Friday, January 30, 2009

Billboard Frame #2

This is the billboards and frames for the other side of the Dominion.  I wont go into much detail on how I built this set because the construction is basically the same as before on the Lets Build a Billboard Frame post from a few weeks ago.  

What I did change from before is first I simplified the design a bit, second I used a different paint scheme and third I used .060" I-beams for the vertical beams.  I wanted this one to be different from the first set, originally I wanted to go more ornate but unfortunately once the building is place on a layout this side of the building will never be seen.  I will reuse the signs in another location eventually because the are too good to be hidden.  

I want to thank Frank Giacobbe for making these wonderful signs for me, he does a first class job.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dominion Sign Mockup

I have been messing around with doing the sign on top, I still am waiting to see what everybody thinks in the poll.  I have had a few emails and posts on why I should build it but I have seen a few no's, and I would like to know why you feel that way.    My mind isn't 100% made up but I am leaning to building it.  
I threw this together today, it still has a bit of work left, but I felt it was worth the time to get a feel for it and I can make dimensioned plans right off the drawings fairly easily, (that is if I can remember how).  I haven't used this program for about a year now and I am a little rustier than I thought I would be.  If you are curious, the program I am using is called Inventor, it is made by Autodesk, the company that makes AutoCAD and 3DStudio Max.
The lettering on the sign will be a white if it gets built, I changed it to a light grey so it would show up a little better for your viewing pleasure.  What you read on the sign is exactly how it reads in the picture, and this will be a very big sign as well, it will stand a scale 24' tall and 73' wide.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dominion Sign Poll

There is a sign on top of the Dominion in this picture and I don't know when it was taken down.  My question is should I spend the time trying to reproduce it?  Or don't worry about it?  I want to know the opinion of everyone of you.  


Dominion Building Update - Doors, Windows and Roof's oh' my

This little guy is getting so close to being done, but I am having mixed feelings.  On one hand I cant wait to move onto other projects, and then on the other hand I am sad cause I haven't slaved away on one specific thing for so long sense, well, forever.  

What I finished off first this week was the doors and entry on the bottom corner of the building.  It was quite simple but I think I pulled it of okay.  First I framed the two doors from .010x.040" strip, and cut a bar from .015" brass wire .  After the glue dried I gave it a once over with a Prismacolor Metallic Silver (PM-117) marker.  I built the box for the entry from some scrap .020" sheet styrene, then painted to match the outside.  On the prototype I noticed there was a cast iron gate that is on the side walls when opened, so I used a section of Gold Medal Models iron fence painted flat black.

My next task was to finish off the roof, but before I could do that I needed to add the glazing and shades on the top five floors due to the fact the roof would be fixed and I couldn't reach the windows from the bottom very well.  Not much to talk about in this step other than the glazing was cut from .010" acetate and the shades are a light grey card stock.

I was then able to begin work, I cut the sheet of .020" sheet to fit the alloted space and then glued it in.  I than began work on the railing across the cap of the roof.  The balusters are from Plastruct (BLAC-200) and the posts are cut from .080" square strip styrene, and the little ball on top is. . . a. . . its a sprinkle, you know for cupcakes, ice cream and toping off posts.  I then painted the railing to match the grey on the bottom three floors.  The railing on the prototype could only be done by etching metal and I don't yet have the power to do that.

I then built the little mechanical house on top from sheet and strip styrene.  I also did a poor job at making a skylight, I want a few of these so I hope I can make less embarrassing ones soon.  That is the water tower I built a few weeks ago and I will be putting it up, even though there isn't one on the prototype.  My justification for this is that the prototype is in Vancouver, BC and there are mountains there so water pressure is not an issue.  But as my building will be going into a fictional version of NYC, the water tower is justified.  I wont do too much more to the roof because 95% of the rooftops I looked at during this era are quite clean and clutter free, but a little garbage looks good.

I finished most of the glazing and shades on the right side and will finish the left tonight.  There is so very few big things left to do, it down to details now.  Well see what gets done for next Sundays update, I don't even know.  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Photo of the Day

Ah PCC's, I love PCC's, its a shame that most are gone, but a few cities are still running these attractive trolly's.  This picture is up in Toronto in 1964, and I love the meddle of subdued colors in this photo.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Photo of the Day

I have been kicking around the idea of scrapping my current half built El and going with a more ornate station such as this one right above the very text you are reading (wow what are the chances of that) This station was I think on the 9th ave. El if memory serves me right.  But don't hold your breath cause this may not happen for awhile.  

I am very tired, hence the quirkiness. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dominion Building Update - Part 2 - 011709

Okay here on post #2 I have two things to talk about that have made me very excited.  


#2 - All faces are done.

Sorry but I couldn't help but over emphasize the fact that the windows are done and yes all faces (walls) are done.  So now my list of to-do's is beginning to get short, What's left?  

 - Glazing and shades for windows
 - Roof
 - Mezzanine
 - First floor interior
 - Details and Signage

For the show I will be also making a little base for it to rest on.  But that is the list in a nutshell.  
These are a few more photos of the finished windows on the top two floors and a few other overviews.

Until next sunday.

Dominion Building Update - Part 1 - 011709

Its Sunday, and that means it is time for your weekly Dominion Building update.  

This week unlike last week I was able to plow through a few tasks, first off I have the back basically done, I just need to add details (my favorite part) but I wont do that till I have a few more tasks done so I don't snap stuff off from handling.  On the back I have all the brick painted by using Polly Scale boxcar red and then added mortar lines by using the sludge in the bottom of one of my bottles of thinner.  I have multiple bottles of thinner that I use to clean my brushes in, I keep the darker and lighter colors segregated because I like to use the sludge later for weathering.  

After the brick was done I painted the windows and some of the trim work.  I then began to add a little bit of detail that really began to finish off the back.  First I wanted to run some electrical conduit up the side.  I made this by simply using .015" brass wire and .010 x .030" strip styrene. I cut the wire a little long, bent one end at a 90 degree angle and inserted into a .015" hole I drilled with my pin vise.  One the wire was at correct length I gave it a coat of a dark grey paint, the styrene brackets I painted a brown and glued them down.  Once the paint dries add the conduit with a little CA.  

The other item I added was a little duct work that went around the elevator shaft.  I chose the location because I had a horrid seam in the brick, and so I disguised it.  I first built the duct work from 1/8" styrene tube, then I fabricated the five brackets from .010 x .020" strip (the smallest evergreen makes).  I eyeballed the brackets to whatever looked good, but I think their about 3/16".  Then painted and attached the duct.

I also finished off the upper right corner to sort of mirror the other side.  I admit that I cut a few corners and simplified it because it will mostly be covered by another set of billboards made by my friend Frank Giacobbe over at the N-scale Modeling Blog .  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Steven's Hotel

As I said I would do a few day's ago here is a post about the Steven's Hotel.

This was a first in many ways for me, it was the first structure that I had built in about seven years, the first that I experimented with scratch building and the biggest structure that I built. 
I came up with the idea of using DPM modular walls for the majority of the building and I think it worked for what I was going for.  

The top floor was the beginning of scratch building for me.  I wanted to use the same windows that I had used throughout the structure and so I flipped the modular wall so I could have a smooth surface to build the rest of the wall on.  It was all built from styrene except the cove on top, that was made from 1/4" basswood cove molding.

The pharmacy on the bottom was scratch built from styrene and so was the entrance and stairs.  I modeled the pharmacy from one in the movie The Sting.  I still need to finish off the bottom floor of the hotel, I will most likely do a reconstruction of the windows on the pharmacy like I have been doing on the Dominion.  There are many problems that drive me crazy on the first floor that need revision. 

The little yellow building I haven't talked much about, it is called A.M.Stern Storage.  It is named after the architect Robert A.M Stern, he is one of my personal favorite  architects working today.  This is my first truly scratch built structure that I have built, and it shows.  If you are wondering about the windows, I followed a prototype in New York that had all of the windows boarded up and painted black, because it had been converted for storage.

Also on top was my first attempt at a water tower, it will pass as one in the back ground. 

So that is the Steven's Hotel in a nutshell,  it still has a little work left and needs a light face lift because of some things that I did poorly.  But as usual if you have questions don't hesitate to ask.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Man Behind The Curtain

So who am I?  To begin with my name is Christopher Brimley, I am 28, married and I have three girls that never stop entertaining me and bringing joy into my life.  We currently reside in Utah and are about 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City.  I found myself being sucked into the world of retail and was not happy where it was taking me, and so I decided to go back to school and pursue a degree in Industrial Design but I am good friends of a professor in the advertising department and is successfully wooing me away. So as of right now I am only working part time but I am a full time student as well and trying to take care of my family and squeeze as much work on my buildings as I can.  Its a little overwhelming at times, but I am surviving.  

So why trains?  It all started with Lego's, I would spend weeks building cities and then tear them down and build another one.  When I was about 13 my dad and I were on a fishing trip together, and at the lake we were fishing at had a spur that lead to a coal flood loader.  Twice a day a Southern Pacific empty unit coal train would pull in and load up.  It would be in the middle of the night and I would hear another train roaring up and I would jump out of the tent to watch it go by on the other side of the lake.  It was absolutely fascinating to me.  

So like most I started out in HO-scale, my first locomotive was a Denver & Rio Grande Western GP40-2.  I had a 4x8 sheet of plywood that I had set up to run it on, but then I quickly realized I could do twice as much in the same space.  I sold off my HO stuff and began on a small 2x8' layout in N-scale that I had in my bedroom, everything was modern and it was terrible.  Then in about 1998 I sort of gave up, I dabbled now and then but I didn't really start back up until a few years ago when I was bored and I designed the Steven's Hotel and then built it a few months later.

Most people assume that because I am a younger modeler that I do modern, and they are surprised when I tell them that I am doing transition era, and then they are confused when I tell them I am modeling the New York Central.  So why would I, a guy from the west be modeling the East in a era that I never knew.  Well there are a few reasons, first my wife being ignorant to what I liked (DRGW) bought me a framed print of a painting that had a pair of Hudson's and a E or F-unit at LaSalle St. Station in Chicago with the imposing Board of Trade building looming in the distance.  I accepted the gift and hung it up, but then I found myself constantly looking at it in a daze.  I also liked the idea of modeling something that is totally foreign me, where I had to research everything and the increased challenge              intrigued me.  

So that is the short version about me, and I am having a great time getting to meet so many great people from around the world.

Thank You,
Christopher Brimley   

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Photo of the Day

Today's picture is a sad one (and not a repeat).  On Saturday at the monthly op-session on the UCW I was informed of another structure that needs to be built.  What is needed is a single stall engine house with an open area for a second track on the side, so I was hunting for a few reference photos and I stumbled upon this sad scene.

It is engine #26 of the Virginia & Truckee in Reno Nevada, and what had happened was the engine was stored for the night on May 1 1950 and a half hour later this was the scene.  Some believe that the death of #26 was suicide, because the line she ran on was scheduled to be abandoned in under a month.

To read the story in better detail go to the Western Nevada History site, they also have a good collection of photos of that locale from different era's that will prove beneficial when construction on my mining town module begins.  

Like I said above this is a sad photo, It is also a haunting image as well, something from a nightmare.  I just think there is a very strange look about the locomotive in the picture that looks ghostly.  I don't think I am describing it very well and the average viewer would look at it and say "Meh. . . anybody die".

I am not the sharpest tool in the shed.

The photo I posted yesterday had been posted on back in December.  I was worried that I would pull a stunt like that, just didn't think it would be so soon. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Photo of the Day

It has been a while that I did a photo of the day and so here is one for everyone.

What we have is a New York Central SW1 doing a little switching work in Chicago on Illinois Centrals south water street freight terminal.  The date I have of the photo is 1943

Sunday, January 11, 2009

HO scale music video

I know that this isn't something I usually post about on my blog, but could not resist.  Other than model trains, a few of my other loves are music and movies, and this combines all into a nice little package.  The band is Tokyo Police Club and they are actually a group I like and the video is cleverly done, and was made in 1:87 or HO scale, it cracks me up every time I watch it.  Just know that this is not something for kids to see.  Enjoy 

The Dark Side of The Dominion

Its been a busy week for me, and so I have not been able to do much work.  I was debating whither I should post an update or not but I figured it would not hurt.  So here it goes.

My goal was to have the entire back done by today, and as you can see it is still unfinished, but thats okay.  Now the backs and some times the sides don't resemble the front facade of the building, usually to save money.  Many times a cheeper brick is used and many of the other materials change as well.  Other items you usually see are electrical conduit running everywhere, and duct work, vents, down spouts and many other things that you don't want messing up the front of your building.  The backs of some buildings are like the dark side of the moon (not the amazing Pink Floyd album) the suns light just never quite reaches it.  

So now this brings me to what has changed and what my ramblings above pertain to.  First what I did was to laminate brick styrene sheet to most of the surfaces.  the panel with the windows required a little more work than the others.  Originally the back was going to be left unfinished because it will never be seen, but when I decided to enter it in a judged show, I knew I could not leave it in that kind of condition. 

I laid out how I wanted my windows to look first, I then made my cutting marks on the back and cut out the material.  The windows I used are made by Tichy Train Group (the first commercial part used so far) and are a 44" x 66" double hung masonry window.  I needed to give the illusion of thickness on the walls because this type of window are recessed in to the wall.  So I just glued in strips of .060 x .080" strip on the back of the wall around the window.  Because I was not going to finish the back I didn't leave openings for windows, so I had to brutally cut openings for the windows.  

Next I built a basic loading dock and plopped in a little receiving door, the vender of the door I think is Period Miniatures, I purchased it a few years ago.  I then built the wood addition from Northeastern Scale Lumber siding, and more Tichy windows.  The structural supports are made from .060 and .080" I-beams from Evergreen.  

