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Myles, Welcome back! It looks like the trip to the hardware store was very worthwhile.  The first 4 pictures after the video show Image not found.  The rest of the drawings and the interior of the store are visible.  They certainly packed in a lot.  It looks like a great  building  to model.

The turret should be really something when done.

Last edited by Mark Boyce

Just some status. I found out that the laser cutter at the First Build Makery is run on Adobe Illustrator. My drawings are Coreldraw. It takes CorelDraw, but only up to version 5 and I was saving these files in Ver 2017. And to make matters worse, my 2017 CorelDraw stopped booting up in my VM Fusion/Windows 10 emulator on my MacBook Pro. I bit the bullet and purchsed the 2021 CorelDraw Essentials thinking this would give me the capability to save as an AI file. The stripped down CD Essentials is so basic it can't export any other vector file types, only bitmap, i.e., it don't do beans! I ended spending 2.5 hours at the First Build trying to find a translation program on line that could convert CD to AI. I found several, but they only converted the outlines of the building pieces, ignoring all the engraved brickwork lines in the shapes. Without the bricks the job is useless to me. I was working with the Essentials with a 30 refund policy and gave it back and got my $140 bucks back. I was not happy!

I've subsequently sent the files to Stephen Miley at Rail Scale to cut the parts using my original Corel Files. I've since downloaded several free/cheap vector programs that run in Mac, but none export directly into AI either, and they're not as familiar to me as CD which I've been using since Ver 1.0 in 1990s. Corel seems to be the best user oriented vector program out there. Not sure yet what the ultimate solution is. The bricks are laid into the corel outlinse using the "Paste Inside" command. It was something about how they appear digitally to conversion programs that ignored them. Any of you IT gurus out can chime in anytime you want here.

Meanwhile, the hardware store willl be built at higher cost than I wanted.

And, I just got an offer from a fellow in Paris, France who wants to commission me to make another Nighthawks Cafe. Unfortunately, that was a non-laser, non-3D printing project and was almost entirely old school except for the bar stools which were laser cut for me. I would have to do a lot of drawing and again deal with the CD draw/Adobe problem since I wouldn't do it without laser cutting it. I have no idea what to charge the fellow. He said "money was no object", and then there's the shipping to France part. I want to review the time spent making the first one and give him an estimate. It has to be worth my while.

And last weekend I finally joined the multitudes and got COVID. Since I was double-boosted, my case has been ridiculously mild. I had one and half days with a low fever and the usual aches, a slight sore throat and a runny nose. By Wednesday I felt pretty good, got re-tested on Thursday (still positive) and re-tested myself today (still positive), but feel completely normal. I also took an antiviral regimen (Mulnapirivir) so that helped too. Haven't been the shop all week and it bugs me, but I did get to binge watch a lot of my favorite shows.


On my goodness!  What a rigmarole!!  I'm glad Stephen can cut the parts for you, but it is sad it will cost you!  I agree, you will need to make the second Nighthawks worth your while for sure!!  Make sure you figure in packing it for an overseas trip as well as shipping and a nice profit for you!  There won't be any meeting at Sheetz to drop off that building. 

I'm sorry you contracted COVID, but glad you are on the mend.  Our younger daughter and son-in-law got it back towards the end of last year and said it was like a bad cold for a few days.  Somehow, Kim and I have avoided it.  We have had both booster as well, but know that isn't 100% as you proved.  I hope you don't have any lingering effects and get back in the shop next week!!!

And last weekend I finally joined the multitudes and got COVID. Since I was double-boosted, my case has been ridiculously mild. I had one and half days with a low fever and the usual aches, a slight sore throat and a runny nose. By Wednesday I felt pretty good, got re-tested on Thursday (still positive) and re-tested myself today (still positive), but feel completely normal. I also took an antiviral regimen (Mulnapirivir) so that helped too. Haven't been the shop all week and it bugs me, but I did get to binge watch a lot of my favorite shows.


