Sunday, August 24, 2014

In the dining car

I have a few pictures that have no annotations or other indications about when or where they taken. All I can say about this one is it was probably shot sometime in the winter of '43 or '44.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Last night Vince informed me that Carstens Publications, the publisher of Railroad Model Craftsman, had ceased operations and was permanently closed ending the 80+ year run of RMC that started in March 1933. Strangely, Debra and I were watching The Railway Man when I received Vince's message. RMC was instrumental in providing E. L. Moore a platform for publishing around half of the articles and photos in his entire catalogue. Without RMC, he may not have had the same presence on the mid 20th century scene that he did. Hopefully, RMC's intellectual property will find a proper home.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Revell Porsche 911

I had a number of bits and pieces remaining from an old Revell Porsche 911 kit I built in the '70s. Awhile back I set about taking stock, cleaning what was left and figuring out how I could replace missing parts. However, once I had cleaned the shell and took the above picture, I thought that cleaned up piece said it all about the kit and I left it at that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Driving with trams in Melbourne

Vince sent me a link to this interesting video about how to drive your car on Melbourne streets that include tram traffic. It's got a driver's ed vibe, but I've never been to Melbourne and these glimpses of trams plying the streets of the city are quite interesting. Although, I don't think I'd ever master that 'hook turn'.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Canadian prairies, Winter, 1944

Somewhere on the railway between Winnipeg and Calgary. Late winter. Maybe February or March 1944. Photo by William Henry Wood. It looks bleak and desolate.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grain mill rebuilt

Back in June I posted a collection of photos of the aftermath of a grain mill explosion that took place sometime between February and March 1944, possibly somewhere near Winnipeg, Manitoba. These are photos of that same mill after a great deal of repair and reconstruction. From what I can tell, my uncle, William Henry Wood, shot them sometime in September 1944.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Purity Flour Mill, St. Boniface, Manitoba, 1943

[Purity Flour, St. Boniface, Man.; photo and caption by William Henry Wood.]

The top photo gives a good impression of how huge the central section of the structure is in comparison to the boxcars, but this second one shows how massive it is overall.

[Flour mill of Purity Flour at St. Boniface, Man., on Sept 23/43; photo and caption by William Henry Wood.]

Friday, August 15, 2014

Convenience store update

Although we’re having an unusually fall-like summer due to a so-called ‘polar-vortex’ reaching down from the arctic,  when the real fall gets here I plan to get back to my layout to install a lot of lights and make a number of other changes. One is to add these convenience stores.
[The Walther's kit that is going to be turned into a Mac's Milk store. At this point the window and door unit has been successfully installed.]

I had separate threads for these two buildings, but given their similarity I thought I’d combine them.
[The main door on Le Tablier Rouge is inset from the facade. It's built from sheet styrene.]

I’ve added a street sign to the Tablier Rouge. It’s rather simple and is just a printout of a photo that’s been installed in a rectangular frame made from painted styrene shapes. There’s a piece of clear plastic over top of the printout to give it a glossy finish. It’s not lit. I’d like to add some photos of an actual store interior to the Rouge’s and light it. As well, there’s still a bit of work that needs to be done on the façade to add steps and unify the finishes.
[That little peg in the lower left corner - and his brother on the other side - were mismatched with the holes on the window and door unit preventing it from being installed.]

The Walther’s store kit is dead simple, but there was one annoying quirk I stumbled across while trying to install the façade’s window unit. The pegs molded into the front brick part of the façade don’t line up with the corresponding mounting holes in the window piece. Once the pegs were ground off, the window unit fit just fine, and the corresponding clear plastic overlay installed ok too.
[Here is the window and door unit installed after the the pegs were ground off.]

