Mail in your 4D ballot!

Michael Highsmith, Election Committee Chair

So far, we have received more than 125 ballots, but that’s barely 25% of what we mailed.  You can do better!  Please take a moment, mark your ballot, and send it in.  Ballots are due May 10th, so you still have plenty of time. But get them in soon to avoid confusion over whether your vote counts.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

April 2014 Skagit Valley/Whidbey Clinic

Article and Photos by Al Carter

Clinic Chairperson Rich Blake called the April 2014 meeting to order shortly after 7:00pm with 40 members in attendance.  Three new visitors joined us:  Roger Johnson (HO) from Sedro Woolley, Wes Wilson (HO) from Oak Harbor, and Scott Barney (HO) also from Oak Harbor.  Welcome!

Rich appealed to the audience for someone to step up and take over the job as snack coordinator, as Phil and Susan Gonzales have provided us with goodies for 7 years now and have decided they need a break.  Thanks, Phil and Susan!  Rich also asked the group for ideas for clinic topics for next season (September 2014 – June 2015), and the idea of an alternate meeting place once or twice a year was discussed.  Another note:  we average about 29 people per clinic, which is up considerably from an average of 5 per clinic in the year 2000.

The evenings clinic was actually a  “Two-Fer” – two clinics on the agenda.  First off, Norm Myers showed us how he has made several removable tunnels from his layout.  Norm had to design these for access to some hard to reach areas of his layout.  He starts out by making a gridwork form for the tunnel, out of Gatorboard, which is like foamcore, but will not bend or warp.  He cuts it up and hot-glues it to the basic shape he wants, then covers the formwork with plaster cloth and finishes it up with the usual scenery methods.  The result is a very lightweight and very strong mountain/tunnel that can easily be lifted off the layout.  Norm brought several of his creations; one was near 5 feet long!

Rich Blake and Norm Myers easily moving one of Norm's removable mountains.

Rich Blake and Norm Myers easily moving one of Norm’s removable mountains.

Norm makes tunnel liners out of ¼” hardware cloth, which bends easily to the shape of the tunnel interior.  The interior, or underside, of the mountain/tunnel is painted black, so it looks like the tunnel might be quite long.

Norm also regaled us with a tour of his layout.  Norm has built 2 viaduct arch bridges out of pink foam, which were gorgeous.  He also showed photos of a lot of buildings he has kit-bashed into building flats.  Hmmm…  We’re seeing the possibility of another clinic or two here…  Norm?

The second part of the “Two Fer” clinic was on roof top detail and materials by Al Carter.  It was noted that although some layouts are made at eye level, most are lower and we therefore look down upon our layouts and our miniature structures.  That brings the rooftop of the structure into more of a prominent view, and in many cases, these miniature roofs are quite neglected.  It seems as if the default method of finishing a roof is to paint it black and stick a chimney on it.

Roofs are models, too.  If we as modelers can spend a lot of time detailing the interior of a building (which is often hard to see even with interior lighting), we should be able to give a little more attention to our roofs.  Besides chimneys, unless you are modeling in the “outhouse era”, your building probably should have some plumbing vents sticking up over the bathroom and kitchen areas.  Very small tubing will work, or even just some brass or styrene rod painted black.

Air conditioners and HVAC systems are another detail that could/should be added, depending on the structure size and use.  There are commercial castings available for this use, but also, one can make such details out of other items.  For example, Walther’s 933-2120 Coke Containers sure look to me like they could be a rooftop HVAC unit.  Same for Chooch Enterprises #7287 Tote Bins for Barium Oxide – perfect HVAC units.  Of course, these need various piping and ductwork to make them look like they are in use, and a simple way to make ductwork is to save those styrene sprues from your model kits, file them to shape, and install.  Also, not all rooftop “stuff” is painted silver.  White, light green, blue, tan, and grays are also common colors, even back into the 1950’s.

Roofs are not always black!  Maybe back in the 1950s and prior, roofs were black when new roofing was applied, but even that doesn’t stay black very long.  Some simple weathering if you are modeling in those early years will do wonders to add some variety to a roof.  From the 1960s onward, different colored roofing materials became common, both residential and commercial.  This helps us add some variety to our towns by varying the color of the roofs.

