Saturday, April 30, 2016

E. L. Moore and The Frank Ellison Style

Here’s the fertilizer plant, and when I’d finished photographing it I recalled what you had to say about Ellison and spirit of railroading. So I studied the situation and what he did was tie in his structures on the siding with a glimpse of main line traffic. So here is one a la Ellison and you’d damn well appreciate it as I don’t have a main line and had to spend a full day building it on top of existing lines and after photographing it spend another half a day tearing it down. So don’t go insinuating it’s part of my Elizabeth Valley 4x6 footer or I’ll be in trouble.

That paragraph was part of the cover letter, written 27 March 1966, that accompanied the manuscript that would be published as Fertilizer Plant in the July 1966 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman

I was fortunate to see the Fertilizer Plant at last year’s meet-up, but I haven’t seen the photo Mr. Moore is referring to, so I took a look at the article to see if I could figure out which one he meant. I believe it’s the one I’ve scanned and doctored for this post. It was used as the lead-in beauty shot for the article. It’s the only photo with a glimpse of main line traffic and structures on the siding - with the Fertilizer Plant, the building with the Planters sign, in the back left.

Friday, April 29, 2016

E. L. Moore and The Drugstore Eyeglasses

Have decided that maybe I should try my hand at an HO pike soon as the basement is done - on the premise that I don’t have room to do what I’d like to do in O gauge at present. Whaddaya say to that? HO and I are no strangers. Built my first Megow caboose back in ’39 or so. And me so youthful
From an 8 Apr ’65 letter from Hal Carstens to E. L. Moore.

So you’re stopping at HO instead of going to the E W S (eensy weensy stuff). Fact is, at your age you oughta be working the other way . . . you ougtha be gettin’ farsighted and need to work in O gauge instead of tring HO. Me, I have four, five pair glasses, none of which cost more than two bucks, graduated from normal newspaper reading distance, right down to where I can see a nit on the end of my nose and tell his ass from his snoot. Maybe I mean a mite and not a nit.
From E. L. Moore’s 14 Apr ’65 reply to Hal Carstens, which goes a long way to explaining how Mr. Moore was able to build his little N scale layout, The Enskale and Hoentee Railroad, 3 years later in ’68 when he was 70. Seems he didn’t take his own advice about building bigger as one gets older :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

E. L. Moore and The Schoolmarm

I recently came across an unpublished manuscript of E. L. Moore’s on how to build an old one-room school house titled, naturally enough, Village School, that he wrote in 1961. I saw this model at last year’s meet-up and posted pictures here.

One of the article’s more humorous passages deals with how he found and ‘built’ a schoolmarm figure for the model.

I was in a first class quandry [sic] at the prospect of finding and hiring a schoolmarm. In fact, except for Mrs. Spumoni, I didn’t have a prospect. Even so, I gave Mrs. Spumoni the brushoff. Then I met up with this good looking red-headed dame who was either going to, or coming from a dip in the lake. When I broached the idea of teaching she exclaimed: “But really, I haven’t a stitch to wear!” I’ve heard that line handed out before, but she was really convincing. However I airily promised to remedy the inadequacy of her wardrobe. (I did, too, as you can see, with some tissue spotted with blue ink, and some blue thread for a belt).

“Now about the salary,” I began, bearing in mind that $30 a month, in view of rising costs, was not exactly generous. So I proposed $35. I was quite unprepared when she threw up her hands -- er, well not her hands, but she did throw up her voice. “What?” she screamed, “with the Governor of North Carolina slapping on a food tax to raise sixty million for education, you want I should teach eight grades of runny nosed brats for a lousy $35?”

“I apologize,” I said hastily. “Let’s bargain.” So we did, and she compromised for $350. And that’s how I got a teacher.

All this talk of schoolmarms pushed the old memories button. My grandmother was also a teacher in a one-room school house. She was born in 1902, and was more-or-less in the same generation as E. L. Moore: he was born in 1898. And like him, she was born and raised on a farm. 
[Part of her classes in zoology involved learning about and identifying local songbirds, and proficiency required at least being able to make rudimentary drawings of the various species. These are just a couple of pages from her copious science notes taken during teacher training.]

