Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thanks to everyone...

As 2009 rolls to the end I want to say THANK YOU to all my on-line friends. Thanks to all for visiting this site, buying books and DVDs, and asking many scenery questions. It's been a wonderful year!

In 2010 I hope to improve the quantity and quality of information provided here. Stay tuned, it's going to be another great year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Harbor Master's Office

For almost 41 years I had a part time lobster business on the coast of Massachusetts just north of Boston. During that period I owned four lobster boats. My last boat was custom-built for me by General Marine in Biddeford, Maine.

In my travels looking at other boats and builders I spent several weeks in Nova Scotia. I took this photo of a Harbor Master's Office about 1979. I don't remember where. The picture was placed in a box of other waterfront photos until I discovered it again last October when I showed it to Hal Reynolds of Atlantic Scale Modelers .

He liked the photo, so I drew the "plans" on graph paper. The plans were really just a sketch showing the length and width. The size and proportions were determined by using a know window size, and by counting the rows of 5" by 5" cedar shingles on the building sides. This was the system we used very effectively when we built the Nantucket Railroad display for the Nantucket Historical Association at the Whaling Museum in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Hal took my sketches and laser-cut the office in O scale. He used the windows we created for the Nantucket structures. They were a bit large but looked good.

Hal sent me the first cutting for comment. The photo, with my hand in it, was the first trial run of the kit. Hal cut a second kit, built it, and put it on a waterfront display as seen in the next photo. I put a light in the Harbor Master's office as you can see in the close-up photo. I used printed nautical maps to decorate in interior walls.

Hal decided to go ahead and produce a kit of this structure. It's cut from Northeastern Scale basswood and has a footprint of 5.5” x 3.5” and is 5” tall. The shingles on the sides and roof are laser cut into the bass wood. The look real! All you have to do is paint them. The doors and windows are laser cut and have window glazing included. The chimney and life saving rings are included, and there's illustrated instructions.

Hal says he expects to have the kits ready to ship by early January 2010. The price is $79.95 plus postage - a bargain and a fine addition to your O scale waterfront!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The future is now.

The more I look around the Internet and see how model railroaders are embracing the podcast and video technologies the more I think this is going to be the greatest informational, teaching and entertainment tool ever devised. You can already download movies and TV shows and watch them when it's convenient so why not model railroad information?

It started with the Scotty Mason Show. This was the first model railroad/structure kit show on the Internet. Jimmy Deignan put the show on iTunes as a free download and the number of listeners just exploded.

If the Scotty Mason Show could afford the band width we could make a video podcast. The one I always mention as the one we should emulate is TWiT - This Week in Technology. It is polished, professional and informative. The band width is still expensive without a willing sponsor.

Our podcast was followed by Ryan Andersen's weekly Model Railcast Show. I was interviewed for this show last week. Show #91. Ryan does an interesting show because it's main thrust is how to get started in model railroading. A topic that's often overlooked by experienced modelers.

Joe Fugate was the pioneer in how-to-do-it video downloads at his Siskiyou Line web site. On this site you can download his instructional videos or buy his DV's. He offers them in several formats, they're inexpensive and the site is very user-friendly.

Joe is also responsible for the free, quarterly Model Railroad Hobbyist eZine. This a a real model railroad magazine that's free to download from the web site. The best part is the great video segments showing you how to perform a particular task. Good stuff, and did I say it's free!

Stay tuned. Things are happening fast.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lobster Cove

I just uncovered these photos from the "Lobster Cove" project I built for the folks who owned the Franklin Mint back in the mid 1990's. This is a 3' by 5' HO model railroad. A loop of track and two sidings with a bridge, tunnel, waterfront, and a New England village.

It was sold through the American Express credit card mailing list. You could own a ready-built HO Lobster Cove for eight credit card payments. The White Glove folks would deliver it, set it up and run the trains to make sure it worked.

My job was to build the layout for the brochure photography and then build casting masters so all the pieces could be sent to China and duplicated. I did it. They duplicated the layout in China I was told. The project was dropped before it really got started because not enough of these layouts were sold.

The Lobster Cove layout eventually became the basis for the model railroad that appeared in the movie The Love Letter. Same dimensions, scenery and track plan, only the structures were different.

This would be a nice little HO model railroad project for someone who wants a small, highly detailed railroad. I don't have plans or other photos, so you're on your own...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

eBooks - Classics revisited!

I hope you noticed the eBooks for sale on the my main page. I've taken my two TIPS books and the Toy Train Scenery book and scanned every page. The information in the books is as valid today as it was ten years ago when they were published.

I chose a resolution high enough so that the photos look good and the text can be enlarged several times and still be readable. It was a big challenge and I experimented with dozens of scans to get the dpi just right.

I also needed a file size that was small enough so that modelers with a high speed connection could download the eBooks in a matter of minutes. If you still have a dial-up connection I recommend ordering your book or books on CD. The instructions are included with each book.

The TIPS books are an accumulation of 50 years of craftsman structure and scenery building. Realistic Scenery for Toy Train Layouts explains the simple steps for making good looking scenery. You'll love this eBook when you pull out the train set at Christmas or want a simple set-up for the kids to enjoy. Whether you're a beginner or an expert you'll benefit from reading these classics.

