Adding New Items to the N Scale Database

How to log in

In order to participate in the TroveStar Train Reward Program, you must have a TroveStar log-in.

Visit our log-in page here. Use Google and allow TroveStar to see your gmail address. (TroveStar will never send you spam email!)
The TroveStar Login Page will confirm that you are logged in. The top menu bar should show your name. For example, 'User: Jenna.'

Once you are logged in, you can Request User Access to the N-Scale database.
  1. Under the User menu, go to Profile so you can see your Profile.
  2. Scroll down this page to the Request New Permissions section
  3. Find the 'N Scale Trains' collection and select 'Request User Access.' This will bring up a page telling you that your request has been sent to TroveStar admins. It also lists the e-mail that TroveStar will use to notify you once permission is granted. Permission will be granted in a timely manner between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm EST.

How to add items to the database

When you have been granted permission, visit the N Scale Trains collection here. This page will show you 500 of the tens of thousand items in the database.

From here, you can add items in two different ways: Add Item OR Copy Item.

(Preferred Method) How to Copy an Item:

Copying is by far the easiest way to add trains to the database since this option pre-fills many of the required fields. You will find the "Copy Item" option in the menu under the heading "Item"..
  • First, search TroveStar for an item that is very similar (ie an engine or car of the same body style) to the one(s) you want to add.
  • Go to that item / page and under the Item dropdown menu, choose Copy Item.
  • This will bring up the 'N Scale Train Item Editor' page with many of the fields already populated, actually with all values from the item that you have copied. You will have to change or delete contents for all fields where the value differ for the new item.

Creating an Item from Scratch

This is a more difficult way to add items because you must populate several fields by hand. You will find the "New Item" button in the menu under the heading "Item".
  • On the N Scale Trains collection page go to the 'Item' menu and select 'New Item.' This will bring up the 'N Scale Train Item Creator' page with none of the fields already populated.
  • First thing to do then is to select a Body Style from the pulldown list and then click the button on the left 'Change Body Style'. This will actually populate a large number of the fields, the value of which you will not have to change in most of the cases.
  • Pay attention however to the two following ones:
    • DCC Readiness: a same model can be proposed with or without factory-installed DCC, so this field indicates which model it is.
    • Coupler Type and Mount: a same body style can have been supplied with different coupler types, e.g. Atlas RS3 have moved over time from Rapido to Accumate.

Changing a Body Style:

Don't start populating the fields before you have selected the appropriate Body Style, as numerous fields won't be filled automatically from the Body Style information (default values).
However, in case you have missed this step and created the item with the default Body Style or with an inappropriate Body Style, you can still change it later:

  1. Edit your newly created item (menu 'Item' -> 'Edit Item')
  2. Select a new Body Style from the pulldown list and then click the button 'Update Item' at the bottom of the editor
  3. Edit again the Item
  4. Press button 'Resynch from Body Style at the top of the editor, then save again by pressing button 'Update Item' at the bottom of the editor.
Given the design of the database, this two-step procedure is required to change a Body Style and its default values. When resynchronizing from Body Style defaults, please carefully check all fields, as default values might not match your requirements for the item you are editing, for instance a different Brand name in case a same Body Style has been used by many brands, etc.

Fields to take care of in all cases

Whether you have created a new item from scratch or copied it from an existing one, the following Mandatory Fields have to be checked and filled or modified in a systematic way:

