Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We actually had our "official" Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday night - which means today was a quiet day at home - so Christine prepared a small (but very delicious) meal (well, I made the mashed potatoes … apparently that's the one thing an Irishman CAN do right in the kitchen!!)

I spent a pleasant couple of hours sorting through and cleaning up the resin parts needed for my RCW AC&F Type 27 chemical tank car. Here's a closeup of the sheet of resin bits and pieces - 
And to all the readers of this blog, our best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shepley Coal Company Sheds

These two sheds make up most of the Shepley Coal complex at Waterbury. 
View from the opposite end. Still need to stain the end wall!
You can see the two coal sheds to the right (in front of 2-8-0 452) in this George Corey picture of Waterbury. The next industry I plan to work on in Waterbury is the Cooley-Wright foundry, visible in the distance to the left. 
 We have family visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday week, so I simply can't spend a great deal of time in the basement. Since I tend to wake up early (thanks to two dogs who don't seem to get the concept of "sleeping in on the weekend") I have some time in the morning to get a little modeling done before the rest of the family rolls out of bed. 
Since I need to be quiet for these morning work sessions I've chosen to finish up the coal dealer and freight house in Waterbury. 
Photos show the current state of the Shepley Coal Company sheds. Though not as interesting as silo or elevated ramp style sheds, these lean-to sheds were perhaps the most common in New England in the 1940s and 50s. 
Mine is made from Scribed basswood sheets with 6 x 6 posts glued along the side. The bracing crossmembers are 2 x 8s. Everything is stained with a combination of Hunterline Blue Gray, Creosote, and Light Brown stains. The roof is black .040" styrene - I'll add tissue to the roof to represent tarpaper. 
Also, the rear walls of the two sheds face the backdrop, so these are also plain styrene. No reason to expend effort on something no one will ever be able to see. 
You'll notice there is some pink foam crumbs visible where I carved away some scenery to make room for the sheds. I didn't vacuum it up before taking the pictures - need to be quiet, remember?
Finally - about the name - Shepley was the name of the company as seen on prototype Sanborn Maps. I didn't have room to model the sheds full size - but my sheds are plenty long. I have a small shack that will serve as a scale house that will be installed when I add the scenery texture to this scene. I'm not sure I'm going to call the industry Shepley. I might name it after a friend. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Would the real CN Red #11 Please Stand Up?

All five of the Canadian National boxcars visible in this photo are the same color - CN Red #11 - aren't they? 
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the percentages by road name of the boxcars running through White River Junction in 1954. (You can find that post here). 
The one thing that survey revealed was the overwhelming majority of boxcars running through town, and therefore along the line I'm modeling, were Canadian National. I do have a fair number of CN boxcars, but figured I could always add more to the mix. I'll do a separate post at some point on the specific makeup of my CN boxcar fleet, but that's not the point of this post. 
A number of years ago some knowledgeable CN experts, notably Stafford Swain, researched the colors of paint used as "standards" on the CN system. The result of this study indicated "CN Red #11" is the "standard color." You can get it from several model paint manufacturers (for the record, my preferred brand for this color is Scalecoat, but TruColor and Badger both market "CN Freight Car Red" paints.)
But having the "standard" color is nothing but a starting point - a benchmark. 
Note the photo above - all of these boxcars (every one of them) was painted at some point a variation of "CN Red #11."
See how they all look alike?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Work Session Report - November 11, 2014

First of all, to all my fellow veterans and to those who are still on active duty in the Armed Forces, thank you for you services and sacrifices. You're the reason we get to enjoy hobbies like model railroading. 

An overall view of the Richmond area as it looked after today's work session.
Progress on the layout had kind of sputtered out a little - I was finding it hard to get motivated to put the mainline back together and finish the track in the Richmond area. 
Stic and I had arranged a work session for today a couple of weeks ago - and knowing Stic was coming over shamed me into finishing up the track. I managed to finish all the track on Sunday. 
Since I was still left with a bunch of pink styrofoam pieces in the workshop it seemed to make the most sense to spend today's work session cutting the gluing the styrofoam landforms in place. 
We made pretty good progress - next step is to carve the foam to shape - which will be as task I'll tackle in short sessions after work in the evenings. 
Appreciate Stic spending his day off over here helping with the layout.
Beauregard and Molly are in charge of keeping up morale…. and wrestling!
You can't use an electronic magazine for this! Bound volumes and magazine holders filled with MRs, RMCs, and the like make perfect weights to hold the foam in place as the glue dries! The mockup is a rough approximation of the Richmond creamery. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Putting trolls in their place

