Sunday, August 5, 2018

It's a rare and beautiful thing...

When my modeling passions come together.

Tanks and trains!
Or is that trains and tanks?
Doesn't matter. After 3 years of on and off effort this little project is done. Sort of.
1/35th scale German 86 class loco(my fav German loco btw), one heavy duty 6 axle flat and the feared JagdPanther all in one package.
I got to play around with new weathering techniques and products while weathering the JagdPanther. Various enamel washes and streaking effects. Powder pigments on the tracks.
All of which have been carried over into my own railroad modeling finishes.
I expect that I'll lend this to the LHS for his window for awhile as soon as we get his window display cleaned up.
Back to the 1/87 trains.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fresno light?

Fresno redux?
Doesn't really much matter what we call it.

Rather than have a boring old staging yard, we thought we'd tart it up a touch.
Caboose track, Locomotive escape pocket, 2 stall roundhouse with 2 exterior "garden" tracks.
Lineside buildings will populate the scene as well.
Water and oil column, sand, etc for the inbound roundhouse tracks, etc.
What I find amusing is that it's a simple yard and yet it requires 10 turnouts.
That's more than all the turnouts in Trevor's layout !

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fresh outta the weathering shop...

The newest kit from Yarmouth Model Works.
YMW-115, DL&W 40' rebuilt auto boxcar
And the decal set includes the iconic slogan, "The Route of Phoebe Snow"

Sunday, July 8, 2018

New stuff from YMW in time for ST Louis RPM

With the annual RPM in Collinsville weeks away, it's time to tempt you with some of the new items I'll have available at the show.
Once I return from the RPM these items and others will be listed on the website for purchase.
First up;
YMW - 257
Laser cut running boards for Intermountain SFRD reefers
With both styles of hatch platforms                         $8.00 USD

2 new etched parts
Etched airhose brackets
Secure these to the underside of the car and use a "U" of thin wire to clamp the airhose to the bracket, much like the prototype does.                               $3.00 USD

Etched cut lever brackets
For more modern cars, to hang the bottom actuated cut levers    $3.00 USD

We will have a couple of kits ready for sale as well.
This one is ready;

YMW- 114 DT&I ACF built postwar boxcar
The first kit to feature the ACF proprietary "Corrugated End" with the unique vertical row of dimples.                                       $60.00 USD

YMW-115 DL&W rebuilt autocar.
This model is still being finished, but it will be ready in time for the RPM.

The kits include all the things you've come to expect from Yarmouth Model Works.
Custom etchings, custom decals, laser cut running boards, correct trucks, etc.
The patterns for both models were 3D printed and we're very pleased as to how this process is working out for us.
Hope to see you in Collinsville!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A station for Clovis

What better way to spend a rainy Sunday, than to finish a structure for the layout?
In this case it's an American Model Builders, laser cut kit of a Southern Pacific Type 23 Depot.
While it's not a 100% accurate model of the actual station that was in Clovis, it's close enough for me.

The kit went together like a dream and the option to use the accurate colours offered by Tru-Color, made painting an easy task. I primed all the parts with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer and then airbrushed the appropriate colours. Once the paint was dry assembly was a breeze.
All the parts fit as intended. Laser cut kits have proven to be a real boon to the hobby. I know I have a few more to build before this layout is complete.
I'll add a little ground cover and a train order board to complete the scene.
The only real decision left is whether or not to animate the train order board.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

2nd time's a charm!

The test area for ground cover colours is done.
And I'm delighted with the results.
The first attempt didn't quite go as I'd hoped,
I used Scenic Express's fine dirt as a texture base, which I'd sifted in place over a coat of brushed on white glue, I then scattered yellow and burnt grass ground foam over top and secured it in place by wetting it down and then dribbling thinned white glue.
The dirt absorbed the glue and went darker than I'd hoped it would, so either a rethink or remedial action was called for.
So I thought perhaps sealing the fine dirt would help the absorption issue, so I airbrushed the area along with a freshly applied patch of dirt. I used Tamiya tan and light grey to lighten the base colour and try and get the ground closer to the tones seen in this image of Clovis.

And then I reapplied the 2 ground foam colours and glued them down. This time the base tones stayed the way I wanted them.
I added a few scrubby plants,
And then out came the static grass.
Lots of tall yellow grasses.
I mixed a small amount of green to prevent a monotone effect and I'll be alternating between the Noch yellow grasses and the Silflor autumn colour and yellow 4mm and 6mm lengths.
Touch up the ballast edges and we're good to go.
Now it's time to build some turnouts!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

About backdrops and a lesson in colour theory

Recently, Tony Thompson blogged about simple skyline backdrops.
I was struck at how nicely his thinking dovetailed with mine regarding backdrops.
While I admire the talents and skills some put into highly detailed backdrops, I do not subscribe to that approach. Backdrops should be there to "frame" the layout, not upstage it. Backdrops should not draw the viewers attention away from the stars of the show, the trains and the supporting cast of scenery and structures.
Further along in his posting there was a photo of Brian Moore's layout over in Plymouth, England;

