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 City Classics Grant Street by Dave Hunt
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Posted - 04/01/2017 :  12:27:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit wvrr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
First of all, it is a long post. But, I think you will agree that this deserves a long post.

I originally posted this in my model railroad thread. But, since not everyone visits that thread, I thought I would make a separate one, as well.

In early March, fellow forum member Jeff Hart (Snarlman) reported that a mutual friend, Dave Hunt, passed away. If you want to read about Dave, who was also a forum member, you can check out the thread, below.

I met Dave 10-12 years ago. Before I met Dave, he befriended another model railroad friend of mine, Gerry Leone. When Gerry discovered Dave lived in NJ, he suggested that Dave and I should get together. Dave and I exchanged emails for a while. And, at one point, Dave suggested he was interested in building a model for me. He always wanted to build the Grant Street structure by City Classics. I always loved that structure, too, and told Dave I would love to have him build it for me. So, we decided to meet for the first time at a local trains shop, where I bought the kit and gave it to Dave. That was about 10 years ago. And, if you knew Dave, he is great at starting a project. And, he does a phenomenal job with those projects. But, you don't see many finished projects by Dave. I think that is because he gets distracted by other projects. Or, he hits a point in a project where he can't decide or figure out how to complete the next step, so he puts it aside. I've been guilty of that, myself. My freight house took 10 years to build, as an example. So, I'm sure many of us have done the same. Knowing Dave, I really didn't think I would see the completed model!

But, over the last 10 years, I've seen hints about the structure on the forum. Dave would post a closeup of part of the model and post it into the monthly photo thread or he would start a thread with a question he needed to resolve for the model. But, I never knew what it looked like.

I would also run into Jeff and/or Dave at local NMRA meets and sometimes get an update on its progress. It has been a few years since I've seen Dave. But, I did see Jeff at an NMRA meet a year or two ago. He told me that Dave had been ill. And, he also told me he thought the structure was done. But, I think Dave didn't think it was done. And, you will see what I mean. The building is done. But, I have a feeling Dave intended to add more details around the base and maybe on the roof.

I was really sad when Jeff reported Dave's passing. Then, a few days later, Dave's son, Ben, reached out to me. He said he has a structure his Dad built for me. And, if I lived nearby, he would be happy to give it to me. Well, we never met in person. Instead, it was decided Ben would ship it to me. I really expected to see it in a lot more pieces than it was. I told Ben to put the model in a plastic bag before putting it in a box. He went to UPS. They put it in a bag, put it in a box, and filled the box with peanuts. Surprisingly, it only had damage to four of the lights that shine on the billboards and the rear fire escape received some damage. The movable ladder at the bottom of the fire escape was broken off. And, the ladder going from the top landing to the roof was broken. A couple railings on each of those landing were broken, as well. I fixed the bottom movable ladder. The ladder to the roof had the U-shaped supports that wrap over the wall to the roof. I replaced it with a straight ladder, with good reasons that become apparent, later in this post.

First, here are some overall shots of Dave's model:

About those lights! It turns out, Dave enlisted Jeff to help him with the lighting. Jeff designed the circuit used to power two LEDs for the store windows and six LEDs, 2 each for each billboard. The store window LEDs are normal sized LEDs while the ones for the billboards are those micro LEDs. Jeff designed the circuit to use current limiters instead of resistors, and they work great. But, when I looked to see what needed to be done, there was no way I could fix the lights without damaging the others. The LEDs were wired with magnet wire, which is like working with hair-thin wire. I could see at least one wire was broken inside. And, I was thinking that the rest was probably broken at the LED. So, I decided to pull out the gooseneck lights and rewire them all. The store window LEDs did not need to be rewired.

A couple things I learned in this process about the magnet wire. I wanted to reuse the tubing Dave made for the goosenecks and the also the LEDs. But, threading the magnet wire through pre-bent tubs is a bear. What I discovered is if you twist together the red and green wires as tightly as you can, it becomes a much firmer wire and thread pretty easily through the tubing. And, having twisted wire is a lot more controllable inside the structure vs. having individual red and green strands inside.

But, what REALLY made rewiring the model easy was the discovery that the roof was removable. With that, all of a sudden I had access to all the gooseneck lights once the wire was threaded inside. And, this is the reason I replaced Dave's ladder to the roof from one with a U-shaped top with a straight ladder. Having a ladder with the U-shaped extension at the top would interfere with the removable roof. The other thing I did was to add a removable floor, so that the magnet wire would be protected by staying inside the structure.

So, here are some "night" shots:

Now, you may be wondering about some of the details. As I stated in the beginning, Gerry Leone, Dave, and I were friends. I met Dave through Gerry. So, when Dave built this structure, he incorporated some of Gerry's and my layouts into it. For example, Gerry's layout is the Bona Vista Railroad.

And, Gerry build an industry on his layout named for me.

And, Gerry built an industry named for Dave on his Bona Vista. If you scroll down this page of Gerry's website, you will see "Hunt Paints".

Dave was an artist who loved to paint. And, Gerry used that for an industry. Not long after I met Dave, I built a structure for my layout in Dave's honor.

