OK, it's been a while since I've posted anything significant. So I'll have some new things soon, but here's a quick rundown as to what I'm up to.
NE Proto Meet
First, the NE Proto Meet was great fun. The response for the True Line Trains minibox continues to be extremely positive, and I can say I'm very happy with the work the new factory has done for us.
I attended a few clinics, but most of the time was spent chatting with friends and checking out the models. It's always a great place to pick up new ideas and techniques.
The layout tour went well on Sunday too, but that's becoming somewhat routine. Dave Friedman brought over an R-1-b and L-1 for testing. The Key R-1-b had trouble (consistently) with only two turnouts that I'll work on. The Custom Brass L-1 was shorting on one of the 28" radius curves, but appeared to be something that might be rectified with tweaking the locomotive since he hasn't run it on anything less than 30".
I have both locomotives myself, and they have operated OK so far, but it's been a while (they are both DC still). So I will have to do some more testing and tweaking.
On the Thursday just before the meet, I hosted an ops session for several attendees. Bill, Chris and Joseph were helping out (and Bill supplied the motive power so the NH was leasing all power from the O&W that night). Two were new to me, Dave Fullerton and Will Lawrence from Nova Scotia. Dave Ramos and Tom Callan rounded out the crew. This was a great addition because I've been studying Dave's operation quite a bit for ideas.
Although initially he thought that he might be biting off more than he could chew, Chris had a blast as the Freight Agent. While we have a fair amount of tweaking to do, the process seemed to work pretty well.
Bill and Dave operated the Stanley Works, and completed their initial work very quickly. This is job we'll need to 'complicate' a bit. Will and Joseph handled the many through trains, and Dave and Tom were operating the New Britain switcher. We learned quite a few things about that job as well, but once they really got a handle on the layout it worked pretty well. Bill and Dave jumped in with an extra switcher for a bit to help out.
We identified some updates that are needed in the process and the paperwork, as well as the design of the layout (thankfully nothing major).
So, as for the 'nothing major'. As things have been progressing well and we've been figuring out how to do things faster at Harvey's, it was time to get moving on my layout. So first up I decided to complete the ground cover and ballasting for all of New Britain Yard. I was able to spray paint the track, put down all of the ground cover and ballast, and glue it all done in an afternoon. Worked like a charm. Until...
For some reason, and for the first time ever (to me anyway), the glue didn't dry clear. It's patchy and looks horrible across the entire yard. I considered pulling up the track and cleaning it all that way, and would replace what was necessary. Which led to me thinking that I could do everything that I wanted appearance-wise if I handlaid all of the track in the yard. It's a dozen turnouts and track.
In the end, while considering my options, I started scraping up all of the scenicking (yes, between all of the ties too), and redoing it. I love how it's coming out, just a bit slow. But I'm making progress. Unfortunately it's time I feel I could have spent making more progress on the layout rather than redoing the yard.
I'll have more info with pictures in a future post.
So Chris and I have been looking into what we want to work on. Because I've come upon more information about two of the four coal dealers that I'm modeling in town, I've been particularly interested in a proper fleet of hoppers. While we now have some fantastic RTR models from Kadee and Intermountain in particular, this is an area that will need to be supplemented by a number of resin kits and, yes, even some kitbashes. Well, more of a cleanup/modification of models with molded on parts rather than actual kitbashes. Either way it will require me to carve things off which is not one of my strong modeling points. I have a little practice on a DL-109 I've been working on as well.
So we've invited the rest of the Thursday Night Crew (the modelers anyway) to join us in working on some hopper projects. We've identified enough to keep us busy at least through the summer, but there will still be a few holes.
So that's about it for the current news. More information to come in future posts on these projects and more!