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)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Days of Wonder - Ticket to Ride; France & The Wild West

I ran across the most recent addition to the Ticket to Ride family from Days of Wonder. Like the rest of the Ticket to Ride games this one uses the core rules from Ticket to Ride with a twist. You do not lay your train cars right away to claim a line, you must first lay the roadbed. When its your turn again and if it is still open you may claim the line. You also choose the color of the roadbed, so there are some interesting strategies around the claiming of lines. Another interesting aspect is that you can cut off other lines that have yet to have roadbed laid on them and in this way cut off access to other cities. I'm looking forward to the strategies that this is going to create.

I haven't had a chance to look at the Wild West game which resides on the flip side of the France board. I'll cover that in a different post.

Monday, January 29, 2018

State of the Blog 2018

I did a much better job keeping the post level up in 2017 despite a seemingly endless progression of events trying to stop me. I did fall below my goal of 12 posts per month in September, November and December though but overall the post count was up hitting a cool 150 posts for the year.

Like most of us I still have to many projects going at one time. I have a definite tendency to flit from project to project without really getting anything completed (the "oh shiney" syndrome). One of the things that distracted me was a greater interest in the revolutionary war period when my wife and I discovered the John Adams mini series (which I highly recommend, we watched on Amazon through our Prime account, but read the book too) and Turn; Washington's spies series (about the Culper spy ring in New York which we have binge watched on Netflix twice now, also highly recommended). I must say that every time I watch a series like this I get madder and madder at the American educational system for just popping right over such an important time in our nation's history.

I have picked up a renewed interest in getting the model railroads going again, which has probably been pretty obvious in the posts over the last month. I have completely rethought the design for the On30 railroad which will have to be transportable and storable. I think I have also found a good space for my rendition of the "Patch" in one of the spare rooms although the track plan will have to be adjusted. The house is older, built in the early 60s, and the bedrooms are quite small. One has been converted into a library to house the large collection of books which never quite seem to make it back to the shelves and the old master bedroom will remain as a guest bedroom, that leaves one other small room that measures all of about 10x8 and has to maintain some of its existing functionality, but a small shelf layout at the right height will fit along two sides.

So projects that will probably see the most work coming up in 2018 are as follows;
C&N Railroad Project
LA Warehouse District Project
28mm AWI Project (Still settling on a rule system but a variation of Regimental Fire and Fury seems to be a good fit)
28mm WWII Project
28mm Calamity, Wild West Project
15mm Cold War Project (Team Yankee)

There are boxes of stuff on the shelves filled with miniatures for other projects but I think these are the ones that will see the most work in the coming year. Of course I'm sure there will be some additions to the Clue game collection as well!

To date the the blog has entertained 93,777 unique visitors who have viewed 563,740 pages with the the Genghis Con XXXIII competition post leading the way with 25,066 page views. There are currently 213 followers and I thank each and every one of you for your interest and hopefully I can keep you coming back. I have managed to keep the blog going at a pretty steady pace for six years and plan on doing the same in the seventh.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

LA Warehouse District Project - Track Plan, First Draft

Here is a somewhat incomplete look at the first draft of the LA Warehouse District track plan. Its not an original design. The original can be found in the 2005 Model Railroad Planning titled "Lots of Switching, small space" by Scot Osterweil.

As original drawn it was intended to fill a 1' x 6' shelf and use 40' freight cars. Since I have more room than that I wanted to redraw it using #6 turnouts, and use 50' freight cars, rather than the original Peco short and medium turnouts it was designed with. I'm unhappy with it at this point because I'm can't quite make the back two turnouts work the way I want them to. Also, while I have tried, its difficult to draw an accurate turnout even following the NMRA guidelines which means I'm not sure that I have the frog angles correct which skews the drawing. I need to figure out a better way to do this part since it really needs to be reasonably accurate if I'm going to be able to translate it to the actual layout with confidence. It looks like it will fit, but I have a lot more space available on the left side and I haven't even begun to think about the other leg of the L. A fiddle yard might just be the way to go here and not worry about using it for anything but a delivery device for the main leg of the L.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

LA Warehouse District Project - Old Freight Cars Uncovered

Again while rummaging through the HO scale equipment I came across these four 50' freight cars that I had weathered quite a while back. Unfortunately I must have packed the the underframes and the trucks away in a different box. All I have here are the shells. I am still pleased with these early attempts at weathering. I think I have at least one post on how I did it that I'll have to go back and read to figure out what I did.

I also dug up the two CF7s that will be the primary motive power and another dozen or so freight cards from Athearn and Roundhouse that I can work on. I'm pretty certain there is yet another box of refrigerator cars that I had started some work on as well.

I'm going to need to do something about the roof walk on this one.

This one is looking pretty good.

A foreign car that will operate on the layout. The Western Pacific still exists in the time frame of my LA Warehouse District

Another foreign car. This one will be pushing it a bit, I think this Reefer from the Burlington was introduced after the time frame I have in mind. But I like the yellow contrast of this car to the AT&SF ones that will provide the bulk of the deliveries.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

LA Warehouse District Project - Return of the Monster Modelworks Brick Freight house

I have been scribbling designs for the LA Warehouse District layout as well. I dug through all the HO stuff and found that the Brick Freight house from Monster Modelworks was still intact. I know I wasn't pleased with the mortar lines using the dullcote technique so it got set aside. I decided to take another crack at it last night.

