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Another Free-Mo module to display craftsman kits

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Topic URL: http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11232
Printed on: 11/26/2014

Topic:


Topic author: AVRR-PA
Subject: Another Free-Mo module to display craftsman kits
Posted on: 01/14/2006 12:08:41 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

This module has been described and discussed a bit in the Planning Forum. As I cheerfully acknowledge, I stole this idea from RichBeau. I've build Skinner's Row and three Downtown Deco kits and am building SRMW's Wrisley Papers. I want to create a special FreeMo module around them, to take to train shows. The purpose of our FreeMo group, beside having fun, is to attract members to the NMRA's Keystone Division, by setting up at shows.

Here's a mock-up and sketch of the module:







I ran into a "problem" right at the beginning. I had decided to use better plywood on this module than I usually do and Home Depot had birch plywood for $26 a sheet, which seemed pretty reasonable.

Most of it was anything but flat and I had to shift a lot of sheets around before I found a flat one. (Groan... ) I didn't really look at it -- just hauled it back to the shop late last night and unloaded it. Next morning, I find my shop mates and two of the artist gathered around it, oohing and aahing. I had lucked into a sheet of curly birch.

Everybody was appalled that I'd cut it up and paint it green. We finally compromised - I agreed that this particular module would be stained and varnished instead of painted. Here's a picture of the wood:





I'll post more photo's as I move ahead. Because the various structures or dioramas will have their own individual or group bases, the module will be constructed very differently from the usual FreeMo module. I'll be making it up as I go along.

Don Reed
Pittsburgh

Replies:


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/14/2006 07:55:16 AM
Message:

Don, how thick is the plywood you're using?

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/14/2006 10:16:36 AM
Message:

Hi, George --

It's 3/4"* cabinet grade hardwood plywood. I normally use much lighter and cheaper stuff -- often 3/8" OSB, which, BTW, doesn't look half bad when sanded and painted. This module is definitely going to be heavy.

*(It's actually 18 mm - pretty close to 3/4".)

Don


Reply author: MikeC
Replied on: 01/14/2006 10:31:20 AM
Message:

Don, I know virtually nothing about wood working (beyond how to saw wood into sorta straight pieces[:-ashamed]) or cabinet making, so I wouldn't have recognized a piece of curly birch even if it had a big sign hanging on it. But I do like your track plan and the arrangement of your buildings. As for the area, it could always be a vacant lot, overgrown with weeds and strewn with junk (if you don't come up with another idea for the area). I created a scene like that once and it proved to be a very effective contrast to the structures around it.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/14/2006 12:50:11 PM
Message:

Hi, Mike --

The love of a wood is a dangerous addiction.

To quote Andy Rooney (a serious amateur wood-worker), "I will have enough wood when Imelda Marcos has enough shoes!"

"Curl" is a wood figure that produces those iridescent bands you see running across the boards in the picture. I agree it's beautiful and painting it would be a crime, but there was no way I was going back to HD and sort through that pile again - those sheets are heavy!

Thanks for the ideas -- sounds good to me.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/14/2006 1:00:46 PM
Message:

This picture is already up on the Planning forum but I want to be sure everybody sees it. I updated the track plan when I realized I need a run-around track to make the mini-layout switchable. I "sketched" it full size and took a picture of it:




The new run-around track is second up from the bottom. You should also know that there will be a roll-around staging module which can connect to either end - the British "tea trolley" approach.

Back to cutting wood.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/14/2006 10:05:09 PM
Message:

Today I finished a lot of the basic carpentry for the module -- cross-cutting pieces to rough length, then cutting the 45 degree ends to finished length, making corner blocks (with one 45 degree side), etc. I find it much easier to assemble modules if the corner blocks are already glued in. I glued up the two end sub-assemblies and left them to dry overnight.

Tomorrow I should be able to join the ends and side and have the basic module frame done. Then I can start adding the L-girders at various heights to support Wrisley and the other dioramas.

Here are a couple of pictures:







I glued the ends together on the table saw because its cast iron top is the most dependably flat surface in the shop.

Don Reed


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/15/2006 09:34:44 AM
Message:

Nice woodworking, Don.[:-thumbu] You're off to a good start.

George


Reply author: rrkreitler
Replied on: 01/15/2006 11:25:20 AM
Message:

Don,

While I am involved with N-Trak modules, I have never built, or seen and actual Free-Mo module. Looking at your photos, it looks like you are going to have quite a bit of depth. Is this just part of your design or are Free-Mo modules normally built with this kind of depth?


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/15/2006 8:27:05 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

George, thanks for the kind words. I'll be posting another photo in a few minutes.


quote:
Originally posted by rrkreitler

Don,

While I am involved with N-Trak modules, I have never built, or seen and actual Free-Mo module. Looking at your photos, it looks like you are going to have quite a bit of depth. Is this just part of your design or are Free-Mo modules normally built with this kind of depth?




This module is quite different from the other FreeMo modules I've built. The standard is 6" tall and the end of this module - where it will connect to other people's modules - is, in fact, that height. But the sides are 10" tall. I did that so I can cut profiles in them for the river and other scenic elements, and also so I'll have plenty of wood for attaching the L-girders which will support the various dioramas. The supports for Wrisley, for example, will need to be quite a ways below the basic surface.

More in a few minutes after I've downloaded pictures from the camera, re-sized them, etc.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/15/2006 8:46:05 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I got the basic frame of the module glued up this morning. Here's a picture. The two transverse braces are there mainly to give me a place to attach the leg sets.




The pieces in front of the module are three of the L-girders - we actually made six of them. Not sure how many we'll need but this should be a good start.

Next step: sand everything to 220 grit and apply linseed oil (in the form of Watco) to "pop" the grain. I'll let that cure for a week or two while I'm working on other parts of the project, and then apply two or three coats of a clear finish - probably a bullet-proof gym floor finish, since it's going to be riding around in a pickup, turned up on one side.

After that, I'll start screwing in L-girders. No glue on those - I want to be able to correct mistakes, as I expect to make a lot of them. .

Don


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 01/16/2006 07:44:21 AM
Message:

Dave a Fee-mo module can be any size or shape. The key element is to be able to connect the modules together. Generally (and you should look at the specs for the specifics: www.Free-mo.org) a module with a single track mainline has 24" wide "ends" (you can have many "ends" depending on the size and shape of the module). The mainline track is set smack in the middle of the end (after ~6" it can go anywhere on the module). There are no backdrops so the module may be viewed, and operations may take place from any side. All control is via DCC.

As Don mention at the beginning of this thread he "stole" my idea. My module which is very simple in shape is described at http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=9544. I've buried a number of informational links and resources for building Free-mo modules.

Lastly, and though you may not get into "town" much, Brian Rutherford is the contact for the Pacific Northwest Free-mo Group which is fairly active. They have a web site at http://home.centurytel.net/pnw_rpm/

--Rich


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 01/16/2006 07:46:43 AM
Message:

Fancy smancy Don! [:-bigeyes2]
Curly birch! [:-bigeyes]
I don't think that's a standard fasica color...

--Rich


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/16/2006 08:07:17 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by RichBeau

Fancy smancy Don! [:-bigeyes2]
Curly birch! [:-bigeyes]
I don't think that's a standard fasica color...

--Rich



It is now... Wait'll I add the turned mahogany legs.

Don


Reply author: rrkreitler
Replied on: 01/16/2006 11:27:09 AM
Message:

Hey guys, thanks for the info. I'll look into the links. Rich, I'll take a look at the local web site. This surprises me a little. I do not think I have ever seen a display by these guys at any local shows. Maybe I just did not know what I was looking at... hmmmm


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 01/17/2006 08:02:50 AM
Message:

Don,
I was in the process of replying to this topic when the forum went off-line yesterday so who knows where my reply ended up.
I really like the base for your Free-Mo.
The curly birch looks most excellent and I think you can display this module in a formal dining room when not in use.

The thing I like best about Free-Mo compared to the other modules I have seem is the fact that the track enters and leaves from the center thus allowing you structures plus switching opportunities on both sides of the track.
I look forward to more progress pictures as you complete this project.


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 01/17/2006 10:47:08 AM
Message:

Hey Dave (rrkreitler), did you check that web site out yet? Do I see a gleam in your eye?


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/17/2006 10:14:18 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

John, it's nice to know you're following this thread.

Well...it was a fairly busy and productive day. I did get the module sanded and the linseed oil (Watco) applied. Here's what the plywood looks like at this point.




And here's a picture of the module with the Wrisley Paper diorama set in place and some of the L-braces and ledgers installed. I need to make an additional, longer L-girder to run length-wise. Then I can start adding the foam top sections.




I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I will be scroll-sawing a profile on one side of the module, matching the profile of the scenery, especially the river.

Here's the approach I'm going to use on installing the foam. On the flat (yard) modules I've built in the past, I've used 2" thick pink or blue foam board. Typically, I've glued WS "foam" roadbed down onto the foam.

On this module, because I'm going to be placing dioramas on/into the top, I'm going to put down a 1" thick piece of foam, set 1" below the top of the frame. The dioramas will be build on 1" thick foam and I'll fill in between them with scraps of 1" material.


I'd appreciate comments and suggestions since I've never built anything except dead flat modules. (The prototype for my FreeMo layout is the Pennsy along the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh - just one yard after another.)

With luck, tomorrow I'll get the rest of the supports in and start installing the foam top.

Don


Reply author: LVRALPH
Replied on: 01/18/2006 08:00:11 AM
Message:

You sure your name isn't Norm!


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 01/18/2006 08:09:13 AM
Message:

Don,
That is some very nice carpentry and Ralph beat me to the punch with his question.
My only question is how many people will it take to load this on your truck as it looks like it could be heavy.


Reply author: jimmydeignan
Replied on: 01/18/2006 09:05:49 AM
Message:

Don, I can't wait to see you break out the lathe & start turning the legs for this module. The frame itself is a work of art. Great job.

Jimmy


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/18/2006 2:16:24 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by LVRALPH

You sure your name isn't Norm!



I believe that's pronounced "Nahm" and, as you saw in the pictures, I do use an air nailuh.

Air tools are the greatest things since sliced cheese. Nahm is sure right about that.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/18/2006 2:21:24 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Bbags

Don,
That is some very nice carpentry and Ralph beat me to the punch with his question.
My only question is how many people will it take to load this on your truck as it looks like it could be heavy.



Hi, John -- thanks for the compliment. Much appreciated.

The way I look at the weight issue is this:
(1) I used to take the 36th Street yard module to train shows. That involved two 4'x4' corners plus two 6'x3' straight sections, plus a third corner, plus a forest of legs. Each piece was light, but it took a lot of schlepping to get it into the show. Now I just have to move one heavy muthah and two leg sets.
(2) What are younger friends (like Garth and Barb) for if not to move heavy things for us senior citizens? [:-bouncy] (I hope Garth is reading this thread.)

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/18/2006 2:28:00 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by jimmydeignan

Don, I can't wait to see you break out the lathe & start turning the legs for this module. The frame itself is a work of art. Great job.

Jimmy



Hi, Jimmy --

Thanks - much appreciated. Maybe I'll decide that turned isn't sufficiently over the top and do claw and ball feet.

Can you imagine the look on people's faces if I showed up with a module that looked like a cross between FreeMo and a baby grand? [:-spin] The FreeMo gods would smite me.

I'm in the midst of reading the saga of your layout by Scott Mason -- fascinating and fun to read!

Thanks again,

Don


Reply author: Jim T
Replied on: 01/18/2006 2:59:04 PM
Message:

quote:

Hi, Jimmy --

Thanks - much appreciated. Maybe I'll decide that turned isn't sufficiently over the top and do claw and ball feet.

Can you imagine the look on people's faces if I showed up with a module that looked like a cross between FreeMo and a baby grand? [:-spin] The FreeMo gods would smite me.

I'm in the midst of reading the saga of your layout by Scott Mason -- fascinating and fun to read!

Thanks again,

Don



Yes, all that and maybe a touch of gold leaf. [:-eyebrows]

Actually, I've thought about doing a diorama with a really nice base and trim. Something that could be displayed in the living room.

Jim


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/18/2006 6:33:56 PM
Message:

Hi, Jim --

Hmmmm...I don't know how to apply gold leaf but I've always wanted to learn.

Don't know if I've mentioned it but I own a small gallery, which used to be a meat market.

www.slaughterhousegallery.com

I do intend to set this module in the gallery whenever there is room for it, to attract people to the hobby, to show off my "art", and so I can play with it whenever I want to.

So I think a display diorama that is furniture-grade and could occupy a place in your living room makes perfect sense. Go for it.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/19/2006 9:35:12 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I was able to put in a full day on the module today and my friend John Polyak, from the Keystone FreeMo group, came over and helped. We got a lot done.

First, we finished all the internal framing. This is the first time I've tried to deal with scenery that needs to go well below the top of the module and I may have overdone the framing. Here's a picture of it before we started adding the foam layer:





Originally, we were going to do the first layer of foam (there will be two 1" layers) by piecing it together but that started looking like a major hassle. We combined lunch with a trip to HD and bought a 4x8 sheet of foam, put it on the floor, turned the module over and set it on the foam, and traced the outline. Then we cut it out with the trust DeWalt jig saw. After some work with the grater, it fitted. So then we turned the module on its side and marked out the area to be removed. Here's a picture of the result:





And here's a picture with Wrisley Papers and Skinner's Row set in place.




John is coming over again tomorrow and we will transfer the grid from the plan to the module so we can locate the turnouts. Then we'll start filling in the areas where track and turnouts go with 1" foam so we can put the actual track in place and make sure the plan will actually work.

The "?" area is still a question mark. I have to figure out the course of the river, etc. I know what I'd like to do. I'd like to buy the Ship Chandler kit from Rusty Stumps and put in on the river (which I will rename a tidal estuary or something). But I really shouldn't buy more than one Uber Kit per year, on my income. [:-banghead]

Mike C's idea of making it a weedy, junk-filled vacant lot would be a lot cheaper.

The need for speed trumped silliness on the legs. We built them well, from woods that were in the off-cuts room, and there actually is some mahogany in them, but not turned, and not carved. Oh, well.

Barb - our apprentice for one more day, about to move on to a journeyman position at a high end local cabinet shop - mixture of happiness for her and sadness at losing her prescence in the shop - suggested I build a top for the module based on the top on a grand piano.

More tomorrow.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 01/19/2006 10:41:01 PM
Message:

Don,
Looks good.
I don't know about a grand piano but without the legs and a proper top it would make a great looking coffin.


Reply author: belg
Replied on: 01/20/2006 07:02:41 AM
Message:

Don, your project is really coming along, I'm wondering why did you cut 45's on the surround so the white part shows? Is it for stability/contrast? I've also learned that the foam comes in 4x8 sheets as my home depot only carries 2x8 tongue and groove, this will be nice to not have another seam to hide and probably a little more ridgid.
Will the mill project be installed at the level it shows in the pics now? Lower then the rest? Is this so you can work the water into the module? Please don't take any of my comments as critisism I'm just trying to learn. Thanks so much for your time here and on the other project we have been discussing, I'll be waiting as patiently as I can, Pat


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 01/20/2006 07:20:01 AM
Message:

quote:
I'm wondering why did you cut 45's on the surround so the white part shows? Is it for stability/contrast?

I can answer this question Pat. Don has reduce the ends to 24" to meet the Free-mo spec. Where modules meet is called the endplate. Single-track endplates are 24" wide by 6" and the track is centered on the endplate.

I'm assuming he'll put in a nice trim piece at the joints to hide the underlying plywood.

--Rich


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/20/2006 07:20:38 AM
Message:

Hi, John, Pat and everyone --

<I don't know about a grand piano but without the legs and a proper top it would make a great looking coffin.>

C'mon, John -- I may be a little overweight, but I'm not that wide.


quote:
Originally posted by belg

Don, your project is really coming along, I'm wondering why did you cut 45's on the surround so the white part shows? Is it for stability/contrast?

Pat, I'm not 100% sure I understand your question...but that's never stopped me from answering.[:-bigmouth]

I think by "the white part" you mean the end grain of the plywood. If I was really building this to furniture standards, I would have designed the joinery so the end grain didn't show. But it would have been a lot more work and not any stronger. (Generally, exposed end grain - especially on plywood - is a no, no - unless it's Baltic Birch plywood, in which case it's a design feature.[:-bigeyes2] ) I could hide the end grain with veneer, but that's too fragile for something that's going to get moved around in the back of a pickup.

When the linseed oil has cured and I'm ready for the clear coat, I'll use some aniline dye stain on the end grain to make it less visible. I'm also going to cut an s-curve (I think it's called a cyma) on those end sections to make the transition from the 10" deep sides to the 6" deep ends.

< I've also learned that the foam comes in 4x8 sheets as my home depot only carries 2x8 tongue and groove. This will be nice to not have another seam to hide and probably a little more rigid.>

Same in my area -- HD started carrying 4x8 sheets of 1" fairly recently. They also carry 4x8's of 1/2" and I think it might be nice to have a sheet of that around for doing scenery layers - it would allow for more gradual transitions and less filing. I wish I owned a hot wire tool. No news to anyone on this Forum that the particles from sawing or filing this stuff are annoying to deal with.

<Will the mill project be installed at the level it shows in the pics now? Lower then the rest? Is this so you can work the water into the module?>

Yes, it's recessed into the module and once I have finished carving and Scultamold work, I will jig saw a profile on the side of the module to match the profile on the two dioramas. (Wrisley and "?") The reason for recessing it was to get the tracks on the module - behind the mill and on the coal trestle - down to about the same level as the rest of the module.

< Please don't take any of my comments as critisism I'm just trying to learn.>

Absolutely. I love getting questions about what I'm doing, and I enjoy answering them.

Thanks so much for your time here and on the other project we have been discussing, I'll be waiting as patiently as I can, Pat


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/20/2006 07:28:33 AM
Message:

Hi, Rich --

<I'm assuming he'll put in a nice trim piece at the joints to hide the underlying plywood.>

Actually, I might. I started thinking about it as I was replying to Pat, and while I still think veneer tape would be too fragile, a piece of solid wood - maybe birch, about 1/16" thick, just covering the end grain, might look nice. I'd have to bevel one edge so it didn't interfere with connecting to other modules.

Worth thinking about.

BTW, Garth looked at the module and discovered I'd made the ends (as opposed to the sides) from leftover $80 a sheet cherry plywood. Never leave wood lying around a high-speed module builder... [:-dopey]

Don


Reply author: belg
Replied on: 01/20/2006 8:39:10 PM
Message:

Don, thanks alot for answering my questions, just next time make sure your outside the qoute tags when you type cause that really strained the eyes reading that small print.
$80 a sheet!!!! Holy cow thats some expensive ply, I have not bought any real nice plywood in a while and I paid $48 for 3/4" red oak ply back then. And thats the part noone will see because thats were its joined to other modules right?
What do you think 1/2" cabinet grade birch ply will go for? The oak I can get cutoffs from the hardwood flooring guy, I work with. Thanks Pat


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/20/2006 10:16:08 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Put in another pretty good day on the module.

I started out by transferring the locations of the turnouts and other "landmarks" from the full-size drawing to the edges of actual module. I used coordinates, kind of like the table of offsets that boat-builders use:




Then I started putting the pictures of the turnouts down on the coordinates. For a while, it was just one "oops" after another as I discovered that I had turnouts hanging over the edges of dioramas and turnouts not lining up at all well with track, as in the picture below:




So I started tweaking the arrangement and eventually came up with something that worked -- but was quite a ways from my beautifully crafted coordinates.[:-banghead] Oh, well.



After that, things went fairly smoothly as John and I cut out blocks of 1" foam board for turnouts and straight and curved track. To provide the base for the curved track, I home-made some curvable foam -- it goes very quickly with a bandsaw, although I wouldn't want to do hundreds of feet of it:




John suggested bamboo skewers to hold the foam pieces in place, so they wouldn't skate around under the weights, so I zipped off the Giant Eagle for some skewers. Barb called the result "the attack of the skewers."






Barb and I are studying a picture of Rusty Stump's new Ship Chandler's, printed out from that thread, trying to figure out if it could fit.

Later in the evening, I started fitting small pieces of foam to fill in between the sub-roadbed and the diorama bases. I also fixed the problem of a turnout that ran across a seam by trimming the base of the "?" diorama by 1-1/2" and building out the foam edge around it.

I am thinking about putting Rusty Stumps Ship Chandler in the ? area. I really shouldn't spend the money, but it's awfully tempting. And it would fit. And I could actually switch it, off the lead going to the Wrisley Papers coal trestle.

Tomorrow we sand the legs, bolt them in place, and start varnishing them. (Legs are easier to do when they're attached to the module -- I don't have to figure out how to hold them up.)

I'll pull the skewers in the morning and start putting down roadbed. I'm using WS N-scale foam roadbed because I want a low ballast profile. One exception -- I'm using cork where at the module ends and where track runs across diorama edges and precise alignment is important. The foam is soft and won't hold track precisely in place.

Have to run to the LHS and get a sheet of the stuff to go under turnouts. Dumb. I was there today buying turnouts. [:-grumpy][:-irked]

Don


Reply author: belg
Replied on: 01/20/2006 10:24:44 PM
Message:

Don, watch out for that porcupine on your module! Pat


Reply author: sparkman
Replied on: 01/21/2006 08:19:11 AM
Message:

Don,
Just noticed something on your trackplan. It reminds me of the Timesaver. Could you possibly move the turnout that is behind Skinner's to the right? It could give you an extra car length or two to expand on switching possibilities.
Just a thought.
Like what you are doing. Keep up the good work.
-david j


Reply author: nalmeida
Replied on: 01/21/2006 08:59:23 AM
Message:

That module is becoming a showpiece Don, keep up the good work.


Reply author: MikeC
Replied on: 01/21/2006 10:10:54 AM
Message:

Don, this whole thread just keeps getting better![:-thumbu] I'm really eager to see it with the structures and some scenery. Thanks for this latest update.


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 01/21/2006 11:42:03 AM
Message:

Great idea with the skewers, Don, and, when you're done, you could stain them and use them for tree trunks or power poles or.....


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/21/2006 8:12:00 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by sparkman

Don,
Just noticed something on your trackplan. It reminds me of the Timesaver. Could you possibly move the turnout that is behind Skinner's to the right? It could give you an extra car length or two to expand on switching possibilities.
Just a thought.
Like what you are doing. Keep up the good work.
-david j



Hi, David --

I'm a'feared I don't quite understand what you're suggesting - possibly because I am badly sleep-deprived due to my lunatic neighbors. Whatever... If I e-mailed you a .jpeg of sketch of the track plan, could you print it out, mark it up, and e-mail it back to me?

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/21/2006 8:14:12 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Tabooma County Rwy

Great idea with the skewers, Don, and, when you're done, you could stain them and use them for tree trunks or power poles or.....



Actually, I was planning to use them to prepare Oriental Chicken. The Liquid Nail should add an interesting new flavor.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/21/2006 8:15:57 PM
Message:

Nelson and Mike -- thanks for the encouragement.

I'm taking a quick dinner break, then back next door to the shop. I'll work for another hour or so, take pictures, and then do the "daily report."

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/21/2006 10:00:54 PM
Message:

Good evening --

Finished and installed the legs. They have 2 coats of shellac on them at this point -- a wash coat, followed by sanding, and then the first 2# coat. I'll probably sand and re-coat a couple more times before I'm done. Here's a couple of pictures of the module standing on its own feet - progress.








My apologies for the lack of focus on the second shot -- the auto focus no doubt focused on the floor behind the legs.

I also cut and fitted some more foam and - after a quick trip across the Allegheny to Millvale to the LHS - started cutting out N-scale foam road bed for the turnouts and track. It's pretty much all down.






After I took the pictures, I put all the weights back in place to keep the roadbed flat while the glue dries.

As I'm sure most of you know, foam isn't totally standard and I found places where pieces that butted up against each other were of slightly different thickness. I made very small shims by tapering card stock on the staionary belt sander. It worked pretty well.

Tomorrow (Sunday) two guys from the module group (Kent and John) are coming over. With luck, we might have the track down by the end of the day.

A priority at this point is constructing the Coal Trestle for Wrisley Papers so we can get that piece of track in. I'll also need to build a temporary trestle across the "?" area.

Time to snooze.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 01/22/2006 12:03:23 AM
Message:

Great progress, Don, I'm really enjoying this thread. You certainly don't waste any time!


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/22/2006 08:55:34 AM
Message:

I agree with Al, you're making great progress. What's the pink sheet of paper taped to the layout?

George


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 01/22/2006 10:20:39 AM
Message:

So Don, are you going to join us in making the Ships Chandlers? It would make a fine addtion to your module.[:-eyebrows]


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 01/22/2006 10:44:26 AM
Message:

Be careful of these guys Don! They'll have you building 22 kits at the same time.

BTW it would be nice to see some photos of your Skinner's Row. You can always put it in this thread http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4981 [:-eyebrows]

--Rich


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 01/22/2006 11:19:21 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by RichBeau

Be careful of these guys Don! They'll have you building 22 kits at the same time.

BTW it would be nice to see some photos of your Skinner's Row. You can always put it in this thread http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4981 [:-eyebrows]

--Rich


Rich,
At the speed Don works he should have at least this many completed by the end of the month.

I agree about some pictures of Skinner's.[:-thumbu][:-thumbu]
I think I asked for some in the post I was making when the forum went down and forgot to include it when I reposted.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/22/2006 6:47:23 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Rich and John --

Twenty-two at the same time is just about what I'm going to be trying to do over the next three weeks or so, before the Greenberg Show. We have to load-in on Friday afternoon, 2/10.[:-bigeyes2]

Apologies for not explaining why I haven't posted pictures of Skinner's Row. John Polyak of the FreeMo group is a professional photographer and he offered to photograph it in his studio, with studio lighting. But I haven't been able to let go of it while I was getting the basic dimensions - especially elevations - on the module established. Like any woodworker, I hate using a tape measure -- I want to use the actual object or a story stick or a tick strip (cash register tape). Unfortunately, I'll need it a bit longer -- I want it in place when I lay the track leading into it.

In the interim, I'll post a few of my own not too great pictures. Maybe even later tonight.

I wonder how the Stillers are doing -- I can't spare the time to watch and if I had the radio on, I wouldn't get much modeling done.

I didn't accomplish as much as I hoped to today. Kent threw his back out moving a FreeMo module - no, I'm not kidding. He spent the day lying on a sheet of plywood at home. I guess John couldn't tear himself away from Steeler Mania because I didn't see him either. He is a major Steeler fan.

For a change, I remembered to drill the holes for switch machines before I glued the turnouts in place. Much better than drilling up from below. [:-blindfold]




I'm hearing lots of cars driving by honking and I hear fire works going off! The Steelers must have won. Yay! Now we can break out the "One for the Thumb" banners.

Here's a somewhat unusual bit of foam work. I wanted a nice clean edge where some removeable diorama's were going so I cut a long strip of foam about 1/2" thick and created something like foam edge-banding. The skewers are holding the curved piece in place until the LN sets up.




I live in a very urban neighborhood. It has its good and bad points. I just looked out the big front window onto Butler Street and every hooker in the neighborhood is out there hoping to flag down one of the carloads of honking celebrants. Ah, city living...[:-eyebrows]

Anyhow, the next challenge was to cut and fit a big piece of foam that will be the base for the city structures (Downtown Deco, etc.) that have their backs to the tracks and blend into the Skinners Row complex.

I thought about making some kind of tracing but the skewers were in the way (and that glop won't be dry until tomorrow). So I fell back on boat-building. I created a set of coordinate, measuring every inch and writing down the distance to the edge I needed to shape. You can see the notes on the foam:




Then I transferred the information to the piece of foam I was going to cut. You can see the points on the next picture. Now -- if this was boat building and I need a nice perfect ("fair") curve I would drive finish nails into each of those points and spring a batten between them. But because this is just foam and the seam will be pretty much hidden under scenery material, I went straight to the bandsaw and played "connect the dots." It worked well enough.




Man, it's noisy out there! I think I'd better go next door and close the big gates before some drunk tries to sail away in Garth's boat. Or, more likely, pees in it.

OK, all locked up.

So here's the module with all the foam sections fitted and set in place:




Finally, here are all the removeable sections of foam laid out on the floor. The big one will be cut into two to four individual dioramas, once I get the structures far enough along so that I can figure out where the divisions should be.




That's it for the module for today. I'm going to see if I can push my way through the celebrants and get into the shop and start building the coal trestle that is part of Wrisley Paper.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/22/2006 6:51:26 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by George D

I agree with Al, you're making great progress. What's the pink sheet of paper taped to the layout?

George




Hi, George -- that's the "Yo, dummy, don't forget to...(fill in the blank) list." I start working fast and things get overlooked. Top of the list was to drill the holes for the switch machine rods - so I can check that off. Next on the list is to wire jumpers on the Atlas Code 83 turnouts before I glue them down. Things like that.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/22/2006 6:57:27 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Dutchman

So Don, are you going to join us in making the Ships Chandlers? It would make a fine addtion to your module.[:-eyebrows]



Groan. [:-hypnotized] Yes, I got an e-mail from Walt a couple of hours ago saying it was on it's way and giving me a tracking number. I should be locked up. It's all your fault -- and John's. And Mike's.

But you're right - it will look great in the "?" area. I guess I need to revise the drawing. I guess I'll try to work on it along with Wrisley. And the 22 other kits. Oh, well, with all the Steeler-related commotion, I won't be able to sleep anyhow. Might as well be modeling.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 01/22/2006 8:39:57 PM
Message:

Don,
Never fear, you will not be disappointed with the Ships Chandlers kit. I can't wait to get back to it when I get back to NJ.


Reply author: sparkman
Replied on: 01/23/2006 09:13:19 AM
Message:

Don,
Sorry I took so long to reply. Just bought a beat-up pick-up truck & I've been trying to get it to pass emissions.[:-banghead]
Here is a quick modification of the photo to give you an idea of what I was talking about.



The turnout is probably too far in now, but you get the idea. On John Allen's timesaver, the passing siding could hold one car & the track to the left could hold two.
Hope this helps.
-david j


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/24/2006 07:34:41 AM
Message:

Hi, David --

Thanks for the mark-up. I see what you mean. At this point, I can't make major changes in the track plan -- maybe after the Greenberg Show.

