“Do what you do best and outsource the rest.”
The oft-quoted statement about model railroading is that its participants must possess a variety of somewhat-unrelated skillsets. Draftsman. Carpenter. Electrician. Scenic Designer. Some basic understanding of these are all required to be remotely successful in the hobby.
And so it is inevitable that there are areas of this activity that one would naturally excel at, and others that one is less than successful at accomplishing. Having just completed the DCC install and electrical upgrade on my version of the IAIS 712, I was reminded that this is an aspect of the hobby I’d rather avoid.
So when it came time to repeat the process for my version of CIC 122, I decided to solve the problem the American way… by throwing money at it. Fortunately I was able to retain the services of JT Burke with Scale Sound Systems.
If you’re not aware of SSS, may I kindly suggest that you get your life together. JT has developed what I and several others believe to be the most effective and realistic speakers possible for model locomotives. As my friend and fellow IAIS modeler Scott Thornton has stated, “SSS speakers are like Lays chips. You can’t have just one.”
In addition to manufacturing locomotive speakers, SSS also offers custom DCC installs. Since I knew I wanted to use their speakers in the locomotive regardless of whatever else I was going to use, it made sense to cut out the middle man.
JT was able to install a ESU Loksound 5 with PowerPak, replace all the factory-installed headlights with LEDs, as well as add working ditchlights and cab lights. The quality was far beyond what I could ever hope to achieve within the narrow confines of a MP15DC.
I still have to put in some sweat equity of my own on this project, as the CIC 122 still needs a fair amount of detail parts, decals, and weathering. But for now, I’m enjoying the sights and sounds provided by an outstanding provider that makes this hobby possible.
Standard disclaimer: I’m not in anyway associated with Scale Sound Systems. I’m just a very, very satisfied customer.