Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Where has the year gone?

Well, after a very consistent 2021, I've been very inconsistent posting in 2022.

Even the NE Proto Meet didn't kick off a flurry of modeling activity this year. It's not that I haven't been working on anything at all though, but I think it's time to take stock of where I am and what I need to work on this year.

First off, I've been able to put in a lot of hours at CNZR since last fall, which has severely cut into my normal modeling time. We're also nearly 23 years in this house (new when we moved in), so household projects have been taking up a lot of the time that has been left each week. This is all in addition to my usual "day job" activities that pay the bills. We usually only take one vacation each year, but for whatever reason we've already gone away once this year and have three more trips over the next several months. It has been an unusually busy year on non-modeling activities.

On the model railroad "business" side, rebuilding the website is still behind schedule, but fortunately Google extended the deadline another 6-months before the old site is shut down. I'm also involved in several model kit (passenger and freight car) projects that will start to be released over the next 6-months or so. In addition to the research and work related to the production of the kits themselves, I'm also working on getting clinics prepared related to them. 

I have also found that with so much going on, when I have had time to get down and work on things, I've lacked motivation or even the energy to do so. Things are progressing, just not at a record pace.

The point is, like most of us, model railroading fits within the spaces of the rest of our lives.

Starting the second half of the year, what are the goals? After watching Bill's layout growing so quickly, operating on Chris' layout and, in particular, visiting a number of new layouts this year, there are two obvious goals that I continue to avoid, despite my declarations in the past.

  1. Operating
    1. Test and glue down remaining track.
    2. Install feeders, including modifying the mainline wiring for signaling.
    3. Install switch machines for the mainline switches.
  2. Base Scenery
    1. Ballast
    2. Ground Cover
    3. Fences/Gates

Operating is key, because I really like getting together to run trains. I've been working on things like passenger cars, some locomotives, etc., because in the long run they are key elements that need to be completed for full operating sessions. But as I've noted before, for a 1953 session all I need are RDCs, two 44-tonners, and another switcher of some sort for Stanley Works. That could easily be the third 44-tonner, so that means getting those three locomotives finished. Not all of the passenger cars, etc.

While not all of the layouts I've seen were completed in terms of scenery, I definitely felt that those that were further along were far more inspiring than the current state of my layout. Even those layouts that aren't "complete" yet, like Bill's and Chris', they have a significant amount of scenery done.

Since most of the time I'm visiting a layout specifically to operate, my focus hasn't been on the scenery as much. I've appreciated the work they've done, but it wasn't as much of a priority for me. However, when visiting several layouts for open houses after the NE Proto Meet, my focus was entirely on the scenery and the layout presentation. 

For all practical purposes, the amount of scenery Bill and Chris have completed on each of their layouts is no more than the space my entire layout occupies. And those are completed scenes, with structures, etc. I should be able to complete at least the basics relatively quickly. I know I can, since I did it on Harvey's layout.

It's not to say I've done nothing this year.

In addition to the passenger cars that I've been working on, I have built several Campbell horizontal oil tanks (2 sizes), a Rix vertical oil tank (not pictured), and a pair of Walthers LP tanks that I shortened. The three tanks on the right will go elsewhere, but the LP tanks, pump houses, and single horizontal tank are mocked up where I think they will reside for Fafnir Bearing. 

The next few weeks look to be just as busy, but I can at least start prepping for some of the jobs that need to get done so I can work through them more quickly.

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