Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Friday, March 16, 2018

AWI Project - First Unit In Progress

I had some time to actually break out paints last night and I had all these AWI Continentals ready to go so I decided that I should start on them. I need to get the painting skills back to snuff for my Reaper Con competition entries so I figured doing 32 figures or so should at least restore most of my brush control.  I'm pretty pleased with the progress so far. I finished the pants and waistcoats and started on the coats. Didn't always remember to take pictures of each step but I have a few of them recorded.

I also acquired a new little box of tools from Lowe's a month or so ago. It has a nice x-acto style knife with a thick handle and an interchangeable head for small and large blades. A nice pair of bent nosed tweezers and a bunch of small screwdriver bits. Should come in handy as I contemplate starting to tear apart the 4-6-0 and steal the boiler to go on the 2-8-0 (if I ever manage to acquire one that is).

First AWI unit. Perry plastics to go along with the first four test minis that I finished last year.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

C&N Railroad Project - Photographic Research Initial Results

The internet is a wonderful thing when libraries have spent some serious time digitizing their photographic collections. I was able to track down 12 of the 17 photographs fairly quickly using the online catalogs at the Carnegie Branch of the Boulder Library and the Western History Collection of the Denver Public Library.

I found three versions of one of the images under three different call numbers at the Carnegie Branch. I believe they are different prints from the same glass negative as the cropping is slightly different in each one. The last one with a "T" in the lower left corner is the location of the school house so I'm certain this is definitely a copy that came in as part of another collection of photographs.

When blown up, I think this is probably the best version of the three.

The ones I'm still looking for are the Sturtevant photographs on pages 72, 142, 339 and 390 and one McClure photograph on page 187. This missing McClure photograph surprises me since the page indicates that it came from the Denver Public Library and I'm almost certain that I have see it somewhere before. I do have a McClure book of photographs and maybe it was in there. I'll have to see if I can find that one in the depths of the basement.

I'm please with the progress of the search so far.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

C&N Railroad Project - A photographic tour of Sunset.

I always have the best of intentions of riding something to completion. Of course once I started to start the, more or less, final draft of Sunset for the Colorado and Northwestern I literally ran out of time to sit down and draw. I did, however, manage to pull out my two primary sources for that I will be using. The first is the "Switzerland Trail of America" by Forest Crossen and the second is an article in Bulletin No. 65 of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society which was published in October of 1944. In is an article by M.C. Poor on the Denver, Boulder and Western which contains a lot of the back history for the Colorado & Northwestern. In fact I think this article is also used in Crossen's book for the early history of the railroad. Crossen's book was published originally in 1962, the second edition in 1978 and the paperback edition in 1992.

I have have a second edition printing that I literally wore out and another that is in almost mint condition. I also have the paperback edition which has an awful binding and a good chunk of the center pages are falling out (although

The task was to locate and note all the pictures of Sunset the can be found in the book (which really is the bible for fans of this railroad). Most of the pictures are pretty good but there are some that aren't very good. My goal is to take the 17 pictures that I found and see if I can locate something closer to the original in the local libraries. Most of the photos were taken by "Rocky Mountain" Joe Sturtevant, but there are a few from LC McClure and a few other local photographers. Tracking some of those down will probably be next to impossible.

While I'm only loosely modeling Sunset, especially since the plan is already basically in place, I do want to get a feel for the terrain so that it at least resembles the area. As I pointed out previously the key points are the trestles and the station. These photographs are the best I can do to get an idea of how these should look.

Here are the photos I'll be trying to find:
Nice view of the trestle and the station

This is an over exposed photo, it would be nice to find a better copy of it

This one has a view of the water tank on the far side of the trestles that cross the creek

Nice view of one side of the station

These long views help give a sense of the terrain

Another photo that is a bit blown out. It would be nice to see the side of the station

A nice overall shot of Sunset. Most of the buildings actually run up the gully to the right near the square building on the upper right side of the picture

This one is from the west side so you are looking east, more or less, towards Boulder.

Another long view

A really nice view of the top of the water tank. Sunset is to the left side of the picture and you can just make out the branch to Ward on the left as well

Here you can see how Sunset goes up the gully

Another view from the west side, not much is visible but its a good shot of the hotel

This is another one I would love to get a better copy of

Another good one, you can see the side of the station and its good shot of the somewhat unusual cabooses used by the C&N

Not really a vital shot, but certainly a nice to have

Another good higher view looking to the west. Similar to one of the other shots above.

Those are the pictures, now I just need to see what can be found out there.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

C&N Railroad Project - Approaching the Final Draft

I have mulled over the plan for the Colorado & Northwestern for the past couple of months now and I think I'm pretty happy with the basic configuration. Its time to pull out the big graph paper and really sit down and get started on something closer to a final track plan.

There are a couple of key elements that I want to be sure to be sure to include. First is the wye. Its already an integral part of the plan but at Sunset two of the legs cross the creek (four mile creek I think, I'll have to look that up again) on trestles, so that's a scenic must have feature. The station sat in the center of the wye, again already part of the plan. Oddly enough the water tank was located on the other side of the creek just before crossing over, so that will be a nice detail for that part of the scenic portion of the layout.

