Little Victories

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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.

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Meanwhile, Back at Susquehannock Industrial Park…

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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!

 

Abandoned at Kinzua Bridge: A True Story of The Wilderness

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Every August, our Boy Scout troop spent a weekend at a camp in northern Pennsylvania, with other troops from all over the region. We’d do the usual Scout-type stuff: learn a little woodcraft, trade patches, play a few pranks on the new kids, play Uno by the light of a Coleman lantern. When an all-day hike to Kinzua Bridge was announced during the 1982 camp, I signed up immediately. Hey, Kinzua Bridge, right? One-time tallest railroad bridge in the world? You bet I’m going.

Getting back turned out to be a little complicated.

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Denazification

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The engine was peeking out of a box under Paul’s table at the Batavia show as I walked past. I stopped, and gently pulled it out for a closer look. Paul looked decidedly uncomfortable. It was easy to see why.

It’s an American Flyer 316, an S gauge model of a Pennsylvania Railroad K-5 Pacific. Manufactured about 1955, beautiful die-cast shell, smoke unit, knuckle coupler, even an air-chime whistle. Nice engine, or at least it started out that way. Then somebody came along and plastered swastikas all over it. Paul picked it up with a bunch of other AF items, some similarly decorated, at an estate sale. He could offer no explanation for why someone would do this, and neither can I.

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Complex Interactions of Wheel and Rail

Broadway_closeup_906Another fall show season has come and gone so quickly! After spearheading the 12-table T-Trak layout at the Syracuse show, I helped with smaller layouts at Batavia, The TTCS Eagle show, and the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, before coordinating a 4-table T-Trak layout at the RIT show. No two layouts were alike; modular layouts never are. Each had its challenges to be met. The Syracuse layout, in particular, presented several situations where mechanical issues required finessing, in order to keep trains on track, together, and rolling.

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