As I prepare to model various structures along the Georgetown Branch, my attention turns to recreating various details such as signs, vehicles and small details which establish the scene in historical context. Of course I have to pick and choose these details because I don’t have room to model the entire branch line.
One of the structures I plan on modeling is the Lone Star Cement plant. This large structure sat at the west end of the industrial waterfront in Georgetown. The silos towered above the Whitehurst Freeway and were emblazoned with a very large Lone Star logo. Using some photos and Adobe Illustrator I re-drew the logo as best I could, to be a relatively decent representation of the one painted on the silos of the plant. Here is a JPG of my attempt.
Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season. My friend Nick alerted me to this awesome photo from the Mansfield Library Archives which shows the 1958 National Christmas Tree being received down in the new yard on the Georgetown Waterfront. How cool is this!? I know it’s slightly outside of my era, but I will have to figure a way to model this on my layout.
The Great Northern flatcar bears a large sign on the side which reads:
TO PRESIDENT EISENHOWER
THE NATION’S CHRSTMAS TREE
FROM THE KOOTENAI
SHIPPED BY COURTESY OF G.N. – C.B.&Q. – B.&O. RYS
PREPARATION BY, J. NEILS LUMBER CO
DIV. OF ST. REGIS PAPER CO.
PRESENTED BY THE
LIBBY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Apparently it became a tradition in the early 20th century for a tree to be donated by lumber companies and state forests across the country. Anyone with more information or background on this, please chime in! Also, if you know where I can locate a manufacturer of that particular model of flat car, I’d appreciate it! 🙂
EDIT: Since I’m planning on modeling this I took a stab at drawing the sign. Comments welcome! I drew it in Adobe Illustrator using a combination of Source Sans Pro and Montserrat fonts, customized and altered a bit to match the original more closely. Enjoy!
At the Maloney Concrete plant in Bethesda, MD there was an iconic lettered sign up high on both sides of the main tower of the plant. The beautiful Art Deco lettering was painted red at one point and really stood out among all the industrial machinery that surrounded it.
I plan on modeling one face of this concrete loading hopper and as such need to include the gorgeous sign. Unfortunately the font is different than anything I have. The font “Broadway” is a close match but has significant differences. I contacted a friend who also confirmed my suspicions about its design and decided to draw it myself using Adobe Illustrator. The process was not too bad as most of the letters are geometric and consistent. Thankfully there’s some repetition, too.
My plan is to laser engrave this onto a piece of very thin wood which I will then paint and install in the model, eventually. This is a first draft, so comments are welcome!
I’m tossing ideas back and forth on how to represent the town of Bethesda on the layout. I have already laid much of the track and am fine tuning the details. I’ve yet to decide on the East end of the town (where the track heads under Wisconsin Av) and placement of building flats. I’m doing more research looking at photos of the area to decide exactly where things will go. Above is a quick sketch I did showing the various tracks in the town.
My progress on the layout has been minimal for the last year, but over the last month I’ve cleaned up and made some great progress, figuring out solutions for some issues I was having. My friend Kelly helped me figure out track arrangement and grades at Georgetown Junction. I am planning on further reworking the track arrangement to be a bit more prototypical and easy for construction/structures. My friends Joe & Matt helped me visualize how to lay in the area West of Rock Creek and East of Bethesda which includes Chevy Chase. I had originally made a mistake of not figuring the grade separation between the trestle at Rock Creek and the level tracks at Bethesda. I decided to create one long grade from the trestle and Bethesda, cut from plywood out of a cardboard template. I’m working on this now.
I’ve also been experimenting with DCC++, a free, open-source, full featured DCC system. It uses an Arduino Uno, Arduino Motor Shield and a 15v power supply. I managed to get it up and running in an evening and will use this moving forward until I am ready to purchase a full featured DCC system… or maybe not! We will see how it works for me. Here’s a short video:
I’m recently enrolled in school at UMUC going for a Computer Science degree, so much of my time is devoted to class work, but I’ve got a reinvigorated interest in the layout so I’m hoping to make steady progress.
It’s been too long. Over a year. I haven’t touched the layout since the summer of 2015. There, I said it. There have been many, many factors and excuses to explain this lapse, none more compelling than inertia and laziness. I’ve taken on lots of other side-projects and tasks and found many other ways to distract myself and burn time doing fun things that don’t involve working on the layout. Well, I’ve got the bug again and I’m back at it. I spent the holiday weekend cleaning out the layout room, reorganizing and getting myself mentally back up to speed with my progress on the layout.
