Monday, December 23, 2013
There's lots of Christmas trees in the Washington DC area this time of year - they make walking around town fun. This one is a gift from the people of Norway, and it stands just outside the main entry doors to Union Station, so there's a railroad connection there. Besides, occasionally, a pack of roaming Vikings have appeared in my layout room!
The tree is beautiful. Can't say the same for the "Vikings," but our train friends from Norway are welcome back anytime!
Monday, December 16, 2013
Thanks to all for following along. I have a feeling this next year is when much of the layout will begin to finally look finished, so here's to a great 2014 of model railroading on the Green Mountain Route.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
|The grade crossing on Park Row in Waterbury. Still needs|
a final sanding and the track needs final ballasting.
I cut these "planks" from a GLC Laser laser-cut grade crossing. After securing the wood to the ties with CA, I stained them with Hunterline "Dark Brown" stain. I was careful to leave enough clearance between each rail and the wood for cars and locomotives to run through without the grade crossing lifting the wheels. Once I confirmed everything was working I added narrow strips of painter's blue tape (cut the width of the wood planks) to prevent filling the gaps between the rails and the wood.
Park Row after the initial coat of lightweight
joint compound. Although this looks like
a rough road, the prototype was never a
very smooth ride!
Park Row is now ready for traffic.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Thanks for the work on the sign Bill!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
At this point it looks more like a destroyer than a building - at least the Haze Gray offers a relatively even coat for the finish paint.
I still need to decide what color to paint the roof. It likely should be very weathered galvenized panels, but I can't find a picture that confirms the color of the roof in 1954. I'm leaning toward very weathered red just to give some pop to the scene.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
It's a friendly place to hang your hat.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
My search for "Gold Medal Flour vintage ads" turned up a lot of very vertical (tall and skinny) versions of the logo, but nothing as rectangular as the one in the picture above.
If anyone has a rectangular sign in a format I can use on a model I'd appreciate it - otherwise I'll have to dust off my Photoshop skills.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
This is the second Expo I've attended and while it was fun my impression was there wasn't the same frantic level of buying and selling going on in the dealer room. The clinics, while interesting and excellent seemed to be a lot of repeats from last year - some variety would have been nice.
Was the show worth it? I think so. The main reason we went was to see some friends. We had a nice visit with Don Janes and George Dutka....Don being more interested in Stic's hockey career than his model railroading.....and we both dropped a few sheckles in the dealer room. I did hold true to my mantra to only buy things I know will fit on the railroad - and my big purchases were a new country store from BEST Trains and a Winchendon Machine Co. kit from Laser Modeling 3. I already have spots picked out on the railroad for both of these buildings.
I rounded out my purchasing with some odds and ends - Northeastern has a new line of doors and window castings that are smaller windows more typical of New England buildings, so I ended up with a variety of those parts, and I also bought some metal details from BEST Trains.
Our main reason for going was to visit Dick Elwell's spectacular Hoosac Valley - one of my favorite layouts of all time. I've seen Dick at a few shows over the last few years, but hadn't been able to get to see the railroad since shortly after he'd moved a then finished railroad into a new house about 12 years ago.
We left the hotel early enough to be there when Dick opened the doors at 10:00. Actually, we got to Adams early enough that we had time to photograph a couple of the wonderful old mill buildings that are all over the place in that part of New England.
Although the railroad is basically finished, Dick is all excited about his latest project - a new paper mill complex that is in the early construction stages. I was flabbergasted, and more than a little humbled, that when I walked into the basement the first thing Dick did was reach onto his side table and produce my paper mill articles from MR .... and he proceeded to ask me a bunch of questions about the article!
We also visited Bob Van Gelder's South River & Millville (left), and Bill Duffe's Boston & Maine (below) before hitting the road for a long, dark, but otherwise uneventful drive home.
Here's a photo from each of those layouts - more to follow in future posts I'm sure.
All in all a great weekend with good friends.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The following is a little unusual for this blog, since I tend not to engage in "opinion" pieces. It's also fairly long for a blog post, but I thought with the colder months arriving all too soon (for some of you they're already here!) and the associated "Train Show" season this might be a good topic for this time of year. I promise, I'll be back with a layout/modeling update shortly!
4. Model trains are (mostly) plastic and/or metal – and they have an almost infinite shelf life, meaning they don’t go bad. They just sit there.
5. For the decade or so I worked in the model train industry a trip to shows or visits to manufacturers would produce all kinds of “samples” – and like a kid in a candy store I found it hard to say “no.” So, I ended up with lots of stuff, most of which I’ve never opened.
You'd think modeling a somewhat obscure prototype like the Central Vermont would make finding something to buy almost impossible. You'd be wrong. Most model railroaders I know, myself included, have enough items stashed aside under the layout and in closets that we rival a well-stocked hobby shop. Is this hoarding? Or is it simply being a knowledgeable collector who knows what he/she needs for the layout, and is buying it now for future use?
