Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weekend Cancellation

I had to cancel my all day train event Saturday due to not having time to gather up supplies. My job has gotten even more busy with layoffs and relocations, so I've been working more hours.

I do plan to go to Paul's house this weekend.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coupon Queen

My wife is the coupon queen. You can see her blog at I'm always after her to get me coupons for model trains, so she did.

Reverend Rick had one of these cool little foam cutters with a single "stick" blade and I just had to have one. So Marie got me a 40% off coupon on the Hobby Lobby website and I bought it today for $12.71. What a deal! The coupon allows you one item at 40% off. Last Sunday I got a coupon for Michael's, another hobby & craft store and got 50% of an 8 lb box of polymer clay that I use for making cypress trees. What a deal!

Get your wife to help you use coupons and make your $$$ go further!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Helping Move Trainmaster Models

Trainmaster Models, Atlanta's biggest and best model train store is moving to a new, huge location at 601 East Main Street in Buford, GA 30518.

Being friends with the owner "Iron" Mike Devaney is a great thing...until he wants to move to a bigger location. Man, I hurt all over today.

My wife, my daughter Taylor and I all pitched in to help. At 9:00 am we met at the old store. Most all of the merchandise has already gone so we're just moving store fixtures. Heavy store fixtures. Here Bob, Neil, Ken and myself start breaking down the shelves. Thanks Marie for taking these photos!

The shelves weigh a ton and the shelf unit is rickety. Wish I had brought my hard hat!

Mike is toting stuff and giving us directions. Luckily it was unusually cool for a Georgia July day.

Kathy Devaney is the store manager. She was packing up cashier equipment and then spent the rest of the day coordinating efforts at the new store.

Moving the big HO layout was quite a task! It took at least eight men to get it in the truck.

Dust was flying everywhere! Achoo!

We turned the old layout on its side and carried it out by the L-girders. It was as long as the moving truck.

Taylor camped out in the corner and colored most of the morning.

It wasn't that heavy, but it sure was long! Gently now!

I always wanted to know where layout go to die. There is a secret burial ground in north Georgia in the back of Mike's new store. There are several layouts and modules there now.

Lucky for us the store has double doors. We left a string of cotton ball trees along the route.

That's Mike with the yellow lifting strap.

Heave ho! Heave ho! Was that a coal mind? Nevermind...

A job well done! Now for another million pounds of glass store fixtures!

While it looked like a lot of still was not enough. We were exhausted. Pound for pound this is the largest moving team in existence. Diet on Monday!

Taylor handles the phone calls. "No, we are closed this week but will reopen on August 1st!" Little did she know that Daddy accidentally cut the phone line while removing the alarm system.
A fleet of trucks and SUV's was needed.

Scott strips off a magazine rack. We took everything, and didn't even leave the mice.

At the end of the day we were exhausted. Taylor helped put away Thomas The Tank Engine toys all afternoon. She fell asleep in the car still holding on to her crayon.

A very long day, but a lot of fun! The new store is FABULOUS! Come see it August 1st!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Let There Be Light! Installing Drop Ceiling Lights

Damn, its hot today in Georgia! I have the afternoon off so about 1:30 I packed up the computer and headed over to Lowe's to buy supplies for tonight's train session.

For $268.53 I got what I think I need. Normally I would never buy this much without some kind of coupon, but there were none to be had and I needed to get this done.

I bought five 4 lamp T-8 troffer lights for drop ceilings. These were the cheaper version, but they do have replaceable ballasts. I bought a case of cheap T-8 bulbs and later when I need the better quality lamps for scenery work I'll replace them. I also bought some drop ceiling handging wire and some lag eye bolts for the lights, along with five one-gang electrical boxes. I've already got a case of wire and the switch is installed.

On the work board for tonight:

  • Light installation
  • Install the top board on the gurney
  • Look at installation of the a/c ducts
  • Build the retrun loop (outside of the train room.

Hope you can make it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Narrow Benchwork Scenery Ideas

Here is a post that I made on the LDSIG group site, and I thought I'd share it here. The question was around how to make a 12" deep layout look like the scenery is deeper than it really is. Here is my reply:

Some tips are:

Make use of forced perspective. Use slightly smaller scenic items in the background to enhance the appearance of distance. You have to be careful with this one because usually to work it needs to be seen from a single point. Once you move to the left or right to look at it again the illusion is gone. I don't recommend this technique for long stretches of track, but it is excellent for a corner!

