Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Goals Reviewed and 2016 goals

As the year comes to a close I am taking time to reflect on the goals I set for this year. Even though the number of goals was small I still had a hard time completing them. This is due to a number of factors which include family, work and some unforeseen things that happened this year with our house.

First a review of  the 2015 Goals: 

1) Finish that house: 70%
The house structure is complete, including the interior and roof.
The next step is to add interior lighting, weathering, window glazing and find a place for it.

 2) Finish Had's McCulloch Chain Saw Shop: 70%
The main structure is complete and interior has been detailed.
The next step will be to finish the roof, add interior lighting, weathering and place it on the layout.

3) Finish ground throw pulls on Madras Modules 100%
Kind of changed my mind on what I wanted to do, but they are functional and that is good for now.

4) Basic Scenery completed on Madras Modules 80%
I have the scenery on one module pretty much done. I have structures and details to add  but they are not vital. As for the rest of the modules I have the basic scenery down and now need to fill in the flat areas with Hydrocal so I can place my buildings.

Goals for 2016 

1) Purchase no new projects or freight cars.
In looking at my inventory I have enough projects to keep me busy for 15 years. I do not need to buy anything that does not assist me with finishing an existing project. I also have plenty of rolling stock and no real place to run or display it. Unless I find a car on a very short list I keep, no new freight cars for 2016.

2) Finish the House
 Add interior lighting, weathering, window glazing and find a place for it.

3) Finish Had's McCulloch Chain Saw Shop
Finish the roof, add interior lighting, weathering and place it on the layout.

4) Finish Madras Switching Layout with Structures
Finish the basic ground cover
Build all structures and place them on the layout
Add derails
Begin work on track details

I will post a progress report at the end of March 2016 to see how I am doing.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A walk down memory lane...

This year for Christmas we decided to stay at my Parents house. During our stay my parents mentioned my model railroad stuff was still upstairs in boxes and they wanted to know what they should do with it. It seemed everything I had ever had for model railroading had been packed away. I took some time to go through the boxes of items that had been carefully packed away finding mostly detritus, but also some treasures. For the most part there was a lot of Tyco, Bachmann and other cheap models along with a lot of my first attempts at painting and Kitbashing projects. Most of these items should have been recycled or thrown away. I did find a number of items that I will be taking home that include a bunch of Athearn Bluebox that my son will enjoy and I also found a few items that I need for some other projects. The items I no longer need are being boxed up and donated. I also found a bunch of scratchbuilding materials and some rail I will be finding a use for. So, overall it has been a neat walk down memory lane, and I even found some items I had completely forgot I had.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

No more Shed...

As stated in my last post the shed that I was going to convert into a workshop/layout are has been converted back to a garden shed. The cost to convert it to a usable space is not in the cards right now and I would rather use the funds to build modules or finish projects. I am a little disappointed but I am moving my painting stuff to the garage along with my Free-mo modules, I will be able to setup most of my modules and work on them during the year.

I am also looking at refocusing my Free-mo modules into focusing on the more iconic section of Bend, which makes more since in the long run of trying to model Bend. I will post a new plan for my modules in the near future.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A review of my goals

As part of my goals for myself is to do a better job setting and keeping goals. So far I have been doing okay this year, but I still have more I would have liked to complete that probably will not all get done.

The unplanned remodel of the the house still has my free time wrapped up, even though the project is done, the task of getting everything back to where it goes is just beginning. There is some good news in my model railroading world. My wife has decided to move her studio from downstairs to upstairs and has allowed me to have a area to work on projects. By now I would have thought my shed would be well on its way, but the needed upgrades are cost prohibitive. We have decided to convert it back into a gardening and storage shed ans I will be setting up my modules in the garage. This will allow me space to work and run on my modules when the time and weather permits. My wife has also made a comment about me being able to build a shelf layout in the spare room. No promises, but I may have a home layout to work on in 2016.

So as for goals in 2015

1) Finish that house, so close yet so far away (project 1 when I get my workbench back together)
2) Finish Had's McCulloch Chain Saw Shop (project 2 when I get my workbench back together)
3) Finish ground throw pulls on Madras Modules  (Done for now, may convert to tortoise)
4) Basic Scenery completed on Madras Modules (Basic scenery on one module has been completed, the other two I have the base coast down and need to finalize building locations.)

