Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Model Citizens - A Documentary Project

A little post on a non R Street topic today. Still model railroading, though.

I've become very interested in a Kickstarter project for a documentary film all about the hobby of model railroading and the people in it. Excerpts can be seen at her website

Sara Kelly has been working for a couple of years on this documentary and could use funds to help with further production.

I've really liked what I've seen; I think it could be very important and useful for the hobby and as such have backed the Kickstarter at

I encourage everyone to check it out.

Now... back to that freight house model...

Monday, August 4, 2014

Freight House - some progress...

 In my last post, I hoped that the work on the new handrail would spur some action on the model as a whole. It appears to have done just that. Over the weekend I pulled out the walls that had been worked on and started on some additional walls. I also began assembling walls together. The shots next to the toaster oven just show a quick mock up of the walls; I wanted to make sure the thing will fit on the drop in module. The building itself will rest on a foundation pad that will raise it up about four scale feet. This pad will jut out the end of the freight house (opposite the two story freight office section) and there will be a loading ramp on that end. The pad also includes the stairs up to the office building with that handrail that I worked on last time. I plan to permanently mount the foundation to the drop in module, but the building will come off in two sections plus the roof (also in two sections probably). The last picture shows the beginnings of the truck loading side of the building. I only have one picture that only shows me part of this wall- so everything after a certain point on the north eastern section is just an educated guess on my part. 

I'm hoping that I can keep this momentum going for a little while.   

Monday, July 21, 2014

Shelf Rot

It's only been 18 months since my last update about/or any work done on the WP 3rd street freight house model. On a geologic time scale, I'm blazing along with blinding speed!

The time spent on the shelf of my cluttered office/man-cave/workshop has taken its toll on the model though. Specifically the delicate handrails on the stairs and deck that lead to the office doors. One wouldn't have needed to be Nostradamus (1503-1566) to predict that any such wear and tear would have worn and torn in that particular area. And since this model is intended for a module (a drop-in module at that) the decision to fabricate the handrails in ultra small diameter plastic rod was probably pure folly from the start.

So I've broken my R Street modeling fast by attending to rebuilding the handrails, this time in brass. My soldering skills are merely at the neophyte level, so it took me longer then most modelers to fiddle, tack and solder all the brass together and then bend it where needed and then clip and file away the excess solder till it looked half way decent. Still, it was a fun Sunday evening project to while away the hours until the final episode of the second season Endeavor came on Masterpiece.

I'm hoping it whetted my appetite for more modeling soon. And we can hope this will be 'soon' measured on more of a Julian calendar, something that measures mere weeks rather than epochs and eons.
It's a sad state of affairs... the plastic rod, it's not so strong. 
Laying things out. 

Tacked down and ready for solder... 

But maybe not _that_ much solder... 
Eventually it cleaned up somewhat. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thomson-Diggs Billhead

A few months ago, I purchased an eBay offering of a Thomson Diggs bill-head from 1924; they seem to crop up fairly regularly. The bill-head includes an illustration of the original portion of the Thomson Diggs building on R Street. The current building is much bigger than this early nucleus. It later included a first floor expansion on the West side (to the right of the building in the illustration) and then later still additional floors were added on top of that expansion. This illustration was one Thomson Diggs used in their 1920s catalogs that I've seen down at the Center for Sacramento History. Also of note is warehouse to the left of the main building. I think either this is an earlier and smaller version of the warehouse that I've seen later pictures of, or the picture is keeping this corrugated warehouse shorter than it was in reality. Perhaps this was done on purpose to not block the view of the main building.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The R Street Ramble

At the end of the Western Pacific Historical Convention in Sacramento next month (May 17-19) I'll be hosting an 'extra fare' walking tour of R Street. Aided with old maps, historic photos, and a few remaining clues of the street's railroad past that remain, I'll lead a small group down modern day R Street while trying explain historic R Street. It's limited to the first 15 who sign up and plunk down an extra $12 - which I'm told will include coffee and pasties delivered at the starting point. At last report, over half the spots are filled. More details can be found at

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Forever Modeler...

As seen on Boing Boing yesterday, The Pulp-O-Mizer can generate custom Pulp Fiction covers for just about any occasion. You can find it at:

I made one to celebrate (?) the fact that I never seem to finish any modeling project I start.... (oh wait, there was the Donut Truck...)

Right. Onward! A/C window units and more work on the Freight Depot walls soon.  I also have in my possession my drop-in module that will house the Freight Depot, so there will be a post about that too.   

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Freight House: the handrails

Hello, everyone. Just a quick build update as I did manage to deal with the handrails on the freight house model over the weekend.

I certainly don't hold myself out to be a master modeler (and I'm sure you're seeing a multitude of sins in these very close up shots... click the picture to get really close in), but I rather like the way the handrails turned out. I built them up out of .025" Plastruct rod. For your amusement, I've included a number of in progress pictures.

I think I'll install those window A/C units next.