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, 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.

Friday, February 9, 2018

More Storage

Storage is always an issue for me. Between the multitude of projects, tools, paints, pigments and what not I just never seem to have enough room. We were at American Furniture Warehouse when I spotted a set of drawers made of wood instead of plastic on casters. At $30 it was cheaper than most of the plastic options out there so I decided to give it a try.

Of course it sat in the basement for months before I finally got around to actually putting it together. Construction was not complex but it was a bit more difficult than I anticipated. While there were spots where you would start the wood screws there lacked any pilot holes on the corresponding piece of wood so I was constantly struggling to make sure everything was straight. While the carcass itself was pretty simple the drawers gave me the most difficulty especially getting the back piece of the drawer in nice and straight. 

In the end I am happy with the result and I have a sturdy piece of furniture to store some stuff in. Mostly this will be holding tools, extra paints pigments and maybe some of the smaller in progress projects. The drawers are tall enough to handle all of the drop bottle paints without a problem, but my Liquitex inks are to tall.

Here are some pictures of the finished product:
Trying to free up space in these three locations into the smaller rolling storage drawers.

Plastic storage bins hold unpainted miniatures, paints, inks, bases and basing materials. I'm hoping to free up one or two of these for more miniatures.

The mess at the desk. The little paint rack on the right needs to go as does the huge paint rack in the center. The center rack is just to deep to be truly usable. Maybe just a stand up rack against the back would be the best bet.

Six drawers on casters.

All my pigments and pigment tools in one spot

My enamels fit quite nicely 

Spare paint in dropper bottles, typically extras (how does that happen?) and colors that are used in frequently

For the moment my HO Freight cars in the bottom drawer. Still looking for the rest of the parts for these.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Days of Wonder - Ticket to Ride; France & The Wild West Pt 2

The second half of the new Ticket to Ride Expansion is the Wild West which can be found on the reverse side of the board. This includes a new set of white cars to add a sixth player to the game, new destination tickets and 18 city markers (3 for each player).

Those city markers are the key to the Wild West version which features a map of the US from about the eastern edge of Colorado to the west coast. These city markers are key to this version of the game and it should make for some very interesting strategies. At the beginning of the game each player will select a starter city. The first route you claim must be from your starting city and every subsequent route must connect to your home city or to a city you have built to. Only one player's marker can reside in each city and once placed they cannot be moved. Now comes the real twist. If you build into a city controlled by another player then they score the points for claiming the route not you. Even more intriguing is if for some reason a player claims a route between two cities that are controlled by other players (or even the same player) then both players score the points (or a single player would score double). This board also introduces Ferry like those in Ticket to Ride Europe.

This is possibly one of the most interesting twists I have seen in the Ticket to Ride games and will really affect the strategy you use in both claiming routes to complete your tickets and where to locate your city markers. I'm definitely looking forward to getting a few games of this one in.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

LA Warehouse District Project - Two Potential Plans

I have been messing around with paper, pencil and compass again and I managed to work through the block I was having. First I decided that no matter what else I needed that single signature scene that attracted me to the LA Warehouse District in the first place which was the CF7 emerging from between two buildings with almost no clearance on either side (and there are warning signs to that affect!). Based on the space the only real spot for that was on the left side of the layout (quite appropriate actually) and I used that to determine where things should end up.

I have found two plans that appeal to me quite a bit. The first is Keith Jordan's version of the patch and the second is Scot Osterweil's Industrial switching layout. I modified the Osterweil plan to accommodate #6 switches and 50' cars and placed it more or less in the area of the real Patch. Jordan's plan was much easier to deal with as it is a representation of the prototype. I also discovered that I had both of these plans in a special issue from Kalmbach called "How to Build Small Model Railroads" published in the winter of 2014. That made referencing the two layouts quite a bit easier. Each plan also appears in an issue of Model Railroad Planning; the 2005 edition for the Osterweil's plan and in the 2011 edition for Jordan's Patch.

I'm sure I will dink around with this a bit more but for now I feel like I made some progress.

Based on Osterweil's Industrial Switching Layout

Based on Jordan's Patch Layout. The issue with this is there is room for lots of foreground buildings but that would make it difficult to operate but I would get even more of that "brick canyon" feel.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Citizens of Calamity - Pa and the Blacksmith

I finished off, or thought I had finished off, another one of the bystanders from Knuckleduster's Gunfighters Ball line. I also spotted the Blacksmith from their original (and still available) Classic 25mm-28mm Wild West line. I thought it would be a good contrast between the two lines. The Gunfighter's Ball line pretty much blows the Classic Wild West line right out of the water. Not really to surprising, there are some truly awful sculpts in the Classic line and some of the worst are the women. I have a couple of women from the Gunfighter line in the painting que as well so you will get a chance to see them soon (hopefully anyway). The Classic ones I should probably just take the ReaperCon and meltdown for the pewter value, that's about all they are good for.

So "Pa" from Knuckleduster:

There is nothing quite like a close up pic to let you know that you really aren't done like you thought you were. Needs some touch up on the front.

And maybe the hair should be painted in the back
 And the blacksmith from the Knuckleduster Classic Wild West line
Again, some touch up is still in order

And maybe some more work on the suspenders

And just to remember what colors I used to make Pa's vest:

Monday, February 5, 2018

Competition Project 2018 - The diorama

I have been meaning to get this diorama built for about two years now. The miniatures were primed and ready to be painted last year but this evening I actually put paint to mini. One of the little robots that will be featured is getting is "Security" red paint job. I think the other two will be engineer bots and will be basically yellow.

That's the base color, now I just have to remember what red I started to highlight him with.

Friday, February 2, 2018

LA Warehouse District Project - Motive Power and Rolling Stock

I continued to dig around and see what I have in the way of freight cars for the LA Warehouse district. I remembered that I had intended to just use the Branchline Blueprint series of boxcars but they literally discontinued as I started to buy them and they became scarce very quickly. Sometime between then and now Atlas picked up the line but near as I can tell they are not producing anything for the AT&SF. I will certainly pickup up some of the appropriate foreign roads in this line though, at least when I get that far. I'm guessing this is the reason I started to pick up some Athearn box and refrigerator cars.

The other thing I'm not quite sure of is what the proportion of 40' cars to 50' cars would or should be. I have stumbled on that one set of 40' Athearn Santa Fe cars so that might be the extent of my 40' fleet.

For motive power I'll be using the CF7s in the pictures below, both of these have the round cab, I might try and find one with the angled cab for a little bit more variety.

Still lots to think about for the freight car fleet but the motive power is pretty much set unless I back up the timeline in which case I'll need to see about finding some HH1100s.

If anyone has any of these kits for the Santa Fe I would be interested in adding a few more