Friday, April 19, 2024

Running back to Bill Schopp

Vince alerted me to these 2 excellent videos by Tom Pierpoint about customizing brass locomotives. It's very impressive stuff.

Interestingly both make a tip-of-the-hat to Bill Schopp and his legendary loco customization projects.

The other thing that's been on my mind this week is The Guess Who. When I was in Austin recently I got into a long discussion about this and that in a record store with my friend's cousin. Somehow we got onto the topic of The Guess Who and their early 2000s Running Back Thru Canada tour. Since I've returned I've gotten all nostalgic and have been playing the videos from that show. There should be no doubt that Winnipeg is the great music city of Canada.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Town & Country Charger...via the E. L. Moore School of Design?

Last fall I bought a stack of old Car Model magazines. It was the Sept '72 issue that got me started as a serious model maker, so I have a sentimental attachment to the magazine.

I was re-reading a few from the stack last night and came across this story in the June '70 issue by R. Keith Blackmon on how to add exterior wood paneling to a 1/24 scale car. He chose a Dodge Charger for the treatment!

The car looks quite handsome and gives me some ideas. But, the big question is: since it used 1/32" thick balsa for the edge trim, was this E. L. Moore inspired? :-)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Model of LBJ's ranch house

We were visiting Austin, TX recently and had the opportunity to tour the LBJ Presidential Library. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Austin. It's a fascinating building and the exhibits are excellent. Being interested in miniature folk art buildings my radar instantly latched onto this model of LBJ's ranch house.

The model was made by Mr. Ralph Doppler and given to the president and first lady on Easter Sunday, 1966 after the service at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg. According to this Facebook post at the Friends of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park:

"Mr. Doppler was a local refrigeration engineer who would later be honored by the Gillespie County Historical Society for his work on wooden scale models of historical buildings."

Ladybird Johnson noted in her audio diary:

"Mr. Ralph Doppler who makes models for a hobby had constructed a very minute, detailed, excellent model of our Ranch house, complete, even to the Eagle over the front door of the stone part." 

I'm not sure what scale it is. Maybe something between O and S? It hardly matters. It's quite a decent model and well preserved.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Moon Train: Is DARPA finally keeping up with MR?

MR's lunar railway in the Apr '78 issue

Earlier this week I stumbled across an article in Business Insider about DARPA contracting Northrup Grumman to come up with a design for a lunar railway.

It's getting close to April Fool's Day and I wondered if the story was an elaborate joke. It turns out, no, it's real all right*. I don't fault myself with thinking this could be a joke because back in the April '78 issue of Model Railroader they published a story by Alan Cerny and Bob Hayden on how to build a model railway set on the moon. It was complete with model photos, extensive line drawings, and a track plan, It was also an elaborate April Fool's joke. I should have known because traditionally in the April issue model railroad magazines often included one tongue-in-cheek story. This was one for 1978, but I was duped and took it seriously. Maybe the good people at Northrup Grumman should jump in a time machine and have a look :-)

Speaking of having a look, take a look at this April Fool's lunar railway mockumentary. Pay special attention at the 9 minute mark.

*Well, if it does turn out to be a joke, there's no fool like an old train fool.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

A 3D Printed Version of E. L. Moore's Rube's Rhubarb Plant

3D printed version of Rube's Rhubarb Plant

A reader kindly alerted me to a 3D printed version of E. L. Moore's Rube's Rhubarb Plant that's currently for sale on eBay.

I've been wondering for awhile when 3D printed versions of E. L. Moore's projects would arrive. I wonder no more. They're here.