January 17, 2018

Railway Modellers Meet of British Columbia May 4-6, 2018

I am relaying this message on behalf of the staff of Railway Modellers Meet of BC. I'll be presenting a couple talks at this meet. 

They  are happy to announce that registration for the Railway Modellers Meet of BC at the Burnaby Campus of Simon Fraser University May 4th to 6th, 2018! is now open.  Some activities like the operating sessions have limited capacity, so sign up today to make sure you don't miss out.  Invite your friends and make a great road trip of it!  In my case, a really long road trip! 

Features of this year’s meet will include model and prototype clinics, self guided layout tours, operating sessions, and model displays. I will be presenting the key note talk, which is entitled "High Tech Approach to Modeling the 19th Century."  I will also be presenting my talk on waterfront terminals entitled, "Down to the Sea in Trains." 

They  have a full line up of great clinics  http://railwaymodellersmeetofbc.ca/node/668 .  This year they have three clinic rooms and will repeat most clinics so that attendees can avoid having to make those difficult choices between clinics that plagued us in previous years!

Find Out More and Registration go to http://railwaymodellersmeetofbc.ca/

The Mysterious Buildings of Aquia Landing

I've been jonesing to build the structures at Aquia Landing, but "real world" stuff keeps getting in the way.

Venom Balsa glider
One of the more interesting "real world" tasks was a laser cutting pro bono job for a local middle school STEM class that is doing an aviation project. They need a batch of balsa wood glider models for an aviation class. The plans are available on-line.

I cut 31 sets for them. It wasn't difficult, but it took several nights of feeding the laser. I enjoy supporting STEM education. That's why I've sponsored high school robotics teams in the past and did this project too. I am amazed at the level of technology these kids are doing in high school.

Individual planks
Despite house work, family chores, getting sick, and filling Alkem Scale Models orders, I was able to get a start on one of the warehouse buildings for Aquia Landing. I decided to make a plywood core that I covered with red cedar self-stick veneer. At first I was laying individual planks. But I found if I used a solid sheet of cedar and added the battens one-by-one the  look was the same as if I used individual planks under the battens with about half the work. I'll have to remember that as I do the other wharf buildings.   The windows are Tichy O scale castings.

However, I ran into a question, how to do the roof. In looking at the few photos I have, I'm pretty sure they didn't use shingles. In fact, the photos almost look like tar paper, or painted canvas. What do you think? I don't think they had tar paper in the ACW, so should I go with painted canvas?

Note the crude construction of the warehouses. There is little trim and none of the battens are straight or of consistent width. The roof on the back building looks like painted canvas or tar paper with vertical seams to me. If you look closely at the edge of the roof of the right hand building, you can see the purlins, and a thin layer on top, too thin to be wood shingles. 

Warehouse roof  looks like tar paper or painted canvas in these two images

The mysterious brick building
I always wondered about this photo. The archives says it was at Aquia Landing, but the brick building in the background had me stumped.   I examined the photo below in more detail and concluded that the "Transportaion" (sic)  tent in the left image was one in the line of tents in front of the red building in the picture below.  The features of the two buildings match, as do the tents. So the mysterious brick building is probably the one I colored in red below. What is the origin of this building and what happened to it, I don't know. But I like the fact that I can add a brick building to Aquia Landing to help add some variety to the mostly wood warehouses.
Probable brick building

January 8, 2018

Pining for the Fiords or Waxing Nostalgic?

Every now and then I get an email about one of my former layouts that had been published in various magazines. These notes usually lead to a moment of nostalgia and what might have been.

The most recent note was about the N scale DRGW Tennessee Pass layout. That layout was featured on the cover on Model Railroad Planning in 2006. It was that article where I first discussed the Layout Decision Matrix to help one decide what layout to build. 

I disassembled that layout around 2008, then started a building an N Scale C&O Mountain Sub layout that incorporated my oNeTRAK modules. The photo at the left which shows the Afton module being rebuilt into the home layout.  I ended up selling those modules to a fellow in the Chicago area. He never used them, as he switched to S scale modeling.  I don't know if they are still around or not.  I did get some great photos of the finished portion of that layout before selling it.  It was featured in Great Model Railroads in 2011.  When I halted work on that that layout, I launched the Aquia Line which I am still building 9 years later.

I kept a small 8-foot section of the Mitchell Curves area of the Tennessee Pass layout. And we have used it as a prop for photos over the years, for example the lead photo above. But, mostly it is collecting dust in my garage loft. I have most of the rolling stock and many of the pine trees from the layout. One of these days I plan to do something with them, but I have not decided what that will be. 

January 2, 2018

It's that Time of Year

William pulls some cars onto the wharf while his dad, Sean, looks on. 
Each year about this time, I get recruited to help my neighbors' children with their Pine Wood Derby entries. Today, 9-year old William Heather and his father, Sean,  stopped by the shop to use my drill press to drill holes in William's car. He hasn't designed it yet, but he knew roughly where he wanted the holes as they will be filled with weights.

Since the drilling job didn't take too long, we put William to work running trains on the Aquia Line. He quickly got the hang off being the engineer, while I was his conductor and brakeman. Dad watched and offered advice. He suggested a humidifier for the basement to help with the seasonal contraction issues that the layout experiences. It actually isn't a bad idea. If we replace our HVAC system, a whole house humidifier is a good option to add. In the meantime, I may look into a localized humidifier.

Sean also agreed to act as a PoC to organize an open house for the local neighborhood kids to see the layout. We have over a dozen kids in the  neighborhood now that are just the right age to get them exposed to model railroading.

Meanwhile I have been working projects for Alkem Scale Models, and some more track plans, including some for home and some for my next book.

Here is a revised plan for v19. This flips the peninsula for Robert's Ridge.  If I were to extend the layout into my office, I think I favor this plan over v19, but I don't think I want to invade the office. So V18b is still the leading candidate.