I was immediately taken with the colour choices  made on the sky and hill profile.
I shared this image with a friend who used to work as a Scenic Artist in the film industry, who pointed out to me that part of the success of the colour choices in this image is that they are in the same tonal range.
That is, go to the paint store and have a look at the paint chip cards that have 6-7 colours on one card. All of those 6-7 colours are in the same tonal range. My artist friend suggested I choose my colours off of the same card.
So I printed a copy of Brain's layout photo and trotted off to the paint store. Finding the sky colour was easy, but it took some time to find a card that had an acceptable sky colour and a nice hill colour but find one we did.
I selected a gallon of the colour shown on the left of the card and a gallon of the colour on the right end of the card, came home and practiced on a 3' section.
To say that I was pleased is an understatement.
Test bit done, I took a couple of evenings and did the entire backdrop behind Clovis.
There was just one more thing to do, I noticed, while in the paint store, that there was a haze effect in play on Brian's backdrop. A detail which really helped the overall appeal.
So I went back to the paint store and bought a quart of the next darker tone from the "sky" colour, thinned it and airbrushed a haze over the hills.
Just enough to slightly soften the edges and reduce the starkness.
I'm super pleased with the end result. And the backdrop colours, by accident, work nicely with the ground cover colours as well.
Glad I listened to my Scenic Artist friend!

Monday, May 7, 2018

And then there were 3!

With the tender trucks now oriented correctly SP #1802 is fully programmed, running nicely and weathered!
I'm very pleased with the results of my weathering. Just the right level of dirt for me on these workhorses.
It will be hard to choose which one to use on any given day.

It maybe my layout...

But Trevor writes about it so much better!

Might have something to do with the fact that he is a professional wordsmith.
At any rate, Trevor describes much of the thought processes and activity that as lead to the current state of the layout.
Since Trevor's visit, ties are all in in Clovis and about half is ballasted.
Scenic Express #50 Light Gray Ballast.
I'm really liking the colour and the fine texture. Wish I'd used this fine stuff before. Looks much better.
Still racking my brain thinking about how to best replicate the grassy California look. Many options to consider

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Trains are stupid!

I've been chasing this problem for a couple of days now.
The decoder wasn't responding. Couldn't load the sound files or do any other programming.
Thought maybe I had a bad decoder.
Maybe the plug connector between the engine and tender was faulty.
Wrong wires connected in the wrong order.
Nope, nope, and nope.
Finally found the problem just now.
The tender trucks were turned around.

The Noive!

To steal a line from the Cowardly Lion!

It's takes a certain amount of courage to dig out the airbrush and weather brass locomotives.
But I'm glad I did.
I think they look great, just the right level of filth for hard working Valley Mallies.
A big shout out goes to Alan Houtz and his guiding videos on TrainMasters TV.
I learned a few things and got to work with new products and techniques.
Now if I could only figure out why the decoder for the 3rd loco won't work.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Joe Cocker said it best!

With a little help from my friends!

Trevor was here today. We spent a couple of hours laying out the track alignment for Clovis.
It's amazing how fast it can go when you have someone to bounce ideas off of as we go.
We also took the time to sort out some of the structure locations and some options for modeling them.
Thanks so much for the time Trevor.
Now I can  glue down turnout ties and and the fun stuff that follows.
We're both feeling real good about where this is going.

Monday, April 23, 2018

An Ice Deck for Clovis

This is what 4'6" of Tichy Ice Deck looks like with a Walthers Ice House in behind for storing all those blocks of ice.
Now I know that Clovis did not have an ice deck in reality, but Trevor and I agree that adding one creates a fantastic option for additional operational options. Extras can be run into Clovis of solid strings of reefers and then they can be distributed around all the packing houses on the branch.
Gotta serve the harvest rushes!
The Ice Deck will handle up to 10 reefers at a time. It certainly makes for an imposing facility.
And it's size dovetails nicely with my desire to have all rail served industries be physically large enough to warrant rail service.
If you're wondering about the colour, it's just an undercoat of Floquil Mud. Once it's fully cured I'll go over the whole thing with thinned flat white, trying to go for that faded, sun bleached look.
And of course weathering.
Lots of coats of paint yet to go!
But with this built we can now determine where the main line will be located, as well as all the other rail customers.
That'll be Wednesday's adventure!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A clean slate

Or is it a fresh palate?
I've scraped off the track that was Aylmer and filled in the minor divots with filler.
This area will become Clovis, CA. The major switching area for the new layout.
The prototype had over 10 fruit packers as well as a few other industries.
Lots of activity!
This scene captures the flavour very well.
A coat of paint over the filler;
and we're ready to start locating turnouts and trackage.
Trevor is coming over Wed. next and we'll have fun figuring it all out

Friday, March 23, 2018

Well thats 2!

I'd have 3 but the Local Hobby is out of Keep Alives.
And these engines are a delight. Easy to get decoders into, and they can pull 25 cars on the level, so they'll have no issue with the trains I plan.
Thanks again Trevor.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Why, oh why?

