Monday, March 25, 2019

Musket Miniatures

I have a had a couple of inquiries about Musket from this blog and an email. I want to see if I can offer some explanation for the lack of response from Kris.
I have been speaking with and emailing Kris since he purchased the business a couple/few years ago. I know he was having some health issues and would go dark on occasion. But eventually I would hear from him. He purchased a loco from me and a few structures as he was very intent on wanting to provide ACW RR items in HO. I have received figures from him in the past and many years prior from the original owner. Kris asked, or I offered I forgot which, to use photos of my layout with MM figures in scenes, etc., for his web site which he did. However, several months ago we spoke. He was going to ship me some items but they never arrived. I have sent him a couple of emails since but no response. I do know that he was getting heavily involved with creating O scale figures, artillery, etc. as he was in a new venture with someone. He did say he would start up the HO ACW figs but apparently has not. My biggest concern is that something has happened as Kris was eventually responsive. Truly sorry that some of you have had this unfortunate experience with MM. I for one know of very few other sources for these figures.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Operations Session

February 21 the W&A hosted its first official ops session! Long time coming it has been. We were honored to have six friends partner up in crews of two, one engineer with a brakeman. 7:00 PM crew members arrived to orient themselves to their schedules and plan their ways of working. 7:30 the clock started and everyone was completed by 9:15. Of course there were many breakdowns that were communicated to the superintendent, providing LOTS of maintenance work orders. But this is to be expected, although he (I) was more disappointed than expected. Bottom line is that it appeared all had a fabulous time.  
Engineers were responsible for operating the locos. Brakemen had responsibilities for coupling, re-railing cars when necessary and ensuring switches were set accurately. 
The schedules were challenging in that the timing of arrivals caused negotiations in order to ensure that their respective time tables were successfully met. 
The image below, with a Yankee who somehow infiltrated as a brakeman, shows Paul with Jimmy at the throttle. Shortly after this shot, another consist came barreling through with DC at the throttle causing one of those "challenging" situations. However, when considering this is 1863, trains were constantly running at all times in order to meet both military and civilian demands. Hence, this was quite prototypical. However, schedule adjustments will be made for the next session.
This next photo has brakeman Christopher questioning engineer Martin's instructions on how best to build their consist in Chattanooga. Martin is a veteran engineer and Christopher... well, this was his first time in this role. He had a steep learning curve, and did quite well.
Below, my good friend from high school and college, Dave Eberhardt, is on his maiden run as a first time brakeman with DC at the throttle. Dave had a layout in the '70's, my first experience helping to build structures and learn a few basics. Here they are building their consist in Atlanta. 
This one below is the opening of the session, two crews setting up their respective runs.
Prior to this evening, one of our favorite modelers and friends, Brian Kammerer visited. It had been quite some time since his last appearance. He did not like a bird I had set into the backdrop because of the shadow. So in his nature for clean imaging, we were able to get him to add a small flock of crows to the backdrop, the latter which he had painted in the early days of layout construction. So good it was to have his rare visit to the W&A. Here is a link to his art work http://www.cwbattlemapart.com 
DC arrived early to complete his scratch build of a prototype fire house in Chattanooga. "Look what I did!" And it is ridiculously exquisite! 
Shorty after, he wanted to see the cars he had built for his own future layout run on our W&A. All was well until he begin to uncouple. He pulled the pins, however, the links were a bit tight in the coupler pockets. As he pulled one car off it pulled the next... HO dominoes resulted! Although there were a couple of casualties, they were easily repaired. Lesson-do NOT uncouple on elevations!
This ops event was a much welcomed achievement given we've been at this since 2003! Using the hindsight factor, I would have ... but hindsight also says there is only so much planning; best is to get into it and be open to learn, adjust and have great friends to share the joy along the way.



Monday, May 28, 2018

NMRA Joint Division Meet of the New Jersey and Garden State Divisions

May 12 was our meet that brings our two state divisions together. Although most members know one another, it is a great occasion where we get to spend time with brethren and wives from each other's model railroad communities. Here are a few pics from my good friend, Andy Salcius, during the open house. He actually got to run a train at this open house... probably because they were actually running!
 
 

 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Chattanooga Car Shed... Cupola and Completed

The cupola was a bit more tedious. Thankfully those glass plate photos allow the extreme zoom. As a result we can see that it was not all windows but a pattern of two windows then louvers. I reason that the louvers provided some ventilation for the locomotive smoke. My challenge was how to ensure I could cement the roof evenly and in one application. I intentionally did not add a floor to the cupola for access to the inside. Once I had the roof set using the rubber bands I could apply the CA to the seem between roof and walls from the inside. 