She was an excellent student and went to the Toronto Normal School in 1920 to take teacher training. She graduated in 1921, and soon returned to the country at the ripe old age of 19 to teach grades 1 through 8 in a one-room school. Some of her pupils were 16 year old farm boys, so it must have been interesting times. In E.L. Moore’s model he notes all the pupils are girls, so his schoolmarm had a very different demographic to deal with :-) My grandmother’s teaching career didn’t last long. Turns out the gentleman who eventually would become my grandfather had moved into the area and was working on a nearby farm. They were married in 1923 and she gave up teaching.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

E. L. Moore and Tomcat Troubles

Been layin' up to catch me a tomcat for some time now but haven't caught him yet. Damned smart one. Got in one night when two females had kittens some time ago -- bejabbers they chased him all over the place and he was so flustered he couldn't find his way out -- I shoulda killed the bastard then. Since then he's been sneaking in from time to time to get the leavin's from the feed dishes in the kitchen. I'd hear a dish move, my cats would perk up their ears and it'd be him, the sneaky sob . . . so I finally got mad and rigged up some ropes, a sort of Rube Goldbergian thing in which I could pull a cord and the door would go shut and I'd have him.
Just what to do then . . . But I had an idea. I had a mustard squeeze bottle full of turpentine and if I could ever get his south end pointed toward me his north end would sure howl in agony. But the sob is too smart . . . not once has he come around since I rigged up the ropes -- twice I caught my own cat and did she look surprised as the door slammed shut while she was eating. I think he's waiting for me to get careless -- which I already have. But anyway, there's nothing for him around here anymore except food -- I sure spoiled some of his good time by having my cats spayed.
From a long 1 Oct '67 letter E. L. Moore wrote to Bill Rau to help cheer him up while Mr. Rau was in hospital.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mt Lowe observatory telescope dome

Once the wings were done I moved on to finishing the dome that forms the roof of the telescope room. Prototype pictures appear to indicate that at various times the dome had different types of doors: at one time there were external sliding doors, and later there was one that slid up and down over the opening. I chose to incorporate the latter because that's the open I figured I could make into a working model without too much trouble.
This isn't an exact model of the dome door, just an approximation that I could make work and didn't look too bad. The first job was to install an internal track. I took a length of U-section styrene and cut off one arm to convert it to an L-section. I then cut a thin piece of card to the width I wanted the two tracks to be separated and taped the L-section rails to the card. This assembly was gently pushed into place and liquid plastic glue was used to bond the rails to the inside of the dome. This was a rather tricky bit of installation and I had to think it through and practice holding the various pieces through several mock installations before I actually worked up the nerve to finally glue it in place.
I let this set for a few hours then peeled back the tape and carefully slid out the card spacer. The rails held in place and looked good. All that was needed was to trim the ends.
The door is a strip of 0.010 in. styrene cut to the track width and a little longer than the opening. Friction holds it in whatever position you want.
Here it is slid into the fully closed position....
... and likewise here it is fully open. It slides back and forth quite easily in the track.
The next job was to make a base ring for the dome. This is built up from 4 layers of 0.020 in styrene. The top ring matches the diameter of the dome bottom, the two middle rings match the outside diameter of the telescope room, and the bottom layer matches the inside diameter of the telescope room. 
Here it is all glued together and ready for attaching to the dome.
Before painting some trim strips of 0.010 in styrene were glued to the dome's bottom edge and around the opening. Some 0.020 in styrene was used as filter sections at the top and bottom of the opening. A piece of decorative trim was glued inside the dome at right angles to the opening. That's it! It's ready for painting.
The dome was first sprayed with Tamiya's white fine surface primer and sanded a little when dry. A coat of Krylon flat white was then sprayed on to make the dome more opaque. Finally, a mist coat of the white primer was applied to finish things off.

That's it for basic construction. I'm moving on to building the roofs for the wings - they'll be removable - detailing the interior, and applying the remaining trim to the exterior. Until then, keeping with my random-walk state-of-mind these days, I leave you with another Lowe that I have absolutely no relation to,

Thursday, April 21, 2016

E. L. Moore and his Union Pacific Windmill

At his Model Railroad Miscellany blog, John Bruce posted that he was going to dive into building E. L. Moore’s Union Pacific Windmill project that was published in the Sept ’62 issue of Model Railroader. I thought I’d go through the E. L. Moore files I had on hand to see if I had anything on that build. The project turned out to have a rather bittersweet significance to Mr. Moore. 

