Monday, May 30, 2011

The Lakeside Inn

I've been wrestling with the decision of which structure to tackle next - the water tower, the sawmill, the Woodenware factory?  I think I've decided - the next structure will be the Lakeside Inn.  Due to its physical location on the layout, it makes sense to do this one next, plus I think it will be a fun one to build.

As with Johnson's Produce, I only have a single prototype photo to work from (taken from

It's been miserably hot and humid here today, so I stayed indoors and work on some plans for the structure.  After multiple do-overs, here's what I've come up with for the front:

The side:

I also intend to detail the interior, with a twist - I plan to split the structure diagonally, so that the two walls visible in the prototype photo will lift away, revealing a diagonal cross-section of the interior, right down to the floor joists.

The ground floor layout:

The upstairs layout:

I'll be using Grandt Line windows (50 total) and doors.  I haven't decided yet if I'll use scribed sheeting for the walls, or it I'll do the board-by-board siding like I did on Johnson's Produce.  I have some experimentation to do before I make that decision.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's A Swamp Thing

An essential part of the Minnesota landscape is the blanket of cattails that can be found in nearly every wetlands area.  In late fall, these turn light brown.

Since I'm modeling late fall/early winter, in Minnesota, and I have some low-lying areas to fill, I need some of these brown cattails.  I've seen fake fur used to simulate tall grasses before, and I'm thinking it might work for cattails as well.  I haven't been able to find any tan fur, so I bought some white fur and painted it.  Not bad, but I think I need to darken it up a bit.

Mirror, Mirror In The Woods

I spent a few minutes this evening trying to camouflage the edges of the mirror a little better.  I'm happy with the results.

Once the layout is finished, it will be impossible to get this close to the mirror, so nobody will ever see this exact view.  The mirror tilted slightly, giving the appearance that the tracks go uphill.  At first this bugged me, but upon further consideration, I kind of like it.

The tracks appear to go up and around the hill where the Lakeside Inn will sit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's Like Looking Into A Mirror

Yes, I know it's been done forever, but it remains one of the coolest visual tricks I've ever seen on a model railroad.  That would be the use of mirrors to make a set of tracks disappear into the backdrop.  The best I've seen yet is on Gerry Leone's Bona Vista railroad.  I decided to try it myself.

It's not perfect, but not awful either.  A little more work on hiding the edges of the mirror, and the visual gap in the rails, and I think it will look just fine.  It's certainly convincing with a car parked in front of it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

One Down, Eleven To Go

What a blast!  The guys in the Southeastern Division sure know how to throw a convention, and Dubuque was a great place for one.  This was my first convention, and I'm hooked.  Well, hooked because it was fun, and because I'm now on the board of the Thousand Lakes Region, as the new Public Relations guy - move over Gerry Leone!  Enough of that, on to the important stuff...

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a merit award for the NMRA Achievement Program, and is the first of many steps towards obtaining my MMR certification.  I went to Dubuque with one goal, to earn a merit award for my produce warehouse.  I accomplished that, and also took first place in the online structures category, earning 99 of the possible 115 points.

More photos from the weekend can be seen in my photo album, but I warn you, some of them are clearly "cheesy vacation photos".

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Destination, Dubuque

Judgment day is here, almost, and I'm not talking about the crazy theory that the world will end on Saturday.  I'm talking about the NMRA's Thousand Lakes Region Convention in Dubuque, Iowa, where my produce warehouse will be submitted for merit judging.  This will be my first NMRA convention, first modeling contest, first structure submitted for judging, lots of firsts.  I think it will do well, but even if it doesn't, it will be a nice 4-day weekend away from home (and work).  If things go too badly, there's a casino within walking distance of the hotel.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Old-Timey Photo Fun

Playing around with some of the features on my camera, just for fun...

Something called "Vintage"


May I Help You Sir?

Big business deal, or simply casual conversation?  Hard to say, but there's some sort of activity taking place at the new business counter recently installed in the warehouse.  These two figures are from the Woodland Scenics "Checker Players" set.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Behind The Counter

Nothing major, I just finished installing the counter in the warehouse, and some details behind it.  These will only be visible with the end wall removed, as in this photo...

Monday, May 9, 2011

The What's-It Connects To The Doohickey?

Scratchbuild everything, I said.  It will be fun, I said...  What was I thinking?

Today the brake parts arrived for my scratchbuilt flatcar.  I MUST include these details in order to earn merit points towards the Master Modeler certificate, but holy cow....  Figuring out what these parts are and where they go is going to be a real challenge.

What you see here is a set of parts for a "K" style braking system, used on railroad freight cars into the early 1900's.  Somehow I need to put them on the bottom of that flatcar, in the right places, and all hooked up correctly...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Brakeman's Perspective

It's not easy to get a good photo from the roof of a moving boxcar, even with the latest 1920 state-of-the-art camera.

Taking Care Of Business

I said I was done with the warehouse, right?  Well, I lied...  It was suggested that it might make sense to add a desk or high counter, at which the "business" of buying produce could take place.  Seemed like a great idea to me, so this afternoon, I built one.

Needs a little sanding to square up some of the edges, and I need to add a couple of people, but I don't think it looks bad at all.  Great suggestion!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Open Comments

I heard from someone today who wanted to comment on one of my posts, but couldn't because I had things configured to require a login.  I didn't realize I had done that, which makes me wonder how many potential comments I've missed out on.

That requirement has been removed, and comments are open to anybody viewing the site now.  My apologies if you've wanted to comment before but could not.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Professional Shutterbug

A friend and fellow model-railroader, author of several articles, and much more skilled with a camera than I, took some photos of the warehouse using a real camera.  The difference in image quality is amazing, these are magazine-quality photos.  Looks like I need to do some camera shopping...

Thanks Gerry!