MMR Gene Swanson opened the clinic and welcomed 43 modeler and prospective modelers, Bruce Cranfield and Eddie (Herb’s grandson) were the newcomers. Under announcements it was mentioned the Testor is dropping the Floquil and other lines of railroad colors. Microscale has a conversion table for color replacements. The 4D is sponsoring the 2014 convention with Russ Segner at the throttle and he is requesting help. The Snoqualmie Museum received a donation of an N scale layout which they want to use for kids to operate and they are in need of rolling stock. The NMRA membership is dwindling so please renew your membership and try to get new members; a six month membership for less than $10.00 is a good start. John Novotney, who does our meeting room reservation, wants to step down and needs someone to take over. If I heard correctly is looks like Scott Taylor stepped up to do the job. Walt Huston presented Dave Fausset with his Golden Spike Award.
“What’s new in the hobby shop,” presented by George Boucier, had a number of new items including a couple of ready to use buildings from Woodland Scenics, very detailed and good looking.
We had a number of great entries in the Model of the Month contest: a caboose B&B diorama based on the one in Sequim, a weathered SP&s switcher, a 10 boxcar decaled and weathered set, 2 old time Maerklin tinplate HO cars, a sand house with elevated track and sand gondola, an O scale icing facility with milk reefer, 3 HO hoppers with gravel load, a Varney caboose cleaned to its former glory and Model Power one to compare, HO hopper and boxcar decaled with graffiti. The winner of the model contest was John Novotney, for his B&B diorama.
After the break, Dale Kraus presented the continuation of his clinic on “DCC: things you don’t need to know.” A very informative clinic with demonstration of programming, installation, and operation along with a good hand-out to remember the things you don’t need to know.
After the summer break our next clinic will be on September 12, 2013 7:30PM at our usual location at the Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg. corner of 112th Street and Waller Road. The clinic will be on Five Basic Steps For Better Photos given by Chip Van Gilder.
I will post the photos as soon as I get them from Chip.
Have a great summer and we’ll see you in September.
In case you haven’t heard, Testors is dropping many of the paints we modelers use. Fortunately, other firms have stepped up. For example, Microscale Industries posted a reference chart to identify substitute paint colors for Testors’ Floquil paints at www.microscale.com/ResourceCntr_Floquil.html.
I inquired about the future of their paint products and received the following email from Testors Customer Service department:
Trends in model railroading have changed over time. Creating product for weathering and scenery has been more of the focus as train cars have moved to pre-decorated. The good news is that the same great products for weathering and scenery can be found in Testor’s CreateFX line that is available now.
We’ve made the decision to exit the following businesses within the Testor ® Brand family: Pactra®, Floquil®, PollyScale®, and ColorArtz®. This will enable The Testor Corporation to return to our foundation of success: providing premium, innovative product that inspires creativity. We will continue to accept orders and ship product for a limited time based on available quantities.
Going forward, the following brands will be critical to our success and development: Testor®, Model Master®, and Aztek®. These brands will be infused with marketing support, innovation and operational efficiencies.
Decisions such as these are never easy. We appreciate your passion for our business. We look forward to introducing you to this exciting new product line that is great for today’s modeler as well as future generations.
The Testor Corporation
Consumer Affairs Department
On May 18-19, about 120 of us got together at the 4D Spring Meet to learn from our fellow model railroaders and share our experiences in the hobby. Attendees came from as far away as Eastern Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.
The Tukwila Embassy Suites was a suitable site and their staff was excellent, so much so that we have decided to hold the 2014 PNR Convention there next April. We expect that conference will as good or better. And even more of it!
If you enjoyed the 4D Spring Meet, please participate at next year’s PNR convention. We need new clinicians and more layouts and many volunteers to help with all activities planned.
