al but may have sent them wrong. Could you please send me a link to where you want the photos and I plan to start building my layout as soon as I have finished my piano exam. I have purchased everything apart from the Noch grass master. I hope to do some videos and a Bachmann tribute to talented Dave who I have purchased a lot of stuff due to his great videos. Thanks everyone.

  51. ken says:

    a big thanks for the info and god bless as its all a good idea chaps so take care all and god bless all

  52. Bill says:

    Al, thanks for all the years of doing what you have done for our great hobby. Yes, we all are going to miss all the posts from all the talented people out there ! As you have found out, this hobby can be very expensive. I also am retired and even in the U.S.A, the money is tight. Good luck in the future and above all, happy modeling…………

  53. Cary B says:

    Awesome scratch build indeed. Cary B

  54. Andrew Schyhol says:

    Andrey, A work of art. Very interesting to see a model of Russian equipment. I do not recall seeing any information on Russian modelers. Thank you. ANDREW FLORIDA US. ( the name is the same in Ukrainian)

  55. Fred says:

    Absolutely brilliant…I take my hat of to you sir…
    I might have a go at one myself, if that’s ok


  56. How does one obtain the golden key

  57. Stephen D Gispanski says:

    Andrey’s scratch built crane, that is really neat that you built this crane from scratch. There were a lot of details in this build and I take. My hat off to you. The first picture of the crane looked real and the trains behide looked really real. I know beside my self, and other train enthusiast would really like to see your layout. I also have a question, what is the steering wheel used for? The scratch built looked so real that installing a motor would be a breeze, and have a remote control for the crane. Great job there Andrey’s.
    Keep on Railing and keep it on the rail
    SDG.St.Petersburg Fl.USA

  58. Arthur Rago says:

    Congratulations on an excellent job. A challenge to say the least. Keep up the good work.

  59. Ralph Samples says:

    Hi Al,
    I love receiving your regular emails and enjoy every post, picture and story.
    Thanks for keeping your inspiring service alive.
    Cheers from a long-time Golden Key Member!
    Ralph in Eureka, Missouri USA

  60. Doug Harley says:

    I had wanted one of ehese cranes for a long time and found one on eBay wasn’t cheap,but it was a jewel when it arrived! I hav a flatcar by Viessman of Germany which has power & siesel or steam sound with DCC which will push this around.I model raillroads from many parrs of the world and enjoy them all. I belong to the San Diego Model Railroad Association since 1954, but I now live in Arkansas.and can’t atke advantage of there huge layout. I enjoy this blog a lot,keep up the good work!

  61. Will in NM says:

    Andrey, Your friend who build the crane car has both incredible skill and patience to be able to make such fine details. Are you going to paint the model to match the prototype in the photo?

    Al, I’ve obviously missed a post of yours regarding your financial burden from providing this service. I for one would hate to see all the folks who can’t afford the Golden Key dropped from the email list along with their comments and ideas. I am not yet a Golden Key member, but will happily join if it will keep this service alive. Is there not some way those of us who can afford your service could kick in a little extra to help keep all the others on the mailing list?

  62. Paul says:

    Top work on making this Crane ,it really is some think different and looks really nice. It will look nice on the layout and certainty be a talking point…..thanks for sharing your work with us

  63. David Friar says:

    The detail is amazing. Awesome job, keep up the good work!

  64. Holey mackerel I have not seen anything so detailed. You did a super job

    Thanks for sharing with us Jim

  65. Harold says:

    The attention to detail is incredible. Had I not known I would have thought I was looking at the real thing…just made my day looking at it.

    Somehow I missed your Golden Key. I want in. This site is too valuable to lose. It is one of the few places on the internet where almost everyone is civil and I get a chance to further my knowledge on a given topic, in this case train layouts.

  66. Steve says:

    Like Will in NM, I too must have missed your announcement about going to “golden key only” subscription…what date did you send it out Al?

    That crane is superb.



  67. Jim AZ says:

    Fantastic modeling skills. Way above my level and “pay grade”.
    Regrets to learn of your financial situation regarding your site costs. You’ve provided a great service to your subscribers and the railroad modeling community. But I’m sure we all understand. The very best wishes to your gold key folks and to you.

    Jim AZ

  68. Jerzy Rapinski says:

    Jewelers work, fantastic ! Incredible skills , you are the pro , real modeler.

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