When I had last left off I had completed much of the track in Bethesda but ran into a snag when on of my train club friends pointed out that there was a nasty S-curve in the yard entrance. I had also installed some spline roadbed at the Geo. Jct. area and that worked out quite nicely. Much of the rest of the layout was covered with “stuff”, and became staging for painting trim for our office renovation as well as other random projects. All of that stuff was cleaned up, moved out or reorganized to optimize space. I completely cleared the upper level of the layout so I could continue working on the track work I had started over a year ago. Once I got cleaned up, things really moved along nicely. I realized a few things:
I really love this project and I’m excited to see where it takes me.
I need glasses – reading glasses at least. My vision is not what it was.
I need to set some goals and stay on task.
I need to flesh out the layout design a bit more; I came across some issues that are going to prove to be challenging to overcome and will most likely require reworking some of the track plan. (oh well!)
All in all, it’s been a productive weekend and I’m moving ahead with a good head of steam. I just hope I can keep the momentum!
I created this a while ago but wanted to share it. This is a sketch I did showing rough scenery concepts for the lower level of the layout. What you have is the track entering from the helix at the bottom right. It exits from Dalecarlia Tunnel and then crosses a drop-down bridge, passes the Army Map siding and into the Dalecarlia water treatment facility yard area. From here the track continues down hill, crosses over the C&O canal, a Canal overflow/stream and into Georgetown. The line will pass the boat house, scale and under the Aqueduct bridge. In Georgetown there are several industries and yards for switching. The line continues through G-town and ends at the Coal & Ash house and King Coal.
The idea here is to get a rough idea for what will actually fit and a slight reality check for my own sanity. I know that the track layout is relatively accurate but this exercise really allowed me to see what will fit and what won’t. I removed a few things I thought I would be able to fit and added others that I had missed. I hope to create one for the upper deck but it’s just a matter of time if I ever get around to it.
Got a bit of work done on the layout today. Laid down more roadbed at Georgetown Junction and laid in the sub roadbed (Homasote) in Bethesda. Did some thinking about track laid flush on the sub roadbed in Bethesda vs. laying it on roadbed. I was originally leaning toward all on the sub roadbed itself but thinking about Bethesda there was a nice track profile on much of it. This will be tricky. I do have some large Homabed panels that would work but I think it may be a waste here. We will see! Going to study some more photos and make a decision. Progress is good!
I purchased a 3-pack of these Bosch T113A3 4″ T-shank jigsaw blades to make a go at cutting some 1/2″ Homasote that I will be using as subroadbed on the layout. My intent was to avoid the legendarily bad dust that is created using conventional wood-cutting, teethed blades. I have seen these type of blades around but never given one a shot.
My initial impression was that the blade appears to be sharp and is wedge-shaped. It loaded easily in my DeWalt jigsaw and operated well. The initial cut into the Homasote was smooth and steady, to be expected and at first it seemed that it would work well. There was little dust. However, there was another problem. Smoke. Yep, after about 3-4″ the material started smoking heavily. I removed the blade from the material and the blade itself had burn marks on it. I switched to a regular wood-cutting blade and went back to cutting and it all worked out fine.
TL:DR: Knife-edge jigsaw blades are inappropriate for cutting Homasote. Stick with wood-cutting blades outside, with plenty of ventilation and preferably with a breeze to blow the dust away. Wear a mask!
One of the signature items I have planned for my Georgetown Branch layout are the three bridges spanning the C&O Canal & Canal Rd. These bridges were cobbled together from other parts of the B&O system when the line was laid down in 1908-10. I have thought about options for modeling these bridges and I am leaning toward a mixture of brass, styrene and museum board (or mat board) that is laser cut. I obtained a copy of the blueprints of the bridges but they are many generations of photocopies old and need lots of cleaning up. I figured redrawing them in Illustrator is a good starting point so I had some fun with the first (easiest) bridge of the three, a simple 30′ deck girder span.
The biggest challenge is alignment of the drawing with the precise nature of the software. I know I’m not going to get this exact, and that’s OK. What I’m aiming for is something scale and relatively accurate that I can work with once I finally do start to build the model itself. Getting started is sometimes the hardest part and I’m hoping this will be the motivation I need to get things rolling.
This is a “sneak peak.” I still have the top view to do and a few details. Also, the rivets are approximated using photos; today I counted myself among the rivet counters of the world for the first time. 🙂 I hope you enjoy the preview and I hope I can keep up the momentum to produce more illustrations as time permits.