Monday, April 11, 2011


I'll start off the photos with one of Dave D. of the Capitol Area Free-mo group. Dave is running his train (the Union Pacific lead loco) past Randy Constanza's 3'x24' coke works. At this point Dave is about 300 feet or so from our Free-mo modules, completely at the other end of this massive modular layout. We had a lot of visitors that had a hard time believing we could run trains all the way to the other end - proof positive. The only real problem that we had was that the Digitrax equipment had apparently reached it's limit and wasn't able to add the Free-mo Digitrax system to the rest - so - we had to manually lift our locomotives over the "frontier" between systems. This could be resolved with four rail gaps and a DPDT switch in the future. All I have to say about this is one thing, NCE.

The next two photos relate to module transport. With four m
odules and structures we are maxed out with a E-250 cargo van. Even
with the van, the transport of the modules takes it's toll on the modules and precludes us leaving any structures permanently attached. Additionally, we lack proper storage space at home and have to store the modules in an outdoor shed. The only real solution that presents itself to this problem is to get a 6x12 trailer to store and transport the modules. While this should work fine, it presents some other issues, namely cost. With about $2000 for a trailer and then at least another $1000 in costs to fit it out for transporting the modules and for actually finishing the modules we now have built, we have to ask ourselves do we take this leap or do we just maybe scale back and focus solely on the pipe foundry module - spending the $3000 or so on the steel mill layout in our basement. The pipe foundry module was originally built as two four foot sections - we could transport in the back of a Saturn Vue. With rising fuel costs I can't even imagine the cost of dragging a trailer to Timonium - in fact this trip we spent more on fuel and tolls than our motel Saturday night. We also need to get our electrical systems up to snuff and are looking at having to buy 8 of the Digitrax plates at $15 or so a pop, plus all the cables,..etc. Another 8 plates in my basement would make that system complete. Well, something t
o ponder over the spring and summer - a lot will have to do with how the economy goes and how it affects my income. One model railroader from the North C
arolina Slipping and Switching Society solved his storage and transport issues by buying an old school bus and tearing out the seats - see photo.

One thing I always get out of any model railroader gathering is information - I try to ask a lot of questions to learn how other people do things. The more information you gather the better - and then take all this, compare it to how you were doing something or thinking of doing something and then adjust accordingly. Slowly you will find your techniques improving with every model you build. This past weekend, I spent a good hour or so talking with Jim Harr of Stella Scale Models - he gave me tons of new ideas for stepping up my resin casting game a notch or two. Talking with the previous mentioned Randy Constanza about his first-rate steel mill I picked up at least a half dozen or more ideas I want to try at home and probably will pick up a dozen more after I look through the photos I took of his mill. I also came across a module with I think it was a group called the Four County or Four something modular group, whose builder had some serious skill modeli
ng in three dimensions - something I'm trying real hard to develop as a skill myself. Developing a good track plan and a realistic structure layout is one thing, but then to take that and expand it vertically to different levels is another. I can handle the different levels, and in fact, my steel mill is on three distinct levels, but the real skill comes in tying these levels together with scenery and lots of retaining walls, in a way that looks realistic and convincing and eliminates the tiered look. Well I took a lot of photos and notes on this module and I thank the unknown builder for displaying it.

Finally, as has become a tradition - our purchases -

First Jimmy - A Bachmann CSX GP38-2, DCC on board - $40
also a Spectrum Conrail SD45, DCC on board $49

Me - (omitting prices incase wife reads)
Tichy Water Tower
Tichy Oil Tank
Peco HOn30 flex track and a right hand switch
Some magazines
A 34' hopper
A tractor and trailer for module
An front end loader for module
Digitrax UT-4 Throttle, so we can stop borrowing one all the time
A Kibri warehouse building kit
A bunch of the Walthers conveyor kits
and probably some other things Im forgetting about right now.

No comments: