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 31, 2020

The Year in Review and What's Next

Farewell 2020

2020 was the kind of year that is better off forgetting. It started off well, but then the pandemic hit and went downhill from there. We had floods that forced us to seek a solution that works (so far so good!), then hip surgery, which thankfully was successful. In November, my mom fell ill and passed away, which was a heavy, if not unexpected blow.  The holidays were quiet as we all stayed home. But among the sadness and pain, there were some positive developments.  Let's look at the highlights.

I started the expansion of the Aquia Line into the TV room. The initial section, the Belle Air  farm and Division HQ scene, came out nice, and the new track arrangement operates  much better than the previous one. 

I presented two talks about model railroading to groups that are not traditional model railroaders. One was a 6 minute Pecha Kucha talk,  and the other a longer, more detailed talk on civil war era railroads to the Union League of Philadelphia. I also received an encouraging note from a 6th grade social studies class in Wilmington, Delaware that were inspired by my blog to build a portable model railroad of the construction of the Panama Canal. That was great news. 

In April I officially became a NMRA Master Model Railroader. Beyond that, I checked off two retirement bucket list items, learning how to do 3-D drafting/ making a 3-D print. I am still a neophyte in both areas, but I am well on the way to learning more and getting better results.  Armed with those skills and inspired by Eric Gate's HO scratch build, I also started scratch building a locomotive, another one of my retirement bucket list items.

A few days ago I ripped all the plywood I need to finish the layout expansion. Hopefully, the next few months will see the gandy dancers laying track to the new sections. At some point I have to decide if I want to keep Aquia Landing as is, or do the more radical expansion. We'll see how the situation evolves.  I am due to write an article about it with a deadline approaching, so I need to decide soon.

The pandemic seems to have caused a spike in business for Alkem Scale Models. I had my busiest year ever. It helps that some of my products got excellent reviews on other websites.

In between the train projects, I have been doing a lot of other non-model railroader related things. So I have not been idle.

 I have been doing some woodworking projects, working on getting my  "History of Porsche Racing" display built, and some wargaming. With regard to the latter, I am working on a battle board for a new game based on the battles on the Eastern front between the Soviets and the Germans.  The idea of those battle boards is that they will stack up and store in a very small volume. The game scale is smaller, so less room is needed compared to the larger scale gaming I had been doing. So, there has been a lot of stuff going on.

 2021 will mark my 13th year of blogging. Thanks for sticking with me.

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year, Bernie!!

    Looking forward to your decision and progress on the railroad in the coming months. You’ve taken on some major challenges with the locomotive project and the 3D printing. Interesting to be a by stander.