Saturday, February 3, 2018

New Structures.

I've been busy on the bench and at work and have neglected my duties to keep everyone up to date...says my Sunday Breakfast Buddies.

I'm still in a state of limbo while one of my daughters is living with me.  I gladly tore everything down so she could stay between trips around the world.  It also offered me the opportunity to re-think things...something I do habitually.  But no matte what I need structures and fussy bits and have been plowing away with that.  New palm patterns with upgraded fronds, some new eateries and businesses to service...all in the name of keeping the Chatsworth them alive. 

Georges will compete with Mummerys across from each other.  Georges was the spot to be if you wanted good grub and trains 10 feet outside the main windows.  Located in Riverside it was perched on the corner across from a large lumber yard crossing the avenue at a diagonal.    Perfect spot and its authentic.  This was laser cut out of acrylic and laser board with simple printed signage done on Corel to match the prototype.  I have the main shot elsewhere and will add it later.  It's busy and bright and a great contrast to grey and brown.

Here is the prototype. What a great way to rail fan. 

Ah, the lumber yard yet to be designed.  But that won't stop me from messing around with some details.  Like I said, Georges is across from a big lumber yard itching to be modeled so I scaled this scene and made up a prototype.  Not sure how many I will eventually build but they are great for making things look authentic.

I laser cut the A frame and the wood stock out of 1/64 bass.  This is a single unit of course but I plan on making something more like the photo.  Nice little project actually.  This small stuff is a lot more fun than a big huge building.

Why I wanted a paint store is beyond me but I couldn't resist.  Laser cut and incorrect spelling and all.  It's almost as bad as the time I engraved a switch tower with Southern Pacific Railroad misspelled.  LOL 

1449 Blimp ongoing drama.

Yeah, sometimes an obsession makes no sense.  I mean, I have no plan or desire to electrify my layout with overhead, but I just needed a Blimp Box Cab.  It'll look so cool pulling a couple outside braced boxcars and a shorty caboose around the layout no matter.  I have pics of these lashed up to SW1's in the lead so I guess I could consist that way and call it good.  Until I get that far I still have to get this thing running.  I picked up the Brass Sydam Model for $50.00 at a local show and I think I've lost $100 messing around with it.  I've come up with a nifty way to retro fit an old Athearn motor with some Proto West universals, but the weak link is the crappy spring drive.  I'm faced with retooling the truck for more conventional drive or bite the bullet and get a Stanton Drive or something from Hollywood foundry.

So here we much to do.  The original kit was for the SP Electrified Line in Portland so it had all sorts of do-dads that had to come off, and other to be made. Roof walk, trolly poles, ladders, vents, bells, more bent wire and a new paint job.  Like I said the awful part of this model is the drive system and I can now understand why every time I see a trolly layout with cars dashing around at break neck speed I understand why...that drive only works in Warp.

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Backdrops and other musings

I think one of the essential elements of any layout is the background.  Gosh, there are thousands of ways to pull this off and each as personal as the next.  I've seen everything from solid Teal to stuff that would make Bob Ross weep.  I can build most anything in just about any format or media, but drawing and painting landscapes is not my strong suit.  I've had a vision of what I wanted to do for years, but never really could figure out how to execute it.  While researching images for Eucalyptus trees (another holy grail for Socal modelers) I came across a number of oil and water color paintings that had the look I was after.  I wanted my background to be more artistic than realistic and I wanted it to be slightly hazy and out of focus.  Well, I downloaded a few images and pieced together a landscape in Photoshop, tiled it and was able to print out sheets of background 100" long on paper.  I wanted a hazy effect with the sky and mountains in the background muted and I think I got what I was looking for.  This shot was done with a simple print out on and 11x18 sheet of paper to check using photos if this was going to work.  I like the effect a lot.

Next to it is a hand painting by my great friend Bruce Petty that is done just like his on the Burbank layout at his home.  He's going to paint a series of boards that I will be using on my portable show layout with the effect of looking like a painting on a citrus box.  Two styles for two different situations.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Moving them Doggies

Just when you think you know your railroad, you stumble on some new information that is trans-formative.  Pacific Electric and you think interurban and a bunch of old Southern Pacific Railroad freight cars rumbling around downtown Hollywood.  That's a lot of it, but as I've hinted in other posts, PE was more than a downtown guy.  Even if you are not interested in urban modeling there's a portion of a line someplace that is out in the sticks.  Doing research on a completely different project I found a photo of a Livestock Car with a PE placard on it.  Wow...

PE 8501
Well, I can only assume some fresh meat was delivered via these cars and not the pony's given the availability of more specialized Heavyweight Horse Cars.  This car adds a whole new dimension to my layout planning and an interesting business to research.

