Sunday, November 15, 2009

Plans for the rest of the year...

I have a number of things going on which are limiting my modeling as well as additions to the website. I do have some material to add, and I'm also making a decent amount of modeling progress.
 The layout itself remains much as it did at the end of the summer. I have a little bit of work to complete the staging benchwork. I need to construct the helixes, and build the benchwork for the upper, scenicked level. My plans are to complete all of these portions by the end of January.

I won't have a budget for track and turnouts until at least then. So for now, I'll be working on completing the benchwork, and drawing out the trackplan on it once it's done. In the meantime I'm also working on a number of models. I'll be updating the models section over time, although I may not be adding many pictures right now.

I'm also working on upgrading the site itself. Because of some difficulties I have run into, I will most likely be rebuilding the site with the newer versions and moving the data over. I'm not sure how long this will take, butI may try to complete it about the same time I get the basic layout (mainline, at least) operational.

My plans for that will be by the NE Prototype meet on June 4-5, 2010. I'd like to have all of the in-progress models completed by then, in addition to having a mainline to run for visitors. So having the upgraded site by then would be nice as well.

That's it for now...

Monday, April 20, 2009


Naturally it's taking longer than expected...

I've done quite a bit of painting, including the two doors in New Haven #292 Warm Orange. But I still have one hole to fill, and I will need help installing the supports on the walls.

Once the supports are up, I can do the rest of the benchwork by myself. In the meantime, I've been mocking up some track plans both on a long piece of sheetrock, and on the floor. I've been drawing options using chalk on the carpet. It's easy to clean up, but works well for picturing the options.

In particular I've been looking at the specific placement of the helixes (helices?) and how they will connect to the rest of the layout. This has actually been a very good process, because I realized that I had missed a very important change that I'll need to make. It will affect the Stanley Works section of the layout, which will have to be less accurate than it already was going to be, but it will also allow me to extend the Stanley Works complex on the model.

Check out the additions in the freight operations section as well. I've finally picked up a freight schedule close to my era (1955) and there were a few important revelations. It's entirely possible that the 1951 schedule will be quite different, but for now it's a good starting point.

So, I'm hoping to work on the wall supports over the next few weeks and maybe I'll have something worth showing anybody interested at the New England Proto Meet. I'm sure I won't have trackwork (or not much of it) but it least it will be progress.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I was originally planning on building the benchwork for the lower (staging) deck this weekend. As it turns out, we'll be away for most of Saturday and Sunday, but I'm taking Monday off so we'll see what I get done.

But it's also been partially delayed because I decided that we should go ahead and paint the basement before building the benchwork. It is New Haven #246 Silver Gray. I picked up the NH Color Guide at the NHRHTA table at the show this year (I've been meaning to get it for a while), so I had it color matched.

In addition to the painting, I had to patch the hole where the closet door used to be. In the process, I found that the short section of wall from the door frame to the corner was not quite square...

Yes, that's 3/4 inches of putty to square up the last section of the wall so I can put the molding on. I tacked a piece of masonite on the side of the wall (you can see one of the nail holes) so I could use fill the area to the correct depth. As expected with that much putty, it cracked. That was OK, I simply put a couple of courses of drywall tape, then the corner piece, with another course of tape. The tape I'm using is the nylon screen kind, so I think it should keep it from developing surface cracks in the future. It sure took a lot of putty.
 I'm only concerned about painting the main part of the room right now, so I can start the benchwork. I still have to patch the hole where the door to the laundry room used to be. The trim will be in New Haven #212 Hunter Green, and I'm still working on getting Laura to let me try New Haven #292 Warm Orange for the two doors. I think they'll look great set off by the Hunter Green door trim.

Anyway, if I'm lucky we can complete the painting by this weekend so I can pick up the supplies and start on the benchwork. I also need to design a workbench for the east side of the layout. There's enough room to fit it, but I think I'm going to make it collapsible so it won't be in the way for operation nights.

More to come...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Layout Construction Update

The old layout is gone. I've completed disassembling the old layout, and I'm cleaning and prepping the basement for the new layout. The target date to build the benchwork for the lower (staging) deck is February 15.

The staging deck will be much narrower than the upper deck. I've also determined that I will be able to build in a location for both a desk and a paint booth. The paint booth is key, since I really don't know where else I would be able to put one. As it turns out I'll be able to run the vent directly into the furnace room and outside from there.

Staging is based purely on the operations. I'll have some extra storage space behind one section of the staging for extra cars. This will probably entail at least two shelves for storage, each 12" deep x 10' long. They will not have track on them because I have determined that it would be more trouble than it's worth to try to put cars on rails.

