Sunday, October 24, 2010


All over the place as usual, but I had a breakthrough this weekend and actually spent a few hours on saturday starting the benchwork for the final section of the layout.  Jimmy has been on my case about not being able to run trains since I severed the main many many months ago.   After first cutting the main at the former duck-under bridge I managed to get the one side built almost to the back of the basement.  This portion is the "Upper Works" or Steel Making side of the plant.   The opposite side is to be the main classification yard and engine facility.   The plan is to have trains running by Christmas - in time to test out that Lehigh Valley F3 A/B set that my wife is going to give me (hint).    I built benchwork as far as I could as I still need to pour a few cement slabs  first - this portion of the basement was dug out from a crawl space about 15 years ago - I built a partial retaining wall at that time and poured just enough of a slab to fit the heater - now I I just finished the block wall last week and I have to pour the rest of the floor slab and also a few rat slabs on the shelves created by the retaining wall - this is going to be done in sync with some exterior concrete work when I have some free time and I can get a delivery, but for now I will work on the section I have built.  I've laid out the turntable pit and am only a few sheets of wood away from installing this.  In line with the whole engine facility thing I purchased a Walthers Concrete Coaling Tower.   This will be built pretty much from the box with the exception of adding some sand handling equipment.  The photos show a few shots of the start of this build - I am deviating from the instructions by assembling all the concrete structures first so I can paint and then I'll add all the steel work.    So far the fit of the parts has been on the above-average side for a Walthers Kit.    Also in the one photo you can see some of the just-built benchwork.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