I will post a year in Review at the end of December along with a list of goals for 2016.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Madras layout published in MRH

An article based on some posts on the MRH site along with some information from the blog has been complied into an all inclusive article and is in this months MRH magazine. you can check it out by click the link!


Thursday, September 10, 2015


It has been well over a year since I have had a module that I can take pictures on. I use to be a pretty active on the Weekend Photo Fun on a few forums, but without something to take pictures on my participation has been minimal. With the scenery well on its way on my Madras modules I know again have a place to display my work. My next project will be to paint a backdrop so I can take pictures instead of using Photoshop.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My 100th Post

It has taken me a little over Five years, moving twice and a bunch of projects, but I have finally made it to 100 posts. I probably should have made this post awhile ago, but I wanted something new to show instead of just making a post about a post. So here is my update, I have started the static grass on part of my Madras switching module. I have the base coat of static grass down, now i will start adding other things like sage brush and trees. I also need to finish up the track with ballast and weathering. My final project will be to complete and install the rest of the oil distributor, but that is not a huge priority right now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Base Coat

After giving the top of the module a coating of Sculptamold I decided to do some basic track weathering. I used artist oils and Gouache to paint and weather the rail. Once everything had dried I painted the top of the module with some brown paint from the 'oops' section at Home Depot. With the paint still wet I spread dirt over the top of the module and also some Highball N scale ballast for the parking lot area. I then worked more dirt and ballast spraying the dry spot with water and covering it with a 50:50 mix of water and Matte Medium. I have some more photos in the Projects in Progress page that show some more details of the work.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gearing up for scenery

I have gone back over and completed some troubleshooting on the trackwork and everything is working to the standard I expect.  I decided to start working on the scenery on the 4' section, but before I got to far along I wanted to finish the track work. I spent a couple hours placing ties in the gaps left over from laying the track and filling in the tie ends on ties that were cut for feeders. Once that was all completed I spray painted the track and ties Camouflage Brown. With the paint dry my next step will be to figure out the final location of the structures and then cover the rest of the ground in Sculptamold. Once the Sculptamold is dry I can start adding dirt and begin building up my layers of scenery. As with all prototype projects I find it best to work from pictures. I spent sometime printing out photos of the area so I have a feel for what I am trying to achieve.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Inventory and Project Planner

I have been working on an inventory of all my model railroad items. I have started with my rolling stock, but will eventually also include other items such as structures and vehicles. This all steamed from a near disaster that occurred at my house during the month of July. I was fortunate that there was not major loss of personnel items and no model train items. It did get me thinking that I would be up a creek if I did have a major incident as I really did not have a good list of what I had. I also did not just want to make a list of stuff I would forget to update, I wanted to create something that would also help me plan my projects for the future.

To read the full explanation of what I have done you can check out my post of Model Railroad Hobbyist. CLICK HERE

Here is a screen grab of what I have been working on.

Monday, July 20, 2015

2015 Goals...

Well I was going to do this update at the half way point of the year in June, but it seems to have gotten away from me. I also wish I had a little more of an update as to what was going on with my plans, but it seems that I again have wondered off the past and gone another direction.

Goals in Review:
1) Complete the Railroad Line Forum's Challenge/ Laserart Company House #1
        To date I have assembled and started detailing this structure. I have not really been motivated by
        this building for whatever reason. I really need to just get it done so I can at least show that I
        have completed one of my goals. 

2) and 3) Everything regarding the "Train Shed" is on hold. We also recently had a small disaster in
        our house with a broken water line, so my plans for any renovation to the shed are on hold for
        the foreseeable future.
        I have instead focused on building modules  at my office at work. These are completely
        operational and I will continue to work on them the rest of  year.

So new goals for 2015:

1) Finish that house, so close yet so far away
2) Finish Had's McCulloch Chain Saw Shop
3) Finish ground throw pulls on Madras Modules
4) Basic Scenery completed on Madras Modules

The plan will be to update again in October and then see how I did at the end of the year.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Switching Madras

I was able to use the Madras Switching Layout as planned to teach my most recent group of new hire conductors. For a run down of how they did you can heck out my post on MRH. I was also able to rough in the pink foam, I still need to fill in the gaps, but that will wait for another day. Here is the inbound train ready to be worked with some of the pulls ready to go.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sounds of Progress

I was able to get all the track wired, tested and even spotted some cars. I was pretty happy that I had no really issues once I put power to the track. I need to get the switch machines in and working to consider the project 100% operational.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Gangs out...dignitaries in!

The Tie and Steel Gang wrapped up their work yesterday and the SP&S decided it was time to celebrate. They snagged a few GN passenger cars for a trip to Madras tacking them on the rear of the #1 to be dropped off at Wishram. The mixed train was held until the arrival of the cars so they could be added to the rear. The cars arrived early in the morning and were setout on the small runaround track at the new industrial area.  The dignitaries were driven by motor coach to get some breakfast in downtown Madras. After their hearty breakfast they returned to the site for speeches and back patting. They then had a steak luncheon and returned by motor coach to Pasco. The cars will be picked up tonight by the retuning mixed train and taken to Wishram to make a connection with the #2 and get them back to the GN at Spokane.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Oh no, there are two gangs in town...

Do not worry it is just the Tie and Rail gangs. The surfacing gang finished up their work last week (cork in place and painted.) This week the Tie Gang started laying out clusters of ties on the main route and some of the industry tracks. The rail gang also arrived and started cutting rail to length. Once the ties are all properly placed the Rail Gang will work to secure the rail.  There is still lots to do, before the trains can run, but progress is being made at a good clip.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Now that is a chainsaw...

One of the joys of buying online is that you have to go off what they tell you it is. I puchased what I thought were some HO scale chainsaws from a seller and was little surprised when some O scale saws arrived. I figured I could make something out of them later, maybe a cut off saw for a sawmill or cut them up into something more my scale. As I was looking at the front of the building I realized I needed some sort of signage. Then is dawned on me, why not a giant chainsaw for a sign...

So here it is!

Monday, April 27, 2015


I found a great casting from Evergreen Hill Design for old style two man chainsaws. After some chopping, shaping, and painting McCulloch has some chainsaws. I also decided that a nice retail business needed a coast of paint. From the black and white photo I have of the place it looks like it has a nicely painted exterior.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The proof is in the plywood

I know I have had a lot of plans for layout and modules that never made it past the design  phase, but I am happy to report that the Madras Switching modules have been built and are standing in my office. The next step will be to get the track plan transposed to the plywood tops, then I can start laying down cork. Once the cork is in place then it is on to track and electrical. I will be posting the build photos in the Projects in Progress section.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Building a layout...yes really I am!

I have started building a switching layout based on Madras Oregon using most of the Free-mo standards. This will be a three module set that will reside in my office that I can take to different locations and show people how to stereotypically switch cars. There are a number of features I wanted to include to show off some of the hazards of switching in the real world. Some of the things I wanted to show were, spur tracks, road crossings, crossovers, close clearances and the handling of haz-mat. Here is the plan as it stands, I will update soon with some build photos. To read more about this project click HERE

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Distraction progress

My Had's McCulloch Chainsaw shop is moving along at a good pace. The only thing I am having a hard time locating is HO scale chainsaws. A few companies have made them in the past, but they do not look currently available. I have a few hobbyshops I plan to try in the next few weeks and I hope to find some sort of solution. In the mean time I have got all the windows and doors in place on the model and now plan to finish the interior detailing. I also need to figure out my wiring plan for the LED interior lighting. I plan to use Nano LEDs, now I just need to figure out how to get them to work right. I have a few more shots of the build under the Projects in Progress page, or you can click on the link HERE.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Getting a date

I have been narrowing my focus down on what time during 1968 I wanted to model. As I have looked through traffic patterns and observed some of the other happenings on the line it looked like fall was a busy time on the Trunk with the added Potato harvest traffic . It also appeared that building materials and other products continued to move in the autumn months so I would have lots of cars to move. I am still trying to narrow down the exact date of the start of the potato harvest, but did find a good article about how the harvest was off to a slow start. So as of now I am looking to model some time between mid September and mid October. One thing I found was that on September 10th 1968 a steam engine from Rayonier was taken down the Oregon Trunk and stopped at the shops for servicing. It was dead in tow, but would make for an interesting move. Here is a clipping from the September 11th 1968 Bend Bulletin showing the unique move.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More distractions...

