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!


  1. White River Jct. looks really good Marty...I am interested in seeing how the other side of Twin State Fruits looks...did you have it built full scale...your layout is really coming along well...George Dutka

    1. Thanks George. Twin State is slightly reduced from the prototype width (not by much) and quite a bit shortened from the prototype depth. I wanted to have some breathing room between the rear of the building and the edge of the layout to dress up the loading dock area with some details, pallets, old crates, vehicles and the like. You and Don have to take a road trip down here at some point and take the "DC Tour" like Jim and Randy just did.

  2. Your layout is one of my favorites! I don't think anyone has ever represented the fall season as nicely as what you have!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mark. Glad you're enjoying the layout.

  3. I think that WRJ scene is going to work out!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Yeah, I feel a lot better about it than I did a few weeks ago. Thanks for the help!
      Feedback from Jim and Randy was quite positive - they both reported having trouble telling where the juncture between staging and visible layout was until they really looked for it. The narrow platform (the one to the right as you look at the scene) extends about 6 or 8 inches into the staging room - meaning it's hard to tell where the plane of the wall is. Adding the scenery and ballasted tracks in the staging yard will only help the effect.
      I'm still a little concerned the trees behind the station may be a bit too dark...perhaps adding scenery in the back room, and some modeled trees in front of the backdrop will mitigate that effect?

  4. Hello I came across a slide of my fathers that shows the Twin State Fruit Co from June of 1978 if you are interested