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.
By Ken Liesse
The NMRA National Convention will be held in Portland in 2015 with PNR’s 2nd Division playing host for that event. Because of that, 2nd Division asked to be relieved of their obligation to host the PNR convention next year. Anyone who has ever been involved with a National convention can certainly understand that request, knowing what’s involved in putting on something of that magnitude. 4th Division has stepped up and volunteered to take 2014 off 2nd Division’s hands, even though we know we’re already at least a year behind in planning for such an event. (2nd Division will take over 4th’s next PNR obligation in 2018.)
I’d like to thank the Board of Director’s for voting in favor of putting on next year’s convention, and I’d especially like to thank those who have already raised their hands and said “I can help.” Russ Segner has agreed to take on the role of Convention Chairman (or at least co-chair) and planning is underway. Now here’s where the rest of 4th Division comes in.
By Jeff Moorman
Join us on Thursday (May 2) for our next clinic. Our topic will be railroading in the 1930s.
Last month Tom K regaled us with a nice presentation on the Railway Express Agency (REA). Probably the overview of this organization is the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia article on the same:
“The Railway Express Agency (REA) was a national monopoly set up by the United States federal government in 1917. Rail express services provided small package and parcel transportation using the extant railroad infrastructure much as UPS functions today using the road system. The United States government was concerned about the rapid, safe movement of parcels, money, and goods during World War I and REA was its solution to this problem. REA ceased operations in 1975, when its business model ceased to be viable due to the construction of the interstate highway system making the UPS business model cost less to the customers.”
Tom’s father had worked for the REA for 35 years and Tom had lots of anecdotes with which to punctuate the discussion. There were railway-related express delivery companies in the U.S. back as 1839. And they flourished through the second half of the 19th century. By 1900 there were 4 principal such companies, three of which were consolidated into the government-run REA in 1917.
In 1927 the REA began an air express division and in 1929 the REA was purchased back from the government by a group of 86 railroads who owned it in proportion to their express traffic volume.
Often REA offices were co-located in depots/stations, but large cities had their own buildings. The REA office (warehouse, really) in Seattle was located SW of the King Street station. It was torn down to make room for the King Dome. It would have been in the east end of the north parking lot.
Tom could remember going there with his Dad. He can also remember his Dad sneaking him aboard a train or two where REA crews would sort packages between stations, much as the Postal crews did in their mail cars.
At its peak the REA had 45,000 employees and some 30,000 offices. It was said that during WWII the REA had the largest truck fleet in the United Sates. It was quite a large organization.
Remember, if you are modeling a period before about 1970, don’t forget to include the presence of the REA.
Thanks, Tom, for an entertaining and informational program.
Just two folks brought stuff for show and tell:
- Bobj had a Milwaukee diesel, hopper, and caboose which he had used to practice his chalk weathering skills.
- Tom K provided several pieces of REA memorabilia, including a nice HO delivery truck.
We meet at the Ronald United Methodist Church, 17839 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA, on the west side of Aurora (State Route 99) between 175th and 185th Streets, 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 Deseret. 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, except July and August. In June we usually do a tour and we’ll talk about that on Thursday. Doors open around 7:00 PM and the program starts at 7:30.
Remember the next meeting is May 2. Hope to see you there or at least sometime on down the line.
Jim Sabol / Photos by Brian Ferris
Hit the Road, Jack!
Those Olympia clinicians did it again. Twenty-one attendees barely had time to finish their diet pops and fold their tray tables in the upright position when bam!, off we flew to the
Appalachian coal fields of backcountry Pennsylvania, courtesy of PowerPoint pilots and tour guides Brian Ferris and Greg Wright. Whisking us more than three thousand miles across the country by means of their colorful slides and video, Brian and Greg took us on a beautifully photographed visit to the East Broad Top narrow gauge railroad of Orbisonia, PA — and still had us home before midnight. Ideas for modeling scenery, structures, track work, and paint schemes practically flew off the screen into the fertile imaginations of twenty-one happy modelers paying close attention to every railroad-y detail. (Note: if you missed the clinic, click this link for a Google search of the Orbisonia Railroad.)