I saw a posting on one for the Facebook pages that Monster Model Works was having a sale. I spent some time looking through their products and after looking at one of their new offerings, which was a medium size auto shop, I found they also had a very tiny building called Triple J Repair. I really have no use use for the building, but had heard Jimmy and others talk on a few different Podcasts about their innovative products, so I bought it. I am currently working on a house for my Free-mo modules that I was going to try to have completed by April 1st, but it just was not keeping me motivated. Not sure what my problem is, but the project is just annoying me. I grabbed this little kit, put the walls together and spent the evening painting it. I was also able to use some of the excess material to build an interior wall. If you look at any of my other projects you will see I have a weakness for super detailed structures. While the paint dried I went through my various boxes of stuff and found enough parts that I am going to change the building into Had's McCulloch Shop, chainsaw sales, service and rental. So here is the building as it stands, if you want to see more "in progress shots" click HERE.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A little more organized...maybe...

In an effort to help organize my projects a little better and to help keep track of them I have modified some  of my pages to show all the none SP&S stuff I am working on. Most of these projects go hand in hand with my efforts to model the Oregon Trunk, but a few are just because I want to have them. As I get more information and complete more models I will update each page under the specific railroad heading it belongs to.

So if you are interested in seeing what other projects I have in the works check these new links out:

SP&S Locomotives

SP&S Equipment

Great Northern

Union Pacific

City of Prineville Railway

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Modeling on the Road

With my new job, I have lots of time to sit around hotel rooms and waste time. I decided that my time would be much better spent actually building model railroad stuff. So I dusted off an old wood toolbox I had, loaded it up with tools and gathered a project. I took the show on the road and so far I am happy with my decision.

Here is my tool box, opened up and ready to get some modeling done in my hotel room. The only thing I am going to change is the lid of the box, I plan to make it taller so I can store my glue and paint upright. I also plan to add some dividers in the drawers to maximize the space.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Goals

I saw someone else post their goals for 2015 and I thought it may be a good idea. I have thought about it for awhile and decided that I did not want to make my goals to lofty or unrealistic. I also did not want to make the goals to easy as it more about getting things done then just checking off boxes.

1) Complete the Railroad Line Forum's Challenge / Laserart Company House #1
2) Get the upper storage shelves in the "Train Shed"
3) Start the preliminary electrical work on the "Train Shed"

It is not a lot of goals but it should give me a good list of things to get done this year.

I may update my goals each Quarter and add to them, I will keep updating as I can and I hope to start checking things off the list soon.

New Year, New Plan

With the start of the new year and starting to finally get settled in a routine I have started to plan ahead for 2015. Although my progress on the "Train Shed" will be slow to start there is plenty to keep me busy as I gather materials and work on the mundane parts of getting a building "train worthy." My first order of business this year was to get my tool box organized and loaded full of essential tools. Part of my new job requires me to travel, so I will be spending time in a hotels. I used a larger wooden toolbox I received around 10 years ago and had mostly been filled with tools I was not using. After a quick swap and reload it is ready for the next trip, except I did not have a project to work on.

Not saying that I did not have plenty of projects, I just was not sure which one to choose. While dealing with my dilemma  I say that Railroad Line Forums was kicking off a "Challenge." I had participated in these in the past and thought I would join in. The "challenge" I decided to participate in was to take a kit off the shelf and build it. Since I do not have a place to run trains, building a freight car did not make much sense. I did come across a small house kit I got last year for Christmas that I had not built yet. It is a Laser Art Company House #1. It is an easy enough build and easy enough to modify. I plan to add some windows, change up the front porch, and a detailed interior and lighting.