I think I'll be able to do some interesting switching with it in its present configuration, though. When the module is connected to other modules, that will provide staging and drill tracks at both ends.

When it's being used as a stand-alone mini-layout, there will be a 1 foot long (approximately) section added at the Skinner's Row end. It will be a hook-on piece, supported by (I think), one leg.

I'm planning to build a roll-around staging yard, long enough for maybe 4 cars and a small loco, that can hook on at either end. But not before the Greenberg Show. [:-hypnotized]

Don


Reply author: railphotog
Replied on: 01/24/2006 09:39:23 AM
Message:

Curious as to how you will transport this module when it's finished. Will the craftsman kits be mounted for transport? If so that could pose a risk for damage during transport. Many years ago at a show somewhere in New England there was a guy working on his HO scale module that was setup with a group. He was repairing/rebuilding structures. I asked him what he was doing, and he said the module was carried in the back of a van and something fell on it, mangling many of his structures.

That's one reason why my pair of modules nest one on top of each other, one being face down towards the other one. They are kept apart by plywood end pieces bolted on. One of the end pieces has castors so the modules can be moved around easily.


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 01/24/2006 09:53:15 AM
Message:

quote:
They are kept apart by plywood end pieces bolted on. One of the end pieces has castors so the modules can be moved around easily.
Yup pre-zactly Bob...

There's a lot of discussion in the Free-mo groups about the best method protect modules during a move. Some of the solutions are pretty eloborate. Railway Bob has posted one similar to your description at http://www.railwaybob.com/Modules/ModConstr/Endplates01.htm

--Rich


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/24/2006 6:24:36 PM
Message:

Regarding how things will be transported --

Right now my intention is to have very little permanently attached to the module except track and small areas of scenery on the bits of foam that are permanently attached. (In an earlier posting, there's a picture that shows you how much is removeable - nearly everything is.

Skinner's already has a lexan carrying and display case that I built. I doubt I'll have time to do anything that elaborate for Wrisley before the show, but it will have a well padded box of it's own. All the other dioramas will also be boxed and padded.

I may even have the structures like Wrisley travel separately from their bases. I think it was Tony Koester who suggested holding structure in place with little blocks of that black foam that is used inside instrument cases. I may do something like that.

I'm working away on the coal trestle. Will post pictures when there's something worth showing -- right nows it's just lots of pieces parts.

Don


Reply author: railphotog
Replied on: 01/24/2006 7:05:38 PM
Message:

I've seen modelers with modules (no where as high quality as yours) break down their structures and other accessories into smaller pieces for transport. One fellow had a large plastic tub full of plastic peanuts in which he placed some of his stuff. Others had boxes for their structures. Way too much effort and complexity and too many different things to haul around, assemble, take apart, and then rebox after a train show for me! That's why our group gravitated to the modules boxed together. Our methods evolved into totally protected boxes with everything fitting inside. I even fitted my separate legs into the bottoms.

Here's a page on our club website showing my modules boxed together. There are metal handles as well as cut-outs for hands. http://www.geocities.com/sjsmrr/ModuleTransporting.html The end pieces have since been painted. We've rented cube vans to haul our modules to shows, and these trucks ride hard. There is often small things like grass, trees and smaller stuff falling off, but never anything major and no damage.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/27/2006 10:10:48 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Today I worked mostly on the appearance of the module -- "cosmetic" work.

First, I painted all the exposed pink foam with a latex based Earth color. I have it mixed at Home Depot; it's a pretty close match to Floquil earth.

There's a couple of reasons for doing this, one obvious, one not so obvious. Obviously, it looks better than pink. And there will almost certainly be parts of the module that don't have scenery when the train show rolls around, so they'll look a little better than bare foam.

The other reason is to protect the foam from solvent based spray paint. I don't like shooting expensive model railroading paint through an air brush to paint ties and rail, so I use near equivalents in spray cans, from Rustoleum and Krylon. Without the latex barrier coat, they might dissolve some of the foam.

Here's a picture of how it looks after painting:





The other project was varnishing the side of the module. I managed two coats today, with light sanding between coats. I used Minwax Gloss polyurethane. Third coat tomorrow. After it has cured for a week or so, I'll use 4-0 steel wool and scuff it down to a satin finish, which will look (and feel) nice.





I also did a bit of work on the coal trestle for Wrisley Paper -- I'll be posting photo of that work in a few minutes, to the WP construction thread. I also got started on Rusty Stump's Ships Chandler's kit, which will be set in the "hole" next to Wrisley.

Don


Reply author: sparkman
Replied on: 01/29/2006 09:32:07 AM
Message:

Morning Don,
You are welcome for the markup. Didn't realize you were planning on adding an extension. I was looking at it as a stand alone module. Everything is looking good. Envy your workshop, currently store everything in the living room & work on the patio when weather permits.
Looking forward as to how you incorporate Rusty's Ship Chandlers into the module.
-david j


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/29/2006 11:56:40 AM
Message:

quote:
[i]Looking forward as to how you incorporate Rusty's Ship Chandlers into the module.
-david j



Me, too! (Sound of teeth chattering in the background.)

Don


Reply author: rrkreitler
Replied on: 01/29/2006 4:32:32 PM
Message:

Man that birch sure is finishing up beautifully!


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/29/2006 8:50:36 PM
Message:

Evening, everyone --

Hi, Dave -- yes, I really got lucky with that piece of plywood. It's going to get one more sanding and a third coat of poly before the train show.

Got quite a bit done yesterday and today. I got almost all the track down. I have to finish the coat trestle at Wrisley and the dock and trestle for the Ships Chandlers before I can get the last pieces of track laid.

I followed a routine that I think came out of a Kalmbach book or maybe I learned it on Railroad-line. I cut, filed, joined, fitted, etc, all the track and turnouts, holding it in place temporarily with brads pushed into the foam. Then I soldered every single rail joiner. Next, I pulled the brads and lifted the whole ensemble out of the way and applied adhesive to the roadbed. (I use Dap adhesive caulk.)

Then I plopped the whole thing back in place, lined it up and held it in place with brads and spline weights.

Here's a picture:



And here's an overhead shot of the module with the track in place:




One thing I learned from earlier modules -- foam isn't totally uniform nor totally flat. (And my module frames probably aren't exactly Johannson blocks either.) So I found there were places where the track wasn't contacting the roadbed. In the past, I piled on the weights - assuming the roadbed was "right" and the track was "wrong" -- and got swoopy track. This time, I marked the places where this was occuring with little notes that said "float" and slathered on extra adhesive. I let the track stay flat and only weighted it down in a few places. It worked. I ran trains today and everything went well. Here's a picture:




Ain't that cool???[:-bouncy][:-jumprefect] We be jammin'!

I guess I forgot to mention that I wired the module today. In the overhead shot, the blue masking tape marks where the feeders are soldered on. Obvious overkill, but I've had enough problems with earlier modules that I think moderation can be overdone.

In the overhead shot, you might have noticed the very long bit in the drill. I needed it to get down through the Wrisley diorama, which has a plywood bottom. Here's some interesting trivia -- it's called a Bellhanger's Bit. Before there were intercom's, the homes of the wealthy had elaborate systems of bells and bell pulls to summon the servants. They used cables, pushrods, bellcranks, etc. It spawned a specialty with it's own tools - the Bellhanger.

The picture of the 0-6-0's was taken by John Polyak. He also took this shot:



Now I'm going to try gluing pilings into the base for the Ships Chandlers.

Don




Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/29/2006 10:17:50 PM
Message:

You're making terrific progress Don. Your finish on the plywood is much nicer than I've seen on any other module.

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/31/2006 4:45:35 PM
Message:

Hi, George --

Thanks! Later this week, I'll give it another coat and that should do it.

I've a question for the people who have been following this thread. For the next two weeks, I'm mostly going to be working on Wrisley Paper and the Ships Chandlers plus a lot of other structures that I hope to have in various stages of completion for the show.

About the only real "layout construction" will be putting in the last pieces of track to connect the Wrisley coal trestle and the Ships Chandlers freight trestle to the rest of the mini-layout.

Do you want me to post pictures of the structures as I'm working on them or does that belong someplace else?

Your wish is my command (within reason).

Thanks,

Don Reed
Carnegie-McMellon Museum Railway
"Route of the Robber Barons"


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 01/31/2006 4:59:29 PM
Message:

Hi Don,
For the Ships Chandlers would you please post them in that thread since people building that kit would not know to look elsewhere.
For the other structures aside from Wrisley and the Ships Chandlers I think you could post them here in this thread unless you wanted to start a construction thread for the others.


Reply author: rrkreitler
Replied on: 01/31/2006 5:24:23 PM
Message:

Don,

I agree with John. Seems most folks prefer to see similar projects in threads dedicated to that project. In your case you are sort of working on a number of projects (the kits and the over all module itself). If your willing, posting the kit building projects in their own threads will probably result in more folks watching.

Thanks for asking though


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/03/2006 12:07:38 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

John and Dave -- thanks for the feedback. Maybe tomorrow - but more likely Monday, when I'm back from Timonium and visiting a friend in DC -- I'll put the various models, in their various states of completion, on the module and post a couple of pictures so people know what I'm working on and where it's going. Then I'll post pictures as I work on them. (Except for Wrisley and the Ships Chandler, which will be in their specific threads.)

I realize I'm not going to be "done" before the Greenberg Show and I'm not pressuring myself too much. But I do like to use public deadlines to motivate myself.

I did get a bit of actual construction work done on the module today -- I started painting rails and ties. I just didn't feel like getting involved with masking, oiling railheads, solvent fumes and all that jazz so I did it with a brush. This mini-layout is small enough that it's not an overwhelming job. I'll go back and lighten and darken some individual ties. Painting spikeheads can wait for another day.

The module will fit in Kent's SUV, so I don't have to build a cover for it. That should free up enough time to complete at least one structure kit.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/07/2006 11:14:06 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

The module got it's third and final coat of polyurethane last night, after sanding. It looks pretty nice.

No photo's tonight -- I forgot and left the camera in the shop and I'm too tired to go through the whole business of unlocking, turning off the alarm, etc. Photo's tomorrow.

I also installed two UTP's for the DCC system and, with John Polyak's help, fixed the track at the ends of the module so it meets FreeMo standards. So regardless of what else I do, the module is ready to run this weekend.

John painted the ties and I painted the rail. We did it with brushes -- not a big enough job to make an air brush worthwile.

I could ballast tomorrow, but I want to weather the ties -- paint some almost black, as if recently replaced, and other various shades of grey. If that means I don't ballast until after the show, so be it.

More tomorrow.

Don


Reply author: jknapp
Replied on: 02/08/2006 08:19:45 AM
Message:

Don....real nice work! I enjoy following this and your other threads.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/09/2006 12:03:38 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

John, thanks for the encouragement.

Here's a picture of the track, after brush painting the ties and rails with the usual colors:



I'm tempted to try to ballast it before the train show, but I really want to do more detail painting on the ties and it would be hard to do that once ballast is down.

Here's the module with it's third and final coat of finish:




We're getting down to the short strokes. Tomorrow and Friday morning are all the time left before we load in at the train show. It's definitely going to be a work in progress - but that will give people an incentive to come back next time to see what has been done. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

More tomorrow.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 02/09/2006 07:40:01 AM
Message:

Don,
Please take some pictures of the setup at the show.


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 02/09/2006 07:51:22 AM
Message:

I second Bruce's (Dutchman) suggestion.

--Rich


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/09/2006 6:49:37 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Dutchman

Don,
Please take some pictures of the setup at the show.



Absolutely. If I can, I'll get John Polyak to use my camera and do the actual shooting.

It will be a small setup -- just three modules. Mine will be in the middle, so I'll have "drill tracks" at both ends of this mini-layout. I'm really looking forward to trying some switching exercises.

The track is in place across the Ships Chandler's diorama and onto the Wrisley Trestle. Except for the SC trestle, that's all the track work on the module. Oh, I also added power feeders to Skinner's Row so I can run a loco onto that diorama.

More later this evening -- I'm taking a break for food and coffee.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/10/2006 12:51:28 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Got a good bit done on the module today.

I installed the Ships Chandler's scenery base (temporarily) and installed the roadbed and track that runs across it to connect to the Wrisley Papers coal trestle. The turnout is installed which will serve the SC's siding (which is also on a trestle - gotta love these waterfront scenes!)

Here's a picture:




Then I started setting other structures on the module, trying to decide on locations. Between now and the next train show, I'll be adding streets and sidewalks to the various diorama's, of course. No shortage of things to do.







And here's Skinner's Row in its carrying case, ready to head for the train show.




Complications may arise, however. I just got an e-mail from the FreeMo committee chair warning us that a major snow storm is expected Saturday. Oh, joy.[:-censored]

Don


Reply author: railphotog
Replied on: 02/10/2006 05:41:32 AM
Message:

Geese that carrying case for the diorama is awesome! So what will you do with the case when it is not in use? That's my problem, where to store such large items. While there's just my wife and myself in our house (two sons are out on their own), its a split level, with both levels finished, no big empty basement. I use two rooms on the first level for my hobby stuff, but they are more or less full!

The two stand alone dioramas I made years ago are in cardboard boxes made to fit them, and are stacked in a closet with a whole lot of my other model stuff. I would like to make a few more dioramas, but there's no room at the inn! There is another bedroom on the first floor, but it is for guests and off limits to me. Oh well, guess I'll have to just enjoy what the rest of you are doing!


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 02/10/2006 07:09:51 AM
Message:

Don,
Nice craftsmanship on that carrying case!

Bob,
I have a basement, but it is about full also. I guess that is why all these storage facilites are having a booming business.[:-bigeyes]


Reply author: belg
Replied on: 02/10/2006 5:23:25 PM
Message:

Bob you could always build them for others, or maybe Ebay some stuff??? Pat


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/10/2006 5:34:12 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Bob, Bruce and Pat -- thanks for the compliments on Skinner's traveling display case. I'll build something similar for the Ships Chandler's and for Wrisley.

I don't have much storage space in the apartment but the business is right next door and I can stash stuff there.

The dioramas in their cases also spend some time in the gallery, as part of shows. It's my "art" and I maintain it's just as worthy of being shown as "regular" art. The fact that I own the building means my opinions are taken fairly seriously.

I too am giving some thought to the idea of building structure kits for other people. I really enjoy the journey, so to speak, and don't care all that much about owning the finished product.

And selling them on eBay after I've owned them for a while is certainly a possibility.

Anyhow...we did the load-in at the Monroeville Expo-Mart and it went well. We had a big crew of Keystone Division module-aholics to help. I took pictures and will post some this evening.

But right now I have to run on to a church basement and help set up for the Rotary pancake brunch, which is tomorrow. I'll be flipping pancakes for a while tomorrow morning, then off to the train show.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/10/2006 8:01:30 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Here are some pictures from the setup for the Greenberg show. We only had two of the modules on hand this evening -- the third guy can't get there until tomorrow morning.

Here's the crew - a dubious looking bunch of desperadoes, for sure:





And here are a couple of shots of the modules. I made a bunch of signs, labeling the structures, including the ones that aren't there yet.






I took three partially completed kits and a bunch of paint and tools along to the Expo-Mart. Two of us plan to be actively modeling during the show -- sort of like the Vega-matic guys. We think it will attract people to the NMRA booth and the layout. And it beats just standing around all day.

I'll take more pictures once we have modules at both ends of mine and will let you know how it works as a mini-layout.

If you're in the Pittsburgh area, stop by.

Don

P.S. The reason you don't see Skinner's Row on the module is because I was reluctant to leave it there overnight during the load-in. Security is pretty much non-existent during that process -- anything else would be impossible -- it would be awfully easy for it to walk out of the building. It's going in with me Saturday morning.


Reply author: essodee
Replied on: 02/10/2006 9:28:45 PM
Message:

Hi Don,

What you've done so far looks terrific.

Your posts sound like you are so much more relaxed than before the Timonium show. Your slomo module is really an excellent example of the process of model railroad crafting, showing a work in progress to the general public.

I think it makes people think more about the myriad concerns that go in to achieving a personal vision, versus just presenting the 'finished' product that hides all the blood sweat and tears that goes into it.

Of course, the finished product is what is being strived for, and you are well on the way to that end.

Love those steamers. Look like two of a kind?

Stevie O'


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/11/2006 06:29:07 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by essodee

Hi Don,

What you've done so far looks terrific.

Your posts sound like you are so much more relaxed than before the Timonium show. Your slomo module is really an excellent example of the process of model railroad crafting, showing a work in progress to the general public.

I think it makes people think more about the myriad concerns that go in to achieving a personal vision, versus just presenting the 'finished' product that hides all the blood sweat and tears that goes into it.

Of course, the finished product is what is being strived for, and you are well on the way to that end.

Love those steamers. Look like two of a kind?

Stevie O'



Hi, Stephen, thanks for the feedback.

I must admit, I enjoyed just loafing last night, after getting back from the pancake setup. First night in a couple of months when I didn't have to build models. The self-imposed deadline did what it was supposed to do, but it's nice to be past it.

The two steamers are both Proto 2k Heritage. I bought the B&O model from the B&O RR HS, and that road number was actually assigned to Pittsburgh in 1948, so it's right on. The Pennsy loco may eventually get a different road number and, who knows, some different details. Not sure how meticulous I'm going to be about that sort of thing.

Off to flip pancakes, etc.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/12/2006 6:08:27 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Well...the show's over and I'd say it went well. We signed up several new members of the NMRA, had a lot of fun running trains, got a lot of compliments on our modules, and got home safely.

It had been spitting snow off and on all weekend, so, naturally, at 4 PM, as the show ended and we were preparing to load, the skies turned dark and it started snowing heavily. Fortunately, Kent had the foresight to bring some giant plastic bags - like mattress bags - to protect the modules and NMRA display fixtures.

Here we are, with everything bagged, ready to head for the loading area.



I'm going to have to back off a bit on model railroading and do some work on the building and take care of a couple of customer jobs, but I'll continue to work on the module and post pictures. Next step is to paint individual ties and then ballast.

Well, actually, the step before that is to cut through some rails and make Wrisley and the Ships Chandlers removable, so they can go on the bench and the module can live in the Gallery.

Anyhow, I really appreciate all the support and encouragement you have given me. Although the pace will be a bit slower, I'll continue to report progress. The next Greenberg Show is in July, so that's the next target.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/12/2006 6:42:58 PM
Message:

Forgot to mention --

I have been working away on several other smaller, mostly older, kits for the module. I've been photographing them as I go along. I figured it would be better to wait until a kit was finished and post all the photo's for that kit at one time, rather than scattering them around. So periodically I'll post a bunch of pictures that takes a kit from beginning to end.

Let's see if I can remember them:

White Tower by Magnuson
Merchants Row by Walthers
Bank Building by Classic Miniatures
The Ruin by Classis Miniatures
The Box Factory (re-labled Reed Woodworks) by Suydam.
Flag Stop Station by Alexander
The Taxi Company by DPM
Machine Shop by AHM

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/16/2006 12:53:50 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Still working on the module. The next deadline is July, and my goal is to have streets and sidewalks done and have all the dioramas closer to completion.

I wasn't satisfied with the finish on the plywood -- when I turned it up on edge, so the sides were horizontal, I could see small sags. So I pad sanded everything flat and put on yet another coat of poly, this time without rushing, and with the surfaces horizontal. After a couple of days of cure time, I rubbed everything out with 4-0 steel wool, to a nice satin lustre. Looks good and feels good.

I'm continuing to work on Wrisley Papers and the Ships Chandlers - they're out of the module and on the bench. I'm posting reports in those threads. I'll post some pictures of the module dioramas when I have made some real progress on them.

Don Reed
Pittsburgh


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/05/2006 12:07:31 AM
Message:

It turns out the next outing for the "train show" module is sooner than July. It's going to the NMRA MCR convention in Morgantown, WV at the end of April. I'll start posting pictures as soon as I have some new work completed.

Wrisley Papers and the Ship's Chandler will be a lot more finished than they were in February, but I also hope to improve the trackwork and be able to show some progress on other structures.

Don


Reply author: nalmeida
Replied on: 04/05/2006 06:17:40 AM
Message:

Looking forward to the train show pics Don.


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 04/05/2006 07:55:27 AM
Message:

Oh Boy, another deadline! Now the work will really get done.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/09/2006 11:12:10 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I made some progress on the train show module today, although not the kind that lends itself to photographing. My FreeMo friends helped me work out the location of all the structures - including selecting some different kits - for the modules and also helped me work out streets, alleyways, alleys, etc.

I'm in the process of making a new drawing and will post it when it's done, but here are some high points.

1) Skinner's Row gets replaced with a new diorama with the same footprint (so I don't have to change the hole in the top) and the same track running across it. Structures will be a kitbash of a couple of a couple of classic plastic kits plus an Alexander Pennsy Flagstop station which has morphed into a Frozen Custard stand. (Skinner's Row is being sold, which is why I needed to figure out a replacement.)

2) One corner of the module - to the left of the Ship's Chandler - will be occupied by a semi-pro baseball park. There will be someone in a boat in front of the chandler's dock with a catcher's mit, hoping for an out of the park homerun.

3) The alley behind all the commercial buildings will get a lot of attention and will be fun to work on -- graffiti, old cars, weeds, lotsa junk, trucks unloading, etc.

4) The road down into Wrisley Papers will require a cut in the adjoining section and a fill on Wrisley to produce a reasonable grade. It will be a dirt road.

Lots of other stuff got decided. Layout planning is much more fun when does with a group of friends, especially if they know more than I do. I'll try to get the revised plan posted tomorrow.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/16/2006 8:24:44 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Sorry this took longer than planned. Full-scale construction took precedence, unfortunately.

Here's a picture of the various structures mocked up along the main street and also a revised track/street/structure plan.








The alley will, of course, be behind all the structures you see in the photo and will be a major feature when the module is viewed from the other side, although people will be looking over Wrisley's and the Ship's Chandlers in some cases.

I'm making good progress on Wrisley's and SC and some of the other structures.

Don





Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 04/16/2006 10:03:36 PM
Message:

Don,

I'm really looking forward to seeing your baseball field. I've often thought of doing the same thing, but it does seem like it would be quite large, if scaled properly. Selective compression is in order, I guess....


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/16/2006 11:32:55 PM
Message:

Hi, Al --

The semi-pro baseball field is Vagel Keller's idea. He knows way more about the subject than I do, and I'm counting on him for A LOT OF HELP. (You reading this, Vagel???)

I'm sure you're right about selective compression. Should be a fun project, though.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 04/16/2006 11:38:50 PM
Message:

Cool. Tell Vagel not to forget the HO sized peanut shells in the bleachers.....


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/19/2006 08:30:22 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Tabooma County Rwy

Cool. Tell Vagel not to forget the HO sized peanut shells in the bleachers.....



Hmmmm...let's see. Maybe some Z-scale ballast dyed a light tan?

BTW, I am making progress on the structures for this module and am taking pictures as I go along. But I'm going to wait until I can do a coherent series on each structure rather than mixing them together. Trying to make decent models - by today's standards - from older kits is fun but challenging as parts don't necessarily fit very well. I may have to fall back on Vagel's solution -- "good weathering and bad layout lighting."

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/02/2006 9:21:19 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Forty-three days until the train show in Monroeville. Time to start paying some attention to the FreeMo module.

I took both the Ship's Chandler and Wrisley Papers over to the gallery and put them in the module, to check on road positions and look for problems (and did find one). I posted photo's in the Wrisley thread, but I guess I can get away with posting one of them here:





More to come as I shift focus from the two big dioramas to other things on the module.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 06/02/2006 9:35:59 PM
Message:

Don,

They look great on the module![:-thumbu][:-thumbu]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/19/2006 12:51:24 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Back to work on the train show module. The show is fast approaching.

We moved it outside -- it's sitting where the boat used to be.

Not a very photogenic photo, but I did want to show some progress. Everything removeable has been removed and I've been ballasting. The through track is getting the (local) FreeMo standard grey ballast that we all agreed on, with occasional weeds. The spurs are getting lots of cinders and (tomorrow) lots of weeds.

Everything on the modules is still very wet. I'll post pictures after it dries over night, as I'm "weeding" it.



Vagel Keller is also working away on his two modules for the show. The straight module got ballasted this morning; the corner module is ready to ballast (rails and ties painted) and that will happen tomorrow.







I've also been working on a lot of structure models (in addition to SC and Wrisley). Here's one I was working on last night -- the Alexander Parkersburg Tank and Rack.





More to come.

Don


Reply author: Mike Hamer
Replied on: 06/19/2006 6:05:46 PM
Message:

Don, thanks for all the updates on the modules. Man, they're really coming along. I've reread this thread from the beginning and now can't wait to see how it all comes together! Bravo on a job well done![:-star][:-star][:-star]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/19/2006 9:26:17 PM
Message:

Hi, Mike --

Thanks for the comments!

I think I am doing all this structure building as a way of avoiding the next new (therefore scary) task -- building roads/streets/sidewalks.

Except for what I did on Skinner's Row, I've never done it.

"Move toward the pain."

Don


Reply author: pastor_t
Replied on: 06/20/2006 04:14:41 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA

Hi, Mike --

Thanks for the comments!

I think I am doing all this structure building as a way of avoiding the next new (therefore scary) task -- building roads/streets/sidewalks.

Except for what I did on Skinner's Row, I've never done it.

"Move toward the pain."

Don



Don,

Your work is really impressive and I've enjoyed watching it come together so far. I'm sure you'll take road construction in your stride, just as you have everything else so far. I just wish the same could be said for me. [:-ashamed]
Tony


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 06/20/2006 07:12:38 AM
Message:

Don,
It looks like the modules are coming together nicely. That Alexander tank looks terrific. BTW, I'm sure that your road crew will do a fine job!


Reply author: essodee
Replied on: 06/20/2006 11:00:12 AM
Message:

Don,

You and your buddy are keeping yourselves quite busy. Looks like everything is coming along, but it seems like there's a lot of landscaping to be done on all those modules.

It's going to be terrific to see all those modules connected and running trains through the various scenes.

Stevie O'


Reply author: MikeC
Replied on: 06/20/2006 11:24:20 AM
Message:

A neat set of modules, Don! It's all looking good.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/20/2006 10:16:31 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Tony, Bruce, Mike - thanks a lot for the comments.

Stephen - yes, a lot of landscaping to be done. But probably not in time for this show. There's a lot of scenery on place on the two big dioramas. For the rest, if I can get roads and sidewalks mostly done, I'll be happy.

Last night, when I said I'd be putting in weeds today, I must have been very tired. I forgot a few little things that had to be done first. Like a few little things that took from 8:30 AM until 2:30 with a short lunch break.

First off, I found I had not done a very good job of controlling where the ballast wound up. The light wasn't great when I put down the second layer, and this morning I brought out a couple of task lights and my Optivisor. My advice -- if you're going to do quality control with strong lights and magnification, use them for putting down the ballast.

This is what I was up against -- not just the usual ballast on tops of the ties (easy to fix) but a lot of ballast in the fishing areas:





It took a lot of time with an old mortising chisel, Exacto chisel blade, utility knive, etc., to get it all cleaned up.

And of course, in the process, I took most of the paint off the rails:







So then I got to spend an hour or so repainting the rails:




I hadn't cleaned the tops of the rails when I took this picture.

FWIW, I don't like Bright Boys. I think their grit is too coarse, and leaves scratches on the railheads which attract dirt. I clean track with 400 grit wet-or-dry wrapped around a hardwood block, and then go over them with Flitz.

Another fairly pleasant task that I forgot (that has to come before weeds) is painting random ties with very dilute concrete, grimy black, various greys, etc. Then I want to touch each spikehead with a tiny bit of "rust".

Once all that's done, I can get on with planting weeds.

Compared with today, planting weeds sounds like great fun!

Compared with today, root canal therapy sounds like great fun. [:-banghead][:-banghead][:-banghead][:-crazy][:-fight][:-headache][:-grumpy]

Oh, well -- it's just one of those things that have to be done.

Vagel also put in a long day and completed the after-ballasting cleanup on his first module and got all the turnouts working well, and ballasted the corner module.

Garth and I drafted Vagel into helping us unload a bunch of 20' 2 x 10's that were delivered while we were working.

I'll include some pictures of Vagel's modules tomorrow.

More tomorrow.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 06/20/2006 10:47:04 PM
Message:

Wow!!! Don,
I would say you had a full day of work with the track.
I have been thinking that it is about time for me to get some track put down but after reading all the work involved I just might procrastinate for another month or so.

I will also look for additional photos tomorrow.[:-thumbu][:-thumbu]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/20/2006 11:11:23 PM
Message:

Don't let me discourage you, John. Just plunge right in and start laying and ballasting track. Misery loves company.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/20/2006 11:18:51 PM
Message:

I decided it would be fun to go back to the beginning of the thread and re-read it - which it was.

But in the process I discovered that I had failed to acknowledge some helpful suggestions or supportive comments; when things were moving really quickly, before the last train show, I lost track of them. It's really too late now to write replies, but if I didn't respond to something you wrote, please accept my apologies.

I also noted a couple of things I had said I was going to do to the module that haven't happened yet. I said I was going to scroll saw a cyma as the transition from the 10" high sides and the 6" high ends -- that may yet happen, although it's not a priority.

I also talked about sawing a profile in the edge, to match the water level on the dioramas. I now intend to move those dioramas into the new "waterfront" section of my home layout (yeah, the waterfront bug done bit me) and replace them with something else in the FreeMo module, so I think I'll leave the edges intact.

Foss' Landing will probably serve a hitch in the FreeMo module before becoming part of the main layout.

Good night, everyone.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 06/21/2006 07:37:58 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA


I also noted a couple of things I had said I was going to do to the module that haven't happened yet.


Good thing you brought this up. We were just about to call you on it.

Hey, any good plan allows for modifications along the way.[:-glasses]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/21/2006 11:51:37 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Dutchman

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA


I also noted a couple of things I had said I was going to do to the module that haven't happened yet.


Good thing you brought this up. We were just about to call you on it.





Yeah, that's what I was worried about. You're such harsh critics. Not.

