Tuesday 31 December 2013

White River Division - Update

The Bellows Crossing station is now in place and the area is all scenic now. The station is a drop in module that can be replaced with other structures.
 A Christmas week photo-op
Last week with Christmas a day away I decided to clean up the layout room and put some of the structures at the locations they will eventually rest. I also dug out some rolling stock and engines, positioning them around the layout. This is the first time any rolling stock has been on the layout since construction began last spring. I also made up one train to operate a short distance....and I am happy to report it ran without incident. Why all this extra effort so close to Christmas. My gang, including grand kids will want to take a look at my layout on Christmas Eve. We have a large gang over for our annual Christmas Eve party...it also is my sons birthday. Pierre Oliver was also planning on stopping by on Friday to take a look at what I have been up to. Pierre and I did have a nice visit and he passed along a few good ideas for static grass applications...one of the areas I am new to and really needed some help with. After Pierre left on Friday and before I removed the rolling stock and buildings I decided to take a group of photos which you can see below...now back to removing what needs to go and onward with my scenery chores...Happy New Years...George Dutka

Both buildings at the Bellows Crossing diamond have got an update.
The White River Junction station is now reversed from previous years. We now see the B&M side of the building with the ball signal outside the door. Some scenery needs to be finished in this area.
The coaling tower is placed near the foreground now. The sand house and water spout are also put in place. I used the small shanty that used to be at the diamond in this scene also. Some rolling stock is staged for the holidays. The crews are away though on Christmas leave. I finished the scenery at this location on Sunday...more photos to follow.
The WRJ Central Vermont section house got some chalk weathering and set in place. I plan at some point to redo the roof with BEST tar paper roofing. I originally used masking tape about a dozen years ago...still holding up well.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Snapshot - December 2013

A westbound nears Chester, Mass. on an early Saturday morning. There are lots of spots to pull over and catch a train along this portion of the old B&A line.

A good area to catch trains along the old B&A in Massachusetts is the roadway heading east from Chester, Mass. to the Mass turnpike. One can sit at the depot or coal tower in Chester, hike into one of the nice stone arch bridges which are on public trails or as we did just drive along the roadway following the tracks till one meets a train. Don and I saw the crossing gates go down on a side road ahead of us so we pulled over. A westbound was approaching, and at a good speed. We were able to catch a trio of CSXT engines hauling a good size train. This was the second train we saw after leaving Pittsfield, Mass. during a Saturday morning drive....George Dutka

Saturday 28 December 2013

Expo 2013 Layout Tour No. 6

This roadway divides two scene,  a freight staging yard to the right and a paper mill complex to the left.
Dick Elwell's Hoosac Valley Lines

Don and I visited Dick's layout on Thursday, a day before this November's Expo 2013. I had left Dick's layout as the last one I will cover. To tell you the truth I could not figure out how I would do it. The layout is huge and very detailed. It is a great layout. Dick's layout has been covered numerous times over the years in the railway press. In fact it has been in Great Model Railroads twice, 1996 and 2008. I looked through the dozens of photos I took numerous times and did finally decided how to approach it. Since most of the layout has been covered well in the past, I decided to focus on the new section under construction and the recently competed Essex staging yard which is now totally scenic including some very nicely modelled structures. I also though I would include a couple of the mini scenes I liked...such as a couple of pieces of rolling stock interestingly staged. So here we go...George Dutka

The station and town scene at Essex Jct. This town is set at the end of the west staging yard.
One of the many backdrop scenes found in the freshly scenic west staging yard.
The west staging yard is what one sees when entering the Hoosac Valley Lines.
Looking down at the many nice structures found near the Essex Jct. NY station. Dick has many great backdrops.
You are looking at the under construction paper mill site. At one time a large TV rested here for one to watch from the chairs placed across from the scene. Dick realised he could place the TV on a shelf under this scene, which makes more sense.
Here is a close-up of the finished areas of the paper mill scene. The photo backdrop really adds to what one sees. I believe it is from Backdrop Junction located in Massachusetts.
 Scott Mason came by while Don and I was visiting on Thursday afternoon. He had Dick's mill building that he is building with him. Well the mill turned out to be bigger than planned. Not sure how this will work out, but it was neat to see. The building is a brick building that is laser cut wood. The finished brickwork looks really great. Dick is seen in the foreground with Scott right behind him.

 The Hoosac Mini Scenes
The following scenes are a few I really enjoyed viewing and thought I would share with you.