Download a book and check it out. There's a lot of good information here and I've micro-priced the ebooks so that everyone can enjoy them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On October 24th the iQue BBQ team won Grand Champion at the Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ Competition in Lynchburg Tennessee. Eighty teams were invited from around the world to see who cooks the best BBQ. iQue has been invited for the past 8 years. Here's how the team did:

2002: 4th Ribs, 5th Chicken, 10th Pork, 10th Overall

2003: Shut out

2004: 3rd Chicken

2005: 2nd Place Pork, 3rd Place Chefs Choice

2006: 1st Place Chefs Choice, 1st Jack Grilling

2007: Shut Out

2008: 1st Chefs Choice, 10th Dessert

2009: 2nd Pork, 8th Chicken, 2nd Dessert, Grand Champ

I've only been with the team since 2005 and have been to the Jack every year except this one. It figures I'd miss the Grand Champion award.

The team was started by Andy Husbands owner of Tremont 647, a restaurant in Boston, in 1998. The BBQ chef is Chris Hart. There are also five or six other team members and their families who attend contests as their schedules' allow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's been a while...

I have good intentions. I plan to post something interesting here on a regular basis. Then I forget, and go off to do something else. So I'm turning over a new leaf. My New Year's resolution is to add photos and stories on a weekly basis.

I have a lot of material. By my count I've either worked on or built 31 model railroads to date - in all scales and gauges.

I'm going to start by playing catch-up. I never finished the story of the podcast layout. If you read back through my posts you'll see that it was a 4' by 8' layout built for display at the Craftsman Structure Show in November 2009, and then presented to a lucky ticket buyer at the show. The money raised from the ticket sales, over $4,000.0, went to the Avon Breast Cancer Walk.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fos Scale limited kits

Work continues on the podcast layout. I've finished three new Fos Scale Limited structure kits - www.foslimited.com/.

Here's Fos's HO Hooper Oyster Company kit. I've changed the sign on the front to make it The Golden Lobster. The plastic lobster on the sign came from the top of a swizzle stick I picked up at the bar at Anthony's Pier 4 in Boston. The large oyster sign is included with the kit. I've set the building half on and half off the pilings - the front half will be on the street.

The little barge kit comes with Hooper's Oyster. I built it per the instruction but set a model cannon on the deck just for fun. Several folks wrote and said "that's not prototypical!" You think? I told them the barge uses the cannon to go in reverse...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our BBQ team, iQue, had a great weekend. We're now the Massachusetts State Champions having prevailed over 41 other teams, one from as far away as Chicago. The win came out of the blue. We had a couple of calls in ribs and pork shoulder but nothing that would lead us to believe we had enough points to beat several other strong contenders. We had the points and won, and it was great! A nice trophy and even nicer cash made for a great contest.

Now the team is off to Kansas City to cook the American Royal. Over 600 teams compete to see who's got the best BBQ on the planet. If you'd like to check out how we prepare our pork shoulders for Royal competition click this link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XMjN0I7wD8 - there's 2 parts to this video. Check out part 2 to see how we did.

This link shows our brisket win at the Royal, against 500 teams - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OiTlhlqNJY

At the end of October we travel to Lynchburg, TN for the Jack Daniels Invitational. It's the world series of BBQ - the 50 best teams in America go head to head. We've had very good luck at both contests and hope to continue.

My thanks to the Harpoon Brewery in Boston for providing sponsorship and great beer - http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wow! It's been way too many weeks since I added anything new to this blog. I took a summer hiatus and now with fall rapidly approaching it's time to get back work.

The Narrow Gauge Convention is going strong in Colorado Springs and this year I decided to stay home. I did get a chance to participate in a small way by building a display for Jimmy Deignan to show off his new line of laser cut kits - www.craftsmankits.com

Jimmy gave me all these built-up kits on small diorama bases. I removed the bases and saved all the little details. The buildings were arranged on a 30" by 32" sheet of reinforced foam core board (the dimensions were determined by the size of the available floor space in Jimmy's van.) I mounted the structures on 1" pink Styrofoam and scenicked around them. It's kind of crowded but I got everything to fit in a small space.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Harpoon BBQ weekend.

I compete in BBQ contests as a hobby. It's more than a hobby but you folks who compete in any sport know what I mean.

Our team, iQue, is again this year competing at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT, at the New England BBQ Championship. This is by far the best contest on the east coast of the USA. Harpoon is a great host providing lots of fresh beer and prize money for the best BBQ. They'll be 50 teams from all over the country - some of the best BBQ cooks in America competing.

Here Chris Hart, the BBQ master of our team, preps the chicken entry just before turn-in.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I just finished building this nice little laser-cut kit from Stevens Creek Models. It's called Thatcher's Outlet.

I mentioned it in this blog several weeks ago. It's a new kit that'll could find a place on almost any model railroad.

I added the little bicycle to the front porch. It's a pewter casting that comes all painted. I don't remember who makes it - I bought it at a hobby shop in Amsterdam.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When a customer asked me to put a "village Green" on his O scale, high rail layout I said okay (without knowing what I was going to do.) He wanted something like the green he remembered as a boy growing up in western Massachusetts.

