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, June 20, 2019

LA Warehouse or LoDo - Sanborn Maps

I printed off and carefully cut and pasted together a map of the area that I'm considering could be the location for D&RGW or for that matter it could be the C&S (I'll have to check and see when the  Burlington Northern acquired the C&S) I haven't really read the maps closely enough to see what tracks, in 1903, belong to which railroad. But for now its something to look at and contemplate.

As you can see most of the action is on Wewatta Street on the west side and not as much on Wynkoop. Unfortunately the more interesting buildings are on Wynkoop while the more interesting trackage is on Wewatta. Ultimately with not wanting to disturb the track plan to much it doesn't really matter, it would be more about giving it the feel of LoDo and not something accurate.

Here is the general area that makes up LoDo. The right side is to the NE (Denver has not aligned directly north/south by any means). Off to the right of Wewatta is Union station and its yards. Wewatta Street serves as one of the primary access points to Union Station. I have oriented the map in reverse of how I described it in the last post. From the layout standpoint you would essentially be standing on Wewatta street with the 16th Street Viaduct to the left and the 14th Street Viaduct to the right and Wynkoop would be in the back.

Just a closer look at the potential modeling area. Lots of compression would need to take place.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Monday, June 17, 2019

LA Warehouse District - Or?

As I mentioned before I have been toying with the concept of moving the "location" of the layout from LA to Denver. I spent some time over the weekend doing a little research and downloading Sanborn Insurance Maps from the Library of Congress. These maps are from 1903 so they aren't going to have some of the information that I would need to model the 1960 - 1970 period, for that I will need to go to the Denver Public Library, but my library card has lapsed so that will have to wait for a bit. A little poking around shows that DPL likely has digital Sanborn maps up through 1929 with notes attached with changes from 1951 and may have non-digital maps from the 60s and up through 1974 according to the card catalog. So I need to work in a day at the library at some point.

Moving the location to Denver means that I can legitimately drop trying to shoehorn in the curved brick canyon scene that I like from LA that scene just does not exist in Denver. I have already added an extra foot to the length of the layout to accommodate it and I think I will keep that extra length for now. I don't need to change the track plan itself, so that's a good thing although there is another tweak that I'm contemplating that would require another redraw to make sure it aligns.

"Moving" to Denver means easier access to research materials and immediate access to the area of lower downtown (LoDo). Granted much has changed since the railroads worked that area but there is enough left to be able to replicate some of the major buildings. The viaducts that carried 16th and 15th street over the tracks would still be in place and would serve as very natural dividers for scenes on what would now be the north and south ends of the layout. Cherry creek and the 14th Street Viaduct would form the southern boundary, with 16th street being the northern boundary.

The two major streets north south streets would be Wynkoop and Wewatta. Tracks ran right down the streets in this area of Denver sharing the streets with regular traffic. All of the tracks in the area seem to have gone in by 1903. The railroads that owned those tracks is likely to have changed over the years as mergers and other fun things took place in LoDo and what I need to determine is when those tracks where actually pulled up as the rail traffic in the area dropped off. 

The big changes would be the change from AT&SF to D&RGW. So new motive power and probably a slight shift in the freight car fleet. Currently that is heavily biased towards Santa Fe but that is easy to change and it certainly doesn't eliminate the use of the Santa Fe fleet. The other potential change would be adding back in the 40' cars depending on what the time frame really ends up being and reducing the number of 50' cars. Just thoughts to mull on at this point.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

LA Warehouse District - Building a FreightCrate from Fast Tracks

I'm still waiting for the ends for the interior box of the one of my FreightCrates but I figured I could build the one that I have everything for and see how it goes together.

I followed the directions and started with the top. As suspected with hardboard tops and bottoms of this size there is a it of a warp to those big pieces. Nothing out of the ordinary and it was fairly easily dealt with. I did have problems with the top, mostly because I tried to glue the whole thing up at once rather than work my way around. Certainly no fault on Fast Tracks part. The only thing I would call out here, and it is certainly obvious, is that anything white facing (and I'm not sure what its coated with) will be on the outside and any "unpainted" bits are going to be on the inside.

The bottom is a bit trickier because of the locks that hold the lid in place. Really you just have to make sure that you keep that area free of glue and it goes together quite nicely. Figure about an hour to build your first Crate and 30-40 minutes to build the second and any subsequent ones you might have.

