Tuesday, September 24, 2019


The only way to finish a project like fascia is to keep
plugging away at it one piece at a time. 
The clinic at MARPM seemed pretty well received - and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people in the audience - especially when the show organizers saw fit to put me on opposite Paul Dolkos for both of my "performances" <g>!
Frankly prepping the clinic meant all kinds of half-finished (half started) projects now litter the modeling desk. 
And, preparing for the clinic meant there was virtually no progress on the layout itself for the last month and a half. 
I really need to focus on my next clinic, which will be a layout status report/update at the upcoming MER (Mid-Atlantic Region of the NMRA) Convention in mid-October. 
But first, one thing I'd really like to get completed sooner rather than later is the "woodworking" phase of construction. To that end I spend some time Sunday and the last two evenings away from the modeling desk and the computer and have been making sawdust. 
The only benchwork and fascia remaining at this point are the Richford peninsula. The basic L-girders and joists are in installed - meaning I have to mark and jigsaw the subroadbed, attach all that to risers, and install the fascia. 
I think I can get those done by the end of next weekend. I might even manage to get a coat or two of paint on the fascia. 
Once the heavy sawing is done I can at last thoroughly clean the utility room area which has served as the "sawmill" for the last six months or so. Truth be told, I'm looking forward to getting that place cleaned up almost as much as getting the benchwork finished!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Estimating Dimensions from Photos

I've had several requests to post the slides on estimating prototype dimensions on the blog. 
The following images are the slides from the presentation - I hope they are helpful:

Thursday, September 19, 2019

(Somewhat) Weathered Windows

LEFT: Window primed with Tamiya Tan and Hunterline Driftwood wash. RIGHT: Window primed with Hunterline Light Gray. CENTER: After drybrushing white. 
I've long been frustrated at the results I've gotten painting and weathering plastic window castings. I'd find more often than not the walls on my models - even the styrene ones - would look pretty good. However, the plastic window and door castings always looked like fresh and newly painted. That might be acceptable for a well-maintained building, but what if you want things like windows and doors to show the ravages of time? 
The logical approach would be to paint the plastic castings white and then weather them. After all, that's what happens on the prototype. Honestly, for darker windows it's not as much of a problem. But most windows, no matter what the color of the building walls, tend to be white. So the trick becomes weathering a light colored window. 
I tried airbrushing those white windows with some earth tone paint. And I tried washes of India Ink and alcohol, pastel chalks and drybrushing colors such as Raw Umber and Grimy Black. The results always ended up looking like someone had streaked, airbrushed or chalked a dark color onto a white window. And though I took some solace in the fact that my results were consistent, they still looked awful. 

An Experiment
As I was painting the windows for the implement dealer it occurred to me that the solution may be to reverse the "paint final window color then weather" process. 
After removing most of the sprues and gates from the windows, I taped them to a scrap of cardboard on a roll of painter's tape (the Green Frog kind - but the blue tape works just as well!).
Then, instead of reaching for the can of white spray paint, this time I sprayed everything with Tamiya Flat Tan. After that dried, I gave the castings a quick wash of Hunterline stains. I found Light Gray (shown here) and Driftwood seem to produce a pleasing "soft" warm almost-but-not-quite black color. 
After I waiting for the stain to dry completely - more than 48 hours in the case of the doors and windows in these photos - I went over each with a light drybrushed coat of white paint. A little goes a long way here - and I found a light touch is required. I did get acceptable results after a few practice attempts (see lead photo above and the door photo below). 

If you can't tell, I'm quite pleased with the results. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Progress on the Implement dealer for Enosburg Falls

I've made some adjustments to the mockup that I showed last week - primarily lowering the overall height of the building since it just didn't "look" right. The sketch is really an outline of the shape of the wall - the doors etc.. are not to scale at all!

I have the rear and side walls completed - here is a mid-progress shot of the street side wall. 

One little detail that I almost failed to notice - the right side of the building (with the clapboard in this photo) is older than the "overhead door" section - and it has narrower clapboards than the section to the left. But I needed to get the two halves to end up with a flush surface. The first attempt was to build it like the prototype - but the series of angles where the two halves of the building join together didn't look right. 
I scrapped that attempt and went with the approach shown here - basically a subwall for the entire facade of the building with the two different sizes of clapboard laminated to it.