BONUS: RHETORICAL QUESTION OF THE DAY...
This massive field of horseweed is in my neighborhood here in north central New Jersey. It is typically ripe for harvest right around Thanksgiving, but the continued warm temperatures this year has lengthened the time before it has gone dormant. BTW, this looks like it would make a great photo backdrop, doesn't it?
The weed looks like this throughout the summer and typically grows to about three high. It tends to flourish along side roadways and highways. Its eventual transformation during late fall is pretty significant.
A supply that was harvested a year ago seems to have kept just fine in one of my trusty boxes. The items can be straightened out by holding over steam, but seem to be a little too dry to use the soldering iron method that works with Super Trees.
The top of each bush can be clipped to look like this and then carefully trimmed back to yield several potential trees. The key to harvesting is to wait until most leaves have dropped leaving only the seedlings. A few leaves are still evident here, but they'll fall off easily.
The trees on the right are the result of simple clipping of the top armature that is pictured above. The trees on the right come from the process of dragging through a clawed hand so the fingers knock off the seedlings.
Where'd it go? The old adage says, "You snooze, you lose." So much for my field of dreams!
The rear of the depot will actually be the side that is featured on the layout as it sits on the south side of the railroad putting it right against the aisle. The window configuration is distinctly asymmetrical so I felt that it was imperative to duplicate such.
The green putty at the base of the structure gives away the six different sections that were cut and spliced together to achieve the window arrangement. Four of the six windows have gotten their upper sashes replaced with some scrapbox extras that I was able to trim into the distinctive B&O look. The other two windows may get boarded up. The white styrene strips are plugging cavities in the kit wall that held the roof brackets.
The eastern end of the depot featured two half windows that were ganged together. This 1959 photo gleaned from the B&O Historical Society archives shows the three different siding materials of the depot which I did not worry about for this entry level project.
Cutting out half of the wall horizontally was tricky enough due to the vertical board and batten, so I did not try to gang the two windows together. A stone foundation should add to the overall look as the structure will be sited on a slight grade leading up to the tracks.
Much of the reader interest has been in the process of evaluating the wall components, deciding where to cut and keeping track of all necessary parts. This is what works for me.
I typically lay wall sections on my color copier, make multiple copies and then start marking up and cutting. Once I have arrived at a formula that maximizes the available inventory, I make a master with notes and cut marks and then go to work on the styrene.
Actor Michael Gross has served as the celebrity spokesperson for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. Just click on the sidebar link under References & Resources to see his personal message, videos and full biography. How could I have forgotten?... My bad!
We New York area travelers know that it's not about 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles,' but rather, 'Holes, Tolls and River Crossings,' that leave one feeling trapped with no way home.
Serious motive power was the order of the day! James Auriemma had two tables of beautifully weathered diesels and rolling stock for attendees to drool over. The number of models on display increased dramatically this year which is a welcome trend for the event.
NYSME member Fred Wadleigh displayed several dozen prototypical trackside structures that he scratch-built in HO scale. This freight house was in fact built three times depicting three different time periods during the 20th century. Here, the all-wood model shows the most recent version and the ravages of time per the photograph.
Any clinician's worst nightmare is a technological snafu prior to presenting. Dave Ramos (seated) came to first-timer Dave Olesen's rescue by switching out laptops and some wires to get the venue's projection system to cooperate. It was deja vu for me as I had the same problem in the same classroom last year. Dave rode in on his white horse then, too.
South Jersey's Ralph DeBlasi gave a very informative Power Point presentation on weathering rolling stock and then devoted several more hours to small-groups in a hands-on clinic stressing three key points: 1- Always work from photographs; 2 - Weather in layers; 3 - Fading is not about what you put on, but what you take off. See The Weathering Shop link on my sidebar under References & Resources for amazing work and techniques.
Travers Stavac (right) of the Layout Design SIG was available to critique track plans throughout the day. Here he and attendee John McCluskey discuss some ideas. Travers and group founder Doug Gurin have traveled from the Baltimore/DC area each year to help out.
RPMs are great places to find research materials. Jay Held and son Nick do a tremendous job promoting the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society schlepping an endless supply of magazines, maps, manuals, timetables, etc. to these types of meets throughout the year.
Daylene Wolf and her main squeeze Alfred, let hubby Norm tag along from Fredericksburg, VA where Norm coordinates the very popular Mid-Atlantic RPM each September. They cheerfully peddled Scotty Mason's products in his absence, while Alfred chilled out all day.
The early morning sun poured into my favorite coffee-sipping, jazz-listening, newspaper-reading lounging spot. Meanwhile, the defective entry gate mockingly disrupted my view into the train room. But could it be that the stop plate extension was the sole issue?
