by Roger Johnson / Photos by Paul Koren & Roger Johnson
The January 2015 Mount Vernon clinic of the local Fourth Division, PNR, NMRA was attended by 14 folks including two spouses. We hope they will return and be joined by even more spouses. Let’s hear it for co-ed clinics!
The Mt Vernon Model Railroad Clinic is a NMRA sanctioned event with the 4th Division of NMRA providing a modest sum of seed money to help us get started. While NMRA membership is not required to attend the clinics, it was once again heartily encouraged. Please let Al Carter or Roger Johnson know if you wish to join NMRA.
There were several announcements of upcoming events (editor added a couple):
- First up was the Monroe Model Railroad show & swap meet to be held at the fairgrounds in Monroe Saturday and Sunday February 28th & March 1st. All proceeds go to 4H. Info at www.unwclub.org/unwshow.html/
- 30th Annual Sn3 Symposium in Bellevue April 16-18, 2015. Info at sn3symposium-2015.com/
- Portland Daylight Express, the NMRA national convention, will be held August 23 – 28, 2015. Additional information is available at www.nmra2015portland.org
Our Show & Tell (or Bring & Brag) segment featured:
- A Southern Pacific ‘outside braced’ auto boxcar model built by Paul Koren from a kit by Speedwitch Media. The model represents a car made in the early 1920′s, modified in the 30′s and retired by the late 40′s (likely).
- An Athearn 50 ft gondola modified by Bob Stafford for cement bottle service. Car has holes cut into the sides to allow for the attachment of air hoses and unloading hoses to the bottles. Bottles have been modified with brass wire lifting straps. Lackawanna’s fleet of bottle cars operated between the cement mills on its Bangor and Portland Division and New York Harbor. According to Bob each of the bottles held 11 tons of cement headed for construction sites in New York City.
The presentation for the evening was titled “Structures on a Diet,” with Roger Johnson showing how many plastic kits on the market today can be reduced in size, primarily the footprint, to better fit into the limited real estate of our layouts. There were numerous slides showing how he has done and how he is doing this on several different structure kits. While his work has thus far been limited to plastic kits the same techniques could be used on other material. In addition to making structures smaller Roger showed some other kit bash examples including modification of a stock pen to mate a loading ramp with his meat packing house and a combination of two freight house kits into an unusual three story structure. This project is based upon an Art Curren kitbashing article in Model Railroader in the early 1980’s.
Next up February 24th is “Weathering Buildings with Bragdon Weathering Chalk” by Bob Stafford. He has put together a Power Point presentation on weathering buildings using Bragdon Weathering Chalks. The program shows how some buildings were finished using oil stains and dry brushing before applying chalk. We will learn what kinds of brushes he used to apply the chalk and the use of over spray when needed. Also included will be the making and weathering of roads. If you have seen any of Bob’s work you know you want to catch this clinic.
Grab your copy of the latest issue of the national NMRA Magazine, check out the cover, and then turn to page 34 to read 4D member David Yadock‘s feature article, “The Sky’s the Limit.” It has many construction photos by David’s wife, Wendy, and some spectacular scenery photos by Paul Gornitzka.
Congratulations, David, on a beautiful cover and article!
Congratulations to our 4th Division Superintendent Russ Segner who was recently published in the Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette. A recipient of the Golden Grab-Iron Service Award in 2013, his featured story is about his Sn3 Coal Creek Lumber Company model railroad. His home layout represents a 1930’s freelance logging and mining branch set in the state of Washington. A major structure based on the prototype Sanger Lumber Company mill is scratch built as is his LRB Mines mineral bunker. His mythical interchange between the Denver & Rio Grande Western and the Coal Creek Lumber Company gives Russ a chance to show off his motive power including Shays, Climaxes, Heislers and some rod locomotives. Finished scenery and great photos by Russ and Dale Kreutzer highlight four pages and promote the upcoming 30th Annual Sn3 Symposium to be held locally in Bellevue from April 16-18. Russ will hold an open house of his railroad during the convention.
Bobj Berger (the PSC Committee)
and Russ Segner (4D Superintendent on behalf of our entire Board)
This year’s Pacific Science Center Model Railroad show was very successful thanks to the many volunteers and all the exhibitors that made the show possible. This show is the premier fundraiser for the 4th Division (PNR, NMRA).
