Tuesday, March 26, 2024

This is getting a little ridiculous - and a Tuesday Tip

My last actual update was way back on January 18 - before the big Springfield/Amherst show. Since then, all I've posted have been photos - and even those haven't been posted so often. I've missed more than a few Wordless Wednesdays along the way.

Unfortunately for this blog, the Valley Local Facebook group is much easier to post to. And even that has suffered these past couple of months due to a variety of things including the before and aftermath of the Springfield show, coming down with COVID, the start of my legislative session, helping a friend dismantle his layout, and having the basement flood. But not all of you are on Facebook, so you haven't seen any of those updates.

As for the layout, I have managed to do some more scenery in Saybrook - including installation of some walkways, finally finished the Sunset Diner in Cromwell - including a sign, and I ripped out and redid the scenery at Camp Bethel.

The last post in pictures showed all that, as well as the mocking up I'm doing in Middletown, and some photos of Pete's layout demolition. That last post is from over a month ago. For the last two weekends since then, I've been dealing with the basement flood and cleanup. Fortunately, the layout wasn't damaged.

I guess all this is by way of some excuse explanation for why the blog has suffered. I just don't have the time right now to keep up with it as regularly as I'd like. And what time I do have, I'd rather spend working on the layout rather than writing about it. Hopefully this'll change for the better when my time frees up after May 8 . . .

In the meantime, I will try to post here when I can share something quick and especially helpful - like window glazing. . .

I discovered a building I'd received some time ago from Bill Maguire had some windows that needed "glass." They're really nicely done windows - with top and bottom sashes on different planes, like the prototype. So, instead of cutting two little pieces of clear styrene really precisely per window (otherwise there would have been a gap between the "glass" and the lower sash), I decided to use some Microscale Micro Kristal Klear for glazing. I applied it with a toothpick around the edges of each opening, and then "pulled" it across the opening to basically create a bubble that covered the opening.

Then I set them aside to dry, face up. . . 

That ended up being a HUGE fail since the glazing oozed down to the work surface, essentially gluing the windows to the bench. Fortunately, I realized my mistake in time to pull up the windows and redo the glazing.

This time, I had them dry face down . . .

I'm pretty pleased with how they came out - especially when compared to the time it would have taken to cut up 12 little squares of styrene. If the sashes were on the same plane, I could have just gotten by with one large piece of styrene - not precision cut to fit - per window. But this process is quick enough.

If you try this technique, here are some Pro Tips:
  • Use the point of a toothpick to apply with some precision.
  • Apply to the back so you don't get any (or only little) material on the front.
  • Don't be bashful about the amount of material you use, just don't use so much you goop it all over the window. The material does shrink a bit when drying, so you need enough to be able to "pull" it over the entire opening.
  • Let the windows dry face down and/or on wax paper so they don't stick to the surface you're drying them on.
As they say, your mileage may vary, but I like this technique enough that I plan to use it in the future - unless/until I find some pre-cut microscope glass that'll fit :^)

Let me know if you try out the Kristal Klear and what you think about it.

And thanks also for sticking around. Unlike Facebook, I have no idea how many folks actually read the blog anymore, so it's good to know that you're out there.

In the meantime, I hope to make some more progress on the layout - and hope to have more time to share it with you here!

Till later...

Thursday, January 18, 2024

A Quick Update . . .

As you can see from yesterday's post, I haven't given up on the blog - though it may look like it. Suffice it to say that the past four weeks have been unusual.  The Missus and I were supposed to leave the morning of December 23rd to head down south to visit my family for the holidays. In fact, we were all packed - presents and everything - & ready to go that Friday night, but I came down with some sort of bug (not COVID, fortunately) that laid me out for over a week. Long story short - we didn't get to visit my family and between being sick, the holidays, and ramping up for the 2024 legislative session, things haven't been quite normal.

But layout progress - though often thwarted - has continued, at least a little bit. I have folks literally from around the world visit during the Big Railroad Hobby Show (aka "Springfield" aka "The Big E show" aka "The Amherst Show")) later this month, so I want to get some more stuff done.

As of the last layout update, I'd finished the Bethel cottages and was getting ready to start on the scenery. I did some ground goop and placed the foundations, but progress there has pretty much stopped while I try to figure out how to proceed. I have to figure out the photo backdrop - and 2 of the 3 foundations have "settled" & are no longer dead level, making me consider ripping them out and doing them over again...

So I turned my attention to the Saybrook Scene, which is the first thing visitors see when they come down the basement. Once BillS did the structures and scenery there (I don't even want to hazard a guess as to how long ago THAT was!), I turned my attention to the rest of the layout. But it's become High Time to ballast the track there, and finish up the scenic details and other scenery - not to mention the Route 1 overpass, photo backdrop, etc.

Check out the photos from yesterday to see how things stand there as of now . . .

Since I got water in my basement last weekend (another setback we don't need to get into :^), I lost a few more good layout work days, so I doubt I'll be able to get this scene finished in time for the Springfield show, but at least I'm making progress despite all the challenges. #DoOneThing  has really helped make sure progress, even if it's slow...

Speaking of #DoOneThing, if you don't mind Facebook, remember there's a Valley Local group over there. You don't have to love FB to parachute into the cool groups over there and follow the progress. And, I hate to admit it, it's a *lot* easier to post quick progress pics there as I'm working. So be sure to check it out.

That said though, I do plan to do more regular posting here - and was, until I got derailed a bit this past month. So thanks for your patience and hopefully you'll stay tuned!

In the meantime - Happy New Year!

(which reminds me - I haven't done an "Accomplishments/Goals" post in forever...)