That is about all that I have done as of yet, hopefully I can accomplish more this week, but we shall see on next Sunday. 

before any work began

Friday, January 9, 2009

A HUGE Surprise!

My wife today had to go run a few errands today, which happens often.  But today she came home with a shocking treat that I was not expecting, a Kato GG1 and the Pennsylvania Broadway Limited 10 car set.  I was a bit surprised  to put it mildly.  I have been teasing her that I wanted it sense it was announced but it was mostly just for fun.  I never expected this.  

I really lucked out with her, she is the one that believed that I could actually build the Dominion and then has convinced me not to give up on it when I was ready to toss it.  She keeps pushing me to try harder and have confidence in my work and I owe her so much, thanks hun.

I was as giddy as a twelve year old and decided to see how it looks with the unfinished mess I call Hudson.  Sorry for the street running set up but thats all I can do for the time being.  The only negative thing about having the GG1 is now I need to run catenary where I want to run this, or I may pick up the E units that Kato has coming out soon. 

I realized I have not posted much about the Steven's Hotel, in a little while I will talk about what I did to build it.  There is still a little work left on the first floor, but nothing major.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Beginnings of The Gordon

Let me introduce what I will probably work on after I finish the Dominion Building.  I have named it The Gordon and it is not based on a specific prototype but kind of a conglomeration of a few.  This is what I have done as of yet on the elevations.  

I don't think it should be to difficult of a structure to build, I need a little break after the Dominion is finished.  It will be a 100% scratch build again, that means more windows YEAH!!! At least there are only a few unlike the 130ish on the Dominion.  

I need to finish up the design on the main floor, on one half I will have a little delicatessen, the other will be a art deco entrance that will tie in with the rest of the structure.  I will also need to do the elevations for the sides and back, those shouldn't take too long.  I will repost when the plans are done.

I also have a few mini projects that I want to start on as well that are similar to the water tower and billboards.  Hopefully I will have those build-a-long.'s done soon.   

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rosenwach Wood Water Tanks

This company has built over half of the thousands of tanks in New York City.  Its a good video ruffly showing how they are built.  The basic form of construction hasn't changed in over 80 years, they are still using some of the original equipment to mill the lumber.

Also if you can find it, this same company was on an episode of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe.  It is a little more informative than this news report, and Mike Rowe is more entertaining.  I believe it was Season 4 episode 8 "Dirty Jobs of the Big Apple".


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Water Tower Reference Photos

These are a few photos I used as reference on my water tower.  As you can see they are in different sizes, colors, bases, and condition.  


Water Tower pt. 2

This post has been moved to N Scale Limited

More Dominion Pictures

Just a few more pictures of the progress.

I forgot to mention on the previous post, but on a few of the windows on the first floor I used textured dollhouse wallpaper for a little detail above the windows (click on 2nd picture for detail).  

Now I am going to clean up my work space and get things ready for the next phase.

Dominion Building Update

Here we are again with the Dominion Building, and again with the weekly update. . . . . again!  No I am kidding I am still having fun working on the little giant, I still take a few breaks away from it and do other projects such as the water tower and billboards.  I know a few professional painters that will work on as many as five paintings at a time, just so they don't burn themselves out, I like that philosophy.  

So what's changed!

All attention was diverted to finishing up the bottom three floors.  I first had to clean things up from the old windows that I had ripped out, then it was onto my favorite activity of making friggin windows.  I must have sniffed a little to much plastic cement when I first built the skeleton for the bottom floors because no two windows were the same.  I had to custom cut and file each part so they would fit, looking at it they seem to be even, which as Martha Stewart would say "is a Good Thing".

Once window torture was complete I gave the building a nose job.  The entrance was rather. . . . Blah!  It is very roughly based on the prototype, I mostly wanted to carry the arch windows theme from the top down to the bottom.  The whole thing is made from styrene, but the half round design was not.  It is a metal piece I found at a craft store, they came in a pack of ten and are for making your own jewelry, I just cut the thing in half.  There were many thing that I found that I hope to use on other structures.   I found many things at the craft store that could be used in many different situations, I was bored one day and walked every isle to see what I could find (I got some funny looks when I was looking at the designs on the lace to use for structure detail). 

After the front was done I did some work in the mezzanine, but I am not proud of what has been done in there so until I like it, you cant see it.  Then I painted everything and thats about it.  

Before anyone says anything I already know that a piece is missing on the left up right, if you look in the second photo it was there, I think it was ripped off when I masked everything off for the windows.

Water Tower pt. 1

This post has been moved to N Scale Limited