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)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

LA Warehouse District - Setting the Scene - Practice Bujilding

I went ahead and ordered the DV Ros & Co. Building from ITLA Scale Models. Its basically a smaller practice building flat with a blank backwall. Just to explore their kitbashing possibilities I added in two Bricked Modular Wall Kits, one for the side and one to replace the kit's blank wall. Just taking a quick look at everything I'm pleased with the purchase and the delivery out of Canada was pretty quick as well. Here is a quick look at the components:

As it comes in all sealed up in plastic

Instructions are pretty straight forward

I have read through the instructions on how the brick is painted and I'm not sure I'm a fan. I liked the latest ones from Monster Modelworks but until the sale finishes off I can't get to those anymore. I'll have to see if I wrote down the steps in the blog the last time I worked on the brick factory.

The DV Ross building components. Again pretty straight forward and it looks good. It doesn't have quite the detail that Monster has on their brickwork but I'm not convinced that its really necessary in HO scale either.

The modular kit to replace the back wall

Certainly looks like it comes with everything you need.

And the modular kit for the sides. I could either swap these out with the existing walls or add them and get a square building. Still mulling the possibilities on that.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Jeep Stuff

After we filed our taxes this year, we checked our remaining pennies and decided that it was time for a new top for our '98 Jeep Wrangler Sport (TJ). Our big Jeeps  (2007 & 2008 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimiteds (JK)) have hard tops where the section of over the front is removable, referred to as a Freedom Top. I wanted that kind of top for the TJ. I found it at Rally Tops, and it arrived last Friday, during our vacation, via truck. It was quick too, these are built to order and we received it in 2 weeks, we were expecting it to take at least 4.

200 pounds of top arrived wrapped up in a large pallet. There is nothing quite like making a delivery driver wait while you unwrap most of it to check and make sure there is no transit damage. He was not terribly happy with me but he hadn't dropped a chunk of change on a new top either.

My wife and I removed the old soft top and had the new hard top in place in a couple of hours. We tested on a highway drive yesterday and we could now have a conversation at highway speeds (65-75 mph) without yelling at each other. I'm quite pleased with the new top so far.

Mostly as delivered, it was completely wrapped in plastic upon arrival. The front section is in the box.

Unwrapped and I can send the driver on his way.

Say good bye to the old soft top.

The TJ as its normally seen in Colorado, topless.

Front section being fitted in place, need to make sure its spaced evenly across the front.

Oh dear, we flipped the back shell over and found a pretty good scratch, definitely not transit damage. A quick call to Rally Tops and matching paint is on the way.

Both sections in place.
Remounted the brake light and we are ready to roll!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019

LA Warehouse District - Setting the Scene - Starting off

I have the track plan pretty much complete at this point. I did a variation that added a couple of more sidings but decided against it in the end. I'm not sure how well the original is going to work and I figured there really isn't a reason to make it more complicated, so I discarded that. I'll show off the trackplan when I finish making it pretty.

In the meantime I decided that I needed to set the scene a bit so I'll be constructing a few buildings to get a feel for how everything is going to look. Since I have the dimensions on the Monster Modelworks factory I started with that. I'm rather pleased with this quick little effort so I'll continue on with that as I try to break through my block on the Sledgehammer diorama.

Make a fold together model. Had to think about the little two story section on the left to keep it as simple as possible.

All folded up, not to bad.

And my initial thoughts on location  for this building.

Dressed up with a little brick paper from Clever Models.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Last of the Doolittle Raiders joins his comrades

We have lost our last link to a turning point in WWII for the United States. Richard Cole, Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot, passed away on April  9th, 2019 the last living member of the Doolittle Raiders that bombed Japan in 1942 launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet. Cole was 103. Cole flew a B-25 as late as 2013 at the last official public reunion of the Raiders. There are a whole host of emotions that come from losing the last living link to such a turning point in history, we no longer have access to someone who was actually there, the primary source as it were. Those families of the 80 men involved in the mission now only have the stories and memories that have been saved, there is no longer someone that can say "I was there". 