I noticed, way back in February, I was talking about getting streets and sidewalks done and here's it's late June and I'm still talking about it.

Do you think that building the Ships Chander and Wrisely was just an elaborate form of procrastination, to avoid tackling roads and streets?

Another update -- the sale of Skinner's Row didn't happen. When I told the guy - a lawyer, no less -- what kind of serious money I wanted for it -- based on advice from Scott and Jimmy -- he disappeared from my life. I wonder what he thought I would sell it for? Oh, well, I'm happy keeping it.

However, I'm going ahead with building the kitbashed plastic industry that Kent and Vagel came up with the fill that space. The base and track will be identical so I can swap the dioramas out during a show - that should have some entertainment value.

Back to the mines.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/22/2006 6:23:20 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Another long day and still no weeds.

But I did get a bunch of pre-weed stuff taken care of:

First I randomly painted individual ties. I used diluted "Concrete", diluted "Grimy Black" and various shades of grey craft paint diluted with blue windshield washer fluid. I especially like "Payne's Grey."








I haven't ballasted around the moving parts of the turnouts yet -- saving that for a cooler day.

I painted relatively few individual ties on the through track, which is supposedly better maintained than the sidings.

Vagel was at the shop today, working away on his two modules. This is a picture of where he left off on Tuesday. (He had to do real work on Wednesday, and so did I.)



Here he is working away shimming up the ends and making springs for the turnouts.





The not-very-special-looking sheet of plywood behind Vagel will become the station molds for the next boat, as soon as the FreeMo module goes back into the gallery.

After painting ties, I started painting spike heads. Halfway through, we got a break from the rain and I was able to work some on my 1:1 project -- painting all those joists that will go into the rear building. Kind of a change from doing spike heads with a 3-0 brush:





Vagel went with me to Rotary and after we got back, we both went back to work on our respective modules.

Here's Vagel after he finished for the day, with our hollyhock in the background.





And I finished painting spikeheads and then cleaned the paint off the railheads with 400 grit wet or dry.

The first picture is before cleaning:





And this shot was taken after cleaning:




So maybe tomorrow I can plant some weeds? Or have I forgotten something else? [:-bigeyes2]

It's supposed to be a mite cooler tomorrow - that would be nice. I need a sweatband in my Optivisor.

Have a good evening!

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 06/22/2006 6:28:52 PM
Message:

Very nice trackwork, Don! I like the different colored ties. And the spikes, too!


Reply author: nalmeida
Replied on: 06/22/2006 7:23:33 PM
Message:

That looks like a lot of work Don, but it sure looks good.


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 06/22/2006 8:17:48 PM
Message:

Looks good Don.
Hopefully we will get to see some weeds in the next day or so.
If you want to see some real weeds stop down to Georgia and I can show you a great bunch.

You wrote

"Do you think that building the Ships Chander and Wrisely was just an elaborate form of procrastination, to avoid tackling roads and streets?

That would be my excuse for not getting any track down.
The Ships Chandlers followed by my Alaskan mountain followed by my Alaskan cemetery followed by the Service Station Challenge, do I see a scenario here.
I guess we sometimes do not like to venture into unknown territory.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/23/2006 9:01:37 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I forgot (until I looked at my calendar last night) that I had to teach "Computers for Geezers" Friday morning. Vagel worked on his modules all morning, but I didn't get back to the shop until about 12:30 - at which point he and I went to lunch.

The good news is that we got his two modules hooked together - mechanically and electrically -- and leveled. Then we ran a couple of DCC equipped steamers over all his track and it worked beautifully.

I put all the dioramas into my module and found even more problems with track having shifted after I cut the rails at the end of the show. And now I've locked the problems into place with ballast. Snarl! [:-banghead][:-banghead]

I also found I'd ballasted a piece of track with cinders on the module which connects directly to a piece on Wrisley which I had, for whatever reason, done with more mainline ballast. I got pretty frustrated and decided to just give the project a rest for a while. (Teaching computers to senior citizens can use up most of a day's supply of energy in half a day, too).

Bottom line -- still no weeds and no pictures. Tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon I'll fix all the track glitches. I'll also need to run to the LHS and get some very fine N scale cinders to top dress that section of track. Let's hope for renewed energy in the morning.

If all goes well, we'll connect my module to Vagel's two, add a 2-foot tail track onto mine, and run some trains.

I think I will have a beer. And it won't be Bud Light.

John, I'll make you a deal -- if you lay some track, I'll build some roads.[:-bouncy]

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/24/2006 8:06:17 PM
Message:

[:-sing] Weeds at last, weeds at last...[:-sing]

Sounds like the old civil rights song, "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last."

I guess that finally getting some weeds glued down isn't quite that important, but it sure felt good.

But first, there were quite a few chores to be taken care of.

I discovered, as I may have mentioned, that I had forgotten to add any track feeders to the Ship's Chandler. So I had to dig out the Bell Hanger bit, drill down through ballast, roadbed, foam and plywood, and add them. No photographs because I soldered them in so neatly and painted them so expertly that they are invisible.[:-slaphappy]

Then I had three alignment problems where pieces of track on dioramas met the module. I got all but one of them fixed before I decided to I just had to get some weeds planted.

In one case, I cut off all my recently painted spikeheads [:-weepn] and sprung the rail into alignment and CA'd it in place. Here's the set-up while the CA was curing:





And here it is with the clamps and weights removed. It looks ok and more importantly it tested ok.






I also had a vertical alignment problem where the WP trestle met the module. I worked in a shim and also did a bunch of filing. That one also tested out ok.






To correct the disparity between the ballast on the WP module and the track leading into and out of it, I bought some Fine Cinder ballast and very lightly top coated the other ballast. That hid the glaring difference:





There's still a big gap in the rail where Skinner's Row connects to the module. I didn't get to that yet. My plan -- please comment and make suggestions -- is to CA in a tiny piece of styrene and file it and paint it.

[




While I was buying the cinder ballast I picked up a new (to me, anyhow) Woodland Scenics product for making bushes very quickly. I tried it in a few places; so far, I like it:





And finally I added weeds to a couple of short sections of track.








I don't know why those last two shots are out of focus. I thought this camera was supposed to be idiot-proof.[:-propeller]

So, still to do -- lotsa weeds. Fix that rail gap. Paint the spike heads on the WP diorama. But basically I'm to the point where I could take it to the train show and be able to run and point to plenty of progress since the last show.

I guess I've run out of excuses for not starting on streets and sidewalks. [:-scared]

Good evening, everyone.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 06/24/2006 8:27:06 PM
Message:

Great progress, Don! Good looking weeds!

Well, I'm about to work on a new street on my extension to the Tabooma County Railway - so we can pave together. I'll try to capture some photos as I go along. I just glued a form for the "concrete" pour I will do later.

My street has a spur line running right down the middle of the street - I really think street trackage is neat. I'm thinking my street will end up with a mixture of concrete and brick. How about yours? What "medium" are you going to use for the pavement?


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 06/25/2006 12:04:07 PM
Message:

Don,
I think you have all the problems solved except for the track.
Good to see some weeds in place at last.

Someone else will have to offer a suggestion for my track expertise is lacking.
You wrote
John, I'll make you a deal -- if you lay some track, I'll build some roads.

Unfortunately I will have to procrastinate a little longer as I am leaving for Vermont for my son's wedding on July 6th(wedding is the 8th) and will also be taking a short vacation with my other children and their families since we will all be together at the same time.
I will not be returning to Georgia until around July 18th so I guess you better take Al's suggestion and work on your streets with him.

What is the woodland Scenics product you used for bushes?
I have a lot to make and am always looking for an easy solution.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/25/2006 8:11:16 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Tabooma County Rwy

Great progress, Don! Good looking weeds!

Well, I'm about to work on a new street on my extension to the Tabooma County Railway - so we can pave together. I'll try to capture some photos as I go along. I just glued a form for the "concrete" pour I will do later.

My street has a spur line running right down the middle of the street - I really think street trackage is neat. I'm thinking my street will end up with a mixture of concrete and brick. How about yours? What "medium" are you going to use for the pavement?




Hi, Al --

I'm hoping for an interesting mixture of dirt roads, maybe some concrete (because that's what has already been done on Skinner's Row), plus brick or cobblestone, because that's what was used here in Pittsburgh. Most of it has been covered with asphalt but some neighborhoods have kept the cobblestones uncovered. Brick was a common material for sidewalks here.

For the dirt, I'm going to try Mike C's mixture of two color of grout plus cheap unscented clay kitty litter (ground in a coffee mill).

Here's the other material I've accumulated:




Of course, I also have Sculptamold, card stock, foam core, plaster of paris, sheet styrene, etc. I think part of my problem is that I've read too about the subject - a form of "paralysis by analysis."

I also like street running a lot. I'd really like to put a trolley line in the middle of the street on the module and run it right across Skinner's. That will have to wait until after the current train show.

I'll be looking for your paving pictures.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/25/2006 8:27:08 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Bbags



Unfortunately I will have to procrastinate a little longer as I am leaving for Vermont for my son's wedding on July 6th(wedding is the 8th) and will also be taking a short vacation with my other children and their families since we will all be together at the same time.
I will not be returning to Georgia until around July 18th so I guess you better take Al's suggestion and work on your streets with him.

What is the woodland Scenics product you used for bushes?
I have a lot to make and am always looking for an easy solution.



Hi, John --

Have a great time at the wedding. I hope you get to play tourist a little in Vermont.

That bush material is over in the shop -- I'll post the full name and stock number tomorrow.

Well, the Planning Commission met and approved the street plan for FreeMoville. Of course, we still have to do the environmental impact statement and spend a lot of money lobbying state legislators to get the project funded, so I can probably procrastinate for several more years.

Here's what the module looks like with the structures mocked up and the streets sketched in:







The photo, unfortunately, doesn't show the road from the Ship's Chandler. There will be a grade crossing over the spur (dark ballast), a short section of dirt road, and then another grade crossing over the through track to connect to the alley - which will probably be cobblestone.



In case you're not familiar with The Ruins, The Bank, or the Parkersburg Tank and Rack, here are a couple of photo's that show more detail:









I spent the afternoon and early evening at the monthly NMRA meeting. Actually, I spent a lot of the time driving to and from the meeting -- it was quite a long way away and I made things worse by missing my exit on the Turnpike. Still, it was enjoyable.

Tomorrow, I hope for more weeds and a start on streets.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/25/2006 9:13:23 PM
Message:

P.S. I meant to explain that those skewers are there to keep the plastic sheeting from touching the buildings when I cover the module. Working next to the planer and jointers makes for a lot of sawdust in the air.

Don


Reply author: nalmeida
Replied on: 06/26/2006 06:02:11 AM
Message:

Thanks for all the pics Don, with most of the structures in place the module does look really good, full without feeling crowded, lot's of variety with many diferent scenes in such a small space. For a second there I tought the skewers where eletric posts.


Reply author: belg
Replied on: 06/26/2006 09:07:34 AM
Message:

Hi Don, been a while since I've checked out your module and see you have made some real nice progress
Does the track section need to carry current where you have the gap? and will they now stay in place or still have to be removeable?? I think this will be a determining factor in the solution.My first thought was to cut back a section of the rail on the right and then add a piece slightly longer to make up the gap, but cutting it back some you will have a much larger glueing surface not just that tiny little piece. Make it look like a section of track that was replaced, maybe even leave the old piece laying right there next to it??
I have to admit I also thought you had put in some REALLY tall telephone poles, speaking of which does anyone know when this became common practice in the states to have main lines run thru towns and to individual homes????


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 06/26/2006 10:42:59 AM
Message:

Don,
With all the structures in place that is looking like a real community.
Still planning on having the baseball field?

I see that Al has started on his streets.
Check the thread on his extension.

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=12488

Pat,
From Google about the history of telephones and telephones.
Looks like the early 1900's if not earlier in some places.
http://www.greatachievements.org/?id=3633


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/26/2006 3:36:57 PM
Message:

quote:
[i]

What is the woodland Scenics product you used for bushes?
I have a lot to make and am always looking for an easy solution.



Hi, John --

It's labeled "Bushes Clump-Foliage Forest Green FC148" It comes in several other colors and I'll eventually buy a couple more. It cost $3.79 for 18 cu in bag.

I think the waterfront peninsula is going to be done in fall colors. I think Maine in the fall would look really nice.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/26/2006 10:59:47 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Nelson, those skewers probably would make good phone poles. Give them the George Selios creosote treatment and they'd look just about right. And they sure are cheap material.

Pat -- no, the gap between Skinners and the module doesn't carry current. Skinner's has its own track feeders. Yes, it has to stay removeable. I like your idea of replacing a piece of rail and "leaving" the old section lying there (glued in place).

John -- yes, the minor-league ball park is still in the plans, but won't happen in time for this train show. After the July show, I have until November to come up with new stuff. Which might, BTW, include replacing both Skinner's and the Ship's Chandler, because they might have moved onto the new section of the basement layout. That would make for a busy summer and fall.

I am now the proud and happy owner of two 25 pound bags of Polyblend Sanded Grout. My local Home Depot didn't have Summer Wheat but fortunately did have a color chart for the line. They make 48 color of grout. Yoicks! Anyhow, I chose Sahara Tan (which they do carry) as a close-enough substitute.

My local HD has PolyBlend in neat little 7 pound boxes -- but not in any colors likely to be of much use to us. If you are near a really big HD, you might be able to find the colors you want without having to buy 25 pounds.

Let's see -- each batch of Mike's Magical Road Forumula uses 1 ounce of each color. 25 pounds = 400 ounces. I think I have enough.[:-bigeyes]

Now I need the bag of kitty litter and something to grind it up with. I have a little gadget I inherited from my mother that's intended to grind up nut meats - I'll try that. I think my electric coffee grinder would turn it into really fine dust.

Does anyone know of a material that would work as Belgian block for streets? Most of the stuff I've seen is made for stone walls and is too big and too lumpy.
Thanks,

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 06/27/2006 12:53:39 AM
Message:

Don, I'm fooling around with a product made out of latex that simulates bricks, sidewalks, manholes, etc. Its made by a company called Kancali out here near Seattle. I mentioned it in my Tabooma County Extension thread.

Anyway, look on their website - www.kancali.com and look under the military tab. They make some cobblestone sheets that might work for you.

The stuff, like I said, is latex, in like 9x13 sheets and is pretty thin - you cut it with scissors or a sharp knife. I saw their dioramas in person at their display at a recent train/swap meet out here and the stuff looks pretty good. I'm trying to install it between and along side rails for street trackage, and am still fooling around with it - no pics yet.

Anyway, that might work for you...


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/02/2006 5:40:04 PM
Message:

Weed-o-Rama! Weeds 'R Us! We be weedin'!

Did lots of weeds, added grade crossings, and did some more weathering. A busy day!













I tried to create an oil streak in the middle of the track using mineral spirits and Payne's Grey artist's tube oil. Not sure how effective it was. The mineral spirits is such a great wetting agent that, even though I just touched the middle of the ties and roadbed, it immediately spread all the way out to the rails. It did do a good job of toning down the weeds, which seemed too bright initially.

Any suggestions on how to create that oil streak?

As I was adding grade crossings, I discovered I had put in weeds and bushes where roads were going. A certain lack of forward thinking there...[:-banghead]

This particular line of grade crossings are laser-cut and have lots of nice detail, but there is one problem. (Maybe this is obvious to everyone else.) They sit on the spike heads, which isn't a great gluing surface and which also makes them too high relative to the rail head.

I guess you could sand them thinner (pain in the tushie); carve off the spike heads (seems risky to me, since they're keeping the rails in gauge), or sand them down after they're installed - but that sands off some of the laser-carved details. I sort of mixed and matched. I sanded the center pieces down until they were narrow enough to go between the spike heads - not very prototypical. One the side pieces, I either glued them to the spike heads and then sanded the down or cut off spike heads and CA'd the rails. Does anyone have other ideas?

Here's Vagel at work on his modules, and a picture of his scenery-in-the-making. He's much more experienced on scenery than I am.









I may go back next door after I've had something to eat (and the temperature drops a bit).

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 07/02/2006 11:38:31 PM
Message:

Don, what manufacturer made the grade crossings? I assume they are wood? Anyway, if they are wood, could you just chamfer the underside edges (taper) so then it will sit lower? I bought some Blair Line wood grade crossings, buy haven't used them. On my layout I just used stripwood...if I remember right, it was like, 3x10s...seemed like just the right thickness to sit down on the ties.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/04/2006 08:00:12 AM
Message:

Al, I'll get the brand when I go over to the shop in a bit. I threw the packaging away but I think it's findable. I bought them from the NMRA Keystone Division company store so I can buy more.

The advantage over scratchbuilding is that these little goodies have burned in bolt detail.

I was working too fast when I did them -- should have paused for thought. I overlooked a 4th possibility -- glue down some thin styrene strips (the thickness of the spike heads) before gluing in the planks. That would give me a solid gluing surface. Also, if I needed to make the planks thinner, I could do that fairly easily if I sanded the whole sheet before cutting them loose.

Live and learn.

Happy 4th!

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/04/2006 8:43:51 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone -- I hope you are having a pleasant holiday. It has been very rainy here in Pittsburgh and there's a high probability of rain this evening during the firework, which is too bad. We love our fireworks here in duh 'burgh. Zambelli is a local company that does shows all over the country.

I managed to get some work done on various modeling projects. On the train show module, I finished the wiring. I added the required male and female Jones connector at each end, and glued in a 6-pin in-line connector for the DCC throttle bus. Not very photogenic, but here it is:





I also filled in most of bare patches on the non-removeable areas with "texture." For better or worse, I'm getting faster and braver. I used to put down each layer and let it dry - now I put on several layers and glue them all at once.

Here's what it looks like at this point - still needs trees and "stuff" -- junk, details, etc.







Tomorrow, the brick street material is supposed to arrive by UPS so I can move ahead with streets.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/04/2006 8:48:35 PM
Message:

Oops! I forgot to answer Al's question about the grade crossings.

Al, they're made by TVW Miniatures, 7004 Dobson Ct, Geendale, WI 53129.

Our "company store" (NMRA) stocks them so if you have trouble finding them in your area, let me know and I'll get you whatever you need. They would fit in a regular #10 envelopem so they'd be easy to mail. He makes them in regular and rural widths, straight across, and angled. They're really quite nice, with all the burned in details.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 07/04/2006 10:44:25 PM
Message:

Thanks, Don, sounds like a neat product! I take it he doesn't have a web site...any chance you could show a picture or two of his product? These "basement manufacturers" (I'm assuming that's what he is) often turn out some really cool stuff that most of us never hear about....


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/05/2006 07:15:28 AM
Message:

Hi, Al --

I'll take some close-up pictures of the grade crossings later today. To finish them, all I used was a medium A&I wash, repeated until I got a tone I liked.

I did find an e-mail address on the packing material - tiny and hard to read. I hope this is correct:

GANEFSTE@execpc.com

Because I was trying to do all the grades with what I had on hand (I can only buy from the "company store" once a month and these items were actually bought for the basement layout), I cut some of the two-lane crossings in half to make single-lane roads. Not a good idea if you're really meticulous because it causes the plank ends to be without the correct bolt pattern. You'd have to look really closely to see that, however.

More later.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/05/2006 4:45:34 PM
Message:

Hi, Al (et.al.) (pun intended)

Here are some close-ups of those grade crossings. You can probably see why I like them and why I'm sorry I had to improvise on a couple of them - a shame to compromise on such carefully drawn detailing.









And here's a quick shot of one of the structures I'm working on - Classic Miniatures Bank Building. It's built up from many layers cut from cardboard and thinner stuff. You need lots of nice new single edge blades and a tolerance for sore fingers, but it's still fun. Makes you appreciate more modern kits. "Ah, so...this is why they invented resin and plaster and lasers!!"





I'm off to the MR club this evening, to work on the trestle and perhaps paint a few background flats.

More tomorrow.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 07/05/2006 5:48:17 PM
Message:

Hey, Don, thanks for posting the pics of the grade crossings. You're right - they do look very good. Do you remember the cost?

Your Pal, Et Al


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/05/2006 10:39:48 PM
Message:

Hi, Al --

They're really cheap inexpensive. The packaging I retrieved is for a 13 ft rural crossing - "contains 3 crossings 1 straight and 1 each 30 degrees left and right" -- for a grand total of $3.50. Which works out to $1.17 each.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/08/2006 10:14:25 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I'm been working pretty steadily on structures that will go on the module. I'll probably do construction threads on each one - I've been taking lots of photographs -- but here are a couple of quick shots.

The Bank Building is all painted, chalked, etc., and ready to assemble. It's kind of cute little structure.




I'm not going to use the decals that came with it for the bank name -- I'm going to make my own sign, using the name of the bank across the street from me. One of my fellow Rotarians is Chairman Emeritus - she's in her 80's and she'll get a kick out of seeing a tiny Allegheny Valley Bank.

I'm doing pretty well with the rack part of the oil tank and rack kit.





The tank, on the other hand, ain't going so bleepin' well. I sprayed it with Krylon matte and then tried bringing out the rivet lines with a slurry of alcohol and rust colored chalk. Gack! Looks so bad I won't even post a photo. I guess that technique should be reserved for metal castings and not card and paper. I'm going to buy a rattle can of aluminum paint and see if I can salvage it. Or maybe I'll spray it flat white. Maybe I'll just claim the tank is off the edge of the module.

I did fix the one remaining track problem on the module -- I CA'd in some styrene and filed it to shape. I'll paint it tomorrow. It works - no more derailments. (BTW, the "huge" gap between Skinner's and rest of the module is actually tiny and hard to see and will be hidden with a handful to ground foam once the module is set up.)




More tomorrow.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 07/08/2006 11:35:30 PM
Message:

Thanks for posting the info on the crossings, Don - so, how does one go about purchasing some? Great work, by the way - looking forward to a thread on your bank building.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/09/2006 3:29:03 PM
Message:

Hi, Al --

Try that e-mail address I sent you. If that doesn't work, I'll be glad to buy you as many as you want (from the Keystone Division Company Store) and mail them to you. They weigh next to nothing and a bunch of them would fit in a #10 envelope, so postage won't amount to much.

I need to buy a bunch for my primary layout, to replace the ones I used on the FreeMo module, so I can pick up some for you at the same time.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/10/2006 09:23:49 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Yesterday was supposed to be the test setup for the train show. Mostly, it didn't happen. For a variety of reasons including family emergencies, only three of were on hand. So the "test setup" will happen next Friday during the load-in at the Expo-Mart.


Kent and I, with help from Bob, got the throttle bus cables made up and in place, and we ran trains over all the track on our modules. Everything worked - no derailments - so that was good.

Here are a couple of pictures from Sunday:













Vagel will be over later this week to build the rack that will allow him to carry two stacked modules in the back of his SUV.

Between Vagel, Kent and me, we'll have enough working modules to put on a decent show. As to the rest - "Hey, mon - it's not my problem."

Don


Reply author: nalmeida
Replied on: 07/10/2006 10:03:21 AM
Message:

I was looking at the second picture and thinking how you were unsure on how to put ship chandlers on the module and how to mix the running stream for wrisleys with the level water for ships, all I can say is WOW, it looks really good from this perspective, even I was a bit skeptical if it would look fine and more than fine it looks great. Congratulations.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/11/2006 09:59:42 AM
Message:

Hi, Nelson --

The two dioramas sort-of work when placed side by side but they will work even better when the move to my layout. I'll put them at opposite ends of the waterfront so the water features are at the same height and there's a reasonable grade between their tracks. I'll also make the water area in front of Wrisley a lot bigger.

Like all the guys who did the Foss' Landing thread, I've decided I'm not going to pour the water until they are in their permanent home so I can do one continuous pour, with no seams.

Thanks for the feedback,

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/17/2006 09:11:45 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

The train show is behind us. I'd say it was reasonably successful. We had a chance to talk to a lot of people about the activities of our division of the NMRA and a lot of people showed interest in the modular railroad.

Here are a couple of pictures. I may post more later when I have more time, but this week is going to be busy (and hot) with work on the building and similar stuff.

Here's my module - with Walt's literature in place:



Here's Kent and Vagel under our sign. That's Vagel's corner module:




This is Den Lippert, our DCC guru, struggling with the throttle bus:



And here's me, looking relaxed and happy - which, mostly, I wasn't. There were a lot of screwups:



(Yeah, I know the plastic speedboat isn't exactly prototypical, but one of the kids wanted to put it there, so why not?)

Off to work.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 07/17/2006 09:15:01 AM
Message:

Don, your module looked good! How was the turnout at the show?


Reply author: MikeC
Replied on: 07/17/2006 09:28:24 AM
Message:

Don, you did an outstanding job with your module - and the models on it![:-thumbu] The second photo especially grabbed my attention. The way you used the tracks to link Wrisley's and the Ships Chandlers into a single scene is really inspired!


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 07/17/2006 10:58:16 AM
Message:

Don, looks like you guys had a good time, in spite of the "gremlins" that always pop up at shows. Say, what is that large building right in front of you?


Reply author: Rusty Stumps
Replied on: 07/17/2006 12:43:26 PM
Message:

Don, It lookes real good. Your modual does you proud. Didn't you take a few cut nails to chew on? [girn]


Reply author: essodee
Replied on: 07/17/2006 1:02:49 PM
Message:

Don,

Congratulations on getting yourself up for, and through, another show. I hope you are getting whatever feedback and rewards out of these show activities that you were expecting.

The two models look fantastic together on the module, even though, as you explained earlier, that they are to go on opposite ends of your layout.

Stevie O'


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/17/2006 9:29:29 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Bruce -- the turnout for the train show was pretty decent. The vendors seemed reasonably happy, too. It got really dead by the middle of Sunday afternoon, but that's pretty common.

Timonium, it ain't -- but I did manage to find some of the old plastic kits I need to take on some of the projects in Art Curren's book, and also bought the CA brands recommended in the RR-line thread on that subject.

Mike, thanks for the kind words. Very much appreciated.

Al -- the large building is the back side of Merchant's Row from Walther's. At this point, the back and side have been sprayed with "mortar" color but I haven't padded on the brick color yet. The front is a bit further along but still needs a good few hours of painting. I've already done the front of this kit once, for the Gibsonia (WPMRM) Club - it's a flat in the Connellsville, PA model.

No, Walt, I didn't chew on cut nails. I chewed on people who didn't do what they were supposed to do.


Steve, thanks for the comments, as always.

The two dioramas (WP and SC) will probably stay in the module at least through the November Greenberg show, so I'll do the waterfall and do some water effects - acrylic gloss medium, probably -- but will hold off on anything highly permanent (like WS Water Effects or epoxy) until they have been moved into the layout and I can do a continuous pour.

Speaking of pouring, Garth is taking a course in bronze casting. From what he has told me, it sounds like fun.

No modeling tonight -- between working on the building, working out, and an aikido class, I'm beat. Time to celebrate with a Celebrex.



Don






Reply author: jknapp
Replied on: 07/18/2006 08:11:01 AM
Message:

quote:
.....Timonium, it ain't -- but I did manage to find some of the old plastic kits I need to take on some of the projects in Art Curren's book, and also bought the CA brands recommended in the RR-line thread on that subject. .....

Don


Hi Don....hey, which kitbashes are you going to do from Art Curren's book? I did a couple of his kitbashes a few years back.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/20/2006 2:41:40 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by jknapp

[quote



Hi Don....hey, which kitbashes are you going to do from Art Curren's book? I did a couple of his kitbashes a few years back.
[/quote]

Here's my "shopping list" based on Curren's book. I'm pretty serious about the top 4 or so - the other will depend on whether I find the kit at a good price.

#65279;Kitbashing plastic models
Art Curren
Kalmbach, 1988
Shopping list

Star Printers: AHM Maís Place (HAVE)

Hardley Able Manufacturing: Superior Bakery or the Revell Engine House or the
Weekly Herald Newspaper (2) (HAVE ONE)

Frugal factory kitbash: AHM Uncle Joeís Barber Shop (2) (HAVE ONE)

Gambol, Whaite & Hope: AHM 5831 freight house; or Type 7785. (2) (HAVE
TWO, courtesy of RichBeau.)

Edison Supply Company: Heljanís Menlo Park Laboratory (1)

Perry Shibbel Fruit & Produce: Tyco brewery kits (2)



Maple Street: AHM Aunt Millieís or W. E Snatchem or F.C. Rode
Hardware Store

Storage sheds: AHM Snap-Eaze farmhouse, school and barn kits

Chrisville Mill: Con-Cor Tombstone Ariz courthouse

Artz Lumber Co.: Atlas 750 lumber company (3); AHM 15303
American farmhouse

Flatt Iron Co.: Life-Like hotel kits (3)

Wedge-shaped factory: IHC Storefront Apartment kits (2). Also
marketed by Pola, AHM and Model Power.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/25/2006 6:08:43 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I finished one of the kits for the FreeMo module -- The Bank Building. I guess it's not totally finished, because I plan to light the inside with an LED and do a rudimentary interior per the article in the recent RMC. (Added: Oops! I got the citation wrong. The article is in the latest Model Railroader, it's by Mike Tylick.)









I also made some progress on the Parkersburg Tank and Rack. I'll post pictures when I have the piping and other details completed.

Don


Reply author: MikeC
Replied on: 07/25/2006 6:28:21 PM
Message:

That's a neat looking structure, Don. Who makes the kit?


Reply author: nalmeida
Replied on: 07/25/2006 6:30:10 PM
Message:

I agree with Mike, it looks great. Is it lasercut or resin?


Reply author: leeflan
Replied on: 07/25/2006 7:30:55 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by MikeC

That's a neat looking structure, Don. Who makes the kit?

Unless I'm mistaken, Mike & Nelson, its the Classic Miniatures bank kit. I don't think I am since I have one in the Wadley business block.

Nelson, I'll let Don answer your question about construction. I built mine over 20 years ago when the entire kit was wood and cardboard, even the windows. I understand they've been upgraded some.

Don, what color did you use on the exterior? It looks great. As I recall, I used antique white with a splash of light gray to take the edge off.

Super job!


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 07/25/2006 10:08:47 PM
Message:

Don,

That is a great looking little structure. I'll be waiting to see what you do with the interior.