Several times I've started typing, deleted, and re-started a post expressing my reaction to an email I received via the Model Rail Radio mailing list from Jim Gore earlier this week.
I can't begin to describe how angry this email made me - (posted as I received it):

Dear All,
First, I want to thank so many of you who have said nice things about my layout feature in Model Railroader. Never intended that to be one of my goals in model railroading – it just happened because a friend of a friend talked with Lou Sassi who needed some place to visit in Florida during the winter.
I have always believed that this hobby of ours is exactly that … a hobby. It is something that gives us individual satisfaction and a certain amount of contentment. Ultimately, there is only one person that has to be satisfied, the owner of the model railroad; the rest being “gravy”.
It seems that my fictionalized railroad, as a branch-line of the Chili Lines, has sparked outright hatred and animosity among a group of prototype modelers, presumably who are strict Chili Line adherents. If you know any of these persons, can you tell them to stop sending me nasty emails and phone calls. Good gravy … it’s a hobby !!!!

As I blogged in my post on Clinic Etiquette, most model railroaders - the overwhelming majority - are well adjusted people who appreciate good modeling and a good story. They also know to appreciate a layout - I still remember some sage words I first heard years ago "Learn something from every layout you see - every modeler has a story to tell, and it's worthwhile even if it's not the layout you'd build."
Sadly there area few  (thankfully only a few) "model railroaders" for whom the hobby is more about badgering others than any worthwhile efforts -
My friend Trevor Marshall has expressed it better than I could, so I'll simply provide a link to his excellent post -

As far as the Trolls go - I've decided I'm not going to tolerate them any more.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lunch in Baltimore….

When all else fails, hold the directions with one hand...
and start pushing buttons with the other!
… Well, not exactly. 

Had a nice visit and lunch with Paul Dolkos over in Alexandria. The occasion was delivery of one of the new (at least to me) Easy DCC T5000E throttles. A mutual friend, Fred Scheer was ordering an Easy DCC system and several of us piggybacked on his order to get some of these new throttles. The visit to Paul's was to pick up the throttle, and was also an excuse to inspect progress on his HO Baltimore Harbor District. I also made a separate trade with Paul… more on that shortly. 
Paul has been making great progress on the layout. The theme couldn't be more different than Paul's former world class B&M White Mountain Division, but the execution and modeling are top-notch. Paul is, simply put, one of the most precise modelers I've ever encountered. Every model on the railroad is beautiful - there's no hastily hidden misaligned joints, patchy ballast or ground cover, or anything of the sort. He also has the neatest layout rooms I've ever seen. There isn't a single box, random pile of stuff, or household junk hidden on or under the layout. He doesn't have curtains below the fascia because, well, frankly, he doesn't need them. 
Paul's been a great friend for more than two decades and I appreciate any and every opportunity to visit with him - like most model railroaders I know he likes to talk about a wide variety of subjects, although modeling and photography are perhaps his two favorites. 

Here's a few snapshots I took of the layout - 
Bernie admiring the layout - that's the WM car float in the foreground. See Bernie's blog HERE for his take on our visit.

This fertilizer plant - also visible overall photo above, is a combination of scratch built components and Walthers kits. There will be an article on this section of the layout in an upcoming issue of Model Railroader. 

Wouldn't be Baltimore without swing bridges and oysters!

This was the first section of the layout Paul completed. 

There was a bit of a controversy (well, not really, it was in good fun) about whether Paul or Lance Mindheim started using photos of buildings with cutout windows and the like. Paul claims Lance first saw this on a background building on the B&M layout … we're not convinced. The issue remains unresolved. 
I mentioned Paul and I did a little additional horse trading before the other guests arrived. I had a couple of Walthers kits that he wants to use for his "Fells Point" inspired scene - and he still feels he had too many "New Englandy" cars on his roster - so we made a trade. A couple of Walthers kits for a nicely detailed, painted and weathered Accurail CN boxcar and a Westerfield New York Central car - both built by Tom Underwood for Paul. 
They're already in service on the Roxbury Sub…