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)

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Planning the next RR project

After posting about the 4 projects currently sitting on the desk I decided the best way to break out of the creative doldrums is to start an entirely different project! These days my thoughts run more towards trains than gaming. I haven't really been able to do more than think about scenes for the model railroads lately. Lot's of doodling going on. It kind of hit more over the weekend that I don't need to wait for space for the layout comes available I can build a photography scene now.

This definitely requires some thought. I have two layouts that I want to build. There is the Wynkoop Street Warehouse Row the 20" by 14' switching layout in HO that will reside in the library room (former bedroom). That's very much an urban layout. The second is the Colorado & Northwestern in On30 which is really going to be a very freelanced mountain railroad. There are a couple of designs floating around for that one and I'm leaning towards the looping figure 8 so I can let the trains run as opposed the very linier Warehouse row. The C&N is definitely the farthest out on the timeline. Not to mention that Calamity is still in the works, I'm not giving up on the particularly endeavor either.

A scenic photo "module" would help me really scratch the building itch and let me explore techniques that will come in handy later. With that in mind though I need a G&D (Givens and Druthers) list otherwise it will get out of hand and it will also deliberately extend the planning process so I don't go rushing into the build phase. This scene will be heavily influenced by a couple of different harbor scenes I have been following in the MRH forum. Let's get to the G&D list.

1. Non-operating - It is not the intent to make this an operating module. Trackwork, obviously still needs to "work" but it doesn't need to be wired up or require a track plan.

2. Water. Enough that suggests that the scene is a water front area, not just a stream or a river.

3. Car float. I won't be building one of these for the layouts so this would stretch my modeling skills a bit and is, likely, to be the only car float I would ever build. Plus Research!

4. Transfer bridge. If there is a car float then there needs to be a transfer bridge and apron for it to dock to. More Research!

5.Tugboat. I'm on the fence with this one. A tugboat is necessary to move the car float. I would like to build one but space is a consideration and this might be that step to far.

6. Seawall, pilings and other bits of scenery necessary to reflect the harbor scene.

7. Background buildings. Not quite sure if there will be an actual backdrop (perhaps one that is removable) or not but shallow background buildings will be a must to create the idea of bustling harbor scene. This would be something I could use to experiment with lighting. Both shallow buildings and lighting are going to be important for Warehouse Row. These should also be removable so I can swap things out.

8. Foreground buildings. There should be room for a few foreground buildings. Again another chance to experiment with wiring. Like the background buildings these should be removable so I can swap them out.

9. Pier with railroad tracks. I don't know if something like this existed or not, but it shows up on a number of track plans by Iain Rice and I think it would look pretty cool, so if there is space I'll do it.

10. Streets should mostly be concrete, but I want a couple of areas with cobblestones covered with asphalt. Again this will serve as practice for Warehouse Row. Photo graphs of Wynkoop Street circa 1960 definitely show cobblestones between the tracks and in some areas where the asphalt has degraded into potholes.

11. Timeframe can be somewhat variable but probably a hard stop at 1960-61. If buildings and other features can be swapped out then they can be matched to the era. Not sure if I want to venture into the steam era but it would be nice to have the option.

12. Interesting sightlines! Keep the camera in mind and close by when thinking about where things will go.

13. The size is defined. This will be hard and fast at least for the length and depth. It will be 18" deep and 40" long. Height is a variable element since I could adjust the heights of the shelves it will live on. Removable buildings will help this too.

In order to avoid wasting time and making to many mistakes I will be building a model of the harbor scene in 3/16" scale. Big enough to work with but not to big to be overwhelming. I have gone ahead and started messing around with the foundation of the model.

Grabbed the graph paper and started looking around the workroom to see where this thing could live. Hence the 18" x 40" dimension.

I have five background kits from Walthers. This is the smallest of the bunch and probably my favorite. I'm going to use this one for sure along the back. Its about 12" long and maybe 1 1/2" deep.

Here are the components. I'm not sure I have ever really looked at the parts until now. It has everything needed to build the background structure including two full sprues for the window glass. There is enough to put glass into two full versions of this building. The green sprue is all the windows and doors. Its the full sprue for the full building kit. I'm going to have a lot of left over windows and doors from this one. The arched windows may come in very handy for other projects down the line. We all need a box of random parts anyway.

Started working on a piece of gatorboard. I cut out the base to the full dimensions plus 1" all the way around it. Not sure why but it seemed like a good idea when I cut it.

Added a few lines just to better figure out what's going on. There are two rules in the photo. The small one on the right is for measuring, the heavier one at the top I use for cutting. When I start  a project I will keep using the same ruler through out the build. I use the small one here because that heavy ruler is 18" long and a bit unwieldly. The triangle is to make sure that I'm at least close to square when I start the project.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday Thoughts

 Somewhat ironic:

"If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power."

Dwight D Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, Republican

Thursday, February 22, 2024

February Doldrums

I'm sure you can tell that February has not seen a lot of production from me. Its been a stressful month for a number of different reasons. I think the biggest was the whole Hippo episode. I'm glad I was able to get it done and delivered to my brother but I didn't get to enjoy the process and I didn't get to do everything I really wanted to do. He was more than a little demanding about the whole thing and said a couple of things that really upset me quite a bit. It happens in families sometimes and I'll get over it.

It did affect my desire to work on anything this month not that I lack for things to do. I currently have 3 projects (it could be stretched to 4) on my bench that I need to do something with. Finish is probably the word I'm looking for.

#1 - The Church. The church is at that awkward stage. There is light at the end of the tunnel with this one but what is left is tedious. I need to finish getting the stained glass in the windows. I need to get all the corner strips cut and glued into place and finishing textures applied. The roof, at least, is in place but there is a lot of paint work going on there. Enough that I'll probably pull out the airbrush to get the base coat on and then get the final weathering on the whole thing finished after that. I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't another 10-15 hours left to go.
So close and yet so far.

#2 - HO Scale Minis. There are 13 of these guys just waiting to be finished off. Just need to pull out the blues again and it should be reasonably quick. Maybe a couple of hours here.

#3 - O Scale Minis. There are 7 of these guys in exactly the same state as the HO minis. I stretching this into project number 3 since I really paint them all at the same time.

Just crying out to be finished even though I don't have either an HO or O scale layout at this time.

#4 - O Scale Gunsmith. The reasons I want to do this are mixed. This is a kit my wife actually started with just to see if its something she would enjoy doing. She decided it was not something she liked and further commented that the instructions required a translator (she is an IT person and while she is a director now she began her career pulling network cables, setting up servers and pcs). I consider this particular kit to be pretty basic. Its the Gunsmith kit from Stoney Creek Models and was part of the Crossroads Collection which Roger Malinowski envisioned as kits that he would keep available as opposed to his annual limited run kits. The reason I have pulled this out is because I recently learned that Roger had passed away from cancer. I have seen this announced on any of the model railroad forums that I frequent. I decided that I was going to build every Stoney Creek kit that I own, about a dozen, even though I don't currently have a layout for them to live on. This is the obvious first candidate since it has already been started. I plan to add an interior to this since there is the potential it might occupy real-estate that's right up front. While it has been started I wouldn't be surprised to see this one eat up another 20 hours or so of time to build and finish.
I think its been sitting in this box for about 6 years at this point.

Again its not that I lack any projects to work on. I just can't quite get up the enthusiasm to work on anything at the moment.