November 14, 2019

Not again!

Current state of our dining room


Last week we had an unfortunate plumbing incident that resulted in water damage to our master bathroom and dining room downstairs. A toilet leak developed while we were sleeping. Because the water was from a toilet, the flood repair folks treated it as biohazard, so all the wet stuff had to be removed.

The short version is that we have to get new floors in the master bath, and new sheet rock in the dining room. The demolition and repair work is underway. Since some of the upstairs carpet had to be removed, we took this opportunity to install hardwood floors on the whole upstairs level.

Events like this are very disruptive. We have spent a large portion of our time moving and covering furniture, organizing  clean up crews, finding contractors, selecting materials, purchasing supplies, waiting for insurance adjusters, etc. I had to cancel an op session last weekend because the house is in disarray as furniture is either moved or covered to prevent dust.

The basement has proven to be the one place where we can find relative peace and a sense of normalcy. A small amount of water reached the basement, but did not cause any damage as it went to the drain in the utility space without touching anything that could be damaged. The layout was not damaged at all.

I am using the "free time" I have in this period to work on the large side wheel steam ship kit. I have discussed this kit before. As I have stated before, the kit is spectacularly bad. It is so bad, that each time I start work on it, I get demotivated, and I look for something else to do.  The kit is oriented toward building a pond model so the level of detail and construction techniques tend more to robust toy versus fine scale model. The instructions in particular are very poor, despite being voluminous. So I am discarding most of the kit and making my own parts to better match photos of paddle wheelers that were at Aquia Landing or in use in the ACW.  It remains to be seen how it all comes out.

I also built some new paint racks for my model work bench to try to get a handle on the myriad bottles of paint, washes and weathering powders I have accumulated.



Hopefully by next week, the house will be put back in normal operation and I can prepare for visitors for North East Interchange.




November 5, 2019

Building a model display case

I am gradually getting things knocked off my do list. Today I finished a small display cabinet to store and display the military miniatures I have been building over the past year.

I decided that the models deserved better treatment than to be stuffed in storage boxes in a closet. So I made a cherry wood display cabinet with acrylic shelves. I installed a battery powered LED light in the top. The LED lighting can display different colors to reflect the mood. The models are on display near my work shop and gaming room.

I added a seventh shelf since taking these pictures.












I used the display case as a sample project to learn Fusion 360. I recently downloaded the program and started to take some tutorials on it.  I drew the display cabinet as an exercise. This is in preparation for learning how to do 3D printing. That is another item on my do list.


Next, I want to build a larger display case that will organize and display my 1/43rd scale Porsche race car collection. The theme will be "The History of Porsche Racing."  I hope to use some of the lessons I learned from the first display cabinet to improve this larger one.

The frame glue-up

Mood lighting


Once the Porsche racing cabinet is done, I'll be able to start work on the shelving in my office including space for a small layout.

But before that happens, I have some op sessions on the Aquia Line to prepare for, and several projects for Alkem Scale Models.

Recycling The Cambrai Diorama




Night shot on the diorama 


A few weeks ago, Jonathan Goldman, the new curator of the B&O Museum, called me to say that their "First to Fight" WWI exhibit was being redone. They wanted to return the WWI diorama to me. I did not expect to get it back and I don't have any place to store it at my house. So I told them I would stop by the museum and take the diorama apart. I would keep the models, but discard the frame. Here is a brief video showing scenes from the diorama.




Museum crew lift the vitrine off the layout
That is what Alicia and I did last weekend. After golf lessons in Columbia, MD we stopped by the museum. The crew there helped remove the vitrine, which was very heavy. Then I stripped the figures, tanks, structures, railcars and some of the details. The rest of the diorama went in the trash.

L to R Amanda (museum designer), Alicia, and Ana (museum archivist) 
As I examined the models, I was reminded about how nice the W^D  Models WWI figures are. They are some of the nicest sculpted small scale figures I have seen. W^D also makes some great detail stuff for WWI era military modeling.

I don't have any immediate plans for the residual pieces from the WWI diorama. Last year Bachman UK announced the release of a 2-6-2T Baldwin steam engine in OO scale. That would be the correct engine for this era and locale. Perhaps I'll build  a new version of the diorama that is more portable and operates using that Bachman engine for motive power.

However, Bachman USA also announced the 2-6-2T in On30. I happen to have a bunch of On30 stuff that could be used in a WWI themed layout including  brass kit ion a Dick-Kerr gas electric and some military figures. So maybe an On30 layout will be the next WWI project.

Meanwhile, I am working on existing do-list. I have lots of stuff to get done before tackling a new layout.