Sunday, February 27, 2011

Grain elevator comes along some more

Bit of a progress update on the Grain Elevator Project. The model has been painted, though the weathering spray is a little bit over scale. The pipework adds some character to the model.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some inspiration

Something a little special. Not Model Railroad related mind you. But inspirational nonetheless.
Whilst away in Red Wing this weekend I was browsing in a secondhand book shop and I spied this Chinese Cork picture on one of the shelves.
I was immediately captivated by it. It is no more than 3 1/2 inches wide but is incredibly detailed. Just look at the tiling and the latticework on the pagoda, the leaves on the trees.
It's amazing to think that this was all carved by hand out of cork.
What can I tell you about cork pictures?
Very little really. There is almost no information about the art on the internet. All I can tell you is that the elements in the scene. The trees, the cranes, and the pagoda shelter are all standard elements of the art. They eminate from the Fujian region of SE China and seemed to have started in the early 1900's and that's about it. So if anyone knows anymore I'm all ears.
What I do know is that I find it very inspiring to think someone did this by hand. Perhaps when I'm struggling with some T scale items I'll look at this and be spurred on.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Research Pictures

Safely returned from Red Wing. Here are some pictures of the Grain elevator. Though I found plenty of pictures on the internet that got me started on constructing the model. It was very useful to see the real thing. I discovered quite a bit that I couldn't see from the photographs, but I could also see that it didn't really matter if I missed them out or not. There are a lot more windows on the structure than I could see in the photos. As I plan on adding the windows as decals after I've finished painting I don't have to fret about cutting them out now.
This picture above clearly shows how much narrower my head tower needs to be compared to the prototype.
It clearly would be folly of the highest order to try and get all that detail in the cyclones shown here in T scale but there is no reason why I can't recreate them somehow with a selection of styrene rods and tubing and strip with a little bit of filler and some filing here and there.
There's several nice long down pipes there worth modelling and there is a part of me that wants to recreate those tall folding doors...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Site report

Courtesy of a weekend away. I am writing this entry from a hotel in Red Wing, MN not too far from the site of the subject of my current structure modelling project, the grain elevator. Having looked at it and photographed it I have quickly come to the decision that the head house tower is too fat. It needs to be thinner. Not by much, but it is obvious to me that the proportions are wrong. Other than that things look pretty good. Got to see some angles that I haven't seen from the photos I have purloined from the Internet. I have Monday off work so I'm looking forward to finishing the model off.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hop(per) to it

So, there I was, quietly contemplating a T scale model of Super Target in Rogers, MN when a totally unrelated discussion about graffiti on railroad cars reminded me about the well known, (well to Minnesota railfans anyway) Gondola car that plies its trade in unit trains between the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and the power stations of the Midwest. Lionel are even producing one in O scale. I shared this news with members of the outstate Minnesota Rail group on Yahoo and the upshot of this is that a good friend of mine Jim Ramnes suggested that I make one in T scale. Even going so far as to provide drawings of the Bethgon Coalporter.
I don't know about you, but I took that as a challenge. So, in a quiet moment this afternoon I sized up the drawing for a T scale model. It works out at 32mm long x 8.5mm high, quite doable, methinks.
The Whale paintjob however might be another issue...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just popping down to Target

This post from David K Smith on his Z scale blog has always stuck in my memory. About using the internet for model railroading purposes. So last night whilst mulling over a new structure modelling project, once again this post jumped into my mind. So I opened up Google Earth and Bing Maps and "flew" around my locale looking for interesting large structures to model.
How about Superstores? They're big. Menards, SuperTarget, Wal*Mart, Home Depot, Lowes. All have a huge 150,000+ square feet of selling floorspace.
So I stopped my flight in Google Earth over the SuperTarget in Rogers, MN. A building I drive past at least 5 days a week and I measured it. It was some 500 feet long by about 350 feet deep.
Now in T scale we are used to buildings being small but do you know the size of this structure in T?
Thirteen inches by Ten. Not small. Not at all.
Then I thought about the height. No more than three quarters of an inch tall. A T scale model would look like a slice of bread!
I'm most definitely curious about recreating such a structure in T. I did think about a bit of selective compression of the subject. But that's not what T should be about.
This is a structure that would be about SIX feet long in HO. Compromise there. But not in T. It might mean a change in the design of my new US Outline T scale layout, but that's not set in stone yet. I'll keep you posted with thoughts.