Thursday, November 21, 2013

LeBron Mathews' Western & Atlantic R.R. South Branch

This W&A is sub-titled South Branch to distinguish his layout from my 'North Branch' as LeBron resides near Columbus GA. LeBron and I met though D.C. Cebula when D.C. posted an ad in a Model Railroader issue inviting modelers interested in ACW RR's to connect via internet. At that time D.C. had attracted about two dozen people. Shortly thereafter D.C. formed our current group the

LeBron and I had our first meeting in 2001 at the Georgia State Archives, both of us in the early stages of our respective layouts. Since then LeBron has just about completed not only his railroad, but has redone or renovated a variety of his modeling elements. Although built in a room about 8'x10', the detailing is truly extraordinary and very much a work of art. I have the pleasure to feature some photos of his best-in-class modeling., a master modeler indeed.  

This is his panorama of Atlanta and the skyline. His Backdrop was initially a commercial photo backdrop and runs along three walls. His layout is along three walls and is a walk-in. Trains run north or to the left. Atlanta is the end of the line. Over the years LeBron has used a variety of mediums including reduced photos pasted onto the backdrop and then painting additional details. He also has hand painted structures, fields and vegetation. An example is the church shown in the photo center.

If not all, a clear majority of LeBron's structures, most being scratch built or kit bashed, represent actual businesses and, or homes in 1862, the year he models. Middle foreground in the following two photos is the Trout House. No not a fishery or restaurant but one of Atlanta's premier hotels. Also notice the building to the right. It belongs to the Free Masons, their meeting hall.

Below is a George Bernard photo. He accompanied Gen'l Sherman and the Union army during 
Atlanta campaign. Compare this pic with the one above to see how LeBron built an exact replica of the Trout House as well as the building to the right belonging to the Free Masons.

Here is the famous Car Shed all scratch-built  of course. I believe he used primarily Evergreen styrene, Grandt Line details and the brick is a Micro-Mark paper product. LeBron has also added functioning gas sconce lamps for night operations on the inner structure which unfortunately is not visible here. Actually his layout is set up for night running. Many structures have internal lighting.

The dominant structure below is LeBron's depiction of the Concert Hall, one of the signature structures in Barnard's Atlanta photos. In the foreground are two trains, one arriving the other departing. Operationally, he has made gondola inserts and flat car loads, such as the artillery unit, for the quick on and off. 
Looking closely at his backdrop you can see his structure and field additions. The entire layout is full of details covering nearly every inch of benchwork. We'll be sure to add another post perhaps a video during an operation and views during one of W&A's summer evenings.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Al Mueller's Orange & Alexandria R.R.

October 1 I visited Al Mueller at his home in WI, also the home of his HO scale Orange & Alexandria R.R., depicting 1861-62 Virginia. He plans to run both Union and Confederate operations and has the fleet of locos to do so, 10 to be specific and nearly all Mantua Generals that have been re-motored. Two of these are featured in a video posted a few days ago.
Al is fortunate to have a huge and nicely finished basement. In the background is a layout he built but depicting the 1950's. He has since seen the light and now models a most colorful era for locomotives. He has posted many photos of his locos on our yahoo sight
Al has been extremely helpful to a few of us as he wrote a manual for re-motoring the Mantua General. The two 4-4-0's in this photo however are of my W&A which I brought here for fine tuning by the master. Although seemingly basic, we were able to adjust everything from CV's in order to standardize speeds, learn differences between decoders as I use 2 different manufacturers, and some 'general' tips to increase performance. 

Al has set up the digital readout to the left on his fascia to show loco speeds. One of his talents is his engineering mind and patience, key skills especially for me as I continue to educate myself on the modeling nuances.
In his past he had a passion for rebuilding cars. Although slightly distinguishable, the black and white photo on his wall to the right of his cloud backdrop is him next to one of his autos. 
This is the Lincoln House by Laser Art Structures. The portico and columns were Al's addition. He is currently building a foundry with unbelievable detailing. Look forward to a posting once completed.

I had to show you the scope of his "workshop". Every tool a modeler would not mind having or at least access. Thanks Al!