Wednesday, March 25, 2020


It’s been over a year since my last post.   Life has usual been a blur of work and other things, until the Coronavirus ground the economy to a very slow crawl.  My business has been affected severely since 90% of the work we do is residential.   For the first time in over thirty years of business I have had to lay off employees, all of them to be precise.   I can afford to keep the lights on for four months or so hopefully I’m back in operation by then, however, with the react to the stock ticker government response, I’m fairly worried we could be looking at a slow bleed for longer.  I’m sure all the billionaires and their corporations that pay slave wages will make out fine.   Small businesses like mine,  always get shit on.  With or without the virus, I’ll keep on paying forty times the tax rate that Amazon does.

Well, now that I’ve aired the dirty laundry, and as the boys from Monty Python say, “always look on the bright side of life”, there is an upside - more time for model railroading.

I think in my last post, I talked about my expansion into O-Scale.  I joined a local O-Scale 2-Rail club last winter.  The Cherry Valley Model Railroad Club has been located in the basement of the Grace Episcopal Church for 56 years.   I had never been much of a club person, preferring to do my model railroading in my basement, alone, or with the help of my son.   I’ve been presently surprised, and have been having a fun time with a great group of model railroaders.   Having a specific meeting night every week has more or less “forced” me to play with trains - not a bad thing.   With owning your own business, there always seems to be something you could be doing, especially when your shop has months of backlog, and it’s easy to just work more hours and forget about the fun things in your life.   With Cherry Valley, I almost always get in three to four hours of model railroading a week.  Sometimes its just running trains, sometimes working on the layout, and plenty of times just shooting the shit about trains, etc.   Those of you who know me personally, know I’m pretty skilled at the last item.  

What about steel mill modeling?  Unfortunately, I haven’t worked on my layout much - why?  Besides the time issue,  honestly, it’s covered with O Scale cars and locomotives that I am building, painting, decaling, and weathering.   To be fair, I went a bit overboard gearing up for O Scale, and have purchased at least 90 cars or car kits and probably a dozen locomotives over the course of a year and a half.   I’m also doing what I have never really done in HO scale - for each locomotive or car, I’m painting, decaling,  weathering, weighting, coupler height adjusting, decoder installing, before it gets brought to Cherry Valley.    As most of you know, my basement is really small, so the only place I can set my rolling stock is on my HO Steel mill layout.   O Scale cars and locos are twice as long, high, and wide as H.O., but that also mean four times the volume.    I’m building a work room/ O Scale shelf layout in an old garage attached to my house (not really a garage - 7’x20’)   When this is finished, I’ll be able to move all my work up there, and also have space to properly work on my large HO steel mill structures.

Moving on I am going to try to update this blog more regularly.  If I go back in it’s history, the times I was most prolific with the posts, were also the times I did the most modeling.   I’m also going to post some of my O-Scale modeling in this blog.  The techniques and methods are transferable to any scale.   I’ll title the posts with O-SCALE EXPLORATIONS, so if you don’t want to read, you can skip.  I’ve posted photos some of my O Scale freight car weathering projects.

Everyone stay safe and healthy.

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