I will need to work on the plans for the station. I have tried to duplicate it in the past in HO and the hipped roof just drives me a bit crazy trying to reproduce it. The lack of anyway to get dimensions hinders me a bit too. I will just have to go for "it looks right" and not worry about it so much. There is one surviving C&N station up in Ward. I should just take a trip up there and see if I can get some basic measurements off of that. It doesn't have the hipped roof like Sunset and Salina but I think the dimensions are pretty similar to the one at Sunset.

I have the basic outline for the new draft done, just need to find some time to pull the drafting tools back out and see if I can make it come together again. The key is really making sure that the "T" portion provides enough area to make sure the multitude of tracks that cross the module breaks not going to cause derailments. That certainly has more to do with actual construction than drawing, just something to be aware of.

The basic outline ready for some track to be drawn in. This is drawn at 1/8" = 1" and will also be used to build the model. I'm not sure when time will allow layout construction but I can probably find time to build a concept model.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Kickstarter; War & Empire III "Dark Ages"

This is phase III of the War and Empire project and I must say they have been very successful with the first two. This one has been going great guns but if you want to get in on it you need to move fast as its coming down to the last 48 hours now.

War & Empire III

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Farewell Peyton

Tough day yesterday. We had to put down one of the dogs. We acquired Peyton, a flat-coat retriever,  border collie mix, when my wife's mother passed away in 2016 and her dad was in rehab. So he wasn't a dog we picked out and brought home, just one that needed a loving home. About a 2 months ago he was diagnosed with lymphoma which at times made him look like he had the mumps. He never let us know if he was hurting though and he was a pretty happy dog right till the end. Always willing, and even demanding, to play fetch anytime someone walked out the back door. Three straight days without being willing or even able to eat was him telling us he was ready. Alas, we have had our last game of fetch, farewell Peyton you may not have been the one we picked but you were certainly one we loved.
Sleeping with his buddy, Larry the cat, who also came to us when my wife's mom passed.

A little thinner but still alert

Holding his own with the big dogs. Peyton weighed in at 70 pounds at his best, still 30 pounds less than the Pyrs (each of them are 100+ but you never tell anyone what a girl weighs).

Something certainly has his attention.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Research - Freight Car Fleet Development; ATSF - Part 3

At this point I have gone as far as I want to go into the details of the Santa Fe boxcar fleet for this period. I still have some things that I haven't been able to identify but there is enough information that I can buy boxcars with confidence.

The thing I found most interesting is that the 50' cars only made up a little more than half the numbers, the 40' cars were pretty close behind.

There were approximately 7600(+) 40' boxcars still in service in '74-'75 and the bulk of that (6388) were made up of 17 types. Among these are three series that I can seem to pin down; 22232-22424, 33500-35999 and 50000-50309. The known types are (from largest to smallest): Bx-60, Bx-85, Bx-63. Bx-62, Bx-126, Bx-85, Bx-57, Bx-59, Bx-11/12 (rebuilds), Bx-136, Bx-13, Bx-115, Bx-136 and Bx-153.

There were approximately 8900(+) 50' boxcars in service for '74-'75 and the bulk of that (6955) were made up of 26 types. There are a lot more series here that I can't identify; 4100-4399, 48050-48549, 8000-8999, 48601-48999, 49501-49899, 47550-47849, 9700-9998, 47850-48409, 13500-13999, 42750-42949,  49300-49499, 4100-4399, 62000-62299. The known types are (from largest to smallest): Bx-72, Bx-81, Bx-69, Bx-145, Bx-74, Bx-75, Bx-66, Bx-70, Bx-79, Bx-154, Bx-163, Bx-61, Bx-82, Bx-64, Bx-178 and Bx-170.

I'll cast about for the missing series and see what I can come up, but the next step is really trying to figure out what boxcar types are actually commercially available. That might take even more effort since manufacturers typically don't indicate which Santa Fe boxcar type they are selling. Should be interesting.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Research - "Listing of Freight Cars by Class and Car Number 1906-1991"

This book took forever to arrive. I think it too took them 12 days to actually get into the mail to me. That is a problem with some of these third party book guys on Amazon. So this is the kind of book that only a researcher would enjoy. Which means I find it fascinating! Just a lot of numbers in columns and rows. This should be the last piece of the puzzle I need to finish off the research on the Santa Fe Boxcars trying to figure out which were the most common types and how many I should set my sites on. I'm thinking about 50 freight cars of various types for the layout right now, with maybe 15-25 active on the layout at any given point. Will see how that goes.

A page that only a researcher could love.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Research - Freight Car Fleet Development; ATSF - Part 2

I started with a spreadsheet and translated all the boxcar data from the Railway Registry PDF into something that I could manipulate and add more data too. There are almost 300 different boxcar series listed in the Registry so it was a bit of painstaking task to get it all in there and I'm sure there are a few mistakes. I actually caught some typos in the original manuscript just to through a bit of a twist into the research.