I want to personally thank all the following clinicians, volunteers, and layout owners for their insights and hospitality. These people helped make a great weekend:
- Greg Amer
- Roger Nulton, MMR
- Burr Stewart
- Glenn Farley
- JJ Johnston
- Al Carter
- Chuck Ricketts
- Paul Scoles, MMR
- Al Frasch
- Bill Sornsin
- Tom Beaton
- Phil Holden
- Brian Ferris
- Lathan Sanford
- Rich Blake
- Greg Wright
- Ken Liesse
- Di Voss, MMR
- Walt Huston
- Al Lowe
- Kevin Klettke
- Jack Hamilton
- Sherman Stevens
- Ed and Gay Liesse
- Robin Peel
- Dan Segner
Russ Segner and his committee put together a great program for the Spring Meet, including some unique panel discussions on scenery, DCC, and railroad design. Special thanks to Russ Segner for his leadership in putting the day together; Kevin Klettke for developing the website and registration; Al Lowe and Doug Bulger for arranging the AV and computer equipment; Daniel Segner for keeping the computers updated and running; and Sherman Stevens and Gay Liesse for handling Registration.
At the Annual Member Meeting, held just before lunch, I gave the results of the recently held Division Election. Russ Segner was elected as our new Assistant Superintendent. Al Lowe was elected to another term as Director and is joined by new Director Michael Highsmith. Russ and Michael officially take office September 1st.
NMRA Western Director Jack Hamilton updated us on what’s happening at National; several things are coming that will be interesting to watch. When PNR President Walt Huston was asked to say a couple of words about PNR, he replied, “PNR rocks!” (Way to keep it literal, Walt!) Doug Auburg from the 2nd Division was also on hand to pitch for folks to visit Portland for the 2015 National Convention. The last Portland convention was a great success and we’re all looking forward to having National back in own area again.
The annual meeting is also when we hand out our Division’s annual awards. Unfortunately, Frank Dekker was packing for his upcoming move to Michigan, so he received his Superintendent’s Award before the day began. Frank has served the membership of 4D tirelessly and selflessly for years and he will be sorely missed. Mike Slease was the other recipient of the Superintendent’s Award for his work as the Division’s publisher, making sure everyone who is supposed to, receives any and all mailings from the Division. For years, Mike was responsible for printing and mailing Grab Iron to members.
The Golden Grab Iron Award was awarded to Russ Segner. This recognizes the Division’s outstanding member of the year and is decided on by the winners of Golden Grab Iron Award from the previous three years. Russ has contributed greatly to Division activities over the years and was instrumental in bringing the very successful Narrow Gauge Convention to the Seattle area last year. He also happens to be one pretty good model railroader! Congratulations to Russ for this well deserved honor!
Next year the 2nd Division was scheduled turn to host the PNR regional convention, but due to the above mentioned National in Portland in 2015, they asked if another division could swap years with them so they wouldn’t be burdened with putting on two conventions in two consecutive years. Our 4D stepped up and Russ Segner agreed to chair the committee for next year’s PNR convention. It won’t be hard to find, as we will meet at the same Embassy Suites in Tukwila. This year’s Spring Meet turned out to be a warm-up. So plan to attend the 2014 convention next April 23–26. Because of this, we will not hold a Spring Meet next year, but expect another in 2015.
Seven layouts were open on Sunday, May 19 for those who attended the Spring Meet. Maps to the layouts were handed out at the end of Saturday’s sessions. It was a widespread group of layouts, yet still possible to see them all in one afternoon. I want to second Russ’s “Thank You!” above to all who took the time to participate and open your layouts to your fellow modelers. And another “Thank You!” goes to all who took the time to visit.
I hope everyone who attended this year’s Meet had a good time.
Spring Meet 2013 Photos
John Le Forestier, for the JAM Project
July 2, 2013 Is the hundredth anniversary of John Allen’s birth. John created the world-famous Gorre and Daphetid Railroad. This year, your fellow model railroaders everywhere are asked to salute the Wizard of Monterey with a flapjack (pancake) breakfast, complete with strawberry JAM and coffee. Then raise your cups in a salute to John.
If you don’t like flapjacks, substitute something else but JAM is essential! Why jam? “John Allen Memorial.” Strawberry jam is the most appropriate, since it’s the main field crop in the Monterrey/Carmel area, where John lived.
