Thursday, October 31, 2013


Brian has been a part of this railroad scene since 2003 when he along with DC Cebula and Chris Brannigan came to visit at my home. It was our second time together, the first being Timonium - a neutral location that seemed most reasonable to all especially since we had a relationship only through emails. We of course hit it off and Brian offered to began painting the backdrop. His first foray was painting a 35'x3' canvas. Ever since then he has visited many times and continues to add backdrop scenes as the railroad evolves. April 29, 2013 I captured a few stories on how he began his interest in modeling the American Civil War. Hope you enjoy our interaction.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Orange & Alexandria R. R. A Visit to Al Muller's Layout

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to spend two and a half days learning from one of the masters. Al wrote the MANTUA GENERAL REBUILD manual for converting the basic General into one that runs with precision quality and to be extraordinarily detailed. Of course I brought along several of my 4-4-0 Generals to get Al's "laying on of hands" and came home with more than I could hope for as we fine tuned, machined and took my work to the next level. You will be seeing these in action in a future post... I hope! For now, here are 2 videos I shot while visiting Al's O&A. 

In the video below, the first train is led by the 4-4-0 Senator. The second loco is another of Al's transformations, the Lexington, also of the O&A. The second video is Al's Warrenton pulling a passenger train of resin kits by John Canfield.

As it passes the town of Atlee VA you may notice the young man butchering the pig as it hangs from the post. Al's rolling stock is BTS, Alkem, Classic Miniatures, Concord Car Works and a few resin Passenger cars. The structures include kits from BTS, Bar Mills, Blair Line and several scratch built. Enjoy the sound in these beauties,  Soundtraxx Micro-Tsunami decoders,TSU-750, #826001.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Water Scene by D.C.

Clearly DC has the most time into this layout. To date his accomplishments include 7 scratch built structures, about 15 structure kits and kit-bashed buildings, one being the Dalton cattle pens. His scenic contributions are much of the rock formations at the base of Kennesaw mountain, the creek at the south end, Alatoona Pass and Rocky Face Ridge. Some of you may be asking what the heck I've been doing.... Later! 
DC has also helped with bench alterations and backdrop framing. You can see his work in the LABEL listings on the front page of the blog. Here's one of his latest...

and that is scenicing the swamp below Rocky Face. It is loosely inspired by a drawing in 1864, shown above, made along the W&A just outside of Dalton. It was Mill Creek Gap. Using selective compression, DC placed it at the layout corner and was able to include a small section of the creek also. We began by cutting out and lowering a section of the benchwork base. DC took it from there using sculptamold for the contour. The reeds are a combination of scratch building using wire. He then used a kit by Scene Master - Waterlilies which was also quite intensive. Recently I found a product by JTT Scenery Products, HO cattails, #95535. No more scratch building for his next project.

W&A RR North Branch - Video.

This video features LeBron's Texas after a complete fabrication, everything from a new boiler to smoke stack and a variety of detailing including the addition of sound. We were testing pulling ability. During the war trains up to 23 cars were hitched to a loco, in some cases double headed. Here the General is pulling 11 cars. You also get to see and hear us in the background during a rare working session when LeBron, Christopher, DC and our videographer Andy could all be here, a rare treat. Toward the end you have a view into the troubling moment when a short occurs. This happens when all was well just the night before when a train had run that section without a hitch. Such as it is with model railroading. Always the adventure, fun and the shear enjoyment when the crew's in town!