Meeting in gracious host Scott Buckley’s Tumwater home and layout room was a trip in itself. Scott’s TehamaValley pike never fails to inspire visitors with its innovative benchwork, prototypical track plan, efficient valences, and complementary backdrops. What a great place to get together!
Greg Wright won Most Popular Model Of The Month with a kitbashed snow plow for his 1:32n20 (really big models on HO gauge track) Consolidate Republic Mining Company, one more Olympia area layout often featured in national magazines.
We were reminded that next month’s get-together (always on the third Friday of the month) will feature Ted Eggleston and Robert Grove, handsome devils both, taking us on a visual and technical tour of Washington bridges.
Once again, it was discovered that everyone attending held a winning door prize number. “It’s a muracle!” exclaimed George Hansen.
Come and join in the fun. You’ll like us. We’ll like you. We’ll have the light on for you.
A few notes about Greg Wright’s 1:32n20 scale plow and spreader
Starting Point: Bachman On30 flat car; Bachman On30 2-6-0 tender shortened to fit; resin casting spreader plow from an online kit of a 2′ New England area prototype AHM HO snow plow.
Construction Notes: The plow was split down the middle and a section of wood added to the center, shaped and sealed with sanding sealer. The spreader was assembled per the instructions and added to the stock flat car. The heavy timber framework that sits in front of the spreader frame was scratchbuilt to hold the rams connected to the plow blades. The rams were scratchbuilt of brass tubing. Painting with Floquil colors in an airbrush. Weathering done with Dr. Ben’s weathering solutions (an alcohol-based suspension of pigments) and Bragdon weathering powders.
The 2013 4DPNR Spring Meet is coming May 18.
Space is limited to 120 attendees and already over half gone! Sign up now to take advantage of the low registration of $20 including lunch (for NMRA members). You must register ahead of time to get lunch. After May 11, registration will increase to $30. Registrations at the door will cost $30 without lunch.
Tukwila Embassy Suites Hotel, Saturday, May 18
Arrive at 8:00 AM for free coffee and rolls.
21 fellow model railroaders are presenting 12 clinics. Most of these clinics have never been seen before!
Attend the 4D Annual Meeting for the presentation of awards and activity reports.
Details, including names of presenters and descriptions of the clinics, are at the website.
Layout Tours, Sunday May 19
Layout open houses will run from 1 PM to 5 PM. Maps and driving information will only be distributed at the end of Saturday’s sessions!
Special Turnout Clinic
Greg Amer has made special arrangements with Andy Reichert of Proto87 Stores for jigs and ten kits to create #6 turnouts in Proto87. The kits are offered FREE! During this clinic you can
- Compare prototype to commercial turnouts and introduce the “ultimate turnout”
- Finish building a turnout yourself. It will be mostly built in advance but participants will place a few tie plates and glue in rail, frogs, points and guard rails. A variety of rail sizes will be offered.
Al Carter / Photos by Al Frasch
Chairman Rich Blake started the meeting and welcomed 38 eager attendees to the April 2013 Clinic. Al Carter reported on the upcoming Fourth Division Spring Meet to be held on May 17-18 in Tukwila and on the June 26-30 Pacific Northwest Region meet to be held in Boise, Idaho. Susan Gonzales discussed several of the clinics scheduled for the 2013-2014 season, including a field trip to the Mount Rainier Scenic Railway, in late September.
One new attendee showed up, John Fuik of Anacortes, along with his wife Marjorie. For the Tool of the Month, Al Carter showed off MicroMark’s “Thin Beam” square, an invaluable tool for scribing sheet styrene and wood. John Mann displayed another MicroMark product – the “Crocodile Action Ear Polypus,” which is a nifty forceps-type tool that can fit into a 1/8” diameter hole.