You may also consider spending at least a few minutes that day looking at John’s fabulous photos of his amazing model railroad!
Try to get together with other railroaders to help mark this special date!
By Russ Segner
Memorial Day weekend is a time for us all to reflect on all those who have given so much of their lives to keep us free and safe. So, when we are asked to volunteer for the small stuff, it is good to keep it all in perspective.
By Jeff Moorman
The Seattle-North June layout tours return on Thursday, June 6. 2013. And this year we have made some changes to let more folks participate. We have seen the success Olympia has had with self-guided tours and are going to adopt that scheme, but we are still going to do it on our regular June clinic night. And we are going to keep the destinations secret until the event starts.
The tour starts promptly at 7:00PM in the parking lot of the Edmonds Amtrak station, 211 Railroad Ave, Edmonds, WA. There you will be given directions to other destinations. Four layouts (all in SW Snohomish County) will be available for viewing. Each layout is open for at least 2 hours between 7:00 and 10:00PM. Two of the layouts will be in O scale (one narrow gauge) and two will be in HO (again, one will be narrow gauge).
As with all things in life, some rules apply:
- You must be an NMRA member (or guest of an NMRA member) to participate.
- Directions will not be given out in advance. Don’t ask.
- Carpooling is strongly encouraged.
- Please be considerate of the layout owners and their neighbors when parking and visiting.
- There is no charge, so be extra generous in your praise and thank you to those who have made their layouts available.
See you at 7:00PM on the Thursday the 6th.
Holy Tension and Compression, Batman!
Story and Photos by Jim Sabol
Our host, Scott “2012 4D Golden Grab Iron Service Award Winner” Buckley, welcomed twenty eager modelers and friends to his Tehama Valley RR layout room for May’s get together—in daylight yet! Scott greeted six first-timers including Ron Brown, Mark Clemons, Dean Cody, John Guydish, and the Renspies: Fred and Norma Jean. It was nice to see globe-trotting Jim “nothing small about N scale” Younkins back safely from his trip down under.
Much discussed was the group’s recent field trip on Amtrak to the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club for a day of guest operating on the giant Portland HO layout. Ron “call me coordinator” Bartels did a first rate job of organizing the trip and Jim “Lights! Camera! Action!” Elder shot some great video of trains on the layout
Clinicians Ted “swipe your martini” Eggleston and Robert “why not model Wyoming?” Grove presented a well-organized and visually arresting program on the nature and location of prominent railroad bridges in the state of Washington. Ted and Robert educated us painlessly on the wide variety and engineering skill evident in our state’s massive railroad bridges—wood, steel, concrete—on both sides of the Cascades.
Once again it was discovered that everyone in attendance held a winning door prize number and carried home some form of loot, from HO cars, to switch machines, to great calendar pictures. “It’s a muracle!” exclaimed an amazed Jerry “I hope I win something good” Barnes.
Greg “making it a habit” Wright won most popular model with his 1:32n20″ scale boxcar. This month’s Narrow Gauge Gazette features part one of a series of articles on Greg’s layout open house.
Here is Greg’s mini-clinic on how he created this nifty little car for his Consolidated Republic Mining Co Railroad:
I built this box car from a Boulder Valley Models On30 kit. I altered the underframe to get the couplers to the correct height and modified the roof to produce a taller car. Otherwise, it was built per the directions.
Boulder Valley Models supplies great painting instructions for replicating metal cars with their kits and on their web site. The car was first painted a rust brown color, then bright silver from a spray can was sprayed at arm’s length to splatter silver spots on the brown. It looks awful but it’s not done yet. Splotch on some rubber cement and let that dry. Then wet one side at a time with water (or saliva, per the BoulderValley instructions) and, using a salt grinder, let the ground salt fall on the wet car side. It will stick when the moisture dries from the side. Repeat on all the other sides.