Al Carter showing a corrugated roof made from thin paper

Al Carter showing a corrugated roof made from thin paper

There is a huge variety of roofing material available to us modelers these days, including products from Rusty Stumps, Builders In Scale, Wild West Models,  to name but a few.  However, one can easily make  rolled roofing from common materials such as ½” masking tape, newsprint, floral tape, etc, painted appropriately (not black!  Well, not all black…).  My personal favorite method is to use toilet tissue (Cottonelle brand) cut into 3’ sized strips and laid over wet paint (gray, green), then finished with another light coat of paint, then weathered.  It is important to note here to use toilet paper that does not have a pattern embossed in it.  And for a “membrane” roof on a factory, try gift wrap tissue paper (the kind you find a new shirt wrapped in), glued down, then finished with a few applications of A&I (alcohol and India ink).  Crumple the tissue paper first, then smooth it out before gluing down.

Finally, for those of you who use the internet, check out:  CGTEXTURES.COM – this site has a huge variety of images of textures, including a bunch of roof textures.  This site requires that you register (name and password; no credit card or any other stuff), and you can download any images you may want and save to your computer (there is a 15mb download limit per day).  This goes beyond roofs, too, as they have images of concrete, roads, walls, metal, etc.  This is a tremendous resource for us modelers.

These are but a few of the ways to improve our model roofs, and I’ve only scratched the surface on methods and products available.   The important part is to break away from the “normal” and show some variety on your roofs.  Experiment, and keep your eye open for other ideas for rooftop detail.

Next month’s clinic (May 14) features Dr. Nick Muff showing us how he adds working headlights and taillights to his fleet of HO vehicles, a clinic not to be missed!

Want to Learn Timetable and Train Order Ops?

Tom Enloe

Tom Enloe has been running Time Table and Train Order operating sessions for over eight years on his Pacific Northwestern layout. During this time, the PNW has hosted sessions on the 2nd Saturday monthly where operators from all around the PNR Fourth Division have gathered to enjoy an afternoon of fun, putting the layout through its paces. The PNW has hosted ops sessions for the PNR Cascadian International 2010 regional convention and operators from around the country for Soundrail 2012 and Soundrail 2014. It is planned to operate as part of the Portland 2015 NMRA national convention.

Recent completion of the CherryValley timber and mining line, and the relocation of a couple of regular operators, have created opportunities for new operators to join the current crew. A crew of 18 is needed to fully exercise the railroad. With that in mind, Tom is soliciting new operators to be added to the call list for ops sessions.

Come and Learn! Tom and his regular crew have always placed a strong emphasis on teaching and coaching folks in the various facets of operation, in particular, Timetable and Train Order. To this end, Tom and his crew have created three trainee positions for those with no TT&TO experience, or who aren’t yet comfortable with their operating skills. Trainees will be accompanied by an assigned coach during their first session(s) to coach them on TT&TO and the PNW itself.

If you are interested or have questions, contact Tom at 425-788-1291, email hidden; JavaScript is required or Steve Haas at 425-441-8541, email hidden; JavaScript is required.




4d Board Meeting May 17

Russ Segner, Superintendent

The next meeting of the 4D Board of Directors will be May 17 at 1:00 PM at Mitzel’s Restaurant in Kent. The major focus of this meeting will be preparation of the budget for the next fiscal year. If you or your group within the Fourth Division has any requests for consideration, please email Sherman Stevens at email hidden; JavaScript is required. Include as much specific information as possible with rationale explaining your request.

As always, any 4th Division member in good standing may attend the meeting.

Mitzel’s American Kitchen
22330 84th Ave S, Kent, WA 98032
(253) 395-3635

Tacoma Clinic

by Al Babinsky

MMR Gene Swanson welcomed all back at our usual location which is a little more on the space side then last month location. We did not have any newbies at this time but did have a few junior modelers accompanying their dad and granddad and 40 regulars at hand.

Under the announcements we found out that there was free stuff available on the tables in back, such as G scale items, DigiTrax stationary decoders, GN reference material and old model railroader magazines. The Tacoma Clinic layout tour will be held on Saturday May 10th and is split up into two segments with a break for lunch in between. The layout maps will be available at 8:00 AM at the Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg. prior to the tour start.