PITTSBURGH - Day 3 and 4

A little frustrated and pissed off right now about the Ensley Mixer project - I made two vacuum formed sides but I didn't like how I cut down the one side so I went to make a new one and my master is gone - MIA.  Now either I put it somewhere for safekeeping and I forgot where in one day's time or, more likely, one of my dogs ate it.  The two retards probably thought it was a cookie or something.  So I will be back at it when I get the energy to do all that work over again - sucks because I will have to make two so they match.    Anyhow, in line with thinking happy thoughts - part 3 of the Pittsburgh trip installment.
Woke to another lovely day on Neville Island.  After breakfast at the hotel we left for our 8:30am scheduled tour of Carrie furnaces at 7am.   Sticking to the area highways and all their screwed up construction messes, we actually headed south a few miles on 79 to pick up the main road into the city, I forget the road number.   This road presents one of the most dramatic entrances to any city I have ever been too - you approach from the south through a wooded/suburban area and pass under an old Norfolk and Western RR Bridge (Formerly Pittsburgh and West Virginia I think) at a pretty high elevation above the valley floor.  I read somewhere that all the river bed routes were taken when this line was built and as a result they had to stick high using lots of bridges and a tunnel or two.    Just past the bridge you enter a tunnel through Mt. Washington, and then when you emerge the other side - wham - there is the entire city and the three rivers in front of you.  You cross over the end of the Mon River (or the start of the Ohio) over to the center city area.    Once I had taken in the vista and got us on the right road along the northern bank of the Mon, reality set in and we hit a traffic jamb - yes - at 7:30 on a saturday morning.  Eventually, we got through this jamb just to hit another one (yes two different construction sites on the same road)  We finally made our exit with just 15 min to spare, but then we engaged the GPS to navigate the city streets and unfortunately it didn't know where Braddock, PA was.  Not only is this city the poorest in the state, our Tom Tom didn't even have it in the database - thinking maybe it was covered under Pittsburgh - it took us to the address, but I soon realized we were far from the river and it made no sense to start the tour there.   Finally, using an old fashioned map we made it to the tour start point in downtown Braddock.  
The gathering place was an old Convent turned into a hostel.  Quickly signing the waiver we boarded a small bus that took us to the Carrie Furnace Site.  Our tour guide was a retired USS Exec - I'm sorry I've forgotten his full name, but he did a first rate job despite some annoying questions from mostly me (When you model things from a prototype some of the things that concern you are very mundane and I guess very very detailed in light of the bigger picture)  Most of the  folks in our tour group were from the area and a lot had limited basic knowledge of how steel was made, but our guide did a nice job explaining it in a very understandable way (while I'm asking about drainage systems in the ore yard, and the procedure for changing out a tuyre)   There was one annoying retired couple, obviously tree huggers, that kept asking loaded questions about pollution from the mill,...etc.   They really pissed me off but I held my tongue and again our guide very intelligently answered them.   I guess they think we should build our bridges out of hemp or cornstalks, same goes for cars, like the one they pulled up in, too.  
Oh, before I continue on, the Carrie Furnace Site has I think just been designated a national historic landmark - it contains part of the ore yard, a ore bridge, two blast furnaces with three stoves each (they are in two overlapping rows which is sort of different)  - one cast house is gone but the other is mostly intact.  The furnaces have the older style uptakes (pre-McKee).  Most of the dust collection apparatus is still in place - two dust catchers, gas washers, and precipitators.  Also the boiler house and blowing engine house are standing, but empty.  Finally, there is a modern torpedo type hot metal car on the property, and an older Kling type.  A note on the Kling Type - these were used at this facility until 1969.  This was according to our other tour guide, Jim, another ex-USS employee - he started operating one of the scale cars at this facility and ended his career in the very cast house we were touring.    This site originally had four additional blast furnaces, along with many ancillary buildings, and produced iron for the USS Homestead Works on the south side of the Mon - the hot metal bridge that connected the plants is still there.  
The tour started in the ore yard, went under the highline, then through the stoves and into the casthouse.  We then walked to the modern torpedo hot metal car, where the tour ended.  I of course was disappointed that I didn't see more of the higher stuff but it is understandable.  Again the lighting was against me - early morning light this time so lots of shadows once again - I can't win - I alway end up at these mills at the crack of dawn or the end of the day.  
