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Topics - deemery

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Scenery: Rock & Landforms / clay model of the layout
« on: December 23, 2017, 08:13:46 PM »
Dave Frary and John Siekirk are two modelers who have talked about building a clay model of their layout to understand landforms, etc.  I thought I'd try that myself, using the track plan I got from a professional track planner.

I got 2 large copies printed at a local copy store.  On one of them, I carefully cut out the track plan itself.  On the other, I cut out the total layout geometry.  Then I glued that latter copy to some foamcore, added some 1/8" stock to represent the walls.

The plan is to get the modeling clay (doesn't dry out) to a consistent thickness, then lay the track plan on top of the clay.  (The standard gauge track is supposed to have no elevation change.  The narrow gauge branch will have a 2.5% to 3% grade, something to work out with the clay.)  Then I'll add and subtract clay for the contours, working around (and in the case of a tunnel, over top of) the track.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / April 1, who are you fooling?
« on: April 01, 2017, 06:42:03 AM »
Nature fooled us with some nice weather, but now it's back to winter in SE NH. 5" at 7:00 AM, and more due today. I'm up too early, couldn't sleep with some pain where I don't want to mention. Lots to do this weekend before kitchem demolition starts Monday.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Tuesday late start?
« on: December 13, 2016, 09:10:56 AM »
Bright and sunny on the NH Seacoast this AM. we started the day with a visit from a plumber to move lines for the new powder room vanity. I think I need another week to be ready for Christmas.


Layout Tours / Sandy Lake & Northern, Mk 3
« on: December 06, 2016, 09:13:24 PM »
I've started preliminary planning for my new SL&N layout (the 3rd by that name.)  Construction won't seriously start until all my wife's projects are done, but at least I can provide some thoughts as I figure out how to partition the basement, etc.

Givens & Druthers (per John Armstrong):
(Railroad Name)   Sandy Lake & Northern (std gauge)
                         Sandy Lake & Rangely River (HOn30 gauge)
Scale:             HO
Gauge: (Std, Narrow)      Std, Narrow

Prototype: (the railroad you want to model)
Era:      1890s
Region:      PA oil country, New England mill towns
Railroad:  Influenced by Colorado Midland, Rutland, Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern

Space:   TBD in the basement
Describe Space e.g. basement. Provide diagram showing Overhead clearances and any obstructions or limitations.

Governing Rolling Stock: (Biggest planned)
     65' passenger cars for main line
     45' freight cars

Need to minimize grade, due to limited hauling abilities of small steam locos

Relative Emphasis: (move the V)

Track/Operation ....................................................Scenic realism
Mainline Running .......................................................... Switching
Operation Priorities: (rearrange as required)
   1.  Main line freights
   2.  Local freight switching
   3.  Yard ops, train composition
   4.  Engine terminal operations

   HOn30 - don't expect to do much switching,

Want to have the ability to 'sit back and watch the trains go around' as well as more realistic/prototype operations. 
Typical operating Crew: _2-3_
Eye Level (Owner) _67_In.

Additional features:
1. a moderate yard with full engine terminal (reuse my FSM 155 coal dock, Sellers Turntable and 6 stall MM Colorado Midland Roundhouse)
2. A large New England "mill canyon"
3. A substantial town
4. standard/narrow gauge interchange, probably patterned after the Bridgeton & Harrison
5. Narrow Gauge servicing some sort of mineral extraction industry (mine, quarry, etc)
6. At least one long stretch of just scenery

Double-decking is feasible, but I'm not thrilled by the idea. But this has to be doable at my slow rate of construction.

And a diagram of the basement, which also has to hold existing HVAC, storage space, model workshop,  home workbench, powder room, and maybe exercise room.   I need to add the existing items and annotate ceiling heights (including ductwork, etc.)


Modeling: Signage / rescuing old decals
« on: March 30, 2016, 04:31:26 PM »
I found some decals (Walthers white letters and numbers) that I've had for 35 years (I can tell by the shop label, who knows when they were actually printed...)

The first time I tried to apply some, they fell apart.  So since I had 4 sheets, I tried a little experiment.  On 2 sheets, I applied Micro Scale's Liquid Decal Film (brushed 2 coats).  On the other 2 sheets, I applied Krylon UV Resistant Clear Matte Finish(spray - 40% off coupon at Michaels :-) ).  I applied one coat, but went over the decal surface 4 times.  I let the decals dry thoroughly for 2 days.