  • Stock Number
  • In case you want to input an item that you own, but for which you ignore either the brand or the stock number or even both, please contact us and send us a photo of the item. It is likely that we will be able to provide an ID for the item.
    You can also do some research by yourself to try and identify the item, first on TroveStar to compare it with similar models to give you an indication of the brand. Eventually, you can follow the search tips that we have listed in this article.
  • Road/Company Name (from the pulldown list)
  • Reporting Marks
  • Road/Reporting Number
  • DCC Readiness
  • Release Date (if you know it, otherwise leave blank)
  • AND
  • Reference to at least one image.
  • It is better to get an image of the exact model, but in some cases you cannot find it with the very same road number, so take a neighboring one anyway (just put a note in the image caption - in the Optional Fields section - that this is a different road number). It requires a little search on the internet, but quite often an image can be found. Once you have created the item, TroveStar will even make a search on eBay to check if the model is available, so this can be an easy source to find images (create the item without image, then edit again after TroveStar has found matches on eBay). If these are your own models, you are very welcome to take a picture and upload it using the 'browse' button next to the image field.
The following Optional Fields are also to be considered, whenever possible:
  • Original Retail Price (if you know it, otherwise leave blank or enter -1 (minus one))
  • Paint Color(s)
  • Print Color(s)

Explanation of the main Data Fields

Note that most fields have a tooltip help: just mouse over Help and it will pop-up. Please refer to this tooltip help for any field not listed below.

Important fields are in bold. Many of these fields, if left blank, will be populated with default values.
  • Select a Body Style and then click the button on the left 'Change Body Style'. Use 000_UNK if the correct body style is not available and nothing similar is available. This corresponds to the mold / tooling of the item. If the body style does not exist, you can create a new one if you are a curator (using the 'Create New Body Style' button located on the header of the page) or email one of our admins / curators to create it for you. For help understanding body styles, refer to this page.
    Selecting a Body Style will populate certain fields, including, but not limited to, Brand, Manufacturer, Item Category, Model Type, Subtype and Variety, as well as default DCC Readiness, Coupler Type and Mount. You may override these fields, but generally it is best to let the body style determine these other important characteristics. In the case that multiple vendors used the same mold, it is important to override the Vendor field to set it correctly.
  • Change the DCC Readiness as needed. Use N/A for rolling stock with no DCC functionality.
  • Stock Number. The manufacturer's part number or product code. This is really important as this is the main unique identifier of the item together with the brand name.
  • Original Retail Price. This is the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) as you can find it on the manufacturer's catalog or website, not the discounted price proposed by your dealer. Change the currency from the pulldown menu if not USD.
  • Image. The URL of an image of this item you found on the web. When you find a good-quality image on the Internet, just right click on the image and select 'Copy Image Location.' It should read something like ''. Please spend at least a few seconds Googling the item for a picture before leaving it blank. But please try to avoid using images that people clearly wish to avoid having reproduced such as ones with 'Copyright' watermarked on them. You will not get in trouble for this, but we may get requests to 'take down' these images. This should be avoided, if possible. We already have permission from most major manufacturers (including Kato and Atlas) to use their copyrighted imagery, so stock marketing photos may be used even if they do have 'Copyright' embedded in them. eBay: if you use an ebay image make sure you use the url of the image, not the url of the ebay listing.
    You can use up to two images per item. Use the 'Caption' fields to add any text pertaining to the image, notably to the source of the image, such as 'Image Courtesy of xxxx company'.
  • Road/Company Name. Look carefully in the pulldown menu to find the road name to match your item. Note that sometimes the company might not be what is on the side of the train (Goodrich is BF Goodrich, for example). If the road name is truly not present in the list, use Unavailable, and a curator will see to it that the name is added. In this case, put the road or company name in the 'Specific Item Information' field at the bottom of the page.
  • Reporting Marks. The reporting mark for the train should be whatever is printed on its side. If there is no mark, leave it blank. Note that some railroads use the road name as the reporting mark. In this case, leave it blank. Example: Southern.
  • Additional Markings/Slogan. For any slogan visible on the item, such as 'Santa Fe All The Way'. If there are several markings, you can display them on separate lines by inserting HTML tag <br> between each marking.
  • Road/Reporting Number. The road number may contain letters (example: 'X-007').
  • Paint Color(s). A comma separated list of the colors of the item, preferably starting with the color which covers the most surface area on the train.
  • Print Color(s). A comma separated list of the colors of lettering or print, starting with the most prominent color.
  • Paint Scheme. Optional, but can be useful for later search. E.g. 'Warbonnet' for Santa Fe.
  • Release Date. This represents the month and year the product became available for purchase. Do not confuse this with announcement date. Always use the 1st of the month. Examples: 1967-01-01, 2016-03-01. Be sure to use the format YYYY-MM-DD or it will not work. If you do not know the month, use YYYY-01-01, the first of that year. If you do not know the month or year, use 1900-01-01.
  • Multipack (and associated fields). To be used to describe individual items belonging to the same pack. Refer to our specific article on the subject for full details and how to use these fields.
  • Series (and associated fields). To be used to series such a Micro-Trains Line Presidential series.
  • Item Category. This typically gets populated when you select a body style. It represents the most general category. The value typically are 'Locomotives', 'Rolling Stock', 'Container', 'Vehicles' or similar. Select a value from the pull-down list.
  • Type. This typically gets populated when you select a body style. This is the next broadest categorization. For engines this will denote the type of power (e.g. 'Diesel', 'Electric', or 'Steam'). For Rolling Stock, use the broad categories of 'Box Car', 'Flat Car', 'Tank Car', etc. Try to keep consistent with what is already present on the database: go to the main page, and click Drill Down in the Item Category table to display all existing values for a given Category. You can further drill down to check existing Subtype and Variety (see below).
  • Subtype. This typically gets populated when you select a body style. For engines this will denote the manufacturer (Alco, EMD, GE, ...). For rolling stock this will be a narrower category such as the number of bays on a hopper '2-Bay', '3-Bay', etc. For Box Cars, it is typically the length '40 Foot', '50 Foot' etc. For Passenger Cars it will be the era 'Heavyweight', 'Streamlined', 'Amfleet' etc. Try to keep consistent with what is already present on the database.
  • Variety. This typically gets populated when you select a body style. This is the most specific part of the taxonomy. For Box cars, you might specify 'PS-1' or 'Double-Sheathed Wood'. For tankers and hoppers it might be the capacity. Try to keep consistent with what is already present on the database.
  • Specific Item Information. This is a free text field, where you can add any additional information on the item that you deem valuable and that does not fit any of the other fields. You can use HTML tags to format your text. Please note that Line Feed/Carriage Return (LF/CR) used when editing this field will be ignored when displaying the item. In order to instruct the program to insert a LF/CR when displaying the item, add HTML tag <br> in your text where you want a line break. Inserting a blank line between two paragraphs will require two successive <br><br> tags. Refer to our specific article related to HTML formatting for more details and options.
Last but not least, when you are finished entering data for all the required fields, select the Create button at the bottom of the page.

