A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

June 3, 2013

Penultimate Road Show Work Session

The waterfront is coming alive with Paul and Andy's barges.  Jeff and Christian's wood rick is visible
 in the rear center. Mike's wharf is on the far left.
On 1 June we had the penultimate work session for McCooks Landing before the NMRA Convention. Gerry Fitzgerald, JB Wielepp, Mike Spoor, Jeff Peck, Christian Peck participated for the most of the session. Paul Dolkos stopped by to drop off the covered barge he nearly finished. It looks great. It just needs some doors and it will be complete. Joel Salmons stopped by briefly. He volunteered to paint some artillery crew figures that  he took home with him. He said this would allow him to claim the water battery as his since he will have done most of the work on it.

Getting both barges in one photograph is tricky
Paul's barge looks great. Combined with the open barge that Andy made that I loaded with forage, barrels and hard tack, our water front is starting to come alive.

Mike worked on cutting the pilings for the wharf. He cut a good supply and stained them before he had to leave. I finished the wharf after he left.  With the hard tack boxes stacked on the wharf, we enhance the scene with half a box car to disguise where the tracks meets the backdrop on the left of the layout.The boxes and half car are amazingly effective. The box car is the back half from the first attempt I made to scratchbuild the B&O rifle car. The truck under it is one that I retired from service as it had too much bearing friction.  Nothing goes to waste in this operation.

JB brought the frames and chassis for two flat cars he assembled at home. He did a nice job on them. I spent an hour or so adding trucks, couplers and brakes wheels to the one of them. The car needs decals, but otherwise is ready for service.

Jeff and Christian worked on the wood rick for the engine terminal. My instructions to them were simply, "Just copy the one in the other layout." That's what they did. Christian chopped the wood while Jeff cut and assembled the wood rick. It came out great. I installed it on the layout on Sunday, adding some wood chips and dirt underneath it.

Gerry worked on the finishing touches to Biscuit Run. He made a set of telegraph poles.  I suggested he use some Tichy nylon axle bearings for the top hat insulators. They worked great. Gerry also installed the four pilings for the burned dock that he had meticulously prepared ahead of time.

Biscuit Run is done!
Next he then went about installing some additional shrubs and flowers using the new new Silfor products that just arrived.  After working through about $50 work of Silfor, he had a crisis of indecision and ripped it all out. He threw the Silfor in the trash and restored  the scenery to way was when he started.  On Sunday I installed the telegraph line and added a fresh coat of polyurethane on the water.  It looks great. Biscuit Run is done (except for a little touch up here and there) ! Huzzah!

On Saturday evening, I went "dumpster diving" and retrieved the Silfor that Gerry tossed -  that stuff is too valuable to waste (see earlier comment above.) I used it on the other sections to detail the steep bank near the wharf and some of the other areas on the shipyard section. It helps helps enhance the micro-texture of the otherwise simple scene.

A newly painted squad of soldiers marching to duty.
Two of the of the products we used were "Short Weed Tufts - Spring." 725-21S, and Summer Goldenrod Silflorettes, MN99722S.  These are available from Scenic Express, a sponsor of this layout. The Short Weed Tufts look a lot like patches of clover when the flowers are blooming, while the golden rod is in full bloom.  I felt the colors were a little too vivid, so I used my airbrush to dull the colors with a thinned spray of green and light brown.  Goldenrod blooms late in the summer, so that helps set the time frame for the layout, further reinforcing the story.

Through out the session most everyone took a crack at running the Whiton with the new T5000 Airwire throttle on the Aquia Line. The vote was unanimous. The new throttle is a winner.

Overall, it was a very productive work session.  We will have one more group session before the convention.


  1. Bernard, it looks great! I really like the progress on the Cival War road show as you all show here. It makes that I consider to make a new part as extension to my current ACW exhibition layout.

    Guys, keep up the good work, it really looks fantastic!

    Greetz, Ronald.

  2. AnonymousJune 17, 2013

    Absolutely fantastic! A combined effort to make this what I think will be the talk of the National Convention! Hope to catch it in person; probably after the NMRA National.