One of the little scenes that I enjoyed was the Hoosac Valley sand car. It is a brass model that has its hatches open and piping about to be connected. There are many little details like this to view on the layout.
One of my favourites was a auto door boxcar being loaded. A simple scene but very effective.
I have always liked the looks of the shop track scene on Dick's layout. One of the details I really like and may also add to my layout at some point is a filled in turntable pit.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Bellows Crossing

The station is ready to be installed at Bellows Crossing, Vermont once again.
Updating Bellows Crossing on the White River Division

Yesterday I finally got the Bellows Crossing area of the layout completed. I have been working a couple of hours a day on scenery....moving along scene by scene. The layout room is a total mess...I can hardly walk through but a few more weeks and all will be back to normal...I hope. I began with the easy areas. The Bellows Crossing area fits somewhere in the middle. I had already rebuilt one of the shanty's as seen in a previous post. Last week I updated the station and built a new cobblestone base for it to rest on. Actually it is a lift out base so I can switch out stations. My Fairlee B&M frt. house will fit into this location also...and I though it looked really good when placed there. I also pulled out a kit I purchased of the CV Amherst station...to my surprise the station platform is a perfect fit to my bases...it was hard to believe no trimming is required. There are still more changes that will eventually happen in Bellows Crossing such as a South River Kit once built and a elevated crossing shanty which needs painting. Now off for some Christmas fun...see you after the holidays....George Dutka

The station got a little freshening up. I touched up some of the paint chipped areas. The walls and roof got a coat of Bragdon powders.
The station area was cut out and squared. Basswood trim is then  installed. One can see the old main line switch has been removed and the trackage needs some ballasting.
The station is added to the drop in base made from two sheets of RailroadKITS cobblestone roadway.
The station diorama is test fitted into the drop in location. All is well. Yesterday I finished the scenery in Bellows Crossing...more photos to follow.

Monday 23 December 2013

Gilmore Fuels - Update

Another view of the garage included in the Full Steam Ahead kit.
In Saturday's post I forgot to mention a few points regarding the Full Steam Ahead kit. I began this project with What's in the Box No. 3, posted on Oct. 19, 2013. One can find all the parts included in the kit there. All the signs included in the kit are printed on thin paper. I decided to photocopy the signs and use the copies. The colour photocopy paper is more sturdy and I feel will stay on better. There was no loss of detail in the copies. The kit included black tar paper roofing which is made out of a good looking paper. I prefer to use the peel and stick roofing offered by BEST and Minuteman Models which has a texture that reflects real roofing better. Since finishing the kit I found my service station attendant I purchased for use with the fuel station. I have painted his uniform white and will include him at one of the doorways..George Dutka

Sunday 22 December 2013

Railroad Model Craftsman

I was pleasantly surprised that RMC has used the Oct. 2012 cover featuring Don and my layouts for promoting their renewals and new subscriptions during the holiday season....George Dutka

Saturday 21 December 2013

Gilmore Fuel - Full Steam Ahead

I finally finished my Gilmore Fuel station kit. It is a very nice kit offered by Full Steam Ahead that went together really well. I did put finishing off the kit till I decided on what colour I wanted it to be  in. I took a lot of photos while visiting layouts this November for reference and finally came to terms with what looked the best.

To begin it is best to know a bit about Gilmore Fuels. It is a west coast company started in California around 1900 operating till about 1945. In about 1940 it was taken over by Mobil and all the stations became Mobil Fuels in 1945. The Gilmore station colours are red and cream and in the peak years had almost 4,000 stations. The other signs seen on this station are those of Richfield fuel another west coast fuel dealer that operated during the same area as Gilmore.

I decided to use the garage in my Westboro scene and have yet to decide where the fuel station will be used. As it really is a 1940's era station as modelled, I may use it on a Maine narrow gauge diorama as I model that era. I decided to model the station as is using all the neat signs and the older style pumps that the kit came with. I could have updated the pumps and used signs found on the East coast but I really liked the looks of the model as offered...guess that is why I purchased it. I noted a familiar style Gilmore station on  New England modeler George Sellios Franklin & South Manchester railroad...so I guess if it is good enough for him it should be good enough for me...my logic.

The fuel station in early construction.

Fuel Station
The station went together really well. The rafters and all walls are painted with a wash of Floquil reefer white while the base of the walls are signal red. For weathering the walls the white receives a coat of Bragdon white lime, the red got antique iron. These colours tone down the walls nicely. The doors are modelled open. The windows glazing got a coat of dulcote before adding to the frames. The roof is painted grimy black on the underside. I then added Minuteman Models black tar paper weathered with powders. The roof also had a stack added from my caboose parts box.

The base was painted Floquil concrete with some soot powder added to the base. All the detailed castings are painted with Floquil grime. After a few days of drying I gave the pumps a wash of signal red and reefer white. These are glued in place. The coke cooler is a BEST detail part I added which is not included with the kit. It also has a wash of signal red and white chalk brushed into the Coke insignia. Two of the tire displays are added along with the oil can display. I used Canopy Glue for adding all these details. The kit has a lot of nice signs. I uses as many as I could. These are also all attached with Canopy Glue which is very forgiving. The glue leaves details flexible and does not leave any marks if too much is applied. The last thing added are the Tichy lamps that are painted red.
The painted station is seen with its roof trusses. The roofing is now being added. Note I pulled some of the wall boards up. As it turns out a lot of them got covered once the signs are added.