Here is the completed cupola ready for a coat of paint. It was primed white then masked to only expose the louvers which I decided on a green tone. I chose green for a couple of reasons. It appears that for some reason green was common for structure trim. The other, and more important rationale, was that the period photos show the louvers being darker than the windows. Could they have been something other than green? Absolutely. After further consideration I may have used a dark tan. Anyhow I'm satisfied.

In this photo below you will notice that the roof has been painted a gray tone. After MANY conversations and viewing period as well as contemporary photos there is a general consensus that a period photo, although appearing white, is clearly just the reflection of sun light. The reality is that a metal roof would have a gray tone. The question is how weathered would this roof have been. The Car Shed was constructed in mid to late 1850's so not so old given the period pics are 1864. When viewing the period pictures there appears to be little if any wear. Assuming this latter point, there may be a slight sheen which is my current experiment. The cupola roof was painted with a Craftsmart color, Silver Gray from Michael's. This has a slight sheen. The main roof was painted using 2 other craft paint gray colors of a matte finish. Next is to 'dirty' the roofs up a bit with dry brushing and washes. Missed the down spots as you can see.
Windows and louvers are from Grandt Line as well as the Double S corbels on the cupola and the corbels on the main roof. Down spouts are Evergreen round stock just bent. I was pleasantly surprised that they held the shape.

Good friend Andy Salcius shot this one below and of course added some photo shop to mask the ceiling.

Monday, November 27, 2017

CHATTANOOOGA CARD SHED Part III

A brief recap on the roof construction begins with the jig. One unexpected 'plus' was the aluminum flashing purchased from Home Depot. It was was 2' long and 1' wide, the exact measurement I needed. Funny thing is, I had arbitrarily decided on the shed size to fit the layout pace. SOMETIMES we catch a break! Scrap plywood fashioned the base.






The roof was constructed with 2 sub-sections of .010 sealed with Ambroid ProWeld. The finished roof is 4 sections of Evergreen V Groove #4250 also sealed with ProWeld. My initial attempt, disaster, JB Weld was used which, after a couple of days, separated and was easily pulled apart. These photos are the 2nd attempt; as of today the roof is holding tight!
A distinct construction aspect of this roof is that you can see the seems running across the roof as well as a gutter.
This is the key reason for choosing the V Groove styrene. To model the seems, which on the actual structure were soldered. I used Evergreen part #111 to model the seems. Testers liquid cement was used to attach these into the V groove slots.
Here is the new roof completed including the gutter which is three layers of Evergreen part 102 off-set to mimic the photo. Next is to add about 80 corbels. The "final" phase is the cupola with approximately 32 windows, 64 louvers and 100 corbels. 



 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

NMRA OPEN HOUSE


November is open house for those model railroaders affiliated with the National Model Railroad Association. This is in addition to the local Divisions who sponsor Division Meets throughout the year where members also open their layouts to visitors. The following photos and video is from 11.18, last Saturday and although not a bright sunny day we had a reasonable turnout. The gentleman below with glasses, Dick Genthner, has been a long standing member of our Division and is a very accomplished modeler. Any compliment from Dick is one to appreciate.
 

Overlooking the Atlanta rail yards is Dick with another Division member, Herb, who also has been a terrific model railroader. Both gentlemen have established layouts conducting operations on a regular basis, one of my goals. 

Newest engineer on the W&A, DC Cebula, is running the locomotive Alabama of the Georgia RR which had an interchange in Atlanta. This view is overlooking Kingston. The interchange here was to the Rome RR, not Italy of course.
 
From inside the Macon & Western depot office. Windows were framed inside. Rafters and floor joists by LeBron Mathews.
 
Other photos and videos are forthcoming. But for now, here is a montage of videos shot by our good friend Andy Salcius who also took the photographs.






Saturday, September 30, 2017

TRAIN RUNNING ON THE AQUIA LINE, RICHMOND, FREDRICKSBURG & POTOMAC RR

Our group, the American Civil War RR Historical Society, had our annual meet here in Harper's Ferry. Our site visits include Harper's Ferry of course plus the Martinsburg Roundhouse facilities and Bernie Kempinski's O scale model of the Aquia Line, otherwise known as the RF&P. It was heavily traveled by the USMRR as the Yanks were continuing their push into VA. Here is a video of three 3-man crews operating according to a live schedule of train movements at his home in Alexandria.

http://usmrr.blogspot.com/2017/09/we-have-met-layout-and-it-is-ours.html

Friday, August 18, 2017

SHAKE DOWN RUN

This was time to see just which locomotives would run reasonably well to terrible, and to detect track malfunctions as well. Two of  my club mates from the Garden State Central Model RR Club in NJ came by. Below is Jimmy flying our colors on his tee shirt. Beginning in Atlanta, he engineered the Catoosa to stops in Big Shanty and Kingston for a final stop in Dalton. However the Catoosa gave him (and me) fits of unplanned stops and stalls. 
Below, Martin is in Dalton with the famous General locomotive. He is setting up to reverse the loco on the Dalton turntable in order to run freight south over to Kingston. It was not unusual to have locomotives pulling trains but not long distances. The General has been one of the more reliable locos in my stable. For this session it had less difficulty than Jim with Catoosa.
Jim hovering over Atlanta while Martin continues his reversal.

Looking south as Martin pulls the General from the turntable. You may also notice that we use the NCE DCC system; love it!
The session was fruitful. BIG lesson, which never fails to appear, is the need to have clean track and wheels!. My frustrations ran up watching the Catoosa struggle. The next day I began troubleshooting. I realized that I although I had cleaned the main line, I had Jim and Martin running onto sidings that had not been cleaned. Pulling another loco off to inspect, I discovered the filth on the driver wheels. I am sometimes surprised if not shocked as to the amount of dirt the wheels collect in a short amount of time. However, these Mantua 4-4-0's require as much contact as possible to ensure smooth running. Although I accept the fact there will be the stalls and stops, these can be dramatically reduced by handling the Ops Session Fundamentals 101... a thorough cleaning of ALL track and wheels prior to ops sessions. But we did have fun!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

CONSTRUCTING SPLIT RAIL FENCE

19th century fencing took many forms such as snake or worm fence, some refer to it as zig-zag. Rails would be stacked four to nine rails high...




Another style is what I call double post or simply split rail...

...which could be five to eight rails high given the purpose. Eight high were usually to coral live stock, horses in particular. Often times fencing was to demarcate property lines as well as to keep free ranging live stock out of fields with crops. More urban areas could have picket and plank fencing. 

 
I discovered one type I refer to as a woven fence, made from saplings...

This post focuses on creating the double post split rail fence. 
Step 1 - The easy part was acquiring material to make the split rails. Local Starbucks or other morning coffee providers usually have wooden stirrers. At least they did several years ago. when I amassed my inventory. 
Step 2 - Cutting the stirrers into narrow rails. Initially I used a #11 Xacto. Then I realized I could use my miniature band saw from Dremel. These are cut into four sections, lengthwise of course. No need to make these perfect. Remember, splitting rails left various angles and shapes given the gain. When folks like Abe Lincoln, known for his skill at splitting rails, went about splitting, they used wedges, sledges and axes. 

Step 3 - Sanding the woody hairs and shaping these initial cuts to add more angles. A tool I have found very useful is my Delta sander; it quickly does the final shaping.

Step 4 - Decide on rail length. My research has been mostly via internet photos. However, parks and battlefields are a terrific source. Many of these places look to authentically recreate their sites, often including fencing. I found lengths of 7', 8', 9', 10' and 11'. For the double post fence I chose 11'. Here's where the Chopper comes in very handy. Set the barrier, make MANY rails. Posts are cut 5'; 7'-8' if to be inserted into the scenery base.
Step 5 - Construction. Lay out a piece of double stick tape the length you want your fence. Next lay out the posts at 9' intervals, seen below.
 This allows for  a 9" to 12" overlay of the rails shown below.
Next is to begin laying the lower rails in every other gap, at the bottom of the post. The second level of rails covers the open spaces. Continue to alternate until you reach the level desired. I chose six rails high. Most photos I saw showed this height. I use carpenter's glue as it drys in about five minutes.
Now the staining. I use two craft paints. One is FOG, the other is Barn Wood. Making a wash in a small bowl, I drop a bunch in at a time, swish 'em around then separate them on a paper towel...
Once dry I make a stain from black India Ink and Isopropyl alcohol, 70%, and repeat as in the prior process with the wash. 
Building straight sections are easy in that they can be done on a flat surface shown in a prior photo. But when the need is to make angles or turns I build in place...
No worries about the sheep. They were just exhausted from running around avoiding hungry troops.