Here is where I stopped:

This is the truck side of the building

The rail served side

I airbrushed the whole building with Reaper's Mahogany Brown for the initial brick color:

I then dry brushed, in a somewhat random pattern, with Reaper's Rust Brown to add a bit of orange to some of the bricks.

I then tried a different technique and it is quite apparent that I need a lot more practice with it. I mixed in some ashes grey pigment (and old MiG product) with Isopropyl alcohol to form a wash and applied it over the whole building. Some areas look good, some not so good and I think I'm going to have to figure out a way to fix the whole thing. I think the concept is good, but its hard to keep the pigment in suspension while you are doing the work. I think I can just dry brush over the heaviest areas and tone it down and it will look fine.

Friday, January 12, 2018

C&N Railroad Project - Pen to Paper...Again

So it was a little bit of back to the drawing board for the C&N mostly because during a sleepless night I realized that I was probably biting off way more than I could chew. While I love the thought of being able to fill a room with a railroad the fact that it would have to put up and taken down on a regular basis was a bit disheartening. I have been looking at a lot of different ways to build light weight benchwork with the storage thought mind and the different methods available tend to weigh to the expensive side as well.

Instead I was, once again, pulled back to one of the original plans that inspired me to get into model railroading back in 1974. And issue of Railroad Modeler (January 1974) featured a small HOn3 layout by John Olsen (at that time a very young John Olsen!). It, in turn, was inspired by a section of trackplan that appeared sometime in Model Railroader called the Sagatukett River RR. by Robert Silas it featured a railroad puzzle called Maximum Switching - Minimum Space ( I have a copy of this plan in a Kalmbach book titled: "Track Planning Ideas from Model Railroader, 58 track plans from past issues" published in 1981). While I'm not a huge fan of puzzles this one has always intrigued me and I took a stab at converting it to something that could work for the C&N.

In the original track plan the small town is called Equinox, on the C&N this will become Sunset. Point in fact the town of Sunset on the C&N did feature a wye with a station in the middle and a stream flowing under two legs of the wye. To orient, the leg on the top of the page would lead to Boulder, the leg to the left would go to Ward and to the right Eldora. Trains originate from Boulder, those going to Ward would take the left leg and pick up passengers on the east side of the station, those trains going to Eldora would take the right leg and back into the station as well, each facing in the appropriate direction. 

Like I mention this is my first stab at this. I have already started to redraw it because of the need to still use the 23x45" modules and a couple of the turnouts were falling directly across the module lines. I'm adding a passing siding, one because Sunset did have a passing siding on the north side of the station and two to make the puzzle a little easier to manage and a bit less frustrating to work. I would like my wife to continue her interest in model railroads after all.

On a side note I think I also found a location that could be used for my LA Warehouse district. Its still narrow but would be L-shaped with a 10' 5" long leg and a 5' 5" short leg. That would also be something fun to get up and running.

The first of what will probably be several drafts. I cut slips of paper to represent freight cars and engines to ensure that what I though might fit will really fit. The size on the #5 turnouts are based on the templates from Fast Tracks.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Citizens of Calamity - The Prospector - Reaper

While I have been working on the Knuckleduster miniatures I discovered this Reaper miniature hanging around on my desk. He literally just needed his scarf painted so he is finally finished. I have no idea how long he has been sitting there waiting (at least 2 years I reckon) for that but he is ready to base now!

59016: Coot Jenkins, Prospector
Bob Ridolfi

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Citizens of Calamity - Swede - Knuckleduster

Here is the first of the Gunfighters' Ball line from Knuckleduster that I was able to finish off. Well almost finish off. His hat still needs some touch up and I'm sure I can find a couple of other things wrong (like that huge mold line that I missed). But since he is just the bystander type he is "good enough".

I must admit those that these new 3D sculpts from Knuckleduster are really nice!

GBB - 1 Swede

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Kickstarter Rewards - Girl Genius; The City of Lightning

This is volume 16 in the Girl Genius series and it is the same high quality as the rest! I do love the work of Kaja and Phil Foglio in this series. I haven't been able to keep up with the series but I'm certainly looking forward to catching up with this book! I have reduced myself to just getting the basic package anymore though, I just don't need all the extra little knick knacks that always makes their Kickstarters run late.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Citizens of Calamity - Gunfighter's Ball - Citizen Pack

Since I did get in on the Kickstarter for Knuckleduster's Gunfighters' Ball I decided that I should try painting up some of the ones I did have on hand. I had bought a specific pack of Bystanders but I don't see that on the website anymore. The six that I have are (and apparently the first six they produced):
GBB - 3 Carpetbagger
GBB - 5 Lawyer
GBB - 6  Pa
GBB - 2 Sally
GBB - 4 School Marm
GBB - 1 Swede
They are all currently available as singles. The quality is excellent and the two female figures are far better than earlier Knuckleduster females.

I had already cleaned these up (although not very well I discovered as I started to paint them) so I went in with some brush on primer and started the skin tones. Unfortunately none of the pictures are particularly good, all do better on the next batch.

Lawyer, Swede and Sally

Carpetbagger, Pa and School Marm


Initial Skin tones

A bit lighter for the ladies