Saturday, 30 November 2013

Cold outside? Well maybe not that cold yet!

Its sure is cold in Florida, Mass. during January...Don Janes photo.
Back in January 2010 Don Janes and I followed the B&M line from North Adams to East Deerfield, Mass. When we climbed the mountain East out of North Adams we passed through Florida, Mass...well Florida was really cold that year.....I mean really really cold.....our cameras actually stopped operating at one point...we had to keep the batteries warm under our coats. I hope my next visit to Florida will be a bit nicer...the only white I want to see is sandy white beach and warm temperatures...this past week in the west end of London we have got two dumpings of snow...first was two feet on Sunday then another foot on Thursday....3 feet of snow in November...I got a feeling it is going to be a long winter....George Dutka

Friday, 29 November 2013

Snapshot - November 2013

NECR southbound crosses the diamond in Palmer, Mass. as a CSX waits off in the distance.
Don and I stood at the NECR -CSX diamond in Palmer, Mass. while a NECR southbound crossed. We had just finished getting some really nice shots of the train crossing the diamond. I thought I would play around with the CSX train waiting in the distance.  I decided to try my luck at shooting under the NECR train which was moving very slowly. It actually turned out better than I thought it would. One could not get that type of view around Ontario with track speed at diamonds being brisk...George Dutka

Monday, 25 November 2013

White River Division - Under Construction

The B&M sand house is placed at a point I expect it to reside in Westboro, NH. The spur is partly in place as seen in this photo. I will be doing a posting about this structure shortly.
The Layout begins to take shape once again
During the last week I have been working on the White River Division slowly. I had thought in two good days (8am-8pm) I could get most of the yard completed. Well when I was originally building the layout in my 40's it was easy to put in those kind of hours. At 59 I find I can only stand at the work area's for maybe two or three hours a day before my back and legs give out. So work is going at a much kinder pace. Since I am retired it does not matter how long it takes....I hope. The following photos view what has been done to date....George Dutka

I began building the spur line to Westboro by cutting out plywood roadbed with about a 34 inch radius. Once I was happy with how it looks I began building the peninsula.
Westboro is now starting to take shape. The trackage will be all curved into this area that houses the engine service facilities,  just like on the prototype. I next planned the diamond area at the station. The peninsula is just short of 4 feet long and is 20 inches wide.
There will be three tracks in Westboro, two that are attached to the layout and one short length that as on the prototype ended at the sand tower. This will be my new program track. It actually is a piece of the old main line that I saved that still has the power wires attached...a bonus.
The diamond area of White River Jct. One can see the Westboro spur in place and the plywood base for the diamond track in its early stage.
The B&M trackage that heads over the diamond in White River Jct., Vermont is now in place. It actually is not powered....it was installed to locate the ball signal and station as it was on the prototype. I can also stage some trains for photo ops. This is the most recent photo of the area. I had to remove a portion of the area in front of the main line were the section house and building flats are located. I actually cut the face board through and installed a hinge so I could pull it in to a point were the layout is only two tracks wide. Doing this will give me much needed isle room once I put in a curve on the other side of the layout taking trains into the next room. I want it to have a good radius curve. I will take some better photos of this area once I get further along.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Shadow Box Diorama


Last fall while in Vermont I visited a couple of art gallery's.  I saw these interesting framed displays which had about 1 inch thick frame or box. The views were roof top signs done in HO scale with a portion of the rooftop in view...kind of a neat idea to display ones extra`s....don`t think I was supposed to take photos of the art, but what the heck I had my camera...George Dutka


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Fine Scale Model RR EXPO 2013 Contest Models


This beautifully built wharf scene was just one of many models and dioramas on display at this years EXPO.

