Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hill Street Crossing takes shape

I think I have figured out how the structures will lay including a grade crossing at Hill Street. Next will be to secure the cork and start cutting some styrene for the roads. I also need to start working on blending the backdrop into the foreground.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Getting the lay of the land

With everything in position I was able to glue some foam to the benchwork which gives me a flat surface to start figuring out where things are going to go. I have decided to model it after an area leading to Brooks Scanlon mill with some modelers license, although not the mainline I will have one track appear to be closer to a mainline while the other track appear to be more of siding. The structures will face the track with a road paralleling the track and also a grade crossing near the middle of the layout. This will give me a place to put a number of structure I have built and also clear out a back log of projects.I can also use the road to display some vehicles and add in the super detailing that I like to do.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A backdrop gets a foreground

With the main backdrop completed I have move on to the foreground, which will be a small double track display shelf. I may try to squeeze at least one switch on for added interest. The whole thing will only be 48" x 18" but it will give me a nice place to take pictures. I also plan on wiring it up so that it can also be used as a small test bed while programming. I have also attempted to design it so that I can salvage it and turn it into a Free-mo module in the future, or maybe extend the module.

For more information and to follow the progress you can see the work in the Projects in Progress page. Stay tuned, I plan on getting this done as quickly as I can as it will clear a number of older projects from the workbench and out of storage.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Backdrop sure makes the room look bigger

I have been trying to take some pictures of projects but every time I do I find myself irritated with the clutter in the background. I have had back drops previously but currently do not have anything. So I decided I was tired of this and went ahead and decided to paint a new one. This one is again based on the mountains around Bend Oregon. Although not perfect or complete it is going to be better then looking at the family car or the other random stuff in the garage.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

More challenge progress

Just moving along with my challenge project. With the outside and base decals finished the next step is to get the trailer attached to the base and do some additional detailing and weathering. I should be able to wrap this up here soon.

Friday, October 7, 2016

A challenge to get creative

One thing I enjoy is participating in challenges from different online forums. Recently the Railroad Line Forum has a challenge centered around the passing of one of their active members. The project can be of anything and once it is ready for decals they will send you come from the home road of member who passed. I really was looking for something that would be a quick project, but that would be a good exercise in being creative. I recently picked up some old Athearn trailers to possibly use for my piggyback special but it appears I have a few spares. I decided to build maintenance shed that would fall into the theme of a lumber and mining company. For pictures of progress on this project check out my Projects in Progress page.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Lucas gets a Module and Page

My 8 year old son Lucas has been wanting to do some model railroading and I have decided to give him my 90 degree Free-mo module set. He has decided he wants a grade crossing, small town and a farm on the modules. For the town he saw the Walthers Doughnut shop and really wanted it, so he bought it. I was able to help him use the airbrush and get the structure painted with the colors he picked. We then did the basic assembly and will now finish the painting, add some interior details and lighting.

For more updates on Lucas's modules check out Lucas's Page.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Summer is over, time to model!!

With travel and work I really did not do anything in August worth posting, hence the complete lack of posts. With that said I spent the first few days of September working on a few trailers for my 1968 Piggyback Special. I will be back to posting these updates to the Projects in Progress section of my blog. Here is a preview of the beginning of my Piggyback Special. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fun at Potlatch

I spent Saturday in Potlatch with Frank running some trains on a small Free-mo setup. We had a good time and may have gained a few new members, possibly. My modules worked well and I am excited to get them finished up for the show in Spokane in October. We also plan on adding this event to our annual calendar, which is a great small venue for us to display and run.

Here is a photo of me working hard (photo by Frank, W.)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Nothing like a deadline to get you moving!!

I have been slowly working on reworking my 45 degree module and what has turned into a Signal-mo. I was going to have them complete for the Spokane train show in October, but we are now going to be setting up on July 9th in Potlatch Idaho. So I am now rushing to get the modules operational and the basic scenery also completed. These will not be completely done, but they will be usable and presentable for what we are doing.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Revere Street Bar and Grill

When looking over the aerial photo from 1967 I noticed a building on the corner of Revere and Division that looked like it would fit on the module. Next was to check the area out on Google Earth and I was pleasantly surprised by the building I found. It was a single story building with a false front making it look like a two story old west structure I decided I really needed to model it. After doing a little more internet sleuthing I found that the shop was setup for both retail and restaurant space. With that information in mind I have decided to make it a Bar and Grill. I plan on building a detailed interior of at least the Bar and Restaurant area, since the rest will be hidden I will probably not do anything for the kitchen or bathrooms.

Here is a Google screenshot of the building.

I will post progress and additional pictures in my Projects in Progress section.