The first thing I did was take the Shock Control Era book and compare the numeric series with those on the spreadsheet and add a couple columns for the boxcar identification and the year it went into service. I am not concerned with the year it went out of service if it existed on the 1975 Railway Registry then its fair game for inclusion on the layout. This gave me the type for just over 1/3 of the list (122 series to be precise), which represents 60 different boxcar types that were built or rebuilt on or after 1954. The rest were built prior to that date and of course the reference book for that is out of print and going for $100+ when you can find it. Once the other reference book, "Santa Fe Railway Listing of Freight Cars by Class and Car Numbers, 1906-1991", arrives I should be able to find the  the rest of the boxcars classes on the list. Of those already identified I can eliminate anything longer than a 50' car (the layout is being designed around the brick canyon, which will limit freight cars to 50' or less) and any car exclusive to the automobile industry. I can further eliminate cars that are rare as they were unlikely to have appeared in the Patch section of the LA Warehouse District unless they happen to provide service to an industry in that area.

At this point in time there is still a significant number of 40' boxcars on the roster. These consist primarily of Bx-85s,  Bx-136s, Bx-126s and Bx-115s. Not surprisingly the 50' boxcars make up the majority of the roster at this point.The most numerous are Bx-72s, Bx-69s, Bx-66s, Bx81s, Bx-74s, Bx-145s, and Bx-70s. Now, admittedly, the data is not complete but it gives me start on what I can find commercially. Of course manufacturer's don't make this easy, rarely do you find the Santa Fe's class listed on the side of a boxcar. So that will take a little more digging up than I care to think about.

Santa Fe Bx-85, 40' boxcar

Santa Fe Bx-115, a 40' boxcar

Santa Fe Bx-126, a 40' boxcar

Santa Fe Bx-136, a 40' boxcar

Santa Fe Bx-69, a 50' boxcar
Santa Fe Bx-81, a 50' boxcar

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Research - Freight Car Fleet Development; ATSF and C&N

One of the things the model railroaders and miniature gamers share is a love of research. I have this need to get things as close to being right as possible, at least in some areas. Both hobbies require a certain amount of "compression" because of space and we have to adjust what is available to us to fit inside that window of what is right and what is practical. In miniature wargaming we adjust the size of forces to fit the action, because we can't deploy and entire battalion 1 for 1 on table top battlefields, we must compress the forces to fit the table but still be able to have the capabilities of a battalion. 

Model railroaders face the same compression needs. We don't have the space to model the entire railroad nor do I have the means or the will to model every freight car that the ATSF owned. So I must take the information and compress it so that the freight fleet I develop has the look and feel of the ATSF without modeling the entire fleet. The LA Warehouse district is set in the 1970s, I'm feeling that 1975 feels about right so that's the "feel" I want to hit. On the flip side I could model the C&N almost car for car. There were only about 25 Boxcars, 4 Gondolas, 4 Flats, 40 Ore Cars and 2 Cabooses, along with a selection of passenger cars. That could be accomplished although its far larger number than I would need for the small layout I have planned. I could even manage the entire stable of steam locomotives. I would need four 2-8-0s (almost impossible to acquire on the market these days), one 2-6-0 and one 2 Truck Class B Shay. I could never hope to acquire the number of diesels I would need for the ATSF in 1975. But I digress.

While the C&N freight car fleet is easy, even easier when you consider that it didn't actually do interchange business the ATSF freight fleet is a bit more difficult. Again the goal is to make it feel "right" which means not doing the "rare" cars but sticking to the more common cars that would be seen everyday. So I have acquired a couple of research items to try and make this happen. The first was a CD from Tap Lines that I acquired off of Amazon. It contains 11 PDF files of "The Official Railway Equipment Register".  It included both 1972 and 1975 so I thought that would be a could purchase. This register shows a complete inventory of the freight cars of, almost, every railroad in the United States. My thoughts are that I can work out the proportion of the different box and refrigerator cars that would appear in 1975 on the layout. While I haven't worked out the industries I want to include I'm thinking that it would be mostly box and refrigerator cars so I'm going working on those numbers first.

The second are some books from the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society, Inc.. During the first thoughts about the LA Warehouse District I acquired their "Mechanical Refrigerator Cars and Insulated Refrigerator Cars of the Sana Fe Railway 1949-1988", reference book. It has the kind of detail that I can really get into. The next two are recent acquisitions; "Santa Fe Box Cars The Shock Control Era 1954-1995" and "Santa Fe Railway Listing of Freight Cars by Class and Car Numbers, 1906-1991". I'm still waiting for the second book (which is out of print) to arrive. Which brings up a point, if you are going to produce a series of reference volumes why do you let them go out of print? I was able to find the Listing of Freight Cars on Amazon but there is another volume that I want that has been out of print for a long time; "Santa Fe Boxcars; 1869-1953" published in 2001 and out of print for long enough that it has become a collector's item.

So between the various reference works I should be able to figure out what ATSF box and refrigerator freight car types would appear and in what numbers and I can work out the percentages and narrow down my purchasing requirements to get the ATSF "feel" that I'm looking for.

I like the spiral binding, the book lays nice and flat.

Lots of information on the different type, including the series numbers but not the quantities. That's where the Official Registry comes into play.