A couple observations:
1.  The decal release time was longer for both products than for many/most decals.  This was a bit frustrating, since I didn't want the decal to spend too much time before it released from the backing paper.
2.  The Micro Scale Decal Film was sturdier than the Krylon spray.  But the decals are still fragile
3.  Both worked, in that I was able to apply decals with either finish.

So if you have some really old decals that you want to apply, I'd suggest the Micro Scale product.  But if you're impatient, the Krylon spray worked OK, too.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / It's already Saturday afternoon here
« on: February 13, 2016, 04:30:53 AM »
So I'll open.  We're almost done with our vacation, and ready to go home.  While we're here, I missed both Springfield and Timonium, but made up for it with a visit to the Tenshodo store in Tokyo Ginza.  Here's the obligatory Post Card shot from Kyoto.


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Feb 10 - 3 more days to Valentine Day
« on: February 10, 2016, 06:01:38 AM »
Time to get your honey some good swag, so your own train purchases don't look so expensive :-)  It's Wednesday in my 'undisclosed location'.  I'm ready to get back to my 'disclosed location'!!


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Thursday Feb 4
« on: February 04, 2016, 04:45:36 AM »
Greetings from the other side of the International Date Line.  We didn't have to change our (analog) watches, it's exactly 12 hours time difference here.  And zero chance of snow!! 


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Searching for more of this part
« on: October 25, 2015, 04:48:44 PM »
I'm looking for more of these window castings. They're by Model Masterpieces in black styrene, labeled "roundhouse/pottery factory windows" They were used in the various plaster Roundhouse/Blacksmith Shop kits, and were also sold separately.

Thanks!   dave

Kit Building / CM Roundhouse build, continued
« on: October 18, 2015, 07:39:39 PM »
Since, A Long Time Ago, this started with the old Model Masterpieces plaster kit, I figured to continue the build in this forum, rather than Scratchbuilding.

The first part of the build is over on


Scratchbuilding / Hoyt & Olmstead Cigar Factory
« on: August 31, 2015, 10:57:29 AM »
Here's a quick summary of a multi-year project.  I was visiting Craig Bisgeier's Housatonic RR in 2009 (!!), and we were discussing structures, getting information from Sanborn maps, etc.  I asked, "that's a nice spot, what goes here?" 

Craig said, "It's a cigar factory, wooden building according to the Sanborn Map."  We discussed it, including the lack of good Victorian mansard roof structures, and I offered to build that.  I did some quick measurements of the site, both the ground plan and that change of elevation leading up to the brick building.  We exchanged some sketches, and eventually (a year or two :-) ) later, I sent Craig a mock-up, which he printed out, assembled and tried in the location.

The basic "look and feel" was good, but the structure was a bit small compared to the brick building behind it, so I adjusted that.  We also captured the topography a bit more accurately, to make sure the foundation would fit on the site.

The foundation uses Monster Modelworks cut stone.  One thing I've seen on large stone walls on the prototype, but infrequently on models, are buttresses to take some of the lateral pressure from the walls.  Jimmy Simmons cut some of his stone corner pieces with a 3rd side of relief, which I then shaped into buttresses.  From that, I assembled the foundation.

I primed it the mortar color and then applied Pan Pastels to color it.

The walls were done with Mt Albert clapboard and Tichy windows, pre-painted before assembly.  Craig and I worked up some sign prototypes.  Craig did the finished artwork in Adobe Illustrator (which allows me to print at highest resolution) and I printed them onto color laser decal paper.  Here's a mock-up of the the signs, work-in-progress.

I did an angled tower entryway, which looked great on paper, but turned out to be a bit of a pain to actually construct.  The entrance door is an old cast metal part, and the large picture windows are scratchbuilt.  The project languished for quite a while while I pondered how to do the mansard. 

Eventually I decided to cut the mansard subroof pieces from 2"x2" stock on my regular table saw.  I assembled everything using thick wood and a lot of bracing, because I knew the roof would get a lot of handling. The roof fits snugly over the siding, thanks to the brackets and (thin styrene) trim at the top of the walls.

I rigged up a jig to cut the slots for the dormers on my modelers (Proxxon/Micro Mark) table saw.

The dormers required a bunch of similar sized parts for sides, gable end and roofs.  The sides I cut from styrene strip (so I could use styrene cement to glue the windows to them).  The modeler carbide saw blade kerf is .060 wide, a piece of serendipity.   The dormers were assembled and glued into place. 

Because of all the angles, I did a lot of cardboard templates.  The hip roof at the top of the mansard was particularly complex and needed to be exactly right.  It took me 3 sets of templates to make it so.