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lincoln Continental station wagon

Every summer Debra and I drive up and down what TVO has dubbed The Lost Highway. There’s a place along that highway where three old Lincoln Continentals have been sitting for what seems like a decade or more. I’ve lost count of the number of years they’ve been there. They never seem to have been moved. It’s a shame. They started out in what looked like good shape, but the wind and rain and snow are taking their toll. They’re rusting into the ground. The only good news is my plastic Lincoln Continental station wagon model still sits on my shelf proudly ensconced in an acrylic box, free of rust and dust.
Unlike the Dodge Rampage and Dodge AT-AT builds, this one did get posted at retroDynamics, but I didn’t have as much fun building it as I did those other two. At one point it even got dropped on the floor during the painting process – a Freudian slip no doubt :-)  Although, I enjoy looking at it and the feelings of ennui experienced during the build have long disappeared. When I look back on the model building projects I’ve undertaken, my pattern seems to be that I can only stay interested in a project if it seems hard. Relatively easy ones like this Lincoln often lose their hold somewhere in the process, and then it’s fifty/fifty whether I’ll finish. But, through the magic of the internet, I can present all the instalments of the build with none of the moments of existential angst :-)

1965 Lincoln Continental Station Wagon - A start
11 April 2010
I think retrodynamics is losing its way and hopefully I'll get it back to the way I had originally hoped it would go: some models, some science and engineering, and some retro-culture.
I started this kit a week or so ago just to try the challenge of converting it to the station wagon shown on the box top. I don't think the Continental ever had a station wagon model, especially since in this kit the roof itself is 2/3 glass - it would literally be one hot ride on a sunny, summer day.
These are a couple photos of the initial cutting to remove the rear deck and open up the body for the wagon top. I'm in the middle of smoothing out the roof seams and priming the body for paint. More photos to come.
Lincoln primed
25 April 2010
I've finished the primer coat on the Lincoln body. I used Tamiya's Fine Surface Primer, and I must say that it does produce a nice, fine finish. 

I've also begun building-up the chassis. The hood has been glued to the body, so the engine isn't going to be seen other than the parts that can be viewed from below, and even the chassis isn't primary to the project, so, I decided to simply assemble the engine and chassis, paint the whole thing flat-black, and muddy it up a bit to simulate a little use. The picture shows the beginning of the weathering process.
The engine in this kit is very old-school and is one of those where the steel axle for the front wheels goes right through the engine block and the oil pan. With the whole underside blackened and dirtied, the visibility of this 'feature' is minimized.

Lincoln painted
5 May 2010
I sprayed the body with Krylon's Fusion Buttercream paint. The colour is pretty close to the colour of the station-wagon variant shown on the box. Also, I'm a big fan of the spray-head on Krylon's Fusion series of spray paints. Instead of a spray with a noticeable velocity and well-defined cone, the spray-head on a Fusion can creates a more mist-like spray with a lower output velocity. I find it easier to work with.
I used Krylon's Fusion Nickel Shimmer spray to paint the bumpers and hub caps.
These items are chromed in the kit, but I find the chroming a bit garish, so it was striped off by soaking in SuperClean. The embossed 1965's were ground off the license plate indentations on the bumpers. After washing in soap and water, and scrubbing with a stiff brush, these items were ready for painting.

Lincoln wrap-up
23 September 2010
I finished the Lincoln wagon. I must admit it was a bit of a slog, and I got to a point where all I wanted to do was finish and move on.

I think the project was so drawn out because when I started to do some detail painting on the body I dropped it on the shop floor and cracked the roof. I then had to backtrack and reshape, reputty, resand, and repaint to get it back to its original state. After that, I moved on to some other projects. I think I was depressed with this one after the big repair effort.
I wasn’t liking the glossy Butter Cream body colour either. But I fixed that up a little later.

Later in the summer I resumed work on the Lincoln – I thought it might make a good photo prop.