So glad that you are better!


Last edited by Putnam Division

I've passed 12 days of isolation. New rules state that after five days and no or diminishing symptoms you are not really contagious. At 10 days and no symptoms you are much less likely to be contagious. So I'm now in the normal part of the house and am not wearing the mask. We had our first dinner together tonight since last Monday.

I treated myself to go back and read my thread starting from building the mountain, then the refinery and finally Nighthawks. I wanted to recall how much work Nighthawks was and what I would charge for it. So I decided to price it high and see what happens. Meanwhile, my lovely wife doesn't want me to sell it since it was so special to me. I'm asking $2,500 plus packing and shipping to Paris, France. He wrote back and asked me to give him the overall sizes of the building and not a peep about the price. Probably asking too little...

I think I know how to pack it so it will survive. The only problem is the people and stools breaking loose. I think it's possible to get inside to reattach if they do.

It cracks me up to re-read the Saga. When I look at the finished products on the layout, my brain plays tricks on me and pretends that they just appeared there. It's like childbirth (or so I'm told) in that the creation process can be quite painful, but you tend to forget about it and do it again. Each one of the special projects required things that I conjured that I look back on and wonder, "How the heck did I think of that?" And wonder if I were to do it again, would I be that smart?

So the question remains, if I sell Nighthawks will I make another for myself. If I do, it will be an entirely different proccess. I now possess the magic machine to produce the parts much more perfectly than the hand-done pieces I made. When I did Nighthawks I actually mention about the resin machines they had in the engineering department at University of Wisconsin when we took grandson for a tour. At the time I was awestruck since they were $3k apiece. Little did I know that in a little over a year, the price would drop by 10X.

On another front, I explained that one of the things I like to purchase with the NH proceeds would be the full version of CorelDraw 2022. It's over $400. Then my lovely wife said that I should get it regardless of the sale. We spend money on lots of stuff and this is important to what I'm doing. With it I can be back in the business of designing things that I can laser cut myself. Before I can make another Nighthawks I will need the software.

I’m glad you are doing better and your wife stayed well.  I don’t know how we would work out isolating one of us in our house.

Funny, when I read about the fellow in Paris, I was thinking you would be building another for him, not that he would be buying the original.  Now it makes sense he would be buying the original.  He said price was no object; the amount of time that was put into it by a skilled designer and craftsman doesn’t come cheaply.  I think your wife is right, the software is a small price for the joy it will give you.

Me too. I was using version 1.0. In those days the companies with whom I worked covered the cost. It's a different deal when it's me paying. Having now tried seven vector drawing programs I find Coreldraw to be the most comprehensive out of the box of all of them with a reasonable learning curve. Inkscape is free and pretty busy, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to change the ruler origin on the page. I also couldn't intuitively figure how to change the drawing's scale. Furthermore, being Euopean, it keeps defaulting to metric paper sizes and millimeters. Adobe Illustrator is powerful, but it too has limitations that are built into Corel, the most obvious is scaling. If you want to scale a drawing in AI you have to purchase and add-on.

If the deal goes through I will have to make a new Nighthawks, and fairly soon so I don't lose the inertia. As I said, the new and improved version could be nicer and (hopefully) go together easier without all the hassle. I could 3D print the entire turret as I did with the turret on the House by the Railroad. Cornices, corbels, etc. all will be sweeter a la the Hardware House. Nothing can happen until CorelDraw Suite 2022 is loaded on my computer. The reengineering will start in SketchUp as I incoporate all the learnings and fix all the mistakes from the hand-built version.

A few more comments about the Saga...