I'll try to prepare as much as I can before that date, and I think it will be a pretty quick process. I may even be able to lay (or at least mock-up) the staging tracks themselves. The staging will be flex track and commercial turnouts.

More to come, but things are looking good to get the lower level complete by the end of February. I'm still shooting to get the layout in some reasonable stage of completion to host a layout tour at the New England Proto Meet this year. (It didn't make it...a few people got to see some benchwork in 2010...I'm shooting for 2011! 1/25/2011)

Friday, January 23, 2009


I felt like painting tonight, so I worked a bit on the decks of the two NH flats. The top one is from the Speedwitch kit, and the lower one is the Sunshine kit. They came out a bit more brown (at least on my computer) than they are in person. Overall, though, I'm pretty happy with the results. All I've painted so far is the wood.



Comment posted 4/23/2009


Get the black paint out and do the redt of the car. Decaling the car is a pleasure, Ted's decals are fantastic.


I did...sort of

Comment posted 4/26/2009 - OK, Jim - so I haven't gotten around to finishing it. I at least have the spray booth set up now...

Hey Jim,

I actually have painted the rest of the car. I had a spray can of black paint, so I used that. I forgot that it was grimy black and it doesn't look quite right!

Anyway, I finally have a spray booth, and I need to practice with the airbrush a little before I do a car that I want to keep since I've never used one before. The test piece of styrene I used has a bunch of runs and stars and such. But I'll get there.

It's going to be a while before I get that Sunshine flat built.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Research and Progress

We've had a few things come up that have prevented me from making too much progress, but I've made some progress despite these issues. I've been working on a few models, and I've been slowly preparing the basement for the new layout.

I've also been able to do some research, visiting the New Britain Industrial Museum. While I didn't expect to find too much information about the railroad, it was a worthwhile visit. In the hallway by the entrance (it's on the second floor of the IIET building in New Britain) is a huge painting of Russell Erwin around 1910. It's beautiful, and actually cleared up a few things as well.

There are several birds-eye aerial photos with the relavent buildings highlighted in the displays for most of the different factories. While these photos are all from 1955 or shortly after, they were still quite helpful. In them, the urban renewal had already begun, turning some areas into parking lots. But it's before any work started on Route 72.

The displays themselves are collections of many of the things that the factories produced over the years. But probably the biggest asset were the two individuals working that day. One had worked at Landers, Frary and Clark, and the other at North & Judd.

Their knowledge of the history and factories was fantastic, and they were able to relate it in a personal way that only somebody who lived it could. They didn't have too much information about the railroad, other than general memories, but I was able to confirm a few things.

What was a surprise to me though will be an important addition to the layout. Somebody had once asked about a steam engine that serviced Stanley Works. Based on the research I had done (up until my visit) I had thought it was replaced by the 44-tonners.

It wasn't. Stanley Works owned their own HK Porter "fireless" 40-ton steam locomotive (more recent information indicates it may be a 28-ton locomotive1/25/2011). There was no firebox, it was charged with steam daily from the factory boilers. But they recall it moving rolled steel from the Stanley Works complex (they rolled it onsite) to the Stanley Tool (aka Stanley Rule & Level) next to the station. Once of the aerial photos showed at least 15 freight cars on the first two sidings to the complex, in addition to quite a few in what was left of the Myrtle Street yard. This was in 1955 or later, so this little steamer had plenty of work to do. Later research leads me to believe it was retired in 1969.

I don't know if the Stanley Works locomotive used the Myrtle Street yard, and I also think that the small yard where the engine servicing facilities used to be may have also been used as a small storage yard. Even if the Stanley Works engine did not operate in those two yards, I'm guessing the 44-tonner did little work within the Stanley Works itself. So I'll probably have the 44-tonner working the American Hardware buildings, in addition to the Commerical Street yard, and the Stanley Works locomotive will shuffle around the cars in the Stanley Works complex. The New Hartford local (HDX-5) will work the east end of the city. By the 1959 freight schedule, HDX-5 dropped off cars in the morning, and picked up cars on the way back in the afternoon.

It also means that in order to fit this operation into the layout, I will probably have to model a little more of the Stanley Works than I was planning...

But that will have to all wait for at least another week, because this weekend is the Amherst Model Railroad show in Springfield. I actually have a small budget this year (as opposed to no budget) but I'm not quite sure how much I'll spend, and on what...

Feel free to say 'Hi' if you see me.