Saturday, August 15, 2015

Model Waterways

I've written a lot about building waterways. I even produced a DVD on the subject. During that time I've had a chance to try almost all the water products. 

The waterways shown in every photo was made using an acrylic product called Mod Podge. In all examples the base was either hardboard, foam core or Gator Board. 

I paint the base using cerulean blue, medium green, black and white. When dry a dozen thin coats of Mod Podge is plopped on. It's not brushed on - brushing produces bubbles - just use a soft brush and lay it on.

As you can see one set of techniques can produce various results. 

Friday, May 29, 2015


My daughter works in the Probate Court for Essex County in Massachusetts. The court is in temporary quarters while the Courthouse is being rebuilt and modernized. The temporary offices have no windows and needed cheering-up. So she decided to create a program to put art in the workplace. She was aided by a grant from the State. 

School children, local artists and craftspeople are all participating. My contribution are two acrylic paintings I created for the event. 

The peppers are from my garden. I loved the way they looked sitting in the bowl - like new and shiny toys. The cherry pie painting was from a photo - I couldn't find anyone willing to make me a pie.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The railroad bridge over the Cape Cod Canal

Here I am standing almost at the top of the railroad bridge that crosses the Cape Cod canal. I was invited to come for a visit and watch the bridge go up and down for the Cape Cod trash train. 

As the train was approaching the attendant asked if I'd like to lower the bridge. "You bet!" I said and was shown how to do it - there's a whole protocol and you have to watch the lights on the operator's board to make sure everything is going properly. The train crossed the bridge without a mishap thanks to my flawless operation.

My friend Bob who was visiting with me got to raise the bridge. It was fun all around.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Making a wall mold

A friend lent me a cast resin retaining wall he had used for his HO waterfront railroad. It's a long wall and the stones are large enough to use it for O scale. So I mounted it on a sheet of Plexiglass and made a mold from it. I used Micro Mark 10 to one casting rubber. I chose the rubber because of it's high strength and its ability to resist tearing. It should give me dozens of plaster and resin castings without showing any signs of wear.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rebuilding the Sea Port display

I've posted a lot of photos of the Sea Port Model Works trade show display. I built it in 2008 and it's time to incorporate several changes. Like everything else it's become "familiar" and needs a facelift.

I'd like all the structures on the display to be scratchbuilt and reflect my early years working on the waterfront north of Boston. I had a lobster business and because of it I got to visit some of the most iconic waterfront settings imaginable. As a kid I kept a sketchbook of some of these settings and was able to refer to my images for many years of model building. The sketchbook is long gone but the sketches remain locked into the right side of my brain. As I rebuild this display I'll post photos.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

St Barth's

So here we are, our 20th year on St. Barth's. This is one of the three beaches we like. It's Governor (pronounced Goo-VEN-orr), a beach on the south side of the island. If the wind is from the south we go to another beach on the north side.
We like it here. No tourist BS!

More EXPO model contest photos

More examples of great model building on display at the EXPO.

Monday, April 6, 2015

EXPO crew and helpers

Here's the crew of the model railroad EXPO. The guys with the red shirts are the "owners" and the others are volunteers. The fellow standing next to me (I'm in the light blue shirt with a big gut) is Chicago radio personality Bill Michaels who, along with Bob Mitchell (loud necktie,) were the hosts of the model contest and banquet. Two very funny guys!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Little Engines

Here's a scene from my old HOn30 C & DR Ry. I love the size comparison between the narrow gauge engine and a rather small HO standard gauge engine. The little engine was a 0-4-0 converted to a Forney by adding a passenger truck under the tender. I still have the engine almost 50 years later and it still runs, but not very well compared to today's MiniTrainS.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Another cherry pie

I've been doing a lot of painting lately. Mostly with acrylics. I love still life painting and food. So here's another cherry pie. The first one I painted was on a clock face. This is a different pie. Nine inches by 12", acrylic.

Another diorama from the EXPO contest

Here's another diorama submitted to the EXPO model contest. These are judged by popular vote (unlike other contests). This is only part of this exquisite boat yard. The run-down boat on the cradle of the marine railway looks like something Popeye would own.

Really nice modeling!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 Model Railroad EXPO

This year's Model Railroad EXPO was a wonderful event. Almost 400 of the World's best modelers came to the Hilton in Scranton, PA. The hotel is next to Steamtown. 

The models and dioramas on display were the best that I've seen in a long time. The contest room had almost 80 models and it was hard to vote for the best ones. 

Here's an HO model of Rockport, Massachusett's Motif #1 that I shot in the contest room. I don't know the builder because voting was popular choice secret ballot.

Next year's show will be north of Boston, a few miles from George Sellio's Franklin and South Manchester.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Static grass in O scale

Here's a close-up from the Nantucket display I built over seven years ago. The grass is flocking from a static gun. 

The shrubs were made using Scenic Express Cellulose Canopy Foliage. I sprinkled Noch leaves over the foliage to add color and texture.

I'm sad to say that the railroad has been taken down by the Museum to make room for a new display. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

New MiniTrains HOn30 rolling stock

MiniTrains has added this "American" style rolling stock to its line of HOn30 equipment. These will look great behind the  new Fiddletown engine.