Completely hide the horizon line (backdrop to benchwork line) as seeing it allows the eye to compute real distance. A low fence or a tree line is very effective.

Raise the horizon line 2" as it causes the eye to calculate the horizon line as being further back. A slight curving upward fromt he benchwork looks nice.

Keep the track as close to the aisle as you can, but avoid parellel track to edge. Using flowing curves when possible. You don't want the viewer's eye to make calculations!

Use scenic elements to point the eye to where you want it to go. Carefully placed trees, buildings etc can block the viewer's eye from wandering around. Direct a roof line or a small foot bridge to point the eye back to the track.

Never put a structure parrellel to the backdrop. Always put it at some kind of angle.

Keep the track in front lower than the scenery in the back. Looking "down" into the scene makes it appear smaller. Looking up makes it appear deeper.

Keeping the background scenery plain and uninteresting forces the onlooker to focus on the train running through. Keep the scene sparse, and heavily detail the foreground.

Heavily detail the track! This is often overlooked. Have a scene that is just inches away from the backdrop? Throw a string of new crossties and spike barrells along the front of the track and see who notices what is on the backdrop. Very effective!

Use bland colors in the background and avoid bright red, yellows, etc.

Don't put readable signs in the background. Put them up close to grab the viewer's eye.

Use painted backdrop continuances, such as a road painted up to a higher horizon line, or a fence or river. This allows for the percieved continuation of the layout and gives the eye something to do.

That's some ideas...maybe the guys have more. Please post your comments!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bob's Photos From July 3rd, 2009

Here are some photos from Glue Bob's house on July 3rd.

Here we have rigged up the backdrop and used newsprint to mock up the scenery in Swas Junction.

The Reverend Rick is pontificating on something while the rest of us work on the foam scenery. Too much coffee! Packrat Paul is in the back surveying the height of the backdrop. Looks about right.

The brown splotches are where rocks will go. The trees are sitting there to gauge the height of the backdrop.

Rick actually does something! I think he's stirring his coffee. Meanwhile the rest of us tear masking tape and pack in the paper.

This is the foam section, which has had some sculpting.

The brat pack. Rick, Scott, Paul and Bob. Halina took the photo....

There is method in the mess! Be patient, because out of this pink foam nightmare will come a spectacular layout!

Thanks for the pix, Bob!

Photos From Bob's House Last Friday

I forgot my camera when I went over to Glue Bob's house, so he sent me some pictures for the blog.

Here is the backdrop, made out of Masonite. Both sides are painted because here in Georgia the humidity will ruin Masonite if you don't treat it. The split end goes to the wall.

Bob took a small board and shaped it to be the rounded edge of the backdrop.

Coalfinger Ken and Gator apply plaster cloth to the foam scenery. Ken just likes making a mess.

Here we have completed the plaster work and Scott is filling in some holes.

Scott and Bob are holding rock molds in place while the plaster cures.

Here Scott has a rock mold filled with hydrocal plaster, Rit black liquid dye and a spot of alcohol. This rock cut will look great as the locomotive passes by!

Scot and Ken wait for the mold to pop off. Looking good!

There! The first bits of scenery have arrived on the ONR.

Here is a close up of the mounted backdrop.

Thanks Bob for the photos!

Store List Keeps Getting Bigger

My shopping list keeps getting bigger. The A, B, C is the priority list. This is actually on a spreadsheet that is shared on line.

