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, April 27, 2018

C&N Railroad Project - O Scale Miniatures - The Aspen Modeling Company

You can just see how small the AWI troops look even with the mini still in the package!
I can say enough about how quickly Alan packed and shipped this order to me. I really appreciate it especially when I have $250 worth of games still in "packing" status with another company. He also dropped me a note asking for a bit more information on the pictures of potential miniatures I had sent him. He was a least receptive to the ideas, unlike Knuckleduster which while polite said that they weren't really going to do much with that part of the business. Its to bad because it could really be a good market for them.

I ordered three O-Scale miniatures to try out: #O-03 Brakeman, #O-42 Man with Dog, and #O-66 Photographer.
Man with Dog
While there appears to be a fair amount of resin flash, it is easily cleaned up. There are a couple of rough areas the needed some green stuff work on the Brakeman and the photographer.
A little squadron green stuff to fill a gap in the resin

About what I expect from resin miniatures and nothing terrible difficult to deal with. Mold lines were pretty light and easily dealt with as well.

For those that still think 1/48 scale is a reasonable substitute for 28mm miniatures here is a comparison shot with the Prospector from Reaper Miniatures.

Reaper Miniatures Prospector on the left, Aspen Modeling Company Brakeman on the right. Reaper miniatures are on the large side already and even he looks small.
While they are not exactly on equal footing, the prospector only comes up to about the brakeman's shoulder, so they are quite a bit larger and won't really work well together unless you are populating your wild west games with 7' tall individuals.

For the C&N they should be perfect, the brakeman fits right in, the other two have clothing that's a bit more modern looking than my period, but I don't think that will be an issue after they have been painted. I have managed to get two of them ready for priming yesterday, but I still need to finish working on the man with dog. I am going to mount them on bases for now as its probably going to be a while before Sunset will be ready for them.

The photographer and camera. The camera needed a little work, but looks pretty good

Brakeman and Photographer ready for a little paint.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

C&N Railroad Project - O Scale Miniatures - A bit of a rant

I guess I'm pretty spoiled at this point with the quality of tabletop gaming miniatures. I have been playing miniature games since the late 70s and I have enjoyed, and taken advantage of, the near continuous increase in variety and quality of miniature offerings through the years whether they are in metal or plastic. Yesterday I spent a chunk of my morning looking for what is available in O Scale to populate the C&N with and quite frankly I expected a whole lot better than what I found. Poor to average sculpting, completely inaccurate proportions, to thin or to thick, complete lack of detail. No wonder so many narrow gauge O gaugers do such heavy modifications to their miniature populations and why layouts are so sparsely populated. If you model a more modern period there are better miniatures available in O scale but the best of what I can find doesn't come close to some of the work being done in the tabletop gaming world.

Now I model a bit of an obscure time frame but if you look at period photographs most of the apparel worn in the 1900 - 1920 period works for at least 10 years prior (and maybe 20) and probably forward through the 1930s. The styles don't seem to have changed significantly during that 50 year time frame and even then changes in fashion were slow to reach the western US.

The station at Ward Colorado. Just in this first photo you can see a wide variety of mens' hats including the classic newsboy, fedoras, bowlers, cowboy, and what looks like montanas as well. Men in jackets and waistcoats, just jackets, just waistcoats but in general everyone is fairly well dressed. I see tall boots and dress shows, knickers and pants. The fireman standing on the far left of the photo (which I believe is Bill Tipps who would move up to engineer) is wearing a bowler, necktie, long sleeved shirt and overalls.

An excursion train on the C&N, probably at Mont Alto. This is a good shot for women and children. Check out all the young boys hanging off the locomotive's running board. All the women have hats, most have white blouses and all have long skirts, mostly plain but a couple of patterns as well. Note the grumpy gentleman seated in the front row near the right side of the photograph, looks like he is the group's curmudgeon.

I still need to model this caboose, it is certainly one of the more interesting ones out there! It must be morning because these three guys are very clean! Three different hat styles, one worker in overalls (with necktie and waistcoat as well), another with sweater and long pants and the third all decked out in bowler, jacket and waistcoat with gloves. I love the attitude these guys give off, ready to get started for the day and happy to be there.

Fortunately there are a couple of bright spots; The Aspen Modeling Company and Knuckleduster Miniatures (one of our own!). I have a couple of horse sculpts from Aspen Modeling so I know they do quality work. Unfortunately the line is not very large right now and there are only a few that will be really useful but its a start. They also ask for suggestions so I sent them some suggestions! The order I made this morning has already been packed and shipped so those might be here by the end of the week. (I pulled the pics from Aspen's website, they are a little small).

I have seen this pair painted up, badly on another website, they look much better here. It really shows how a poor paint job can affect someone's perception of how good a miniature is.
This is one that I ordered. Looking forward to its arrival.
These two pictures really show how a good paint job and really show off a miniature.