One of our new features is; introduce your layout and invite fellow modelers to visit your layout when in the neighborhood, of course with prior announcement and you being available. Walt Huston introduced his layout which is in a building behind his house. The building has a double garage door which was required by Pierce County. His N scale layout covers all but 7 feet along one side which is used for workshop and storage.

Stu had the video library on hand, in order to get a video let him know what you want and he will bring it the next time. He will also convert the tape into a DVD if you prefer that but the DVD remains property of the library. He is also looking for a replacement librarian so he can pursue other endeavors.

What’s new at the hobby shop presented by Tacoma Trains and Bill Sandstrom had a number of items such as a SP work crane along with an idler car, a Bachman standard line decoder equipped Milwaukee road GP40, Athearn a five pack of N scale bethgons and cars from Micro Trains, vehicles and a book on the Milwaukee Road.

In the Bring and Brag category, Jim Clowers brought an old kit of Dollar Brothers Transfer Building. Dale Kraus brought a German steamer that he kit bashed from three separate locomotives. Walt Huston had two N scale lumber cars that he modified to carry culvert pipes, the pipes were made from tin foil wrapped around a bolt and the bolt was then un-screwed from the foil pipe. John brought an excursion car that he kit bashed from a gondola. Chip had a transferphoto 4 caboose the he designed with the Sketch-up program which was used to 3D print the car. Jim Clowers was the winner of the Bring and Brag with his transfer building kit.

After the break Jack Hamilton presented his clinic on the AP Program supported by an excellent slide presentation along with humorous comments. Very well done Jack and he probably won over a few to try and participate in the program, yours truly included.

Next month clinic will be given by Dale Kraus and is on Stumps; I’m stumped and will be at our usual location at the Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg. at the corner 112th Street and Waller Road at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there and bring a friend to share in our hobby.

All photos by Chip and his Ipad

photo 1          photo














photo 3photo 2






Lee Marsh Returns to Eastside 4/17

JJ Johnston

Following Lee Marsh’s fabulous home layout tour, Lee returns for a special clinic on using Helicon Focus to achieve incredible depth-of-field photographs. Lee will have an actual demonstration with his camera and computer. Everyone is invited to bring their camera and try it out. Camera must be able to manually focus to create focus stacking and be digital for computer downloading. We start at 7:30.

We hope to see you at our next Eastside Get-Together April 17. Don’t forget to file your income tax return before the 15th!

REMEMBER:  Eastside Get-Together, Thursday, April 17, Bellevue Foursquare Church

Glenn Farley, MMR, Stars at Eastside March Meeting

Ed Liesse

JJ Johnston, our exuberant leader of the Eastside Get-Together, welcomed about 35 attendees for the March meeting. As usual, he did his introductions of the officers and committee chairs of the 4th Division and the MMRs in attendance.

Asking for new attendees, he found three: Jerry Madsen who said he wasn’t new but hadn’t been there for awhile being busy as the VP of the Puget Sound Garden Railroad Society; Steve Kyle who is a “high-railer” came to see what we’re all about; Ben Wong who is looking for something to do after retiring! All were welcomed to the group and encouraged to join us again.

Announcements were made by JJ on the upcoming convention and the special building contest; Alex Brikoff, 4D Education Committee Chair, mentioned that the Video Library function was being moved to the Education Committee and looking for volunteers to help with the video library; Alex also hopes to create a database of clinicians and clinics; Rob Jones, 4D Membership Chair, said that membership was going okay so far; Ken Liesse mentioned that the Northwest Railroad Museum in Snoqualmie is looking for new volunteers for the conservation/restoration project they have going (both Ken and Russ Segner are volunteers at the Museum, Ken in Operations and Russ in Restoration); Rob mentioned that he could offer an additional discount on the items he brought from Eastside Trains.

Model of the Month had three entries: Mike Donnelly displayed pulpwood cars using real branches for loads; Rob Jones displayed fire trucks in N and HO using N’gineering Products for lighting; Bob Rorabaugh displayed a logging camp car kit with many details. The ultimate winner of the Model of the Month was Bob Rorabaugh.