The article was originally submitted to Model Trains on 1 December 1961, which was by that time owned by Kalmbach Publishing, who also own Model Railroader. Here's the cover letter that E. L. Moore submitted along with the manuscript.

December 1, 1961

W.V. Anderson, Editor,
Model Trains,
1027 N. 7th St.,
Milwaukee 3, Wis.

Dear Mr. Anderson,

Like the buffalo, you just don’t hardly find any of these no more. Haven’t ever seen one of these modeled before, mainly I presume, because of the apparent complexity of the wheel. As I made it, it’s a simple job, taking but little time, and makes a rather spectacular display.

Darned if I don’t have a time trying to get a surface like that Strathmore sample. This is closest to it that I could get at one of the office supply houses. Better, but not quite it. I’ll try some more.

Enclosing return postage and label, should you find this unacceptable.

I thank you . . . 

E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave.,
Apt 3
Charlotte 4, N. C.

The paragraph about Strathmore is part of a long running discussion between E. L. Moore and Andy Anderson about using Single Ply High Surface Strathmore for the drawings he was submitting to Model Trains. Turns out it was tricky for Mr. Moore to find some, but when he did he bought a lifetime supply.
Mr. Anderson bought the article right away. Here’s the acceptance letter he sent. However, as E. L. Moore’s handwritten note on the letter implies, it was the last article Model Trains bought from him before it was closed down sometime in Dec ’61 or Jan ’62 - although, last issues continued to appear into the spring of ’62 and there was an annual.

December 15, 1961

Mr. E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave. Apt. 3
Charlotte 4, N. C.

So it’s another sale E. L. ....

Here’s our check for $60.00 to pay for exclusive rights to “Union Pacific Windmill,” complete with art and pix.

I like it!

Best wishes for the holiday season.

signed Andy
Willard V. Anderson

E. L. Moore penned this note on the bottom of the letter,

The end of a perfect season - 14 articles submitted - 14 accepted - $650.00

Jan 15 1962 PS Also the end of Model Trains!

1961 was one of his most prolific years with 14 articles written and all sold. That $60 US in 1961 would be roughly equivalent to $450 US today, and $650 US in 1961 would be about $4,875 US today - nothing to sneeze at. The Union Pacific Windmill was the last article he wrote and submitted to Model Trains. It marked the end of the first phase in E. L. Moore’s model building career, and the beginning of the ten or so years that would be his most productive.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spumoni Club Coach: Going on a Diet

After basic construction was finished, Cal used the newly painted engine to push the coach onto Ma's siding out back behind her place. The boys were sittin' around enjoying the sun. Once they've done loafing, there's the interior to outfit. Luckily Cal's cousin had the foresight to take a short movie of this auspicious event.

For a removable roof you'll need a piece of balsa 9" thick (3/32" for HO) by 10 1/2' x 21 1/2'. Round the top of this by sanding, then taking a sheet of 1/32" balsa measuring 11 1/2' x 22 1/2', cement it over the rounded length to form the top of the roof.
I did exactly as Mr. Moore specified on this part of the build. That's a piece of 3/32" balsa in the above photo and I've just started to sand in a curved shape. I drew a line down the centre so it was clear to me where the peak was supposed to be.
My curve wasn't as smoothly elliptical as his. Free form sanding is something I need to practice, but it's serviceable and doesn't look too bad when painted up and installed on the coach.

When you paint this, press a tissue against the wet paint, then follow up with a second coat, this giving the effect of a canvas covering. 
I applied a single-ply tissue as specified. There was wrinkling that I tried to smooth out as best I could. When the green paint was dry I washed on a very thin flat black.

Now, as seen in Photograph A and in the drawing [JDL: Note both the photo and drawing are missing], a 15" strip of sheathing is cemented to the under side of the roof leaving a 9 1/2 x 20 1/2' center clearance so as to fit down over the coach sides.
15 HO scale inches translates into about 4.4 mm. If I used that height for a sheathing strip, the roof would have rested on the trim pieces above the windows. I wanted the roof slab to rest on the coach walls, so I made the strip 2 mm high. This leaves no room for lettering, but I like the roof fit better. It gives the coach a little sleeker look too.
The roof's inside surface was painted flat white.