These cars were part of the SP S-40-4/5 Stock car order placed in 1912 to replace older 36' cars.  Built by a number of Harriman Companies, Standard Steel Car, Pullman and Ralston Steel Car they were considered revolutionary at the time.  Anyway about 900 of these cars were built and most of the SP combined roads had them including T&NO, PE, SPde Mexico, NWP and several others.  So you can see, once you have a kit you have the opportunity to add some interesting freight options.  From what I got from Tony Thompson's book was that PE had 10 of these cars but as expected little in the way of history or movement.  I wonder if I did a search for slaughter houses in Los Angeles in the 1940's what would come up?  

Here is a scan of the drawings out of an old CBC.  These are also in Thompson's Stock Car book.

Now, how to model it.  I was looking for a scratch building project and though this might be the one, but looking at what was available I found that the Red Caboose makes the S-40-5 and that's pretty close to perfect.  So I saved me some work, but I still have to dig around on line and find what stock is still available.  Two or three will work just fine for me.

Next step is figuring out just how to use these and what kind of business it could serve.  There's no shortage of info on S-40's on line and a few years ago a really nice brass model was made available in O scale by RY Models.  

If nothing else these cars marked in PE will be interesting down at the club and make a nice discussion point for those interested.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Thirty two inches of freight house

So I have the left end of the switching layout roughed out and today I turned my attention to the right side.  I needed to both create multiple freight destinations and fill up some wall space and o finally had the opportunity to get "large". I also decided to go about retro and made the whole thing out of card and poster stock.   I started doing models for my GI Joes out of Kentucky Fried chicken buckets and old C Rat boxes my dad brought home.  This was a bit more sophisticated but the tactile pleasure of working with card stock was just as satisfying. 

The warehouse is generic but has a SoCal feel to it and I started with .06 Strathmore for the structure and other thicknesses of Bristol Board for layers and detail.  The roof was art downloaded from Scale Scenes and printed on heavy matt card using the photo setting on the printer.  Great stuff.  So one the two sections were put together I sprayed them inside and out with auto primer to seal from moisture left to dry and then painted white.  
Card models before painting.  
Just primed and set aside to dry 
Color layers and weathering.  I used masking tape on the painted surface to chip and pull up the paint.  You have to do this befor the paint sets. 

Lastly I addressed the end of the module with a bridge over the tracks.  The back wall under the bridge will be fitted with black card stock to mask the end.  The bridge will have a road and sit a flat building to help get rid of the rush of the road as well 

With the large we also need the small.  Here is a small yard structure made from card stock and Grandt line castings.  

Adding details

Friday, January 22, 2016

Switching Layout Ops.

Now that I put the cart in front of the horse, or laying track for a switching layout without thinking about the mechanics of it all, comes Lance Mindheim's "How to Operate a Modern Era Switching Layout".   I think, so far I did alright blasting ahead like I did after a quick look at his book that arrived today.
I think, Lance may have redeemed himself with me with this book.  I've questioned the value of his pubs in the past, especially the book on 8 Realistic Track Plans.  I felt it very light for the cost and nothing really earth shaking.  Seemed the layouts had the same basic concept done 8 ways.  I may have been too harsh, give that I forwarded a design for a friend that utilized one of his track plans, with some minor revisions.  But still, I will be the last person to ever say Lance is not at the top of his game and has much, much more to offer us in the future.  Just remember Lance, use up all those pages...noting more annoying than blank space :)   Looks like another Oregon Winter weekend, ie, driving rain and snow in the hills around us, so I plan on taking time and digging into this tome and figuring out what I can do to make my shelf layout that much better.

A good investment in research materials is the Model Railroader Magazine Digital Archives.  Coupled with their search engine, it is possible to look up articles on switching layouts and ops there, read the actual articles on line (or print) at your leisure.  You have to buy a subscription to the parent magazine, but get that digital as well.  I've taken to printing the pages I want to keep and filing them so I don't need to dig through stacks of magazines for content I need.  I subscribed to both the digital archives and the video archives at the same time and eventually dropped the latter.  I'm not a fan of their video productions as they tend to focus on making the staff member the star of the show instead of the subject...but it is what it is.   I regret ever subscribing to the video content because I get almost daily emails wanting me to re up and calls almost daily as well from call centers in Milwaukee.  I don't answer so I can only assume that's what they are. 

Anyway, my goal is to come up with a Car Card system that is not too detailed.  I doubt I have anything that would warrant friends coming over to do "Ops" at the moment, so I only need the basics.  More to follow.