Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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The Henry Ford Museum ~ Saturday, July 05, 2014

During down-time we visited the Henry Ford Museum, which has quite a bit more than just cars, and I also snapped a few pictures of a train through the gate of the adjacent (but separately-ticketed) Greenfield Village.

For a train and transit modeller, some of the highlights of the Ford Museum, besides lots and lots of cars that would make nice background pieces for a trolley layout, are a Ft Collins Birney, the first Bluebird schoolbus, an Ingersoll-Rand boxcab (the first successful Diesel-Electric locomotive type), and the bus on which Rosa Parks defied segregation. There are also large stationary steam engines, and steam tractors. And more cars. There is disassembled model T suspended on wires, like a full-size 3-dimensional exploded diagram, and I will be consulting pictures of it the next time I make a model of one. Also planes, clocks and a Wienermobile.

The Greenfield village is a reconstruction of a typical American small town as they once were, with a steam train you can ride around the perimeter.

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Dearborn Skating Trip ~ Friday, July 04, 2014

This year's Theater on Ice Nationals was in Dearborn. Once again, Wini and the rest of the team put on an amazing ice skating show, and as in years past I came along to help with props. One part of our entry to the competition was an ice-skating version of Starlight Express, so the team was made up with abstractly trainish costumes (illuminated with LED's), and our central prop was a blinking grade crossing sign.

Other teams put on a good show too, and I want to give a special shout-out to the St. Louis team who did Meet me in St. Louis, and used a rideable* trolley prop.

On the purely nerdy/technical side, one point of interest for me was recreating a lost battery cord for one of the costume lights using parts from a local Radio Shack, and doing some soldering in the hotel on top of some scrap lumber we found in the Zamboni room of the rink, so that we wouldn't get billed for burning the furniture.

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Pumpkins ~ Saturday, June 21, 2014

Last October I buried the pumpkin guts left over from jack-o-lantern carving in the planter box in front of our house. Looks like my zero-effort gardening experiment is paying off!

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Light Rail Pic with Bonus ~ Thursday, May 08, 2014

My office is right by Moffett Field, which is mostly pretty quiet, but today had a distinguished visitor. Since the VTA goes right by,  I just had to wait a few minutes to get an interesting view combining a light rail train and Air Force One.

(Click on the pictures for full size view).

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Test Post from my Phone: Red Ford V8 ~ Monday, April 28, 2014

This is actually a test to see if I can make blog posts from my phone, to which I'm attaching some pictures of a shiny red Ford V8 I passed this morning, that would make a fun modeling project.

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Backyard Fence ~ Tuesday, April 01, 2014

After a partial hiatus (some other work has gone on in the meantime that isn't ready to show yet) the green house+garage project is moving forward.

The two structures are planned to go together, mounted on adjacent lot-sized bases, with a back yard between them, on the lot containing the garage. It's a small yard right up against the sidewalk, and the occupants need some privacy, so I built a 6' board fence from styrene.

The individual boards were cut from evergreen strip with an NWSL Chopper, and glued onto horizontal beams. The bottom beam is right at ground level, which is not advised for real-life fences, since the wood will rot, but made the fence a lot easier to glue to the base. The fence boards were distressed with a steel weathering brush from Micro Mark (we'll see if that's actually visible after painting) and glued to the beams with intentional hairline gaps. The length of the fence didn't turn out to be an exact multiple of board-widths, so I split one in half... I can actually see an example of this on the fence around our house from the garage window by my workbench, so I'm pretty sure this is prototypical!

At the end closest to the house, the fence jogs inward because the back of the house (bathroom addition) is set back a bit. This has the extra advantage of anchoring the fence to the base in two dimensions. For the same reason, and also just because it's more interesting, I made the gate (at the garage end) open, and glued it down.

This is starting to make the bare model street look a bit more like a neighborhood--and it'd be a nice place to live, too, if it weren't for marauding dinosaurs!

Maybe it's a movie shoot.

Incidentally I am gluing all this together with the new-ish Testors liquid cement in the square-shaped (sort-of) container with the pointy dispenser, which I have not used before. It is somewhat thicker than the pure solvent that comes in jars, but much thinner than the "model airplane glue" stuff that you squeeze out of a tube. Seems to be working fairly well here.

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Railfan Photography by Nathan ~ Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nathan got a little "kid camera" for Christmas, and has been having fun with it, taking pictures of whatever strikes his fancy.

My messy garage, for example. Thanks, Nate!

And what modern kid doesn't take selfies?

He also likes finding the ß's in German books.

Today we took off for one of our adventures, and he brought his camera along.

We passed Facebook Headquarters.

And cross the Dumbarton bridge, which parallels the currently-unused Dumbarton railway bridge.

We went to the Fremont/Centerville Amtrak depot, and the railfan-photography began.

He told the semaphore to smile :)

About a mile east of the station we passed the Fremont Heisler that I've written about before.

A little farther along is the Fremont BART maintenance facility:

We arrived at Oakland/Jack London Square station, and took a few more picture of our train and others:

The snack car is a major advantage of Amtrak trains in Nate's opinion!

I'll close with a few artsy shots.

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