Bumpers and couplers of your choice can now be added to the ends, also the door step and door grab irons.
I used standard Kadee couplers glued to the floor's bottom. It turned out they had just the right height without any extra shimming or adjustment. A lucky break! The bumper is a little different than the one used in E. L. Moore's model and the prototype. His used a different coupler and I built something from balsa and stripwood scraps that looked right with the Kadee couplers and didn't interfere with the wheels.
In this view it looks like the two couplers are skewed off the floor's centre line, but in fact everything lines up ok. As you can see there is a gigantic screw holding the truck to the floor :-)
The door grab irons were bent from small diameter piano wire - I don't know what exactly the diameter is.
The trim around the door was drilled to accommodate the grab irons so that the wood wouldn't split when they were pressed in place. The step is a plastic stair unit is cut from a molded set of stairs meant for a building. I didn't have any coach stairs on hand, so I made due with what I had.

I painted the outside and roof of my coach a light green and added a trim of yellow.

Yeap, me too. Now it's onto installing the interior...and giving up on dieting and seeing what's in the pantry for lunch.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Look! Up in the Sky!

It's not a bird or a plane or Superman, it's the Goodyear blimp! Recently I read that Goodyear put a new blimp into service, Wingfoot Two, and I was reminded of the blimp chasing I did back in the mid-80s.
Although I enjoy model railroading, I've never been much of a serious train chaser, but there was a time when blimp watching was my thing.
This particular landing sequence I shot outside the fence of the old Downsview Airforce Base in Toronto maybe in '85 or '86. 
I think that yellow station wagon off to the left is an AMC Eagle. 
Nose down, on final approach.
I recall there was a big ground crew that travelled with this ship. That's one of their buses in in the foreground.
Vehicles cleared, everything is ready for a perfect landing.
I don't seem to have any photos of the docking operation, just this one last shot over the gate of the moored blimp.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fella from up Canada way ...

... write me the other day wanting a list of all the articles I've write [sic] and the issues they appeared in . . . sorry but fat chance of me getting all them together
[from the cover letter to E. L. Moore's Putty Knife Factory article sent to Hal Carstens at Railroad Model Craftsman on 28 Oct '68]

In '68 I was still a wee lad learning his ABCs, so that fella wasn't me - but maybe I'll be inventing a time machine soon :-) While we wait, I've posted an update to the E. L. Moore articles master pdf here

Hastings "Feed & Seed" squiggle style

In the same folder with the alleged Marmora station, I found this single-sheeter of the Hastings "Feed and Seed" I posted photos of back in 2011. This youthful drawing from the '70s is much cruder than the Marmora station. The proportions are all wrong, but maybe I selectively compressed it :-) Regardless, on the drawing's flip-side I scribbled a lot of calculations - maybe I was trying to figure out how to make a small, buildable model out of this prototype.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

E. L. Moore and the influence of Bill Schopp

The Molasses Mine and Factory is one of the strangest E. L. Moore projects, and even stranger, it was turned into a plastic kit by AHM. Where did the idea come from? Did he actually spend time in the Bryson City jail as he suggests in the Molasses Mine tall tale? Well, speculation has come to an end, at least for the idea, the jury is still out concerning jail. It was long time Railroad Model Craftsman contributor Bill Schopp, aka The Layout Doctor, who slid a couple of ideas into E. L. Moore’s brain via postcard. 

‘Twas through the kind offices of your loyal helper, Bill Schopp, that the idea of a molasses mine was tendered . . . I thought I might as well make the most of it and could be some will actually believe there was such a plant. Every now and then Bill comes through with a postcard and a brainstorm thereon.
In the 3 Oct ’68 cover letter for the Molasses Mine and Factory manuscript, E. L. Moore enlightens Hal Carstens on the mine’s origin.

Turns out Mr. Schopp was also the idea-man behind Garbage Train or The Mudville Flats Extra that appeared in the July ’69 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.