The public was happy to see the trains at the Center for their annual visit and almost 12,000 attended. Yes, the square footage for the model railroad show was a little smaller this year since we had to make way for the Pompeii exhibit but the smiles from all the people attending the show were just as big as in previous shows. As usual, this show is a crowd pleaser.
Here is a listing of all who we have been able to identify as participants at the recent Pacific Science Center Show. Many were there all three days for the full sessions. They ran trains, answered hundreds of questions, re-railed and repaired trains and generally represented the great hobby of model railroading to a very grateful public.
Thank these folks for all their hard work on behalf of our hobby. If you missed out, we will be planning next year’s show very soon. Join one of these fine groups to share your skills and interest – info on most can be found at the 4D Clinics page or the 4D Modules page.
Linda & Al Pellegrini
Northwest Rail Museum (Snoqualmie Museum)
Northwest Transportation Museum
Mike Petrocelli’s Layout
Rod, Zindra, Josiah, Jed, Jaden, Julia, Jeranna Nelson
A special thanks to Al Turnbull who was able to attend and display his Cascades & Western layout.
Article and Photos by Rich Thom
Clinic Chair Rich Blake welcomed 27 members and one new attendee, John Ballay of Coupeville (who we hope will become one of our regulars) to the January program: “Weathering Techniques for Buildings”. Rich reviewed the calendar of upcoming events in the PNR and reminded everyone that, as the new year has arrived, it was a good time to renew NMRA memberships. There being no old or new business, things moved directly into the program.
All had been encouraged to bring a weathered (or possibly not) building to share. Modelers responded by bringing more than two dozen structures in all scales from “N” to “F”, so there were plenty of examples to discuss. Space limitations prevent showing all of them in this report.
Several members described their buildings and construction and weathering methods: Rich Blake, Jack Tingstad, Dick Haines, Terry Kandzor, Susan Gonzales, Al Frasch, Tom Hawkins, John Marshall, and John White. Some common techniques include:
• Use real life: photographs, field trip sketches and notes, internet resources
• Weather wood with razor saw or Micromark “stresser” to create grain
• Stain wood with water or alcohol-based washes made from acrylics, india ink, or leather dyes, or use commercially available stains from Micromark, Builders-in-Scale and others
• Focus on irregularity and repairs: for wood structures built board-by-board, stain boards individually, varying the intensity; put a few new, unpainted boards in an old planked wall; add boarded-up doors and windows, broken trim etc.
• Use chalks for final weathering: Bragdon powders (which contain a binder and need not be fixed in place), Doc O’Brien’s, artists’ chalks from Michael’s
• Instead of chalks apply dry pigments, available from art supply sources e.g. Dick Blick
• Don’t forget roofs: missing shingles, rusted corrugated iron, moss, leaves, foliage
During his remarks, Jack Tingstad passed around copies of the Judges’ Score Sheet for NMRA Model Contests to make the point that weathering can make or break a model earning an achievement award or winning a contest. Of the five qualities of a model that are judged, the fourth, “Finish and Lettering”, which includes weathering and how it was achieved, can earn a maximum of 25 points (out of 125 total possible), which is more than Detail (20 points) or Scratchbuilding (15 points).
Some less common methods:
• Weathering boards: stain or paint as usual, apply turpentine, paint the board before it dries with acrylics, then apply tape and pull it off; when it works (it didn’t tonight!) the resulting worn paint appearance is great (Rich Blake)
• Peeling paint: apply Grumbacher “Miskit” Liquid Frisket over first layer of paint in patches where you want the peeled paint effect; apply second coat of paint; then use an artist’s gum eraser to rub off the top layer and masking material (Jack Tingstad)
• “Chalk Slag”: when weathering a building with chalks, place a large clean sheet of paper underneath the model to collect the residue; the co-mingling of colors creates a great weathering powder for general use (Dick Haines)
• Water staining (literally!): drip small amounts of water, possibly with pigments added, vertically down sides of buildings, on roofs etc. (take care with paper-based or wood structures!) (Dick Haines)
Finally, for those who like to let natural processes do the work for them, Tom Hawkins reminded everyone that just leaving a building on the layout for a few years is very effective. (We assume he wasn’t kidding.) Or as John Marshall suggested, build a garden railway. John brought two 1:20.3 buildings from his Coupeville railroad. One, a German plastic model, has been outside for 20 years and looked it. The second, of wood, is brought indoors over the winter but, protected by wood preservative, is outdoors the rest of the year, and was convincingly weathered, too. Whatever works!
