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Topics - Jim Donovan

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Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Thursday - July 23, 2020
« on: July 23, 2020, 07:41:22 AM »
 :D Gee Guys thanks for letting me open. Grandkids coming today. Boating swimming :D and fishing. Been looking forward to it. Hope everyone has a great day like mine!

Jim D :D

Kit Building / Bar Mills Cundy Village Hotel
« on: July 20, 2020, 11:44:39 PM »

I decided to treat myself to build one of the more complicated kits for the Holland Odessa R.R. Every small town in the early 1900's had a hotel, often it was the social center for the community. I saw this kit and knew it would be perfect for the small layout I am creating. To help keep me focused I decided to attempt a thread as I build this extensively laser cut kit.

I have for the last couple of years been building smallish kits, often making significant modifications so they fit the layout better and to help me improve my building skills. With this kit we are going to stick to the directions as much as possible. I want to see how well I can make a 'clean' kit with the finished product as close to what the designer intended.

So Here is the box the kit came in:

The kit comes in several packages for the various sections of the building. There is a lot of laser cut parts, especially detailed windows and railings:

The horses in the picture are for another project, they got in the picture by mistake. The full length fireplaces are resin and look very well detailed. There are no metal castings as far as I can see at this point.

The directions are extensive on how to proceed for each step but offer little in the way of tips and suggestions for various building techniques. They clearly state this in the introduction saying the kit is complicated and you need to know what you are doing as far as technique goes since the directions need to focus on helping you carefully build the structure correctly.

It is a little jarring reading each step. The kit has been out for a few years but the stapled black and white (except for the colored cover page) directions contain quite a few misspellings and incorrect grammar. I would have thought they would have been corrected over time and they certainly are not what I expected of a high end builder like Bar Mills. No matter, it looks like an exciting kit to make. I plan to take the directions apart from the stable and place them in a three ring hard cover binder. Other then being in black and white the two sided printed directions are clear and well organized.

More in a minute.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Monday June 1, 2020
« on: June 01, 2020, 06:41:24 AM »
Good Morning;
I will open, hopefully. Doctor appointment for the Boss with me as chauffeur since she has the broken wing. Cleaning up house afterwards and a little work on bench.

Have a great sunny day

Jim D

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Saturday April 4th
« on: April 04, 2020, 07:11:03 AM »
Wow, I am first? Coffee in hand reading the paper. The Boss, pup and all family safe, at least for now. Plan to work on layout wiring today. Hope everyone is well and safe.

Jim D

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Monday Feb 10,2020
« on: February 10, 2020, 06:38:18 AM »
Good Morning. Getting blood work done the  back home for coffee. Have a great day.


Dioramas / Great Lakes Lighthouse Diorama
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:26:43 PM »
Over the past year I won a HO Scale Customs photo contest receiving a small kit (The Scale Shack). I also received a free FOS Scale Models kit (Rosco's Roast Beef Stand) by buying a $50.00 kit when they ran one of their specials. Together with some amazing textured paper from Greece and the first Jorden I ever built I plan to make a small diorama. The paper will be used in several areas, the main one as the column for a lighthouse.

So here are the four main components of the diorama:

The scene will be of a setting next to one of the great lakes during the 1930's. The depression is taking its toll but life goes on. A lighthouse will dominate with a food stand, the keeper's house and bus making up the major structures.

The design of the base is like I used at a scenery clinic during EXPO 2018. The textured paper can be bought on ebay. What makes it different is the amount of texture as well as the quality of the printing. I was told by another forum member the paper was originally designed as wall paper. It was a flop so someone got the idea to flip it over and print the brick scenes.

I used a stone texture to cover the foam base. The back will act as a seawall for the scene. A small brick version is used for the foundation on the shed, which will now be the light keepers house. I may use yet another style as the scene progresses.

Here is what the original kit from FOS looks like:

I decided to see how much detail I could add to the small kit. Changes included adding rafter tails, changing the main roof to a wood shake style, adding trim boards where needed, sanding flush the clapboard around the windows and door for better fit. Windows are Clover House glass. The front part of the structure got a little bit of interior added as well as a door to the back building. To address how water can get off the sloped front roof I will add a drain and downspout. A kick plate is already in place. Some additional trim pieces need adding but that is it.

The Light keeper house, like the roast beef stand had some changes made. Here I used a new style of wood shake that is made of real wood. To make the structure look well used I bowed the roof and even had some green mold added.

The bus is a Jorden 1934 version. It is the first Jorden I have built and was a lot of fun assembling.

Finally the lighthouse. At the moment all you can see is the column with the stone applied. I look forward to figuring out how to make it come to life, as well as the entire diorama.

Till Next Time, thanks for reading.

Jim D

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Venetian Blinds
« on: January 28, 2019, 07:59:17 AM »
OK you super detailers, I need advise and help on an idea for window treatment on my current project which started life as a FOS Decker Tar Soap (now Schwarz Metal Mfg.). Todd Wiley put the idea in my head. He did an incredible job on a kit which I show attached:

(yo you can see at HO CustoMs. am thinking of using white decal paper and putting the decal blinds on the back of the windows. I will be using glass for the windows and was going to put black paper behind the decal so light does not shine through. I hope to light the building so with windows partly open you will see the light from inside of building but blinds in day.

Who has attempted this? Does it work? And any tips on doing this would be helpful.