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 07/25/2006 10:43:05 PM
Message:

Great job, Don! I'd like to open a savings account there - when do you open for business?


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/25/2006 11:43:34 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Sorry, should have given the manufacturer. You're correct -- it's the Classic Miniatures kit. It's fairly old - but recent enough to have a Zip code in the address. I picked it up on eBay about two years ago.

The crown molding and eagle are cast metal; the acetate windows are pre-printed. Everything else had to be cut out of printed card. I wore out several brand new single-edged razors and several fingers. (I did most of the cutting in the motel room while at the Timonium show.) There's also some strip wood, including some "L" stock.

If I shot a real closeup picture, you would have no trouble telling that it isn't resin or laser-cut. But from a reasonable distance it's ok.

The color is Delta Ceramcoat Antique White 2001.

The sign was done with my Word Processor and applied with the 3M adhesive transfer tape, as recommended by Karl. I named it after the bank across the street because a Rotary friend is the Chairman Emeritus of the Board. She came to the train show - she's in her 80's - and discovered "her" bank on the layout and was really pleased.

The roofing material was also stuck down with the adhesive transfer tape. It's left over from Wrisely Paper.

The brick material that came with the kit was the big weakness. I found I just couldn't make it look good so I replaced it with modern styrene material.

Thanks for all the comments!

Don


Reply author: Tim Kerkhoff
Replied on: 07/26/2006 04:38:05 AM
Message:

Don,

Nice little building, well done.


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 07/26/2006 06:18:25 AM
Message:

quote:
The sign was done with my Word Processor and applied with the 3M adhesive transfer tape, as recommended by Karl.

OK I musta misssed this one... [:-blindfold]

Don or Karl can you either point me to the thread that describes this trick or explain to me how it is done? Is there a specific 3M number for the tape?

Thx
--Rich


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/26/2006 1:08:08 PM
Message:

Hi, Rich --

I know there was a good bit written about this product on RR-line, recently, and I thought it was in the Wrisley thread, but I'll be [:-censored] if I can find it. And the Google search trick didn't help much, either. I'll make a more liesurely search tonight, when I have more time.

I do remember that Karl Osolinski is the person who told me about it, and I was able to find the product number on the roll: it's 3M 465. You can find it on their website and find out who carries it in your area. It's called an "adhesive transfer tape" and, according to Karl, Mack trucks (the full-size ones) are stuck together with the stuff. I believe it -- it's extremely thin but very strong.

I bought it from the local Fastenal store because they were willing to bring in a single roll. Other places want to sell me a case.

More this evening.

Don


Reply author: Mike Hamer
Replied on: 07/26/2006 2:18:44 PM
Message:

Hi Don, I've just been getting caught up with your thread after a brief time away on a working vacation. Wow, you should feel very proud of your diorama and all the work that has gone into it. I know that at train shows, most of the general public might not be able to discern the higher level of modelling from the rest, but rest assured, I truly believe your modelling was greatly appreciated by many at the show...and by all here at the forum!

Hey Don...I've always respected and admired Art Curran's creativity! I call his work...The "Art" of Curran! I can't wait to see what you will do with some of his ideas. I know that, for me and many, it was a sad day when we heard of his passing a short while back.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/27/2006 9:43:11 PM
Message:

Hi, Mike -- thanks for the comments.

I'm really looking foward to starting on an Art Current project but I may not get to it until we get a couple of urgent projects on the Slaughterhouse finished. Maybe I'll warm up with the print shop -- it looks like a good starting point.

Curren's book really is excellent. He really teaches you how to think about kit-bashing - concept, design, etc.

Thanks again,

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/28/2006 07:21:53 AM
Message:

Re the 3M 465 adhesive transfer tape -- I haven't been able to find the discussion about it. If someone with (a) better memory or (b) better forum searching skills would like to chime in, that would be great.

Here's my next Precision Painting project -- doing a Victorian Polychrome paint job on this City Classics Iron Front building. I'll start a thread once I've settled on the paint scheme. I've done similar scans on an intermediate floor and the ground floor and am writing in the colors for the various details.





Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 08/22/2006 9:38:30 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I've gotten a couple of things done that you might be interested in.

First, the FreeMo group had a good planning meeting and decided we'd like to have a Wye, a Loop, and a mobile staging module. I'll build and own the staging module - sort of a transfer table on a cart - and will help others build the wye and loop.

So far, we have a volunteer (Bud Brock) to be the custodian of the wye so work has gone forward on that. Bud, Kent and I did most of it in a couple of Sundays. Here's what it looks like:




I worked out the color scheme for the Iron Front building and got started on it. Still more touch-up to do on the top floor and I'm a bit too tired and stressed to work on it right now.





And I got a bit more done on the 1:1 model of a Slaughterhouse. Got the joists installed on the left-hand side:




Still a bunch to do on the buildings before the snow flies but I will also do some modeling, one way or the other.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 08/22/2006 10:46:41 PM
Message:

Don, I like that iron front building. What colors did you use? Your wye looks real solid, too!


Reply author: kay4pacific
Replied on: 08/22/2006 11:10:03 PM
Message:

Don, Love the color scheme on the model,[:-thumbu] What colors did you use?


Reply author: paulbrockatsf
Replied on: 08/23/2006 02:05:19 AM
Message:


Don,

I really like your City Classics building. I would also like to know the colors you used.

Your WYE looks like it was well done. It is great that you have some guys to work with that have the same interests.

Keep up the good work.

Paul


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 08/23/2006 07:59:13 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone -- thanks for the comments!

Yes, having other people working with you definitely makes module building (or any other kind of layout construction) a lot more fun.

The colors are:

Delta Hippo Grey 02090
Delta Maroon 02075
Americana Sand DA 04
Delta Gamal Green 02120

I actually did the base coat of grey with automotive spray primer - Hippo Grey is a close enough match that I can use it for touchup over the primer.

BTW, the subroad on this particular module is homosote over 3/8" plywood, rather than the usual foam. We wanted to be really sure the track wouldn't move at the joints. I think we're going to use cork as the actual roadbed, for the same reason.

We're also going to use the trick (from MR magazine, as I recall) of driving brass flathead screws between the ties, flush with the top of the ties, right at the edges, and soldering the rails to the screw heads.

The two sections are bolted together rather than clamped, to save money, and we hope it can just stay as a unit and we won't even have to cut the rails within the wye. But if we do have to take it apart, we want to make sure we don't have the kind of problems I'm having with the dioramas within my own module.

The leg sets are built. Once I've primed and painted the sides, Bud Brock will take it home with him and do track, scenery, etc. He's planning to fill in around the homosote with 1/2" pink/blue foam.

We may start on the loop this weekend. Kent and Bud are both good woodworkers, so the 3 of us can move fairly quickly with this sort of project.

Don




Reply author: George D
Replied on: 08/23/2006 08:32:39 AM
Message:

Don, I like the look of the iron front building.[:-thumbu] What's the radius of the curve on the wye module?

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 08/23/2006 08:48:56 AM
Message:

Hi, George --

The radius is 22" - which is way below the FreeMo standard for mainline curves. (It think the standard is something like 48".) The Keystone FreeMo module group is modeling a branchline, and, as a group, we're not planning on going to larger FreeMo runs, so we're designing our modules more for ease of construction and transport than to meet the "big group" standards.

Some members who do want to go to larger runs are building their individual modules so that they can do that.

The loop will also be small by FreeMo standards. A loop that has a 48" (or so) radius is a huge project - not something we can take on right now.

Don


Reply author: MikeC
Replied on: 08/23/2006 09:59:32 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA

Re the 3M 465 adhesive transfer tape -- I haven't been able to find the discussion about it. If someone with (a) better memory or (b) better forum searching skills would like to chime in, that would be great.





Don, it took a while to find this link because even Google's Advanced Search was drawing blanks. [:-bigeyes2] I know there has been more than one discussion concerning the transfer tape, but this is all I've been able to come up with so far. (Google finally came up with the thread # but didn't have the page #.... [:-irked])

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7007&whichpage=6

I really like your choice of colors for the iron front building. It's a great combo![:-thumbu]


Reply author: paulbrockatsf
Replied on: 08/23/2006 3:56:00 PM
Message:


Don,

Thanks for sharing the colors you used. I really like the look of it. I am looking forward to seeing the finished building.

I have learned a lot & have gotten a lot of enjoyment from reading through this thread. I am trying to catch up.

A 48" loop would be huge. I think I like your scaled down version better.

Paul


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/03/2006 7:01:41 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Mike, thanks for tracking down the thread on the 3M adhesive transfer tape. BTW, I've found another use for it. I'm going to dress up some metal book shelves at the MR Club by adding real wood edging, which I will stick on (very permanently) with that tape.

I haven't actually done anything lately on my own FreeMo module - which is supposedly the subject of this thread. Most of my modeling time has been taken up being "lead carpenter" on other people's modules - the wye and the loop. For those who like to watch me work on deadline pressure , I have good news - there's a train show coming up and I'll be going back to work on the module.

But for right now, here's an update on building the wye and the loop. We had a really good work session today - 6 people including me.

Patrick Altdorfer brought his 2x4 module back for some help on roadbed and track. He has come up with a very creative design that includes a lake and brewery (from a kit he bought in Germany). Here's what it looks like so far:



Bud Brock - the handsome dude in the baseball cap - brought the wye back and got started on roadbed. He has filled in around the homosote sub-roadbed with 1/2" foam. Here, he's sanding the homosote before gluing down Vinylbed:




Vagel Keller's modules are far enough along that he can just work on them at home so he came over to help Patrick and work on the loop. Here he is explaining how to gesture in German. (Yes, really.)




Here are Vagel and Patrick conferring about the track plan for Patrick's 2x4:





And here are Kent Miller and Bud boring holes to bolt the loop sections together. (It's somewhat less convenient to use bolts versus clamps but a lot cheaper.)






Backing up a couple of days, here's a picture of the loop components being glued up. The bench is dependably flat; we flatten if it gets out of true, so it makes a good gluing surface. Gluing the ledgers in place not only provides support for the top but straightens and stiffens the sides, which are made out of light (and cheap) OSB.





And here are the basic frames assembled. I glue in corner blocks and then glue and screw the boxes together. Once the glue sets, the screws can be removed and the holes filled. The 3/8" plywood tops also help to square everything up and add a lot of strength. They are glue down onto the ledgers with marine epoxy. I shoot air nails to hold the tops while the epoxy sets.





And here's the loop with the plywood in place and the homosote sub-roadbed glued down. Again, I use screws to hold the homosote and then remove them once the glue has set. Once the screws were out (we let the glue set during lunch break), we sanded everything good and flat with a coarse disk in a random-orbit sander, with a dust collection hookup. We're ready for roadbed, which will be Homabed (when it arrives).




We also cranked out a bunch of leg sets. I make legs by cutting up decent quality 2x4's. 2x2's are pretty much garbage. They get cross-cut to 48", ripped into approximately 2x2, and then run through the planer to get them uniform and to cut down on sanding. Then we cut the half-laps and grooves in the tops, drill the bottoms for adjusters, and glue them up on the jig. It goes pretty fast. Here's John Gallagher (steel mill modeler) - he was our leg man today. Notice the stack of completed leg assemblies in the background:





And finally, for no special reason, here's a picture of me working on the loop module:




A couple of the guys are coming over tomorrow (Labor Day) to keep the project moving along. We need to fit all the captive bolts that hold the legs in place, add barrier strips, put in the track bus, make the cutouts for the UPT's, etc, etc. Lots of details. And then there's priming and painting. Modules do take a fair amount of time.

Hope this was somewhat interesting to read about. It was fun to do. They're a really fun group, with very varied backgrounds.

Happy long weekend!

Don


Reply author: Eddie Landreth
Replied on: 09/03/2006 8:23:00 PM
Message:

Looks like you got a really good, active group of guys there, Don. That modular benchwork looks great, very sturdy and well built. Thanks for posting the pics and narrative about building it.


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 09/03/2006 9:49:21 PM
Message:

Don, great explanation of the construction methods of you Freemo modules. Looks like you have a great crew to work with. And you modules - well, "sturdy" would be an understatement! But...aren't they kind of heavy?


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/03/2006 10:44:27 PM
Message:

Hi, Eddie and Al --

Thanks for writing. Al, the three pieces of the loop aren't terribly heavy individually. Any one piece can be carried (on edge) by one person.

The wye can be broken into two pieces but it fits in Bud's van without disassembly and one person can carry it, although not very comfortably. It's easy for two.

Having said that, it's nonetheless true that these two modules are built heavier than our usual modules. The top is normally foam. But we want these units to be really rigid and to have tops that could hold spikes. We don't want to have to use the normal system of removeable rail sections and rail joiners within the modules. We want to just lay the loop right across the module boundaries and then cut the rails with a Dremel. It will speed setup but, for it to work, we absolutely have to lock the rails in place. Which is why we're using the 3/8" plywood, 1/2" homosote, Homabed sandwich.

BTW, 3/8" plywood is pretty thin and not all that heavy. There's actually more weight in the sides, especially the ones that are doubled or reinforced for bolting together or for bolting on legs.

The next time I build a module, I should weigh the components before I glue it up. The results should be interesting.

Here's my current modeling project. I took this picture up in Maine, at WoodenBoat School, and I've made drawings in HO from the picture. I'm building a bunch of them for the "painting crew" mini-scene on Wrisley Papers.




Don


Reply author: sparkman
Replied on: 09/03/2006 11:29:19 PM
Message:

Evening Don,
You guys have been doing some great work! Thought I'd toss in this link for your perusal.
http://home.earthlink.net/~robert27529/id3.html
Of interest to you would be how they align the modules using modified conduit tubing. Thinking about your wye/loop & the slop that occurs using bolts. You also might want to think about PC ties or brass screws where the rails meet the end of the module. I have seen these modules set up & they are impressive.
-david


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/04/2006 07:14:20 AM
Message:

Hi, David --

Thanks for the link! There's a lot of very useful information there, and they do a nice job of explaining their methods. Were they the subject of an article in one of the major magazines? The waffle method and the banquet table legs look familiar.

We were planning to use brass screw right at the end of the modules with the rails soldered to the screw heads but their use of PC board ties is worth some discussion. I'm going to e-mail that link to the rest of the gang.

I go back and forth on the subject of how to align the module ends. I've tried putting in alignment "thingies" - steel "dowel plates", wooden dowels, etc. Problem is, if you make a mistake, you've got a problem that can be hard to fix. (Obviously, the waffle crew has figured out how to do it.) Right now, I'm going with the "deliberate slop" method. We drill for the bolts but I then enlarge one set of holes with a tapered reamer. That way, during setup, we can wiggle the modules until the rails line up just right.

Anyhow, thanks again!

Don


Reply author: sparkman
Replied on: 09/04/2006 09:33:54 AM
Message:

You're welcome Don.
They actually created a master tempplate out of steel that they clamp to the end of the module when they are drilling holes & lining up track. I was thinking that you could drill the alignment holes while everything is bolted together, then epoxy one end of the tube to one of the modules. Just be careful you don't glue the modules together.
-david


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 09/04/2006 11:10:05 AM
Message:

Great photos Don. [:-thumbu] The guys up in Rochester NY have been asking about your group. Plus the Detroit folks still would love to see us at the NMRA event.

There's been much debate on locating pins over on the Free-mo list. The main reason the standard does not call for mating pins is to be as inclusive as possible. It makes construction easier and does not require expensive or hard to manufacture templates (some people would find the task onerous). While the waffle construction is intriguing it is overkill in MHO. Frame construction is not on my list favorites when constructing a module. Good solid lumber and foam insulation is just as lightweight, structurally sound, and easier to construct. It has always come down to the fact that if there are fixed locating pins at the end of the module (i.e. the part that connects to someone else's module) then you will have a hard time mating them. I think Don's group has a good compromise. Should I bring my module down there. I'll still be able to hook-up.

--Rich


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/04/2006 10:21:09 PM
Message:

Hi, Rich -- nice to hear from you.

Patrick came over Labor Day morning and we made some progress on his module. We soldered all the track together, then lifted it off the module and drilled for turnout motors, masked under the throw bars, etc., and then applied Dap Tub & Tile adhesive caulk. Here's a picture of the track in place, held down by Garth's spline weights and my collection of stuff bought in Maine tool barns:




And here's Patrick breaking the edges on the leg sets with some 220 paper -- makes the paint adhere better:





We're going to make our first attempt at "operating" on 9/16. We're using a church social hall. Vagel has put together a very simple system. It will be a combination debugging and operating session. Or maybe just a debugging session. We may try to have another not-open-to-the-public/run trains session in October. The train show (Monroeville, PA) is in November.

Soon I'm going to have to stop doing all this module building and get back to work on the structures for my own module if I hope to show some progress by November.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 09/04/2006 10:52:07 PM
Message:

Don, I do enjoy seeing your updates. Garth's weights are way too uniform. Yours, on the other hand, resemble my assortment of 'heavy objects on hand'.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/05/2006 07:14:20 AM
Message:

Hi, Bruce -- nice to hear from you.

Yes, those spline weights are very uniform but they sure are handy. Garth goes around muttering about spline weight thieves.

Did anyone notice the huge calipers hanging on the electric meter, behind Patrick in the previous photo? (I just noticed them.) They were "salvaged" from one of the closed/abandoned factories in the neighborhood (Heppenstall Forge and Knife).





The more modern light fixtures are in a parking lot that was built recently - building it, unfortunately, involved demolishing and removing a huge rail-mounted crane that had been part of the skyline for years and years.


Don


Reply author: sparkman
Replied on: 09/05/2006 08:12:41 AM
Message:

Rich,
I think you misunderstood me. I was only advocating pins on Don's return loop where the rails were up against the end of the module.
-david


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/05/2006 1:03:29 PM
Message:

Hi, David --

I understood you even if Rich didn't.

We are only considering the use of pins "within" the loop and wye - not where they might connect to other people's modules.

Don


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 09/05/2006 3:36:24 PM
Message:

Oops! Duh! [:-banghead]
xxxx-cuse meeeee!!!! [:-bigeyes]
Or as in the famous words of Gildna Radner, "Oh that's very different. Never mind!"
Ah-emmm sorry [:-ashamed]

--Rich


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/12/2006 10:47:12 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I've been putting most of my model railroading time into building the loop module for the FreeMo group. I'm finally done with my part -- they're built, they have legs, all the hardware is installed, everything is painted, the basic power wiring is in place, etc., etc.

Now two other members of the group take over and put down the Homabed and lay the track and add the track feeders. Of course, the Homabed is taking forever to arrive. Now there's a surprise.

Here are a couple of pictures.
Hmmmm....I guess the picture upload function isn't working. I'll try to add them later.

Joe fixed the problem - here are the photo's:



In the photo above, you can see the fairly hefty crossbraces I had to add to keep the sides from flexing when the units are bolted together. They're glued in with West Systems marine epoxy - not coming apart, ever. You can also see the delightfully simple wiring permitted by DCC.




And here they are, after touch-up painting. After the paint has cured for a day or two, I'll take them apart and store them on their sides until Dennis and Bob are ready to work on them.

I posted a question in Craftsmans Corner asking for idea on scenery for the loop. It has produced nationwide waves of disinterest -- I guess nobody is feeling creative this week.

Anyhow, we're having a test setup this Saturday so I'm going to spend the rest of the week working on my module and will post some pictures of the Saturday event when I can.

Don


Reply author: Tim Kerkhoff
Replied on: 09/13/2006 03:41:45 AM
Message:

Nice progress Don, I am just getting caught up.


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 09/13/2006 08:09:44 AM
Message:

Don, I did see the scenery question about the loop module, and had a few (maybe not great) ideas. One would be to put a 'hill' in the middle to act as a bit of a view block. The other would be to have an number of mow type shacks/sheds/storage buildings in there with the typical 'railroady' clutter lying around.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/13/2006 2:27:18 PM
Message:

Thanks, Bruce --
I believe Den Lippert and Bob Meier are planning to use a 3-way switch so they can run a siding into the middle of the loop, so the MOW idea with lotsa clutter could work. Be a great place for a Jordan spreader (per this month's RMC). A hill could also work.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/16/2006 9:33:24 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

We had our first FreeMo "operating session" combined with a test setup and debugging session. It went really well.

The turnout wasn't huge but we got a lot accomplished. The Capuchin Franciscans were kind enough to let us use Holy Family Social Hall - a very nice space with a nice flat floor.

Here's a picture taken as we were wrapping up. Unfortunately, one member had already left by the time I remembered the camera - and I'm behind the camera.





By the next train show, Kent will have his second module -- an "end" module with turntable -- ready to go. He brought it along for some planning advice.

Here's a candid shot of the "planning team":





The brown paper is hiding the turntable, which is already installed. Kent is a wood worker and turner and he build an absolutely elegant wooden base for the turntable. Nobody will ever see it, but it's totally cabinet-grade work. Modeling for God...

And here's another shot after they realized I was taking pictures and started mugging:





In addition to what you see in the pictures, John Gallagher (the one who escaped before I got the camera going) has a four-module steel mill set under construction.
Bud Brock, who couldn't make it today, has the Wye.
Dennis Lippert, who is in the photo's and is our DCC guru, has started on a 2'x 5' module. Den and Bob Meier are finishing the loop and we're looking for someone to take charge of that group.
And I'm building a roll-around staging module with a transfer table on top of it.

We are aiming to have a lot more modules at our next test setup/operating session, which will be the lat weekend of October. The train show is in the middle of November.

Vagel came up with a very simple but fun operating system and we tried it out and liked it. It's low-stress enough that we can use it and still interact with the public at train shows - an absolute requirement since our main reason for doing train shows is to attract new members.

And I have a list as long as my arm of things I need to fix on my module.

And I have a mystery. My P2K 0-6-0 with factory installed DCC and sound ran just fine on my module at the train show. At the test set-up today, it died on every turnout. (The frogs aren't powered but the loco has pickups on all wheels - tender included.)

Main difference I can see is that the DCC system at the train show was Bob's NCE system and today we used my MRC Prodigy Advance. Den didn't have time to give it much thought today. If cleaning track and wheels doesn't solve the problem, I guess I'll post a question in the DCC forum.

Tomorrow is the NMRA Keystone Division meeting and we're taking the Wye and Loop along for show and tell - hoping to recruit new members.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 09/16/2006 9:57:31 PM
Message:

Don, it sounds like you guys had a productive day. It also sounds like you will have another photo-op tomorrow.[:-eyebrows]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/17/2006 10:44:59 PM
Message:

Hi, Bruce (and y'all) --

Yes, it was productive, and fun too.

Here's a photo from today's Keystone Division monthly meeting. I think we may have lured a couple of new members into the FreeMo group - at least they asked questions and seemed interested. We had the Loop and wye outside the entrance to the church hall. (Presbyterian this time -- we're an interfaith FreeMo group.) Everyone practically had to climb over them to get inside.




I had a long talk with our Achievement Program chairman about finishing the Structure Certificate. I have three pages of notes just on Wrisley Papers. All in all, a very good meeting.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 09/18/2006 10:50:38 AM
Message:

Don,
What a great looking group and it sounds as if you are having fun.

I checked around in my area but all I could find is a club that has a layout on public display and was completed 20 years or so ago.
Most of the time is spent cleaning track and repairing rolling stock since it is in operation daily.
Not exactly the type of club I am looking for.[:-banghead]

So I will watch your groups with interest and pretend that I am a long distance member.


Reply author: slimjerkins
Replied on: 09/18/2006 11:33:17 AM
Message:

Don:

Wish I could join up with yunz guys but time is a precious commodity for me. I have to work at my own pace. With two kids and all their various organizations, interests, and needs I don't get a whole lot of "me" time.

Tell me, this Dennis Lippert that you speak of, which one is he in the photos? Can you find out if he ever attended St. Elizabeth elementary school back in the sixties? This would be around '65 or so.

Also - what are the standards for the modules?

-slim


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/18/2006 7:03:57 PM
Message:

Hi, John and Slim --

John, it's a shame you can't find a club that you would enjoy. It took me a while. I joined one and dropped out - it just wasn't a good fit. So far the Gibsonia Club seems like a good choice. Den and Bob are also members.

The Keystone Division of the NMRA is also working out well for me. I've made some good friends and got involved with the FreeMo group through them. Is there an active NMRA Division near you? Since the Division only meets once a month, it can be a relatively non-demanding activity. (If you don't become the Membership Chair and also Chief Carpenter for the module group.)

Slim, here's the rundown on the people in the picture, including Denny Lippert. From left to right:
Pat Aldorfer, Prof at U of Pittsburgh
Kent Miller, retired shop teacher and school adminstrator; wood-worker and turner.
John Gallagher, retired USAF; steel mill modeler
Den Lippert, telecommunications company
Bud Brock, retired Navy and retired phone company; models in many scales
Bob Meier, post office, chair of the FreeMo group.

Slim, I'll pass your question along to Denny.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/18/2006 7:13:17 PM
Message:

Hi, Slim --

Overlooked your question about standards.

The FreeMo standard runs several pages but the essentials can be summarized on one page (or less).

50" from the floor to the railhead.
Modules have to be 24" wide by 6" high where they connect to other people's modules.
They can be pretty much anything in between; can even run up grade, etc.
Mainline has to be centered and has to be straight for a few inches in from the edge of the module.
There are standards for electrical connectors, etc.
DCC is the standard and I believe everyone uses Digitrax.
No backdrops so they can be seen from both sides.
No need for closed loops.

RichBeau is a lot more knowledgeable than me.

My stay-at-home layout is also built using FreeMo principles, so it can be moved easily.

Don


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 09/18/2006 9:09:42 PM
Message:

Slim

Don has the Free-mo generalities correct. If you want to know more point your browser to www.free-mo.org
Or ask away either Don or I can answer your questions.

As far a getting time you should at least visit Don's group for ONE short session. It will give you enough inspiration to start something no matter how small or slowly you complete it. You can always plug it into any Free-mo group or use it in a layout.

--Rich


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/18/2006 10:54:56 PM
Message:

Hi, Rich --

Nice to hear from you! Yeah, we've got to get Slim to come around for one of our sessions. I think I'll click him into the e-mail group and spam him regularly.

Slim, we have just the opportunity for you. We're planning to construct some 2' x 2' "mini-mo's" as transitions between the other modules or module groups. They could have just simple rural scenery, or a bridge - something not "busy". Our regular modules tend to be very full of structures and turnouts. How hard can 2' x 2' be?

Den Lippert says he wasn't even alive until 1970 so he's unlikely to be the guy you think he is. The fact that he's in the Protected Witness Program may have something to do with his answer...

Don


Reply author: wc581
Replied on: 09/22/2006 4:49:53 PM
Message:

Wow, Looks Great.

Mike Slater
SE Wisconsin Free-mo


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 10/20/2006 11:44:11 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

The Keystone FreeMo maniacs are getting together tomorrow (Saturday) for a test set-up and some major de-bugging of module wiring by our electrical guru, Den Lippert. This is in preparation for the up-coming train show in Monroeville, PA Nov 11th and 12th.

We now have our very own Digitrax system, which Den will be checking out for the first time.

Everyone has been working away on their modules. I believe the loop and wye will both be at tomorrow's event. John Gallagher will have all 4 of his steel mill modules. Bob Meier might have as many as four. I have mostly cleared up some bad track on mine, where various dioramas drop into the module. Everyone else has been adding scenery. Kent has added a turntable. Etc. [:-bouncy]

Should be an exciting and fun day. I'll post pictures on Sunday. (No time Saturday night. I have to race home after the FreeMo event as I'm hosting a soup course for 10 in the Gallery as part of the neighborhood progressive dinner.)

More later.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 10/21/2006 10:17:25 AM
Message:

Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Looking forward to the pictures when you get back home.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 10/22/2006 11:30:07 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

The test set-up yesterday went well. The layout has easily doubled in size since the last train show. Bob Meier has 3 more modules (for a total of 4), and we've added the Loop and Wye.

In the pictures, you won't see the much of either the loop or wye. Because of it's size, Den and Bob only brought the "nose" of the Loop - you can sort of see it "off in the distance" in the photo of the r/h leg. Bud is waiting for some track components to come in and hopes to have the Wye completed by 11/10, when we load in for the train show. The wye is going to double as a corner, if it's available, so we can do a C-shaped setup rather than just a huge L.

We don't actually have enough space at the train show to use all the modules in an L - so if the wye isn't available, my module will be operated as a stand-along mini-layout, with the addtion of a couple of 2' tail tracks to allow switching.

The new Digitrax system worked fine.

Dr. Den successfully de-bugged all of our bad wiring of Cinch-Jones connectors (sheesh, I hate those things!) so the set-up for the train show should go smoothly and quickly.

Here are some pictures:

First, looking down the l/h leg of the L - you can sort of see my module sitting by itself off near the horizon.



Here's a view of the corner:



And here's the r/h leg:





And here's the gang at lunch time. Bud Brock has already departed by lunch time.





I recruited a new member while on the neighborhood progressive dinner last night. He models in N and doesn't want to build an HO scale module but wants to be part of the stage crew and operate with us. Yay!

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 10/22/2006 12:11:47 PM
Message:

Don,

I'm sure that with time, you will be able to 'convince' that new member that a small module is "just the right way" to dabble in a different scale.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 11/11/2006 7:16:28 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

It's train show time! The Module Maniacs (aka the Keystone Division FreeMo group) are once again set up at a train show. This is the GTE (formerly Greenberg Show). Turnout today was huge, and we got a lot of favorable comments on our set up. My favorite, from a number of people, was that we were the only layout there that "was actually running trains like a real railroad." I believe we recruited some new members for the group; I know for sure we signed up some new members for the NMRA Keystone Division.

I had big plans for finishing a bunch of structures and doing a lot more scenery between shows but I'm the "lead carpenter" for the group and all the new modules start out in my shop. The good news is that the size of our set-up doubled (and will be even larger in January when we are in the World's Greatest Hobby show); the bad news is, I didn't get much done on my own module.

I did manage to get a bit more scenery done. Here are some pictures:














I had fun trying out different approaches to road building. Some of them are foamcore, one is masonite, some are topped with Mike C's kitty litter and sanded grout formulation, one is an attempt to follow Dave Frary's instructions for a "hot top" road, etc.