Monday, May 23, 2016

So simple it may just work

Here is my very basic plan of Revere Street in Bend Oregon. It will feature a number of buildings I have built along with a set of working crossing flashers to protect the two mains. Simple plan, simple post. Keep tuned for progress.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A new module to get things moving

I have had two modules sitting in my garage since I left Kansas almost 5 years ago and although I have had great plans for them, I just have not really ever gotten them anywhere more then a few good drawings. I had also built a number of building models with plans to add the to a module at some date but never really had a plan for them either. With that in mind I dismantled the two modules and built a single double track module. This module will be loosely based on Revere St. in Bend Oregon.  For now I plan to get the track up an running in the coming week as I am going to share it with a local train club here in Lewiston Idaho.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

WPM RPM 2016

I attended my First ever Western Prototype Modelers RPM meet on April 30th 2016 in Bellflower California. This was only the second such type of event I have attended, the other being the MCPM meet that I use to coordinate back in Kansas. I made a few observations about the event, and not that anyone asked, but here is my opinion. 

I for one liked the location, I know it was not a cool train station like it had been in the past, but it was well light, well equipped and there was plenty of room for vendors and displays.

Display and Vendors:
The tables had the leg extensions on them which brought them closer to the viewer, which was a nice touch. Also they were all covered in table clothes. There were cards for each person to fill out regarding who's model was where. I personally would have also placed a few more "Please Do Not Touch" signs on the tables as a gentle reminder.

Swap Meet:
I think having the Swap Meet was a Great idea, it probably could have been fit inside the building as there were a number of vacant tables. This may have been from the fact there was a major event going on in Fullerton that day and also with it being a new location it is hard to determine what attendance and space requirements will be.

Although a schedule had been posted it seemed to be a very fluid thing. The doors to the Swap Meet were not supposed to open to the public until 0830 and the event starting at 0900. When I walked in the door at 0830 there were people already in setting up their display and shopping. Also the events for the day was a moving target. The Clinics had to change times due to some issues, the raffle time changed along with the actual "end" of the event.

I attended both clinics, which were swapped around due to technical difficulties. Both were interesting but I think were thrown for a loop since they had to swap times on the fly. I would have liked to have seen more then two clinics for a the day, but that was all there was.

There was a huge amount of Raffle Prizes which I was very impressed with. I would have bought more tickets but by the time I got out of the second Clinic they were no longer selling tickets. I thought this a bit odd, but it seemed like they were trying to wrap thing up early. Instead of reading off the last four numbers they would draw the tickets and write them down on a whiteboard. Then there was a sense of controlled chaos as everyone compared their numbers to the board and went up to claim their prize. I actually won something as did most people who bought tickets. Due to some poor penmanship and individual ended up not getting their prize as someone else had a similar ticket. They did "make it up" to him by giving him the remaining unclaimed prizes.

Here are a few things I did with the MCPM that seemed to work well and really helped the event move along.

Name Tags:
I understand the 75% of the attendees are from the area and knew each other, but there were a number of people from out of town that I felt had varying levels of interaction with other modelers. We are a small community and I think if each person was provided a name tag they are going to have a better chance of putting a face to a name or online handle. I also say saw great models, but unless the person was hovering near their stuff it was hard to tell who's items were who's.

If you are going to make changes, or have something you would like to let the group know about, make an announcement. Even if only 50% of the people are listening, find the loud guy in the group, clear your throat and let everyone know that in 20 minutes the next clinic will start or "Last call for raffle tickets." If you could use the existing PA system or even bring one it would be even better.

I personally think the raffle looses some of its draw with just drawing the numbers and putting them on the board. I feel calling them out for the group and letting the individuals "Come on Down!" really adds to an event. Also if you have two people pulling numbers it can move along pretty quickly and if someone has not claimed the prize by the time the next item has been collected you can redraw for the first item. Also if done at the end it is a good way to wrap things up, thank your sponsors and those that participated giving the event a more "Formal" closing.

I know this event has been going along for a very long time, but the announcements regarding the time, date, and the NEW location were very much missing on the forums I check. I understand there are a lot of forums, but it should be posted on more then just one or two.

Monday, April 25, 2016

New power for the Madras Layout

I designed the Madras layout to be switched with an SW type locomotive, but did not have one that was ready to go with sound until now. I of course have a few small locomotives, but the are in varying stages of incompleteness and I was not looking to purchase another project. Recently BLI announced a SW1500 and they looked great, but were not really in the cards, so I had not grabbed one. I recently picked up a few projects and found myself with a little extra money, so I went ahead and purchased a Great Northern SW1500 painted in Big Sky Blue. I have tested it out on the layout and the unit runs well. I do need to fix a few spot on the layout as I am not getting great electrical contact in a few spots. This of course was was not a problem for the six axle power I was using before, but made switching hard as the unit was just to big. I am not going to do much to the unit other then maybe change out the hoses and use some Pan Pastels to add a little weathering. This will be for the layout and also a unit I would take to train shows. I do want to do a little programming with the sound and the speed curves, but all very minor items.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Finishing up Track Work

I have finally finished the ballast and weathering of track on my Madras Module. My next project will be to start adding some details, like joint bars, derails, clearance marks and switch stands. I also need to finish the buildings for these modules so I can complete the scenery around the structures. I am also thinking about adding a couple of backdrop sections to better complete the scene.