It's been a full decade since I started writing this. It's beginning to feel like Homer and the Odyssey. Some of you guys have faithfully read every word almost for the entire duration. Amazing! One of the things I often dwelled on was the act of getting old and the potential to run out of time before the project is compelte (whatever that is). Well… I'm happy to report that except for a few minor bumps in the road, I am still pretty much capable of doing all the stuff that has to be done, except not so happy about climbing on the layout. I'm actually surprised that my aging has been gradual with nothing happening that's a show stopper. I'm kind of getting ready for cataract surgery and even for that my son, the eye surgeon, says his mom and I are on the old side of the curve of most of his cataract patients. The bicep tendon rupture as my son in law said, creates no problem for me and it happened six years ago. The AFib causes no problem at all other than taking Eliquis (blood thinner) so I have to be more careful about doing greivous bodily harm in the shop. Some of the developments like migrating from scribing and cutting to laser cutting to 3D printing has been a blast and I'm glad all y'all are enjoying the ride. So I pledge that as long as I'm able and have something interesting to write about, I will keep doing this.

A bad note. Something is leaking again in the kitchen and has dripped water on the layout. It's funny since I was just re-reading the part of the Saga where I replaced all the street paving on bridge street due to the great diswasher rupture of 2018, and I was in the shop today for the first time since COVID, and looked at Bridge Street and saw this. Something has leaked in the same area as the original AND IT HAD DAMAGED MY STREETS!

The leak actually ate through the street and pavement. And of course it's in the middle and the hardest place to reach. I suspect it's the dishwasher again which is directly overhead in the kitchen. The dishwasher is only four + years old. I dread having to repave that road… again! I'm going to have to raise the taxes of all those businesses to pay for this infrastructure work. I may enlist Thatcher Sasse, the son of a friend who's 12, and a wonderfully creative model maker like my grandsons. Who, by the way, are a senior in college and starting freshman respectively. Moving to Louisville when we did when they were 7 and 5 years old was the best decision we ever made. We were there for their entire childhood and they had a great time in my shop.

The Leak of 2022

Have to call a plumber. Ugh!


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  • The Leak of 2022

Just follow up to the Woodbourne Village's water problem: Our 4-year old GE dishwasher was indeed leaking. What really aggravates me was what was leaking. There were two nylon, hex plastic nuts that secure and seal the entrance and exit of the heating element wiring. The two were at the rear of the bottom pan and not visible looking under the dishwasher. The plumbers had to pull it out. The underneath floor was soaked as was the bottom insulation. The nuts were completely loose! The rest of the mechanism was pristine! We made a emotional, certainly not rational, decision to get a new one. My wife and I were unconvinced that whatever casused the nuts to loosen in the first place, wouldn't happen again. And frankly, the value of what's in the basement under that dishwasher exceeds the value of the diswasher by magnitudes. We ended up buying a new Bosch Level 500 machine.

Meanwhile, the problems didn't quite end there. The shut off valve for the dishwasher feed line under the sink, didn't shut off! It was one of the old-style washered, multi-turn valves. The washers in these things especially in hot water service, and if they're rarely ever used (like this one), harden and become basically useless. I opened that cabinet a couple hours after the plumbers left and it was a flood! Like everyone else, there's a lot of stuff under there and most was wet. The washer was disintegrating and was dripping steadily regardless of how tight the valve was closed. We put a bit Tupperware bowl, but it was filling about 2" an hour. I didn't want to get up at 4 a.m. to empty it, so I turned off the house water during the night.

The new DW was delievered from Lowe's on Sunday. The delivery guy wanted to try the valve and opened and closed it again. This time a piece of the washer was expelled and it was now running, no longer dripping. The DW was going to be installed on Tuesday, I took the new supply hose from the new dishwasher, put on the now-running valve and ran it back up into the sink and duct taped it on the counter so at least we got rid of the bucket problem. Later that day I went and bought two new valves, one compression like the old one and one PEX. I didn't have much room to cut the old compression ring off the pipe stub, so I took a gamble and used the new compression fitting valve on the old fitting. According to the hardware store, there's a 60% chance it won't seal properly. I installed it with some pipe tape and tightened it the best I could and it did not drip, but it was still wet around the threads. The plumbers were able to put a little bit more torque on it and it is now fully in service. It's a quarter-turn ball valve and won't cause a problem going forward.