(BTW, I think the formula in Frary's latest book for Basic Scenery Black is just plain wrong. I mixed per his instructions and got something like aged concrete - it looked nothing like a black top road and nothing like the picture in his book. I think Kalmbach's editing of that book is really sloppy.)

I have more work to do on all of the road pieces -- in some cases, they went off to the train show still so wet that I couldn't turn the module on its side.

I started cutting and fitting the Kancali brick streets but didn't get any of it glued down. I absolutely must get the rest of the scenery down before January.

Here are a couple of pictures from the train show. I'll take more tomorrow.





I'm also responsible for the NMRA display -- we call it The Albatross because it's so heavy and awkward to move around and set up. I have both sides of it almost covered with photo's. Jim Sacco (City Classics) did the caption cards at the top and help organize the photo's.



Bob and Den are spending the two days of the show actually working pretty steadily on Bob's four modules. For that reason, his modules aren't connected to the rest of the set-up this time.

This was our first run with the new Digitrax system. Frankly, the only reason we bought Digitrax is that it's the FreeMo standard system. Many of us prefer NCE. I'm sure things will get better as we move up the learning curve, but it was frustrating as [:-censored] today.

The loop worked really well. I don't seem to have a picture of it -- I'll take some tomorrow. Den and Bob really packed a lot of interesting trackwork into what would otherwise be a pretty boring module.

Here's a picture of Patrick, working on the floor -- we all spend a lot of time on the Expo-Mart floor during setups.



Kent is close to finishing his second module, which includes a turntable. That will be a cool addition to the set-up. The wye will be finished by the WGH show, which will allow us to connect to Bob's modules and also to the staging module. Lots going on.

We started the load-in Friday afternoon and worked until 7 PM, and then resumed at 8 AM Saturday. It's been a busy couple of days.

More tomorrow.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 11/11/2006 8:35:46 PM
Message:

Hi Don,
Looks like you had a fun and productive day in signing up new recruits.
Looking forward to more pictures.


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 11/11/2006 9:02:21 PM
Message:

Don

Your Skinner's looks mighty fine there on the module. I've been working on mine over the past couple of weeks and can only hope it turns out as fine.

--Rich B.


Reply author: Tyson Rayles
Replied on: 11/11/2006 9:03:34 PM
Message:

Looking good Don!


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 11/11/2006 11:03:13 PM
Message:

Don, looks like you guys are having a lot of fun, and your module is looking very good too. Nice roads!


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 11/13/2006 5:02:56 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

The train show was a successful mission for the FreeMo group and for the Keystone Division membership committee. The public enjoyed the layout and lots of people seemed to be enjoying all the new photographs on the "Albatross." We signed up some new NMRA members and I'm pretty sure we'll be adding some new members to the Module Maniacs.

The worst part of these things is the end. We're already tired and then we have to take the whole thing apart and get it to our homes and put away. The Expo-Mart has a truly awful set-up for moving stuff in and out. The show closed at 4 and by the time we got all the modules broken down and ready to load, all the "big guys" (the major dealers) were also ready to load and the dock was so congested that we just gave up and carried everything down the ramp and loaded our vehicles in the parking lot - as did most of the small dealers.

Be that as it may, it was a fun if tiring weekend and we're already making preparations for the next show (January) - World's Greatest Hobby.

We got some of the problems with the Digitrax system ironed out and came to hate it less by the second day - but the people who use NCE kept pointing out how much better that system is. I expect we'll have fewer problems as we go along. But it certainly has a clunky interface compared to my personal system, which is MRC Prodigy Advanced.

Here are some pictures:

The first one is of Den Lippert (DCC Guru and Master of Electrons) looking happy because he got the Digitrax system to behave.




I bought these "furniture feet" at Ikea. The kids get a kick out of them. (So do the adults, they're just less willing to show it.)




Kent came up with a very creative solution to a problem. He didn't have time to scratchbuild the depot on his module so he "burned it down" and put up an appropriate sign:






And here are two views of the loop - carpentry by me, Kent and Bud; track design and execution by Bob and Den:







And this is a picture of one of Vagel's two modules - very nicely done.




I have to head off to a meeting. Later this evening, I'll edit this post to put the photo's into the body. (Done)

Don


Reply author: Mike Hamer
Replied on: 11/13/2006 5:09:27 PM
Message:

Don, Thanks for the sharing! It's great to see a bunch of the boys gathering and enjoying each other's company and modelling skills. I must say...your diorama is looking fantastic! [:-thumbu][:-thumbu]


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 11/13/2006 10:10:46 PM
Message:

Don,

It looks like your modular group is really coming into its own.[:-thumbu]


Reply author: Tim Kerkhoff
Replied on: 11/13/2006 11:14:22 PM
Message:

Don,

The modules look great, I have to say I am partial to yours. It really stands out as a cut above.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 11/15/2006 10:58:15 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Thanks to everyone who wrote and commented - I really appreciate the feedback.

I've decided to incorporate Hap Hazard's Hardware Store from Rusty Stumps into the module as an alternative to the Suydam Box factory. I started out planning to use the same base - I was trying to be lazy and avoid having to build another road.

I figured I could just swap the structures on the same base. But I ran into problems with orienting the Hardware Store to the road. Here are a couple of pictures - it's going to be hard to avoid a large gap between the dock and the track:









So I cut and fitted a new piece of foam, painted it, and started trying other orientations. I think I'll go ahead and use the new base and design a new road. If I do that, I can simply swap the entire unit - base and all - and add variety to the module.

Here's the new base, with HH turned 90 degrees. That side of the dock snuggles up to the track pretty nicely.









I'm going to start a separate thread in Craftsman Corner on completing this structure, detailing it and creating a little diorama around it.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 11/15/2006 11:18:35 PM
Message:

Don,

I think that the HW store will look great as part of the module.


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 11/16/2006 10:18:16 AM
Message:

Don, I like what you've done with HH so far, especially your treatment of the foundation and the loading dock.


Reply author: Tyson Rayles
Replied on: 11/16/2006 1:40:58 PM
Message:

Nice job on the store Don, it will look great on the module as Bruce said!


Reply author: Mike Hamer
Replied on: 11/16/2006 5:50:20 PM
Message:

Great job, Don. Yes, sometimes we have to think "outside the box" and you have done so by reorienting the structure on the module. The new arrangement looks very realistic and representable! [:-thumbu][:-thumbu]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 11/23/2006 1:38:56 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Thanks very much for the comments. I'm waiting to see if a couple more people with join in on the build before proceeding much further with the scenery base for Hap Hazards. I did lay out the road but I want to let other people sort of catch up.

I've been doing a lot of other scenery work on the module and will post some pictures tonight or tomorrow. A lot of it is fine-tuning - bringing scenery right up to the edge of the gap between sections, trying to make the gap as small as possible.

I've also been making a list of details to add. I think I'll post the list and invite suggestions for other things to add.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 11/24/2006 09:39:30 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I've found time to peck away at the FreeMo module. I don't know if I've mentioned that our next "outing" is the World's Greatest Hobby" show, which comes to Pittsburgh (for the first time) on January 20th and 21st. They take both halves of the Expo-Mart (the regular train shows only use one half) and they spend serious money on t.v. advertising. We're trying to put on an especially good show.

Here are some progress photo's:

I've decided that the FSM Skinner's Row diorama should be obviously a waterfront model so I'm adding a "coast line" on the front of it. The first picture shows the rocks after the first black wash; the second shows them after the earth wash, which is goes on while the black wash is still wet. Still to do: more rock shadow color, rock highlight color, and then dry-brushing. Plus foliage and details, of course. I'm going to add some marine flotsam and maybe a guy with a fishing pole to try to make it clear that it is the water's edge.







Here's the "tartop" road leading into Skinner's. This thread should be called "watch Don learn from his mistakes." The dirt I used wasn't fine enough, so I tried sanding it after it dried. It is hard to successfully sand sand-paper - which is about what that road resembles. Oh, well - with enough details and chalk, it's not a bad first attempt. The first shot is before chalk; the second, after playing around with Bragdon powders. I'll do some more chalk work before I'm finished:








Here's a start on the scenery base and road in front the Ship's Chandler diorama. If I do another module like this one - with removeable dioramas - I'm going to plan for seams that are easier to hide. You really can't hide a seam that runs down the middle of a road. [:-bigeyes2]





I had hoped to make the Parkersburg Tank and Rack a removeable structure but the base curled up like a potato chip when I start scenicking it so I had to glue it down to the Ship's Chandler diorama. Here's a a picture of it with the first layer of scenery material applied and the tank set in place.

I'm going to wrap the tank in plastic wrap, add a bit more Scultamold to the adjoining area, and press the tank down into position. Then I'll "dirt it in" on the SC side. The tank will remain removeable because it overlaps onto the "fixed" part of the module.




And here's another shot of a road under construction:





I mixed up another batch of Mike C's dirt road formula and am using it extensively on the module. I'm still finding it hard to make it really stick on the first attempt. I usually wind up having to add diluted white glue after the latex paint dries if I expect the dirt to stay firmly in place when the module is moved.

Right now, I'm experiment with putting down one coat of latex paint, letting it dry (to seal the surface) and then applying a second coat and using the second coat to hold the dirt road material. I'm also getting really meticulous about patting the dirt down into the paint.

Modular scenery has to be stuck really well -- how many of you guys regularly turn your layout up on one side and then bounce it around in the back of a truck?

I'm hoping to make some more progress today.

Don


Reply author: Cigarguy
Replied on: 11/24/2006 09:56:16 AM
Message:

Don,
I have 20' of modules as well as a portable 4' x 8' layout. Trust me, I understand what you mean when you say the scenery has to be glued down very well. That may be a HUGE understatement! <grin>
BTW, nice job on the scenery - I'm enjoying watching your progress.


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 11/24/2006 10:33:46 AM
Message:

Don,
Looks good to me.
The road after the use of chalks looks much better.
Maybe you could find a LP construction crew and have them working on the road for added interest.


The waterfront bug seems to have a firm hold on you now.
I think it also adds interest to also have a shoreline and water on a diorama.

The nice thing about building a flat layout is that if there is some loose scenery I know that it will remain where placed unless I sneeze.
I don't envy you in having to make sure everything stays in place as the modules get moved from place to place.

Have fun and I look forward to more updates.[:-thumbu][:-thumbu]


Reply author: Tim Kerkhoff
Replied on: 11/24/2006 11:33:16 AM
Message:

I have always found that scenery needs to be attached really well. No matter if your RR is movable or not. When I go to vacumn things off they get sucked up if there not attached. Plus visitors just can't help but touch things from time to time, especially grandchildren!

I am certain that gluing down the scenry on a module would only be more important.

Good work Don, I am following along.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 11/29/2006 6:47:39 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Thanks for the comments, encouragement, etc.

Yes, I definitely want to model waterfront scenes. Once we are done with the three trains shows plus the NMRA Jamboree, I really want to get back to work on my basement layout and start the benchwork for the "coast of Maine" peninsula. Which mysteriously connects to the PRR at 31st St and the Allegheny River.

I've been puttering away on the FreeMo module. Here are some recent pictures and discussion.

There are some interesting problems with adding scenery to a module which has removeable dioramas. I want the gaps to be as small as possible but if I fit things in too tightly, I make it more likely that I'll damage something while wrestling with the dioramas. I also have to use various dams and mold releases (plastic wrap, for instance) to keep the scenery material from falling down into gaps. I worry a lot that I'll forget and glue a diorama to the module and have to cut it free.

I found I had two problems with the "back" side of Wrisley - a really big gap, and a large expanse of painted foam that didn't look like much of anything. (Eventually that problem will go away when Wrisley is built into the basement layout.) I decided to use some fairly thick foam-based stone wall material to solve most of both problems. It's attached to Wrisley and sits down on top of the fixed part of the module.





This what remains of the gap. I re-sawed some pink foam to about the right thickness and now I'm sanding it to get a not-too-tight fit. Then I'll add some foliage:






While I'm doing this, I have to be careful that I don't make Wrisley impossible to remove, or so awkward to remove that I damage it.

The "coast" in front of Skinner's Row is just about finished. I still need to add highlights to the rocks and add details like a boat pulled up on the rocks and a guy with a fishing pole. Hmmmmm...how about some nets drying on the rocks? Anyone know how to model fishing nets?




In this case, the dam between Skinner's and the rest of the module was made from mylar drafting film. I'm fortunate enough to have a big roll of it.

I'm also working on the road that leads to the Ship's Chandler. I'm having a hard time getting this section to match what is on the diorama. I really need to keep better notes - [:-censored] if I can remember what I did on the SC. I think it was done with grout that Walt supplied.

I tried adding fine sand on top of the Sculptamold, but it's much coarser than the grout. I'm going to try a good heavy coat of latex paint and see if that gives me a better texture match. (I'm not too worried about matching the colors; I'm sure I can find a way to do that.)





Another project is finishing up the scenery on the fixed area (next to the track) behind the "commercial district" - the area where I hope to use the Kancali brick pavement. I built a dam with old manila folders and plastic wrap. I used cut up and folded pieces of manila as wedges to hold the dam firmly in place. Here are views from both sides:








All of this stuff needs to dry for a while, so I will be working on the staging module or maybe some of the details for the Tank and Rack for the rest of the evening.

At the last train show, I bought some "flower" material from Scenic Express and have been happily turning bushes into flowering bushes. I like the effect; hope you do, too.






A note about dirt roads. I really like the formula that Mike C. came up with, but as I've mentioned, just putting it down with latex paint doesn't hold it well enough for module abuse. I now start with a coat of "earth" colored latex paint (from Home Depot), which I let dry. Then I spray or brush the area with wet water or alcohol, and schlonk on a puddle of 3/1 white glue. Then I sprinkle on the dirt road mix and work in into the glue with my finger, mushing up the bigger chunks until I get a texture that seems right. After it dries, if I have to, I tweak the color with black alcohol, dry-brushing, etc. Still much to learn.

Back to the shop in a bit, to get that staging module started.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 11/29/2006 11:35:55 PM
Message:

Don, great progress photos - you're really getting it done! For the fishing net, try panty-hose. Really. I don't have a picture to post right now, but a friend made a fishing boat for my harbor scene, and used some old panty-hose pieces, sprayed dark brown-ish/tan-ish, sort of. Then folded it up into a heap and doused it with diluted white glue.


Reply author: Jim T
Replied on: 11/30/2006 01:05:39 AM
Message:

Don,
Looks like great progress. I always like seeing how you deal with the various hurdles in this project.
As far as fishing net goes. How about using bridal veil material like in the attached picture? If you want some PM me with your mailing address and I'll send you some. I've got a bunch.

Jim



Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 11/30/2006 09:05:35 AM
Message:

Don,
It is interesting following along as you tackle the problems inherent in building a module with removable structures.

Like you, I have found that wet latex paint has limited holding ability compared to a coating of diluted white glue spread over dried paint. Whenever possible, I like to add the scenic material to a coating of glue--and add enough to absorb all the liquid. I find that this gives a better color, particularly with dirt, than adding the glue on top of the scenic material.


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 11/30/2006 09:57:32 AM
Message:

Hi Don,
I have also been following your journey around the module as you correct problems and add to the scene.

As for the fish nets Jim has already given you the answer as to what to use.
Brett in Foss' Landing includes a small piece of tulle with the kit which is meant to be used for nets.
You could add small details to this using real life pictures of nets if you wished.
I tried to locate my instructions to see if there were any suggestions as to what to add to the nets but can't put my finger on them right now.
When I do I will check to see what he said about making nets.
The wedding tulle can be purchased at most fabric shops but in my area the minimum is 1 yard of material which would make a lot of nets.
It can also be used to represent a chain link fence.

Glad to see the waterfront bug has bitten and look forward to construction of your layout in the future.


Reply author: Tim Kerkhoff
Replied on: 11/30/2006 2:27:16 PM
Message:

Al, Al, AL, What this about pantyhose, Real mean use stockings[:-eyebrows]


Don, its fun to see you make progress. To impose on you, would it be possible for you to post some shots of the whole module from time to time.


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 11/30/2006 3:34:36 PM
Message:

Dang it, Tim, I keep forgetting that [:-banghead]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 11/30/2006 10:33:21 PM
Message:

Hi,everyone --

Al and Jim, thanks for the suggestions on nets. Jim, I'll e-mail you my address - a piece a couple of inches square would be great and save me from having to buy a yard. I'll also try hosiery material. The two materials can represent different types of net.

Tim, your request for overview shots was well-timed. I'd decided it was time for a major cleanup and some pictures, so here they are:

This is the ever-popular teetering on the top step of the step-ladder view:



Here's a view from the Ship's Chandler end. The diorama looks kind of naked because many of the details are stored.




Here's a view of Skinner's Row and Hap Hazard's Hardware Store.





A lot of what I've been doing for the last couple of weeks is about trying to de-emphasize the boundaries between the fixed part of the module and the removeable dioramas. I know I can't make them go away completely. Here's a view of the back side of Skinner's after I added a lot of foliage to Skinner's and to the adjoining part of the module:





Here's a view over Hap Hazard's looking down into Wrisley Paper.




Here's the road leading to the SC, after two coats of paint. (Latex "earth" and then Folkart "linen" which is a good substitute for Aged Concrete.) I think the texture is now fairly close to the roadway on the SC so I'll finish it up with black alcohol and chalk.





I still have some more basic scenery work to do but I'm starting to think about details -- barrels, tools, people, etc. I don't have time to learn to make trees right now so I dug out some that I bought at an estate sale. I think they will do ok.




I will definitely be adding two or three billboards and a lot of posters from Rusty Stumps new Railroad-line billboard kit. I'm putting up a couple of fences partly so I will have a place for posters.




I'd better prime a bunch more Preiser unpainted figures so I can get enough ready to populate this module.

More tomorrow.

Don




Reply author: Tim Kerkhoff
Replied on: 12/01/2006 05:31:52 AM
Message:

Thanks Don, this really helps put everything in perspective of what you are doing. Very nice and looks like Hap Hazard is going to fit right in.[:-thumbu]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 12/01/2006 10:31:31 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Back from an evening of baking and bagging cookies for the Rotary Club. The community-wide bake sale is tomorrow and Rotary will be selling what we just baked. We borrowed the kitchen in a church social hall and did about 150 dozen. It was fun, but I ate too much.

I'm in the process of doing some fences for the module. I'm using Rusty Stumps fences but adding some additional framing to them. I'll post some photographs as the work progresses.

I've made a list of details I might add, which I'll post below. If anyone can suggest other interesting ideas, please do so.

Details

Spare frogs
Ties
Pile of new ties
Worn out ties here and there.
Tomar bumpers
Sequoia wheel stops
Details West non-operating switch
stands
Tools - shovels, brooms
Drums and barrels
Newspapers - crumpled, blown into corners.
Cardboard boxes
Billboards from RSSM
Street signs
RR crossing crossbucks
Spare rails on rack
Trees
Flowers
Puddle(s)
Fences (RSSM)
Vehicles - cars, trucks
Electric/telegraph poles (no wires - too
delicate)

I'm also looking ideas for mini-scenes.

Have a fun weekend.

Don


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 12/02/2006 06:12:57 AM
Message:

Don

The overhead view shows just how spectacular this module is going to be! [:-thumbu]

--Rich B.


Reply author: rfmicro
Replied on: 12/03/2006 08:21:18 AM
Message:

I just stumbled on this thread this morning and I am thoroughly impressed with the work and concept you are using. I have always held the view that a RR layout is just a large diorama composed of smaller dioramas thoughtfully arranged and placed. While I am doing something very similar, less the freemo standard (no clubs here is southern MD). As I have just started building the module benchwork and the smaller dioramas, you are light years (perhaps a few months ;>) ahead of me. I had to go back a few pages to see how you progressed to the current state of your project.

I would be interested to learn the thought process of how this module was originally planned and laid out as you are obviously dealing with many potentially conflicting concepts - i.e. FreeMo bench work which governs your end cap track locations, location of additional module track, location of smaller, removable dioramas and then making it all look seamless with the addition of scenery. Even if it was all planned in advance, the actual work performed must have been fraught with those small problems as someone called them. Did you chose your dioramas first or did the track plan govern the design - sort of what came first the chicken or the egg, or was it a compilation of ideas?

Nice to see a FreeMo module with scenery added vs a straight piece of flat board with track on it.

Regards,
Trent


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 12/14/2006 9:29:08 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by rfmicro

I just stumbled on this thread this morning and I am thoroughly impressed with the work and concept you are using. I have always held the view that a RR layout is just a large diorama composed of smaller dioramas thoughtfully arranged and placed. While I am doing something very similar, less the freemo standard (no clubs here is southern MD). As I have just started building the module benchwork and the smaller dioramas, you are light years (perhaps a few months ;>) ahead of me. I had to go back a few pages to see how you progressed to the current state of your project.

I would be interested to learn the thought process of how this module was originally planned and laid out as you are obviously dealing with many potentially conflicting concepts - i.e. FreeMo bench work which governs your end cap track locations, location of additional module track, location of smaller, removable dioramas and then making it all look seamless with the addition of scenery. Even if it was all planned in advance, the actual work performed must have been fraught with those small problems as someone called them. Did you chose your dioramas first or did the track plan govern the design - sort of what came first the chicken or the egg, or was it a compilation of ideas?

Nice to see a FreeMo module with scenery added vs a straight piece of flat board with track on it.

Regards,
Trent



Hi, Trent -- I completely missed the fact that someone had replied to the thread. I'm really sorry for not responding sooner.

Let's see if I can respond to at least some of your questions:
-- I really chose the dioramas first and developed a module to immodestly show them off. One noteworthy exception is the RSSM Ship's Chandler. Evil people like John Bagley persuaded me to buy it while I was in the middle of building the module and I had to figure out a way to fit it in.

--You're right about there having been a lot of head-scratching and oh-bleeping as I went along. I'm not much for designing very far ahead so I tended to invent solutions as problems arose.

--The other thing you may not have picked up is that I'm relatively new to the hobby and have been learning as I went along. If you read the thread from the beginning, you'll find that this is the first time I've attempted a lot of things. I joke about doing scenery with my left hand while holding Dave Frary's book open with my right, but it's pretty close to the truth.

--Most of these dioramas will "serve their time" in the FreeMo train-show module and then get released to become part of my actual layout. Other dioramas will replace them. Since I don't want to work any harder than I have to, the replacements will probably be designed to fit into the same slots and match up with existing track - unless that gets too burdensome.

Enjoy the thread -- it's going to continue, best guess, for about another year, maybe longer, before I'm "done" and then I'll start making changes.

Don


Reply author: Mike Hamer
Replied on: 12/14/2006 9:37:25 PM
Message:

Don, the "overall view" is spectacular. It has been a complete joy running back through the many pages of this thread to see how you got from "there to here"! Can't wait to see further developments! [:-apple][:-apple]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 12/14/2006 10:31:52 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I've been puttering away on the module scenery, in between Christmas stuff. Time for an update and some pictures.

I mentioned earlier than I had bought a bunch of rather mangy and abused trees at an estate sale. I decided the four hardwoods would look better if planted in a grove. I drybrushed the brown shiny trunks with a couple of greys, and I dealt with the failling foliage with a lot of hairspray and Noch leaf flock. Here's the result:





I had an area of exposed, albeit painted, foam at the end of Wrisley that I needed to fix. My problem here is that I have no rooom for anything with thickness; getting the diorama in and out is already a scary struggle. So I bought some embossed paper stone wall material while on our expedition to Scenic Express. Here's what it looks like as bought:





I thought it looked too light and generally very different from the other stonework on the module so I dry-brushed it with a couple of different greys to tone it down. Here's the result:





Speaking of scary operations, I decided Wrisley would be a lot easier to get in and out of the module if the edges of the plywood base were chamfered, so I took the whole diorama over to the oscillating belt sander and went at it. I was really worred that I'd catch a corner and get to watch Wrisley go flying across the shop. I did it while Garth was out of the shop; didn't want to give him a heart attack. Nothing terrible happened and it definitely helped.

I had another featureless wall at the other end of Wrisley. This wall is part of the Ship's Chandler diorama; it's made from Gatorboard. (Nice material. I plan to use more of it on future dioramas.) This is what it looked like when I started:





I used some stone wall material (also bought at Scenic Express -- gotta plug local industry) made from foam. It's never going to replace hand-carved plaster but it's light and very easy to work with.

After I cut it to the right height, I cut "mortar lines" in the top edge - it took about two minutes to do the whole job.






Before installing it, I brushed some of the Randy Peprock formula mortar into the mortar lines and added a basic grey wash after the mortar dried. Then I stippled on some Payne's Grey, Terra Cotta, etc., just to perk it up a little. (All of this stuff is essentially temporary and will be removed when the dioramas go on the layout so I don't work as carefully as I would with something more permanent.)

I'll add plaster rockwork and a silicon caulk waterfall to finish off this area - but maybe not until after the WGH show.






I had some exposed foam at one corner of Wrisley. In this case, rather than building some kind of wall, I decided to simply hide it with a couple of my scraggly trees.




Here's the same corner after poking two trees into the scenery base. These conifers are pretty beat. I hit them with a bunch of hair spray and reshaped them a bit. They'll do until I can buy something better -- or teach myself to make something better.




I had added some of the foam-based stone wall on the back side of Wrisley and decided tonight that it looked pretty plain, so I gave it the Payne's Grey/Terra Cotta/Whatever stippling treatment.




While putting Wrisley back into the module, I managed to hit one of the new sections of RSSM fence and break off all the posts. As you can imagine, there was a lot of "mill talk" when that happened. I repaired it and added some braces, because I'm sure it's going to get hit again. The braces were made from some stuff that was already stained and in retrospect I should have been more patient and used something lighter. They are probably 6x6's and their heaviness really shows in the pictures.





I also installed the other pieces of RSSM fence that I had assembled and detailed with posters:








I also temporarily installed the RSSM billboards. Bagley Seafood is on the roof of Wrisley Paper and Reed Employment service is next to the new grove of trees.






I forgot to photograph it, but the third billboard is also on the module -- the Polish Bakery has joined two FSM billboards on the roof of the tavern in Skinner's Row.

I used the other billboard from RSSM's kit to decorate the tank from the Parkersburg Tank and Rank kit, which now advertises our favorite wood company:




I also added some other signs to the tank that I downloaded from the sign forum on RR-line:







And that's the update.

I could keep adding scenery and detail right up to the show (third weekend of January) but I think I'm going to have to shift focus a bit.

I'm supposed to have all the major structures ready to be evaluated for the NMRA's achievement program by the time of the train show. I still have a lot of stuff to do on Wrisely, the Ship's Chandler and other structures, including Hap Hazard's. I also have to prepare a lot of paperwork for the evaluation process.

So I think I may cut back on fussing with scenery and work on structures. I'll post progress reports in the appropriate threads.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 12/14/2006 10:37:01 PM
Message:

Don Reed wrote
" I really chose the dioramas first and developed a module to immodestly show them off. One noteworthy exception is the RSSM Ship's Chandler. Evil people like John Bagley persuaded me to buy it while I was in the middle of building the module and I had to figure out a way to fit it in."

So I am an evil person am I.
I don't remember twisting your arm to get you to buy the kit.
Actually it was just part of the plan to get you to take your modeling to the next level, you know kick it up a notch.

See this sign



I had big plans for it but after being called evil I think I will just roll it up to light my next cigarette.

I hope you know I am just kidding with all this blather I have been posting.

On a more serious note, have you had a chance to work on the list you posted back on December 1st and when do we get to see some more updates on your module.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 12/14/2006 10:58:13 PM
Message:

Hi, John --

I don't think anyone had to twist my arm very much to get me to buy the Ship's Chandler. I was already coming down with the Waterfront Bug.

And it definitely did get me to do new things in modeling -- especially since I was building it in at the same time as Wrisley Paper. Yeah, it kicked things up a notch.

Can't wait to see what you're up to with the Slaughterhouse sign.

I'm anxious to get going on the list of suggestions I got from my contest judge friend. I'm going to try to generalize it to the Ship's Chandler, since I'm going to have that evaluated at the same time, but didn't get a "pre-evaluation" on it. Anyhow...that's why I'm going to cut back on scenery and work on structures. With some regret--I've really enjoyed the last couple of weeks.

Don


Reply author: essodee
Replied on: 12/14/2006 11:10:55 PM
Message:

Don,

It's always great to see the updates on your progress, thought processes, and future plans/intentions. Though I've followed the builds and complimented you on Wrisly's and Ships Chandlers over this past year, I must also say that you did a great job on Skinners.

The module (in toto) is steadily marching toward super bowl status. It's incredible for a procrastinator such as myself, to see you so goal oriented, and indefatigible in your hobby pursuits.

So good luck at the upcoming show and with the NMRA achievment folderole. Many of us here on the forum, already know you're one of our best.

Stevie O'


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 12/15/2006 07:03:50 AM
Message:

Hi, Stephen --

I know the NMRA Achievement Program isn't universally loved. Some of my friends refer to it as "the merit badge program." But for me, it's a good way to structure my learning. The requirements are reasonable (even if some of the judges aren't - and I'm fortunate in that area) and if someone does all the things that are required for, say, the Structure Certificate, they should be a pretty good structure modeler at the end of the process.

Another big part of my life is aikido, a Japanese martial art. The system of "kyu" tests which lead progressively to the "dan" (black belt) tests is something I've lived with for years and am very comfortable with, as a student and a teacher. And the NMRA program "feels" a lot like that system.

Anyhow, I'm getting a little bit psyched about finishing the Structure Certificate. I'm already starting to think about how I'm going to work through the requirements for the rolling stock certificate.

You should start to see postings in the Wrisley, Ship's Chandler and Hap Hazard threads and I've also been accumulating photo's to do quickie threads on some of the other structures like the Parkersburg Tank & Rank.

Good to hear from you.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 12/15/2006 08:52:25 AM
Message:

Hi Don,
I see that when I was writing and posting my drivel you were posting some great pictures of your module.
I like all the additions you have made.
One very small point, when I worked in retail I was taught that things look more pleasing to the eye and photograph better if you use an odd number.
So instead of 4 trees they would say to use 3 or 5 to get a more realistic grove of trees.
I know this is really being picky but if this is all I can find then it means the rest looks excellent.

