Thursday, November 27, 2014

Touching up the Grizzly Flats depot

I did some touch-up painting on the walls before proceeding with building the bay window and installing the windows. The inside is painted a medium grey. I also installed an interior wall cut from 0.040 inch styrene to separate the waiting area from the office.
This will likely be the last post of 2014. Thanks to all who have dropped by, and I wish you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moore, Beebe and the Tuscaloosa Depot

This little post is about a little good luck. A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through a local used bookstore and came across a copy of When Beauty Rode the Rails by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. Although they were the most well known railroad documentarians of the mid 20th century I had only just heard about them via Carl Fallberg's Fiddletown and Copperopolis - Beebe wrote the introduction, and he and Clegg appear in a cartoon. The book was in fine condition so I bought it. Turns out E. L. Moore mentions in the opening to his Tuscaloosa depot article that appeared in the March 1969 issue of Model Railroader that he used the photo on page 64 of Beebe and Clegg's book as his reference for the project. That's Mr. Moore's lead photo from his article on the left, and photo from page 64 of Beebe and Clegg, attributed to the Owen Davis Collection, on the right. You can see that Mr. Moore staged the shot to be very similar to the reference photo.

26 November update: With a little internet searching I found out that a railroad station still exists at the site in Tuscaloosa. It turns out that the depot featured in Beebe and Clegg's book, and modelled by E. L. Moore, was demolished and replaced by a new brick structure in 1911. The original wooden depot was built in 1873, so it had a good long life. Beebe and Clegg note that the photo they featured was taken in 1910, so it wasn't long after that it was demolished. According to Google Street Views, the 'new' brick station was still there and in operation as of December 2013:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Memories amid chaos

As I place the lights and drill the holes in the train board, the layout is starting to look chaotic. While I was taking a breather from the mess and pulling together some old photos for the Kim Adams post, I stumbled across a few layout pictures I’d taken earlier in the year – well before I started pulling things apart - but hadn’t posted. I thought I’d post them now as sort of a ‘before’ snapshot. The ‘after’ shots will no doubt be much, much after :-)
Before the chaos began
Grabbing power from thin air
A passion for books
Night time book shopping
Books from the beach
They're in there somewhere
Bad deal
Security camera
Couch testing
Discussing bestsellers
A refreshing pop break
Yes, it's the car of the future

Sunday, November 23, 2014

After hours at Caleb's Cabbage Company

As part of the effort to add more lights to the layout, Caleb's Cabbage Company is now on the grid. This is what's got this pig's interest.

Kim Adams' "Travels Through the Belly of the Whale"

That conversation John and I had on the HO nickel gauge was a detour. He was telling me about the exhibit of Michelangelo drawings at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and being a discussion with me, the conversation detoured again to how the Dundas streetcar runs by the gallery :-) making the AGO very easy to get to. And I even had a picture conveniently posted at my blog from my visit last year to see the Kim Adams exhibit. This stroll down memory lane reminded me, among other things, that I didn't do justice to Kim Adams' piece Travels Through the Belly of the Whale - shown in the lead photo. I still had several photos that didn't get included in the post that helped to better show what was going on with this thing.

Here's how the AGO describes the work,

Measuring 16 feet by 13 feet, Travels through the Belly of the Whale, installed in the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Sculpture Atrium, is a repurposed silver grain silo that contains a secret. Through various windows and funnels in the silo, visitors can catch a glimpse of a meticulously constructed farming community inside, featuring miniature boxcars, tiny figures and model parts. The presence of this fictional world is given away only by the moving electric train that continuously circles around and through it.