Once the tour ended we stopped back at the meeting point and I bought a book, Steel: The Diary of a Furnace Worker,  and a Rivers of Steel T-Shirt.   Without even having to get back in our car we were able to walk along the fence line of the USS Edgar Thompson Plant.  Of course the blast furnaces are far away from this public street, but the BOF and caster are right along it.   They also have a few artifacts on display - ingot molds and slag car just inside the fence .  This made our third operating steel mill in one weekend, not bad seeing how there are only 7 or 8 in the US.    
From Braddock, we hopped back in the trusty Saturn and headed west again, back to West Virginia.  The day before we had stopped at a pottery factory on the Ohio River with an attached factory store, but it had just closed - my wife wanted to check it out and I wanted to go back to Weirton for some more photos.  The factory store, for Fiesta Ware, had some very nice stuff, but not nearly at the discounts my wife expected.  From there, a dozen or so miles south and we were back in Weirton.  My main purpose for this trip was to walk across (on the sidewalk), the very long road bridge that bisects the plant - the day before it looked like a great place for taking photos from but light was fading so I skipped it knowing we would be back.  Unfortunately they were now filming "World War Z" in this area and the bridge was closed.  A very friendly Weirton police officer took the time to map out some good spots to take photos of the BOF from and other parts of the mill.   It's amazing how many Hollywood location scouts pick steel mills as back drops for their films - and I'm not talking about movies like the Deer Hunter, and All the Right Moves that are meant to take place in steel towns, but, Transformers 2, The Story of Pittsburgh, Robo Cop, ,...etc.    After taking another few dozen photos of the BOF,..etc.  we headed back to Pittsburgh. 
 We got into a massive traffic jamb on the way back into the city and eventually made it back to our home base - Neville Island - In the three days we had been on the island I still hadn't the opportunity to take some photos of the various industries there.  The coke works was inaccessible mostly for photos although I could see the quench tower venting steam from a distance.  I spent a fair amount of time photographing the former portland cement plant just at the Rt 51 bridge back to the mainland.  I was able to get some great shots by parking on the mainland side of the bridge and walking over the sidewalk on the bridge.  When I get back to Pittsburgh I plan on spending an morning at this very spot - Ill bring a folding chair - and just sit there watching the river and the industries on Neville Island, with the very busy former P&LE Main Line running under my feet.  
From the bridge we continued back into the city - we both wanted to stop again at Station Square - I to take photos of the Bessemer Converter in the daylight and my wife spotted a scarf or blouse or something on thursday that she now wanted to buy.  She also wanted to check out the shops at the shopping mecca built on the site of the former USS Homestead Works.   We walked around a bit at this the latest in shopping mall design - back to the downtown type shopping experience with the stores arranged on nice little cross streets and squares but no roof - I've seen a few of these lately - it's interesting that they built one from scratch when there is a perfectly viable existing "downtown" with many vacant stores just across the tracks.   Of course my wife found some shoes and a few other trinkets - the only store I was interested in was the bookstore which I browsed while my wife roamed the outdoor shops.   It was getting late and we still hadn't eaten so we decided to head back to the hotel for dinner.  On the way back my wife tells me - "oh by the way, there was some train locomotive or something" in one of the squares by the stores she had walked to - "but it didn't look like a real locomotive, it was smaller, maybe a model?"  I retort, "MAYBE A F-----N NARROW GAUGE LOCOMOTIVE?"  And seeing how Homestead had a 30" gauge  narrow gauge railroad, this would have interested me.    With hungry stomachs we headed back to the hotel but we took the wrong bridge and ended up on the north side of the Ohio river and not Neville Island.  Every place to turn around was closed due to construction so we ended up paralleling the river until Rt79 which we figured on taking across to the island and getting off right at our hotel - not - ramp closed - so we had to drive six or seven miles south to turn around and head north as only the northbound off ramp was open on the island - as soon as we turned around we drove right into a traffic jamb that extended all the way to our exit - UGH!!!!!   And then the special fish dinner that I had seen on the menu earlier - they were all out of the fish - double UGH!!!!!   Outstanding customer service though - they gave me my dinner for free since they were out of what I had wanted.   
We had a nice breakfast and then unfortunately had to say our goodbyes to Pittsburgh - driving back through the city there was a warehouse district in the Southside Neighborhood that I wanted to photograph - besides the warehouses there was a neat crane unloading facility on the river - gravel or sand now, but might have been coal at one time.   And then of course I wasn't leaving without investigating this locomotive issue from the night before - sure enough - a former USS 30" gauge plant locomotive.   We drove through Duquesne on the way out, and the Union Railroad yards looked enticing, but I'll save that for the next time.   