Measurements showed that it was very close whether the stop plate was the only issue, so it was removed, but the gate still didn't quite clear the floor. Like my Mets, close, but no cigar.
The stop plate was mounted to the top of the bench work and a reinforcing 1" x 3" support was switched from the end of the span to the edge of the bench work. Combined with the 1/4" expansion gap that was no longer part of the span's framing, I picked up a full 1".
The sash locks were now placed inside the end of the span while still being assured of perfect height alignment by the stop atop the bench work.
Success! The gate now swings freely and will give me maximum clearance adjacent to the entry. I may add a hydraulic closer similar to what is used for storm doors to assure that the gate drops in a controlled manner.
Here's the reworked version. Still perfectly level, but 1" shorter and awaiting risers for the sub-roadbed. Scroll down to compare this photo to the first photo in Sunday's post.
The 14" x 36" span was actually cut from the helix frame and used as is. The ends were beefed up with extra 1" x 3" members for added mass to better accept the hardware. It is hinged on the left side so it can hang alongside the wall beyond the path of circulation. The right side is assured of vertical alignment by a 1" x 3" 'stop' screwed to the bottom of the span. It butts up against the fixed bench work when it is in the raised, fully level position.
The span is locked into these two sash locks from some old windows that were replaced. I saved the hardware for the slim possibility of some unbeknownst future use. Bingo, baby!
The heavy duty brass hinges are from old solid wood doors... the ones that they just don't make anymore. Ideally the hinges should be set flush by routing or chiseling out 3/16" giving them added strength, but the gate won't take the repetitive perpendicular force that a 'cantilevered' heavy door would, so why knock myself out, right?
The sash locks are shown here... one in the locked position and one in the open position. When fully secured, the gate is as rigid as the fixed bench work, even though there are gaps at each end for expansion/contraction.
And now, drumroll please... Presenting the finest model railroad entry gate (that does not clear the floor.) No 'splainin' this. How could I have possibly screwed this up so royally?
What if the proliferation of commemorative camouflage apparel in professional sports reached our hobby? Hmmm... Should the Old Main Line salute our nation's veterans with this one-size-fits-all cap? I'll check with NFL Properties for a suggested retail price and potential licensing fees, because after all, they are the bastion of social conscience.
The hollow core doors were stained and coated with several coats of urethane. One serves as the desk top while the other serves as a screen for the lower portion. They were attached to the file cabinets with heavy duty Velcro squares, so the entire assembly can be taken down quite easily. The bead-board surround is screwed to the desk top from below.
The view from the stairs upon entering the basement won't be affected by a cluttered workbench while projects are in progress. The entry to the train room is to the immediate left. The former helix yielded to a new lounge configuration and allowed for the workbench.
The work enclave is segregated from the rest of the finished basement and includes my library, drafting table, computer area and workbench. The left-over bead-board gives a nice railroady touch, but I'm not sold on the color. We'll see, but it is just the basement!
Weeee!... I can swivel my chair back-and-forth between my workbench and computer.
Most importantly, I can see the TV from the workbench! The flat-screen will be raised and mounted to the wall with an extra mount that we have on hand. Note the power strip, recovered from a 'computer stuff' storage box. It provides needed outlets for my work tasks.
The key to organizing and storing my tools, parts and materials are these plastic containers from a local take-out eatery. The larger one measures about 6" x 9" x 2-1/2". The smaller one is about 4-1/2" x 6" x 2". I've saved in excess of 50 through the years.
Serendipity! Two containers fit perfectly into each letter tray. BTW, even the peel-and-stick lettering was on hand from long ago art projects. The 1" lettering might be overkill, but it's what I had and someday might be appreciated by aging eyes. You may not understand the labels, but I do. I had to get creative based on what was available and what would fit!
In addition to the great B&O links here, consider these two books. Herbert Harwood, Jr. is the pre-eminent B&O author, photographer and historian. His 'Impossible Challenge' is must reading for the enthusiast. Also, a trio of local historians has put together a splendid pictorial review of the Old Main Line, and beyond, in 'Reflections of the Capital Dome.'
My 6'-3" x 6'-3" helix frame will not be used. The full assembly is available to anyone who is relatively local and is willing to handle its transport. Otherwise, it will be disassembled and the 1" x 3" clear pine will be reused somewhere, somehow inside the train room.
The removal of the helix will allow me to reconfigure my television/crew lounge and provide space for a neat workbench set-up which I'll cover in the very near future.
The reworked track plan is ongoing, but it looks like staging can be achieved by crossing the main line inside the east-end and west-end tunnels and then descend behind screening by 3% to (2) three-track staging yards. Crossovers will be added at the midway point where the three tracks straighten out. An entry gate of undetermined design is a necessary compromise. Radii are 27, 30 and 33 inches respectively.