What brought this to mind was an ongoing discussion on the Model Rail Radio podcast, hosted by Tom Barbalet. As an aside, if you’ve never listened to the show I encourage you to give it a try.
The question of what to do with no longer wanted/needed model railroad “stuff” comes up from time to time on the show.
Hoarding has been publicized in recent times thanks to reality television programs featured on A&E, TLC and Animal Planet. Perhaps more in common with model railroading is a show on SyFy called “Collection Intervention” (http://www.syfy.com/collectionintervention/about) that features collectors (usually comic book or toy collectors) whose collections have come to completely dominate their homes and their lives.
Without sounding like Dr. Phil I will offer the following. From everything I’ve read Hoarding and Collecting are two different things. Hoarding IS A DISEASE, and not a very fun one at that. It is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder where the person assigns a value to everything that passes through their hands. There are very excessive forms of hoarding – where everything, including what any sane person would consider refuse – is saved.
To me, a hoarder is someone who doesn't know what they have, never intends on selling anything, and is actually damaging what they do have with neglect, improper storage, etc.
So I would say no, model railroaders are not “Hoarders,” at least not in the clinical sense.
True collectors tend to buy and sell things to get to their definition of the best collection of their chosen field. They tend to be focused The buying and selling keeps things moving around, and they eventually end up in the 'right ' hands.
But wait – while there is certainly a valid part of the model railroading hobby that is “Collecting” – be it Hornby, LGB, Lionel, or even vintage HO rolling stock - that’s not what most scale model railroaders envision themselves doing. We’re not trying to build a “collection,” we’re trying to recreate a vision of the world. Which means we’re all about using the stuff we acquire – albeit at some point in the future! And while using it does provide us with enjoyment and satisfaction it also, by definition, “ruins” the collector’s value.
Second, I ditched the paper – almost completely. I did keep most of the books - for now. As far as the magazines go, Prototype Modeler, Model Railroading, and Rail Model Journal are all available for free on line. So they were the first to go. Kalmbach released a complete set of Model Railroader on DVD – so all the MRs went to the recycling center next (I kept the bound volumes for the years I was on the staff). The Narrow Gauge Gazette is a wonderful magazine with inspirational photography – but I’m not a narrow gauger, and frankly while the pictures are inspiring I can’t recall the last time I used a modeling tip or technique from the Gazette that required me to save boxes of these things. So, off they went. N Scale Railroading and N Scale are very nice magazines, that aren’t applicable to my current modeling. They went to a friend who is into N scale – along with a couple of large boxes of N scale stuff. I also reduced the number of Mainline Modeler magazines from virtually all of them to a small selection of issues that had drawings of structures, cars, and locomotives I might want to build someday.
Third – a real commitment to focus on one scale and gauge meant that all the extraneous stuff – including HO stuff for other eras and prototypes, and all that oddball stuff of different scales and gauges – went up for sale. The $ generated from the sales actually financed the purchase of a few specific CV pieces. eBay, several model train “Yard Sale” Yahoo Groups, and the like became the best ways to move the items. I found the key is to realize that the vast majority of this stuff doesn’t “hold its value” – and you better be prepared to take pennies on the dollars in most cases. The goal is to get the layout room cleared out, not beat the S&P Index…..but take solace in the fact that it will be out from under foot.
At train meets when I was selling this stuff if a young person seemed interested in a particular item I “significantly” discounted it. You might think this was “cutting into my profits.” There are no profits, remember?
And finally, what of all that stuff that I had been given over the years? Most of it has found its way to new homes – I try to give it to friends based on their specific interest. When my friends got tired of seeing me coming with more stuff (remember, most of them had their own boxes of stuff!) I’ve been known to give it away at swap meets. My goal with going to a swap meet is not to bring anything home.
I’m finally at the point where I have so little “extra” left that I don’t need to go sell at swap meets anymore. I still have plenty of stuff left – more than enough for a few modeling lifetimes, but my checkbook modeling days are at an end.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
This view shows the street side wall of the building and the addition that was on the rear of the structure.
Since this building was started well before I began this blog, I don't have photos of the earliest stages of construction. Basically, I built an inner shell of plain styrene (usually .030" or .040"). After locating the window and door openings, I used the well known scribe and snap method to create the window and door openings. After the sub walls were reassembled, I applied the outer layer of Evergreen .040" scribed clapboard siding. Once that's dried, I cut the window and door openings in the clapboard from the back (using the openings in the subwall as a guide).
Next steps on this building....foundation and roofs.....
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
What’s the best part of a large layout? The variety – you can work on anything from benchwork to scenery to wiring as interest dictates. What’s the worst part of a large layout? The variety – you can work on anything from benchwork to scenery to wiring as interest dictates.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Here's the WRJ Assistant YM, Joe Calderone during a break in the action at White River Junction. That yard is entirely too empty and he looks far too relaxed and smiling ..... we'll have to do something about that next time he visits.