The finished model. Note the Coke cooler. It is a BEST models detail casting.

Both of the finished models are seen here. The base colour of the station and the garage are the same but the white added to the garage was a thinner wash than the station...giving it a more gray weathered look.

The kit came with a bonus garage which I found needed a little work to get square. I made a floor out of picture mattboard painting it concrete adding some powder weathering. All the doors are modelled open and are held in place with Canopy Glue. The walls got a coat of Hunterline light gray stain followed by a wash of Floquil reefer white (when mentioned my washes are more thinner than paint). The look was a white wash that is then covered with Bragdon powders. The windows are painted Tuscan red followed by chalk red weathering. The window glaze included dulcote to get a dirty look.

All the walls, roofing and windows are laid out for the garage.
The roof got a coat of grimy black on top and bottom followed by gray tar paper roofing by Minuteman Models. I also added a couple of patches to the roof. Bragdon weathering is also added. The smoke jacket is A-438 a Crow River Product. The two side lamps are from my parts box and painted Floquil Reading green

This turned out to be a really neat looking kit....I am glad I tried it...George Dutka

I had a tough time squaring up this garage but it all worked out.
The doors are seen painted and weathered. They will be attached with Canopy Glue shorty. This glue is great for leaving parts flexible.
I added a few signs to the rear of the garage as this is what one will see when first viewing Westboro. These signs are not included in the kit.
The garage is about finished. All I need it a smoke stack to be added. That was a detail not included in the kit but I though it needed one.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday

Wondering were this location is...it is a few miles south of Milton, Vt. on the old CV. There is a road that parallels the tracks from Milton on the East side to this location. I am taking this photo from a rise looking south towards the location were the road dips under the tracks. This is a one car at a time location. The small bridge is kind of neat as it is supported by old timbers. I have only photographed a train once here. Will cover it in more details shortly....George Dutka

Wednesday 18 December 2013

EXPO 2013 Layout Tour No.5

Kip Grant's D&H Sunnyvale Branch....by Don Janes

    The second layout George and I visited on our trip to the Model RR EXPO was Kip Grant's D&H Sunnyvale Branch in Queensbury, NY.  The layout is fully finished and occupies a 12" x 20" room in Kips nicely finished basement.  I had seen quite a few photos of Kip's layout both in photos Kip had sent me and also in two model railroad magazines but none can capture how good the layout looks as when you see it in person.
      Kip's layout was featured as a cover story in both Great Model Railroads 2011 and the Apr.2013 issue of  Railroad Model Craftsman.  I recommend you pick one up and enjoy some great modelling. 
     Kip was a very gracious host, both running trains for us and explaining all aspects of his layout.  I was most impressed with the way the layout portrayed the prototype so well and the amazing attention to detail and realism he has accomplished.  Kip holds regular operating sessions with a group that includes several retired D&H employees which he says really helps get a feel as to how the real railroad ran.  The layout features quite a few trackside industries served by rail yet has a very open uncluttered appearance at the same time.  Kip uses wireless NCE DCC to operate trains which by the way run flawlessly.
   I know seeing Kip's work has been a great inspiration to me as I am building my own layout.  I am always referring to his photos for ideas for my layout.
This scene featuring downtown Sunnyvale nicely represents a moderate sized New England city in a fairly small space. 
This is the depot at Sunnyvale.  Note all the prototypical details Kip has added.
This great looking little Drive-in is on the outskirts of Sunnyvale
This photo shows one of the well detailed non railroad structures Kip has included around the layout.
Notice how Kip has added an N scale farm beyond the tracks to force perspective and add distance to the scene.

This great looking farm scene is at Sheldon's Crossing.  The D&H freight is heading towards Junction.
Kip modeled the barn on the left from one that stands on the farm next to his place.
This scene at Jasperdale shows how Kip fit four trackside industries in one town without creating a cluttered look. 
This small but well detailed propane dealer stands at the edge of Jasperdale.  It is very typical of small propane dealers in the region.  This is yet another industry to be switched by the local freight.
Here we see the Hudson Box Company outside of Junction.  Note the water driven fire bell, hose connections and various other fire fighting fixtures (red details on wall).  Kip is a retired fire inspector and has used his knowledge to add such  details correctly.
This impressive coal dealer at Junction Yard also doubles as a view block hiding the stub end of the mainline that passes behind.  Very clever.

Here we see some D&H locomotives and a caboose on the shop track at Junction Yard.  Note how Kip has added just the right amount of details and trackside clutter to the scene.
George took this photo showing Kip operating the local at Junction as he explains the moves he is making to me.  That's the D&H freight shed at Sunnyvale in the foreground.  Fenimore is the industrial area to the left.  It is several inches lower than Sunnyvale and has a separate branch line leading to it.

Wordless Wednesday No. 56