Monday, October 18, 2010


The Ensley type mixer will actually be part of my Bessemer Plant, however, I've decided to describe it's construction under a separate heading as this machine is fairly unique.   It's uniqueness will make it difficult to scratchbuild.   The core of the mixer is a cylinder,  but all simplicity ends there with partial conical ends and a clipped top.  See Photo of Prototype.  Additionally, both spouts are complex curved shapes, and not the same.  Finally, the structural reinforcing and bearing rails are all curved shapes.   As I find with these type of projects, solve one problem at a time.   A word of warning too - if you follow in my footsteps, the only scale drawing I have to work off is about the size of a penny in total, so most of my measurements are approximations or eyeball take-offs.  
The mixer body is about 24' in diameter - perfect for once again using the Rix Water Tank sections.  I glued two courses wide and four or five sections each - no need for a complete ring as it will be cut down later.  The next step is the sides - these are basically conical sections with about a third removed at the top.  Vacuum forming seemed the only way to make duplicate sides so I turned a block of pine in the lathe, creating the gentle curve of the side.  I used this as the master in my homemade vacuum forming machine.  I think I used .030 plastic to form the sides but it could have been .040.  I trimmed the finished sides along the edge and they fit perfectly onto the Rix core.   Now, to create that arched top of the sides I drew a crosshairs on the side of the round side piece and then marked about two feet up from the centerline on each side.  Then, using a compass with it's point at the base  of the vertical line and the pencil on the 2' mark I drew an arc.  The result was pretty close to the prototype so I cut the plastic along the line and then sanded the curve right too the line.   The one photo shows the result.

Friday, October 15, 2010


While at the free-mo set up last month at Peachcreek Shops, I picked up the Blair Line, Pizzaland Kit for a nice price.   This is a laser cut mostly wood model of a prototype building in northern New Jersey.   Besides being an interesting piece of roadside American architecture, the building was featured in the opening sequence of the HBO series "The Sopranos".  

Most of you know I like building in styrene, which has it's own difficulties, but a wood kit is not without their own quirks.   I built a few Campbell kits as a teenager, but this is actually my first laser cut building kit.   The instructions recommended spraying all the wood panels with a coat paint, non-water based preferred.  I skipped this step, figuring on painting the structure after partial assembly and shortly found out why the parts need to be sealed with paint - the white glue I was using for assembly was quickly causing the wood to cup or warp.   Some quick clamping and tape saved the day.

The kit was easy to put together and I am pleased with the final results, although I still might add a bit to the finish.  I used mostly cheapo craft paints for the finish - the only real problem I encountered was that I should have thinned the white a little, or for that matter, whenever you are doing a larger areas.  The prototype looks to have a rough parged finish, so it probably is ok that my finish was a little rough.  The signs are self adhesive lables, except for the main Pizzaland sign on the fascia that is laser cut.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010


After a nice breakfast buffet at our hotel on Neville Island, we headed northward and westward for Cleveland, Ohio.  Originally, I had intended on confining ourselves to Pittsburgh, but with Cleveland only 2.5hrs away I figured a day trip was in order.   We hit a short glitch after I fell asleep and my wife took the wrong highway toward Akron.  We detoured through Ravenna, Ohio to get back on the main road and found an interesting industrial structure - your standard brick construction but with these huge open stacks/ventilators on the roof ridge - not sure what the purpose of them was or what they made there - Ill post a photo.  I didn't have a good map of Cleveland, but what I did have was a most excellent 1996 Lineside Article by John Teichmoeller, basically a guide book.  We used this to tour the "Flats" - the part of Cleveland that contained much of it's industry.   Most of the time we spent driving around the AM Steel Mill there, formerly Republic Steel.  There is a public road that goes right through the part of the mill on the eastern side of the river - this includes the con-caster and the BOP shop, locomotive facilities, and a few other things - the hot side of the plant is on the opposite side of the river and is less accessible.    We almost ended up at the railroad crossing while a train with subs crossed but just missed it - took some photos as we were driving in earnest to get there.  You could probably just lurk on this road  and eventually get a real nice shot of a passing hot metal train but we didn't have the time.  As John stressed in his article, this is a two person operation - a driver and photographer/navigator - it would be hard to do solo.  After taking John's tour we headed toward Lake Erie with the hopes of getting on Whiskey Island and viewing the dismantled Huletts - we did get on the island actually over a one lane draw bridge before we realized that we shouldn't have crossed the bridge as it was all private industry owned land or railroad and also we didn't have a transportation ID card for port areas either - we quickly turned around but were almost run off the road by some Norfolk Southern Road Crews - we ended up seeing what they were rushing too - a strip club a few blocks away for lunch or whatever.  We spent a little time photographing the area right near the end of the river - some sort of materials storage silos and some interesting brick building  and bridges.  From there we drove down the lakefront and got off at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Once there we both didn't really feel like visiting this museum, I'm sure it's interesting, but just not my thing and my thrifty wife wasn't thrilled with the hefty fee of $22.   However, something much more interesting for me loomed just beyond the modern rock and roll building - the Willam G. Mather, a 600 foot lakes bulk carrier, from the Cleveland Cliffs shipping line.  For a very reasonable $6 you were free to roam this vessel.  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  It was pleasing to see a ship museum for a change that wasn't a warship.  I know for most that makes it boring, but for me quite the opposite.  We always new it was just a short diversion and I spent more time than expected on the William Mather so we left Cleveland.  There were a few other very interesting looking industrial areas that we will have to visit again on a separate trip. 
From Cleveland we drove back to Pittsburgh with a stop in Warren, Ohio, the site of an operating steel mill and coke works.  With no detailed map of the area we just drove through looking for railroad tracks to lead us to blast furnace stacks,.etc..  Along the way we found a small monument to Neil Armstrong who was from the area.  Eventually, I spotted the BF and found the mill to be bisected by two public roads.  I was able to get some photos but none real good.  I did stop outside the fence on a side road and watch the ore yard crane filling up a transfer car.  This vantage point is right in front of the heavily fortified Ohio Outlaw Bikers "Headquarters" so forewarned.   Leaving Warren we still had plenty of energy and the mills of Weirton, WV,  Steubenville, OH, and Mingo Junction, OH didn't seem to far away and sort of on the way back to Pittsburgh.   
We arrived in Weirton, WV in the early evening after passing by some film crews set up on the highway just north of town.  They were filming the movie World War Z - a zombie movie staring Brad Pitt.  We must have been the last car the police let through as just past the camera set ups we passed a convoy of 1950's or 60's army vehicles with soldiers escorting a another convoy of vintage cars full of people with luggage strapped down on the roofs.   As far as blast furnaces go, Weirton's are by far the easiest to photograph - you can almost touch them from unoccupied streets and the remained of the mill is bisected by several roads, affording good views of the BOP and other buildings.  The only problem was the low angle sun of the early evening made photography of the furnace hard.  Heading south along the Ohio River, the Steubenville mill was almost impossible to photograph except maybe from the river or from a moving car on the highway.  Further south, the mill at Mingo Junction was easy to photograph, again from public roads and the hills overlooking the mill.  The blast furnaces are set in a bit and perpendicular to the river so they are a bit far away in the photos - overall - three neat old mills that probably will all be gone in the nearer future - if you can, get out there this fall or winter.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Just arrived back from four days in western PA, Ohio and West Virginia.    We stayed in Pittsburgh for three nights while we explored the surrounding areas.  Some observations - 
  • Thank goodness for digital cameras - I took 740 photos in four days
  • Not enough time to take in everything - could have used at least three more days
  • Holy railroading batman - forget even trying to railfan on this trip - so much railroad action will need a separate trip just for that
  • Pittsburgh folks can't drive for sh_t
  • Who OK'd working on every highway in the Pittsburgh area simultaneously?  It was beyond a joke and literally cost us probably three or four hours of lost time the entire trip.  We almost missed the Carrie Furnace tour due to three consecutive traffic jambs at 7am on a Saturday morning.  It wouldn't have been so bad if I actually saw people working, but I think someone just closed half the exit ramps and highway lanes to look like they are working.  
  • Still plenty of steel industry and artifacts to see.
  • Someone needs to write a guide book on photographing mills and railroads - shooting locations, times of day, ,...etc.  
  • The Station Square Mall hired the real life Paul Blart - the only place the whole weekend I got chased off for photographing - more on this later in blog.
  • Liked Pittsburgh, Cleveland was ok, liked Weirton, WV
  • Surprisingly good food throughout trip, and I am a snob when it comes to food
How it all started:
A few months back I spotted an internet post about the Hard Hat Tours of Carrie Furnaces, run by the Rivers of Steel Organization.  I promptly purchased two tickets without really looking at my long term schedule, but I knew I would find a way to make it there.  Coincidentally it had been awhile since my wife and myself had taken a romantic weekend getaway.  Forget New York City, or Vermont, or an island - why not Pittsburgh, PA.  (We did actually end up on an island)  
Taking a few days off work, we left early thursday morning.  After, creeping through Philadelphia rush hour traffic we settled in for the long drive across Pennsylvania.  My plan for Thursday was to break off south just before Pittsburgh, deep into the heart of coal and coke country and then follow the Mon Valley northward into Pittsburgh.  The initial objective was Shoaf, PA and the remains of the last operating bee hive coke oven in the US.  This was a pretty long detour to take.  I was armed with aerial photos as it is pretty hard to find without.  After driving almost to the West Virginia border and down a half dozen back roads I located the former coke works at Shoaf, only to be disappointed - the area is now well posted with no-trespassing signs and it appears that they are mining coal there again - trucks and people everywhere.   I thought about asking permission to enter the property but the day was getting late and everything looked very overgrown anyway.  I took a few pictures from the public road and then we headed north up the Mon valley.  
We first stopped in Monessen - the former Pittsburgh-Wheeling Steel Mill is gone, but the coke works is still in some sort of operation, although it didn't look like they were making coke.  You can get some half-decent photos of the coke works from the public parking lots along the main drag there.  You can't see the batteries unfortunately and one of there quench cars was right out in front, but blocked by a bunch of CSX Coke Express cars.   From Monessen we next stopped in Clairton.  There aren't too many good photo ops from the main road there so we drove up into one of the neighborhoods overlooking the works and shoot a few photos from up there.  Next was Duquesne.  The former USS plant is gone and they are reusing the mill property for an office park.  There are a few artifacts on display here - some ingot molds and an former mill locomotive.    Continuing up the valley our next stop was Homestead - the former USS works is now a large shopping center.  My wife wasn't really disappointed with this so while she shopped I took in the artifacts that they have preserved there.  By the Lowes is a 12,000 ton press - by Ruby Tuesday a Kling Hot Metal Car (I think it is a Kling)   - by the Marriot is a large shipping yard type crane,  in the shopping area a narrow gauge locomotive - 30inch gauge - and finally the smokestacks of reheat furnaces near the Longhorn Steakhouse.  There is also a narrow gauge (30") ingot car with a few ingot molds on the main square in Homestead too.
   It was getting late  and as we entered Pittsburgh we stopped at Station Square.  This is a retail/hotel complex on the waterfront across from downtown.  It has a few artifacts - the old P&LE Depot, some misc. machinery, and the famous Bessemer Converter.  Darkness prevented any good photos of the converter but my wife found a small shopping mall.  It was virtually empty.  There was a small bookstore and I purchased a book on Duquesne.  While my wife was busy making her contributions to various stores I started to looked at the structural steel work in what must have been an old mill or railroad related building.  I pulled out my camera and took a few shots of the framing for future modeling reference and like that a Paul Blart look a like security guard was yelling at me for photographing "the property"  -  Mind you I spent four days taking over 700 photos of transportation, petrochemical, and other "strategic" industries without being hassled once, in fact a nice young Weirton, WV police officer even suggested additional locations for taking good photos of the mill.   On top of this we were actually patronizing this semi-dead shopping mall that could use every bit of business they could.   Funny - I'll post one of the photos that got me "busted" as my wife says.
 As I mentioned earlier - I did book a nice hotel on and island for our stay.  From Station Square it was a 10 minute drive through McKees Rocks to our island paradise, Neville Island - now you local Pittsburgh folks are probably laughing already, but to those of you not familiar with the area, Neville Island is about 3/4s heavy industry, with a small town at the western end.  As we were driving onto the island and the flare towers from the coke works were lighting up the night I got a look from my wife, but the hotel, a Fairfield Inn, turned out to be quite nice and comfortable, although my wife didn't like the train blowing their whistles and rumbling up the Ohio River all night long - music to my ears...

Monday, October 4, 2010


Tonight I started to assemble the excellent CMP Shops Bessemer Converter Kits.  I am building both converters simultaneously.  The castings are pretty clean overall and only a little bit of sanding is needed.  The assembly of these kits aren't complicated at all and the instructions are good, although, I changed a few minor things.   One change is that I am using Epoxy instead of CA glue.  A presenter at last year's Valley Forge Prototype Meet made a good case for epoxy over CA, notably the longer set time.  This allows you to position things better.  Plus, five minutes goes pretty fast.  On top of this, the bond is much stronger and the epoxy can be sanded easily.  The vessel is the first assembly item to deal with.  Basically, the bottom and top are glued on, taking care to line up the clamp brackets and to center the spout.  Next, the bar clamps are cut from their spues and glued to their respective brackets on the converter bottom and side.  After the clamps you need to cut the styrene rod material to fit and resemble the bolts on the upper sides of the vessel. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Friday was my wife's birthday and I had originally promised to take here to the Wheaton Arts Festival, however, she changed her mind, wanting to visit the outlet stores in Atlantic City.  These stores are massed between the train station and the Boardwalk.  They were built a few years ago to provide a bridge of sorts between the hotels and casinos and the train station and adjacent convention center, replacing a run down commercial/industrial area.   New Jersey Transit has been operating passenger rail service from Philadelphia to Atlantic City since the 1990s, after a break of a dozen years or more with no service.   We caught the train at Cherry Hill.  It was $6 each way for about a 45 minute ride.  The cars are on the older side but the ride is fine as the track is virtually a straight line with no grades the entire way.   The train operates as a push-pull with cab controls in the lead car - on the way down the engine, a GP40-2PH was in the rear, on the way back on the head end.  One neat little service are the waiting casino Jitney buses when you arrive - free to any casino you want.  We hopped on the one headed to Ballys as we basically wanted to walk on the Boardwalk a bit and then work our way back through the stores.   It was a pleasant day for a stroll on the boardwalk.  The Atlantic City boardwalk is wide and not crowded and it isn't as tacky as Wildwood or Seaside.  The beaches are beautiful and unlike most Jersey beaches, free during the summer.    It's ironic in a way as there are run down houses and apartments right up to the boardwalk - a few islands south is Avalon where you can't touch a beach block house for less than 3million - 4-10mil on the beach.  We had a pleasant lunch at a steakhouse and then my wife started her shopping spree.  A half dozen heels and handbags later we were back on the train headed home.

Friday, October 1, 2010

BessEMER PLANT - Part 5

Not much to report.  I've been spending a lot of my spare time planing my upcoming Pittsburgh trip and also planing a second Free-Mo module for the upcoming show at the end of October.  The second Free-Mo module is actually going to be two parts - a 2x8 main section and then ad 3x6 peninsula off that.   We are going to model a modern portland cement plant on this module.  Hopefully, we will also do some updating to the Pipe Foundry Module.    My goal with the new Free-Mo modules are to get them built and with trackwork so we can run trains.  Anything else, like scenery and structures will be a plus.    I'll warn you now, most of the October modeling will be related to the portland cement industry and not the steel, but the techniques are the same so it should hopefully be equally entertaining.    Don't worry though, as work never stops on the steel mill layout - I recently purchased a half dozen switches and 10 pieces of track or so, all of which as been installed on the "upper works" portion of the layout.   While cutting out the module parts I will also cut out some benchwork for the only remaining yard section of the layout.    The narrow gauge bridge is complete and awaits painting.  Once I get this painted I can permanently install and then hopefully get some narrow gauge trains running.   
Related to the Bessemer Plant,  I made a quick mold of the bottom of the converters from the CMP kit.  The reason for this is the bottoms of the converters wore out quickly and were designed to be quickly changed out for re-built ones.  There is usually a whole building or two with furnaces,...etc.  devoted to rebuilding these bottoms - I won't have the room to model this, but I figure it would be good to have a new bottom or two on the ready, along with maybe a burned out one.   It's not as simple as just making a copy of the bottom as the CMP bottom was not designed to be viewed from the inside.  I will need to machine out much of the resin and create a new interior.