Sunday, March 29, 2015

John Paganoni's P-1-a #507

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending our annual Mini-Con here in the Potomac Division of the NMRA. I was one of the judges in the contest room, so I didn't get to see any of the clinics. What I did get was a very close-up look at some excellent models, including this one by my good friend John Paganoni. 
Officially, this is a "kit bashed" model - since the drive train and side rods are from a Life-Like-Proto-2000 USRA 0-8-0. I think a small section in the center of the boiler is also original to the Life-Like model. John also used some of the etched parts John Williams sold a few years ago for the tender shell and cab. 
Everything - I mean everything - else on this model was extensively redetailed/reworked, and altered to match a Central Vermont P-1-a class 0-8-0 - specifically #507 as she looked in East New London, Conn., in 1951. 
In the NMRA contest scoring matrix a "perfect" score is 125 points - this particular model ended up with 112 points. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Progress Report

They say there's nothing like an open house or a visit from some fellow modelers to really kick things into gear. I hadn't really been all that motivated to do a lot of modeling in January and February. I'd say it was more "puttering" than progress. But when I learned that two of my good friends and great New England modelers were going to venture forth from their winter hideaways to visit several layouts in the DC area, including mine, I figured it was time to get my you-know-what in gear again!
The blog has also suffered from a lack of progress posts except for a couple of "wordless Wednesdays." What do you want from me - to make progress and then have time to actually blog about it????

So what has been going on:
1. These visitor preps always seem to start with cleaning up - the layout had gotten littered with "stuff" again. Actually just getting the surface of the railroad cleared off can be a huge motivator. 
2. I engaged the services of Rich Cobb to build a couple more White River Junction structures to go along with the station he completed for me a couple of years ago. This meant getting Rich photos, footprints and other bits and pieces. 
3. Bernie came out here and we "swung for the fence" with an attempt to fix the issues with the "black hole of White River. You can see what our plan was here. The result, still very much under construction, can be seen below:

Rich came through in record time with the White River Junction ball signal (Rich delivered the models painted but unweathered - the final finishing is on me):

Yes, I consider myself blessed to have great friends and talented modelers who are willing to help me out with this project, but ultimately it's my railroad … which means I should probably do something….
I did get the WRJ station platforms completed - by far the largest paved area I've ever in one sitting. I think I'll save the specifics on that for it's own blog post, but you can see the platforms behind the E7 in the photo above. 
There was the unfinished river scene north of White River Junction that needed a little something. Last weekend was spent patching the sub terrain, adding the "dirt" texture layer and painting the backdrop. I'm still getting my sea legs under me with the painting, but I do enjoy it!  A couple of evenings to prep a couple of boxes of Super trees, and another evening spent flocking and "planting" them.  A quick coat of fresh black paint will double as the water surface for the time being. Yes, the bank still needs vegetation, and track needs some ballasting. Overall, I think this will be a nice photo spot on the railroad - I know I'd certainly wait for a train here, and would be sure to frame the picture with that "electric maple" on the right:

A few weeks ago I did a post about the Derby & Ball building in Waterbury. Just to show I actually do things other than redo track and make trees, here's the progress shot of the Derby & Ball building (obviously still under construction!) I couldn't determine how the prototype was painted in my era, but I kind of liked the colors it's painted now, so I went with those. Very New England color palette. 

One last thing - just tonight (so Jim and Randy just missed it) I got the Twin State Fruit Company building for WRJ from Rich. So out with this stylish mockup - 
And the "official" structure awaits signage, weathering, and details: 

Sorry for such a long post - I'll try to keep future posts shorter and more frequent!
But there's been a lot going on (some things I'm keeping close to the vest for the time being!) and wanted to catch you up!

Monday, March 16, 2015


Here's a picture of my most recent contribution to our family room decor - the schooner Bluenose. This was a pre-finished "ready to assemble" model that took a fair portion of a rainy Sunday to convert from a box full of parts (sorry, no "before" photos) to a finished display piece. At least I didn't have to paint it!
The plan is for the ship to sit on a display shelf centered on this wall - the "driftwood" self-adhesive sheets will be used to cover the shelf. Unfortunately Ikea was out of stock….

Update: Dave Emery sent me this link to a Stan Rogers song about the schooner Bluenose.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Prototype Modeling and the blogosphere(??)

I end my clinics with a slide showing the header and URL of my blog with the invitation "For more details see … " Like most clinicians I follow this up with a Q&A session. I've noticed the last few presentations I've gotten questions not about the layout, or the clinic, but about blogging in general. 
My original blog header
This seems like a good subject to cover in my Getting Real column for Model Railroad Hobbyist since blogging has become a small,  but important part of my hobby.  
To add some additional viewpoints to the column besides my own I'm reaching out to some other model railroad bloggers to ask them the following questions (these are some of the questions I've received from attendees at clinics or readers of my blog):

1. What type of blog engine do you use (bloodspot, Wordpress, etc…) and what are any advantages/disadvantages that you've identified? 
2. Why did you start your blog? 
3. How did you choose a theme for your blog? Have you stuck with that theme or has it evolved? 
4. How much time per week (on average) do you spend blogging? 
5. How important are comments/feedback? How do you handle comments? Also, have you ever received negative feedback or had any issues with resulting from the blog? 
7. What's one piece of advice you would give a modeler thinking about starting a blog? 

I'd like your feedback as well, even if you're not a blogger or planning to start a blog. So, for blog readers, I'll add the following questions: 

8. How many model railroad blogs do you follow or read regularly? 
9. Any particular reason you've chosen those? 
10. Do you leave feedback or comments? If so, what was that experience like? 
11. Do you read only the newest post or do you use the blog Search function as a research tool?
12. Do you prefer posts dealing with Prototype information, opinion pieces on the hobby, or modeling how-to? Any I've missed? 

I look forward to hearing from you. 


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

S-2 Cab Heralds

S-2 7919 (above) and 7918 (below) at White River Jct. Note the pinstripe wrapping around the hood - the "as-delivered" scheme.

Central Vermont received its first two diesels – a pair of Alco S-2s numbered 7918 and 7919 in December, 1941.  They were delivered in a basic black paint scheme with large numbers centered on the long hood and a small pinstripe running the length of the hood from the front edge of the cab and wrapping around the nose.  A square CV wafer, titled at a 7.5-degree angle, was centered below the cab windows.  The engines wore this paint scheme, or a minor variation (early, or first repaintings saw the elimination of the pinstripe) until the mid-1950s when a large oval name board replacing the road number on the sides of the hood.  A few years later the square herald gave way to a round CV maple leaf roundel, likely in conjunction with the introduction of the round maple leaf herald on CN family equipment coinciding with the introduction of the black/green “Super Continental” passenger equipment.
The background color square wafer on the side of the cabs of the S-2s has been the source of some discussion.  Here’s what we know:
- The background of the herald on CV’s steam locomotives was green until 1943 when it was changed to the now familiar red.
- The S-2s were delivered in 1941, about 18 months before background color changed.
- There’s no doubt that by the late 1940s, when we have color photos of the S-2s with that the background of the wafer was red.
Now the supposition starts.
It’s evident that the wafers were not painted on the cabs, but were actually metal plates applied to the side of the units - I'm not sure they were delivered from Alco with the wafers or if these were added by the railroad. The latter seems most likely. 
The late Dr. Alan Irwin theorized that it would have been entirely likely that the S-2s were delivered with green heralds on the cab sides, and that these would have been changed to red after they were repainted at some point after 1943.  Of course, Alan was never able to prove this since no color photos of the engines in their first years of service have been uncovered.  On my layout, the switchers painted in this scheme will have red wafers (or the maple leaf ones) but it would be neat to locate a color image confirming if Alan’s suspicions were correct. (For the record, I think they were).

CV 7919 without the pinstripe.

This shot confirms that as of 1951 the cab wafers were red. But were they originally green?