I hate plumbing.

While still not working on the railroad, I have been very busy on the Missouri Turret. Yesterdat, I finished all 3D printing for this monster project. A picture is worth a thousand words. So feast on this. It took since January to create this. The Turret directory on my laptop has 1,042 files in it. Not included in the above are the sheet stock parts that have yet to be cut. Actual assembly and painting began yesterday afternoon. I want to finish and deliver before winter so the museum will still be open. Otherwise I'll have to hold it until next spring. There are many parts not show that are rejects, duplicates, wrong, etc. that are not show, probably 30% more. If I didn't know how to do 3D before this, I sure know now. I've pretty much tested the limits of the Elegoo Mars 3. The project would have been impossible with my Mars Classic.

ITP ALL the parts

This is the case design. It's all going to be LED lit so I need space under the base for the power supply. My bass playing old friend in Albuquerque is building the base, I'm doing the acrylic. I will also do some graphics with callouts to tell people about what they're seeing.

ITP Case Base Top View

Train work will restart when I'm further down this road.


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  • ITP ALL the parts
  • ITP Case Base Top View

Myles, I hate plumbing too!  I know exactly what you mean about those old shutoff valves.  Ugh!  Yes, buying another dishwasher was probably the way to go, considering you don’t know why those nuts loosened.  I’m certainly sorry you had all this water problems!

The turret project is certainly more involved than I imagined!  It will be a great model when finished.

The turret project is more involved than I envisioned too. What's in my head now is the build sequence. It's not straight forward. I've been building it in my head many times to see just what goes on before what. I'm also working on the painting sequence. While it would be easier to glue the stuff on the bare resin since the CA really has an affinity for the stuff, it would make masking and color demarcation much more difficult. Each deck will have LED ceiling lighting using the same copper foil/surface mount LEDs that I've been perfecting on the latest buildings. They need to go in before painting so they'll be less obvious. They have to be fully painted and assembled before they are slid down the central column that runs from the bottom of the powder flat to the bottom of the electric deck. The central column right now is a piece of 5/8" o.d. copper tubing. I'm thinking of substituting that for some plastic pipe of the same diameter. I'm thinking of making this change because of what is going to have to be done to the copper. I want to attached all the ladder rungs that are welded to this column on the ship. It would much easier to drill the plastic pipe and glue them in than to drill the copper and solder them in. I also have to cut access holes in the pipe to bring down the LED wiring from each deck. Again the plastic wins. I just went back to page 35 when I did the stacks for the distillery boiler house to double check the size of the PVC water pipe I used and it was, indeed, 5/8" so I'm going to buy a chunk and use that instead of the copper. I won't have to change the hole sizes in any of the decks.

The Bosch DW doesn't seem to dry so well. There are other settings that I'm going to try including raising the water temp. If I remember correctly, I used the hotter water setting on the GE to help it dry better. It does seem like very good build quality.

I wish there was a way to index this 102 page missive. I've been doing so backward looks to find certain things and it's very much scavenger hunt to get to where I want to go. Am I missing something? Is there a search function within a given thread?


If there is no topic-specific search, I’m also guessing you can’t add reply-specific tags for searching.

But what you could do is add your own “index term” at the bottom of each reply you think you might want to revisit.

The idea would be to make the term unique to you so that the listserver search will find it.  For example, TM01_hopper_lighting or TM01_3Dprinting_turret, where the TM01_ prefix represents one of your custom search terms. You might test one or two terms to see whether you get the indexed topic.

Obviously, if this works, this means you keep track of a list of terms.  But you could create a somewhat sophisticated and/or structured naming convention this way that is easy to follow.  If it works, it should take you to the start of a subtopic.  And, you can add terms retroactively, too.

