I took a few days off of work before Memorial Day and went on three day-trips with the family over a five-day period. The most interesting was a road trip to Belgium and Luxembourg with my son to buy beer.
My son and I went to a neat place in Arlon, Belgium called Mi Ougemi Houblon to buy a variety of craft beers. It was a cool store and a lot of fun, and the guy working there was very friendly. We drove to a Del Hayes grocery next to buy a stroop waffles and more beer–this time the easy-to-get stuff from the larger Belgian breweries. Later we went to the Orlan Monastery, where they also happen to make a famous beer called Orlan. We took a tour of the old churches and of course bought some of their rare and excellent brew.
Below. Here’s a view of one of the many shelves at Mi Ougemi Houblan:
My son is an architecture student and during the day we stopped at various towns and small cities to look at the church architecture. Now that my son has some training he was able to explain all the architectural features in some detail. For a 19-year-old his teaching ability is impressive. He would start with the big picture, explaining the type, look and feel of each structure–and we saw many of them. Then he would get into the details. “This is early Gothic, and this is why…”. The Orlan Monestery was Roman architecture and he explained all the difference there too. He would explain how certain features were weight-bearing, and how they became decorative, and how they were used, and what certain features meant, and so on.
Below, and difficult to photograph, is the fantastic Gothic cathedral in Orlan, Belgium.
I could go on…and on…but I won’t. It was a memorable day with my good son.
O Scale Work
Last year I attempted to repair two brass hoppers in my very small O scale collection. Both cars had minor damage and I made things worse trying to fix them. An RPM friend–Brian Strom–came to my rescue. I sent him the cars and he repaired them for me. Not only did Brian repair the cars but he cleaned them up and repainted them perfectly as well. He did an exceptional job.
Here’s a before-and-after picture of the first car, a 35-year-old Precision Scale PRR hopper car that I bought from Jim Canter. My work is on the left, and Brian’s repair work is on the right. Note that he also over-did it, and painted the coupler pocket and weathered up the coupler. RPM friends are really the best friends!
Here’s the completed model at Brian’s shop.
Brian also repaired my Rich Yoder-built C&O H-5 hopper car. Here’s Brian’s before-and-after photo:
Brian fixed my soldering fails, unbent the ends, and re-installed the air hose connection. He used a resistance soldering tool and a whole lot of patience. Now the car looks great. Those Proto48 wheelsets look great too. Below is a photo of both cars on Brian’s workbench. He masterfully refinished both cars.
Central Auto Car
I’ve been concentrating on layout work all of 2021 but took some time in the few weeks to finish painting and building a Speedwitch Central [of Georgia] 50-foot auto car. This model released about 9-10 years ago. I got it in trade from my buddy Craig Zeni (another RPM friend!).
Central received three series of these cars in 1937, 1942 and 1944. The cars were nearly identical except for running boards, hand brakes and a few other parts. I chose to model the second delivery, series 5100-5249, which arrived from ACF in 1942. These cars had a Murphy panel roof, Murphy “W”-corner 4-5 Dreadnaught ends, Barber S-2 trucks, Youngstown-Camel doors (one six-foot and one four-foot), Universal hand brake and Apex running boards.
The Speedwitch model includes a one-piece carbody and just about all the parts needed to complete the model. Here’s the carbody casting, which required a minimum of clean up:
Below. Here’s the completed build. The used Cal Scale brake gear parts, Details West ladders, and Kadee grab irons to improve the model. I used Canopy Glue to fix the running board. The trucks are ARA Double Truss from Tahoe Model Works.
Here’s an end view. The brake gear housing is a Moloco part and the brakewheel and retainer line are from Kadee. The tack board is from National Scale Models, and the air hose and bracket is from A-Line. After the build I sandblasted the car thoroughly. Sandblasting is an absolutely essential step, which preps all the different surfaces–stainless metal, acetal, plastic, and brass and resin parts–for painting.
Above. Here’s a view of the car after paint, decals and Testors Dullcote. I used Scalecoat Oxide Red for my model, with a little red mixed into darken it a little bit. Thanks to the sandblaster there’s no trouble with paint adhesion.
Here’s a prototype view of a car in a post-1951 paint scheme, below. This is my favorite Central paint scheme but it was applied after my modeling era. I included the photo to demonstrate the paint color.
A last photo of the new car, below, this time from above.
As I studied this photo I became more interested in the track than the car. One of the things I did to the flextrack was cut the ends the web off the underside of the ties and space the ties out. That’s a pretty common thing to do these days. Another thing I did was trim the ends off of some of the ties to give them an even more irregular look. I think the effect was achieved nicely.
I hope you enjoyed the post. There’s a lot more coming. I’m way behind thanks to changing jobs, family, travel, and summer outside-time.
By the way…my son said something interesting about the Medieval churches on our trip. I raised him in the frugal Southern Baptist church, where even a chandelier or a bell tower is frowned upon. We’re supposed to spend all our money on those in need. But Jacob said, paraphrasing, “These guys worked for hundreds of years to build a lasting tribute to God. They accomplished it. Just being in these churches inspires a better understanding of the awesomeness of God. Just the awesomeness of it all.” Five or six hundred years later, these churches still help bring the awesomeness of God to man. Thankfully, the awesomeness of God is still alive in my good son.
Blessings to you and your families! – John G