Tuesday, November 24, 2015

End of an Era

I was just informed via email, that my long time friend, Doug Rochefort, passed away this weekend.
Doug was the owner of Dougs Trains. A delightful hobby shop dedicated to model trains solely.
Doug had been suffering with a variety of ailments over the last little while, but to his credit he never really let any of that stand in his way. He remained a dedicated shop owner to the bitter end.
Doug was also instrumental in my evolution into a custom model builder. He channeled a pile of projects to me in the early days of my career and I will be forever grateful for his support. Mind you, I can't look at another Intermountain grain hopper again. Must have built over 100 of those when they first came out.

I'm going to miss Doug.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday..

One of the great joys of this hobby, for me at least , is the friendships that grow from shared interests.
One of my best friends in the hobby, lives 2.5 hours away and yet Trevor Marshall and I always find ways to share this hobby. With each other and others.
It's also joyful when new friends get made as a result of internet dialogues and such
Yesterday, I drove into Toronto and met up with a new friend, and took him to Trevor's for a few hours of operations on the Port Rowan branch. With trains successfully dealt with it was off to Harbord House for a delightful lunch and then we ran out to Credit Valley Railway for a hobby shop fix.
All of this was new for our guest. While he'd been in Toronto many times for work, he'd not yet been properly exposed to the model train world that exists in the "Big Smoke".
Our guest was Michael Gross. Well known actor/director.
Here he is, with Trevor, switching Port Rowan and enjoying Trevor's stunning layout.
We all had a great day, and I can now add another soul to my list of "train buddies".
Hopefully Michael's work schedule will permit him to visit my house soon.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Well now that they're out of the way,

Benchwork can resume.
We're getting a new kitchen, which involved some electrical and gas line work. Which prevented me from building any more benchwork until that work was done. Now that the contractors are out of the way regularly scheduled programs on back on track.
This bit represents the east end of St Thomas, out as far as the CPR interchange. The prototype is dead straight, but I have no choice but to make the whole thing turn as you can see. Basement just isn't long enough.
The view block that will be created by the backdrop will help reinforce the sense of distance from the station to the interchange. Tricky things to convey in model railroad context.
You can see on the right the crossover which will be interchange track and the end of the double track yard limit.
This is the scene I hope to jam in at the crossover.
 Now to fiddle a bit with the actual roadbed and get the look I'm after.
Later dudes.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Yes, I'm feeling very pleased

Over on the Resin Car Works blog, a review of my Wabash 12 panel boxcar kit has been posted.
It's hugely satisfying to read positive comments about the work we put into the kits.
I do have to point out one thing though. Much of the credit has to go to Aaron Gjermundson, who lives in North Dakota, also known as Baja, Saskatchewan.
It was he who created the patterns and did the resin casting. Without his massive talents, none of this would have happened.
Thanks Aaron.
And thanks to Craig Zeni for the delightful review.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

So here's the way it works around here

Yarmouth Model Works and Elgin Car Shops are my 2 businesses. And they are solo efforts. I have no staff. It's just me. And I can get very busy.
Along with those 2 businesses, I'm also a stagehand/entertainment rigger. I work mostly in London at the Budweiser Gardens. The work schedule is erratic at best. But I enjoy it and it suits my temperament.
So on the rare occasions when I don't ship orders out straight away, there's usually a good reason. And if there is a delay, I try to email the client of such a delay, but I don't always remember to.
If you find that I'm not responding quickly to an email, it could be that I'm on the road to an RPM. Or in the midst of a 20 hour work day for some touring show. Or even, heaven forbid, I'm taking a little me time.
Be patient. I always honour my commitments.
If you've placed an order and don't see it within the timeframe you were expecting, please do send me an email. I will respond.
And orders have been lost in the mail.
But if you are going to email me with a concern, at least give me some time to respond before you initiate a dispute through Paypal. That's just not cool.
Frankly it's rather insulting to get an email asking about an order and 2 minutes later getting an email from Paypal telling me that a dispute as been initiated and the funds are now on hold.
Just saying people.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


My bulk order of precut ties arrived today.
With the inventory replaced now I can glue down the final runs of ties, which is holding up trackwork in the St Thomas yard.
Once the glue has set I'll sand and stain and then I can drop in the diamonds and get everything tickety-boo.
The leads to the turntable will have to wait for the actual turntable to be here. I'll need room for the jigsaw to do it's brutality.
At this rate, I'll be hauling trains from staging into St Thomas before Xmas!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Slow and Steady

Is the watch word when laying track.
We've been very busy this week with the tour of "Dirty Dancing" at the Budweiser Gardens. But we have had most mornings off, so I've been able to get some yard tracks laid.
This is the 3rd layout I've built with handlaid track and finally I've gotten my act together and I'm adding drop feeders to the underside of the rails as I go, rather than soldering to the sides of the rail. A much neater appearance. And it just requires a little bit of focus to make sure that nothing is missed.
The other new thing is these;
3 point track gauges from Fast Tracks. They are now available in most scales and gauges. They are not obvious on the website, but the Fast Tracks website is undergoing a massive rebuild and they will be more visible soon enough.
In the meantime you can find them here;
Now for those of you who are paying attention, you'll note that the gauge is for code 83 rail. I'm using code 70 through out. What's up you ask?
Code 70 and code 83 have the same head width. Simple.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Worst Fears...

Did not come to fruition.
The 2 O scale cars you see are being decaled and will soon be on the way to their proper home.
Both of these cars a rather old Chooch kits. The MILW car kit dates from the mid-80s!
In both cases I was very much concerned about the decals.
The MILW car came with conventional water-slide decals. Being as old as they were I was concerned that they would fracture and turn into many little pieces when they were immersed in water. For those decals I took precautionary measures and coated the decal sheet with MicroScale liquid decal film. The product basically adds a layer of film over the old decal, holding it all together.
The D&RGW car was another matter. All we had for this car was dry transfers, which are notorious for having a limited shelf life. For those I took a different route.
I took a sheet of clear film, sprayed a coat of flat over it. ( A needed step for dry transfers. They don't adhere well to glossy surfaces.) Then I simply transferred the desired lettering onto the clear film by rubbing with a pencil, and then sealed it all with a coat of liquid decal film. The old dry transfers went onto the decal paper with nary an issue.
From there it was a simple matter of decaling in the traditional manner.
I still can't get over how massive the 50' D&RGW car is, especially compared to an HO car below it.