Hope this thought suggests some ideas.

Tomlinson Run Railroad

Last edited by TomlinsonRunRR

Hey gang! Been a while since I checked in. Sorry, but nothing new on the rails. I've been consumed by working on the turret project. We also had a vacation from retirement spending two weeks in Maui. Not a bad place to forget about politics for a while.

The turret project is in phase 3: painting and assembly. All the parts are printed and reprinted if they needed correcting. I am sure that I printed 100% more stuff than the model needed due to rejects and surplus. Early this week the weather was the perfect-outdoor-painting day…70 degrees and almost no wind. I got all the parts primed excand ready for finishing except for the interior of the gun house shell. I started cutting and assembling the outer shells that will be opened to show the turret interior. These babies kept me up at night trying to tease out the best way to approach them. I had good success this week and have the lowest shell that surrounds the bottom projectile and powder flats. With that success I am now confident that the rest of them will be equally as good and the end is in sight. My trusty old friend Bryant, who lives in Albuquerque, is crafting the wooden base that will support this model. Bryant, besides being one of my oldest friends, and an exceptional woodworker, is also the fabulous bass player of my college band, the Sounds and Sondettes. I will be creating the plexiglass cover.

All the LED lighting is installed using the same techniqye with the coppoer foil I first experimented with in making Nighthawks. Everything I learn doing all this stuff gets transferred to the next project.

ITP Small Parts Primed

That pile of small parts will be painted by airbrush only and doesn't need priming. The relationship between the layers was mind boggling.

ITP Big Parts Primed]

I'm really looking forward to doing the detail painting which will finally resemble traditional model making.

Here's the lower shell with the annual rings that form the non-rotating working area in the lower turret. I had to create a structured sandwich with these rings so it would be stiff enough to overcome the spring in the styrene drum. You're looking down onto the powder flat. There's a lot of stuff that's going in there. Everthing will be illuminated.

ITP Lower Drum with RIng FitupITP Ring 2 Structure

That truncated portion really complicated this part, which was otherwise just a straight-side cylinder. This is turret #1 which is already in the space where the Iowas' hull started tapering towards the sharp bow that typifies this class of ship. The turret barrel had to be chopped off so it would fit between the side armor plates. #2 and 3 turrets do not have this problem. I asked Al Graziano about making these cylinders.

ITP Drum with Truncated Slice Fill Fit

A fellow who I've been sharing information with, Jim Slade, is making a perfect rendition of every plate on the ship, using the original micro-filmed erection drawings from the National Archives. He was instrumental in helping me properly define the pan deck, electric deck and this part of the exterior shell. He's using some pretty high horsepower CAD software to do it. He's not making a model. This is the lower shells, straight and tapered.

Those fingers (which I'm not modeling) are the weld points to tie the structure into the ship's framing. Notice, this structure supports the rotating mass of 2,500 tons that is the moving part of the turret. Notice also the single entry point into the powder flat lowest level. This entry and the one under the outside rear of the gun house are the only two points of entry and egress from this structure. Imagine evacuating 88 men in case of abandoning ship out of those two places. All other travel through the turret is by vertical ladders and little deck hatches. You'll notice in my images above, I was able to print the rollers, track and ring gear as a single split part.


The LED lighting for the gun house interior is built on a thin ply substrate and then attached to the plastic using the 3M Transfer Adhesive Tape. Once you get the hang of using this stuff, it's amazing how it holds. I didn't want to solder the foil directly on styrene since it melts the styrene and the distortion could have penetrated to the good side. I did the circuit on the ply, then attached to the part.