Viewing and Editing

How to view your item
After editing an item, you will be shown what changes have been made and you will have access to the sidebar. 'View Item' will take you to the item.

After creating an item, and clicking 'Create Item' or pressing 'Enter' on the keyboard, you will be brought to the Item Creation confirmation page. From this page you can see three links in the main section.
  • Click Here to see the newly created item: This allows you to see the new page / train entry you just created and makes it easier to spot any errors or missing data.
  • Edit the Item: this brings up the N Scale Train Item Editor page and will allow you to make any edits in case you made a mistake or left something out. Once you have made your edit(s), click 'Update.' You can then view the item by clicking on 'Item:0000.' This appears under the image of the train, below your TroveStar USER ID:JaneDoe.
  • Copy the Item: Do this when adding many of the same kind of engine / car.
If you have just created an item from scratch, both the 'Click Here to see the newly created item' link, in the main section and ‘View’ button, in the side menu, will bring you to the same page: the page for the item as it now is after creation.

However, If you have just copied an item, the 'Click Here to see the newly created item' link will bring you to the new item, whereas the 'View Item' button in the sidebar will bring you to the original item, the “parent” of your newly created copy.

To see how many items you have added to the database, visit your User Info Page.

Questions? Comments? Please feel free to contact us at We are happy to clarify anything either via e-mail or a phone call.