Some Great Modelling At This Year's EXPO......by Don Janes

     The contest room at the annual Fine Scale Model RR EXPO is always a real treat to visit and this year was no exception.  One of the highlights of attending the EXPO for George and I, besides spending all of our money, is visiting the contest room.  The EXPO was held in Pittsfield, MA at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  The main show and half the clinics were on the second floor and the other clinic room and contest room were on the 13th floor.  This meant a lot of trips up and down on the crowded elevators but the trips were worth it in most cases.  
     This year's contest categories were dioramas ranging from 2" x 2" up to 18"x 18", individual structures, rolling stock, marine and a photo contest.  There were quite a few medium sized dioramas and individual structures but only a few pieces of rolling stock and marine models.  All the models were very well done by a very talented group of modelers.   The lighting and room layout wasn't ideal for good photos but I think you will agree that the models below are some of the best you will find anywhere.  
     Since George and I didn't attend the banquet this year I don't know which models won prizes and I wouldn't want to guess as they were all very good.   Marty McGuirk e-mailed me and told me I won second prize in the photo contest so that was very rewarding.   Enjoy the photos below and see some beautiful models from this year's EXPO.


This branch line car shopdiorama was beautifully detailed both inside and out.


Marine dioramas were very prevalent, most likely due to the eastern location of the EXPO


These three models pretty much represented the Rolling Stock category.  All were extremely well done models.






Some of the other dioramas ranged from city scenes and a Vermont barn to an old abandoned large scale caboose
One of my favorites was this beautifully done UP roundhouse diorama.  The workmanship and details were exquisite.
The models above were two of the best Marine entries in the show.

     The photos above will give you an idea of the caliber of workmanship that modelers bring to the show.   The next installment will feature an exquisite mining diorama.  The workmanship will blow you away and I would have to guess it won Best in Show.  Stay tuned.  

Friday, 22 November 2013

Alder Models - Barn

An overall view of the Alder Models barn kit. The roof is really nice with molded in wooden shingles. Just make sure one adds extra stiffening to the underside. Note the nice looking wind vane included in the kit.
A number of years ago I purchased my Alder Models barn as a kit. It appeared to have a lot of the flavour found in New England barns. The kit was a simple build, just gluing the sides together and adding the two piece roofing. The corners did have some styrene trim added to clean up the rough corner joints. The kit is some kind of resin that is flexible and varies in wall thickness. During my rebuild of the pumpkin patch I reinforced the roofing using scrap Gatorfoam. The roof had got a warp over the years. The roof is removable so one can see the details inside. The interior of the barn had a loft added on both sides of the door opening including ladders and additional details added around the doorways. One nice thing about the barn is that there is a middle door on both sides. I added a row of windows over the door. This was a simple add-on using boxcar ladders trimmed to fit. It is nice to see right though the barn. At some point I may use this for train photos shot through the two doorways.

The windows over the doorway are boxcar ladder stock that was trimmed to fit. The stone base is not included in the kit. I poured a hydrocal box then carved the stonework into it while still soft.

The barn was painted Floquil reefer white. I don't recall the colours used on the roof. It was some form of brown followed with a lot of chalk weathering and dry brush white highlights. The weather vane is included which is a nice touch. I liked the vane so much I purchased a package of Alder Models weather vanes, which has a selection of vanes I have used on other structures. They are really nice and fine brass etchings. Alder Models made a lot of great products but unfortunately the company currently is not around...who knows their products maybe introduced some day by another company. They also made some very nice CNR and CPR  switch stands...George Dutka

The ends are simple but nice.
One can see through the barn giving an option for photos to be shot through the structure.
This is the door on the rear of my barn. Both sides are identical.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wedneday No. 52 was a photo I took of a contest model at this year`s Expo. Kind of a neat little scene...George Dutka

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Railfanning - Expo 2013 Trip

Lakeville NY has the shop for the Lavonia, Avon & Lakeville Ry. We found one engine idling in the yard. This is an all Alco railroad.
 November 2013 - Railfanning along the way

Don and I got some railfanning in while travelling to and from this years Expo in Pittsfield, Mass. We actually got lucky at a few spots. These views are just a few highlight of what we saw along the way. On the drive to Pittsfield we stopped at Lakeville, NY. near Rochester. We checked out the only Alco in the yard at the time. It was later in the day and their work was just finishing. There is a good size engine house in town. The next day we spent most of the morning in Utica, NY. There is a great looking station in town. The Adirondack Ry. has most of its engines and equipment currently stored here. Don and I had a chance to board two of the Adirondack Alco's as the gentleman that was to move the power was not sure how they started...he was a volunteer that works for another shortline and a really nice guy. Between the three of us we only got one engine going but that was enough to move the equipment. It appears the other Alco had a electric governor that none of us knew how to reset...it has been years since I have been on an Alco and never on a ex-CPR. Some of the tech stuff has changed since Don and I worked on this type of engine. The crew offered us a ride out about 12 miles to the next town where the equipment was to be stored for an upcoming run. We decided it would be best if we got a few shots of the power leaving town since the sun was now out and the meet between the two Amtrak Maple Leaf's at the station was in less than an hour.