Now paint the car its final color. In about an hour, use masking tape to peel off the rubber cement and salt. Underneath will be combination of rusty and newly-worn bright metal spots. Pick any stubborn rubber cement or salt off with a pointed stick or leave them on for some additional texture where rust is under the paint but hasn’t broken through yet.
Use chalks or weathering powders to adjust any rust or metal spots that seem too regular or out of place. I used Dr. Ben’s weathering solutions on the metal roof.
Story & Photos by Ed Liesse
JJ Johnston greeted 35 attendees with his traditional welcome speech of introducing Board members and MMRs. This time we had a few extra “guests,” Raoul Martin (former owner of Northwest Short Line), Fred Hamilton and Mike O’Connell, our featured clinician for the evening.
Announcements included Russ Segner commenting on this Saturday’s Spring Meet and the Layout Tours on Sunday and the fact that 4D would be hosting next year’s PNR Regional convention. He didn’t mention that he is the Chairman for that convention and will be looking for help to put it on!
Several entries were in the model contest and Mike Laughlin’s nicely lit inside-and-out train station took the prize. Two items displayed by Frank Dekker were 1’ x 2’ dioramas built by Russ Hendrickson many years ago that were donated to 4D after his death by his wife. Frank said they could use some tender loving care to clean them up and get them operational again and was looking for someone to take them home and provide it. They could be used as promotional material at the various shows. Anyone interested should contact Frank (quickly, as he’s moving!).
After the break, Mike O’Connell gave us a slide presentation on Tacoma and Spokane in the ’60s and ’70s. This was a collection of pictures, taken by Mike as a young man, of the Northern Pacific yards in Tacoma, including some aerial shots showing the tide flats. Various pictures of engines, structures, freight and passenger cars brought back memories of a bygone era. These were taken back when the railroads were a little friendlier to railfans. Mike, of course, embellished the pictures with his narration, which gave a little more insight to his “misspent” youth and college days chasing trains! A great time was had by all seeing these vintage photos of fallen flags equipment. Thanks, Mike.
Our door prizes tonight were graciously donated by Mike O’Connell from Chooch. Great flatcar loads!
Our next Get-Together on June 20 will be the last one until September. We look forward to having you join us!
By Russ Segner
123 of you have registered in time for the low fare to the Spring Meet. There is still a little room, but not much. And, we are sorry, but the price is now $30. Lunches will be ordered Tuesday, so this is the very last time to get on board.
All who have registered should have received an email about getting there and where to park. There is plenty of parking, especially at the rear of the hotel. There is an entrance from that parking lot into the lobby which will take you directly to the registration desk.
Coffee and rolls will be available at 8:00 AM. There will be lots of us in attendance, so check in and pay and pick up your badge. Please make room for those coming later to pick up their badges.
You will need your badge to get into the clinics and to the layouts Sunday.
Over twenty of your fellow model railroaders have given their time to put together some excellent clinics. Thank them for their efforts on your behalf.
A special thanks to Kevin Klettke who put together and maintains our website for the event.
By Al Babinsky / Photos by Chip
MMR Gene Swanson opened the clinic on time as always. We had 43 attendees including Paul Vaughn’s grandson Gaylon as guest.
Under the announcements Ed Liesse read a portion of the Museum Of Flight newsletter which stated that Scott Taylor became the 737 crew chief. The 4D spring meet will be at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila Saturday May 18 with layout tours on Sunday May 19. He also announced that the 4D is sponsoring the PNR convention in 2014; the dates are April 23 – 26 with location to be announced later. Mike Highsmith is the clinic coordinator and asked for clinicians. Jim Sabol said that the south sound GOPHERS to look at 1:1 scale operations and a possible carbide on a switcher.
Due to some other commitment George Boucier from Tacoma Trains could not present the What’s New at the Hobby Shop segment and we proceeded to do the Model of the Month or as we like to call it; Bring and Brag.