I used styrene for details and where I needed to do small part assembly or thin cross-sections.  I used large pieces of wood for the base and the subroof, and of course scribed siding for the walls.  The shingles are Northeastern Scale Lumber paper slates, which I special-order unassembled. 

I delivered the foundation to Craig earlier this year, so he could "dig it into" the location on the layout.  The remaining structure will be delivered at Mid Atlantic RPM in September. 

If you have any questions on specific items, let me know. 


Modeling: Wall Techniques / Brick on plaster
« on: July 05, 2015, 02:21:53 PM »
Here's how I did a Downtown Deco plaster-cast brick wall.  (This will be a flat that sits behind my roundhouse, one of these years...)
First I prime the casting.  This gives me a uniform sealed starting point.  The color here is Liquitex water-based spray paint "raw sienna."

After that sat for a couple of days to be well sealed, I applied a wash of thinned artist gouache.  (Gouache is 'opaque water color', water color paint with very fine marble added to it to make it opaque.)  The wash was the consistency of milk.   The color I'm using is Neutral Gray #2, a light gray that isn't quite as stark as white, so it looks a bit weathered), thinned with "wet water" (water with Liquitex Flo-Aid added.)  As the paint dries, the effect goes down.  If you want more prominent mortar, use a thicker solution (more paint.)

And the full wall with the mortar:

Then I painted the wood doors with artist burnt umber, to which I added some white.  I also painted the insides of the window openings a dark color (in this case, "Midnight" dark blue, because I will eventually do the window castings in dark blue.  I painted the full well, to get a dark shadow effect.)

I used a Vallejo "brown wash" (new product) to color in the cracks by the doors, getting rid of any white or red where there should be shadows.  The wash flows nicely into the cracks!  I also painted the stonework a beige color with craft paint ("sandstone")  I had to give this 3 coats to get even coverage.  For this work, I used a 1/8" angle shader brush, which makes it easy to control.  When I got a bit of the sandstone paint where it didn't belong, I 'erased' it using a damp rubber tipped "colour shaper." 

Before adding windows and glazing, I need to 'fix' the work with a matte finish (since gouache will wash off if any moisture hits this.)  But first I want to think about adding some variation to the brick color.  Right now, particularly since this is a background building, it might be good enough.  But I will want to add downspouts (in part to hide the seam in the middle of the wall) and to give a bit of texture to the flat.

Yesterday I made the huge mistake of trying to spray prime the (Tichy) window castings.  It was too humid, and the result was "popcorn".  Fortunately, I was able to scrub off the gunk, and will re-prime today (using the airbrush inside, rather than the rattle can outside.)  Then I have to find where I put the clear laser-cut glazing for these windows :-(


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / What's the oldest model on your layout?
« on: May 22, 2015, 07:46:40 AM »
Tom Boyd's photo of an NYC shanty he built 'a while ago' triggered this idea for a Memorial Day weekend thread.  I have a Campbell "Wayside Freight Station" kit that I built as a kid in the mid '60s.  I'll post a photo of that later today (when I get home after visiting my mother this week.) 


Modeling: Wall Techniques / Doing concrete
« on: April 13, 2015, 09:17:40 PM »
Here's a quick how-to on getting styrene to look like concrete.  In this case, it's a poured concrete loading dock. 
The first step is to sand the styrene, to remove any mold lines or joints, and to roughen up the surface:

The 'secret' is Liquitex "ceramic stucco," a good thing to look for when you have a 40% off craft store coupon (fine arts section)

You need to stipple this stuff on, you don't want brush strokes.  I use a thick bristle brush, but a cheap make-up brush would also work well.

On the top, I sanded this down after it dried, because the top surface would be smoother than the rough sides.  Then I painted with "Martha Stewart" color called "wet cement."

This color has a very slight green tinge which I think makes for great concrete.  (It's also quite close to the "holy driftwood" stain color.)

Then I applied dark pigment along the bottom to represent some mud splashing, and lighter pigments on the top, again to "polish" the concrete.  Then I added white to tone everything together.  Normally I won't use white or black, but in this case I wanted to lighten the color.  Finally, I added some extra weathering and streaking with pastel pencils, including some cracks with a dark grey pencil and some wear stains/wheel streaks with a light brown pencil.

And that's it.  This was a one evening project, including letting the stucco coat dry thoroughly before adding the craft paint.  I put the pigments on while the craft paint was still slightly damp, to get them to hold better.


Scratchbuilding / UK scratchbuilder's blog
« on: March 13, 2015, 09:52:24 AM »
Some very nice stuff here:


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