Another member (sorry but I didn’t catch the name) reported on the fact that anyone with a Sno-Isl library card can subscribe to Model Railroader and also to Fine Scale Modeler, thus saving the yearly subscription costs. However, back issues are only available for the current year via the library. And apparently, anyone with a valid library card in the state of Washington can use this system. For further details, click here.
The “Main Event” of the evening was a clinic on installing sound decoders, by John Mann and Bill Harper. John started off by explaining that in our modeling world, size can be compressed to whatever size or scale we want, but sound is a different matter – think of muting the sound, rather than compressing it. There are lots of manufacturers of sound decoders available now and some sound a lot better than others. Prices generally reflect this, of course. John demonstrated this difference by letting us hear Digitrax (lower end) and Tsunami (higher end) decoders.
John brought an incredible array of materials and supplies to augment his program, including a lot of hardware in addition to the actual decoders, including speaker enclosures, axle and drive wheel wipers, chuff sync devices, very fine and flexible wire, and mini-connectors. He pointed out that while most of the DCC manufacturers offer much of this equipment, one can also go to non-railroad supply houses such as Allied Electronics, Digikey, etc.
John and Bill described how adding a capacitor to the decoder circuit allows the sound to keep on uninterrupted, despite the locomotive running over dirty track or other disturbances in the signal reaching the decoder. We learned a lot about capacitors, including different types and ratings.
Here’s a great tip, not only for sound decoder installation, but actually any modeling you do: take digital photographs of your work and your finished product for later reference.
John finished the evening with a great demonstration of several different sized speakers, both with and without speaker enclosures. It is truly amazing how a proper speaker enclosure enhances the sound. We learned a lot from John and Bill last night!
Al Babinsky / Photos by Chip
MMR Gene Swanson opened the clinic on time to a crowd of 41 modelers. There were no new comers and we proceeded with the announcements. Ed Liesse made the following announcements; the 4D spring will be May 18 at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila with layout tours on May 19. The 4D board meeting is April 20 at Mitzel’s in Kent. Ballots for the 4D elections should be in your home in the next few days, the must be returned by May 10. The PNR convention is June 20 in Boise, ID.
Mike Shaw was given a number of posters from the Alaska Railroad as well as some pillows with railroad motive; these are free to anyone who wants them.
Mike Highsmith is running for one of the director positions and gave us his candidate statement.
The model of the month contest had some great entries from Chris Clancy with his ALCO C4-24s weathered. John Miller with 3 Varney stamped cars reworked to look correct. Dale Kraus with a European narrow gauge train in 760mm (HO n). Walt Huston with 3 N scale cars one decorated with a Saskatchewan logo. Dennis Reeves with a logging camp diorama featuring camp cars and log train, the diorama is to be installed in a display at the old Cannery in Sumner. Paul Vaughn had a newly designed tool to cut flex-rail. Duane Damgaard with a shotgun house that included a flickering fire in the stove. Skip showed a Bachmann Hogwarts Express with installed sound decoder and lights using micro LEDs. The winner of the model of the month was Dennis Reeves with the logging diorama.
What’s new at the hobby shop included items from Walthers, Microtrains, Railking, and Athaern Genesis.
This month clinic was given by Dale Kraus and titled What you really don’t need to know about DCC or Myth-busters. The clinic had great information along with a hand-out on how to get started. Due to the fact that the clinic was too long it was decided to continue the clinic at the June clinic.
May’s clinic will be given by Jim Clowers and is called; how to get manufacturers to make what you want, this should be a very interesting topic. We will meet at our usual place, the Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg. at the corner of 112th Street and Waller Road at 7:30 PM, hope to see all of you there.
Superintendent Ken Liesse
This is also the 4D’s annual budget meeting, so if you have any items you would like to have discussed for the budget, please let us know.
Note: this is a change from the originally planned date of April 27.
Note repaired email links. Doug.