First up was John Miller with some old Varney tenders that had seen better days and his trials and tribulations on the effort to restore them to good condition. His biggest problem being that Bowser Mfg. was slow in responding to get things accomplished. His last comment was that it would have been better to switch to Diesel power. Joshua had three N scale reefers that he reworked extensively and as he said weathered too much. Kris Clancy had the good fortune to find a Sunset model Santa Fe 4-10-2 in an antique shop and was able to get it for a good price and it was in good running order. Walt Huston brought a Modeldiecast BN boxcar and Trueline Trains Boise Cascade boxcars highly weathered. Dale Kraus showed his AKG Kieswerk No 3 gravel tipple which was entirely scratch built; the sign was generated on the computer. He also had a gluing fixture by Riteway available at Mikro-Mark. Gene Swanson had a set of Varney locomotives that are up for grabs except for one that is going to be upgraded so it can be used at History Museum. The Model of the Month winner was Dale with his gravel tipple.
After the break Jim Clowers presented his clinic on how to get manufactures to make items that you like to have. He said that if you can get pictures, drawings and lots of information and send it to them they may be inclined to produce the item. The thing to do is take pictures from any angle, measure the item and produce a drawing or if you are lucky to get the actual drawing it is of great help. He showed a number of items that he was able to get made. Thank you Jim for a great clinic.
Next month clinic will be on the 13th of June at our usual place; Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg. the corner of 112th St. and Waller Rd and 7:30 PM. Dale Kraus will present part 2 of his DCC clinic. See you there and bring company and or modelers.
Backdrops – A Four Person Tag-Team Approach – By Tom Buckingham
Photos by Al Frasch and Rich Blake
Four clinicians (Al Carter, Nick Muff, Al Frasch, and Cliff Aaker) took turns with different parts of the presentation. Al Carter began by briefly describing the three options one has: Plain sky, photo or photo mural and a painted backdrop.
For the plain sky Al provided some photo examples of the improvement accomplished simply by picking your favorite blue sky color and painting your backdrop with that color. The difference was dramatic and very simple.
Al Frasch then showed the improvement that can be had by using three different shades of blue. He painted a board with the darkest shade on the top and the lightest on the bottom. Then with a dry roller he simply blended the three colors where each joined its neighbor. The result was a very nice gradual increase from the darkest blue on top to the lightest blue on the bottom with no apparent “line” separating them. He said he paints about five to six feet at a time and can go about fifty feet or so before he has to get another dry roller.
Nick Muff then talked about how he starts with a plain single color blue sky and then adds clouds. As he researched the subject of adding clouds there seemed to be four popular methods: cloud stencils, hand painted clouds, misting with a spray paint to simulate clouds and using a sponge on a stick to in effect “blot” on the clouds. His only comment about the latter method was that the end result looked like “sponges blotted on a blue sky” and were not what he was looking for. Nick ended up using the cloud stencil method. He took pictures of clouds and projected them onlarge pieces of card stock and then outlined the clouds in the projected pictures. When he was done he cut them out and ended up with about a dozen or so different stencils.
He chose spray cans of Flat White Krylon because he liked the color and how fast the paint dried. According to Nick the trick to getting realistic clouds is to hold the stencils about two inches away from your backdrop and spray mainly on the top edge of the stencil. The result is a more defined top of the clouds and a “fuzzy” or less defined bottom. As he gets to the bottom of the scene (that is the part representing what is the furthest away) he made the clouds smaller and in straighter lines as you would see if you were outdoors.
He passed on several secrets to realistic success—start with a darker blue than you would probably otherwise use. The blue has to be dark enough to see the white clouds. Start with a light mist and go heavier. Once the cloud is on the backdrop it won’t get any less dense. Flip your stencils end for end after a while to avoid “repeating” a cloud formation. After all, clouds don’t look like carbon copies of each other. Get a spray can “handle” so your finger doesn’t wear out. And most importantly wear a respirator. Nick had several photos of his process and a sample of his end result that was very realistic.
Al Carter then spoke about photo backdrops. You may either buy them commercially (Backdrop Warehouse, and Scenic King) or make your own. To make your own, take some panoramic photos, and then using a photo program like Photoshop Elements remove any photo errors that may have crept in, like paralax error, etc. The result can be printed commercially at Kinko’s or COSTCO, for example.