Thanks to all participants, and Event Coordinators Rich Blake and Susan Gonzales, for a great clinic on improving the appearance and realism of our structures.
At the Tacoma Clinic on Thursday, January 8th, 4D Secretary Bill Messecar was presented with Master Model Railroader #543. Presenting Bill with this honor were PNR President Michael Highsmith, PNR Past President Walt Huston, 4D Superintendent Russ Segner, NMRA Director Jack Hamilton and members of the evaluation team, Roger Nulton, Ed Liesse and Ken Liesse.
Bill earned certificates for Author, Scenery, Structures, Volunteer, Dispatcher, Cars, and Prototype Model. Bill models the Santa Fe railroad in Southern California, and those who have seen his HO layout are always amazed at the detail, especially the oranges in their shipping crates. Bill has written several books and articles on modeling the Santa Fe and is active in the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society. His layout has appeared on 4D tours several times. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, make sure you watch for his layout to be on tour.
From the NMRA Achievement Program website: “The Achievement Program is a system of requirements for demonstrating a superior level of skill in various aspects of our hobby. It covers not only building various types of models, but also building other things which are important to the hobby, such as scenery, structures, track work, and wiring. It also recognizes service to the hobby and the NMRA, which are important as well. Use the links on the right to explore the different certificates and requirements.”
“An NMRA member qualifies as a Master Model Railroader when he or she has obtained at least seven of the eleven Achievement Certificates provided that he or she has earned at least one Achievement Certificate in each of the four areas of the Regulations. Earning the title of Master Model Railroader is the ultimate goal for many participants in the Achievement Program.”
Cliff Green, Grab-Iron Editor
If you haven’t made plans to attend the Pacific Science Center Model Railroad show here in Seattle, now’s the time! As noted on the 4th Division PSC web page, the show is Saturday January 17 (today) through Monday January 19 (MLK weekend). More information can be found at the PSC web page for the model railroad show.
There are many helpful clinics and members across the 4th Division (which includes Alaska). I encourage everyone to take advantage of the skill sharing and fellowship available (it’s the main reason I belong to the NMRA). More information can be found on the 4D Clinics Page.
Dave Kreitler Speaks
Yes, you’re hearing it here and it’s big news. The Eastside Get-Together has once again pulled off an amazing feat of obtaining one of the world’s greatest modelers to present at our monthly meeting on Thursday, January 15th at 7:30 pm. We are expecting standing room only (SRO) so come early to get a seat and a donut. We have absolutely no idea what Dave is going to present although based on his international reputation, it will be informative, motivating, electrifying plus there will be great handouts. It has been quoted “Nobody does it like Dave!” Please cancel any other meetings and attend this once in a lifetime opportunity to hear Dave speak.
Plus we’ll have all the usual stuff like “Model of the Month”, door prizes, stuff to buy or sell, free coffee and donuts with donations. Of course we’re having fun with Dave’s introduction, but you seriously don’t want to miss his clinic as he always delivers something special. Happy New Year.
Ralph Oxhandler (my father) passed away on Jan 6, 2015. He was a 4th Division member in the 1960′s and early 1970′s.
Ralph performed publicity functions for the 1972 Seattle NMRA Convention under the name “P. C. Shay”. He also performed publicity for the 1973 Atlanta Convention under the name “The General”.
He attended most of the clinics at Loyal Heights Field House and the Burien Hobby Center. During his time in the Pacific Northwest Region (PNR) of the NMRA he modeled primarily in HO scale but also worked in N, Z and Large Scale. Shay’s were his big thing, having bought one of the first two truck models that Pacific Fast Mail (PFM) imported and was the first to buy the Pacific Coast Shay when they were released. He enjoyed going to the Cass Scenic Railroad many times over the years.
Ralph joined the NMRA while we lived in the Baltimore, MD area with a date of January 1952 and over the years was a member of the PNR, PSR, SSR, LSR, and MER regions.