ITP G House Lighting Install

When this thing is done, I promise I will get back to railroading. I'm procrastinating doing that roadwork at the back of the layout due to the position my body's going to be in doing it. My sciatica really acted up in Maui and I've been back at physical therapy getting myself back in shape. I can say, that from last November I lost 16 pounds went from a 38 to 36" waist for the first time in decades and didn't screw up in Maui and am now the same weight I was when were left. I have a fellow who I've been mentoring for 10 years and he has a wonderful son, who loves modeling and trains. He's 12 and perhaps I can enlist his services in this endeavor. My own grandsons are now both out of the picture. Alex is graduating Illinois Engineering and looks likes he's already landed a good job, and younger brother Jack is in Engineering at Washington Universit of St. Louis. He's took a machine shop elective and loves it. The professor was watching him work and realized he has some experience and he told him where he got it. He's also joined the engineering school race car team. I knew his older brother was into mechanics, but didn't realize that Jack had it too. Makes me proud…really proud.


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  • ITP Small Parts Primed
  • ITP Big Parts Primed
  • ITP Lower Drum with RIng Fitup
  • ITP Ring 2 Structure
  • ITP Drum with Truncated Slice Fill Fit
  • ViewCapture20221013_004238
  • ITP G House Lighting Install

I know it's not trains, but it is modeling...

Time for some more turret updates. I have a definite delivery date, during the week between XMas and New Years. The ship will be open to the public during that time and we're planning on another visit back East. I'm getting the finished base from my dear friend and former bass player from my college band, Bryant Mitchell, who has a terrific home woodworking shop. He retired to Albuquerque to be near grandkids (sound familiar?). I will take the base to the plastics supplier and have it measured for the acrylic enclosure piecces.

Almost all the decks are complete with their machinery. I'm at the punchlist phase. I still have to produce the bulkheads that separate each gun in the gun house.

Yesterday I put together the power feed circuit board and proceeded to solder in 10 CL2N3 LED driver chips backwards! I have more and another blank circuit board and will make another correctly. At the last minute I realized that the cutaway portion I made through the barbette was too low to view the traversing machinery and had to enlarge it after the shells were almost completely done. It was harrowing, but I pulled it off.

Electric Deck with 7 electro-hydraulic pump systems.

ITP e-Deck Complete 1

The complete outer shells with the large travese ring gear and roller bearing that supports the 2,500 ton rotating turret mass.

ITP Bulkheads Complete

The enlarged cutawat opening. I filled the double wall that's now exposed. I used Milliputt to make it look like solid 14" armor plating. Today I will finish sand it and paint the raw edges "Cutaway red".

ITP Enlarged Cutaway

The Powder Flat LED test showing the interior.

ITP Lit Powder Flat

The complete officer's booth with the addition of the auxiliary ballistic computer and the switch panels. The computer is one of five redundant systems in the ship.

ITP Ofc Booth Parts In

These are all the parts I made that remain. There's still a box of plastic kit parts for the gun house exterior. That will be the last thing I need to build.

ITP Parts Remaining

Vertical look at the powder flat showing how I had to cut the tops of the powder trunks so the ceiling height worked.

ITP Powder Flat Done

Projectile Flats 1 and 2 where projectiles are stored and loaded onto the three projectile hoists. They're hydraulically lifted up to the cradles that load the three guns. Powder trunks are shown in cutaway on these decks since their full presence would block seeing anything behind them.

ITP Projectile Flats Done

The three gun rear compartments with the cradle/spanning trays that transport the projectiles into the breaches.

ITP Reprinted R-Compartments Done

The finished base produced by my fried. It is now shipped.

ITP The Base WIP

A stage picture showing how the bottom four decks line up.

ITP Stack Status

The pan deck sits below the gun house providing space for the guns to elevate and recoil. Recoil is four feet! On this deck are the hydaulic motors that elevate the guns with a revolving nut to a 6" lead screw, and the worm gears that drive the traversing pinions. The cracked bulkhead at the front was fixed with some reinforcement. Still to install are the powder trunks that carry the powder cart and the projectile chases. I still have to craft the primerman's platform that sits here. From that platform, the primerman inserts the cartridge into the breach from below. The cartridge is what sets off the 660 pounds of cordite to fire the 2,700 pound armor-piercing projectile.