I would compare this to such heady events as the passing of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4th 1826, that last two living members of the 2nd Continental Congress that passed the resolution for Independence of the United States from England.  We watched "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" yesterday to commemorate the occasion.

Richard Cole is second from the right, with Jimmy Doolittle to his right

B-25Bs on board the Hornet. 16 modified planes lashed to the deck.

Launching early as the task force was a spotted by a Japanese fishing trawler.
Modifications included:
  • Removal of the lower gun turret
  • Installation of de-icers and anti-icers
  • Steel blast plates mounted on the fuselage around the upper turret
  • Removal of the liaison radio set to save weight
  • Installation of a 160-gallon collapsible neoprene auxiliary fuel tank fixed to the top of the bomb bay, and support mounts for additional fuel cells in the bomb bay, crawlway, and lower turret area to increase fuel capacity from 646 to 1,141 U.S. gallons (538–950 imperial gallons; 2,445–4,319 L)
  • Mock gun barrels installed in the tail cone
  • Replacement of their Norden bombsight with a makeshift aiming sight devised by pilot Capt. C. Ross Greening and dubbed the "Mark Twain". The materials for the bombsight cost only 20 cents.[17]

Monday, April 8, 2019

LA Warehouse District - More Potential Warehouse Buildings

I spent a little bit of time working on the Sledgehammer project but not enough to really record at this point. Right now I'm just trying to get back in the zone on that particular project. But in the meantime I could distract myself some more with the LA Warehouse District.

I flipped through the entire selection of Walther's Cornerstone series buildings and I found a few more that will probably work well, but I really wanted something with more character. Quite frankly I'm really missing Monster Modelworks at this point. Hopefully someone bought that business and it will be coming back soon. But in the meantime I found another company with a similar product in the pages of Model Railroad Hobbyist, ITLA Scale Models. They manufacture lasercut MDF buildings with all the brick character of those produced by Monster. On top of that they are very configurable so a single building can be built in multiple configurations. They are a bit on the expensive side and they don't have the plethora of extra bits yet but I'm intrigued enough to order their "starter" building and give them a try.

Here are a few photos off their website ITLA

This is one of their modular panels.

Could be built as a 4 walled structure or as a low relief flat.
The Allstate Manufacturing Company. Shown here as long low relief flat or configurable to be build in either a left or right hand "L". The long side would still be low relief.

Extension D, can stand along or be added to the All State Manufacturing building for extra length

A set of three low relief buildings, that allows you to swap the locations of the buildings within the group on the integral foundation.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

LA Warehouse District - Potential Warehouse Buildings

I was browsing through the few HO kits that I have and deciding if they fit the "look" that I would like to achieve with the LA Warehouse District. What I have are two kits from Monster Modelworks (if you know who bought this company and when they will re-open let me know).  Those are both in, they have the brick detail that I like and is at least reminiscent of the brick buildings that make up the "Patch". The other four background kits I have are from Walthers and I'm on the fence about those. I would probably be better off utilizing the Woodland Scenics modular brick panels (or is that DPM, one of those guys anyway). I want that older turn of the century brick era brick work that has survived into the 70's. Maybe what I need to try is Mindheim's photo building technique.

I think the only real issue here is that door locations. Those aren't even set for 40' freight cars, let alone 50 footers. Going back to Lance Mindheim philosophy what is important is the number of spots available on a siding. Ideally doors would be set at a distance apart that would allow a freight car to be spotted directly in front of it. Now based on age you could see doors set for freight cars running from 30' up to more modern lengths. My thought would be that doors could be set for 40' freight cars at a minimum as there was still a good mix of both 40' and 50' lengths in the 1970s.

I love this building, now I have the incentive to actually finish it. The only flaw is that a viewer will not be able to see the back side of the building. That could be corrected by setting it at an angle rather than parallel which would probably be a good thing in the long run. I'll have to explore that possibility next, especially since the back section will be dead straight.

I have this one, but I'm not thrilled with it, the look is a bit to modern and there is not nearly enough brick. And for its length it only has two car spots. This seems to be pretty common with these Walther background kits. At least this one has 3 options for the length.

