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.

December 15, 2015

Busy week behind the scenes

The past week was very busy with work on the PoLA layout and other projects.

Laser cut test section of pier warehouse. The final
structure will be over 32 inches long.
First, I was dissatisfied with the results I was getting with the chain link fences I was making with Tulle wedding fabric for the PoLA layout. The layout will require over 30 linear feet of HO scale fencing -that is  nearly a half a scale mile of fencing. I looked around at what HO fencing is available and decided to make my own from photo etched stainless steel. So I did a drawing and they are now in production. If they work out, I'll be also selling them on my Alkem Scale Models website. So stayed tuned.

In the meantime, I started work developing a pierside wharf building based on a structure in Baltimore. The building will be used by Paul Dolkos on his Baltimore Harbor layout, but it will also be featured in the next Kalmbach book.

Speaking of books, I have been helping my brother with another book project. This is will be a military history of the Kempinski and Maxey families (Maxey is my brother's wife's maiden name). Members of the two families served in nearly all of United States wars from the War of 1812 through the Cold War. It is intended primarily as a family resource, but will also be available for sale to the general public as some of the stories  are quite compelling. The book takes the form of historical fiction. Each chapter uses a different format, such as 3rd person narrative, interview, letter home, and some other interesting formats including a  chapter as a graphic novel depicting our grandfather in WWI. The book should be out sometime early next year. Here is a short bit of the introduction to give you an idea of the project.

"Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory. "
General George Patton Cavalry Journal (September 1933)

Wearing ivory handled pistols, General George Patton directed convoy traffic at a critical road junction during the Third US Army’s thrust into the German flank at the Battle of the Bulge. This flamboyant feat along with many others by the colorful general have been recounted in numerous books and even transformed into a movie, “Patton” in 1974.
Another general, George Washington, the United States’ first president, suffered frigid temperatures and risk of drowning along with his men of the First Continental Army as they crossed the Delaware River. The middle of the night attack on the Hessians at Trenton highlighted his brilliant military career, and helped cement him as an American icon.
Yet another George, Colonel George Armstrong Custer, a charismatic US Army Cavalry officer, had his story replete with flowing golden locks and mortal battle at Little Big Horn carved into the American consciousness.
Each of these officers led soldiers into historic battle and in the process shaped the nation’s history. And while history has chosen to scrutinize and record the lives and actions of each of these leaders, they have something more basic in common. Each commanded soldiers, troops willing to follow orders, and each counted on those troops to enact their strategies and commands...
 I also went back to work on the Alexandria waterfront diorama. With the Pioneer Mills mostly complete, it's time to start on the sailing vessel.

Finally, I had a several  visitors the past week including Paul Dolkos, Mike Spoor, and his Army buddy Matt Allison.


  1. Hi Bernie

    Interesting book project.
    Are you aware of 'Ulverton' by the English novelist Adam Thorpe? It tells the story in 30-40 year increments of a village from the English Civil War to the 1980s and like your project it does so in a variety of formats including court transcript, diary, letters, oral storytelling, radio script and so on and each section uses language appropriate to its chronological setting.
    I read it decades ago and it's excellent.

    1. I have not heard of that book. It sounds interesting and seems to have similarities to our project.

      There is a common themes that will evolve in our book, but it will be up to the reader to discern them.