Monday, April 26, 2010

Rock Molds

I like using molds to model rocks. For many years I made and sold a line of over 20 molds. All were made from real rocks that looked good in miniature.

I still get requests from modelers who can't find the molds on my web site. I stopped making them over five years ago because they were very labor intensive and demand dwindled.

Nowadays when modelers ask about molds I send them to Sterling Models. They have a growing line of molds that are very realistic. Each mold is hand made using latex rubber and they're packaged to stay flat.

The larger molds are set in a cardboard "tray" for shipping. The tray is a handy holder when pouring plaster into the mold.

Check them out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Franklin & South Manchester model railroad

I just uploaded another video. This one is about George Sellios' F&SM railroad.

Here's the official blurb:
In this rare video I show George Sellios' Franklin & South Manchester model railroad as it looked in 1987 and again in 2001 and 2002.

I start by showing the early construction of the F&SM and George running the trains, next we jump to 2001 and see George presenting his kits and the layout on a Boston morning news show.

Next in 2002, we follow several trains as they circle the layout as part of a monthly open house, and I finish by showing and explaining many of George's scenery building secrets.

This video is 23 minutes long, a high quality 140MB download and is priced at $5.95.

This video was assembled from video I'd shot over the years. The presentation was made for the 2002 NMRA Sunshine Region Convention. That was it's only showing until until this week when I discovered I still had a copy of the tape.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lobster Pot Pie

This is not a recipe blog although sometimes I wish it were. I have hundreds that are mine and they're good! But today I'm posting a link to a YouTube video of the IQUE BBQ team preparing lobster pot pie for their Chef's Choice entry at the Jack Daniels BBQ Championship in 2005.

Here's the link -

I put together this video to show the team in action. Andy Husbands brought his video camera and everybody took a turn at recording the events of the day. I assembled this 5-year old video into this short presentation to show one of our typical non-BBQ entries.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Garden time

Spring has sprung here in New England. We've had almost a week of pleasant weather after two weeks of heavy rains.

At the beginning of March I started my seeds in my cellar. I have an old 25 gallon aquarium that's perfect for seed cultivation. I added a cheap heating pad from Walmart, several blocks of one inch thick Styrofoam and two 4' fluorescent light fixtures. I also put a remote thermometer inside next to the plants to make sure it's warm enough.

The foam blocks are stacked to hold the trays of seeding close to the lights and the heating pad is placed under the starter tray to keep the soil warm for fast germination. The lights just fit on top of the aquarium and are connected to a timer to turn them on and off on a 12 hour cycle. Most of the seeds are up and doing well.

I took time outside yesterday to survey my vegetable garden. The soil is now dry enough to work it a little. It was a real chore to turn sand into garden soil. I've turned truck loads of manure, compost and seaweed into the garden to help make the soil rich and productive. It's working. Last year even after six weeks of rain and colder than normal conditions everything grew as planned.

It's time expand the garden. I've decided to make the flat, rectangular area into four 16' long raised beds about 4' wide. I plan on adding two foot wide walkways between the beds. I bought the lumber yesterday. I'll post photos after I start the process.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Two new videos are ready for download

Two years ago this month I went to the Netherlands and to Germany with Jim Elster, the owner of Scenic Express. We visited the farm where all the SuperTrees are grown (along with a lot of the potatoes that Frito Lay uses for their "crisps.") and then headed south to Munich, Germany to visit Albert Rademacher, the man who invented Silflor and owns Mini Natur. We also went to the Noch factory to see how their scenery products are produced.

During our visit with Albert he demonstrated his techniques for building dioramas using Styrofoam, craft paints and his Silflor products. I recorded a lot of what happened on video tape. It's been sitting on my hard drive just waiting to be edited.

Well this week I taught myself Final Cut Express HD for the Mac. This is video editing software that treats video like Photoshop handles still images. You can do about anything to video, do it fast, and produce professional looking video.

I started by assembling my European video and before I knew it I had three programs with more video still on the drive. I've uploaded two of the videos and the third is still being edited. The two videos are ready for download through the downloads page on my web site.

The first video is called Building a Foam Diorama Base. It's an eight an a half minute video that features Albert demonstrating his techniques for building a diorama base using Styrofoam. He show how he plans the diorama, cuts the pieces, and then disassemblies it, so each piece can be shaped separately. A good teaching tool for any scenery builder, beginner or expert. Price $5.95, 48.6MB download.

The second video is Carving & Painting Foam Rocks. It's a 14-minute video where Albert shows his techniques for carving rock faces in Styrofoam blocks and then painting them to get realistic results. He also shows how he "carves" stonework in flat foam surfaces. This video will help anyone who is building scenery on their model railroad, military display or structure diorama. For beginners or experts. Price is $5.95 - 14-minutes, a 77MB download.

Check them out.