Finally, Al Carter and Cliff Aaker gave a live two ring circus show demonstrating how to paint trees by hand on your backdrop. Al dealt mostly with the far background trees using mostly very dark colors in the far background and then bringing them up to dark green and then lighter green as you come forward. He was mainly demonstrating the hills of trees that you see as you look off toward the mountains or hills. Cliff concentrated on the foreground trees. Using mostly a “fan brush” he demonstrated how quickly and easily one can paint realistic trees on your backdrop.
Both Al and Cliff had several tips for realism: Have an example (a photo) nearby so that you don’t have to paint from memory. Plan ahead—it is a lot easier to paint a back drop if you can stand at the wall than climbing over your layout to do it. Make sure your “painted trees” are not larger than the actual scenery trees you have in the foreground.
Al wrapped up with some very amusing examples of the good, the bad and the ugly.
It was a very enjoyable clinic. There is nothing like seeing someone (in the case several someones) do something live. As Al Carter said: “If I can do it, so can you.”
By Superintendent Ken Liesse
Just a reminder that the deadline for postmarking your 4D ballot is just a couple of days away. Ballots must be postmarked by May 10th for them to count in this year’s election.
By Russ Segner
SPRING MEET – SIX DAYS AND COUNTING
Saturday, May 11 is the last day for the low fare for the upcoming SPRING MEET. If you reservation is made online by the 11th or received by snail mail by the 11th, you can still get on board for $20. After that, the price goes to $30 and lunch will not be included.
So, get on board and sign up now. Limited seating is almost full. Check the 4D Spring Meet website for details and to register.
I am letting you know of a meeting to do some preliminary thinking and planning for the PNR Convention to be held in Seattle in the spring of 2014 and hosted by the 4th Division. Several Board members will also be there.
I have made my own list of possible leaders for the event, but would appreciate any suggestions you may have for other names to include. Thanks!
Forty-five attendees were welcomed by host JJ Johnston to the Eastside Get-Together hoping to hear a presentation by the illustrious Al Carter, a former member of the group who opted for new surroundings after retirement and moved north. In fact, Al must have felt intimidated coming back for his presentation since he had several members of the Whidbey Island group with him! Bodyguards, perhaps! More on that later.
JJ did his usual introductions of notables including our MMRs CJ Riley, Max Maginness and Di Voss. There were several visitors in attendance that we hope will continue to join us. Announcements were made by Russ Segner about the upcoming Spring Meet at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila on Saturday, May 18 followed by Layout Tours on Sunday, May 19. You must attend the Meet to get the maps for the Layout Tours. The annual membership meeting will be held during the Meet.
There were a number of entries in the model contest this month. Rich Blake, one of Al Carter’s entourage and chair of the Skagit Valley and Whidbey Clinic, took the honors with his greatly kit-bashed On30 Bachmann Climax engine.
The feature of the evening was the presentation by Al Carter on “The Tabooma County Railway: Choosing a Private Road Name – Developing a Plausible History.” He explained how he created “Tabooma County” in Washington and developed his track plan based on materials and industries within that county and the surrounding ones. Throughout his entertaining presentation, he included some mini-clinics on how to do some of the effects he incorporated in his layout, such as streets, signs on buildings to look older and faded, using hollow-core doors as a layout base, etc. The presentation was well received even though there was a lot of good-natured ribbing between the presenter and the audience!
As usual, we had great door prizes, thanks to The Inside Gateway, recently moved to Woodinville. Steve Depolo gave us a box of half-off items, some with a $19 value, so don’t miss future door prize drawings!
We’ll gather again on Thursday, May 16 to hear a presentation by Mike O’Connell. We hope to see you there!
By Russ Segner
With May 18 fast approaching, we have less than twenty seats left for this event! If you want to attend, register right away as registration will close as soon as we fill the few remaining open seats. Only those registered are guaranteed a seat.
Remember: see the 4D Spring Meet website for full details.