A Dremel 1100-01 Stylus w/ Cordless Rotary Tool with Docking Station $69.99 Amazon
A Dremel 4486 Dremel Chuck $4.56 Amazon
A Sanding sponges - fine to coarse $30.00 Harbor Freight
A Ambroid Secur-It adhesive $8.00 Hobby Lobby
A Labelle 107 1/2 fl. oz. Multi-Purpose Oil Medium ydftdgfterty $6.95 Hobby Shop
A Adjustable roller guides for sawing (x2) flogt $50.00 Home Depot
A Locomotive Cradle - SOFT TOUCH CRADLE 80784 $13.00 Micro Mark
A Paper clips - all sizes $0.00 Office
A 2 oz. Non-Spill Rosin Soldering Paste Flux
Model: 64-022 | Catalog #: 64-022 $6.59 Radio Shack
A Floquil SP Lark Dark Grey Paint $3.00 Trainmaster
A Grandt Line HO Scale Window Grab Bag Assortment $21.00 Trainmaster
A Paasche VLN 1, 3 and 5 needles $10.00 Trainmaster
A PL Prfessional Wood Filler $5.00 Home Depot
A Hobby knives - sevral $10.00 Anywhere
B Bannana clip leads set $10.00 Fry's
B Digital gram scale $70.00 Fryes
B Small anvil $5.00 Harbor Freight
B Small bench grinder (hobby size) $20.00 Harbor Freight
B Pipe cleaners, assorted sizes $5.00 Hobby Lobby
B 6" Hose and hose mount for air brush cabinet $15.00 Home Depot
B 8-Piece High Speed Steel Forstner Drill Bit Set $20.00 Home Depot
B DCC Decoder Tester $20.00 Loys Toys
B Multi drawer storage unit, large, any size x2 $40.00 target
B Multi drawer storage unit, short, fit under electrical bench $15.00 Target/Walmart
B RRampMeter Circuit Module $49.95 Tony's Train Exchange
B Padded stools for shop with back support x2 $100.00
C DHDP - Dummy 9 Pin Plug for Analog Operation $15.00 Digitrax
C Embossing heat gun $15.00 Hobby Lobby
C Labelle set of lubricants $50.00 Hobby Shop
C Dremel wall mounted bit assortment $60.00 Home Depot
C Plumbing and trap for shop sink $40.00 Home Depot
C Loco/car wieghts $10.00 Micro Mark
C Model Maker's T pins (wig pins) 14318 $3.60 Micromark
C Vacuum Desoldering Tool Model: 64-2098 $9.00 Radio Shack
C Kapton tape for electronics $9.00 Uline
C Pana vise with base, 360 mount, soft jaws $50.00
D Networked Computer $300.00

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cleaning Up the Shop

I'm kind of tired today and its raining, so I think I'll just clean up the shop. The guys are coming over FridayI carried this quart of Eggshell paint down stairs. Marie got if for me for free on line at the Glidden site. Apparently they will send you a quart of pain for free, shipping included!

The back to school sales are running rampant, so I bought two of these quadrille notebooks for $0.50 each. Great deal. I use them for making sketches.

Also snagged for the basement were too large storage jars.

The workbench is a disaster, the victim of three work nights. Better clean it up first.

The nut and bolt assortment is always handy around the house. I'll put it back where it goes underneath the bench.

The drills are all out of power, so I'll put the batteries in the charger and put the drill bits back in their holders.

We've been using the drill press, so I'll vacuum it and give it a coat of WD-40.

This little 2 gallon shop vac is light and portable. Perfect for sucking up sawdust.

There! The drill press is clean again.

...and all the drills are in place and charged. Tape measures, bits and other tools are organized in the same place every time so that my team can find them easily. They know when the come over that they can grab a tape measure and a fully charged drill. And a cup of fresh coffee.

Much better!
The executive boardroom is suffering from dust and clutter. This is where we go over plans and sit down to make things.

The dust was worse than I thought, so I removed everything and gave it a good sweeping. One of these days this will be a finished crew room and bar.

All the trash and scrap lumber has been removed and everything is nice and tidy. is bigger now.

We won't be sawing much any more, so I better clean up the saw corner as well.

I thoroughly blew off and vacuumed the Dewalt cut off saw and the vacuum system. Now to tend to the floor. I didn't take a picture of it when it was done, but it was all clean and neat.

The shop is a bigger mess. I forgot to clean up the coffee from last train night. Also, I had been cleaning and reorganizing my scenery bins, so there is misc scenery stuff everywhere.

The guys love coffee, but it sure is messy. There is always a coffee spill. I cleaned out the coffee pot thoroughly.

Note to self: buy some more hobby knives. For some reason I keep losing them!

There! Much better. Now I can see my electronics workbench.

The main assembly bench was even worse than this because I forgot to take a picture. Lots of project remnants.
Flash! All clean. Trash can is now full and all the tools are back in the draws.

I picked up the floor, too.

I bought some cable ties the other day and they need a place in the electronics bench. There are still some open drawers, so we'll use a big one.

I won't need all of these, so I'll put an assortment in the drawer and put the rest in back up storage somewhere in a cabinet.

There! Now we need a label on the drawer so we know what is in it.

I use this handy (and expensive) labeling computer. Its nice, but not cheap.

There! Now we know what is in it.
I better label the drawer above it as well.

I cleaned up the main assembly workbench. It was covered with wood.

The metalworking bench is a wreck. I found a bunch of things in the basement that belonged in the shop, so we'll have to put these away.

Zoom! All clean. This all took about an hour. Well worth it. Mainly so that my team can find what they need when they need it.

Comments? Questions? Post them here!