By Al Babinsky, photos by Chip van Gilder
The first clinic of the year was started on time as usual by MMR Gene Swanson with 44 modelers in attendance. We had two newcomers, one modeling the Santa Fe in HO and the other hoping to model in N scale. Several announcements were made, including a model show at the Museum of Flight (MOF), the online magazine Trackside Model Railroading (TSMRR), featuring several layouts of Tacoma Clinic members, the Sn3 scale symposium, the 2015 NMRA National Convention in Portland, OR, and the 2015 Pacific Science Center Train Show, hosted by the 4th Division. Gene mentioned that our March clinician Steve Young was very ill and had to abandon his live steam 4-8-4 Northern project.
Bill Sandstrom from Tacoma Trains presented “What’s in the Hobby Shop”: an F 45 from Atlas, an FT45 from Arnold, a mechanical reefer, tank train, N scale GP-15 and U-25 from Atlas. Bluford Shops has hoppers, boxcars, and a transfer caboose and Micro Trains sells a Z scale NP passenger set and Kato with UP 844 and 7 car UP passenger set.
“Model of the Month” had several entrants including Chris Clancy with a rail tie load for a gondola, a Green bay and Western gondola and a 0-6-0 tank locomotive. Chip van Gilder brought several 3D printed items, a cider mill, an S scale steam locomotive roof, and hopper flow gates. Kevin Klettke brought a kit bashed wood chip barge. Dale Kraus brought two weathered German railroad gondolas draw-barred to operate as one (matching the prototype). Walt Huston brought background photos for his layout. The “Model of the Month” winner was Kevin Klettke with his wood chip barge.
Our clinic for this month was presented by Steve Cox, the owner of Cascade Rail Supply, featuring roadbed materials and construction. His PowerPoint presentation covered the pros and cons of various types of available roadbed. Most roadbeds, such as cork, have the wrong angle of 45 degrees versus the proper angle of 30 degrees. He showed samples of the types of Homasote roadbed that he manufactures in all the common scales. Homasote seems to be the best product around since it is solid and holds spikes. Note that cutting and sanding Homasote creates large amounts of dust and manufactured roadbed avoids this irritation. It was an informative, well-done, great clinic.
Next month’s clinic will be on February 12th at our usual place, the Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg. at the corner of 112th Street and Waller road at 7:30 PM. The February clinic will cover “Analog and DCC at the Same Time”. Hope to see all of you there and bring a friend, significant other or any one that is into modeling.
Don’t worry, there is still time to volunteer!
Yes, the Pacific Science Center Show still needs volunteers. This is the premier fundraiser for the 4th Division. This year’s show will be a little smaller in size but the need for volunteers is just as great. Any amount of time will be appreciated. So, come join your fellow modelers and help promote the hobby. This is the perfect opportunity for all those armchair model railroaders to become active in this local event. Remember, parking is free and you have access to the Pacific Science Center.
As noted on the 4D PSC web page, the show is Saturday January 17 through Monday January 19 (MLK weekend). On Friday the exhibitor set-up will commence at 5 pm and last till 9 pm. On Saturday the show starts at 8:30 am and lasts till 6 pm. Sunday and Monday the show is from 9 am till 6 pm. After the show on Monday will be layout load out till 9 pm. This year will be critical for help since we will not have one of our load in/load out docks available.
By Jeff Moorman
Hope you are all enjoying the Holidays. You may have noticed that the first Thursday of next month is New Year’s Day.
Sorry. I know this comes as a disappointment to some who cancelled New Year’s Eve party plans in order to be well rested for the clinic, but we will not be meeting on the first.
Thursday, February 5 is our next scheduled clinic date. I’ll post a reminder with more details as that date approaches.
Directions: 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. Go up the steps to the main entrance. We meet in the Fireside Room which is immediately to the left inside the door.
Meetings are the first Thursday of each month, usually September – June. However in June we often do something different, so there may be no “regular” meeting. Doors open at 7:00 PM and the program starts at 7:30.
Meeting dates for the rest of the current clinic season are scheduled for the first Thursday of February, March, April, and May 2015. Hope to see you there or at least sometime on down the line.
Bob Stafford, 4D Communications Director
The Tacoma N Scalers meet on the first Thursday of the month at the Fircrest Rec Center, 555 Contra Costa, Fircrest, WA at 7 PM. There is no meeting on January 1st. They will begin 2015 clinics Thursday night February 5th with a clinic titled “What I Got For Christmas and What I Am Going to Do With It”.