After a short break for refreshments and voting on the Model of the Month and looking over the items Rob brought, it was time for our feature presentation.

We were privileged to hear from the 4D’s newest MMR, Glenn Farley. He actually had two different topics for presentation, one on Coal Loads and the other on Realistic Headlights. He had projected photos to show his methods and examples for us to see and, in some cases, handle.

For coal loads, he makes a base from blue foam to fit inside the car or tender. In his case, several years ago he happened on a sheet of thin blue foam which he claims he will never use up! He cuts a piece to fit the car then shapes the sides and the ends to look like the basic shape of a coal load. This shape goes back to before the days of the current flood-type coal loaders being used in the PowderRiver Basin in Wyoming and other locations. He then coats the load shape with an acrylic artist color to cover the blue foam. For coal, he finds a lump of coal (we won’t say where he finds it), puts it in a strong bag or several bags and proceeds to pound it to small pieces. He uses several plastic pipe end caps with holes drilled in the bottom to serve as filters for the coal, decreasing the hole size on each end cap until he has the size of coal he wants. When he has the right size of coal, he coats a small area of his shaped load base with Testor’s Gloss lacquer and sprinkles on the coal. Then he moves up a little on the load and repeats the lacquer and coal application and repeats this until the load is covered. After it has a chance to dry he comes back and repeats the process to fill in any holes.

For realistic headlights, he uses MV lenses and incandescent bulbs rather than LEDs. He finds the center of the lens on the back and drills hole just larger that the bulb size. He then checks the bulb for fit and glues it in place. This procedure works quite well for the diesels. For steam engines he turns down a Lucite rod to fit into the lens, uses a hot soldering iron to form a mushroom end on the rod (sort of a lens shape) and then places the bulb behind the mushroom end. All this goes inside the headlight housing! Luckily, with all the photos and the examples he brought, it was much clearer than trying to put it into words!

We hope to see you at our next Eastside Get-Together April 17. Don’t forget to file your income tax return before the 15th!

Mike Loads Pix 2


Rob Jones Pix 2


Click images to enlarge

Click images to enlarge

4dPNR Ballots are in the Mail

Michael Highsmith

The nominations committee wants all 4dPNR Members to know that your 2014 Election Ballots are in the mail. They are ivory in color and will start arriving as soon as Friday, with many being delivered be-tween Friday and Tuesday. Some of our outlying members may take slightly longer. Please watch for them.

To be official, ballots must be postmarked by May 10th and received via mail no later than June 1. The election results will be announced at the Annual 4d Membership Meeting during the 2014 PNR Conven-tion. Thank you for your time and consideration.

CJ Riley has moved

CJ Riley has moved to Port Ludlow and wants to meet 4D members in the Port Townsend area. Contact him at 360.327.8003, or email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Seattle-North Clinic – Come “See” Us on April 3, 2014

By Jeff Moorman

Please join us for our next meeting on Thursday, April 3, 2014. Our clinic will be a discussion of “Vision and the Aging Model Railroader”. It will cover how the eye functions, the basic effects of aging on the eyes, how those effects might impact model railroading, and what can be done to mitigate those effects.

Last month our planned guest speaker (on collecting brass) wasn’t available. Dennis T saved the day by making arrangements for us to view the YouTube video on moving UP Big Boy #4014 from a park display in Pomona, California to the UP yard in Colton. Eventually it will be moved to the Cheyanne shops for restoration.

First they pulled it off its display track and moved it across a big parking lot using panel track. Then, at night, a connection to the nearby mainline was made to pull the locomotive out across what appeared to be an impossibly sharp curve and drag it to Colton. Of course, the mainline had to be operational the next morning. If you get a chance to see this, I think you will find it interesting.

For show and tell Dennis T brought along several pieces of N scale rolling stock with scratch built loads. You can see them in the photos below:

Feb14 Dennis T loads 3 Feb14 Dennis T loads 2 Feb14 Dennis T loads 1


We meet at the Ronald United Methodist Church, 17839 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA. That is on the west side of Aurora (State Route 99) between 175th and 185th Streets and more specifically, between the Cadillac dealer on the south and Deseret Industries to the north. Going southbound on Aurora, make a right-hand turn into the church driveway immediately after passing the Deseret location. The parking lot is at the rear of the church. For regular meetings enter the lower, left side of the church from the rear lot.