I've never been much for official interpretations. If I find something visually interesting I'd rather just spend sometime looking at it and not bother with what the gallery, critics or even the artist thinks it is. 
The more I look at it, the more it reminds me of the Apollo command and service module shown above.
It's got a large window where, if it actually were the Apollo command module, the lunar module would be docked as the ship travelled to the Moon. 
This is what you see when you look in that window. There's a flat model train board spanning the sides with, as the AGO description notes, a farm. The track is a rectangular loop where the curved arcs leave the module and circle back via track in the 'wings'.
There's also a smaller window in the end where the Apollo service module's rocket engines would be.
That window offers a closer view of the internal train board.
There's the train zooming thorough the countryside. I thought that the module housing - the Apollo command and service module part - was interesting and intriguing, but what the viewer is invited to see is not quite up to the promise (Mr. Adams other HO-based work at this show, Artist's Colony (Gardens), and his dioramas at the Diaz gallery in the summer of 2013, were more up his high standards). But, maybe that's the message: the prosaic everyday world wrapped in an enticing technological wrapper; pragmatic agricultural concerns at the centre of technological flash; simplicity at the core of the complex; excursions into the unknown always returning to roots. I don't know. Whatever the message was it was still worth seeing.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

HO nickel gauge

John and I were chatting about phone apps for determining if an object in a store – like a Hot Wheels car or some other small toy – might have the right size and proportions for use on an HO-scale layout. He pointed out a great low-tech solution: the diameter of a nickel is the same as the ‘average’ height of a typical HO-scale figure. And it only costs a nickel !
[Both photos and idea by John Steele; and some inspired channeling of Leonardo da Vinci :-) ]

Friday, November 21, 2014

Switches for EVRR arrive

The switches I ordered for the EVRR arrived in the mail this week. It looks like they are more or less the correct size. Next I need to buy some wiring supplies and cork. I plan to panel the surface of the board in cork to help deaden the sound of the train.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Walls go up at the Grizzly Flats depot

[I had a fresh bottle of Floquil's diesel light blue and a bottle of white to work with. While they call it light blue, I found by using it straight it worked nicely for trim, and by mixing in a good deal of white I finally evolved a small bottle of really light blue that suited me fine. E. L. Moore in his Grizzly Flats build article on how he  chose his colours.]
I was checking colours for the real Grizzly Flats depot online and it appears to have been - approximately - yellow with brown trim. Not blue. On my N-scale version I used Polly Scale GWT Blue for the trim and mixed it with white to get the light blue panel colour.
I drew the diagonals on with this Micron 0.005 pen. They're a little dark for my liking, but I think they'll be ok once the roof is on and some other components are installed.
[You can panel the outside wall if you want to. I left mine plain. E. L. Moore states that he didn't do any detailing on the rear wall - and it's never on view in any of the article's photos.]
I went ahead and trimmed and panelled the back wall because when the depot is placed on the EVRR all sides will be visible. It's all guess work, but it fits in with the general patterning on the other walls.
There's lots of touch-up painting to be done, and I'm looking forward to building the bay window and, especially, the roof. The building itself seems rather plain. I think it's the roof that makes this thing pop.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Street light installation continues

I'm installing street lights at the far end of Ocean Boulevard. So far I've placed the lights and drilled the holes in the layout board for the wires. A few of the new lights are visible in the above photo: the parking lot beside the brick town houses gets one, Ma's Place 2 on the left gets a double light (to match the other double at the other end of Ocean Boulevard where it intersects with Sinatra Avenue), and the yet unnamed cross street at this end is getting a few (that battery in the lower left corner is propping up one beside the streetcar stop). The Oceanview Hotel is getting two gigantic lights of its own outside its main entrance (hopefully some signage will soon follow).