I have been continuing to mull over a change in location for the LA Warehouse district. The more I delve into the Denver LoDo district the more intrigued I have become. A big plus is that its easily accessible and most of the major buildings are still there although they have been renovated and converted into other things. Changing to Denver would allow me to anchor one end on Cherry Creek so I could build a couple of bridges and of course use the infamous Denver viaducts as scenic dividers. The trackage I'm focusing on at this point lies south of the Denver Union station on Wynkoop and Wewatta streets. In these areas vehicles and the railroads shared the street so there are some quite chaotic looking pictures out there. Pictures of the area do seem few and far between so I'll need to do some serious digging for photos from the 60's and 70's. I'm trying to dig up the Sanborn Insurance Maps for the area as well, but but DPL doesn't have them in digital form yet so it looks like a trip to the main library is in order.

With the bubble wrap in place this is a seriously tight fit. These freight cars aren't moving.

Locked and loaded, ready to be moved and stored. The only thing missing at this point is the two little tabs that glue on the top. You can just make out one of the locations just to the left of the FreightCrate name on the box top.

Monday, June 10, 2019

LA Warehouse District - Freight Car Storage

Something that I have been intrigued with for a long time are some freight car storageboxes that I saw Tim Warris, of Fast Tracks, make for his CNJ Bronx Terminal layout. These were eventually added to the Fast Tracks catalog and with the Warehouse District seemingly coming closer to reality I decided to spring for a pair. The freight cars I have "finished" all seem to be suffering vary bits of damage and they need to be properly stored. So I made an initial order of 2 FreightCrates (the HO ones apparently are only sold in pairs).

And so another birthday "present" has arrived:

I don't know why but for some reason I thought these were already assembled. I was a bit dismayed to be confronted with another box of parts. Now I just need to find some time to assemble them.

On a side note I'm still contemplating shifting the local of the layout from LA to Denver. While that would mean I would need to change out my two CF-7s for something else, the rolling stock wouldn't have to change much. It gives me immediate access to the area and a lot of material than trying to recreate the patch. I would lose the curved urban canyon which has proven to be hard to work into the layout anyway and gain the very familiar elevated viaducts that go over the railyards. The emphasis would change a bit, the three Denver streets involved would be Wewatta, Wynkoop and Wazee. Seriously how could you pass those streets up?

Friday, June 7, 2019

World War II Project - New Paints

I'm trying to move forward with the German Troops and a couple of vehicles. I wanted to try some new techniques so I decided to use a little birthday money and order some paints from Ammo. They actually arrived quite quickly (via DHL from Spain) and I had the pleasure of opening the box today. On the other hand the book is so new it still smells of the printing process and has managed to give me slight headache.

Right now all of this dovetails into the Sledgehammer project as the troops for that will have a uniform based on the German Field Grey and I need to be moving on to that batch fairly quickly at this point.

I'm not quite sure I have the clearance to actually open this box.

The knife slipped, really, right through every piece of tape.

More or less to fill out missing colors 

I'm curious to try out Ammo's version of Field Grey. You can't really go wrong there are so many variations.

These are intriguing as I'm trying more techniques involving oil and enamel paints. These look like they will make some of those techniques a lot easier. Its basically a small container with a brush. I have seen Jame Wappel use these on a couple of projects and he likes them. He also found a way to make them himself using nail polish bottles.

And a book, because I'm always interested to see if there is something I have missed. This book is not bad, it really needs a bit more explanation than it has and there are a number of  steps it completely skips, like how the decals were chipped (as an example). Its not a bad introductory book though and you can buy it as part of a set that literally includes all the materials that they use in the book, short of the model itself.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Digging our own Trench

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings we decided to dig a trench in the front yard. Well, not really but it helps ease the pain. 

We are currently experiencing one of the joys of an older home with a sewer blockage. In this case right at the connection with the main. In the photo they haven't gotten that far yet because Denver hadn't issued the permit to dig up the street. And yes, we get to pay for that too. The initial dig was at the point where the first block was encountered, which was in the nice rocky area of the yard. That initial 15' trench revealed that from there to the house was clear but we were blocked at the street.

Why dig up the whole line if the block is at the main you ask? Well, while the original clay pipe was in pretty good shape but it had developed a sag and since it is clay its not a matter of if it collapses but when. Since we were already digging it made sense to replace the entire line. The "bonus", such as it is, is that there are now two clean out points in the yard rather than one clean out point in the crawl space. Hopefully they will be done today and we can start trying to regrow the grass.