Meetings are the first Thursday of each month, September through June. However in June we often do something different, like a layout tour. Doors open around 7:00 PM and the program starts at 7:30.

Remember the next meeting is April 3. The meeting after that is May 1. Hope to see you there or at least sometime on down the line.

4th Division Education Committee Needs Volunteers

Alex Brikoff

The 4th Division Education Committee is in need of volunteers to work on the 4th Division Video Library. Stu Rogers, the current video librarian, is stepping down and would like to turn the video library over to someone else. The Education Committee will be taking charge of the library and making some improvements to the service coverage as well as the efficiency of the library. Here’s our plan:

The 4th Division Education Committee has several projects that it will be working on over the next several months. Improving the Video Library is one of them.

1. Find a new Video Library Chairman to work with me to find three additional dedicated volunteers to administer the library. The new video library chairman will take over Stu’s current duties that will include the following:

a. Have overseeing responsibility for the day to day operation of the library.
b. Maintenance of the library to insure there is no damage to the media when returned.
c. Maintain an online method of tracking checkouts and checkins of videos and DVDs.
d. Do periodic research and acquire new movies to keep the collection “fresh” and up to date as necessary within allocated budget.
e. Any other duties that may come up pertaining to the Video Library including communicating with the other three video librarians and setting up a way of transferring videos from a central location.

2. These four volunteers should be able to meet the following requirements:

a. Have the time and desire to work on an ongoing project for the 4th Division. The time commitment shouldn’t be more than a few days each month.
b. Have dependable transportation.
c. Be able to attend local clinics in their respective areas.
d. Have an email account and at least a basic computer proficiency and software knowledge, such as Microsoft Office.

3. Each of these four video librarians should live in each of the four geographic directions with Seattle being at the center. By this I mean, one should live north of Seattle, another east of Seattle and the third and fourth should live in the other two directions respectively.

If you would like to be a part of this project and participate in this 4th Division opportunity, or just to find out more about it, please contact me, 425-466-1490 or email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Skagit Valley and Whidbey Clinic March 2014 Report

by Rich Blake / Photos by Al Frasch

We kicked off the March clinic with a short discussion on recent and upcoming events.  One recent event of note was the 10th Annual Pacific Model Loggers Congress at the Camp 18 Restaurant in Elsie Oregon held March 2nd.  Rich Blake attended the meet and gave a report on some of the fun things to see and do in that part of the country especially the vast collection (his words “butt-ton”) of logging equipment on the Camp 18 property.  It is a great place to go if you are researching logging history and would like to view and inspect prototype equipment.  We also did our duty and reminded everyone about the Regional PSX Tacoma Event in June.

Pappas1This clinic was very special in that our feature clinician was none other than the Chief Mechanical Officer of the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad – Stathi Pappas.  His clinic, titled “Steam Locomotive Systems and Technology” was a fascinating look into the inner workings of steam locomotives and how you can apply the prototype’s systems to more accurate modeling.  Stathi is not only a vast storehouse of knowledge as one of the few people in the US that has rebuilt several steam locomotives for operation, he is also an adept and entertaining speaker.  We got to hear quotes like “Why would anyone want to burn goofy black rocks??” in reference to coal locos and “Baldwin was the Ford of locomotive builders” you can guess what that means.

Pappas4Stathi enforced the point that understanding locomotive systems is key to proper detailing on models.  He talked about the difference between “Superdetailing” and “Stuperdetailing” where in the latter example too much stuff does not a better model make if it doesn’t make sense with the rest of the systems.  He used several photos to describe the various systems and how they operate.  More importantly he also described “why” things are the way they are on the various locomotives.  Sometimes it is aesthetics and sometimes it is function with the point being that every time a locomotive came out of a repair or rebuild cycle, it was always different than when it went in.  We got into a lot of specifics and it was a very interesting discussion with many club members asking a lot of questions about loco systems.  Stathi covered many detailed topics including:

-        The “Big Ends” on valve gear and all the connecting fiddly bits and what they do.

-        Wrist Pins, Tapered bolts, Split brass bearings vs “Timken” type bearings.