Worked up Bill Schopp’s idea and got it off the board -- ol’ Cannonball Waste Express, sort of a take-off on the San Francisco’s Excess Express, traction engine with fan propellor to keep stink and flies from engine crew, horse and wagon age when garbage would fatten a hawg when not so much was orders in triplicate, TV dinner trays and Christmas wrappings.
In the 5 Jan ’69 cover letter for the Nova Scotian Lighthouse article that appeared in the Oct ’69 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, E. L. Moore tells Hal Carstens what he’s been up to and who was responsible.

But, all good things must come to an end.

You’ve gone off the deep end several times of late with garbage train, molasses mine, etc. Let’s turn to more serious stuff: Regret nothing comes to mind.
In a 25 Mar ’69 letter to E. L. Moore, Hal Carstens, implores him to get serious, but seems not to have a suggestion for how to do that.

Apparently a mark of getting serious again is the construction of a car repair shed.

You easing a hint I should return to sanity and leave off fantasy? Relly [sic], I’m just going the pace the world is setting, and if they’s anything sane about it then I’m cockeyed. Y’all figure maybe a car repair shed is sane enough -- building one for a friend at the moment.
In a friendly update letter to Hal Carstens, dated 2 Apr ’69, E. L. Moore reflects philosophical on the nature of sanity in relation to the modern world. The odd Molasses Mine now and then is pretty tame stuff all things considered.

The car repair shed did see the light of day in the obviously titled Car Repair Shed in the Nov ’69 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. Here’s the accompanying cover letter.

16th of April 1969

Ye honorable Editor
RMC Ramsey, N. J.

Here’s a train shed I made for a friend . . . . maybe you can use it. Only half phantasy -- I remodeled somebody’s model into something else again.

If ‘n’ when I find something I can use as a starting point I’ll make up train shed with big brass cubicle above but first I gotta find something authentic as a starter -- the egg, that is . . . . I’ll add the feathers and wings.

Gonna start that youngun on N gauge shortly? He’s about that big -- big enough to be a wrecker.

signed E. L. Moore

E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave., Apt 3
Charlotte, N. C.

“... train shed with big brass cubicle above...”? Darned if I know what he’s talking about. Maybe it’s a joke I don’t get. Wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe there’s a Bill Schopp postcard out there that explains everything :-)

Friday, April 8, 2016

E. L. Moore’s Spumoni Club Coach: Body and soul and cheese

There is no use pussyfooting in this matter. Do we or don’t we wish to wade into a passenger-car? We do? All right, let’s start. If we use home materials, the least we can do is to squander some time. If the result of our labors should not be satisfactory, we always have the trash can.
[Raymond Yates kicks readers in the metaphorical butt regarding passenger car construction on page 273 of his 1939 opus, Making & Operating Model Railroads]

The sides are 8 3/4' high by 20' long, and the ends are 8 3/4' high by 8' wide (presuming you're using 8' wide flooring).
At this point I thought it a good idea to make a drawing of a side and end to better understand the sizes of things. I laid out the drawing in 1/4" scale so I wouldn't have to fiddle with a tiny picture. The drawing's rough, but accurate - it's for working, not showing. You could do this on a computer, but I understand things better when I draw them with a pencil.

Since there are quite a few windows it would be wise to take the precaution of cementing a piece of thin stripwood above and below the window areas to prevent splitting while cutting out the openings (see Photograph A, inside of coach [this photo is missing]). At the same time another piece of stripwood should be cemented all around just 1' from the bottom edge for purpose of providing a ledge, simplifying matters when you come to assembling ends and sides around the floor.

I didn't do that prep work, but cut directly into the basswood without problem. Later, I did install an interior ledge so that the body fit properly on the the floor.
For the coach walls I used 1/16" basswood HO scale clapboard siding. An odd choice I realize, but I had a sheet - from the Mt. Albert Scale Lumber Co. - in my scrap box. The inscribed angling wasn't all that pronounced, so I decided to use what I had on hand inside of buying new material. E. L. Moore used 1/16" corrugated basswood sheet with the corrugations sanded down, so he too likely made do with what he had lying around. So, at least the 'made-do' ethos was preserved :-) Using the plan I drew the side in reverse on the sheet back.
The window openings are 2' x 3' except one which corresponds to the door and is 3' x 3' and the end windows are also 3' x 3'.