This one is better, and with the height it would make a nice view block, extending well above the eye level of the layout. Again it suffers from only have two car spots when it could easily have accommodated three.

I really like this one, for some reason the covered unloading area really appeals to me although there is nothing like it in the original "Patch" area. But style wise it would fit and there were covered areas like this in the area that were rail served. Has two spots and its about the right length for that.

This is a nice little building but it is long enough for two spots and only has one. Most of the Walther kits seemed to be designed for truck traffic than rail traffic sometimes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

LA Warehouse District "The Patch" - Variant 2

I spent lunch working on the Osterweil design this time with #5 turnouts. Not only was I able to get everything to fit in the 8' length (barely) I was able to add an extra siding on the left side as well. The issue with that siding is I don't really have a good lead to it and would have to use Industry Siding C (which I can't increase in length) as a lead. Based on that, I'm not sure its worth adding. Leaving it off would also allow me to condense the depth to about 15". Now that I know I can make something fit with the #5 turnouts I can play around with the design a bit and so what else I might be able to do.

Variation 2 which allows a bit more separation of the turnouts and quite a bit of room to work with down in the lower right.

Monday, April 1, 2019

LA Warehouse District "The Patch" - Starting Over

I definitely have to many projects spinning around in my head. Sometimes I just need to take some time from one project and visit another, however briefly, just to clear my head. In this case I'm working through some issues on the Sledgehammer project and ended up cleaning up the workroom and unpacked a box of 50' boxcars for the LA Warehouse project, which, of course, got the wheels turning. While my first option would be to build the C&N first, that project has to many obstacles to overcome at the moment. The least of which seems to be getting my hands on at least one Bachmann 2-8-0. Which leads me back to the Warehouse District. One of the rooms that I had my eye on has been converted into a pottery room complete with pottery wheels and that hobby and model railroading do not mix! Where else might I be able to shoehorn a model railroad into the house?

I wandered into our "library" (a converted bedroom) and realized that the long wall actually does not have any book shelves against it. Just a tall dresser and the futon. After a brief discussion with my wife on how it could be done and how to make it look more like a long bookshelf I received permission to move forward! I decided that if I limited the length to 8' and the depth to about 18" I could build the Patch there but it would be without the signature brick canyon look or the curved entrance between the buildings (so probably can't really call it the Patch at this point). What I did decide to do was go back to a plan in Model Railroad Planning by Scot Osterweil. I have looked at this one before and I think it was originally published in Model Railroader magazine even before 2005. It reminds me a bit of Lynn Westcott's Switchman's Nightmare design.

First thing to do was modify the design a bit. The originally is designed for 40' freight cars and just about everything I have accumulated to this point is 50'. It was also built with Peco small and medium turnouts and I'm figuring to use Atlas Custom code 83 at this point from an availability stand point. Most of the track is going to be covered by "concrete" since that much of the brick canyon look I can replicate so how good the track itself looks will be almost irrelevant. I also elected to flip the plan so that the "yard lead" was on the left side rather than the right, this will make better use of the space as it will put the staging cassettes on the window side. 

I decided to start with #6 turnouts first and see what kind of length that would require. While I have more than 8' available to me, I want a good portion of the rest for the staging cassettes, that makes the 8' length hard limit. Depth at 18" is variable but probably can't go more than 20" deep. Height, at least, is not an issue. I downloaded #6 turnout template from the Fast Tracks website since those are designed from NMRA standards and can figure that it will at least be close.  Using the #6 turnouts and maintaining the siding capacities as listed I exceeded my 8' limit on length,  so the #6 experiment has come to an abrupt end. The next iteration will use #5 turnouts.

Getting there, I reduced the full size Fast Tracks template to fit my scale, a 75% reduction and it worked like a charm.

And finished. The top siding needs to hold 3 50' freight cars and needs about 9' to work. If I fudge the depth a little bit (really is any parameter that set in stone?) I might be able to work in another siding on the left side but that would create a situation where a siding has to be emptied before the other siding can be switched. Maybe I can work in a crossing to make that work.