Sunday, September 25, 2016

SNE Wiggle Worm

Over the years I've had folks who model a later era that I've ever really modeled ask what the lettering for my Southern New England would have looked like post-1961. 

A few months back, Bernie Kempinski and Otto Vondrak worked with me to develop the initial concepts for a “new image” SNE “wiggly worm” logo. The graphic challenge was how does one “link” the letters “S,” “N”, and “E” - try it - it’s not as easy as linking two letters like “CN” or even “CV.”
The answer lay in the approach the DWP took - the graphic designers for CN way back in 1961 obviously had the same issue linking the letters together. The solution was to not even bother trying!
I have to give Mike C credit for suggesting the DWP possibility - and all the credit (or blame if you don’t like it) for the logo goes to Otto. 
Thanks to all, here, for the first time, is a poor color rendering of what this scheme might look like on one of the SNE’s GP9s after repainting in the North Providence shops in 1965….


Appreciate any and all thoughts - 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What If?

With all the neat new stuff coming out in what one friend of mine described once as "designer plastic" - especially in HO scale - it's easy to feel like a kid in a candy store.

Impulse buying is not necessarily a bad thing - after all this is a hobby and as long as you're not taking food away from the table for indulges like model railroading no harm no foul.

One of my favorite prototype locomotives because they're just cool is the Union Pacific's turbines. Besides, what railroad other than the UP could get away with calling a locomotive the "Big Blow." (I actually prefer the N&W's "Jawn Henry" - but come on, no one will EVER make that in plastic, will they???).

Enter the Scale Trains Union Pacific Turbine. I saw these announced a few months ago and immediately passed since well, you know they aren't really a "fit" for the Central Vermont.  

What if, just maybe, my prototype freelanced subsidiary of the CV, the Southern New England, acquired a few turbine sets???? I mean, someone made GG-1's painted for the SP Daylight and I've even seen an RGS Galloping Goose painted in a Santa Fe Warbonnet!
Imagine if you will a set of Big Blows painted green and yellow ... what a wonderful sight they would make winding (and screaming!) their way through my depiction of the tranquil New England countryside.

There might be some, uh, "operational challenges" to overcome. Consider the wood overpasses and covered bridge over the tracks just south of Everett....the equivalent of jet exhaust might take it's toll on the century+ old wood?  

On second thought, maybe not. Perhaps Bernie should get a set to switch the LAPT?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Railroad Prototype Modelers (MARPM) Meet - Fredericksburg, Va. 30 Sept-1 Oct 2016

The Mid-Atlantic Railroad Prototype Modelers (a.k.a. "MARPM") will be held Friday Sep 30, and Sunday Oct 1, at the Windgate by Wyndham Inn in Fredericksburg, Va., just off I-95.
There will be usual model display room, chances to visit and kitbitz with other models, and to see some truly stunning models.
I will be presenting my "Modeling the October Scene - Achieving believable fall colors."
But there's a full slate of clinics that rivals that at many national events.
Some of the clinics –
- Andrew Dodge "Creating a Steam Locomotive Roster" based on the roster of steam locomotives he scratch built for his new Proto:48 Colorado Midland – truly museum quality examples of the modeler’s art.
- Paul Dolkos “Tracks in the street: challenges of modeling the urban jungle” – it’s Paul explaining his modeling illustrated with his photography - why say more?
- Bernie Kempinski “Down to the Sea in Trains” – an introduction to his new, modern era Port of Los Angles layout, the star of his soon to be published new book Model Railroaders Guide to Marine Terminals and Wharfs.
- Lance Mindheim “Tips for Better Structures” – Lance combines details and photos to convince us we are seeing more than is modeled.
- Ben Hom “New York Central System Open Hoppers 1919-1967" – a national expert on freight cars, Ben’s eye for detail and methods to improve prototype accuracy apply regardless of the cars you are modeling.
- Ramon Rhodes "A RAILROAD ODYSSEY: A Half Century Love Affair with Trains" – this man can tell a story - sit back, learn a bit and enjoy a lot.

There is more. Take a look at the website marpm.org and sign up.
By the way, there is no organization that puts on or fronts the money for an RPM event. Norm Wolf, Bob Sprague, Shannon Crabtree and others I don’t know have taken the initiative and done the work to make the MARPM happen.



Sunday, August 7, 2016

Plan 9 From Outer Space…

"This isn't Plans 1 through 8 from outer space. This is Plan 9! This is the one that actually worked!" - Jerry Seinfeld

I alluded to a “major project” on the other end of the basement in a post last week. I suppose it’s time to fess up and show just how “major” this project is and the current state of that end of the railroad.
It started with the removal of the White River Junction scene from the layout early last fall. My plan at the time was to install Bethel in its place.
While that was going on I was trying to locate things like structures and streets in Richmond and Randolph. As you can see on the track plan the way the mainline curved 90-degrees and then 180-degrees in Randolph, and the 180 degree curve in Richmond, was playing havoc with creating a realistic arrangement of the structures in both locations. See the benchwork plan below for the "before" benchwork arrangement:

The reason for this form factor was an attempt to hide the support column in the basement from view. But it was becoming clearly evident what I needed was a longer stretch of tangent track, especially to depict Randolph.  If I attached the neck of the peninsula to the narrow wall of basement (at the top of the plan) I would create a long stretch of tangent track on both sides of the backdrop. See below:
Key to all this was learning to simply accept the support column (not much of a choice since it holds up the house...) and live with it. 
So I decided to make a change to the benchwork footprint. This photo, taken before the track laying was finished in this area, shows the previous view from the spot: 

We removed the old benchwork and reattached the peninsula to the far wall.  Then we unscrewed the backdrop and ran it straight (surprisingly, the thing didn’t crack or break). Then I spliced some new pieces to the backdrop and connected it to the end wall. Next step will be repainting the backdrop sky blue. 
Sharp-eyed readers will also note that White River Junction is being replaced by Essex Junction. Long time blog readers will recall that was the plan for the layout several years ago. Guess I should have stuck with my original plan!
This view shows how much tangent track I have for the new version of Randolph. It also shows the tremendous mess all this work and rework creates: