We’re in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic as I write this. My wife and I are healthy and almost completely isolated at home. We’re fortunate to be able to work remotely and so far haven’t experienced the financial worries that so many others are faced with. In other words, we’re doing fine. For the moment.
I sincerely hope you’re all well and able to get by. If you happen to be a first responder, or working in a hospital, or employed at some other “essential” task (like say, driving a delivery truck full of toilet paper), you have my undying gratitude.
Anyway, as promised, here’s the next installment in my layout build saga. Still no actual layout but the prep work continues apace. This month I’ll go over the fitting out of my new workshop. It has turned into a terrific space that I’m really happy with. As you can see from the photo above, it’s a big improvement over what I had before.
After all the planning in the last two updates I can finally share some actual work. As of this writing the basement is around 75% complete but I’ve already got too many photos for a single post. So this month we’ll start at the beginning and work up to the point where I was able to move into the workshop. Next month we’ll go over the fit-out of said workshop and the month after that we’ll finish everything up in the layout area.
Last month I started what I hope will be a monthly series on the construction of my layout. Knowing my penchant for procrastination and the ease with which best laid plans are upset by life and other obligations, I made sure that I had enough material to cover at least the first few months of posts. So here’s the track plan, right on schedule. Continue reading “Building a Model Railroad – Part 2: Layout Design”
Well another year has come and gone with very few posts from me. But after three long years 2020 looks to be the point where I can finally begin to put time and money into building a layout. In fact, the benchwork is 90% complete though at the moment it’s not in its correct configuration and is serving as a series of work tables for the last bit of construction in the basement. If everything goes to plan I’m hoping to have the prep work done and be hanging the backdrop and valance over the next couple weeks. In the meantime I thought it might be worthwhile to fill you in on my plans.
HO scale Model Railroading has come a long way in the last decade or so. The fidelity and quality of the products available to the average modeler is pretty staggering. However, there are still two major weak points on every single locomotive and piece of rolling stock: Couplers and wheels.
I think it’s reasonable to argue that the SD40-2 was the defining example of 2nd generation diesel locomotives in North America. They were purchased in huge numbers by most Class 1 railroads and have developed a reputation for reliability over decades of operation. Today they’re less common on Class 1’s, but many are being rebuilt to extend their lives and quite a few are well into second careers on regional and short lines. It has therefore been rather unfortunate that HO scale modelers have never had a really good plastic model of the SD40-2 (I’d argue that there’s never been a really good brass model either, because, well. Brass.) Many companies have made an attempt at the SD40-2, but most have gotten stuff wrong (Athearn, Intermountain) and no one has made a stab at the huge amount of variations that occurred over the twelve year production run (Kato). Athearn could and should have put an SD40-2 in their Genesis line to go along with the GP models they’ve been releasing but they never did.
Therefore, it was no small thing when I cam home from work about a year ago to find a box from Scale Trains sitting on the stoop. Inside, I hoped, was the SD40-2 so many of us have been waiting for.
My dad and I took this series of photos in Steilacoom on what appears to be a cold, late fall or early spring morning. That’s me standing on the rip-rap in the blue jacket but I’m unsure of the exact day or even year. I’m 99% certain we’re looking at the Coast Starlight though if this is before May of 1997 it could be the Pioneer. I had that jacket for ages so it doesn’t provide much of a timestamp however I don’t think I look old enough to be in high school. Based on that alone I’d say it’s pre-’97.
Happy New Year. It’s that time once again when I buckle down and try to get Milepost 15 on a regular update schedule. We’ll see how long that lasts.
There’s been a lot going on over the past year but not much of it was model (or real) railroad related. Last February Beth and I bought a house which meant that most of 2016 and most of my money was dedicated to moving, unpacking and renovations. The house is a small cape with a single car garage and a large addition off the back. It’s not exactly what we wanted, I would have preferred a two car garage and a basement with full-height ceilings, Beth wanted a colonial (because she wasn’t going to be the one perched two stories up on a ladder when the gutters needed cleaning). That said, the house is in excellent condition and apart from a few incidental things just needs a bit of updating. We got it for less than we had been planning to spend and were able to put 20% down. All in all I think we did pretty well.