Good luck with the Structure Certificate and I am confident that you will do very well.
I look forward to the many posts that you say you will be making in the future.


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 12/15/2006 09:25:30 AM
Message:

Don, I'm just getting caught up with your updates. I like what you did with the stone paper and the foam stone walls. The trees also fit it quite well.

Having looked into the NMRA achievement program, and now having had one model judged by the NMRA standards, I agree with your comments about the program helping to make someone a better modeler. I plan on trying for the Golden Spike award after the Holidays. I think that it will be the motivation that I need to finish up parts of my layout that have been just sitting there.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 12/15/2006 09:47:33 AM
Message:

Hi, John and Bruce (and everyone) --

<One very small point, when I worked in retail I was taught that things look more pleasing to the eye and photograph better if you use an odd number.

So instead of 4 trees they would say to use 3 or 5 to get a more realistic grove of trees.
I know this is really being picky but if this is all I can find then it means the rest looks excellent.>

Interesting point. I'll see if I can find another beat-up tree in the boxes and add it to the grove.

<I plan on trying for the Golden Spike award after the Holidays. I think that it will be the motivation that I need to finish up parts of my layout that have been just sitting there.>

Y'know, Bruce, I've kind of ignored the Golden Spike but I think I'll take a look at it and think hard about doing it, too.

Apropos of nothing, I decided the small software company I own could afford a Christmas bonus for the owner. (The people who do the real work are getting real bonuses.) I was going to "award" myself the price of the new SRMW kit (the Creamery) but I missed it by one day. So I got on the phone to Bar Mills, had a nice chat with Art Fahey, and bought Raglan Road. Sounds like an awesome kit. So I'm set through 2007 (Foss Landing) and 2008 (Raglan Road).

BTW, all I do for the software company is the book-keeping and I don't normally take income from it, but it's been a good year so I asked the "real" workers if they'd be comfortable with a Christmas bonus. They wanted to give me $1K but I'm just taking enough to pay Art. I'm really looking forward to seeing the manual; he says it will be liking doing kits from four different manufacturers.

Back to work.

Don





Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 12/29/2006 8:54:59 PM
Message:

I decided the module needs a "lid" to protect all the permanent details like trees and RSSM fences. They would never survive without some protection.

I bought a sheet of luan and set the module on it and traced the outline, then cut it out freehand with a circular saw. Like most wood from The Big Orange Box, this sheet was about as flat as a potato chip, so I weighted it down with tool boxes and glued on a bunch of 1x stiffeners. I temporarily fastened them with finish nails driven right through and into the shop floor. (Hey, it's a shop. )

Here's a picture:





Next I'll add sides, with ledgers that will rest on the top edges of the module.

More later.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/02/2007 10:37:15 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I'm close to being done with the "lid" for the module. I'll be glad when it's done -- it's just rude/crude work and, while necessary, is interfering with spending time on things I really enjoy, like Wrisley and the Ship's Chander and Hap Hazard, etc., etc.

Here it is with the sides added - note the ledgers inside which rest on the un-scenicked top edge of the module:





I originally planned to install corner blocks inside to tie the various pieces together. I was pretty nervous about gluing the thing into final shape and size unless it was actually sitting on the module. I have plenty of bad experience with that sort of thing and was afraid I'd get it all glued up and find it would no long fit on the module.

So I came up with the idea of having the corner blocks on the outside, and having them also serve as handles for putting the lid on and taking it off. Here they are, ready to be installed. (Oh, the little black "fact book" is out because I needed to find out the nominal size of a #50 drill bit.)




And here the corner pieces are glued in place. I used folded strips of manila folders to spring the sides out a little while I was putting the corners on, to make sure the lid would fit easily. I used West Systems epoxy to install them. They ain't coming off. The screws go through the luan and into the ledgers inside.



And here's an overview of the lid, in place. The "construct" sitting on top of the lid is the base of the staging module -- another not-very-exciting carpentry project that I have to finish before the train show which is interfering with getting modules ready for AP evaluation. [:-banghead]



I'll post more picture of the staging module as it comes together -- it's a transfer table, using full-extension drawer slides as the mechanism. (I had a bunch left over from a project that went upside down.)

As far as the lid goes, I'm going to polyurethane it inside and out - more as a moisture barrier than for appearance, because it isn't going to be seen once the module is set up. Of course, I won't be able to resist doing a certain amount of sanding and fussing with it.

Soon I hope to get back to "real" modeling -- grumble, grumble.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 01/02/2007 11:07:45 PM
Message:

Don, having the corner braces double as handles is a great idea!


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 01/03/2007 06:42:52 AM
Message:

Don with that kind of construction I betcha it would travel nicely in the back of a pickup all the way to Detroit! [:-eyebrows]
--Rich B.


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/03/2007 09:09:40 AM
Message:

Don,

It looks like you have a nice secure way to transport your module. If you had put brass handles on the lid the whole thing would have looked like a casket.

I'd like to see how the staging module looks and works when you're done.

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/03/2007 9:57:44 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Here's the lid with a first coat of polyurethane, after not much sanding. I wonder how much it would cost for some coffin handles -- probably a lot. It would be fun, though.




Rich, I really do wish I could join you in Detroit but my two extravagences in 2007 are a Little Rock AFB reunion in June and the National Narrow Gauge in September - that will take care of me for the year.

Tomorrow I'll give it another sanding and a second coat and call it done. Then I can move it out of the shop and store it until train show time.

I got the basic construction done on the staging yard and it works pretty well. The drawer slides are being "mis-used" -- they're really designed to bear weight when standing on edge. Laid flat, they tend to sag. But the results are satisfactory. I decided to add a layer of homosote - we use it to cover the walls of the rooms we rent to artists so I have a lot of offcuts. I thought it would be easier to nail the track down on homosote than directly onto plywood.

Here are a couple of pictures:








Still to do: build two sets of legs; lay track; wire; apply some sort of finish.

Got two belated Christmas presents today - two Kalmbach books. And Scott's Volume 3 DVD arrived (also a gift). So I have plenty to do this evening.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/08/2007 9:41:12 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

The FreeMo module staging yard is finished, checked out and stored until the train show. Yay! Here's a picture of it:





A couple of comments on construction, for those of you who might be planning something similar.

I was really trying to hold down weight, so I used pretty thin plywood for the subtop, and fairly thin stuff for the frame underneath the subtop. I didn't even create a complete box -- just two transverse members (directly under the drawer slides) plus one centered longitudinal member to keep the first two from flexing once the legs were attached.

I think I overdid it. It is, in fact, fairly light (considering what it's expected to do). But the subtop is about a rigid as a rubber shingle. And that kind of flexing can affect how the rail align as the transfer table is moved from side to side.

In the trainshow environment, I think it will be ok. I'll get the top flat by tweaking the four leg adjuster bolts. And once it's C-clamped to the rest of the modules, that will solidify it some more.

But it's supposed to do double duty as a roll-around staging yard in my own layout. I think, for that use, I'm going to add sides to the frame, completing the box. I'll epoxy the sides to the transverse members and (importantly) to the subtop. I think that will create the essential triangulation that produces rigidity.

Another little technical point. We have an assembly jig that we use for putting together sets of legs. In theory, they're interchangeable. ("Yeah, right", I hear members of the crew muttering. We find it best to label them for specific module ends.) Up to now, we've used clear pine for the braces, because the number 2 stuff is complete garbage and really hard to sand and finish.

On this pair of legs, I decided to use some leftover plywood strips that Garth had ripped out to use as trim on the new gates. Cheap, strong enough, and easy to finish. Here's a picture:





And that's it for module carpentry for a while. Back to getting the dioramas ready for the show and for the AP evaluation.

While I was building the staging module, I got really frustrated with how cluttered my modeling area was, so I spent some time fixing that problem. I'll post something about that in the crew lounge.

Don


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/08/2007 11:38:09 PM
Message:

Don,

When and where is your next show?

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/09/2007 07:46:09 AM
Message:

Hi, George --

The next show is the "World's Greatest Hobby on Tour" show, January 20th and 21st, at the Expo-Mart in Monroeville. It's the first time WGH has come to Pittsburgh. The list of exhibitors is quite impressive, and there will be a lot of portable/modular layouts.

The FreeMo crew is going to be quite busy this winter and spring. There is a GTE show in February (2/10 and 2/11), then a one-day event at a local fire hall in New Eagle, PA (2/25). We also have two setups in March -- the NMRA Division Jamboree (3/17) and the RPM meet on the 30th and 31st, in Greensburg.

We haven't had a bit of snow all winter. What do you bet that Mother Nature decides to play catch-up once "show season" starts?

If you (or anyone else from the Forum) lives nearby, please come see us.

Don


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/09/2007 08:07:58 AM
Message:

Don,

My wife wants to take a trip up to Pgh this month, so I'll see if I can talk her into timing it so I can hit the Monroeville show. If I don't make it, you'll see how much influence I have around here.

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/16/2007 11:33:41 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

George, I hope you make it to the show. If it looks like you'll be coming, send me an e-mail and I'll send you my mobile phone number so you can call me when you are about to arrive at the show and I'll meet you at the door.

I'm back to working on the module itself, in addition to working on the dioramas that will be evaluated at the show for the Achievement Program.

I finished up the Parkersburg Tank and Rack - a nice old Alexander kit.

RichBeau sent me a very nice little building from the Bar Mills "shack pack" which he had built and colored/weathered with pastel pencils. I happily substituted it for the building that come with the kit. Here's a closeup; all I did was add the fire extinguisher, which I had fun painting:





After I took the photographs, I added a couple of "no smoking" signs to the building.

Here's a long view of the entire kit:




And here's a slightly closer view of the kit and Rich's building:





And here it is seen from the other side of the module:



Here's the building that came with the kit. I added rafter tails, and some additional trim around the window, and a corrugated metal roof (which I haven't weathered yet). It won't go to waste; I'll do some more weathering, add a couple of signs, and place it somewhere on the module.



For the rest of the evening, I will be working on the entry forms for the AP evaluations. It's a good thing I enjoy writing.

Don


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 01/17/2007 07:50:52 AM
Message:

Don

I like the fire extinguisher! It definitely is just the right touch. Maybe a few bushes and some tanker debris and it will look right at home. But you can do that later as it sounds like your head is in prep for a few other tasks.

A minor correction on the shack. It is not "colored/weathered with pastel pencils" it was colored and weathered using pigments and powders only. The only paint on it is the green door and the windows. There is a photo of it in this thread... http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15050 and some explanation of the weathering process.

As many of us have been recipients of Don's largess, oftentimes unasked, I thought this lowly contribution would be a modest karmic down payment.

--Rich B.


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 01/17/2007 09:25:04 AM
Message:

Neat looking shed, Rich and Don! Yet another way to "paint" structures....


Reply author: Mike Hamer
Replied on: 01/18/2007 6:56:20 PM
Message:

Don, nice looking shed. I like how the woodgrain shows. It fits in really nicely in that area of the diorama. [:-apple][:-apple]

Rich, that's a great mini-tutorial on the thread you listed! [:-thumbu][:-thumbu]


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/19/2007 07:56:51 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Well..it's load-in day for the World's Greatest Hobby Show and I'm prepared but a mite nervous.

This is a big show - twice the size of a normal GTE/Greenberg show - and the Expo-Mart has really miserable loading facilities. To make matters worse, the Radisson Hotel (which adjoins the Expo-Mart) is undergoing a multi-year renovation and they have numerous construction trailers in the dock area, forcing exhibitors to park far away and schlep their stuff. So it's likely to be a long day. Cold and rainy, just to add to the fun.

No pictures tonight - I'm not even taking the camera for fear of losing it in the confusion. But I'll take a bunch tomorrow (Saturday).

Time to get something to eat and head for the shop.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 01/19/2007 08:09:53 AM
Message:

Good luck with everything Don and I am also sure you will do fine.
Please take lots of pictures tomorrow.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/19/2007 08:25:18 AM
Message:

Thanks, John - much appreciated.

I'm going to try to attach a pdf of the track plan. Not sure it'll work. If not, I'll scan it tonight and post it as a picture:

Nope, didn't work. Film at 11.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 01/19/2007 08:56:33 AM
Message:

Don, enjoy the show. You've done a lot of work on the module and I'm sure that it will generate a lot of positive comments.


Reply author: pastor_t
Replied on: 01/19/2007 09:25:59 AM
Message:

Hi Don,

Simply love looking at your work. Hope the show goes well.

Tony


Reply author: Quinn222
Replied on: 01/19/2007 09:33:11 AM
Message:

Good luck Don, I'm sure your module is going to be a big hit.


Reply author: PaulS
Replied on: 01/19/2007 09:43:23 AM
Message:

Don,

Best of luck at the show !! Your module and modeling looks outstanding. [:-thumbu][:-thumbu] Hope all goes well and looking forward to the pictures...

Paul


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/19/2007 8:47:33 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Back home after a long, tiring but generally pleasant day. We finished it off by going to dinner together at Houlihan's.

The loan-in was much less stressful than I feared. They opened up a second ramp, at "our" end of the building, which was not particularly congested or crazed. For that, we owe a big "thank you" to the head of the WGH show, Randy Bachmann. We were able to back up the ramp and unload almost directly into the building, with very little long-distance schlepping.

We started about 10 AM and quit about 5:30. Some people arrived later in the day, as their circumstances permitted, and we would all head for the ramp to help them unload and then help the new arrivals get their modules set up. Den Lippert was busy de-bugging new modules.

This FreeMo group has grown mightily since we started a couple of years ago. As recently as a year ago, I think we were going to shows with 6 modules - now we're up to 16. I'm going to attach today's diagram. Remember that many of the module groups consist of 2, 3 or four modules - like John Gallagher's steel mill or Bob Meier's yard/industry group.





I have to be out there at 8 AM tomorrow -- we have two more hours to finish the set-up and a FreeMo guy from Cleveland (Jerry K.) is bringing his modules in at eight. There's also some more debugging and track fixing to be done.

I'll take the camera tomorrow and shoot lots of pictures.

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback.

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 01/19/2007 8:56:21 PM
Message:

Looks like a neat set up, Don, looking forward to the pictures!


Reply author: Tim Kerkhoff
Replied on: 01/19/2007 10:11:36 PM
Message:

Good luck Don, I look forward to the pictures.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/20/2007 11:11:32 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Day One of the World's Greatest Hobby Show went pretty well. We signed up some new members for the NMRA, and generally had fun. It's a long day -- the show runs from 10 AM to 6 PM - two hours longer than a regular GTE/Greenberg Show.

A couple of general observations:

-- We have a Digitrax System because that's the FreeMo standard, and the more we work with it, the more we hate it. Since we rarely interact with other FreeMo groups, we're thinking seriously of selling it and switching to North Coast.

-- The WGH Show attracts huge crowds of families with very young to young children, and I think it's doing a good job of attracting young families to the hobby. It has some really professional trade-show type booths and you get to meet cool people, like Henry Carstens. It is not, however, a place for a serious HO modeler to go to shop. Not all that much is for sale, and a lot of it is O, large, G, high rail, etc. Not complaining; it has a very different purpose than Timonium or Springfield.

Enough blather, here's some pictures. For right now, I'm going to leave them downloadable. I'll come back Sunday or Monday and edit them directly into the post. Too tired right now.

Looking over Bob's yard into Kent's modules:




The Albatross and a young visitor:





View from Kent's module - that's Jerry Kreuger from the Cleveland FreeMo group:






Here's a view from the staging module/transfer table end of the setup:




John Gallagher of the Steel Mill Modelers has been mostly working on basic module construction and trackwork, so Vagel has been jagging him about "modeling an abandoned industrial site." Well, John now has an electric furnace building on his site - so Vagel will no doubt find something else to jag him about.



Here's a view from Vagel's corner module, looking toward the transfer table. BTW, the transfer table, even unwired, works ok. I have some improvements planned, but I'm generally pleased with it so far.





Here's the view from the loop looking toward the wye.



Here's a picture of my module with some friendly visitors. I had a lot of fun talking to people about craftsman structure building, etc.




Here are a couple of the more famous Keystone Division members -- Larry Klein, who has just published a book on the PRR, and Neal Schorr, whose layout is featured in the 2007 Model Railroad Planning book/magazine.




One of our members brought along two truly tiny layouts to, as he put it, prove to people that everyone has room for a layout. Unlike our DCC setup, they ran reliably all day long. They drew really nice crowds, too.







Close inspection:




And here's a picture of my USRA 0-6-0 sitting on the Ship's Chandler's trestle, for not particular reason:



And this one is for John Bagley. John, I took your advice about uneven numbers and found another tree for the group on the Hap Hazard end of the module:




Time to snooze. Big day tomorrow. If TJ has been able to make the necessary arrangements, five models will be evaluated for the AP. And then we get to take it all apart and carry it home. Should be an interesting day.

Don


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/20/2007 11:21:07 PM
Message:

Don,

Thanks for posting the pictures. I wish I could have made it to Pgh.

George

PS. How many members know what "jaging" means?


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/20/2007 11:33:01 PM
Message:

Hi, George -- sorry you couldn't visit us.

If anyone want to know about the verb "to jag", they can google "Pittsburghese." Or buy the book, "How to Speak Pittsburghese."

My favorite is the part about how Pittsburghers like to eliminate the verb "to be" as in: This car needs washed." As the author put it, in Pittsburgh, Hamlet's soliloquy would be reduced to "Or not."

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 01/21/2007 01:55:05 AM
Message:

Great pictures, Don, thanks for sharing, I know how tired you must be, and you have another day to go!


Reply author: LVRALPH
Replied on: 01/21/2007 07:06:38 AM
Message:

Thanks for the pics and sharing Don!

"Don said

-- We have a Digitrax System because that's the FreeMo standard, and the more we work with it, the more we hate it. Since we rarely interact with other FreeMo groups, we're thinking seriously of selling it and switching to North Coast"

Hmm. I'm curious as to that comment. They are both good systems. I own Digitrax and love it. I operate it in a large layout environment so I know it performs as advertised. Most problems that occur with any DCC system are user caused.

I would be interested in what kind of issues you are having that woud cause such strong feelings, maybe we can help. Mark F and steam nut are power Digitrax users, I consider myself a very experienced user, as are others on this forum. What kind of problems did you encounter?


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 01/21/2007 07:34:22 AM
Message:

Don, thanks for the photos. So, did Henry ask for an article on Free-Mo?


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/21/2007 07:50:58 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Just finished the final editing of the paperwork for the AP evaluations, printed everything and assembled it into a nice tidy notebook. Unfortunately, I've heard nothing from TJ as to whether he was able line up a second evaluator, so I still don't know if it will actually happen.

Bruce, the reference to Henry went right past my not yet fully awake head. Huh?

Ralph, I'll write more about our Digitrax problem - maybe tonight, maybe Monday. If we used Digitrax every day, the problems would probably gradually abate. But none of us use Digitrax at our home or club layouts so we're always low on a steep learning curve, confronted with complex and (in my never humble opinion) horribly badly written instructions. Yesterday morning it took us 1.5 hours to get the system up and running and by then, people were barking and snarling at each other. That's not the way I want to group to function.

More later -- time to get cleaned up and head for the Expo-Mart and another day with Thomas and the rug-rats.

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 01/21/2007 08:03:48 AM
Message:

Don, just wondering if Hernry Carstens would be interested in an article for RMC.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/21/2007 08:30:10 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Dutchman

Don, just wondering if Hernry Carstens would be interested in an article for RMC.



Like I said - not awake yet. Oh, that Henry.

Y'know, that idea didn't even occur to me. If things get quiet toward the end of the show, I'll wander over to his booth and ask him some general questions and see if I come up with some article ideas. Thanks for the suggestion.

Out the door!

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/21/2007 10:18:05 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

First, just a quick post regarding talking to Henry Carstens about possible articles. He simply doesn't get involved in that side of the business. He said, contact the editors. Which I may do - although I think I have enough on my project list right now.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/21/2007 10:54:38 PM
Message:

Hello, again --

I'm home after a rather long but pretty decent day.

The official attendance number for Saturday was 18,000 - which I guess qualifies as a real success. I don't know if that's paid admissions or if they counted all the rug rats and curtain climbers. Sunday was a bit lighter but it was still very crowded.

I heard a fair amount of complaining from some of the vendors who were there to actually sell, especially those selling HO and N. Of course, vendors always complain, so I'm not just sure what to make of it.

I'll post more details about the AP evaluations tomorrow in the WP and SC threads, but the short answer is that all the models did well. WP was evaluated as three models and all three got the required points for a Certificate of Merit. The SC was evaluated as one structure - I tried to get the wharf and the buildings counted separately but, oh well, can't win 'em all. It also did well.

The WP trestle - which I had redesigned and extended, was treated as scratchbuilt. So (with the models that had been previously evaluated), I have all six kits plus one scratchbuilt. The judges will make a trip out to the Gibsonia club and evaluate the trolley bridge and that should count as a second scratch-built structure, if all goes well. I have the plans drawn, materials bought, etc., for the other four scratch-builds.

They said lots of nice things, which was encouraging. Here's a picture of TJ - he said he didn't mind having his cover blown. His real name is Dennis Vacarro. I didn't get a picture of Loren, the other judge:





The load out was not a lot of fun. We were having freezing rain while we were doing it and getting our vehicles up the ramp was more trouble than it was worth. The VERY good news is that we had a huge crew of volunteers - many people who aren't part of the FreeMo group, including friends from the Gibsonia Club - so carrying everything down the ramp wasn't that big a deal. The show closed at 5 PM and we were loaded and off to dinner at 6:30.

Nine of us went to dinner together, which was very enjoyable.

The less good news is that we continue to be plagued with derailments and DCC related problems. We decided to pull back on our show schedule - we were supposed to be back out at the Expo Mark on February 9-11 for a GTE show --and everybody agreed that was too much, too fast. Instead, we're going to get together in a nice church basement and work on improving everyone's operations. We're also going to buy the necessary bits and pieces to divide the layout into power districts and add at least one booster - too many sound equipped loco's.

Jerry Krueger from the NE Ohio FreeMo group was fun to have with us and also a great help with technical problems. He worked on everyone's modules, installing ground throws, finding and fixing track problems, trouble-shooting the auto-reverser, etc.

Here are a couple more pictures, from Sunday:

Here's Bob Meier, Chairman, John Gallagher (steel mill nut) and Dan Davic (of the Gibsonia Club and a great volunteer):



Bud Brock and Howard Heltman (also from the Gibsonia Club):




And our fearless leaders -- the Super and Asst Super of the Keystone Division, working the membership table in front of the Albatross:




And, since the official purpose of all this hard work is to recruit new members to the Keystone Division of the NMRA, I'm happy to report that we signed up a bunch. Now if I can just remember what I did with their registration forms. [:-bigeyes2]

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 01/22/2007 07:16:00 AM
Message:

Don, it sounds like you did well with the AP judging.[:-thumbu]

Are the derailment problems occurring at the joints between the modules, or on the modules themselves?


Reply author: LVRALPH
Replied on: 01/22/2007 08:12:51 AM
Message:

Don, when you reply about your DCC problems, specify booster type, throttle type etc. Getting Digitrax going is as easy as (on DT-400) pushing the power and + buttons to turn the system on, same thing again to turn on track power. Aquiring a loco on a DT 400 (i call it the idiot throttle) is a snap.

Now if you have all kinds of wiring problems from your modules, no DCC system will work. Lets see if we can help you.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/22/2007 10:19:44 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Dutchman

Don, it sounds like you did well with the AP judging.[:-thumbu]

Are the derailment problems occurring at the joints between the modules, or on the modules themselves?



Hi, Bruce --

Yeah, I'm really pleased with the AP results. [:-bouncy]

Derailments are occuring all over the place. We really need a major quality control effort on turnouts, module edges, scenery interfering with rolling stock, etc. My module is the only one with removeable dioramas so I have my own set of problems. I just hope I can come up with a date in February when everyone feels like getting together. I wonder if I can get a bulk price on a box of NMRA gauges...[:-spin]

I'm still loafing around the apartment, half foggy. And liking it.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/22/2007 10:24:32 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by LVRALPH

Don, when you reply about your DCC problems, specify booster type, throttle type etc.

Now if you have all kinds of wiring problems from your modules, no DCC system will work. Lets see if we can help you.



Ralph, if I don't get back to you right away, please don't think I don't appreciate your offer of help. For one day, I'm going to just loaf. Then I need time to catch up on all the stuff I neglected to get ready for the train show and the AP evaluation. I also don't want to bother Den Lippert right now - he's looking after his father, who is in and out of the hospital and who got sent home on very short notice in the middle of the train show, which meant Den had to head home. When I get the information together, I'll e-mail it to you.

Right now, I think I'll take a short nap, followed by lunch, followed by some serious loafing.

Don


Reply author: Mike Hamer
Replied on: 01/22/2007 10:26:34 AM
Message:

Don, it's really nice seeing the pictures of you and the gang from the show. You certainly seem to be enjoying yourself as do all the others. Nice to see those Freemo modules expanding at a good rate as well. Soon, you'll overtake the venue! Ha! Fabulous shots!


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/29/2007 10:49:47 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I planned to spend my time on seagulls, LP's and vehicles. What I actually did was finish the staging module, so it would be ready for the next GTE show. I think I just wasn't ready to get back to really fine work just yet.

I needed to:
- make it more rigid;
- add an indexing system so the operator wouldn't have to line the tracks up by eye;
- wire it;
- and gussy it up a bit, just for looks.

If I ever build something like this again (unlikely but not impossible) I will build the fixed top as a torsion box, using 1/8th or 1/4 luan and 1x2. That will give me a lot of rigidity without a lot of weight.

The first thing I did was add sides to the frame. I used some hardwood plywood that was in the offcuts rack and varnished it. I glued it with West Systems, to the underside of the top and to the cross-members. It helped some, but the whole thing is still pretty non-rigid.





The lack of inherent rigidity makes for extra work during a set-up. You have to do a lot of fiddly work with the leg adjusters to get the top flat. Oh, well - live and learn. Or die stupid.

Next, I sanded and varnished the plywood top. Partly just for pretty, partly so it would have a nice "hand" for the operator. Who needs splinters?




Since we'd been plagued with derailment problems at the WGH show, I decided the staging yard was not going to contribute to that problem. He optimistically said...[:-bigeyes]

I bought a bunch of re-railers from the LHS. I wanted them both on the traverser and on the input track. Which, in retrospect, I should have made longer. Since it's short, I had to cut a piece out of a re-railer and CA it back together again, as you can see in this picture. Sure hope it works.





In this picture you can see the lineup of re-railers on the traverser. Fortunately, they don't cost very much.




You can also see the bronze indexing pin in the picture above. It engages a series of holes in a piece of aluminum flat stock (Home Depot) which you can see in this picture:




The system needs a little bit more work. The indexing pin is running through a hole in the homosote/plywood/pine top and it isn't quite rigid enough. I'm going to try to find some brass or bronze tubing that has an inside diameter equal to the outside diameter of the bronze pin and epoxy the tubing into an enlarged hole. BTW, I swiped the bronze dowel from Garth - he used a lot of it when building Goldberry.

Since things were going pretty well, I decided to just keep going and wire it. As you can see in this underside view, there wasn't much to the basic wiring -- a couple of barrier strips, a power bus, and a couple of feeders.



Wiring the traverser was kind of time-consuming just because there were a lot of track feeders to be soldered. I used a monaural headphone jack for the power connector and zip cord for the wire from the track feeders to the fixed part of the module. Den Lippert suggested that because lamp cord is designed to take a lot of flexing. Here's a picture of the harness and connection:





I'm probably overlooking something but I think all I still need to do is glue a few ties in where the loose rails are inserted to connect it to another module. Tomorrow, we're going to set my up module and the transfer table in the gallery, hook up my DCC system, and see if the staging yard actually works.

Don


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 01/29/2007 11:40:55 PM
Message:

Thanks for the description Don. I hope your test works out OK. Do you plan to add something to the ends of each section of track to prevent stuff from rolling off the table?

George


Reply author: belg
Replied on: 01/30/2007 06:28:39 AM
Message:

Don, the project looks like its coming along just great. You mention that it needs a little support are you talking about the carriage itself or the plywood it rests on? If its the carriage couldn't you just add a third drawer glide in the center? I would like to hear how you went about making the holes in the flat stock so the holes were in exactly the right place, there doesn't look like there is any room for tolerance in something which has to line up so precisely. Thanks Pat


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/30/2007 08:25:43 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by George D

Thanks for the description Don. I hope your test works out OK. Do you plan to add something to the ends of each section of track to prevent stuff from rolling off the table?

George




Hi, George -- I have just about zero clearance above this module in the "module rack" in my pick-up so I can't add permanent stops. Since this is unscenicked, I just carry a bunch of big push-pins along and stick one in at the end of each track.

BTW, none of the track is glued down yet. It's just spiked, so I can continue to make adjustments. Maybe after the module has been tested through a show or two, I'll add some glue. Or not.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/30/2007 08:37:16 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by belg

Don, the project looks like its coming along just great. You mention that it needs a little support are you talking about the carriage itself or the plywood it rests on? If its the carriage couldn't you just add a third drawer glide in the center? I would like to hear how you went about making the holes in the flat stock so the holes were in exactly the right place, there doesn't look like there is any room for tolerance in something which has to line up so precisely. Thanks Pat



Hi, Pat --

The rigidity problem is with the support structure, not the traverser. The traverser or yard is a torsion box and it's dependably flat and ridid. The plywood "deck" is the problem - it's relatively thin plywood and flexes, despite the "beams" under it. Like I said, if I did another one, I'd make both the traverser and the "deck" by building torsion boxes. Or simply accept the weight penalty and use heavier plywood for the top and sides. But wrestling that thing around solo isn't easy and making it heavier isn't a very attractive solution.

How did I get those holes so precisely positioned? I cheated.

The track was just spiked down for the WGH show. I drilled for the pin, screwed the aluminum plate down temporarily, and then used an appropriately-sized centering punch to mark the aluminum as I moved the table from side to side, lining up with each track. Then I took the aluminum over to the drill press and drilled the holes. Should have sharpened the bit as the drill didn't run very well. Cleaned up the holes with a tapered reamer.

