Sunday, December 20, 2015

Richmond Creamery - A few words (and more pics) from Wordless Wednesday #115

I received this note from a blog reader early this morning - 

"Marty,

 One or two words on the blog concerning the latest Wordless Wednesday (115?) model might be in order.  Like what is it, where is it going, etc…"

 The building in the picture in Wordless Wednesday #115 is the Richmond, Vermont creamery. 
The model was built by Rich Cobb. Rich has built several structures for me, including the White River Junction and Randolph stations.
On the layout it's going in the corner at the north end of Everett (which I might rename Richmond - especially when one considers that Rich also included a model of the Richmond depot!). I still have to weather the building and add a few additional details. In fact, I've been working on "planting" the building this weekend.  
Here are a few prototype photos of the building - the color shots on the structure in more recent times are from George Dutka - thanks for sharing these George!




Thursday, December 3, 2015

Central Vermont stenciling diagrams

An ongoing discussion on the Steam Era Freight Cars Yahoo Group started as a discussion of various railroad rolling stock lettering types/styles. This naturally morphed into a discussion of "stenciling diagrams"  - full size diagrams that shop crews would use when lettering equipment. 
Some railroads called these "heralds," many called them "emblems" - on the CN family, including the Central Vermont, the diagrams were most often referred to as "wafers." 
Here is the CV stenciling diagram for the familiar steam locomotive tender lettering (also used on one of the milk car schemes), the familiar CV "tilted wafer":
And here is the diagram for the Maple Leaf monogram applied to the ends of the diesel locomotives and sides of some passenger cars:


I also have the maple leaf used on the vans, but haven't scanned it yet. 

Wordless Wednesday #114


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wordless Wednesday #111


Progress Report - 1 November 2015

These two photos show the difference between in the overall lighting in this section of the layout with the lights off (above) and lights on (below). There's not a great deal of extra light on the layout (although it seems far more noticeable in person than in photos), but the under cabinet strips serve to reduce the extreme shadow caused by the soffit and even out the "sky." 
Stic came by early on Sunday morning and we managed to get some new, much needed lights (undercabinet lights leftover from the bottom of the old upper deck) over the former White River Junction yard area. Amazing how much better it makes that section of the layout look. We also brought the homasote and plywood sheet downstairs and got the risers leveled out so now there's a big flat section of benchwork. 
Next task is to develop a plan showing what will emerge in this location. At the same time I need to figure out the staging arrangement in the utility room. 
Sorry I didn't have a chance to take some photos - I will go back and add to this post - it's really amazing how much different (and better) the additional lighting brightens up the area!

Monday, October 26, 2015

XTRA 471

This post is something of a work in progress. This is one of the set of photos that inspired my "Williams Creek" bridge scene. It's been something of an ongoing project to identify each of the cars in this train with the idea of modeling them.
I've managed to ID most of them - but believe I may have misidentified the boxcar in the second photo partially obscured by the bush. At first look I saw the Roman style "L &" (all that's readable in the photo, though there is clearly another single letter after the "&") and figured this might be an Louisville & Nashville car, perhaps one of the L&N's rebuilt cars with "reverse" Murphy ends. This seemed entirely logical. L&N didn't have a huge boxcar fleet, but it was a fairly substantial one, and entirely likely to show up in a wayfreight in south-central New England.
But closer examination shows the car has a flat end and a pronounced seam at the top of the end creating the appearance of a triangle on the top of the end. I couldn't identify a class of L&N boxcars that looked like the rest of the car with that style end. One group of cars with this end were the 1932 ARA boxcars. But which of those would have "L &" as the reporting marks.
The true freight car experts already have the answer of course. And, after doing a little more digging this weekend I'm now of the opinion this is a much more rare (considering sheer numbers) Louisiana & Arkansas 1932 ARA boxcar. As built these cars had a block, almost Gothic style lettering with the roadname spelled out above the reporting marks.
This one doesn't have the roadname and the lettering is clearly Roman. Which means this is the second scheme these cars wore, with the "L&A" and car number to the left of the door and a Kansas City Southern herald to the right of the door. 
I know Atlas makes a 1932 ARA boxcar - and even made one in this scheme. 
Guess who can't find one of those anywhere??

