Monday, November 5, 2018

Finescale Expo 2018 Trip Report

Our "dinner club" at the FineScale Expo. 
Rolled back into town late last night (but still in time to see the second half of the Pats vs. Packers) after spending an enjoyable weekend in Albany NY and environs attending the Fine Scale Expo. 
Stic Harris and I have attended several of these. We departed early - very early - Friday morning and as has become a tradition the weather for the drive to the Expo was miserable. Stic wasn't familiar with model railroad podcasts so we listened to a couple of episodes of Todd and Brett Wiley's "Benchtime" podcast on the way up to Albany. 
The weekend was fairly low key, with an agenda familiar to anyone who's ever attended any model railroad related event. This event is always a little different since the emphasis is most assuredly NOT on "trains" - but instead on structures, scenery, and details. There's a vendor room, clinics (both hands-on extra fare clinics, and "standard" clinics). Those run Thursday through Saturday. Sunday is devoted to self-drive layout tours. 
We didn't attend the hands on clinics, but did attend several regular clinics - including  one on LED lighting and another where we learned it was important to think like a tree when planning a scene. 
A quick side trip to Lake George prior
to visiting Kip Grant. 
I managed to spend some money in the vendor room - including getting some interesting AK Interactive finishing products for making asphalt and concrete that I want to try since the results on the sample dioramas looked pretty impressive. 
Saturday afternoon was bright and sunny so after getting a recommendation from Kip Grant (the closest thing we had to a "local") on the best hobby shops in the area we hit two of them Saturday afternoon. Both were well stocked, but one of them was like a trip to hobby shops of the past, with the shelves stacked high with a variety of new, old, and somewhat shelf worn merchandise and the owners and the local gang solving all the world's problems (model railroad-related and otherwise!) behind the counter. 
My plan had been to take pictures of the fall foliage on this trip. The foliage looked great through the rain on Friday. Saturday it also looked great - but most of it was on the ground or swirling around in 40-50 mph wind gusts. Better luck next year. 
Sunday morning we left the hotel bright and early and headed north to visit Kip Grant's D&H railroad - which has long been one of my favorites. 

Kip (foreground) shows Stic his recessed turnout toggles. This view shows perhaps 2/3rds of Kip's wonderful D&H 
branch. Goes to show you 
don't need a massive railroad to end up with a great model railroad!

Check out the windows in the elementary school! 





 On the way south we stopped in and visited the NEB&W in Troy - and then started back towards Virginia. Although the sheer size and scope of this railroad is impressive, frankly it's looking tired and ragged in sections and in need of a good cleaning. But we still enjoyed our visit there. 

All in all, a great weekend with good friends. 








Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Stubby Peninsula

A quick update on progress down in the basement. 

Most of the subroadbed in the "yard" and "town" areas - those sections where the terrain will be basically flat - has been installed. I temporarily propped up plywood in all the areas where the subroadbed will be cut to fit the track and taped large strips of paper to the plywood. I'll arrange flextrack on the paper, trace around it, cut it out and use the result as templates for cutting the plywood to shape.  
As I was positioning the track I realized it might help to have at least the first section of the peninsula in place to ensure the track curving onto the peninsula landed on benchwork and not on the floor. Luckily I'd pre-painted the components for the peninsula so when Stic stopped by the weekend before last we got the first 8 feet or so of the longer peninsula attached. In order to give some additional stability to the peninsula I used an IKEA Ivar cabinet. This will be useful for storing layout construction and scenery supplies - although the bottom shelf of the cabinet will house a couple of (heavy) boxes of magazines. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Video Layout Update #2

For those of you interested, I just posted a short (about 7 minute) video update. 
This features a quick pan of the layout area, showing the benchwork in its current state and then does some minimum radius testing on both a CV 2-8-0 and, just for fun, a 2-10-4. You can find it at the link here, or by clicking on the photo below. 
And if you like the video channel please consider subscribing and leaving a comment!

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