Ex-CPR Alco's are nicely painted in Adirondack Ry. colours. The short train is departing Utica so it would be out of the way...a broken rail needs to be fixed near town.
The two Maple Leaf's, the New York-Toronto trains meet at Utica, Ny. prior to noon. On this day they both arrived at the same time. Engine 703 is on the eastbound train.
 I had yet to ever see a train come out of the Hoosac tunnel and on our visit I finally saw one, and to make it better the train stopped just short of the crossing so the lead engine could be restarted. This gave us a chance to get a shot on the crossing and again on the big bridge. Three different views for one visit, not bad at all. We chased the train for awhile till the light faded. November afternoons seem really short when railfanning. On another day we checked out the B&A helper station in Chester, Mass a short drive from the Expo site. The coal tower and roundhouse still stand in town. A bonus was the arrival of a train while at the tower. We also checked out the station and historic railway display east of the tower. From Chester we went to Palmer and caught the NECR coming up to the diamond with a colourful consist. We also stopped by the compound to see the Mass Central GP38's, newly painted in B&M bluebird colouring. Saturday must have been a down day for the Mass Central. On our way home we stopped by Amsterdam, NY since an Amtrak eastbound was due and there was a little sun. The only sun we saw on the way home...it was snowing by the time we got to London....George Dutka

Pan Am exits the Hossac Tunnel's east portal. It is moving really slow as it will stop at the crossing shortly. Being an overcast day well after 3pm the light is getting weak...a slow moving train is working well for us.
Pan Am EB arrives at Charlemont, Mass. as we wait for the last photo of the day. The light is now almost gone and getting a good shot will be tough.
Don got his shot at Charlemont, Mass.
A CSX EB approaches the old coaling tower at the Chester, Mass. helper's station. The roundhouse also remains to the left of this photo.
The crew on the SB NECR has to stop short of the signal and manually push a button to get a light to cross.
SB NECR crosses the diamond in Palmer, Mass. with a colourful consist.
Mass Central GP38 in B&M bluebird liverly at Palmer Mass.
On the way home we caught the EB Amtrak at Amsterdam, NY.



Monday, 18 November 2013

Expo Clinics 2013

The lighting em up clinic showed one how to add lighting to displays such as this view on the screen.
 This year I did not take in as many clinics as in past years. Partly because I was busy shopping in the vendors room, missed one clinic I hoped to see. I found some of the clinics repeated from last year. Although it is nice to have all new clinics each year some repeats help one catch up on missed clinics from previous years.There are two clinics going on all day at the same time...so one has to choose.


I began the day by watching Dave Frary's clinic on modelling a sugar cane railroad. Dave now models a narrow gauge short line similar to those found in Cuba. I found it a really interesting clinic. From the angle of my seat I could not get very good photos of the screen so I did not take any photos.

Bill showed us how one can build this tiny lamp with a LED as the bulb.

Light em up was the next clinic I attended. Bill Sartore explains the amps, volts and watts of LED's. It was a good clinic that got me thinking of interior lighting for the future. Brian Bollinger of BEST Trains gave a really good clinic on creating signs. This was the first time I had seen one of Brain's clinics and I thought it was the best I seen all day. For each example on the screen he had a model to pass around for us to see first hand. His presentation taught me a lot....George Dutka

Brian shows some of his use of signs.
Simple to build billboard for minimal cost.
This roof top sign was really neat.
Brian's display shows the different weathering he did to this wall. The warehouse sign got a scrubbing with steel wool prior to the other signs being attached.