Monday, November 16, 2015

Milwaukee Train Fest

Something I've always wanted to do is attend the Milwaukee Train Fest - one of the largest model train shows in the US.

We used to have our Ft. Worth Train Show the same weekend as Train Fest, but this year the fall show was held in September. This started me thinking about making the trip north. When I heard that Lionel Strang and Jim Rindt from A Modelers Life were going to be there, I sent an email suggesting that we plan a meetup and immediately went online and booked the flight, car and hotel.

I didn't hear anything from Lionel and Jim for a couple months, so I started making plans for Saturday evening. Lance Lassen told me he was going to be in Milwaukee the same weekend for the Trains 75th Anniversary Gala, which sounded fun. Also, by NP buddy Mike Morse who live in Appleton, WI was going to be there, so I made plans to hang out with him on Saturday.

I arrived on Saturday a half hour before the doors opened and it was like attending a Rock Concert. There were several thousand people in line - luckily inside.

Joe Fugate was a busy guy. The first time I went by the Model Railroad Hobbiest booth, he was being interviewed by some show with Youtube stickers on their equipment.
 We decided to have lunch there. I had what they called the Lionel Strang Special. I guess his reputation preceded him.

Walthers is painting their DM&IR caboose up like an NP 24 footer, which is a closer stand in than let's say Athearn's Santa Fe model. I have several Laserkits to build of the more accurate prototype, so I'll undoubtedly get at least one of these. However, the $49.98 price is ridiculous.

 Kadee had a cool poster with the history of their couplers.

They had at least 5 garden layouts on display. I lied this one because they took the time to put down the rubber mulch.

The clinics were top notch... I was having too much fun on the show floor to see any of them.

A second building had nothing but layouts on display.

This traction layout was very nice.

Unfortunately, my battery in my cell phone didn't last all day. I did finally get to meet Lionel and Jim.

Here is a photo from the Model Railroad Hobbiest Facebook.

The Trains Gala was interesting, but I only knew one guy there: Lance.

The next morning, I was back at the show. Rivarossi had their new U28Cs, which look a lot like the U25C.

Here is the video that Lionel recorded with me on Sunday.

Since I flew in and out of Chicago, I left Milwaukee with enough time to stop at Lou Malnati's near O'Hare on the way back. Worth the trip in itself.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Spline Benchwork

The upper deck of the left peninsula is starting to look like a railroad after getting the spline roadbed installed.

Lance Lassen came over and helped me get started. We got the first few splines in and I started to realize I needed more spring clamps.

We also added the n-scale cork on the passing siding in Hardin.

The next day I added more pieces to the outside and extended the length to the end of the peninsula.

A couple days later, Matt Latham came over to help me add more splines.

More spline, more clamps. I got in a habit of adding splines in the morning before I went to work and in the evening before I went to bed in order to give the glue time to dry.

This end view shows the progress of the peninsula.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hardin benchwork and roadbed

I have always admired the sweeping curves created with the use of splines for sub-roadbed. When I got Joe Fugate's original set of DVDs, he presented a way to make spline roadbed from Masonite where you didn't have to put cork on top. With the large new space and the new layout, I decided it was time to try it. 

I found some 1/4" Masonite at the local 84 Lumber since neither of the big box stores stock it. I called around and found a place that would rip it into 7/8" strips, saving me a lot of time on the table saw. Here is what 4 sheets look like cut into strips.

I decided to use 3/4 cabinet plywood rather than the 1/2" I had purchased and luckily Home Depot had some at a reasonable price because I discovered the plywood I had been storing in my pole barn had gotten damp and was delaminating.

It took some time to curve the plywood to fit the backdrop - especially since I couldn't find my belt sander. Of course, a couple days after getting it to fit with saws and a disk sander, my wife found it in a box in the garage that hadn't been unpacked yet a over a year after the move. Lance Lassen came over and we put down some cork and the first splines. Hardin is to Lance's left in this photo. Sheetrock screws are being used to put an s-bend in the Masonite.

This is the first time I have tried spline. The first lesson I learned is to connect the Masonite to the plywood at the start. After reading some of the experiences other people have had, I tried making a notch in the plywood with a reciprocating saw on the third piece, but it looks like I'll need some additional stiffening.

The spline seems to be doing a pretty good job holding its shape with the clamps and sheetrock screws removed.

One more set of splines and clamps. I also want to have the roadbed on passing sidings lower than the main. I am doing this using some n-scale cork.

This morning I took the clamps off and this is what it looked like. It wasn't until I put this photo up that I realized that I have 7 instead of 6. Oops, I guess I got a little spline crazy. I plan on playing around with 45 degree profiles anyway, so I may be routing the first ones.

Tonight, I will work on roadbed for the first turnouts, including my first ever spline. I'll try to remember to take more photos as I go. 

Here are some links that I found priceless when researching spline roadbed:

Leave a comment if you can think of some others - especially videos.