Sunday, August 3, 2014

Modeling on vacation and/or in a small space

Well, I didn't get as much modeling accomplished while on vacation as I'd hoped.  No surprise, really. I'd taken an even dozen boxcar kits to build - enough for a full week of rainy days. But the weather turned out to be much nicer than predicted and, even with a just-about-ideal work space, it was hard not to spend some time outside. But I did get a couple of boxcars almost done.

So, in lieu of photos of actual progress, I'll share a few more photos of the space - and provide a couple of tips for what to be sure to pack if you actually are cooped up in the hotel room during your vacation this summer.

When we got to the inn, we had a choice of two rooms.  One had an end table, but the other had this nice desk. We chose the room with the desk.

And you can see why - those cubby (cubbie?) holes are the BOMB! If you have no space for a workshop, you can't do much better than get an old second-hand desk like this for your modeling. It'd look perfectly in-place in a nice living room - but see what you have when it's opened.  Yes, that's 12 boxcar kits there(!) You could store your kits in a box underneath and have plenty of room for your projects and tools.

Took just a few minutes to set up. The toolbox & cutting mat were in the box on the floor, but everything else was stored in the desk. Bonus that I was by a window, so I could look out and see what I was missing. Unfortunately, given the weather, the temptation to go outside proved too strong too often.

And here it is while actually doing the project. Tools that I'm using are in the kit box on the right, to keep them from going astray - or onto the floor.  Good lighting is a must. I brought my OptiVisor, but the bendy desk lamp was sufficient.

Despite bringing my whole box of tools, this is all I really ended up needing to put together intermediate boxcar kits from IMWX, Red Caboose, etc. All pretty self-explanatory, though the tool above the pin vise is a pair of sprue nippers I can't get along without.  The pin vise was for enlarging holes for grabs and such. I apply glue with the microbrush in the center (white handle). I had forgotten to bring silicone caulk to affix car weights.
While I didn't end up getting much modeling done, I was certainly prepared if vacation weather had taken a turn for the worse. As it was, if I'd been cooped up in the room for a whole week, I probably wouldn't have been able to build all I took with me. But it's always best to be prepared for the worst - in this case, even bad weather would have turned out for the best.

Have any of you taken your hobby on vacation? If so, what - if anything - did you do differently?

Now that I'm back home, I'm going to finish those two boxcars at least. And I have a growing punch list of items to do on the layout that came up during the last operating session. I also have some more-detailed reports of that ops session to get written up and posted. So, plenty to do.

Hope you're all having a great summer and able to get some modeling done!


  1. When I had started a new job in a town about 2 hrs away from our house, but before we had moved to our current home, I was commuting once a week and staying in a guest house/cabin during the work week. I packed a little plastic tub with a lid full of tools, glue, paint, etc. and a few kits. Those few months away was one of the most productive modeling periods! Aside from being away from the immediate responsibilities of raising small children, and the free time that allows, all I needed to work on the few projects I had was right there in the tub. I could leave the modeling out on the little table during the week, then when my family came to stay occasionally or some other need arose I could pack it away easily. That time influenced how I have been organizing my modeling ever since. I have begun to adopt a less-is-more approach and work hard at keeping everything in its place.

  2. Hi Galen and thanks for stopping by! Yes, it's so nice to have some space & time to just model without distraction. And having everything you need right at hand makes it a pleasure - and especially productive. Thanks for sharing your experience!