ITP Pan Deck Almost Complete 2

Okay… you're all up to date. As you can tell, if I deliver this over Christmas, I will be working on the railroad come the new year.

Everyone have a great Thanksgiving.


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  • ITP e-Deck Complete 1
  • ITP Bulkheads Complete
  • ITP Enlarged Cutaway
  • ITP Lit Powder Flat
  • ITP Ofc Booth Parts In
  • ITP Parts Remaining
  • ITP Powder Flat Done
  • ITP Projectile Flats Done
  • ITP Reprinted R-Compartments Done
  • ITP The Base WIP
  • ITP Stack Status
  • ITP Pan Deck Almost Complete 2
Last edited by Trainman2001

Thanks guys.

BTW: I still haven't replaced my CorelDraw, but I'm learning to use Inkscape. If worse comes to worse, I may have to redraw the brickwork in the Hardware Store's walls, then export to Adobe Illustrator and do the laser cutting at the First Build Makery. It's too bad since CorelDraw Suite can convert directly to Illustrator. It's just their stripped-down Essentials that doesn't

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving that celebrates the holiday. We had all our kids and grandkids together and it was great! They're all grown now with the youngest in 9th grade and oldest graduating U of IL and already has a nice job. That's the true and only role parenting (IMHO); To make fully functioning adults that can go out into the world. All the rest of the things we do is just gravy.

My lovely son and daughter in law gave me an early Hanukkah present: the 2021 full CorelDraw Suite for Mac which is the best present ever. I've been trying to use other vector drawing software to replace my non-working CorelDraw17, but to no avail. Nothing works as well. I was immediately able to print out the barbette patterns on US Letter paper in portrait and tile it over three sheets. None of the other packages I was trying could do this. For my model-making requirements, it was an essential feature.

Up to this version Corel was only available for Windows. When I inquired a few years ago, they were adament that there was no intention of porting a native version for Windows. They claimed the volume was too low. This forced me to run VM Fusion (a Windows emulation program) on my Mac which took up 125 GB of hard drive space. The whole deal was sub-optimal, and required constant key stroke changes as I passed from the Mac to the Windows operating systems and back again. Then something changed. It was either a Windows or VM upgrade and suddenly my CorelDraw 17 would no longer boot up. It would start and then abend and stop. Neither company could help me. When Coreldraw finally offered a fully functional product for Mac, I knew what I had to do, but my kids did it for me.

What this means is I can now export the cutting files into the proper version of Adobe Illustrator so the big laser cutters at First Build will be able to make my wall parts for the Newtown Hardware House. Without this, I was going to have to redraw all the brickwork in Inkscape and I wasn't looking forward to it. Inkscape is a clunky program, and Corel is so much better.

I've removed all the other competing programs and with the help of my super-techie daughter in law, removed VM Fusion and all the Windows components which free up gobs of hard drive space. The only other drawing programs I still have to learn are Blender and MeshMixer. Both are 3d programs that work well with organic shapes, which is SketchUp's weakest feature. Both of those programs are bears to learn and I will have to be a little dedicated to pull it off. I would love to be able to digitally sculpt 3D figures. I need 1/72 scale naval figures in indoor garb to populate the turret to help show scale. Nothing is available commercially and if I want them I'm going to have to make them myself. First attempts will be with wire forms and Sculpey.

Another turret progress report. Getting near the end of this all-consuming project. Sent these pictures to the curator and he kiddingly said, "that's a colorized photo from WW2…" Best compliment you can ever get as a miniaturist. I will finish construction of the custom parts by Friday. I picked up the Plexiglass and the plaque and will build the enclosure next week. I still have to assemble the kit parts and, compared to this, should be a cake walk (famous last words…). There are LED lights under the overhangs on the front and rear of the kit turret shell.

