Sunday, February 24, 2013

Your Luggage, Sir

Yes, yes, I know that I declared the depot "done", but I realized after making that claim that I had forgotten a couple of details.  First was the baggage cart that I bought specifically for the depot.  Some of you will recognize this pile of red and green parts as one of the Jordan Highway Miniatures kits.

Yep, I used a kit.  I decided that trying to scratchbuild one just wasn't worth the effort.  Maybe next time.  I'm not a big fan of using styrene to represent wood, because it usually doesn't come out looking like wood.  However, I'm fairly pleased with the outcome of this one.  I think I found the right mix of colors.

Here's how it looks sitting on the depot platform.  Right there in the spot that I left open for it.

Perfect!  Now to do something about those missing door handles...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Depot Done!

I am officially declaring the depot finished.  Today I installed the train order signal (scratchbuilt, of course), which I believe was the final addition.

The train order signal is built from a piece of brass tubing and a commercial styrene ladder.  If you've been reading my stuff for a while, you can guess what the arms are made from.  Yep, they were cut from that plastic "For Rent" sign.  The arms are movable too, so I can position them differently from time to time, just for variety.

Here's how the finished product looks sitting on the layout, all hooked up with the lights turned on.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gettin' Jiggy With It

Do the kids still say "jiggy"?  No?  Not in the past decade, you say?  Ok, so much for my attempt to sound cool.

I wrote yesterday about the upcoming TLR convention and the scenery clinic that I'll be presenting.  I'll be showing how to build a finished river crossing scene starting from a chunk of pink styrofoam.  As part of my presentation, I'll be showing partially completed pieces in various stages of completion.  Each of the pieces you see in this photo will eventually have some level of scenery and/or trackwork installed on them.

Naturally, a vital part of a river crossing scene is a bridge.  Without a bridge, you can't cross the river.  At this point, I'm thinking that at least three of the pieces in the previous photo will have a bridge on them.  That means I need to build three bridges, from scratch of course.  I figure I might as well try to get some MMR credit for this effort.

I've chosen to build a simple wooden trestle for the clinic.  I've never built a trestle before, from a kit or from scratch.  I do, however, know that when assembling the trestle bents, a jig (see what I did there, jig, jiggy, get it?) is essential, so I made one.  That's plastic cut from a large "For Rent" sign - the same sign that I've been cutting pieces from for the past two years.  How's that for cheap styrene?

Here's a completed trestle bent, ready for staining and the addition of some nut/bolt/washer castings.  Doesn't look too bad for a first attempt!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A River Runs Through It

Wanna see how to turn this:

Into this?

Well, do ya?  Come to the NMRA's Thousand Lakes Region convention in May, and I'll show you how.  I'll even give you a chunk of pink foam, and will help you make one of your own.  It won't look exactly like that, because we'll be modeling the same early-winter/late-fall look that I'm using on the layout, using all-natural materials for scenery.  No green foam allowed!

The convention kicks off on Thursday, May 16th, with layout tours from 1:00pm-5:00pm.  I'm one of those tours, so if you're in town that afternoon, stop by and have a look.  Clinics start Friday morning at 9:00am, and I'm the opening act, showing you how to build a river crossing similar to the one above.  After that, I'll be available for a hands-on workshop to let you try your hand at the scenery techniques that I'll be showing you.

Later that same day, I'll be hosting another workshop, this one showing you how to make your own corrugated metal roofing - practically free!  Other clinics and workshops will be available on Friday, along with more layout tours.  Saturday brings more of the same, plus some prototype tours, including a visit to the Milwaukee Road #261 shops.  The day ends with the banquet, awards ceremony (I might have a model or two entered), and prize auction.

The festivities wrap up on Sunday with more layout tours - mine's open from 10:00am-4:00pm.  If you don't get to see it on Thursday, be sure to stop by on Sunday!