I used a brand-new #11 Xacto knife blade to cut out the openings, and used a new blade on each side. 
Then the side was cut free from the sheet. At this point the openings are still a bit rough and need to be cleaned up a little with sanding sticks and files. After all this work, and staring at that ribbed paneling for so long, I was reminded of my sandwich grill and had worked up an appetite :-) 
My favourite sandwich is a grilled cheese. Luckily, Debra had read my mind and had bought some aged cheddar, so we were ready to go.
Here's what you'll need ingredients-wise,
5 year old aged cheddar - Debra picked some organic stuff
Oatmeal bread
Honey mustard
6 slices of double-smoked bacon - if you're in Eastern Ontario, I recommend the stuff from Roadapple Ranch
Honey mustard
Olive oil
Once you've gathered that up, let's move on to assembly.
1. If you can convince your significant other to fry up the bacon while you prepare the sandwiches that would be most excellent, otherwise you need to get frying.

2. Brush olive oil on the outside surfaces of the bread. This is so the sandwich doesn't stick to the grill.

3. Shred enough cheese to make a significant pile as shown in the photo.

4. Spread the honey mustard on the bread's inside surface and then pile on the shredded cheese.

5. When the bacon is done, drain off the excess grease, cut into bite-size pieces and then stack equal amounts on both sandwiches. 
Once the grill is hot, stick the sandwiches in and grill until they're golden brown and the cheese is melty. The aged cheddar will look a bit curdled when done, but everything will taste just fine.
Get some plates; you're done! These sandwiches have intense flavour, so If you want something a little milder, as we did the next day, use a 50/50 mixture of a medium cheddar and mozzarella instead of the 5 year old aged stuff.
After sleeping off lunch for awhile, it was back to work. The coach wall openings were cleaned up with sanding sticks and files. The pieces were then painted with Tamiya acrylic XF-76, Gray Green (IJN).

Each opening is then fitted with an inner sash of 1/32" square stripwood cemented in so as to be flush with the inside surface. Then, after painting, a single strip of acetate will serve for the row of openings.
Instead of Mr. Moore's recommendation, I glued in some 1/32" balsa sheet to the inside of each wall. You can see that a ledge is provided for the wall to rest on the floor. These inner panels also act to form a recess for some clear strip to be used as window glazing.

The door isn't cut all the way through. The wood was shaved down to a smooth surface and a simulated door worked in with pencil and knife. It's the type of door which might have been salvaged from a bus, opening as it does, in the middle.

I did go ahead and cut the door all the way through. I'll make up a separate door and install it when I get around to adding the windows.
Six inch wide trim (1/32 x 1/16" for HO) sanded down to a more refined thinness, is added to the sides and ends as shown. One piece of 1/32 x 1/16" stripwood forms a window ledge all around.

For trim, I used Mt. Albert Scale Lumber Co.'s 2x4 scale lumber strips I had in my scrap box. Trim pieces were painted with Tamiya acrylic XF-4 Yellow Green prior to installation. I thought it would be tedious gluing all that trim into place, but it was a surprisingly pleasant activity. I think it was because the sides seemed to come to life as each piece was added. 
When assembled around the 8' x 19' floor, it should present a coach with a finished body size of 9' x 20'.

Yeap, it does! Once the trim was installed on the long sides, I glued the 4 walls onto the floor. I trimmed the end walls once everything was dry. For some reason I thought I wouldn't get the trim on the end walls to line up properly with the side wall trim if I trimmed the end walls prior to assembly. 
Well, it was a little awkward to apply trim strips to the ends after assembly, but it wasn't too hard and I got the alignment I was looking for. Digital photos are unforgiving, I see a few areas that need some touchup painting :-( Gotta go clean up the grill - until next time.
Probably there is a moral side to this car building. Many beginners are afraid to tackle the job of making a car of any kind, feeling that it is quite beyond their skill. This is a rather cowardly attitude. Perhaps our first work will not merit a blue ribbon, but what of it? As we move along, we shall gain in experience and, if we are made of the right stuff, we shall eventually reach a point of perfection that will permit us to fashion cars of all sorts with really delightful results. It costs little to nothing to try our hand at it. We don’t need to buy our scale trucks or couplers unless the body of the car merits such attention when it is finished.
[Raymond Yates revels the secret that all experienced model builders know: keep building, don’t give up on page 278 of Making & Operating Model Railroads]