There were some fun parts in this build. Detail painting the body, along with the grill and bumpers was fun, as was the work on the interior. I used gray and brown pastel on the body to age it a bit. I wanted to give the impression that it was a little weary and had made one too many trips to the grocery store. The pastels were set in place with Tester’s Dullcote. I also used the pastel and Dullcote approach on the interior.
Final assembly wasn’t so fun. The upshot is that the window inserts, interior tubs and body don’t fit together into an integrated unit all that well. It was apparent that to make things more-or-less perfect fitting was going to require lots of filing and finessing. More than I wanted to do. So, I just fit things together to get a good-enough fit that wasn’t too horrible.
The worst parts are the gaps in the trunk area where the trunk tub, window insert, and body come together, followed by a little chassis overhang below the door-line. I think I might try making some model grocery bags to put in the trunk to disguise the gaps and add a little visual interest. Overall, with carefully staged photos, the problem areas won’t be too noticeable, but, as a free-standing model, it doesn’t stand-up too well to close inspection.

However, I’m glad I worked on this Lincoln. I was happy that I was able to accomplish the conversion of this kit from a convertible to a station wagon. The graft of the long wagon roof to the body went well, and has given me some confidence that I might be able to be successful with my long delayed kit-bash of a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme station wagon. I’ve collected a number of donor kits for that project over the years, but haven’t built up the nerve to begin. Maybe this winter.
Note: The Old's build still hasn't been started!

Monday, August 11, 2014

E. L. Moore's 1959 residence today

The text below the photo of E. L. Moore's balloon-blimp listed his address as Apt 4, 712 N Pine St., Charlotte 6, N. C. This being the 21th century I entered the address into Google Street Views, and that little 'A' in the photo apparently marks what is there today. 

The more I read and get familiar with the old issues of Model Trains, the more it seems like a paleo form of blogging and blog aggregation: street addresses of contributors and correspondents abound and stand-in for email addresses; the writing is friendly, informal, confident and unforced; there's lots of pictures of readers projects that they built themselves; ads of course; articles - or posts - on complete projects that readers can undertake themselves if they want. Of course it works on different time-scale than today's blogging, but that's just a limitation of the technology of the time. There's always something interesting, and I'm looking forward to future binge reading.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dodge AT-AT

In the summer I spend a lot of time driving the secondary highways and backroads of southeastern Ontario.  I recently saw this Mercury for sale in someone's driveway, and a memory kicked-in.
It might have been chopped down from a van, or maybe it came from the factory that way, but regardless, it reminded me of a kitbash I did back in 2009 or 2010 - before I started building my model railroad - of what I called a Dodge AT-AT. Basically, the body was donated from Lindberg's 1/25 scale Dodge Little Red Wagon dragster, and the legs came from AMT's Star Wars AT-AT Walker
I didn't take many construction photos, but the project started by filling in the wheel-wells.
The filling is pretty crude at this stage, and like the Dodge Rampage project, it required considerable work to get everything smoothed out.
This is the beginning of a new frame to attach the legs to the body. All new components were cut from sheet or shaped styrene.
Here it is up on the legs. Nothing is glued together at this point; it's just a test fit. A bit more body work had been done at this stage, and it's more or less ready for priming.
Seeing how I worked on this during the winter, and the AT-AT seemed to be a winter machine, I couldn't resist taking it out to the backyard for a photo. That rather rude exhaust nozzle is a cap from a whiteboard marker.
The body and legs were painted separately and then glued together. I built a make-shift rig on the workbench to hold the body square and steady while everything was glued together.
That's all I have in the way of construction photos. The vehicle was meant to be some sort of fishing machine. Why use a boat when you can walk right in the water :-) It's got seats on out-riggers so one can fish in comfort - but watch out while stepping on the outrigger because one misstep will land you in the drink! The passenger side door doesn't lock properly, so a convenient rope keeps it closed. That robot arm is a repainted item from a discarded Playmobil spaceship toy.
The giant gear shift is the pocket clip from a discarded pen.
There's no window in the back-wall 'cause you gotta climb outta the cab to make your way to the fishin' seats :-) One needs to be limber and not too chubby.
There's a handy bench seat so you can sit down while you use the robot arm. That's quite a gap between the outriggers and the pickup bed! I wouldn't want to be in those seats while this thing is walking. Probably should add some seatbelts.
By the time it was finished, the snow was gone and the robot arm was needed to thrash its way through the tall grass.