These days, I’m known amongst most of my fellow hobbyists as an N scale guy, although there are a few who still remember my S scale past. I’m not one of those people who switch scales every couple of years. I have never, ever dabbled in HO scale, even though it’s the most popular scale. So when I picked up some used HO scale boxcars at the spring shows, my friends naturally started freaking out.
“You’re not getting out of N, are you?” they asked, perhaps anxious that I’d no longer be able to help them with their Micro-Trains coupler problems. (more…)
I remember my first trip to the big show in Springfield, nearly ten years ago. I carpooled with some clubmates, and we spent a weekend operating on a very large Ntrak modular layout, with members of several clubs participating. On Sunday afternoon, there was a competition known as the “Parade of Trains.” The idea was simple: put a train on the track, and run it for three laps around the layout, past a panel of judges. My entry was a mix of mid-Sixties freight cars, weathered, pulled by three diesels in two different paint schemes. A lot of the other entries were passenger sets, matched cars taken straight of of the box and dropped onto the railroad. “That’s pretty lame,” I said to myself, “I’d never do something like that.”
Actually, that’s exactly what I do with my Kato Broadway Limited passenger-train set. I have to eat my words now.
Several of my clubmates have attended the N Scale Weekend show in Bedford, Pennsylvania over the past several years, and have urged me to join them. The event is no longer held in Bedford—this year, it relocated to Altoona—but no matter. I went along, and had a great time. I somehow managed to make it home with a whopping 19¢ still in my pocket.
Once upon a time, Dave built some T-Trak modules. He spread a pair of passing sidings across several of them, and called them “the yard modules.” Those modules proved incredibly useful, and were included in every show layout. When Dave took a break from the hobby, Dana got the yard modules, and they went to so many shows that their foam-over-flakeboard carcases got all beat up. I built new carcases from oak-veneer plywood, and Dana and I installed the old track on them. They continued to go to every show. When Dana stepped back from his train-show activities, I got the yard modules, and here our story begins. (more…)
Atlas, one of model railroading’s most established manufacturers, came late to the online-ordering party. They finally have a web site where you can add items to a virtual cart, feed in a credit-card number, pick a shipper, and have merchandise show up on your porch. You know, the kind of thing that everybody does these days. Half the part listings have no pictures. I never received a shipment notification, let alone a tracking number. I read complaints from other N scalers that shipments would take weeks or months to show up. But I pulled the trigger on Monday anyway, the box appeared on my porch Saturday, and it was full of stuff that solved old problems. Celebrate the little victories.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the Susquehannock Industrial Park project, mainly because I haven’t made much progress. I have done some work on the Bickles Foods factory since I got the walls assembled. The roof is finally coming together.
You may recall that I “wanted the rooflines a little less chaotic” than Art Curren’s original kitbashed structure, which combined original kit roof panels with a variety of scrapbox parts for a very interesting roof. I don’t want my roof to be particularly interesting, which means that it’s going to take more effort. Go figure.
So, the roof panels are cut to shape and (mostly) fitted together, but there’s still much to do. I had to do some splicing work, because the structure is longer than the styrene sheet I used, but the joints went together evenly, and should look great once everything is complete and painted. Watch this space for further updates!
This hobby does many good things for me. It’s a channel for creative expression, an entre into new fields of learning, a doorway to social settings. But a means of relaxation? Um, not really. I can be a terrible perfectionist at times. (more…)