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.

July 23, 2023

Sprague's Ma and Pa HO layout

Mat Thompson, Paul Dolkos and I had an opportunity to do the first “official” operating session on Bob Sprague's new HO scale Ma and Pa layout. Bob has designed an interesting multideck layout with a counter-flow double helix that connects the various levels. He has beautiful hand laid track, many scratch built structures including some he designed and printed using resin printers. I especially liked his tiny, but flawless running, steam engines and rolling stock appropriate for the 1920s. He also uses digitrax for command and control including remote activation of the turnouts. That was the first time I used that system and I liked it. He has an impressive three-level swing gate made with 80/20 aluminum. It’s very sturdy

July 20, 2023

Oracle at Delphi Box Diorama

 This is my latest modeling project. I was inspired by a presentation by David Hoffman to build a box diorama. I chose the oracle at Delphi as a subject as I wanted to try new subject matter beyond railroads and military. 

The details of how the oracle worked are clouded by the passage of more than 2,000 years. There are conflicting descriptions of where and how she operated.  This is my interpretation of the oracle performing her ritual in the adyton (private room in the cellar) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The oracles were female, and,  according to some sources, they would make pronouncements while breathing fumes from a crack in the earth, allegedly the breath of Apollo. Male priests would stand by to record and or translate her utterances to hexameter verse.  

The statue on the right depicts Apollo wrestling with a python, which is how the temple became sited at this place according to Greek Mythology. The formal Greek name of the oracle was, "Pythia," to reflect the python in the origin myth. 

On the walls are inscriptions in Greek that translate to, “know thyself,” and, “all things in moderation.”

The figures and vases in the diorama are objects that I purchased from my various sources and modified to fit the diorama. An ultrasonic micro-humidifier produces the fumes emanating from the earth. The burning braziers are 3D printed objects with flickering LEDs from Evans Designs.  

July 18, 2023

Aquia Line in the NMRA Magazine


The Aquia Line is featured in an article in the August issue of the NMRA Magazine. This magazine is put out by the NMRA for its members. You can find it at this link

If you are not a member of the NMRA then you probably can't see it. But that begs the question, why aren't you a member? 

The editor is Cynthia Priest and she does a great job with the magazine and is an excellent editor.