I had a large space in the middle of the O scale village. We had scratchbuilt about a dozen structures that ran down either side of the village. By placing a "green" in the middle, it split the center of town into two main streets and visually looked more realistic.

I started by cutting an oval from a sheet of 1/4" thick Foam Core board and cutout the pond area in the middle. I glued the foam core down to the road surface and held it in place with weights until the glue dried.

I cut several rows of stones from a Scenic Express urethane foam wall and glued them to the edge of the Foam Core.

The whole green was painted with earth colored paint and finely sifted sand and scenic foam were sprinkled into the wet paint. After the paint dried I sprayed the whole area with dilute matte medium adhesive and added more grass and fine sand.

The statue is off the top of a bottle of Jack Daniels. I painted him and put him on a wood base. He's got a pigeon sitting on his hat.

The benches are store bought. The fence posts are made from 3/16th square stripwood with a map pin stuck in the top. Holes were drilled in the sides of the stripwood to hold the brass rods.

The "lake" is a painted bottom with Magic Water poured on top. Several ducks were placed in the pond.

This was an easy project that adds a lot of life to the little village.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We recorded our July podcast yesterday. A little late in the month but if Scott gets his interviews done it'll be out soon. We talked quite a bit about building the podcast layout. Doug Foscale, Scott and myself worked on it. Jimmy Deignan supplied the materials.
We're building the layout for charity and any profit will be donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Walk.
The track is down and next week we place the structures and start the scenery. I'll post pictures here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

We just acquired our second dog from Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. He's on the left and his name is Bailey. He's six years old and gets along with three year old Buddy, on the right, very nicely. Two dogs are nice.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Here's a photos of the completed 28' display in the Museum. It's interactive. The green buttons, one on each end of the display, start the train and the sound effects.

All 32 structures were built using photos from the 1900-era as a guide.

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of presenting a clinic at the NMRA Convention in Hartford, CT. It'll be about how I researched and built an On30 display for the Nantucket Historical Association's Whaling Museum on the island of Nantucket, MA. The display depicts the Nantucket Railroad as it looked in 1900.

The railroad was 3-foot gauge and operated from 1881 until 1917. It's reason for being was to haul tourists and their baggage from the ferry dock to the hotels in Surfside, Tom Nevers Head and Sconset. The railroad was 11.5 miles long.

It had an American 4-4-0 type engine and a Mason-Bogie type engine. They had a passenger car, a baggage combine, a home-built baggage car, and several open air coaches.

More information can be found on my home page by clicking on the Nantucket Display link.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thatcher's Outlet

Many of you may remember the Thatcher's Inlet series of articles that ran in Railroad Model Craftsman in the 1970's. Thatcher's Inlet was a small HOn30 layout that Bob Hayden and I built. It featured a New England village set on the edge of the ocean.

Well Thatcher's Inlet lives on. Ken Lunders of Stevens Creek Models has produced this HO laser cut store kit which he's calling Thatcher's Outlet (a little play on words there...)

This is a nice little store which I'm in the process of building now. Go to Ken's web site and check it out. I'll be posting pictures of my model when I complete it.

Podcast Layout Structures

These are a few of the quick and dirty (weathered) plastic structures I built for the podcast layout. They may or may not be used, we'll see. The consensus of the group is that we feature built-up kits from the builders, Fos Scale Limited, ScottyMason.com and Jimmy Deignan.

If they don't end up on the podcast layout I'll put them in my own city scene.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on the Podcast layout

Scotty Mason, Doug Foscale (in photo), Jimmy Deignan (in top photo), and myself worked all day Monday, June 29th., building the podcast layout. We completed the frame, put down Masonite, one-inch blue foam and got all the track in place.

We used Walther's code 83 HO track and turnouts. The next step is to build the structures.

We'll resume construction after the NMRA convention in July.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Podcast Layout

If you haven't listened to our podcast yet you're missing three hours of fun every month. Scotty Mason, Jimmy Deignan, Doug Foscale, and I talk about model railroading, model structure kits, kit building, new products, the Craftsman Structure Show, and our new sponsor The Model Railroad Hobbyist e-zine. Scotty interviews the leading model railroader's every month. These have included, Tony Koester, George Sellios, Dick Elwell, Lou Sassi, Bob Hayden, John Olson, and many others.

We all decided to build a four foot by eight foot HO scale layout and have it ready for the Craftsman Structure Show in November. The trackplan is based upon one that appeared in print several years ago. Scotty has the construction materials, Jimmy has ordered the track and turnouts, and Doug and I are building structures.

When we actually start construction next week I'll post photos.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thanks for visiting my Blog.

I'm Dave Frary and in this blog I will try to share with you my continuing model railroad and scenery building adventures. I will try to keep the material interesting and current, and I promise to update it in a timely manner. I'll show you what I'm working on and the materials I'm using. I'll explain most techniques especially if they're not included in my book "How to Build Realistic model Railroad Scenery" or in any of my DVD's.

If you have questions or comments, or would like to share information I'll do my best to answer the questions and to post reader's information.