17 July, 2010

A Few Ramblings and Thoughts

Like in Baseball, I've recently been put on the 'Disabled List', with some minor surgery (athough when is getting cut open really 'minor'?) this past Thursday.  It's the left foot, along the nerves to the big toe, making it painful and will take about 7-8 weeks for a "full recovery"; with that, the doc gave me some fun drugs and told to pretty much stay home, put my foot up and rest.  Hardly likely, but I have tried.  And, I have had some time (and some sweeeeet 'trips') to sit and cogitate on things.  Nothing too deep, especially when you consider it's me I am talking about, but figured I'd share my thoughts about a couple of things I was able to get my hands on.

Wednesday, I received the book shown at left, Freight Train Graffiti.  What it has, is some history of Graffiti's "humble beginnings" in the 60's, a few narratives on several of the "writers"  (I always knew them as "taggers", but I guess they don't like to be called that anymore), their 'works of art' and plenty (over 1,000!) of large and small hi-res images, of what they have been painting on subway & freight cars over the past 40 or so years.  There is some discussion about the origins of it, the good and the bad (the successes & troubled lives writers have had, the railroads' fight to stop graffiti, and its continued practice & climb to mainstream "art"), the risks involved, and all that is a part of the Graffiti sub-culture.  Since I'm modeling the 1970's, graffiti is inexorably a part of the railroad rolling stock, and I thought I'd get not only some insight, but some good images on how cars have been weathered, painted, and damaged over time.  I'm not too interested in reading about these so-called artists (to me, it's willful destruction of railroad property and trespassing each time it happens), I'm more interested in the pixes and how I can best and realistically model my freight cars.  If you're modeling the post-steam era I recommend you get a copy, but only if you can get it below its cover price ($29.95), then it's worth it.  I see Amazon's got it for quite a low price & I got it new.  Here's a sample of my early weathering & graffiti decaling.

I'd like to get a hold of some of the Microscale and Blair Line Decal sets that are all graffiti - with the books knowledge, I hope to pick stuff that is appropriate to the 70's. 

Today, I received Fos Scale Models' latest DVD, Build A Wood Structure Kit From Start to Finish - DVD Volume 4.  A very nice tutorial for anyone who's always wanted to build a wood/craftsman structure kit.    This is Fos' fourth DVD, the first three covering a myriad of topics in model railroad scenery construction and some kit building.  In this one, Doug and his wife, Annamaria, really delve in to all the basics - tools you'll need, materials besides the kit, and the steps - to make your first craftsman kit build, or diorama build, a good experience.  As I consider myself still a novice in building kits (less than six completed and NO dioramas yet), I learned plenty watching my first time.  What's nice about it, is there's plenty to watch again and again.  How to best brace your kit?  Check out that section.  How to make realistic roofing?  It's in there.  Need help with rock carving for the dio?  Watch that chapter.  Things go a little quick, but that's the beauty of a DVD tutorial - if you don't catch it the first time around, rewatch that chapter. 
If you've never built a kit from wood, this is a great way to get you started.  Doug and Annmaria make it look even easier than a plastic model, and it doesn't matter how big the kit is.  You can get your copy at http://www.foslimited.com/, for $29.95 (plus S&H).  As well, the kit they show in this DVD is available for you to purchase from Jimmy Deignan's http://www.railroadkits.com/.  A neat little kit to try out!   Fos Scale Structure's DVD series goes right up there with Scott Mason's "How To" DVD series (check out http://www.scottymason.com)/ and certainly shows you there's more than one way to get great results on your structues and model railroad scenery.

After several (unintended) naps, I started a Branchline Blueprint Series AAR 50' Boxcar Kit.  Check out http://www.branchline-trains.com/blueprint_series/passengercars/pass_main.html, for a list of all the different models.  I'm building a 50' Double Door Boxcar, for the Penn Central.  I have one other (Western Maryland) and three C&O Single Door models that have been caling my name for over a year.  It's a nice, mid-skill level kit, that requires some patience, good lighting, and a delicate touch.  Unfortunately, I did not get very far, with the fact that using a very sharp X-acto knife with the way I'm "feeling" didn't go over too well - a near miss with the sharps and my bandaged foot scared me enough to pack it in for the day.  And, I had enough presence of mind to realize I didn't want any more stitches than I already have...

Finally, as I said, I had some time to think and my main topic was of course, model railroading.  And, I realized that while I barely started in to model trains as an adult back in 1991 before quickly putting it aside, to help my wife raise a family; I came back in around Christmas 2006 when I (eagerly) gave up table-top miniature wargaming for my real passion.  The net result was I realized I wouldn't be where I am in my enjoyment, my skill level and experience, as well as involvement, if it wasn't for the love & support of my wonderful bride, as well as the great friendship and fellowship I've received from my many "partners in crime" on the Model Railroad Forum (http://www.mrrforums.com/), Model Railcast Show forum, Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine's forum, and all those friends I've made in the Facebook Model Railroad community.  So, a thanks go out to you (You Know Who You Are!), for reading this and egging me on.  Yeah, this sounds a little cheesy, but if nothing else, I can blame it on the meds I'm taking! ;o)  Hope to get back to "working on the railroad" soon, but I think a couple of days off for some Rest & Recovery would be in order... stay tuned!

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