Friday, October 16, 2015

Progress(?) Report

From this:





To This: 
Amazing how fast a model railroad comes apart! 
In what has become something of a Columbus Day tradition Stic came over yesterday to work on the layout. (We're both off on Columbus Day since it's a Federal holiday - our wives have to work... poor gals. But someone has to do it!)
I gave a few choices for the work session:

1. Get a start on one of the brick mills buildings for Everett
2. Finish up the background scenery in Everett just before the current north staging yard.
3. Fix the turnout that has always had issues at the north end of Waterbury.
4. And....

Well, long and short of it is we really continued the Columbus Day tradition and tore out a section of the layout. (Regular readers of this blog should not be surprised by this - it's been a long time coming!) 
By the time we were done the White River engine terminal was removed from the corner.  The WRJ station scene and south yard ladder are also down to bare plywood.
 We spent a little time "blocking" the various elements of the scene to see what goes where and what might or might not go. I've placed the station in the corner where the turntable had been and have been moving it, the coaling tower, and turntable around from time to time over the week and playing with some flextrack to see how the plan translates to reality.
Not entirely convinced at this point, but I'm coming around. - the building fits fine but the geometry of the track might be a little tricky. Perhaps I need to find a prototype scene for inspiration better suited to the space? 
Some sketches are in place for a smaller "satellite" yard based on Palmer, Mass., or even Bellows Falls or Brattleboro. Time will tell.
In the meantime this is really going to impact operating the layout since there's currently about 15 feet of plywood with no track between the south staging yard and the mainline....

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tree color mixes

From my "Modeling the October Scene" clinic that I presented at the Cocoa Beach RPM meet and again at the NMRA National in Portland, Ore.
Some of the color combinations I use to flock the fall trees. They are arranged by basic color group (green, red, etc…)
Left side shows the basic material I use. Then the color that's added as a "highlight" color. To the right you can see the result when combined. 
Note I do NOT "dunk" the tree armatures in the flocking material. I apply adhesive (usually thinned matte medium, though I've used hairspray in a pinch) and hold the tree upright and sprinkle the material from the top down. I don't try for 100% coverage - I try to let some of the fine branch tips remain bare to create the appearance of a tree that has changed color and shed some, but not all, of its leaves. 






Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 20 Progress Report

Managed to get some time on the layout this weekend. Decided to focus on getting the BEST Trains store planted in place between the track and fascia in Williams Creek. This proved a little more involved than I had originally planned since some of the layout framework got in the way. Nothing a jigsaw couldn't handle! I also found I had to cut out some of the road since it had a significant hump that I felt would interfere with blending the parking lot into the road. 
Once I had the benchwork framing out of the way, I cut a rectangular section of scenery out of the layout making sure it was large enough for the store and the landforms immediately around the structure. Then I cut a piece of Gatorboard as a sub-base for the structure, and positioned the brick foundation in position. Then I used hot glue to attach florists foam to the sub base. Once that was done, I carved the foam to shape, blended it into the surrounding area with Scultamold. 
Sifted dirt for the ground cover around the structure, and some ground up leaves for the areas behind the store that will be covered with trees was next. 
Once the glue dries I'll measure and cut the porch support posts. 
Note there's a fair amount of space between the store and the road. My plan is to include a gas pump and sign in front of the store. I remember many of these old country stores would have one (maybe two) pumps in front. 


I also continued the seemingly never-ending ballasting project. The ballast crews are just about to round the bend in Everett, so hopefully most of the mainline will be ballasted by the next open house!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Modeling Fall Forests - Coming in the November 2015 Model Railroader Magazine


Model Railroader editor Neil Besougloff asked me to put together an article on how I create the fall scenery on the layout. 
I did and sent the article to Neil a few months ago. It will be appearing in the November 2015 issue of MR - available shortly. You can see a snippet of above (screen capture from this "coming soon" preview.)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A rare treat ...

A rare event for any Central Vermont modeler is being able to get a factory-painted locomotive pre-painted for the home road. Come to think of it, other than some RS-11s I don't think anyone has done factory-painted models for the CV - at least not locomotives. 
While it means a lot of fun modeling projects, I enjoy those rare moments when I can pretend we're like UP or Santa Fe modelers and simply open a box….
This is the new Atlas HO S-2 - with factory-installed ESU Lok Sound. 


