Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Wordless Wednesday #379 - Christmastime

Here are some pics from my Christmas layout to put you in the holiday mood. Hope you enjoy them and hope, even more, that you and yours have a Wonderful and Very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Hindsight 20/20 11.0 - December 4, 2021

The guys over at Hindsight 20/20 (aka Ted, Hunter, and Ryan) are hosting another fun day of model railroad clinics and presentations via Zoom on Saturday December 4. The whole day is FREE, but does require registration in advance.

So be sure to head on over to , "Add to Cart" and plan for a fun afternoon and evening of great model railroading.

And - shameless plug - you may notice that I'll be presenting a shortened highly-focused version of my "Modeling the Valley Local" presentation right before dinner time.

It's going to be a busy day with the HUB Division train show in Marlborough, MA that weekend, but I can't think of a better way to kick "model railroad season" into high gear!

Hope to see you either at the show or during Hindsight - or both!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday Messin' Around

I spent an enjoyable afternoon yesterday tearing up rethinking Middletown a bit and even took a quick roadtrip to the prototype town to shoot some backdrop photos and get a better sense of the area. That's one of the biggest blessings of modeling something you're not only familiar with, but close to - quick, onsite field trips are easy. It'd sure be different if I was modeling Colorado!

ANYway, I'll get into what's going on in Middletown in a future post. But for now, I'll share some quick grab shots I took yesterday while mulling Middletown...

My dad has a 1946 Ford Business Coupe so when I saw this in a pile of HO scale cars and trucks, I had to get it. While it's a '47/'48 model, it's black with silver accents just like dad's car. And of course, it fits my era perfectly. Ol' Chet will have some fun toodling around the Valley Line in this. . .

It seems like forever since Don Janes and Greg Stubbings visited the Valley Line - actually, it was 4 years ago last week(!) But in addition to the memories of their visit, a lasting momento was supplied by Don who worked his weathering wizardry on one of my wagontop boxcars. It just looks so great, I had to take some photos of it along with my recent scenery efforts. Chet apparently approves...

The iPhone SE does a decent job of taking modeling/layout photos, but I'd really like to get a camera that does focus stacking (or maybe there's some iPhone software that'll do it) for better depth of field. I heard earlier today that the Canon EOS R5 does it - and saw the amazing results! - but almost 4 large for just the body is a bit way out of my price range...

So for now, I'll just content myself with some grab shots and just messin' around.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Ten Year Anniversary

As I was putting together (well, really, updating) a presentation on Modeling the Valley Local that I'll be doing tomorrow for the NMRA's NCR Division 2 (way out in Michigan! Thank goodness for Zoom...), I came across the following slide:

And I realized with everything going on last month, I'd totally blown past the 10 year anniversary of starting this layout(!)

So, albeit a little belated, here are a few fun photos from the early(est) days . . .

October 29, 2011
With Randy's help, I'd developed a rough trackplan, but most of the final planning was done with full size mockups on the floor like this. This will be Middletown, with a "typical" Valley Local for scale.

Looking back toward the peninsula, with Wethersfield roughed in on the far side.

November 16, 2011
To be fair, October-December 2011 saw the final planning & mocking up. This is Essex, being roughed-in in the other room. I wouldn't start laying the first track until January, 2012 - and I wouldn't get to Essex until two years later.

Another view of the Wethersfield/Rocky Hill peninsula, with Rocky Hill being mocked-up.

November 25
First benchwork going up - so maybe I'm actually 6 days early for a 10 yr anniversary? :^)

November 26
View toward Middletown, with Rosie supervising.

November 28
Looking toward Rocky Hill & the peninsula.

December 17, 2011
Overall view of the main (Middletown/Cromwell/Rocky Hill/Wethersfield) room.

I moved the craft paper & turnout template mockups from the floor to rest on the benchwork. Then, using more mockups of buildings & such, I finalized the track layout. This is Wethersfield, looking back toward the "north" end of Middletown in the far corner.

Using all this info, I drew outlines around the track and proposed building footprints to determine the subroadbed/plywood cuts. This is Dividend looking toward the Goff Brook/Wethersfield end/side of the peninsula.

Then it was "just" a matter of cutting up the paper and arranging the cutouts on plywood in cookie-cutter fashion . . .

. . . then lay it on the benchwork. This is looking toward the "neck" of the peninsula - Rocky Hill on the left and Wethersfield on the right.

New Year's Eve - December 31, 2011
This was an ill-fated experiment in raising the layout to eye level. As you can see, given the benchwork/girder height, it would have required really long risers!
I'm glad I rethought this idea.

January 3, 2012
Speaking of risers, with the coming of the new year - and all the subroadbed cut for the layout in the "main" room - it was time to set up a "riser construction workstation." For that, I needed a chop saw, wood glue, clamps, and LOTS of 1x2 & 1x1 material.

Risers galore!

Going into the archives for these early construction photos, I realize that while it was 10 years ago last month that I started documenting my layout progress, the "groundbreaking" (finishing planning/beginning benchwork) really happened this whole autumn season, 10 years ago.

Wow - time really flies. And the layout is nowhere near being done. Guess I'd better get back to it!

Hope you've enjoyed this little trip to the beginnings of the Valley Line as much as I have - and are as motivated as I am to make some more progress!