Knuckleduster I am already familiar with. I am in on their current Kickstarter and its looking like it should deliver on time or pretty close to it. Knuckleduster has shifted to making 3D renders and then creating the masters from those. As a result their quality has shot way up since going that route. Now their O-scale offerings are from the same 3D renders scaled up to O. I'm fine with that. I do wish they would expand that line beyond just the wild west period. There are a few miniatures in there that are very usable and a bunch that probably aren't. I certainly appreciate the effort though. It would be nice if they would advertise in the railroad hobby magazines and websites and have a chance to really grow that part of their business.

I just painted this guy up for Calamity, obviously in 28mm, it looks like he scaled up just fine to O (1/48th).

Your classic conductor, good for almost an era you care to model in.

I'll probably see if I can convince Knuckleduster to do a little bit more with their line as well!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

AWI Project - First Unit In Progress - Pt VII - 1000th Post

A bit of a milestone, this quick post on the AWI Project marks my 1000th post on the blog. Seems like it has taken forever to get here! I should probably say something profound at this point but that seems like just to much effort on a snowy morning in Colorado.

Anyway over the weekend I was able to finally finish up the black on the accouterments and start working on the white crossbelts. I know it will be necessary to go back and touch up all the sloppy paint work but to this point I'm pretty pleased with this first run at those belts.

The black is finally done, on to the white!

First stick done with Reaper Linen White. I'll go back with pure white as a highlight.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Goose Watch - New Residents at Work

There has been an increase in the frequency of goose encounters at work this week. Apparently I come in to early to be noticed but the QA that comes in about half an hour later has been hissed at and several others have actually been chased by this goose. Geese are pretty aggressive birds to begin with but why has this one taken to defending the front door of the building?

Because he and his mate decided that this would be an excellent location for a nest. The next month or so should prove to be very interesting at work.

I can see how predators might have a tough time getting to this nest. Not quite sure how its going to work out for the goslings once they are hatched.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Museum Visit - Colorado Railroad Museum

If you are longtime reader you know that this is one of my favorite museums in the area to go to. Its definitely a love hate relationship though. I took my wife for her first visit and was pretty excited as I hadn't been there since the Goosefest in 2012. That was also the year the museum had acquired C&N #30 (also C&S #74 and RGS #74). It had been determined that she could not be returned to operating condition without replacing like 90% of the parts, although I would certainly love to see her run again. So I was quite excited to get to see her again.

The museum has gone through a lot of changes since 2012 and most of them for the good. The issue I have is that they restore a piece of equipment and then don't seem to be willing to follow up with regular maintenance. C&N #30 is a good case in point. Check out the photo I took in 2012 and see how she looks six years later in 2018. I'm a bit put out by that. I see it happening in a number of places around the museum grounds. Equipment that a lot of time and money was spent restoring, now just weathering away in the harsh Colorado sun.

But there are good things happening as well and the roundhouse was full of equipment that was going through restoration. The one locomotive I was looking for, RGS #20, was not to be found though. Apparently it has been sent back to Strasburg, PA for restoration to operating condition. It has been a long project but it seems it might be coming home sometime in 2018. We shall see. Currently #318 is sitting in the spot where I expected to find #20.

I couldn't really get to the geese that day, they were outside at the roundhouse but in a fenced off zone. So no really good pictures there. Still it was a good time and my wife enjoyed it which is always a plus.

Part of this trip was to try out the new camera and get ready for a vacation coming up that includes a couple of museums that I'm really looking forward to seeing. More on that at a later date. Here are some pictures from the visit though.

C&N #30 in 2012
Looking pretty out of sorts from this angle. What ever covering they have put over the boiler is looking decidedly out of place

The logo is rapidly disappearing and the paint is peeling away in a fairly straight line. 
A little correction here, this is not paint but a vinyl wrap as pointed out by Darel Leedy. Now that I look at the pictures a bit closer I can see it, I think I was so ticked off at the time I just assumed it was paint.

I don't think I have ever seen paint peel away quite like this. I would guess that the surface wasn't properly prepared for the new paint.

She was looking pretty good from this angle

At least she the steam chests are still tilted out instead of in like her two sister 2-8-0s (C&N 31 & 32, C&S 75 & 76).
Here is a look at the rest of the museum:
The Garden Railroads, both electric and live steam. There is a lot of bridges crossing that stream! I love the use of pine trees but that has to be a lot of work.

And now for the real thing:

And a little bit of rolling stock
The inside of the standard gauge UP dining car

C&S 1009 was running behind the small train that was operating that day

I think RICO was repainted in 2011 or 2012, she is in desperate need of a new coat of paint at this point.

A few random elements

A pretty good Saturday all told.