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Friday
Jan082010

More train show news

I don’t know why the train gods are smilling on us but we just got word that our location at the show has been seriously modified.  Originally we were lucky to get in at all with the waiting list.  Initially we were to be in the 4th and newest building.  We just got notice that we have been moved to the main building and we are located with Dave Frary to one side and Scotty Mason on the other.  Could you want a better location.  I think not.  Though I did have to take a critical look at some of the prototype kits I’ve used on our layout.  The prototypes are test builds and as such can have a rough corner or three.  Maybe I’m overreacting but the potential increased scrutiny has motivated me to revisit (scrap) a couple of those structures and replace them with new builds of the final release versions of two kits.

Brother Dave is also in a mad rush to find replacement motor brushes for our paper box cab which died unexpectadly during a layout burn in session.  Another new addition to our roster of motive power, an 0-4-0 with paper cab, side tanks and snow plow is also undergoing some tune ups.

Good thing I like building models.

Thom

Monday
Jan042010

Amherst train show

I am finding myself excited to attend the Amherst show.  As I’ve said before, we don’t get East much, but we were specially invited.  The show has a long waiting list and they jumped us to the front because they like our kits.  I’m looking forward to seeing all the new layouts.  I know if you live out East, you’ve already seen most of this.  Sure it’s a huge show but it’s likely you’ve seen it before.  Here in the midwest, when we do shows, you get to know everyone and you see the same train layouts.  Thats OK. We have made a lot of friends and I look forward to every opportunity to see them, but the East coast scene is completely fresh to us and I can enjoy not being jaded for a wile.  We have a lot of customers out East and I’m hoping they will stop by and chat for a bit.

I finished module number two of our three module demo layout (module one has been ready for some time). Brother Dave is now making sure it runs and putting a few finishing touches on the rolling stock.  Module three runs but will be unlandscaped for this show.  Still this will be the first time we take it on the road and that’s pretty exciting too.

Hope to see you at thew show.

 

Tuesday
Dec292009

Jumping in

I’ve been working on the new touring HOn30 layout.  With a show at the end of January there’s a lot of incentive to have something new and cool to show.  This pressure has forced me to focus on the modules and it has made me make tough choices rather then put them off.  Some time ago, I had started a freelance factory design for a specific location on the layout.  I decided I would make it strictly from stuff in the “extras” and “flats” folders on our disks.  I really built the monster out to the max and it was looking glorious.  It was an odd shaped building made to fit a siding and also have another siding going inside.  (Notice I’m using a lot of “past tense”).  When I work on a module I hook it up to the module next to it so they look like they belong together.  Wile playing around with placement I took a couple of buildings I had sitting around and tried different arrangements.  I hit on one that worked really well.  The problem however, is that this beautiful scratch built one of a kind factory’s foot print would no longer work.

This is where you just have to make a leap of faith and trust your instincts.  I ripped out the custom building (carefully removed actually).  I had a vague idea that I would re-configure it into a smaller structure.  Then I had to go back and fill the gaps with fresh ground cover and dirt.  Making this one tough decision opened up several opportunities.  I was able to place 5 structures in the space taken up by the one I ripped out.  A nice arrangement of old and new kits.  A slightly modified Warehouse kit, the brand new Habbakers Garage, the shed from our contest of a couple of months ago and a Qounset Hut.  An unexpected bonus was a home for the model that started it all.  The brick narrow gauge engine house that I first showed my brother almost 6 years ago will now be tucked into a space at the end of a spur that would have been inside the big factory.  It’s a bit crude compared to our current models, but I like the historic aspect.  I think I’ll model a  marker or monument for it.

So, what of the big factory?  No way I will let dozens of hours of work go to waste.  I cut appart all of the walls and re-assembled them as a long, low relief background flat running along one of the 6 edges of the layout (it’s U shaped).

When all is said and done, the lesson here is to not get too attached to anything.  Sometimes being brash and chaotic can lead to fresh thought and exciting results.

Thom

Saturday
Dec192009

Pix of Rudy Co

A couple of teases