Then I screwed the aluminum flat back down on the top, locked the table with the pin, and re-laid all the track as I moved the table from position to position. (I had to re-lay it anyhow because I was installing the re-railers.)

As I mentioned above, it's still just spiked, not glued, so I can continue to make changes and adjustments.

Don


Reply author: Quinn222
Replied on: 01/30/2007 08:37:21 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA


Wiring the traverser was kind of time-consuming just because there were a lot of track feeders to be soldered. I used a monaural headphone jack for the power connector and zip cord for the wire from the track feeders to the fixed part of the module.



Don, may I ask for a little more detail on the connectors that you used? My layout is designed using modules and I'll have to have some kind of connectors between the modules, would this type of connection be the sort of thing I should use?
Thanks,


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/30/2007 08:50:39 AM
Message:

Hi, Christina --

I'm probably not the ideal person to ask about connectors. The FreeMo standard calls for Cinch-Jones connectors, which I dislike because they are expensive, hard to wire, and hard to trouble-shoot once they're buttoned up. Other people feel differently - they see them as high quality and very reliable. I think bare wires and colorful wire nuts are even more reliable, so we cheerfully disagree. But I go along with the standard because it's the standard.

I'm not sure I'd recommend that monaural headphone jack for connecting between modules. I can get away with it in this application because we'll only be drawing power from one track at a time. If people start parking sound-equipped loco's in the staging yard, I'll have to upgrade to a heavier connector.

I've tried using the so-called "power connectors" that are in the big drawers at Radio Shack and I really don't like them. I suspect I just don't know how to assemble them properly, but you can't get any technical assistance from the 'droids in the store - if you ask them for help, they try to sell you a new cell phone. Maybe someone on this forum will suggest a good on-line source, or perhaps you have a local electronics store (other than Radio Shack) you can turn to.

Don


Reply author: Quinn222
Replied on: 01/30/2007 09:19:38 AM
Message:

Thanks Don, I'll keep researching. Every step in the process presents a whole new learning curve!


Reply author: sparkman
Replied on: 01/30/2007 10:17:40 AM
Message:

Christina,
Here is a link that you might find useful.
http://home.earthlink.net/~robert27529/id3.html
I actually saw this setup a number of years ago & was very impressed.
Anyways, at the bottom of the page is this pic of their wiring setup.

Basically a terminal strip with two different types of wiring plugs so the wiring never gets mixed up. One is an automotive trailer plug, the other looks like a computer power supply harness.
If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.
-david j


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/31/2007 10:55:25 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Well....I wasn't quite as done with the staging module as I thought I was.

I had installed the indexing system and re-done all the track work with it sitting on a bench in the shop. Today, I moved it into the gallery and set it up on it's own legs. Yoicks! The track on the traverser was vertically out of alignment with the track on the lead - bigtime. And, worse yet, it was out of vertical alignment by very different amounts at opposite ends of the traverser's movement. Here are a couple of closeups of the rails:










Before I discovered this problem, I had very carefully worked the leg adjusters, with a long level set on blocks that I had cut to exactly the same height. (I needed the blocks to get the level over the traverser.) Here's a picture. I repeated this at both ends of the table, and also checked it visually to make sure there was no "wind" in it.







I wish I could tell you what caused the problem, and why it didn't show up until it was on legs instead of the bench. I think it happened because I'm using the drawer slides in a way they weren't designed to be used. Beyond that, I knoweth not.

Anyhow, I tried shimming between the slides and subtop or deck - which was easy because I could do it without disassembling the whole mechanism. Didn't work, of course - just made things worse. So I took it apart (several times) and added playing card shims between the traverser and the other part of the drawer slides. That eventually worked tolerably well, although if I had the patience to take it apart a half dozen more times for further tweaking, I could probably make it even better.

Bottom line is, it works. I ran a small train into and out of all the tracks and only had one derailment and that was caused by the grade crossing on my big module, which I fixed.



Somewhere in this process, I also had to deal with the fact that the "nose" of the staging module had sagged or more likely the plywood had warped. I used 1/8" masonite and 1/4" bubinga (it was handy) to shim that problem away. Sure is fortunate I hadn't glued anything.





Tomorrow I'm going to do some fine tuning by putting playing card shims under the ends of individual tracks to get rid of the remaining bumps. I also have to cobble together two transition joiners to go from the Code 100 on the staging yard to the Code 83 connecting rails.

Running that little Walthers/Lifelike P2K 0-6-0 with factory sound in the quiet of the gallery was a bunch of fun!

Don




Reply author: railmus
Replied on: 01/31/2007 11:07:50 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA

[quote]Originally posted by George D

Thanks for the description Don. I hope your test works out OK. Do you plan to add something to the ends of each section of track to prevent stuff from rolling off the table?
George


Piece of sponge should work here.[:-eyebrows]
Have been following this with interest!


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 02/01/2007 06:53:03 AM
Message:

Don, I hope that you have solved your alignment problems. From you detailed descriptons, it is clear that you are working hard to rectify the problems you guys had a the recent show. Good luck!


Reply author: essodee
Replied on: 02/01/2007 11:35:48 AM
Message:

Don,

Some probable cause of the misalignment might lie in the use of what looks like homasote. This material is notorious for changing dimension under various humidity conditions.

In terms of module/module alignment, might I suggest the use of plate-joined biscuits. I frequently have used them for aligning halves of laminate table/counter tops, and they work well. You do not have to glue both halfs, just one side will do, though they must be protected during transport as they are easily broken. Or, just cut the slots and use the biscuits dry (unglued) and remove them during moves. Of course, some sort of bolt is used along with them, to secure the separate modules.

Stevie O'D


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/01/2007 2:24:39 PM
Message:

Hi, Stevie --

Using biscuits to align modules is an intriguing idea. (And I own a DeWalt biscuit joiner.) If you put in two or 3 horizontals and a couple of verticals, you could pretty well lock the modules together along both axes.

I like the idea of just leaving the biscuits loose so they don't get bashed up in transport.

Thanks!

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/01/2007 8:49:30 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I gave the staging yard a final hour or two. I cut up old playing cards and put from 1 to 3 layers (stuck together with Alene's so they won't shift around) under the ends of the tracks on the traverser section. Here's a photo of the result:





The test runs went really well - no more galumphing up and down.

Now I'm going to shop the McMaster-Carr catalog on-line for some tubing make a stronger housing for the indexing pin.

I'm almost tempted to build another one just because I learned so much from this one -- a whole lot of mistakes I could avoid next time.

Don


Reply author: essodee
Replied on: 02/02/2007 1:16:44 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA

Hi, Stevie --

Using biscuits to align modules is an intriguing idea. (And I own a DeWalt biscuit joiner.) If you put in two or 3 horizontals and a couple of verticals, you could pretty well lock the modules together along both axes.

I like the idea of just leaving the biscuits loose so they don't get bashed up in transport.

Thanks!

Don



Don,

If you go with biscuits, use more than three, use maybe 6 or more on the horizontal for really precise aligment. Biscuit alignment is much less ticklish than dowels. Also, use the biggest biscuits, #10, for best results.

Another note: I have seen metal biscuits available of the same sizes as the wood wafers. Might be a good choice to use them for modules that have to be frequently dismantled or mantled.

Stevie O'D


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/09/2007 11:32:14 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

There's a GTE show this weekend but I'm less involved than usual. I did go out this afternoon and help with the load-in and set-up, and I did take the staging yard module out and set it up -- but my primary module stayed home, for a couple of reasons.

First, there are some track problems that I really want to fix before I show it to a "critical audience" (model railroaders) at a train show. And I just didn't have time to deal with them between the WGH show and the GTE show.

Second, I have a show running in my gallery, tied to Valentine's Day, trying to generate some business for our artist tenants and I need to be here to help with that.

Finally, I thought it would be fun to set the module up in the gallery as art. So here are a couple of pictures:











We had a lot of fun running trains and showing it to the occasional customer. (I sure hope we have more customers on Saturday and Sunday than we did on Friday night!)

Tomorrow, I'm going to quickly cobble together a couple of two-foot clamp on drill tracks so we can do some actual switching.

Don


Reply author: LVRALPH
Replied on: 02/10/2007 05:00:17 AM
Message:

That is one beautiful module.


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 02/10/2007 08:04:07 AM
Message:

That's a fine looking module Don. It'll be interesting to hear the reaction of the art crowd to a model railroad in the gallery.

George


Reply author: GDamen
Replied on: 02/10/2007 3:17:37 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Quinn222
I'll have to have some kind of connectors between the modules



In Europa the Fremo http://www.fremo.org module standard uses 4 mm banana connecters. They are durable and availible in many colors.

Administrator's Note: Gino, I'm sorry, but I had to remove the link you provided. It was too long and caused the entire page to expand to a long horizontal scroll back and forth in order to read the other postings. If you have a shorter link to the same site/page, please post it here. Thanks.

Gino


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/10/2007 6:36:31 PM
Message:

I added a couple of clamp-on drill tracks to the FreeMo module this morning so we could have more fun with it during the art show. (Good thing we were having fun with the module; the sale was a complete bust. [:-censored][:-cry])

I made them quickly and simply from some scrap poplar with a luan gusset on one side. I used cork roadbed and some flex track and they work fine.

Once the staging yard is back home, I may hook it up to one end instead of the drill track. Nah, it's too long to fit in that room. Oh, well, we can have fun switching the module with just the drill tracks. Here are some pictures:







Before I'm done, I'm going to add sides about half the height of a car so that a tip-over doesn't mean a trip to the floor. A module, standing alone (not connected to others) is pretty wobbly.

Hope you're all having a good weekend.

Don





Brodie's Tavern (part of Skinner's Row) gets a big beer delivery.




Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/12/2007 12:09:23 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Bbags

Hi Don,

I like all the additions you have made.
One very small point, when I worked in retail I was taught that things look more pleasing to the eye and photograph better if you use an odd number.
So instead of 4 trees they would say to use 3 or 5 to get a more realistic grove of trees.
I know this is really being picky but if this is all I can find then it means the rest looks excellent.



Hi, everyone -- and John, especially --

John posted the suggestion about adding details in un-even-numbered groups a month or two ago, and I did, in fact, add another tree to make a group of five.

But I thought John and others might be interested to know that this subject is covered in a bit more detail in a really good article on scenery in the latest Railroad Model Craftsman. See page 54 -- "Tips for Making Realistic Scenery" by Patricia and Burton Maxwell. Specifically, see page 56, Spacing.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 02/12/2007 12:26:55 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

As I mentioned, I limited my involvement in the just-ended GTE train show to helping set up and helping strike and load out.

(I went out there Sunday afternoon not planning to even look around, but that evil person Vagel Keller told me about a great bargain he had found in Branchline kits and since I really do need some 40' rolling stock so we can play with the module I just had to go have a look...etc. So you can look forward to my starting a thread on building a bunch of very nice kits that I got for $10 apiece. Thank you, Vagel. Grrrr.)

Back to the topic -- the staging yard continues to be something of a problem. If it didn't have to be moved around, it would probably be ok - but when I set it up at the Expo-Mart, despite leveling everything maniacally, there were problems with the tracks not being at the same height as the lead. My shimming was for naut (or however you spell that lovely archaic word).

So it's going back in the shop for some serious re-engineering.

We have another show coming up in two weeks, at New Eagle, PA, and I'm not sure I'll have time to re-do the staging yard. And since I'm taking the big module to that show, it's really more important that I sort out the track problems on that one. I can "fix" the staging yard problems by re-shimming at the show, since everything is just held with spikes.

Just for fun, here's a picture of my "operating crew" - the artists in residence at Slaughterhouse Gallery, who had a lot of fun running trains.




That's Chris O'Connell (painter) on the left, Carolyn Wenning (photographer, multi-media artist) in the center, and Megan Gillis (jeweler and brakie) on the right.

(Technically, Carolyn isn't in residence any more, since she bought her own building, but we still consider her family.)

And here's Carolyn, keeping us laughing:




Lunch break's over. Back to work.

Don




Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/01/2007 5:17:24 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

The FreeMo module has been on two outings since I last reported.

A couple of weeks ago, we set up a few modules at the NMRA Keystone Division Jamboree. That was a 1-day event and I completely forgot to bring my camera. About the only noteworthy event was that I got so totally frustrated with the derailments where the track runs across a diorama boundary and into the Ship's Chandler that I resolved to fix it before the next train show.

I used the Woodland Scenics foam roadbed on the modules. In many ways, it's a fine material. But it won't hold spikes and when you absolutely positively need to hold rails in place, that can be frustrating. I've learned to substitute cork or Homabed or even pine on modules or my layout where I might need to spike.

To solve the problem at the edge of the Ship's Chandler, I gritted my teeth and ripped out the track, ballast, grade crossings, roadbed, etc., right down to the foam. Then I milled a piece of poplar to the thickness of the WS roadbed, made a pattern of the curved track, and band-sawed out a piece of wooden roadbed. I crudely whittled a ballast profile on it, since scenery would hide the edge.

I glued the wood roadbed in place, with plenty of shims and let the glue cure for 24 hours. Then I re-laid the track, and spiked the [:-censored] out of it, especially where it crossed from the module-proper onto the diorama. I also glued it, and ballasted it.

After another 24 hours of curing, then and only then did I finally get out the Dremel and cut the rails.

I am happy to report that it worked. We did a small setup at the RPM-East get-together on Friday and Saturday. (RPM = Railway Prototype Modelers; rivet counters on steroids.) No derailments at any of the places where the rails are cut!

It's been about a six-month project to reach this point. Even now, it requires a lot of shimming with playing cards and getting the tension on the screws that hold the dioramas in place "just so". But we've proved it can be done.

So here's some pictures from the RPM event. The lighting in the room was really terrible so I had to shoot everything with on-camera flash and then try to clean the pictures up in the photo editing program. Sorry, but the results aren't very good.

This picture shows the quickly made drill track extension that I use when there isn't another module connected to mine. I use two of them when the module is set up at home so I can play with it. It's actually a decent little switching layout, just by itself. I can stage a few cars on the extension and a few on the module and have fun for quite a while, using a simple car card system.




Here's an overview of my module and one end of Vagel's set of modules.




So far, Vagel has 2 modules - a corner and a straight module. Here's the corner.



And here's the straight module.




Vagel thinks our FreeMo setups are too rectilinear - not enough "Free" in our FreMo.
So in the last few days, he created an addition to his straight module that he calls a "flex-mo" section. It provides for the usual 24" wide connection to a standard module but also has a line going off at an angle, which will connect to a narrower "bridge" module of some sort. That piece of track also has a downgrade (about 2%) built into it. Vagel is muttering about making that part dual-gauge. Here's a picture of the flex-mo section -- everything in brown was done in the last few days.




Vagel and I quickly knocked together two more extension for him to use as drill tracks - you can see them in the picture above.

And here are a couple of pictures of Vagel enjoying his creation:






To wrap up, here's a view over Vagel's corner module, toward my module:




The RPM-East event is held in the Pittsburgh area every two years. I found some of the sessions to be just over-the-top in their level of detail - I can't stay awake through a 50-slide Power Point presentation that's entirely about one type of car on one railroad. But a lot of other people found that same session very interesting.

I guess the high point for me was getting to meet Ted Culotta. I really enjoy his monthly articles in RMC. He's younger than I expected, which probably explains why he's able to do such incredibly detailed work. Nice, friendly guy. His rolling stock kit company is called Speedwitch.

I also enjoyed sessions on researching and modeling PRR interlocking towers and the slate industry.

No train shows until July, so we're planning a couple of church basement get-togethers where we can just run trains and learn how to use the car card system Vagel devised for us.

Don


Reply author: LVRALPH
Replied on: 04/01/2007 5:50:16 PM
Message:

Great stuff Don, thanks for sharing.


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 04/01/2007 6:33:36 PM
Message:

Don, good to see that the modules are getting some 'face time'.

I wish that I could have attended the session on the slate industry. That, and the milk industry, are areas of particular interest to me.


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 04/01/2007 9:04:46 PM
Message:

Don, I realized we hadn't heard from you for a while - but this makes up for it! Looks like you and the group had a great time! Lookin' good![:-pirate][:-thumbu]


Reply author: pastor_t
Replied on: 04/02/2007 04:02:26 AM
Message:

Don,

Your module looks stunning as always. Glad to see you out with it again. BTW you have mail - snail mail to follow.

Tony


Reply author: C Laskey
Replied on: 04/02/2007 08:13:03 AM
Message:

Don

You are back and that is good.

Carl.


Reply author: MikeC
Replied on: 04/02/2007 09:52:15 AM
Message:

Looks good, Don. Thanks for the update.


Reply author: jkristia
Replied on: 04/02/2007 10:47:20 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA






They have a good taste of beer, but I wonder how those cars crossed the pond from Denmark

Jesper


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/02/2007 10:16:39 PM
Message:

Hi, Jesper --

Yes, it's really amazing how those cars made it to Skinner's Row with all that great Danish beer. Especially since their flanges are so big they bump along on the spike heads on Code 83 rail.

I have fond memories of Tuborg and Carlsberg from the year I spent bicyling around Europe. Ah, those were the days. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth...

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 05/14/2007 12:46:48 AM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

We're doing a FreeMo setup this coming Saturday. It's supposed to be an operating session - not a sweating and swearing de-bugging session. Hope it works out that way.[:-bigeyes2]

I had built a wye module set (made up of two modules) and turned it over to another member of the group. They ran into some major problems with derailments at the joint between the two modules. Part of the problem was the use of Vinylbed - which is a fine product (as far as I know - I don't use it), but not suitable for use in a situation where the rails absolutely positively must not move.

So I took it back to see if I could get it working.

I ripped out several inches of track and Vinylved on either side of the joint and milled wooden roadbed. I glued it down heavily, let it dry over night, and then cut across the joint with a razor saw. Then I re-laid the track, using a ton of spikes into the wooden roadbed. I then cut the rails, separated the two sections of the module just enough to slip in wax paper, bolted them back together, and ballasted (to further secure the track).

Here's a picture of the wye - it's sitting up on edge so I could use the bench to work on a kit.





I've tested the track (with it horizontal ) and it seems to be ok - no derailments. Still a lot to do - wiring, getting some basic scenery done - and it's not "my" module so I'm kind of annoyed at the amount of time it's taking away from structure building and other more fun stuff. Oh, well. For the good of the order 'n all that.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 05/19/2007 10:22:15 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

We did a Free-Mo setup and run today (Saturday). This was a not-open-to-the-public setup, in a church social hall. (It is interestingly named -- "St Mary's Lower Lyceum".) We got started at 8 AM, and everyone arrived by 9 AM (the official "show up or die" time).


Because the wye wasn't wyred (ho, ho) we did a long L-shaped setup rather than an "E". The longer leg was 45' long.

Here are a bunch of photos; I think the file names should explain them.


FreeMo May 07 Patrick my module


FreeMo May 07 Kent at end of short leg

FreeMo May 07 setting up the long leg

FreeMo May 07 Vagel teaching DCC basics



FreeMo May 07 John G setting up steel mill


Although this run wasn't public, we did invite friends to stop by and run trains. Here are three -- Suzanne, who teaches yoga at the Slaughterhouse; Paul, who is a community organizer for Mon Valley Unemployed; and Megan, the jeweler in residence at the Slaughterhouse.



Jerry Kyslinger, the Super of the Keystone Division, has joined the group, and brought his grandson, Austin, with him. Austin had no trouble mastering our "scenario card" operating system and spend a couple of hours making up a "job" and running it, with some coaching from Patrick.

FreeMo May 07 Joe Austin Patrick me

Here are some more members of the Motley Crewe -- Kent, Vagel, Jerry and Bob (Chair).



And finally an overview of the setup toward the end of the day:



I'll add a couple of general comments on the day.

All in all, it was a success, but -- a one-day setup is tiring and doesn't yield enough train-running time relative to the time spent setting up and tearing down. I think we were actually practicing using the scenario card system for two hours, maybe two and a half, out of a day that started before 8 AM and ended, for me at least, around 4:30. I think we need to see if we can set up on Friday and run on Saturday, or set up Saturday afternoon and run on Sunday.

Second -- I am really beginning to doubt the wisdom of the basic idea of a FreeMo (transportable) module that includes drop-in dioramas based on craftsman (i.e, large and easily damaged) kits. It's starting to wear me out. It's a particularly bad idea to create dioramas that have complex trackwork running across boundaries.

For example, Wrisely has a run-through track and the spur onto the trestle. That's six rails that have to be precisely and simultaneously aligned with six corresponding rails on the module. Moving the module inevitably racks it. Heat and humidity change it in subtle ways. I had it running perfectly before this run. After taking it apart, moving it, and putting it back together, I was right back in derailment hell. It's getting old.

I understand RichBeau has also become discouraged with the concept.

I'm not sure just what I'm going to do. I may put this module permanently in my apartment and build something simpler for train shows. Or I might sell the dioramas and put simpler, harder to damage structures on this module, with all the trackwork permanently fixed. A subject for another day.

On a brighter note, we had relatively few problems with the DCC system. I still think Digitrax has a poorly-designed interface (compared to MRC or NCE) and a hugely badly written instruction book -- but if you're stuck with the system, persistence does eventually pay off.

The scenario card system is working out well -- it's interesting and fun but not so complex that we can't use it and simultaneously interact with the public at a train show.

As always, our thanks to Our Lady of the Angels for letting us use their facility.

Our next run is the GTE show in July in Monroeville. We'll probably do another church-basement run in August.

I have much to do before July.

Don


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 05/20/2007 08:50:24 AM
Message:

Don,

It looks like yunz had a good time. I understand your comment about the setup take down time. Our NMRA module group has the same problem and only set's up for two day events. I wish there was a solution to that problem. I need to get up to Pgh sometime and see Free-Mo first hand.

George


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 05/20/2007 08:53:55 AM
Message:

All-in-all looks like a mighty fine day Don.

You're right that I've become less enamored of Free-mo but I think it's mostly because of me and not with the concept. I've come to the realization that moving modules around and setting up a dozen times a year is just not my idea of fun.

I'm in the same spot and may just figure out a way to plug Georgestown into a shelf switching layout. I am glad that I created a foam top and will be able to remove the structures as dioramas to be used elsewhere later if I decide on that course. Plus I don't have the alignment issues you've found with the module-within-a-module design you've attempted.

Still you've got a mighty fine piece of work there Don. I wish I could get you to bring it to Craftsman Structure Show in November. It would be really neat to have both of our modules there.

As always keep up the fine work.
-- Rich B.


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 05/20/2007 09:03:43 AM
Message:

Don, that is indeed an impressive setup. I always enjoy your straight-forward assessments of the challenges you have faced with the modules.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 05/20/2007 6:10:59 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

George, thanks for your comments. Hey, Virginia isn't all that far away. C'mon up to the GTE show in July - we'll happily put you to work!

Rich -- is the Craftsman Structure Show the event that Scott Mason put together? Who know, I might make the trip, module and all. I'll e-mail you.

Bruce, thanks for writing. Glad you like my comments. I'll let everyone know what I decide to do.

Don


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 05/20/2007 6:57:46 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by AVRR-PA



George, thanks for your comments. Hey, Virginia isn't all that far away. C'mon up to the GTE show in July - we'll happily put you to work!



When is it? Maybe I can convince Pat that would be a good time to visit Pittsburgh.

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 05/20/2007 11:38:15 PM
Message:

Hi, George --

It's July 14th and 15th.

Don


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 05/21/2007 1:49:10 PM
Message:

Don,

"Fraid those are bad dates - Pat's watching grandchildren in northern Virginia that week.[:-cry]

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 06/04/2007 6:45:04 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Despite the misgiving I expressed after our last get-together, I'm going to be taking the module to the GTE/Greenberg show in mid-July, and (with luck) to Scott Mason's shindig in Massachusetts in November. So I'm back to making improvements and adding streets and sidewalks and more structures.

In an attempt to make installing and aligning the dioramas easier, I added t-nuts under all four corners of each module, with a machine screw and locking nut. I hope that - combined with meticulous adjusting of the leg levelers - will speed up the process. I hope it will work better than playing card shims, which is what I'm using now.

Here's a picture of the diorama levelers - first from below the module, then from above:






Because the module is going to live either in the gallery or in my apartment, I decided to make an additional set of legs. They're six inches shorter (which makes it easier for me to work on the dioramas) and they're made of nice wood with a more "furniture grade" finish. They're also sturdier. (FreeMo modules become quite rigid when connected to a bunch of other modules. Standing along, they move lengthwise quite a bit.) They'll be even sturdier after I add the cross-braces between the two leg sets.



I'll install the dioramas and try the adjusters and levelers tomorrow and will post an update on how it works - or doesn't.

Don






Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 09/04/2007 10:12:54 PM
Message:

Teaser Ad


This thread is about to come back to life.

RichBeau talked me into schlepping my module to the Scott Mason Finest Kind Craftsmen Kit and Storm Door Show. I'm going to try to add a bunch of details and people to the dioramas and get the mostly unfinished section mostly finished.

While simultaneously making progress on my NNGC module.

And a few other things...

Don


Reply author: LynnB
Replied on: 09/05/2007 12:23:58 AM
Message:

Thanks Don for bringing this thread back to life I enjoyed reading through it again


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 01/22/2008 8:45:35 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

It's certainly been a rather long time since I last added anything to this thread. Definitely time for an update.

Like RichBeau, I decided at some point that trying to haul a big module and a lot of fragile dioramas to and from train shows had ceased to be fun. But I went in a somewhat different direction than Rich.

One factor -- my home layout, in the basement under the gallery, had to be mothballed because of water problems that we can't afford to repair right now. It's covered in plastic and there's a dehumidifier running down there in the summer, so it won't deteriorate.

Another factor -- I still want to be part of the FreeMo group. So I'm building a smaller (2' x 4') module, which will fit easily into my truck and which will have individual, removeable, and pretty sturdy buildings. Some of the buildings that were planned for the big module will wind up on the smaller one, and some of the structures from the seacoast diorama will do double duty.

So... The big (6'6" by 3') module got moved into my apartment bedroom and is now my home layout. Here's a picture of it, positioned against the wall, where it lives when I'm not playing with it:





When I want to run trains or work on both sides of it, I swing it out 90 degrees and move a couple of small pieces of furniture out of the way.

I had originally planned to do a commercial district on the remaining space on the module. But because I now own the FSM 2-stall engine house kit (and a set of RSSM windows for it) plus the FSM coal and sand shed (115), and because I want to squeeze more operating potential into the space I have, I've decided to run some track into the empty area and create a loco servicing facility and (maybe) a scale, team track, freight house, etc.

Here's the area I'm talking about. That's Skinner's Row at the end:




I have glued the foam board in place - it used to be removeable - and will fill in around the edges with lightweight spackle and then repaint it with my "earth" paint. Then I'll start playing around with cutouts of structures and photocopies of turnouts and track. I'll post pictures when I have something worked out.

I need a place to mount the command station, power supply, and throttles, so I made a couple of shelves out shop scrap. You can pretty much tell what wood Garth is using for furniture making from what turns up in my benchwork.
Here's the two shelves - they're edged with walnut, cherry and curly maple. Fancy, no?




Just simple but kind of satisfying wood-working - tight joints, glue, drywall screws.

And here they are in use. They hang from the crossbraces on the module legs.







Maybe tomorrow I can finish getting the dioramas installed and adjusted, hook up the throttle, and run a train.

Don


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 01/22/2008 9:13:36 PM
Message:

Woo-hoo! That's what it's all about runnin' trains! [:-jump2]
Excellente! Don
--Rich B.


Reply author: jbvb
Replied on: 01/28/2008 3:04:45 PM
Message:

The Hub Div. modules are NMRA 2x4 foot (mostly) using 9" joiner tracks (mostly). The one place we bring rails right up to the edge is in an inside (not visible to the public) yard where we soldered tubes to the outside of the rails and use music wire to align them. I've been setting up with them for 18 years; Our Springfield layout this year took about 3 hours to set up and 90 minutes to take down (plus waiting for vehicles to be allowed in). I find the 9" joiners convenient and forgiving, but I didn't like their looks. I worked out a way to ballast them: My first attempt used paper and is visible in this photo:

http://www.faracresfarm.com/jbvb/rr/gallery/DSCN1384.JPG (big, slow to download)

I later switched to spun-bonded polyester (dark house-wrap is faster than white FedEx envelopes which must be painted). I sand the ties down .030 or so to avoid a lump, paint the house-wrap with Weldwood contact cement, position the track and sprinkle on ballast. Then a squirt of thin rusty weathering with the airbrush, undercut the ties for joiners and I'm done. I made the first 30 or so, now most of the modules have them.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 03/16/2008 9:05:08 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

I think I mentioned earlier in this thread that we found one-day setups to be stressful and not much fun. We decided to see if we could get a church hall for 2 days. Happily, we were able to get Holy Family social hall for both Saturday and Sunday.

It worked out well. We set up Saturday morning, beginning about 8:30 AM. We were running trains (despite the usual "technical difficulties") by 10:30 or 11. We used the "scenario card" system and, with a break for a pizza lunch, ran until late afternoon.

On Sunday, people drifted in from 9 AM on, depending on their personal obligations, and we ran until about 2:30 and then starting breaking down the setup.

This was a somewhat smaller setup than last time. John Gallagher dedided his steel mill modules were simply too big and heavy to transport and made them part of his home layout. But he is busily creating a new, smaller, lighter set which should be ready by the next train show. We also omitted the loop, since we didn't really need it. And since I was still pretty non-mobile because of the knee replacement, I didn't bring any of my modules.

Enough blather. Here's some pictures. First, an overview of the setup:





Then some pictures of individual modules. BTW, the young gentleman is the grandson of Jerry Kyslinger, the Div 2 Super.







KB

This is Patrick's brewery:



This is also part of Patrick's module:



Everyone giving Vagel lots of encouragement as he struggles with a reluctant rail joiner (I think):




And this is Vagel's dual-gauge module. I think he's planning an HOn3 branch as part of the set-up. That will certainly add variety.



I'm working on a fairly simple 2x4 module with a ravine/river running across it which will finally allow me to use all that research I did on the B&O trestle. This module will also have both HO and HOn3 track on it so I can hook up to one end of Vagel's branch. It will be easy to transport and won't have a lot of fragile dioramas as part of it.