The March Clinic will be Thursday night March 5th, “How to Convert to Body Mounted Couplers”. Later in the year there will be clinics on laser structures, electronics, “EZ” trees, setting up operations, and more.
Bob Rorabaugh, 4th Division Membership Chairman
The annual Model Train Exhibit at the Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, Dec 21 to Jan 1 (closed the 24th and Christmas Day), is a wonderful opportunity for all of us who love the hobby and want to grow our ranks. If you plan to attend, would you linger at our NMRA booth for some intentional time? “Each one win one (a new member).” Be the “face” of the hobby and the NMRA. Engage passers-by, perhaps prepared to tell parents with children why you love this hobby.
Reasons to attend:
- It’s the holidays, and your local Sears store doesn’t have a railroad layout on display, but at this show, there’ll be a bunch of modular layouts.
- You’ve got kids in your world. They may be grandchildren, neighbors, a Sunday school class, etc. You can go to the Museum’s website and download a poster. Make the call to a teacher or some parents. Invite them to add this event to their holiday schedule!
- Just because you’d like to grow the NMRA, and would come just to share the booth experience.
Our association is 20,000 strong. Let’s have that many “owner’s reps.” I’m appealing especially to you who live within an hour of the Museum in the ol’ train station, downtown Tacoma. That’s from Seattle to Olympia, and places like Bothell, Puyallup, Snoqualmie, Bremerton, Shoreline, etc. Of course you can come from Mt. Vernon, Centralia and Port Townsend. Don’t be shy. I’ll see if I can get you into the museum for free, so bring your NMRA membership card and mention at the door that you’re serving our NMRA educational exhibit. If you must pay, then be sure to see the rest of this wonderful museum. There’s more to see than trains for you and those you invite.
Thanks for considering this request. Just don’t all come at once.
Ed Liesse, photos by Ed Liesse
JJ Johnston once again welcomed everyone to the Eastside Get Together and, following the script for our meetings, introduced the members of the 4th Division Board of Directors and the Master Model Railroaders (MMRs) in attendance. He then asked if we had any new attendees and Tom Keys from Seattle was welcomed to the group!
Announcements: Russ Segner, as chairman of the upcoming Sn3 Symposium, said they had 112 registration to date and that operating sessions are still available and, as 4th Division Superintendent, that the next Board of Directors meeting would be on Saturday, December 13 at Mitzel’s in Kent at 11:00 AM. 4D has a number of Fast Tracks turnout jigs available for loan to 4D members from the library and Russ is looking for someone to head the video library. David Yadock reminded us of the Pacific Science Center show, which is the 4D money-maker for the year. Volunteers are needed for the three days of the show and can get free parking and admission. Mike Kavanaugh said he has a small HO layout available, free, with trackwork and bridges but no scenery. Rick Jillard announced the availability of an 8’ x 24’ one piece layout in a garage with scenery and track plus car and engines.
The Model of the Month featured David Yadock and CJ Turner. David brought a 4-stall roundhouse where he started using linoleum blocks for walls but changed to Chooch stone walls. The front walls are still carved from the linoleum block, however. Paper shingles are glued to the roof to resemble slate. The interior will be finished later but the lighting is already in place.
CJ Turner brought a DPM kit resembling a 1901 Nordstom store. The store is well detailed with window decorations and a warning from CJ to be careful of what was happening in the upper story front room! See CJ for the answer to that one!
After our usual short break for refreshments JJ introduced John Morrison for a presentation on Swiss Rack Railroads. Because of the mountainous topography in Switzerland, most of the railroads traveling up in the higher elevations use a rack system to traverse steep grades. In addition, railroads in Switzerland are a mix of standard gauge and several different meter gauges. There are two main rack systems, the Riggenbach and the Strub, used mostly in the higher regions. The Strub rack is machined from rail. Various scenes in the presentation give a clear look at the differences between the two types. John also showed several charts of the different meter gauges in use.
CJ Turner was the winner of the Model of the Month.
The December Eastside Get Together will be on December 18. This will be a last opportunity to make our monetary contributions to help some needy members of the church have a merry Christmas! Instead of a presentation, we’ll celebrate with a “Dirty Santa gift exchange” (?). Come join us for some extra fun!