Friday, August 29, 2014

Fifty years and counting...

A friend is building a combination HO and HOn30 model railroad and he's decided to hand-lay the track. He has cut the wooden ties and was getting ready to color them when he noticed something was missing. It was the railroady smell you get when walking the tracks.

The smell is from creosote, the tie preservative. New wood ties are soaked in creosote under pressure to preserve them.

Over 50 years ago Tru-Scale offered real creosote tie preservative for model railroaders. I still have a can and remember using a little of it on a railroad I once built. 

Needless to say I gave the can to my friend so he can have a model railroad that smells like a real railroad.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mt Blue General Store

Bob Hayden built this Mt. Blue HO General Store kit. He substituted the Campbell shingles for the metal roofing provided. It'll fit right in on the new layout he's building.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

East Brewster, (Cape Cod) MA station on the New Haven

Check out the funky signal on the front of the station. I wonder how this worked? 

There doesn't seem to be anyway to change the color or location - there are no ropes or wires attached to the signal.

One of life's little mysteries...

Friday, July 4, 2014

The White Tower

Here's an O scale scene on a customer's High-Rail layout. All the structures are kit-built, and the people and details are off the hobby shop shelf. What I did to make this scene come alive was to add signs in the White Tower windows, a few posters, a weathered sidewalk, and the trash barrels. 

Now it's a place for your eye to stop and take-in all the details.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

O scale church with stained glass windows

Here's an O scale church I scratchbuilt for a customer in Massachusetts. I wanted the WOW factor and the only thing besides church bells ringing I could think of were illuminated stained glass windows. 

After a Google search I found the windows on-line in connection with the building plans for a protestant church yet to be built in the mid-west. I copied the file, resized it and then printed several copies on clear acetate. These were cut to fit and glued inside each window opening.

Next, I built a lighting grid so an LED would illuminate each window. I added a voltage regulator so I could power the lights with 16VAC.

The photos shows the illuminated windows as they would look at about dusk.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The littlest cod fish

I needed several cod fish to place in the bottom of an O scale rowboat. I saw several photos of fish online that looked as though they might work. I copied them, reduced their size, duplicated the image several times, and printed them out. Next, I glued the printout to a thin sheet of soft foam (made for the scrap-booking crowd) and coated the fish surface with Mod Podge to seal it. 

After the gloss medium dried I used a spade blade in an X-Acto knife to remove each fish. I thinned the back of the fins with the spade blade and then painted the edges of the foam gray. 

The last step will be to flex each little fish into a football shape and give them another coat of gloss medium. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

The 20 Mule Team

When I was a kid I watched Death Valley Days on TV. It was sponsored by a cleaning product called Boraxo. The main ingredient of the soap is Borax, a mineral mined in Death Valley, hence the name of the show. The soap is now called 
"20 Mule Team Borax."

The miners moved borax from the mine to the mill using a wagon train pulled by 20 mules. They needed all 20 mules to pull the two ore cars and a water wagon many miles across the rough and uneven ground of Death Valley.

If you saved the Boraxo box tops and sent them away with $.50 they returned to you a nice plastic kit of the 20 mule team (it is 1/67 scale) and ore cars. 

Some of the early kits also included a covered wagon, several miners and a cowboy on a horse.

I assembled and painted the covered wagon first, posed it in front of a calendar photo of Monument Valley, and took one of my first table top model photos. 

The plastic 20 mule team kit (minus the covered wagon) is still available through Mule Team kits for $24.95.