All in all, a fun weekend. For sure, we're setting up in July at the Pittsburgh Greenberg Show but it's possible we'll do another church basement get-together before then.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 03/16/2008 10:44:05 PM
Message:

Don,
Good to see you back participating in the Free-Mo setups.[:-thumbu][:-thumbu]

Hopefully you are feeling better and soon will be back to modeling.
Thanks for the pictures.


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 03/17/2008 06:33:25 AM
Message:

Don
Even with the missing modules you had a nice setup. Looks to be 50' or so.
Good to see you up and hobbling
--Rich B.


Reply author: Rick
Replied on: 03/17/2008 08:02:23 AM
Message:

Don, thanks for the pictures. Looks like a fun day for all. Hope your knee is feeling better soon.


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 03/17/2008 09:17:25 AM
Message:

Don,

I was glad to see this thread pop up this morning. Thanks for the update. I hope you're fully recovered soon!


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 03/18/2008 09:23:04 AM
Message:

Hi John, Rich, Rick, Bruce, and everyone --

Thanks for the comments and encouragement. Recovery is proceeding - but it sometimes seems very slow. I've got a couple of small models underway and I do run trains on the module which this thread was originally about - it's in my bedroom. It's still hard to sit at a desk or bench for any length of time but that will come.

This weekend, some of us are getting together for a "rolling stock quilting bee" - we'll share knowledge on getting so-so rolling stock to look and perform decently with upgraded wheels, good couplers, proper coupler height, weighting,etc., and weathering. Everyone is supposed to bring along two pieces of flea market rolling stock which we'll work on. Should be fun.

Best to all,

Don


Reply author: Tabooma County Rwy
Replied on: 03/18/2008 09:27:55 AM
Message:

Don, that get-together to work on rolling stock sounds like a great idea.

Glad you are recovering. Say, the Seahawks are looking for a place kicker, in case you want to give your new knee a chance at "fame and fortune"....


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 03/22/2008 8:41:00 PM
Message:

Hi, Al (and all y'all) --

I think the Seahawks better look elsewhere for a place kicker. The knee replacement was definitely worth doing but I don't think it's going to turn me into a candidate for the NFL.

We had our first "quilting bee" this afternoon and it went well. The turnout wasn't huge but we definitely found it fun and productive and we're going to advocate doing it monthly.

Everyone brought two (or more) flea market/toy train/junk box pieces of rolling stock - horn hook couplers, plastic wheels, etc. We worked for a couple of hours on wheels, trucks, couplers, drilling, tapping, various types of couplers, etc., etc. - the kind of thing that can make a very ordinary car into a good "operating session" piece that won't cause problems and won't be damaged by handling. A lot of different knowledge was shared.

Then we spent a couple of hours experimenting with stuff from Mike Rose' video (using oils) and from Scott Mason's - especially using alcohol and Bradgon powers. It went well. The cars looked surprisingly good, despite cast-on details, etc.

Then we all went to dinner and sat around a talked a lot.

As I said, we hope to make it a monthly event. Maybe next time we'll work on scenery.

I don't dislike working alone at my bench, but all the health stuff over the past year has definitely increased my enjoyment of "social modeling" where I'm around other people.

Don


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 03/22/2008 9:51:10 PM
Message:

Don,

Your "quilting bee" sounds like a productive and enjoyable afternoon. I need to put some thought into something like that for our club.

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/18/2008 10:14:59 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

George, I missed your reply. Sorry. The rolling stock quilting bee did go well. We enjoyed it a lot and we are getting together again a week from this Saturday, this time to help people add scenery to their modules. I'll take some pictures and post them after the event.

I would like some feedback on my plans to add a locomotive servicing facility to my module/home layout. To recap, I got lucky at a local auction house and got a bunch of FSM kits. I sold most of them - it was the sensible thing to do although I kind of hated to - and kept two for myself: the #35 Two-stall engine house (which Mike C. is doing a construction thread on) and #115 Coal and Sand Shed. Here are pictures:







I had planned to make this area of the module a retail street with a busy alley backing up to the tracks. Now the plan is to make it a small, short-line locomotive servicing facility with some retail and perhaps a couple of Company Houses from City Classics.

I have never mastered any of the CAD or drawing programs. I do all my planning with Xerox's of actual turnouts and track, printed on cardstock, or actual turnouts.

Here are some pictures of a possible track plan. There's a team track included which will use the RSSM loading ramp plus a small Alexander crane. I know I'll need an ash pit. Since my motive power includes a couple of first-generation diesels, I'll need a way to fuel them.









I will really appreciate comments, suggestions for changes, etc.

P.S. Forgot to mention in the original posting that the track that goes through the engine house and off the edge of the module will lead to one of those 2-foot clamp-on staging tracks/yard leads, representing the rest of the world. This particular track will probably be a place to keep a couple of extra engines.

P.P.S. I'm also extending both of the tracks at the other end of the module, which now dead end a bit short of the edge. They will also run on to 2' extensions. When set up to operate, this thing is going to look like a space station.

Don




Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 04/19/2008 08:46:04 AM
Message:

Don,

I think you've considered all the 'essentials' for your servicing facility. Remember, Rusty Stumps has made some laser-cut windows that fit the FSM engine house.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/19/2008 11:40:57 AM
Message:

Hi, Bruce --

Good point about the RSSM windows. I forgot to mention that. I bought them in both HO and S. (It may not happen but I'm kind of hoping to build the kit and simultaneously scratch build the engine house in S.)

Still hoping for suggestions from those of you who have modeled servicing facilities.

Don


Reply author: Frederic Testard
Replied on: 04/19/2008 6:06:49 PM
Message:

Three small notes about your plan, Don.
First, the coal shed seems to be a bit close to the engine house. It seems possible to shift the coal + sand facility leftward thus increasing that space.
Second, if I remember well, this coal bucket is to be fed from the rear. Would there be a possibility to put it on a track so that you might park a gondola on the rear side?
Finally, how about trying to make a small space for emptying the cinders from the locos. Easy to scratch, not requiring acres of land...


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 04/19/2008 6:34:33 PM
Message:

Don, Looks as if you are well on your way to finishing that module.
Is the area you now show that which would have had a ball field in the past.

Somewhere I have a MR which lists those things found in a diesel service area but a quick search did not find it.
Will keep looking as I toyed with the idea long ago before dismissing it.
I do remember something about a wash rack to keep those diesels nice and clean.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/20/2008 09:23:43 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Frederic Testard

Three small notes about your plan, Don.
First, the coal shed seems to be a bit close to the engine house. It seems possible to shift the coal + sand facility leftward thus increasing that space.
Second, if I remember well, this coal bucket is to be fed from the rear. Would there be a possibility to put it on a track so that you might park a gondola on the rear side?
Finally, how about trying to make a small space for emptying the cinders from the locos. Easy to scratch, not requiring acres of land...



Hi, Frederic --

Thank you for writing.
1) I can shift the engine house a bit to the right, change the track alignment a bit (to make more room for the sand house, etc) and shift the sand house/coal house to the left. Will do.

2) You're right. I read the instructions through last night and found: "The large rear opening on the coal shed was used by the workmen to shovel coal from a freight car into the small bin on the inside of the structure."

That is going to require some thought. If I move the coal shed to the left, I can place it with the back side against the track behind it - but a shovel crew working back there will create a big problem in that they will foul the run-around, block access to the loco servicing facility, and block access to Skinner's.

--I suppose we could regard that as an interesting challenge to the operating crews.
-- Perhaps I could come up with some plausible way to load coal into the building from the front?
-- I should also re-think the whole track plan; go back to nothing but the one turnout leading into the area and play with the cutouts.

3) Yes, I'll definitely add some kind of cinder dump/ash pit. I've found a couple of plans for them. Not sure of the best location, though.

Any ideas? This is getting interesting.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/20/2008 09:33:36 AM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Bbags

Don, Looks as if you are well on your way to finishing that module.
Is the area you now show that which would have had a ball field in the past.

Somewhere I have a MR which lists those things found in a diesel service area but a quick search did not find it.
Will keep looking as I toyed with the idea long ago before dismissing it.
I do remember something about a wash rack to keep those diesels nice and clean.




Hi, John --

No, the site for the minor-league ballpark is in the upper right of the picture - there are a couple of boxes and some billboards sitting on it right now. BTW, I don't think the ballpark is going to happen. John Polyak gave me a beautiful resin kit for a Queen Ann house that I'm anxious to paint in a Victorian Polychrome and assemble - and I need a home for it. I think it's going in that corner, next to the Ship's Chandler.

If you find anything interesting on servicing diesels (or "diseasels" or Vagel call thems), let me know. Vagel suggested that I handle fueling with a fuel track parked alongside the track. That would give me a chance to do some vehicle modeling. I might go that way.

I'm in no danger of finishing the module. The SC needs people and more details. Wrisley needs people and the painting mini-scene. And there's the whole garden center project on the Hap Hazard drop-in. And the SC and Wrisley both needs their water done - must review the Frary video I bought. I haven't made a list - it would be intimidating. But this thread will be going on for a good long time.

Don


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 04/20/2008 10:19:07 AM
Message:

First Don,
I am glad this thread will be around for a while as it is most interesting.

As for diesel servicing I have not found the article but searching MR I can up with this which should help.
Looks like the issue I am looking for is the April 2007 one but my filing system is not god as all the magazines are just in piles in no special order.

http://www.trains.com/mrr/default.aspx?c=a&id=1101

The original article can be read by clicking on the download button near the Adobe symbol.




Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/20/2008 2:07:40 PM
Message:

Thanks, John -- I downloaded and saved the PDF and will print it later this evening. Looks like a really good source of information.

I'm spending the day helping staff the Gallery - this is the weekend of the "Blossom Tour" and we're doing fairly well.

Don


Reply author: Frederic Testard
Replied on: 04/20/2008 5:03:14 PM
Message:

quote:
--I suppose we could regard that as an interesting challenge to the operating crews.

I had thought of this too.
What about a three way switch at the entry of the facility to add a third track?
That being said, modifying the coal loading building so as to accomodate a front loading of the coal may not be so difficult.
I think I would put the ash pit somewhere on the left leg of the foreground track.
For fueling diesels, sorry but I have no idea of the size of this kind of facility.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/22/2008 12:40:02 PM
Message:

quote:
Originally posted by Frederic Testard

quote:
--I suppose we could regard that as an interesting challenge to the operating crews.

I had thought of this too.
What about a three way switch at the entry of the facility to add a third track?
That being said, modifying the coal loading building so as to accomodate a front loading of the coal may not be so difficult.
I think I would put the ash pit somewhere on the left leg of the foreground track.
For fueling diesels, sorry but I have no idea of the size of this kind of facility.



Hi, Frederick and everyone --

Well....I came up with a revised version. But I have to admit I don't like it very much. I added another turnout so I could put a track on the back side of the bucket coaling facility. I think I am committing my favorite error - jamming too much track into too little space.

A three-way switch would be a good idea - but they cost a bunch.

Here are some pictures. The loco and car are in place so I could verify that I had enough room to get them onto the team track so it would be possible to shove a car down behind the relocated coal shed. The track to the coal shed ends there - but I didn't want to cut the actual track that I was using for planning.












This arrangement forces the water tower over onto what I have come to consider the diesel track. I suppose I could omit the spout and put a water column on the "steam" track.

I've decided I like the idea of handling the fueling of the diesel(s) with a fuel truck.

Right now, I'm kinda/sorta thinking I'll go back to the original plan and either assume the coal shed gets loaded from the front, or, if I'm feeling sadistic ([:-devil]) I'll put in a scenario card that requires spotting a gon on the run-around track for a certain amount of time while coat is shoveled out of it.

Please give me your thoughts.

Thanks,

Don


Reply author: PaulS
Replied on: 04/22/2008 1:11:13 PM
Message:

Don,

It's great to see you back at the bench and I'm really glad you're continuing work on this module as a diorama. I've very much enjoyed following along.

Recently, I built the bucket coaling shed and paired it with the Water tank and tool shed. As built, the Coaling shed is intended to be loaded from the rear. However, the coal bin in the back of the shed also cuts across a corner. I wondering if you could move the loading opening in the wall to the side of the structure and alleviate your dilemma.

As shown in the picture below, my thought is to move the opening for loading coal from the rear to the side on which my loader is placed for this pic. I'm not exactly sure of your final location for this but perhaps this will give you an idea to work from.


Below for your reference is a picture of my overall build.


Don, I hope the above is helpful and offers something for you to consider. I'll be following along.

All the Best,


Reply author: slimjerkins
Replied on: 04/22/2008 1:43:06 PM
Message:

Don:

I have a Shinohara code 83 three-way [non-DCC] if you're still interested. I really don't have any immediate plans for it anymore.


-slim


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/22/2008 9:27:53 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Paul, that's a beautiful model. I saved the photographs to refer to while building mine.

Hmmmm...maybe moving the opening to the side would open up some possibilities.

Slim - I sent you an e-mail.

Back to the shop.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/23/2008 12:23:24 AM
Message:

I'm trying to get a new, fairly simple, 2x4 foot module ready for the July Greenberg show. I decided to do a dual-gauge module so I could hook up with Vagel's HOn3 module. Vagel did a track plan for me. I wanted something that would allow me to carve out a valley and build a small trestle, using all the research I did on the B&O trestle before I moth-balled the basement layout.

I stripped the track off one of my basement modules and repainted it and transferred the track plan onto it. Tomorrow, I'll carve out the valley. (I didn't have HOn3 turnouts or paper copies of them so I had to use HO turnouts for planning.)





I'll post pictures as I go along.

Here's a link to the thread on the B&O trestle.

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11403

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 04/23/2008 06:58:32 AM
Message:

Wow, Don, you are really multi-tasking lately!

This sounds like a great little module, too.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/26/2008 11:45:55 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

We had another MR "quilting bee" earlier today.

First - I took the new 2x4 module along and went over the track plan with Vagel. It does, in fact, make sense. It's designed to hook up to a standard FreeMo (2') module at one end and one of Vagel's narrow-minded modules at the other. His mini-modules are 15" wide, etc. So I'm ready to move ahead with construction.

The quilting bee went really well. As people drifted in and got coffee, we had a round table discussion, with each member contributing something or things about scenery that they thought the others would benefit from. I showed them Mike C's method for making dirt roads, for example. Bud Brock brought along a container of Ground Goop plus the ingredients and explained how it is made and used. Here are some pictures:

The group, minus me:




Austin adding rock shadow color to Bud's shale:





Bug and Vagel working on Scenic Express Supertrees, which Bud introduced to the group:




Bud explaining Ground Goop to Patrick:





Patrick then used the Ground Goop to improve some scenery on his module:





Patrick stopped by my place afterward and borrowed the Dave Frary CD on modeling water so he can finish the river on his module.

We all went to lunch together and then most of the gang went on to the local hobby shop, A. B. Charles. All in all, a really good day, and we're already trying to schedule the next one.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 04/27/2008 6:10:40 PM
Message:

Back to planning the locomotive servicing area. (Might be more accurate to call it "The Area Which Will Provide a Home for Those Two Cool FSM Kits I Lucked Into.")

Slim's very, very generously offered me a 3-way turnout, which I couldn't afford. So I used a photo copy of a 3-way and did another version of the track plan:





For comparison, here's the original track plan, with just two tracks:




At this moment, I'm thinking I prefer the simpler, original plan. I'll come up with a story to explain how coal gets into the Bucket Coal Shed and will move the hatch to the side of the building. I'll introduce some curves into the tracks - they look good in the later versions. I'll create more space between the coal and sand buildings and the engine house. And I'll curve the team track around so I have more room for roads and buildings at the front of the layout. This has been a valuable exercise.

Further comments are invited and appreciated. Thanks again to everyone who wrote.

Don


Reply author: elwoodblues
Replied on: 04/27/2008 9:54:36 PM
Message:

Don,

One advantage of using the 3-way switch is that with the third track you won't have to run into the engine house to switch the trailing turnout.


Reply author: Frederic Testard
Replied on: 04/28/2008 01:50:13 AM
Message:

I think the 3-way turnout gives you a good track plan - in that I don't consider there's not a too big ratio track/scenery. Ron's remark is interesting too. The idea of having eveything lightly curved is nice too.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 05/31/2008 10:08:45 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Frederic, thanks for your thoughts. I've decided to hold off on a decision about the track plan until I've finished building the engine house and the other two structures. With them "on the ground" it will be a lot easier to visualize.

Today, we held our third Quilting Bee. These get-togethers are growing in size and everyone seems to feel they are fun, productive, a good learning experience, etc.

Because only three people were able to make the first session (two months ago), which was devoted to upgrading train set rolling stock to "good enough for use at Greenberg shows", we decide to circle back to that topic. We have made the sessions longer - we start at 9 AM and go through mid-afternoon, with pizza for lunch.

Everyone was asked to bring (1) a piece of train-set quality rolling stock and (2) a decent but not super-detailed rolling stock kit such as a Bowser or Accurail or Branchline kit.

We worked together on upgrading the train set pieces by switching to metal wheels, adding Kadee couplers, making sure the height was correct and fixing it if necessary, adjusting the trip pins, adjusting weight, and then weathering them enthusiastically. Here are two that I worked on, using a combination of Mike Rose and Scott Mason techniques. (Tube oils and Bragdon powders applied with alcohol.)







Most of us also got a good start on our new kit, if we didn't finish it. I was doing a Proto 2K "quick kit" - since it had about a zillion tiny little grab irons (four different types) I didn't think it was all that quick, but I had fun with it.

We're meeting again on June 29 and this time we're all going to help the owner of a corner module finish his scenery, and I'll be doing a mini-clinic on painting detail parts, using material entirely stolen from RR-line.

It was a fun day.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/06/2008 6:37:58 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

The FreeMo folks met at my place a week ago Sunday to help Jerry with his corner module. We were supposed to work on scenery but wound up spending all our time on trackwork - removing the old track, putting down Homabed, and laying new track.

It was a fun get-together but left us with a lot still to do and the train show (Greenberg) only a week away, so some of the crew (Jerry, his grandson, Bud Brock, and John Polyak) came by today and pushed hard to finish things up.

Jerry soldered all his rail joiners, added track feeders, wired everything to the bus, and tested it with a locomotive and cabin car. Here's a picture of Jerry and his grandson, working on the module:





Bud Brock brought over the tail of the wye so he could do some scenery work on it. We added a dirt road using a slightly modified version of Mike C's method. Mike puts his magic mixture down on earth-colored paint and, for a stationary layout, that's enough adhesion. Modules have to withstand being stood on edge (so we can attach legs) and being bounced around in the back of pickups. So I added some white glue, water and detergent to the paint.

We also use a wallpaper corner roller to press the dry ingredient down into the paint. This results in a pretty characterless road, so we go back and brush it lightly with a china bristle brush and add wheel ruts. Here's a picture of Bud hard at work:










I've been working on a new module, too. One that is lightweight, fits easily in my pickup truck, and doesn't have any delicate structures on it. I decided to focus on bridges and trestles so I modified an existing module frame to include a river. I have two temporary bridges in place. The one on the standard-gauge side will be a trestle, making use of all the research I did on the B&O trestle.

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11403

The narrow gauge bridge will probably also be wooden, but with the timbers above the deck rather than below. Finally, I hope to have a stone arch highway bridge at one end of the river. Here's a picture of the module. It's wired and has been tested:




The coming week is going to be pretty busy, but I hope to get a bit more done on my module - maybe some ballasting or perhaps building up some contours with pink/blue foam.

We will have our largest set-up ever at the coming Greenberg Show - I'll post some picture after it's over.

Don


Reply author: RichBeau
Replied on: 07/07/2008 06:46:02 AM
Message:

Nice work Don. Looks like you guys had a productive session and a fun time.
Best of all you're looking like your old self and you are back in action.
It's great to see your recovery is coming along nicely.
--Rich B.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/07/2008 08:29:34 AM
Message:

Hi, Rich --

Yeah, I'm heading back toward my normal (aggravating, cranky) self. So far, it's all clean and green on the cancer front. On my last visit to the oncologist, we mostly just socialized and he told me I needn't come back for 4.5 months (instead of two). Heck, I *like* my oncologist and I enjoy seeing him, so I tried my Jewish mother imitation on him. "What, I've become so boring you don't want to see me any more?" He said, "Don, you want to boring to your oncologist."

The knee replacement recovery is also coming along, although perhaps not as well as I had hoped. I'm still doing out-patient PT, which cuts into my free time (some) and my model railroading money (a lot). But I can walk without pain and I'm back to being a hospital volunteer, pushing wheelchairs from the ortho ward (where I spent five days as a patient) down to PT and OT. I like it a lot - I really enjoy interacting with the patients.

Anyhow -- life is good, I'm looking forward to the train show and other MR activities. Just wish I had more energy, but there are some side effects to the two years of hormone therapy (ends in February of next year) that I just have to live with.

My, I do go on.[:-bigeyes2]

Looking forward to seeing lots of people at CSS08.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/09/2008 07:20:13 AM
Message:

The narrow-gauge part of this new module is my first experience with solid-metal, hand-built turnouts. I purchased them from Kevin Kuzman, and they're beautifully made. They come with a perfectly clear set of instructions, which I completely forgot I had until after installing the turnouts. Ain't CRS fun? Anyhow, I had some electrical problems, but I (finally) followed the instructions, cut the needed gaps, added the feeders, and got everything working. (Still need to add the ground throws - project for today.)

Garth brought in two narrow gauge engines from his Bear Creek Lumber Company layout. (On hold since he and Tara became wooden boat building and sailing fans.) Here are some pictures of his Heisler. It's a brass model that Garth painted and decaled. It's a lot of fun to watch in operation:

















The track all works ok, electrically and otherwise, and I also added the legs to the module. Load-in for the show is on Friday.

More later,

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 07/09/2008 07:40:34 AM
Message:

Don,

Your new module looks like it will provide plenty of both modeling and operational fun. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of this weekend's setup.


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 07/09/2008 09:05:35 AM
Message:

Don,

Good to hear your health problems are under control. Youíre making nice progress on the new module. Are you building modules to go on either end to extend the run of the narrow gauge railroad?

George


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/09/2008 1:49:38 PM
Message:

Hi, Bruce and George --

Thanks for writing!

I will definitely takes lots of pictures of our biggest-ever setup at the Greenberg show.

George, I'm only building this one module. But Vagel Keller has another dual-gauge module already built, with scenery and structures, which mine will connect to at train shows. Any standard-gauge FreeMo module can connect to the other end. And since the module has standard-gauge track at both ends, if there was no HOn3 module available, I could just plug in between any two modules and run the narrow-gauge as a little stand-alone section.

For use on its own (in the shop, for example), I have two-foot "cantilivers" that clamp onto the ends of the modules - they serve as small staging tracks. I haven't build a narrow-gauge cantiliver yet, but will after the show. I'm trying to lure Garth back into model railroading.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/09/2008 1:50:36 PM
Message:

Hi, Bruce and George --

Thanks for writing!

I will definitely takes lots of pictures of our biggest-ever setup at the Greenberg show.

George, I'm only building this one module. But Vagel Keller has another dual-gauge module already built, with scenery and structures, which mine will connect to at train shows. Any standard-gauge FreeMo module can connect to the other end. And since the module has standard-gauge track at both ends, if there was no HOn3 module available, I could just plug in between any two modules and run the narrow-gauge as a little stand-alone section.

For use on its own (in the shop, for example), I have two-foot "cantilivers" that clamp onto the ends of the modules - they serve as small staging tracks. I haven't build a narrow-gauge cantiliver yet, but will after the show. I'm trying to lure Garth back into model railroading.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/12/2008 11:33:59 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

We're half or maybe two-third of the way through the Greenberg Show. We load-in and set up Friday night. Unfortunately, there are always one or two people who can't make it Friday night so we wind up with some rather rushed work on Saturday morning. We can get it at 8 AM and the show opens at 10.

Here are some pictures from the Friday night set-up:

Jerry Kyslinger and his grandson Austin are doing one of the less-fun parts of the FreeMo setup - inserting the connecting rails or track sections between the modules.



John Gallagher, shown here, is a steel-mill modeler. (John said that steel mill modelers are "blooming idiots" and since Vagel is into both steel mills and narrow gauge, that makes him a "narrow minded blooming idiot."

About two train shows ago, John gave up on the 4 huge, heavy, nearly-impossible to transport modules he had started on. I think they wound up as part of his non-moving home layout. He built two new modules, using light but strong construction, and is much happier. He is adding buildings at a good pace.




Kent Miller's module includes a turntable built from a Walther's kit. It has been the project from hell and after yet another frustrating session, Kent is giving up on it. As soon as he can, he'll buy the Walther's built-up turntable, which has a much better reputation.



Here are some pictures from Saturday. The day did not start well. When we powered up the Digitrax system, we got smoke and sparks from the power supply (wall wart). It had shorted internally. It was close to show time when we powered up so for the first couple of hours, we had a large static display.

One of the members, Patrick Altdorfer, owns a Digitrax system, so he went home - a slow process because of construction on the local interstate - and got his system. Den and others had been doing as much trouble-shooting as they could, using VOM's, but once we powered up (again) there were still problems to be found and fixed. Vagel and I spent 1.5 hours runinng from Home Depot to Radio Shack to Lowe's tracking down 6-conductor splitters for the loconet. We were fully operational sometime after lunch. Here's Vagel, struggling with an under-the-layout problem:



I spent a good bit of the morning and afternoon painting track and ties on my module, sort of bovinely ignoring all the sweating and snarling going on around me.

Here are some pictures of individual modules:

This is Patrick's brewery module, complete with a mountain lake to supply water. Plus the Soprano's pizza shop.




Here are John, Vagel and part of the steel mill:




Here's Vagel's dual-gauge module:




Here's my module, seen from the cantilever end, looking toward Vagel's module:




Here's one of Vagel's new narrow-gauge locomotives. He loves it.




At the end of the day, after the show was closed to the public, I tried to take some overview shots. The layout is large, the lighting wasn't great, so the pictures are kind of poor. I'll try again tomorrow, before the show opens. Maybe there will be better light. The setup is E-shaped, with the new loop (build by Bob Meir and Den Lippert) at the end of one leg, Kent and his turntable at the end of the "top" leg, and Scott Schaller's steel mill forming the middle leg. (We have two steel mills in the set-up. It's Pittsburgh, ok?)













Time to get some rest. Let's hope we have a good turnout and no more electrical problems on Sunday.

Don


Reply author: MarkF
Replied on: 07/13/2008 01:00:09 AM
Message:

Don, it looks like you guys had fun anyway, despite the electrical problems. Nothing better than setting up at a show and listening to the crowd comment on your work. Have fun!


Reply author: George D
Replied on: 07/13/2008 09:03:58 AM
Message:

Thanks for the pictures, Don. It sounds like Murphy is a member of your Free-Mo group, but you didnít post a picture of his module. It sounds like you had fun, which is what itís all about.

George


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 07/13/2008 09:14:16 AM
Message:

Don,

Thanks for all the pictures. I sure gives a good idea of the size of the layout and the work required in setting it up.

I hope you guys have an enjoyable, trouble-free day!


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 07/13/2008 09:55:28 AM
Message:

Thanks for the pictures Don and glad to see you are back to working on your new module which I am sure will look great when all is completed.

I hope you have fixed all the problems you encounter yesterday and have a trouble free day today.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/13/2008 9:04:47 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

Thanks for writing!

Trouble-free day....hmmmm...well, not exactly.

We were able to run trains, at least intermittently, most of the day, and things got decently reliable around lunchtime.

The first problem was that I forgot that I'd gotten a low battery warning on my camera last night, didn't change the batteries, didn't carry spares -- so no pictures. Sorry.

We're kind of victims of our own success. We're adding new members and new modules and I'd guess almost a third of the modules (maybe half) had never been set up in a group before. So, it's not surprising that there were a lot of bugs.

The real problem is that we weren't able to fit in a church basement run before this train show. If we had had two days of church-basement time, we would have been in much better shape. But many of the modules that made it to the train show were "finished" days ago, or the night before the show. Mine, for example.

I will try to get a photograph of Murphy's module.

I had fun and I think most other people did, too. I'm really looking forward to building the bridges on this module.

Our next train show is October and I hope to have at least one bridge done. But I also have to focus on getting my Maine Coast diorama more finished before CSS08.

It's only 9 PM but I'm off to bed. A friend is having big-time surgery at 5 AM tomorrow and wants me to be there.

Thanks again for writing.

Don


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/14/2008 03:51:46 AM
Message:

P.S. Here's the track plan for the run just ended:




Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/17/2008 3:36:59 PM
Message:

Hi, everyone --

This thread has wandered rather far from it's original subject. Actually, the original project has wandered rather far from it's original purpose. Anyhow - I'm thinking of wrapping this one up and starting three new threads (with links back to this one):

1) A thread on the continued construction of what has become a small, apartment-size switching layout.

2) A thread on the activities of the Keystone Division FreeMo group, probably in the Operations area.

3) A thread on my new dual-gauge, bridge and trestle oriented FreeMo module.

Any comments? (Especially from management)?

Don


Reply author: Dutchman
Replied on: 07/17/2008 4:13:58 PM
Message:

Don,

I think that is a good idea.

(I don't think I qualify as management. If I do, it is very low-level management.)


Reply author: MikeC
Replied on: 07/17/2008 5:36:07 PM
Message:

I ain't the 'big boss' either but I think your idea sounds good, Don. Three new threads might inject a little life into the ol' place.



Reply author: CieloVistaRy
Replied on: 07/17/2008 9:33:33 PM
Message:

Everything seems to be coming together.. nice progress.

Arthur


Reply author: Bbags
Replied on: 07/17/2008 10:13:31 PM
Message:

Don,
I will cast my vote not as a management person but as one who enjoys reading your threads.

Three threads to read rather than one sounds very good in my book.


Reply author: AVRR-PA
Replied on: 07/18/2008 11:07:13 AM
Message:

Hi, yunz guys --

Thanks for writing!

I'll go ahead with three new threads. I want to take some decent photographs of the two projects and pull together a few photo's of the FreeMo people and modules, and then I'll start the new threads. Maybe having the threads running will further motivate me to keep the projects moving along.

Don


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