Saturday, March 26, 2016


Well not exactly.

The move from Oklahoma to Idaho was not especially kind to my Deschutes module. Also during the last setup I discovered that the ballast from Arizona Rock and Mineral was magnetic. My plan was to remove all the ballast and  track, then just fix the cork. I was also thinking of adding some signals to the section for added interest. As I was removing the track and ballast I was noticing how heavy this module was. I then remembered that the back of it was a solid piece of 3/4" plywood along with a solid stack of dense foam. I decided that since I was going to redo the track I would redo the hill also. I have decided to reduce the slope of the hill to make it lighter and easier to transport. Also since it will now be a stand alone module I wanted the hill to be more natural and less of a "camel hump." I am trying to save as much of the rock face as I can, but have already lost a large chunk. The plywood will be cut down with a jig saw then I will cut out the inside making a lighter module. I am also tempted to try the Bragdon Geodesic Foam Kit as it is strong, flexible and durable. I will finish clearing off the old scenery and start reworking the hillside and supports. It should not take me long to put it back together if I can find the time to work on it.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Decisions, descisions...

I am nearing a point on my Madras Modules that I am looking to the next project I want to tackle. I have all the buildings figured out for Madras and all the basic scenery completed. Once I get the basic structures roughed in I can then wrap up the main scenery and move to adding details at my leisure. Since this is for training purposes the structures are not going to be super detailed to start, over time if I decide to take them home I may add lighting and more details, but mostly they will just be good representations of what was there.

So with this project winding down my mind start to wander onto what I should do next. I have been debating doing more of Madras or maybe even Redmond but after winning a slide off of Ebay I have decided to return to Bend Oregon. I have always wanted to model the depot and I have already started the underpass at Greenwood Ave. The warehouse across the track from the depot is a neat structure along with the REA building. It would be a simple double track module that I could detail and use in photographing trains and equipment, it would be easy to build and would be a real signature scene.

I also have decided to take my 90 degree module and instead of modeling somewhere in the Deschutes canyon use it to model Canal Place, a street that paralleled the track leading to the Brooks Scanlon mill. I have built a number of houses of the year and not really had a place to put them, this will be a show case of some of my structures along the edge of the layout.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rock and...more rock

These modules represent an industrial area, which I wanted to reflect in the way the track was arranged and weathered. Most of the ties were covered over, which is often used by MOW to hold things in place without putting in ties. This usually works for awhile, bu the ties start to rot away causing unstable track conditions. I wanted to show the track as worn and in need of some ties, which will encourage operators to slow down when operating over this "Bad Track." Before I added ballast I painted all the ties on the industrial track, even though I knew some would be covered with ballast. I also decided to follow the prototype and use the same rock around the structures to ballast the track.

Here is a view looking towards the depot, which shows Clowers Seed and the crossing that takes traffic to Jefferson Plywood and Nichols Warehouse.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Back to work!

I have resumed working on my Madras Switching layout with the figuring out the location of the structures along the backside of the module. I have decided that since this is for training I am going to make close approximation for the structures and will not super detail them at this time. I will design them so I can come back at a later date to add details if I decide to. The three buildings I am focusing on are Clowers Seed, Madras Produce and Cascade Potato. They are all three corrugated metal buildings, but each have some unique features. This will make it more interesting too look at then a bunch of Pikestuff styled buildings. I plan to have the base of the three structures by the end of the month. This means that they the walls and roof will be assembled so they are solid structures. Here is a view looking along the track.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Let there be light...very very very tiny lights **UPDATE**

** I started a post of Model Railroad Hobbyist covering the work I am doing with these LEDs **
One thing I have been wanting to do is try the small LED offered by companies like Ngineering. Once I did a little research I found that I needed more tools then what I already had in my collection and moved on to other projects. With a few projects on hold waiting for me to decide on what to do with the interior lighting I bit the bullet and purchased the Super Starter Kit from Ngineering. This is almost everything you need to start soldering Micro and Nano LED's. Everything else that is required is pretty standard issue model railroad supplies. So here is the box with all the list of goodies:

Here is all the goodies out of the box:

Next step will be to finish reading the instructions and then begin experimenting with the LED's