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.

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