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.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The threat of the demise of NAFTA

Normally I would not bring international politics into this blog.
But this issue will potentially have huge impact upon me and my businesses.
If the current American Administration decides to pull the plug on NAFTA, and it`s looking more likely now then ever before, the free movement of goods between Canada and the USA  maybe severely restricted.
The short and long term impact upon Yarmouth Model Works and Elgin Car Shops remains a giant question mark. But I am concerned.
Duties maybe imposed on both sides of the border, forcing an increase in pricing.
Additional paperwork may slow the flow of items through the mails.
Now I appreciate that model trains are not a major item in the grand scheme of the global economy, but it is a large part of how I earn a living. And many you have come to enjoy the products and services I offer.

So I ask my American neighbors, friends and customers to send a word to their Congressional and Senatorial representatives and ask them to rethink the notion of throwing back up trade barriers with the country that still remains your largest trading partner.

And I'm also asking on behalf of all of the workers on both sides of the border whose livelihoods rely upon the free movement of goods. There are a lot more of us than you might first think.

Monday, January 1, 2018

It's been quite a year

Well it's behind us now and today's a new day.
Here at Elgin Car Shops and Yarmouth Model Works  it's been roller coaster ride of a year.
Much of the first part of the year was taken up with my mother-in-law's cancer treatment and finally her passing.
One of the consequences of the "distraction" is that custom model building as fallen further behind.
With a little luck, I hope to be able to catchup some in the next few months. Fortunately, the vast majority of my clientele are very patient and understanding people.
Thank you all for your patience.
Yarmouth Model Works , on the other hand has had a banner year.
4 all new HO scale kits and 2 S scale kits were released with great success.
Regular readers will know that the S scale cars had an unfortunate demise, but the success of the initial sales have encouraged me to consider more S scale cars in the future.
In 2018, HO scale modelers can look forward to 4-6 new kits.
More of the ACF built boxcars, some rather unique North Eastern road cars, and if we can ever get the pattern finished, the Soo line stock car!
And beyond that who knows!
Yarmouth Model Works started out as small idea. It has now blossomed into the 3rd largest model railroad resin kit manufacturer in North America. And that success is in large part due to the support from you the modelers.
So I'd like to thank all of you have supported me in this endeavour with your hard earned cash, and your moral support.
Looks like you're stuck with me for another year!

Finally, finally, finally!

It's only taken me 7 months to get this done! It's been that kind of year folks.
The boxcar parts from CRMPG(Canadian Railway Parts Manufacturers Guild) are now finally on the website.

The HO scale NSC-1 shown here.
This selection of parts was originally created by Stafford Swain and the late Dan Kirlin, to allow modelers to better recreate the unique looks of Canadian built '37 AAR design boxcars.
Extensive articles were published in Railroad Model Craftsman back in the early '90s documenting the CNR and CPR prototypes and how to model them.
The parts will work on IMWX, Red Caboose, Branchline trains and Intermountain Railway Company boxcar bodies.
Some of the parts have application for US road cars as well. The roofs in particular.
I'm thrilled to finally have these up on the website.