I called the structure the TC&W Hardware Store. Dave's model railroad was called the Thorn Creek and Western, the TC&W. Also, notice the billboard on top of the structure. It is a billboard for Hunt Paints.

Now, look at this billboard on the model Dave built for me.

Dave also included billboards for two industries that are on my layout or were planned for my layout. This first one is for Stegmaier Brewery, which is in process on the layout. I have never seen this billboard for Stegmaier, before. So, it was a treat to see something Dave found.

And, the last billboard is for another industry I planned for the layout. Sadly, I might not include it on the layout, now. But, man, I do love Gertrude Hawk Candies!

Now, I said earlier where I thought Dave really wasn't finished. But, since he was sick, I think he wanted to give me the model in the state it was in. The structure was done. In fact, he signed and dated the underside of the roof in 2015:

But, when you look at the exterior stairway, I can't help but think Dave wanted to fill that area under the staircase with trash cans and junk.

But, he was able to provide many other details in the model.

First, a closeup of the storefront, with the Bar Mills Woolworth's sign.

Dave also added a fire plug and I assume a access door for feeding coal into the basement of the structure. Knowing I model the coal industry, I think Dave thought of adding this last detail as a nod to that.

But, what about the roof? Here are a couple shots of that. Dave scratchbuilt a roof access door. And, he used a metal chimney casting and some flue castings.

And, one last shot. This is a closeup of the rear doorways. I think Dave scratchbuilt the steel roll-up door and hardware. He also bricked up the window.

So, thank you Dave! Your model will have a place of honor in my city of Wilkes-Barre.

I am planning to bring it to the next NMRA Garden State Division meet on May 13. So, if you are in the Bridgewater, NJ area, you will get a chance to see it.


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Posted - 04/01/2017 :  01:41:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Chuck, what a treasure! Dave did a beautiful job with that structure, but what makes it really special is all of the personal touches such as the billboards and signs in the windows, which memorializes your friendships. What a great idea and nice personal touch!

I had the opportunity to meet Dave, I believe it was at Timonium, but not sure. I do remember he was very friendly and pleasant. You are indeed fortunate to have developed such a friendship with him and I know that model will find a nice home on your layout.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, memories and the pics of that building.


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Posted - 04/01/2017 :  06:45:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great odel with a great back story!


Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/01/2017 :  07:14:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The friendships built in this hobby are sometimes inexplicable, but the workmanship lives forever. Very nice.


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George D

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Posted - 04/01/2017 :  08:38:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a beautiful model and a great story to go with it.


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Posted - 04/01/2017 :  09:00:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am glad that the model ended up where it was intended to reside. Dave did a great job on the model and you did a great job on the fixes.


Modeling the railroads of the Jersey Highlands in HO and the logging railroads of Pennsylvania in HOn3

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Bill Gill

Posted - 04/01/2017 :  09:22:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Chuck, That's the kind of experience that makes this all worthwhile. Great gift, Great story and great repairs to preserve it all.

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Michael Hohn

Posted - 04/01/2017 :  09:46:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote

I'm very impressed by the model. He did a great job on the painting and the details. I agree the area under the stairs sort of cries out for some trash and stuff.

And thank you for the background story.


Nobody living can ever stop me, as I go walking that freedom highway -- Woody Guthrie

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/01/2017 :  10:07:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Chuck what a wonderful story. An a great model by a good friend.


"And in the end, itís not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

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Posted - 04/01/2017 :  11:09:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Chuck, that's a great looking structure that Dave built for you!
I think it's nice that Dave's son took the time to contact you, and get that model that his dad built for you, too you.
Nice to know that a piece of Dave Hunt's modelling endeavors will live on, on your layout.
Thanks for sharing this story with us!

Greg Shinnie

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Tabooma County Rwy

Posted - 04/01/2017 :  11:59:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Thanks for sharing with us Dave's beautiful structure and the construction details and techniques. Love that roof! Those vents on top of the chimney are a detail seldom modeled.

Al Carter

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Posted - 04/01/2017 :  12:06:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Elegant structure with a great story!

in Michigan

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David J Buchholz
Crew Chief

Posted - 04/02/2017 :  09:32:04 AM  Show Profile  Send David J Buchholz an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Thank you for honoring friendship that can exist between modelers. This is a wonderful tribute to a friend.

I have the same structure under construction on the North Coast Railroad. You've given me many ideas that I would be honored to incorporate. The ironic part id that I has all sorts of add on parts kicking around, but never considered their use on this building. I'm considering them now.

Home of the North Coast Railroad.

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Frank Palmer

Posted - 04/02/2017 :  09:46:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Congratulations to you Chuck and Dave for beautiful structures, inspirational.

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Posted - 04/02/2017 :  11:30:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit kebmo's Homepage  Reply with Quote
great model, great tribute to a friend.

gerry leone was a huge inspiration for me to get into this hobby (though he doesn't know it). since he's pulled down the website for his railroad he's kinda disappeared. can you provide an update?
(sorry to derail your thread)

if you don't know where you're going any road will get you there.

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Posted - 04/02/2017 :  11:47:03 AM  Show Profile  Visit wvrr's Homepage  Reply with Quote

I'll send you a private message on Gerry. You aren't looking under the right rocks!


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