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bryce's Home Made Bread

[Bryce Bakeries LTD, Winnipeg, Man. Photo and caption by William Henry Wood.]
This is the end of William Henry Wood photo series for now. There are more stacks of old family photo albums in the crawlspace. I have no idea what else they might contain, but this is it for the two I've been looking through. 
[Plant of Bryce Bakeries LTD, Wpg, at 320 Burnell St. Wpg. on Sept 15, 1943. Photo and caption by William Henry Wood.]
My uncle may have shot other railway related photos during his relatively brief career at Purity Flour. If I find any, I’ll post them.
[When I typed '320 Burnell St. Winnipeg' into Google Streetviews this is what I got. The modestly elegant Bryce Bakeries building is long gone. Over on the left is a building of the Grey Goose Bus Line, which according to various internet references, is a subsidiary of Greyhound Canada that operates in Manitoba.]
[Office staff of Bryce Bakeries LTD, Winnipeg, Man., on Sept 16, 1943. Photo and caption by William Henry Wood.]
[Mr. W. B. Foster, outside the office of Bryce Bakeries LTD Winnipeg, on Sept 16/43. Photo and caption by William Henry Wood.]
[I couldn't end this series without a photo of the photographer, William Henry Wood. According to various captions, this picture was taken on Mar 5, 1944 (within the time period the various photos I've posted so far were taken) on or near Sawback Mountain in Alberta]
The photos I've posted this year were taken during WWII, and at that time grain production in Canada was a strategic industry in the allied war effort; as Napoleon Bonaparte said, “An army marches on its stomach.” And for a partially disabled man, auditing grain production was a good job.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Continuing with wall building

I’m getting back in the groove and moving along on wall construction. I must admit it’s tedious attaching that blue trim, but I’m thinking the end result will be alright. The wall substrate is 0.030 inch styrene except for the front wall which is a laminate of 0.020 inch and 0.010 inch in order to create an inset for the bay window. The blue trim are strips of 0.010 inch styrene with transfer tape attached to the back side. Once they are stuck in place, some liquid styrene glue is carefully dabbed on ends and certain edges to help with attachment. Some paint touch-up will be required once they’re all glued down. The photo below gives an idea of how small this depot is in comparison to E. L. Moore’s HO-scale version.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Station to Station

Can't say that I fully understand the Station to Station project. Images are cool though. The American landscape is as stunning as usual and the Milwaukee Road Hiawatha cars never looked better. Somewhere I read that the observation car was Frank Sinatra's favourite rail ride, and he would book the entire car for him and his friends when he was travelling in it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Full size trackplan for the EVRR

I finally figured out how to print a full-size plan for the Elizabeth Valley Railroad. After some fiddling and help from Debra, the jpeg of the plan was enlarged to 2' x 3', converted to a pdf, printed on several sheets and then taped together to get a full-size - well, full-size for N-scale - plan. This should make it easier for transferring the plan to the base. Images of various switches were downloaded from Peco's website, placed on the plan and used to figure out which size to buy. It looks like the best size will be the small Peco switches: 4 left (Peco ST-6) and 3 right (Peco ST-5). They're now on order.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

To Let

Back in the All Things Weird and Wonderful post I was mentioning how E. L. Moore's earliest work was an homage to Rowland Emett. While paging through Emett's Domain:Trains, Trams and Englishmen I came across that image on the right. It reminded me of image on the left from E. L. Moore's photo spread, with the Spumoni family in Merrie Old England, that appeared in the Jan. '56 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. True to form, Mr. Moore left out the converted trams, and being an ex-navy man, replaced them with a precariously balanced ship :-)

Transfer to a brave new world

I was going through some of my father’s old books and came across this copy of Brave New World with a '70s TTC transfer stuck between pages 78 and 79.
My father went to university later in life than most students. I was a preteen at the time, and he thought it was fine to pass on some of his books for me to read when he was done with them. In retrospect, I seemed to travel from Beatrix Potter to The Hardy Boys to Brave New World pretty fast. I don’t know if it was all for the good, but that’s what happened. He may have thought Brave New World was an antidote to the trashy science fiction I was reading. If so, he was right, although I can’t remember exactly what I thought of Brave New World back then. I suspect most of what it had to say was lost on me. But, as an adult, it’s frightening and prescient. Today we’re more-or-less living it. Check out this exchange between Bernard and Lenina from the top of page 79 where the transfer was wedged,

"Don't you wish you were free, Lenina?"
"I don't know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays."
He laughed, "Yes, 'Everybody's happy nowadays.' We begin giving the children that at five. But wouldn't you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else's way."
"I don't know what you mean," she repeated.

If you’re reading this post on a TTC bus, streetcar or subway right now, stop and download a copy of Brave New World and read something better.