A northbound extra through freight (behind a CN F7) runs through a crowded Everett as the Mill Turn works the town.
Monday, October 14, 2013
|Running at track speed north of Williams Creek.|
|Everett in all of its mocked-up glory....|
|Current state of the "front door." It's getting there - many structures to scratchbuild.|
Completing this scene is very high on the agenda for the winter!
|The "back aisle" had been raw plaster, plywood, and pink foam the week before the open house. Some paint, ground foam, and some extra trees made it look presentable if not "Finished."|
|"Yes, I know the station hangs over the edge of the benchwork!" Don't know how many times I had to say that! One thing we didn't get done was the alterations to the benchwork at Essex Junction that will accommodate the station.|
Friday, October 11, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
- I need to get some specifics into the "intro brief" - keep it short and to the point but there still needs to be some very basic information covered. Next time I'll try making myself some notes.....
- Need better explanations of things like the waybill routings, the train descriptions, etc... so the YM has some idea what cars go in what trains, etc... oh, and a line up of trains and what engines go on which trains might help the YM as well.
- There are a few trackwork/wiring issues to be addressed before the next session. Each session seems to turn up a few of these. Thankfully, the vast majority are straightforward and easily fixed.
- I was truly puzzled by the radio throttle issues we started having about halfway through the session, especially since the last session had absolutely zero issues with the throttles. When thinking through what was different from previous sessions to this one, the only thing I could come up with was three engines with QSI sound systems were on the layout. These all ran fine prior to the session, but I never ran them all at the same time. Removing them from the layout and resetting the DCC system immediately cleared up most of the issues. The "why" remains to be determined....
- I suspect one or more throttles have mis-set frequency numbers. I need to check ALL the throttles and make sure they're assigned to the right channel.
- The Passenger operator position has the potential to be an interesting job and is worth pursuing but we need to figure out the best way to integrate that job into the op scheme. I suspect one issue is I designed the trackwork one way, and it was being operated another. Better job description paperwork would certainly help.
- Some of the passenger cars were jumping the rails a lot more than I want to see. Need to isolate the problem - is it a certain car, types of cars, or specific brands. Some of the Rapido cars were fine, others were extremely troublesome for instance. Need to extensively check the passenger cars and see what the issues are. Offending cars will remain off the layout until they can prove themselves in test running. Update – Checking the wheelset gauge on some of the passenger cars shows several have out of gauge wheelsets.
- One of the locomotives was displaying some bizarre behavior - the lead set of drivers kept "creeping" up over the rails, even on tangent track. This needs some study as well.
- I think the timetable is stabilized enough that we can use it for the next few sessions. Perhaps we flew a little too close to the sun by trying to run a number of extras but I wanted to stress the layout. We succeeded in doing just that.
I still need more cars on the railroad - Ben brought by some cars (15 or so) which really helped fill a few trains out. But we still need more, so I need to get building!
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
But, considering this is how the White River Junction scene currently looks, and I have an op session on Sunday, I guess it's time to start cleaning up!
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Rather than getting overly upset about it, I opted to look for an alternative. One of them landed, quite literally, in my lap as I was flipping through latest Micro-Mark catalog.
In that catalog I noticed MicroMark was coming out with a new line of hobby acrylic paints called "MicroLux."
The are prethinned for airbrushing just like regular artists acrylic airbrush paints (from manufacturer's like Golden).
I also noticed Micro-Mark was offering Vallejo "Model Air" airbrush paints in "railroad colors" matched to the now defunct PollyScale and Floquil lines. Vallejo is well known to military and figure modelers as one of the best acrylic paints for model building available anywhere. In the list of the Vallejo and MicroLux colors you'll find many of the old names like "Tarnished Black," "Boxcar Red," etc....
So I went ahead and ordered a few colors of both the Vallejo railroad colors and the MicroLux paints.
I just got them, so I haven't used them yet. The Vallejo paints are actually Vallejo's line of military colors - and come in the familiar 17 mil "eye drop" bottles. Micro-Mark has determined that Vallejo "Rust" is a color match for Polly Scale "Boxcar Red" and labeled it as such.
The line of MicroLux paints come in larger bottles - 2 oz of paint in each and are specifically matched colors. I was thrilled to read the "Made by Vallejo" labeling on the Micro-Mark bottles.
I haven't tried airbrushing with these paints - yet - I will report back with the results, but if these spray half as well as "regular" Vallejo paints but we may have a winner.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
|Test fitting some Crepe Myrtle tree armatures. Still could use some more foreground trees!|
I think two large trees work well in the positions shown. I do want to add a couple more "medium" trees.
These trees will be painted and flocked once I'm satisfied with how they look and their placement in the scene.