Jim D

I am not sure where to ask this question so I will start here.

My question is: Has anyone used the high resolution textured printed paper available to glue to basswood and make walls to create a brick building?

I am attaching pictures of the printed brick I bought on E-Bay. These come from a person in Greece and are in HO scale but I know N are available too (even more choices).  The resulting brick (or stone) patterns are remarkably real looking.  I am including a picture of the back of the paper so you can see the gluing surface. I have noticed in the pictures there appears to be a pattern but it does not show just looking at the sheet without a camera and my hope is it would not show after all the cutting and shaping.

My thought was to glue the paper to basswood and cut to the shape of the walls except the corners where the walls meet. Here I am thinking of attempting to wrap the paper around the corners to create a seamless brick look. I may be trying more then I am capable and wanted to see if has already been tried and if so the results.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Monday 7th of January
« on: January 07, 2019, 06:40:43 AM »
Wow, got up early today as we have guests. It really is still dark at 6 am. First cup of coffee in place, second to go. Working on garage today to make room for my work bench. The garage will get a complete make over. I like things organize and this will help.

Have a great day folks.

Jim D


I am slow off the block on starting my kit on this build challenge, which is also my first follow along thread, so we will see how it goes. I met Tom at the Albany EXPO and loved his train stories and remember how he had laid out his plan to circle the country by train one day. His passing just after the show hit home. I am glad I met him and happy to include a building in his name on my layout.

I bought Deckers Tar Soap made by FOS Scale Models a year ago to be one of the major industries in the village of Mandryville on the Holland Odessa R.R.. The layout time is 1910 so the building will be in fairly good shape. I selected it as space is at a premium which is more of a large diorama at 6’x4’ with an operating train. The structure is interesting with its angles and roof changes, lending it to be a small metal stamping operation having two story piston style stamping machines.

The attached pictures show the kit as it arrived. The directions are very complete as can be seen. There are several castings included and the windows / doors look very good. I will be adding to the castings as well. I am also thinking of changing some or all of the walls to brick.

I found an early thread on this structure done by Karl which I have studied. It’s link is as follows:

So next posting we will get started.


Jim D

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / What floor Cleaner for use on acetate windows?
« on: November 15, 2018, 09:36:40 PM »
At the EXPO mention was made of using a liquid floor cleaner on acetate plastic to glue the material into the windows. I can’t remember the product name but was curious if others knew of it and results using it.

Jim D

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Saturday November 3
« on: November 03, 2018, 12:54:09 AM »
Thought I would be first on this morning. Enjoying the Expo. Great clinics and really nice meeting people. Dave K scooped a bunch of us up Friday for diner. Attached is a picture. On left is a modeler by the name of Graig. He is involved with promoting products with professional athletes.  Next to him is another modeler by the name of Thomas.  On far right is Jason Jenson and his partner Matri ( I am sure I misspelled her name. Next to her is Todd Wiley’s wife, Mrs. Wiley. Finally there is the man Dave K.

We had a great time. Saturday Todd Wiley invited me to join them for dinner. Had a great chat. When he and Jason Jenson become rock stars on YouTube I can say I knew them when.

Jim D

EXPO 2018 Albany NY Nov. 1-3 / What Tools To Bring To Expo?
« on: October 28, 2018, 06:09:03 PM »
I am hoping those of you coming that have done this before can suggest a list of tools to bring for the hands on clinics. I have listed below the items the people running the clinics I am going to ask we bring. Was wondering what you experienced members bring as well. I have listed below the items my clinics call for:

For Clinic 101 - Tips and Techniques

Bring basic tools; x-acto, razor blades, tweezers, white glue, assorted brushes, alcohol and ink wash, mineral spirits.
Paints: water based - brick colors, browns, tans, greys, concrete color.
Also Burnt Umber artists oils.

Electric Clinic:
·         Soldering iron – a regular pencil type soldering iron should work fine.
·         Solder – regular rosin-core  electronic solder – NOT plumber’s solder!
·         Hobby knife with #11 blade
·         Cutting mat - or something to protect the work surface
·         Small straight edge
·         Tweezers
·         Wire cutters / strippers
·         Needle nose pliers - Round nose pliers too if you have them
·         9-volt battery (get a new one)
·         Magnivisor or some means of magnification


Jim D

The wife is letting me  out to play so I am going for first time. Who else is going and does anyone know the area to suggest a time and place to get together or has someone already covered this.

Jim D

Last year I used a local perennial flower of Ohio (it grows in zones 3 to zone 8 for you gardeners), called Sedum Autumn Joy to make a batch of trees for my layout. At the time I simply followed a video on YouTube by Luke Towen called 'Five Minute Trees'. Even so I was able to make fairly realistic trees. These flowers bloom in September then go to seed. They will be ready to harvest by November.  The seed pods can be cleaned and made to look like the American Elm. They are 25 - 60 feet in HO height with a trunk diameter from 1-4 feet. Attached you will find pictures of an actual American Elm in winter to see the branch structure. The next picture shows the harvested seed pods. Next is the natural armature after it has been cleaned of the pods. These pictures are of the few seed pods I had left over. You can expect to get even better looking armatures with new clippings.

Woodland Scenics offers a natural armature tree product that looks better then average, retail cost about $9.00 for a dozen ‘trees’. The stem structure looks something like Autumn Joy but much less robust. I've attached a picture of their package for comparison.

More in a second.

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