-        Why shooting pistons out of cylinders is a bad thing.

-        Pressure regulators on brake cylinders and how they work.

-        Pipe bends on coils and why they are bent certain ways, how locos are similar to whiskey stills.

-        How injectors work and how they are plumbed and controlled.

-        Fuel lines and blower lines and how they operate in oil fired locos.

-        Oil injector operation and how chicken bones in biofuel can cause issues in your latest locomotive restoration project.

-        What all the valves do in the cab specifically on the gauge turret.

-        Plug cocks vs. globe valves.

-        Exploding air tanks and why properly functioning brake cylinder regulators are very important to prevent such spectacular failures.

-        Rivet counters bonanza – staybolts and rivet detail, where they go and why, types of fasteners flexies and solids.  Did you know rivets were installed and finished differently depending on the shop performing rebuild? i.e. Alco style, Type A style, UP Style.

-        Loco suspension and how it works – all locos are basically tripods.

-        Why you should NOT weather valve gear on your models.

-        How maintenance and repair affected locomotive appearance over different eras.  1920s was really the last age of steam and locos were usually in good shape.  Every decade after was further demise of the locos due to depression, war, diesels, etc.

DCIM100GOPROAll of the photos Stathi used were of MRSR locomotives and his own personal locomotive – the “Chiggen” a former Santa Cruz Portland Cement Porter 0-4-0T that Stathi rebuilt from the ground up including fabricating a new boiler.  (see more on this loco here: The pictures themselves were amazing in that they detailed many areas of locomotives during the rebuild phase that are not normally seen in finished form.

He concluded the presentation by reiterating the fact that understanding the systems and knowing that everything on a loco is the way it is for a reason makes for better modeling and it is all up to the modeler as to how far they want to go with their individual detailing.  He then spent another hour answering questions of which there was a plethora.  Overall it was one of the best and most informative prototype clinics we have ever had.  Hats off to Stathi for taking the time and allowing us the opportunity to dive into and learn about the fascinating subject of steam locomotive technology with a true expert in the field.

If you would like to see some of Stathi’s projects in action then come out to the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad this May 17th for the special “Steam Up” event.  The goal is to have no less than six operating steam locomotives running for photo shoots and run bys.  This should be a “must do” event for any steam fan and especially any of us in the Pacific Northwest since it is virtually in our back yard.  Check out the schedule at

Eastside Get Together February Meeting

JJ Johnston

Once again our enthusiastic Eastside Get-Together chief honcho, JJ Johnston, welcomed about 50 attendees to the February meeting. He introduced/recognized the officers and committee chairs of the 4th Division in attendance as well as the MMRs. Don and Beth MacLaren did a great job filling in for our Welcome Ambassador Clay Hanson with making sure everyone had a name tag and ballot for the Model of the Month and door prize drawings.

We had several new attendees with us: Mike Dziubinski modeling in N Scale; Pete Murphy modeling in HO Scale; Jim Linden modeling in HO Scale; Richard Moore modeling in HO Scale; Craig Jackson modeling in High-Rail; Lee and Nancy Marsh modeling in HO Scale. Lee will be presenting our clinic later.

Announcements were by: Rob Jones, 4D Membership Chair, described some new ideas to promote membership such as having a “membership chair” in each clinic and doing clinics at libraries or other venues; Jim Sabol touting the release of the new DVD West Coast Railroad Logging that he helped put together selling for $25 cash or $29.95 check (this is the DVD he talked about several months ago and treated us to some of the old movies being used in the DVD) and reminded everyone of the upcoming annual logging event in Elsie, Oregon; Bob Rorabaugh telling about the swap meet in Chehalis March 29 and 30; David Yadock thanking everyone who attended and/or helped out with the PSC show which had over 12,500 attendees for the 3-day weekend show and that the Science Center staff will be working to get things rolling earlier for next year in the way of announcements and posters and that he would like to see more smaller layouts made available to spread around the Science Center for more variety (all scales are welcome!); Roger Ferris commented that the last of the PFM materials were available in the Mart; Russ Segner mentioned that Joe Fugate, of Model Railroad Hobbyist, would be the speaker at the Convention banquet in June and that the election of two officers for 4D were coming up and, if you wanted to run for either of these two positions, to contact Mike Highsmith or himself.


