Sunday, April 25, 2010

Playing with REAL train


Model railroading is great - but it's not the real thing. As most of you know, I'm a volunteer on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad. As a Car Host I assist people on & off the train, make sure the safety rules are followed, and chat with the riders. It's a great time, and being on a real train really helps me enjoy model railroading even more. I'd suggest that all you guys try & ride a real train from time to time - it's a blast! Check out this little video of the ride.

God Bless,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday night at Keith's 4-16-10

It was scenery night at Keith's house: In attendance were:
Coalfinger Ken
Packrat Paul
Popsicle Rick
Concrete Keith (of course)
and drop by guest Gator Perry

Here Paul & Ken scope out the job of installing foam board for the base of scenery.

Keith shows how it's done while Ken & Steve look on.

If you ever wondered what the top of Paul's head looked like...... He's doing the tough work of getting under the layout to mark the foam pieces for cutting. We had a good system going with Paul & Ken doing the measuring fitting while I did the cutting. My pocket knife came in very handy!

Safety first - never cut towards yourself (unless you just have to!)

Scott showed up briefly to say hi and chew the fat. Being a new Daddy is time consuming!

The whole gang is putting the moves on and making good progress.

The guys keep a close eye on things to make sure that they are being done correctly.

We took a nice long break to see Keith's improvements on his control software, look at a few engines, and take in some needed calories. It was a great time and we accomplished a good amount.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 2 NCI work night on the ONR Ramore Sub

What a great night of progress on Bob’s Ramore Sub. We decided to focus more on scenery this time but further north up the main line at Swas Junction. This is a complex area since the wye occupies a focal area and space with tight radii and several viewing angles. The station is further north (about 2.5 feet) so we need to make the viewer’s eye focus on the great scenery and rock cuts in this area of the wye.

ONR GP9 1602 and van on the east leg of wye in August 1974, highlighting a typical rock cut.
Another view of the wye 30 years later but looking in the opposite direction. The pine trees have grown.

Before the work started we backed up a 20 foot train from the layout on to two of the wall shelf cartridges. Steve did this without a hitch under the watchful eyes of Scott, Ken, Keith Mark and Bob.

Scott guided us in laying out the scenery topography so that the viewer’s eye focus down to the appropriate area, not over the hills in the distance.

We then got to work.

Steve found his favorite spot in Englehart yard doing what he is enjoying more and more, hand laying rail. Word has it he will be doing so on his new B&O layout.

We then started applying plaster cloth on the foam we shaped for the east side of the junction main line.

The room is small but we have found the way to make it work. Here we see Mark, Keith, Ken and Scott applying the scenery cloth while Steve is on the other side of the scenic divider working in Englehart yard.

One of our traditions is to play RR videos during the night. Sets the mood and helps offset the occasional boost of vocal singing by certain members of the NCI. (Excuse the messy work bench, I call it progress). Yeah, I know, I need to tidy it up!

Scott handing Keith a piece of wet plaster cloth (Scott is thinking baby diapers) while Ken wonders what all the fuss is about and Mark spreads a strip of it. The scenery modules are removable as you see here to make then easier to work on.
We used Scenic Express Plaster Wrap which is almost $2.00 cheaper than Woodland Scenics. Seems to work the same.

We then applied some precast rock molds pieces and rock out-crops along the right side hill that transitions into Kirkland Lake in the foreground. We did this by cutting out pockets in the pink foam with a hot knife so the rock would sit flush with the terrain. We then painted everything except the rock pieces with a green / brown coat of woops paint.

Here is how the junction looks this morning with all back in place. The station will be in the top right corner of the photo.

Early in the evening, Keith and Ken also installed the first Tortoise on the layout. I have decide to do this on a few turnouts that need a stretch to operate.

Thanks Keith, Ken, Mark, Scott and Steve. A great night of progress and a lot of fun doing this with you guys as well.