Do people do this?
 I have no idea what adhesive/glue this is, but I've seen it before and I'm baffled.
There's no need to use anything other than CA for assembling resin. In controlled amounts.
Whatever this stuff was it also had the ability to eat into the resin if a large quantity was applied.
Some glue!
So I'm spending a couple of hours sanding and scraping this sh** off so I can reassemble this car properly.
Yes, I'm cranky about it!

Further refinement on the proposed trackplan

Trevor and his pencils are busy.
He just sent me this;
A few refinements and we used modelers license and added an icing platform in Colvis.
More "play value".
It's screaming "Build me!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mogul races in St Thomas yard?

But now you know what Jay had in the box!
3 gorgeous Precision Scale brass SP Moguls, awaiting the installation of decoders, speakers and Keep Alives!
What's going on you ask?

I've come to the realization that the Wabash layout will not be able to come to life in the manner that I had first hoped for.
The doubt had been in my brain for a few months , but got solidified as a result of the 3 days of running TT&TO in La Mesa.
Successful TT&TO ops require mainline, lots of mainline. With the stations preferably out of sight from each other. Operators need time(which equals distance) between stations to review orders and the timetable as well as having a sense of going somewhere.
I was trying to replicate 50 miles of mainline in less than 2 scale miles, the compression just wasn't going to work. No room for meets, no challenges, no thinking required.
Now I am enamoured with the Cayuga Sub, and don't regret for a minute the time spent on this project. But if I'm to get a layout running I need to find a prototype that better fits my space.
The first thought I had was to take the old San Jacinto branch that Andy Sperandeo drew up decades ago and tweak it into my current space. Particularly now that I better understand the operations on a branch like that.
But then my friend and "Model Railroad Enabler" Trevor Marshall stepped in with a similar theme, but a little more to my liking.
The Clovis Branch of the SP. A lovely branch that reached up to Friant, with lots of winerys, fruit packing, some stock, and a goodly amount of general merchandise. Oh and a ballast quarry.
The track plan Trevor whipped up for me has the added bonus of fitting perfectly on the existing benchwork.
The actual towns will be laid out in the same manner as I did with the old layout. Full size templates and a survey to guide me.
It'll take some time to fully engage in this project. Rolling stock as to get sold, some layout work will be undone, etc.
Right now all the F-7s are spoken for, but I will be making up a list of rolling stock that I'll be selling and will make it available when the time comes. It is interesting that a good amount of the foreign road equipment is reusable.
The offer from Trevor of the 3 Moguls is what clinched the deal. We took all 3 out and test ran them, and determined how to get into the Vanderbuilt tenders for decoder installation.
I have a really good feeling about this new venture. Besides, for me, it's more about the journey than the destination.
Guess I'll have to redo the intro page to this blog!

Monday, March 19, 2018

What's Jay got in the Box?

And I can assure you it's not a cheese straightner!

Stay tuned, all will be revealed shortly

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Well I'm glad that's done!

No, Metra hasn't come to St Thomas.
I've posed these 6 commuter coaches on the Kettle Creek bridge just for fun.
These are Island Model Works kits, and I can't say I had a lot of fun building these.
no instructions, no photos, of the model or prototype. I had trouble finding images on line of these cars, so I knew what I was aiming for.
Rather disappointed in that regard.
On the upside, I finally got to use Alcad metal paint, and I'm very pleased with that product.
Now onto other projects.
Like contemplating whether or not to consider a whole new layout!
Stay tuned on that one!

Friday, February 9, 2018

And now it's done!

Such an iconic paint scheme!

Here it is Yarmouth Model Works newest kit, #112.1. The "as delivered" paint scheme of the AC&F built 40' boxcars.
With decal artwork from Ted Culotta and custom color mixes from Scalecoat paint, sold by Minuteman Scale Models. Minuteman has the BAR blue and red in stock, and likely will have it on his website before much too long.
The kit should be up on the website in the next day or so.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Almost there!

Took delivery this morning of the new Scalecoat colors for the BAR red and blue.
Got home, found the masking tape and voila!
Let that cure for a couple of days and then I can apply the decals from Speedwitch and we'll be ready to start selling!
I think they got the colors right.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

WOW! Simply wow!

Now home from an overwhelming experience at the La Mesa Model Railroad club, in San Diego.
3 12 hour days of TT&TO operations.
Oh man!

Such an experience. 30 scale miles of mainline trackage, replicating the climb up the hill from Bakersfield to Mojave, through the Tehachapi Loop. This model railroad has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Add in the challenge of running to the 1953 Timetable and you have the recipe for keeping 36+ grown men entertained.
1st class signature passenger trains

1st class express trains
3rd class freight hauling reefer blocks (40+ cars)
3rd class freight with priority sugar beets (50+ Cars)
extras and multiple sections up and down the hill
Helpers and then getting them back down the hill

Just some of the traffic that gets run.
All run in real time, no fast clocks. It can take upwards of 2 + hours to get a train up the hill.
But I'm going to let the pictures tell the story.

And this Youtube video will take you all around the layout.

My thanks to the club members for the invite and the chance to operate on such a stellar layout.