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.

October 1, 2021

The General is Back!

Many years ago I acquired a copy of the SMR Trains General from Charlie Taylor. I missed out on the original production run but Charlie was willing to sell me one of his excess. I had the locomotive for several years as it was a beautiful model. But once I had 5 other SMR locomotives, I began to believe that I really didn't need that many. About that time, I heard through Charlie Getz that Bob Brown, of the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette, was looking for a SMR General. I agreed to sell my copy to Bob.

Then last week, George Wallace visited my  layout. George was in the process of liquidating his vast collection of O Scale models. He had a bunch of  civil war era SMR locomotives and rolling stock. He offered them to me. I decided to purchase just one, the General.   Why? Partly to help out my friend and partly because I missed the original model. It is very attractive and runs great. The model arrived yesterday. I placed it on the layout. The model looks great but will need some tuning up. It doesn't ride level, the headlight is broken and headlight box is crooked. I will need to add a sound decoder and keep alive too. Then will come the hard, at least emotionally, part, I need to re-letter it for the USMRR.  

In searching through my records, the following locomotives operated on the Aquia Line in the time period I model, Fury, Fred Leach, Ed Wentz, Victor, Eclipse, Manfred, Osceola, and Lion. I also saw a telegram that mentioned the locomotive Gen. Sickles but I saw no mention of it in the conductor reports. So that telegram might be a garbled message.  Of these locomotives Leach, Wentz, Fury, Osceola, and Manfred seem to be daily work horses with the others showing up less regularly.  I already have locomotives Leach (under construction), Fury and  Osceola. That leaves me Lion, Ed Wentz, Victor, Eclipse, Manfred as possible names. The next step will be to find out which of those locomotives comes closest to the Rodgers General.

According to this roster from 1865 of USMRR engines, the Manfred was from Norris & Sons, Wentz and Sickles were  made by Mason, and Victor was listed as made by "miscellaneous." The Lion and Eclipse are not listed. 

The General was made by Rogers, Ketchum, and Grosvenor. If I'm lucky Lion or Eclipse were made by Rogers. That way I can get the locomotive manufacturer and list of Aquia Line locomotives to match up. Otherwise I will have to pick a name from the list, or make one up. 

The National Capitol Model Soldier Society Annual Show 2021. 

I attended the National Capitol Model Soldier Society Annual Show 2021 last weekend at the Springfield Hilton Hotel. This was their 60th show and first after COVID. There were over 250 models entered from 36 different persons. NVNTRAK was there with a small TTRAK layout.

It was fun to socialize with fellow modelers. I also picked up a tube of new oil buff-able metallic paint from one of the vendors. It can be polished when dried. I am looking forward to trying that on the brass parts of the Leach that I am scratch-building. 

I entered 4 models in the contest and to my surprise, received two gold and two silver medals.   The biggest surprise was that the bust of Diablo got a gold medal. I included it as a lark, as I like the concept of it, but the paint scheme is quite simple. It is supposed to look like an animated stone creature. I did add an LED light in the interior to create a glowing molten look. Perhaps that is what the Judges liked.

The other gold medal was my Aachen Diorama

My personal favorite, Stay a While and Listen,  received a silver medal. The Red Devils vignette also received a silver. I made that vignette several years ago, but gave it a rework this year for the show. 

Model contests are very subjective, so I don't get too worked up over them. But it is nice to receive recognition from your fellow hobbyists for jobs well done. 

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