Friday, September 4, 2015

Transitions and More Countryside - 2

Couple of quick shots updating the stretch of track between Williams Creek and Everett. 
For the rock outcroppings I decided to try Cripple Bush Casting rubber rocks. These are great - no mess like you have with plaster, no need to color them (unless you want to) and the things are flexible so you can run them behind a curved cut without any issues. The only negative I can think of is the price - they're not cheap, but you can get a lot of rock outcroppings out of one large sheet. 
I start by cutting them to shape and hot gluing them in place. 
Then I blend the edges in with earth-colored Sculptamold - just enough to blend the rocks into the hillsides. 
Once the texture is added and the trees are placed the scene is starting to shape up. 


Then I carved the hillsides behind the track in Everett and painted the first layer of the background hills. 

With the trees on the hillside behind Everett. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Portlandia Report

Just got back from the NMRA national in Portland. Actually, we got back Sunday night, but have only just now started to get caught up on things like this blog.   
We had a great time - Portland is a fascinating place. I'd say it was weird. Apparently, the locals know this ...
Couple of highlights of the trip included spending the day in the car with Bernie and Dale Miller taking in the Layout Design SIG tour....I'm sure we drove Dale nuts but he was a good sport about it. (For the record, we warned him...) 
We saw some neat layouts on the tour - including a huge 40x40 foot GN layout - with this neat yard


Bernie couldn't help reminding me what I could do with White River Junction in such a space! Photos of these huge home layouts (come to think of it, ALL the layouts, with the exception of the one with the car float described below, were pretty big!) were immediately texted to our wives as part of an ongoing spousal convincing strategy…to date such efforts haven't panned out all that well - but there's always hope! 
Another highlight of the SIG tour was a double-deck layout with a car float on the lower deck connecting to a branch on the upper deck - the entire harbor section could be raised or lowered to move cars between the two sections. Quite neat, and very effective!

We also visited a neat club layout - another very large layout - but what really made it unusual was the "scratchbuilt" basement. These guys spent five years digging the basement out of the underside of a community center. We asked if this "discouraged" some members - apparently the club experienced some attrition, but those who stuck it out have a wonderful layout space. According to one member I spoke with, building the layout was almost inconsequential after hauling out thousands of buckets of dirt! 
Back at the convention hotel I did two sessions of my Modeling October Scenery clinic - the first was at 10:00 pm on Thursday - which is 1:00 am East Coast time. I'm told it went well (I managed to keep Bernie awake... which is really no big accomplishment!)
I can't say how it went since honestly, I have no memory of it! 
Second time I did the clinic I, and the audience, were a little more lively. I was happy to see Pete Magoun in the clinic - and appreciated his comments and questions. So much so that despite the fact that I know Pete, knew it WAS Pete, for some reason I kept calling him "Miles" - obviously I had Miles Hale on the brain....Sorry Pete! 
Friday was at the National Train Show - Neil at Model Railroader confirmed my article on Modeling October Scenery would be in the November issue of MR, so look for it then! 
At the National Train Show I took in all the various new products and manufacturers booths. On Saturday two friends of ours from Oregon (both non-model railroaders) wanted to see the train show. It was fascinating to see what held their interests compared to what a "hobbyist" would focus on. For example, there was a barnyard scene with moving chickens - (EDIT: Here it is in the Walther's Catalog) hold your fingers above the chickens, sprinkle on some imaginary chicken feed, and the little HO scale hens peck and turn around. Apparently it amuses an M.D. from Oregon for hours....or at least minutes!
I didn't take too many photos of the layouts in the show hall. I did think this scene on the same layout as the aforementioned chickens was worth sending to our youngest son...(I'll let you guess why!)

Two very large layouts that were extremely well done were the N and HO scale Free-Mo layouts. Here's a scene from the HO layout - one of many worthy of study. (Our friends were busy trying to find the little coyotes...easily amused I guess!) 

This On30 layout was a small stand alone layout - the modeling was excellent and the trees fantastic! I was also fascinated at his use of multi-color LEDs to create various colors and styles of lighting - I've heard people suggesting this but haven't seen it done. Two photos taken - lighting changed with a touch of a button on a handheld remote. 

I had a good time visiting with lots of old friends, and made some new ones. I finally got to met Gerry Leone in person - I've been admiring his layout and modeling for years and it was great to have a chance to chat with him face to face. 
Met a number of people whom I've only known through various podcasts over the years - and had dinner with a bunch of them on Saturday night. 
All in all a great time. Christine had a wonderful time in Portland also. We'd be happy to go back.