Saturday, February 26, 2011

Some Very British Model Railroad Inspiration

Click to see the really impressive embiggened version
When I'm making the rounds online, Chris Nevard's blog is a place I always stop and hang around awhile.  Check out of these two photos. Chris is an outstanding modeler and photographer who really can capture a moment and a mood. Here's what appears to a passenger local bellying up to Catcott Burtle. There's a lot going on in this one photo. What intrigues me is that it is on a tiny, portable layout that Chris displays at train shows in the UK. Maybe that gig is in Dunes Junction's (distant) future.

Astute observers will note that these trains look foreign (to the American eye, anyways).  That's because they are British! Which proves my point, which is that good model railroading is where you find it. Plus, Chris doesn't just do moody period pieces--here we see a contemporary (I think--I don't know from UK diesel types) rock loader scene.  Apparently, the 'other side of the tracks' is the same on both sides of the pond, complete with unkempt shrubberies and grass growing everywhere.  This is an effect I hope to shamelessly copy on my Dunes Junction.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Truly I Am A Fortunate Man--Now I Commute By Rail

In my post on The Model Railway Show podcast I mentioned long lonely Washington DC commutes, radio my only friend, blah, blah, blah.

Thought I'd follow up with how my commute is all different now, because I've been riding a train to work every day. I ride the Washington Metro Red Line back and forth to work, and it rocks!

The train that whisks me home every afternoon. (Steve Lee, 2010)
Plus, it's an electric train--which we like best around here. Pantographs and catenary are preferable (more to follow there--most of Dunes Junction will be under wire) but a third rail will do in a pinch.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The (Model Railroad) Future We Will Create

No sooner did I put up a post heaping praise upon The Model Railway Show podcast when TMRS's Trevor Marshall posted a plug for Up Dunes Junction on TMRS's site. I also got a nice email.

Why does this matter? Because one of my goals with Up Dunes Junction is to be a modest little interchange for great model railroading content and community emerging across the Internet.

Hobby shops may be closing, fewer people may be buying Model Railroader, and those train show schedules may look thinner, but these are the golden days of model railroading. One reason is that model trains are better than ever before--better controls, better detail, more true to the prototype. But the other reason is people like Trevor and Jim at TMRS, and how they are creating the future of model railroading by using the internet to bring model railroaders together in exciting new ways.

Go Listen to the Model Railway Show! Now!

I love radio--think those 'Car Talk' guys and old-time radio plays--and it's because the radio was my only friend during all those years of commuting in Washington, DC. I also love the trains.

So I've always thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if there was a good radio show that covered the model railroading beat?'

The new Model Railway Show podcast ain't on the radio--but it sure sounds like it could be. If the voices of host Jim Martin and Trevor Marshall sound like professional radio dudes, that's because they are--both are veterans of Canadian radio.  I'm sure their experience in the studio has a lot to with the overall professional sound of the production.

But Jim and Trevor just don't sound good--this is real model railroad journalism, with big name (model railroad) guests, like Model Railroad Planning editor Tony Koester and shelf railroad guru Lance Mindheim. The guest interviews are focused and quickly paced.

My only complaint: not enough back episodes! I've listened to every edition of the Model Railway show and enjoyed them all.  I look forward to hearing Jim and Trevor's next show.

The Model Railway Show

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dunes Junction Track Plan, Circa 2005

Dunes Junction 18" x 61" 
This is the Dunes Junction track plan (minus staging) rendered here using RailModeller software for the Mac. The plan is essentially an enlarged, HO version of Apple Creek Junction track plan in Linn Westcott's trusty old 101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders book published and reprinted numerous times by Kalmbach. (Carl Arendt reproduces the plan here on his Small Layout Scrapbook site).

The track is Peco Code 75 flex and turnouts, and that highway overpass on the left side of the plan has already been built. The catenary spans as depicted here ('I' shaped objects perpendicular to the track) are too close together on this plan. I plan to draw a fancier plan soon using my mad Adobe skillz (acquired since I drew this plan), and maybe work up a 3D model in Google Sketchup to better test out some of my scenery and backdrop ideas.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Re-ballasting: cuz I rarely get it right the first time

I'm not happy with the ballast on the Dunes Junction layout. So that ballast is coming out.

I chose the Woodland Scenics light grey ballast because it seemed like a good match for the ballast of the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad main line that I am attempting to model .

I put it on a bit heavy to begin with and something wasn't right. In a misguided attempt to tone down the almost-white ballast, I sprayed on some diluted india ink with a pump sprayer.

The Manifesto Post

Welcome to the maiden post of Up Dunes Junction!

This blog is going to be about Dunes Junction, the HO scale model railroad that lives in my basement.

Our motto: Your one stop for model railroadin', learnin', and pontificatin'

So if you want to watch me clumsily build and re-build my model railroad, hear my inarticulate stories about the olden days of model railroading and photography and cars, and help me figure out how to use the intertoobs to connect with other model railroaders, come on down!