David Yadock’s Santa Fe F-3s


RMC article on Jim Noonan’s layout

Model of the Month had four “entries”: David Yadock with an A-B set of Santa Fe F-3s found on his shelf and added a decoder, working Mars light, marker lights and a tune-up; Bobj Berger displayed an RMC article on Jim Noonan’s layout stating that the layout was available for sale and can be moved since it was built in sections; Bob Rarabaugh displayed “PUM”(Piles of Unusable Material) or a slash burn pile that he had made; Russ Segner displayed his “scratch built in no scale” cash donation box for the Bellevue library using mahogany, but had to build a bigger one. And the winner was … Bob Rarabaugh with his pile of trash!


“PUM”(Piles of Unusable Material)

Di Voss was asked to report on his evaluation of using “Bull Frog Snot” for traction on one of his engines. He applied it to a ten-wheeler which before application DSCN3297could pull 2 cars up a 2 ½% grade. After the application the ten-wheeler could pull 6 cars up the 2 ½% grade! He applied the “Snot” to only the gear-driven driver. He said it worked just like a rubber tire on the wheels.

After our break, Lee Marsh gave us a wonderful presentation on the construction of his layout, “Head of the

Lee Marsh

Lee Marsh

Rake – GN Cascade Division” in HO Scale.The layout is basically an L shape 12 feet wide at the base of the L and 32 feet long, built 51 inches from the floor with a 24” minimum radius. Being a civil engineer, the benchwork is very solid but includes some unique access hatches to get to hard to reach locations. Lee and his wife Nancy moved to WashingtonState in the 1980s and began exploring the StevensPass area where they encountered the BN line over the Cascades. All this scenery and complexity of getting the railroad through the mountains solidified the idea that he wanted to build a mountain railroad. He began developing a layout plan in the mid-1990s and knew he wanted a main line run through the mountains. He liked the late steam and early diesel equipment and eventually ended up on the 1951 time frame. Knowing he couldn’t include faithful reproductions of the features along the GN line he decided to freelance using Everett and the GN main line over the Cascades. He started construction in 1996 and figures it’s about 80% complete today.

The layout includes five staging tracks underneath the upper level permitting staging of the primary trains and two three-track stub yards for staging of local trains. The upper level is reached via two helices. One is near the end of Delta Yard in Everett and the other is at the other end of the layout going toward what would be StevensPass if the layout continued that far.

DSCN3304The scenery is hard shell which provides space beneath for the staging. The backdrop Is hand-painted from photographs taken in June north of Skykomish. Since this is mountainous territory there are a number of bridges and trestles all of which are excellently done. Naturally, there has to be a lot of trees of all sizes and shapes and Lee has been fortunate to find a company that can make any kind of tree he needs. When you see pictures of the layout, you really feel like you’re in the Cascades!

One week later, on Saturday March 1, Lee held a private open house of his layout exclusively for those who had attended his Thursday Eastside presentation. Very impressive and stunning scenery. Assisted by Mike Dziubinski, the trains ran very well and it was a great time for everyone to be able to spend some time admiring Lee’s work.

Lee will return to the Eastside monthly meeting on April 17 to present a clinic on the use of Helicon Focus, a software program which creates incredible depth of field photographs. Attendees will be invited to bring their cameras and use them in actual situations. Watch for more information.

Got Room For a Model Masterpiece?

Bobj Berger

Check out an article in the Everett HeraldNet interviewing me (Bobj) about Jim Noonan’s layout titled:

Got Room For a Model Masterpiece?

Tacoma Clinic

by Al Babinsky

MMR Gene Swanson opened the clinic on time with 34 in attendance; we did not have any newcomers in the crowd. Russ Segner was introduced as the new 4D super and told about his work at the Snoqualmie museum and at the DuPont museum. The DuPont museum has the only narrow gauge railroad in this area; it is a 2 foot gauge.

Mike Highsmith is the assistant super and is in charge of the nomination committee for the upcoming elections and asked that everyone vote when the ballots arrive.

The Tacoma Clinic layout tours will be held on May 10th with the layouts grouped, 5 are in the Tacoma area and 4 in the federal Way area. The Tacoma tour is in the morning and the Federal Way tour in the afternoon with a lunch break in between to allow for time to transition between the two areas.

There was an announcement about the Mount Rainier Scenic RR having a steam up of 5 locomotives plus one guest locomotive on May17th.

The IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) has a spring show at the Renton Community Center on April 12. For information on the go to their website at:

What’s new at the hobby shop presented by Bill Sandstrom of Tacoma Trains, there were a number of items from Athearn, Walthers, Kato, Microtrains, and Wheels of Time.

The Bring and Brag had several entries, Scott Taylor brought his scratch built track models that were built for his civil AP certificate, and they consisted of a #5 RH turnout, a 90 degree crossing and a gauntlet track. He used downloaded drawings from “Fast Tracks” which are available from their website. Chris Clancey brought a GP-38 that he painted for the Weyerhaeuser logging RR; Russ Segner brought a laser cut kit for a repair shop that is a project in progress. Walt Huston had an N scale diorama. Scott Taylor won the Bring and Brag award.

After the break MMR Gene Swanson and Mike Shaw presented this month clinic on basic scenery. The presentation was made with a diorama showing the how it was done by using a video camera and a wall mounted monitor. They also had photos of Gene’s layout where you could see the final result. A very informative clinic with a great handout and of course the use of video and photos. I will have the handout as well as some of the photos attached to this report.

Next month clinic will be on the AP program and is presented by Jack Hamilton. The clinic will be at our usual place in the Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg. at the corner of 112th street and Waller Road at 7:30PM, hope to see you there.

Basic Scenery 2

Basic Scenery 1


Seattle-North Clinic Talks about Brass – March 6, 2014

By Jeff Moorman

Please join us for our next meeting on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Our guest speaker will be a railroad enthusiast and brass collector.

If you weren’t there for last month’s guest speaker, you missed a very interesting and entertaining evening. Dave Honan is a civil engineer for HDR here in Seattle and he specializes in railroad and transit design in 12 inches to the foot scale. We also discovered he is an excellent railroad photographer and slide show producer.

Dave talked about some projects he’s been involved with which varied from coal hauling railroads across the Great Plains to local transit works. Hearing about everything he has had to deal with was fascinating. He mentioned lots of things I had never considered before. Here are a couple:

When you plan the route of a railroad in varied terrain, not only do you need to look for a pretty steady grade, but you should match the volume of material in cuts to the volume of material used for fills. That cuts down on earth “moving” costs.

Another item of design concerns coping with grades that have curvature. A curve adds drag to the train. So if you have a big curve in the middle of a long grade, when the train rounds that curve it till get harder to pull. The prototype solution is to reduce the grade through the curve, so there is a more consistent drag. For example, consider a long 2% grade with a 90 degree curve in the middle. The basic grade might be designed at 2.25% with a reduction to 1.5% through the curve in order to even out the motive power effort required to get to the top of the hill.

Dave finished out the evening by showing a couple of photo presentations he has done. My favorite included scenes from a narrow gauge peat railroad in Ireland (I think).

For show and tell Dennis T brought along an N scale model of a U-50 locomotive. He had added a decoder to the older loco, which was quite heavy. He said it pulls like gangbusters.

I brought along a kit for the Penryn Fruit Company. This is a small wood HO structure that will be the standard kit for a special contest at the regional convention in June. Everyone in the contest builds the same kit using the same basic rules. You can find out more on the convention’s website – Now that I have the kit I guess I shall have to build it, especially since it looks pretty straightforward.

We meet at the Ronald United Methodist Church, 17839 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA. That is on the west side of Aurora (State Route 99) between 175th and 185th Streets and more specifically, between the Cadillac dealer on the south and Deseret Industries to the north. Going southbound on Aurora, make a right-hand turn into the church driveway immediately after passing the Deseret location. The parking lot is at the rear of the church. For regular meetings enter the lower, left side of the church from the rear lot.

Meetings are the first Thursday of each month, September through June. However in June we often do something different, like a layout tour. Doors open around 7:00 PM and the program starts at 7:30.

Remember the next meeting is March 6. The meeting after that is April 3. Hope to see you there or at least sometime on down the line.

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