Monday, July 20, 2020

Misc Modeling Monday

First off, I want to thank everyone that took some time - right smack dab in the middle of a summer Saturday - to check out my NMRA-X presentation on Valley Line operations. If you missed it, you can check it out here (YouTube, choppy feed, starts at 3:06:43) or here (better Facebook feed, starts at 4:17:57).

As I mentioned in last Thursday's post, my MO lately has been to work on whatever I feel in the mood to work on. Now, this may seem obvious to most regular, sane, rational folks - this IS a hobby, after all - but it's actually quite a change for me since I typically work on one thing at a time, plowing directly forward with blinders on  . . . and usually getting thoroughly bogged down as soon as I confront any obstacle.

So, knowing that one of the benefits of having a large-ish layout is that there is always something different that needs to be done, I've been tackling a variety of things. Such as . . .

Back in April, I got this far with the house across the street from John Wallace's house on Fernwood Street in Wethersfield. I'd always planned to have a nice white picket fence around it, and I finally got to it.

One of the things I'm learning - as part of recognizing "there's always something different that you can do" - is to have a stack of "little" projects at the bench that I can just pick up and do whenever I have a bit of time. This picket fence kit by Mini-Tales (which The Missus gave me way back on Christmas, 2017) was just such a project.

It's laser cut something-or-other (I don't think it's wood - looks like some sort of fiberboard) and goes together really easy. The most complicated part is figuring out ahead of time what lengths you need and where the corners are going to be (check out my little plot plan on the biz card above). I didn't end up needing the gates at this point.

Assembly is a simple matter of using a razor blade to remove the parts from the carrier sheet (it's thinner than an XActo blade), planning how you're going to glue it together (based on your plot plan), and gluing it.

In my case, I cut the long side to length before assembly and decided to cut the other two shorter portions after assembly/painting.

To glue it together, I used very little glue, applied with a toothpick, on the "posts/supports" part then laid the "pickets" part on top.

This is the only photo I have showing what I do for the corner. Note that the fence nearest you doesn't have a post on the far left end, but only a picket. To form the corner, you glue that picket to the side of the post at the end of the other fence. Since I wanted to paint both sides of the fence in one spraying session, I used these stands to minimize points of contact.

I figured it'd be easier to touch up the back if necessary, so I painted the back first, then flipped it over to paint the front and set it aside to dry.

Since I was painting white anyway, I decided to spray the walls of another house (I'd previously sprayed the backs for the walls flat black). Yup, this is another City Classics Railroad Street Company House kit - like I used for the farmhouse at Goff Brook. I'll be building this one in a different configuration and it'll go behind the tracks at Dividend - weathered with a nice, dusty brown haze from the rayon factory.

Finally, I took the #359 (first mentioned at the end of this post) down to the basement for a test run. I'd loaded a custom speed table into it and it seemed ok on my test loop up in the workshop, but on the layout . .  . Ugh.  Check out the video:

I have an email out to TCS to see whether they have any other suggestions. I'm confident that this isn't a mechanical problem and I'm hoping that this can all be smoothed out with better programming.

So, a little progress on a lot of different fronts - not a bad MO for moving forward!


  1. You are not alone, Chris, in using that particular MO. As I mentioned back in the introvert/extrovert solo vs. group modeling conversation, introverts like myself need genuine time alone without the fear of being interrupted. Given my family's unpredictable nature, finding that time has been next to impossible. It has to be planned. But what to work on when you only have 15 guaranteed minutes of blessed solitude? Whatever you feel like! Just like saying the best tool is the one you'll use, the best project to work on is the one you'll actually sit down and take the next step to accomplish.

    Good luck solving the decoder problem, and nice work on the fence. Thanks as always for sharing your progress.

    1. Hey Galen! Great to hear from you, as always. Apologies for the tardy reply. Thanks for the compliment on the fence - just wait until the next photo when you see it actually installed (and, um, weathered!) And couldn't agree more with "the best project to work on is the one you'll actually sit down and take the next step to accomplish." I should paste that to my workbench (if not my forehead!) Thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment!