Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wordless Wednesday #116

Bell from a W&LE Berkshire at the Mad River & NKP RR Museum in Bellevue, OH 8-8-2016 Chris Ellis photo

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Back to Building Turnouts

Now that I'm getting close to laying track at Pine Valley I knew I should start building the odd ball turnouts I'll need.  Lately I've actually been looking forward to building a few turnouts, I've discovered it to be a very relaxing and meditative process.

Instead of "warming up" first by building a turnout in my Fast Tracks #6 assembly fixture, I just dove right in on the "freehand" paper template since it was a pretty straight forward #8 turnout.


Although I spent about a total of two hours, construction went smoothly and the the turnout performs flawlessly.  As a side note, I finally replaced the container of flux as the lid was getting impossible to remove due to flux on the cap threads. This jar of Radio Shack flux dates back to my High School days so I'd say it had a good life. I found a nice sized replacement at a local craft store and transferred the still good contents, maybe it will last me another 25 years.

Unfortunately the next night I started on a curved #6 and that didn't go so well. When rolling a truck through the diverging route, the lead wheel will pick the frog point and try to reroute. I've tried filing various frog rails and even unsoldering the whole frog point and moving it in a bit with no change. There were also some gauge issues which I believe is from using curved rail that was made for a different turnout that I never started. I'm torn between trying again to fix it or trash it as a source for guard rails and move on.

The offending #6 50/30 radius.
Ether way I decide, live and learn.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Trying out Structures from Photos; The Dillonvale Mill

Last weekend fellow modeler Tim Moran showed me a building he made for his NKP Canton layout that was made from photos. For being just paper and card stock I thought the end result looked great. Lance Mindheim also made great use of this technique on his CSX Miami based "East Rail" and the "Los Angeles Junction Railway". I've always wanted to try my hand at making buildings from photos and realized I had a good opportunity in front of me to experiment on, even if only for a temporary structure.

As part of my idea to use structures to help downplay the "stairway tunnel" at Pine Valley Yard, I made a card stock mockup of the old Dillionvale Mill. The mill was notable for the large iconic "Mail Pouch Tobacco" advertising painted on it's westward face in my 1950's time period. This old concrete silo is certainly the tallest structure in Dillonvale and still stands today although now the Mail Pouch sign is almost completely faded away. I only have a few photos of railroad action in front of the silo and luckily the only one in color and from the front was taken during steam. If you have it see page 113 of the book "Nickel Plate Color Photography Volume 3 The Railfan Perspective".

Here's the prototype.

Dillonvale Mill, Dillonvale OH 12-24-2007 Photo by Scottamus
From what I understand even in my 1950's modeling era the silo was unused. It was probably just too solid to bother tearing down. One difference form then and now is aerial photos from the 1958 show no garage attached to the front of the concrete silo unlike in present time. Since the structure still stands today I used Google Map's measurement tool to provide the length and width of the silo. Another photograph and some algebra provided the height measurement.

My final version of the concrete silo will have the painted Mail Pouch Tobacco ad but as I said in the beginning of this post I wanted to try out photoshopping pictures into something that can be laminated onto of foam core or card stock. I took the photo shown above and the other photo linked from into Adobe Photoshop CS and worked the perspective out of the images, removed the garage and resized them to HO scale. Because this isn't the final 1950's version of the silo I printed the building sides on cardstock instead of the recommended matte photo paper. Then I used double sided tape to stick it to the card stock L-shaped form.

The side wall as it ended up a bit shorter than I anticipated but over all I'm pleased with the results. It helps to have great photos to use but when you're trying trying to recreate a world that existed 60 years ago that can be tough. I will still be able to use the 2007 version of the concrete silo in Photoshop as a guide to repaint the Mail Pouch ad, the lettering is almost all still there!

For fun I placed the silo where it would go to help draw the eye away from the stairway tunnel and double checked the scale with some equipment.

Looks good if this was the year 2000+

Let's try again.

That matches the age of the silo better! It's been years since the Wheeling dropped off covered hoppers full of fracking sand at Dillonvale but this view is still possible. I think I prefer the steam view..

To hide the "stairway tunnel" I plan to use styrene sheet for the backdrop and above the opening painted my sky color in addition to lighting for the "tunnel" part. Ive seen good examples of how light beyond a hole in the wall really helps to hide the fact its a dark hole in the wall. All that plus the structures like the old Mail Pouch Tobacco concrete silo should lessen the visual impact.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wordless Wednesday #113

Little late..
633 headed east out of Pine Valley Yard, notice the Coal Dock at right. Dillonvale, OH 4-15-1950