There are still some more details to add in here and some mild touchup painting. Everything below the gun house is complete.

ITP Everything but Sighting Stations 2ITP Everything Except Sighting Stations

I had to rebuild the upper barbette shell attachment to the lower cylindrical bulkheads three times before I got it right. The geometry just kept eluding me and drove me mildly crazy. All's well that ends well.

Once this is done I promise that I will get back to the Hardware Store.

I've also thought about instead of making a complete road at the back of the railroad, I'm going to buy a paving machine and a road roller and make the road under construction. Should be fun.


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  • ITP Everything but Sighting Stations 2
  • ITP Everything Except Sighting Stations

Thanks guys! I doubt that I will push the envelope much further than this project did. You know my mantra was "Always pick projects that advance the state-of-the-art, and this one sure did. There's a lot that I would do different/better if I were to re-create it. I don't know if any of the other museum ships would be interested. Problem is they have no money. I'm donating this to the Big J. Just in materials it's almost $500.00.

And today saw the finalization of the gun house interior. It was almost done yesterday. I took a better set of images. The curator was kidding with me and wrote, "That's just a colorized picture from WW2…" You know you're on the right track when people think it's real. Put the iPhone on a tripod and used my Apple watch to "snap the shutter". I gave it a 3 second time delay giving me time to hold up some auxiilary lighting.

ITP Turret Interior Complete 2

Most of what you see here is off-limits for public tours of the museum ships.

ITP Turret Interior Complete 3

Tomorrow I have a few minor things to address on the custom parts and then I'll start on the kit exterior parts of the gun house.


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  • ITP Turret Interior Complete 2
  • ITP Turret Interior Complete 3

I had set an artificial deadline to deliver the turret model to the USS New Jersey Battleship Museum during the upcoming holiday week because we were heading back East anyway and I'm handcarrrying the model to the ship. If I missed this date, it would have to wait probaby until Spring, and once the model is done, I like to get it to the client so nothing else will happen to it. Getting it on the base was a battle royal, but I prevailed. Tomorrow I hook up the leads to dozens of LEDs and finalize the graphics that will accompany the model. My genius #1 grandson suggested adding a QR code linking to one of the forums on which I've journaled the entire build thread for those intrepid visitors who want to learn how it came into existence. It's good suggestion and I'm going to make a tag for this. My new CorelDraw can create QRs… I think.

ITP In Place 1ITP In Place 2In Place 3 In Place 4ITP In Place 5ITP In Place 6

And with the enclosure. I'm actually getting better at making acrylic cases. This one was ALMOST perfect. I got the pieces CNC cut to size by the plastics supplier and it made assembly much, much easier.

ITP In Case 1

I will post again when the lights are on and the graphics are done. We're heading to Philly on Monday.

This was singularly the most challenging model I have ever created. It's still not right. The decks didn't mesh correctly, but it is presentable and 99% of the viewers will think it's just fine. If I make another (another museum ship perhaps) I will have to correct all these inaccuracies and save myself a lot of trouble.

After New Years I'm going to be making a Hardware Store. I haven't forgotten about you guys.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Years and Happy Qwanza.


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  • ITP In Place 1
  • ITP In Place 2
  • In Place 3
  • In Place 4
  • ITP In Place 5
  • ITP In Place 6
  • ITP In Case 1

Thanks Mark! We're hoping that the crumby weather is finished and cleaned up by then. If not, we may bag the trip. We're staying at my sister's in Philly so we don't have any charges to incur. Not worth risking life and limb. We've made this winter trip every year since we moved to L'ville (14 years already!) except for the COVID year, and we only got into a weird snow squall once near Fairmount, WV. I've always felt that sometime our luck would run out.

@Trainman2001  I have been enjoying the story of the build - an epic journey into modeling. Glad the forum has let it be where it is.

Ok - now my engineer's cap came on when I saw the column assembly supporting the guns.  I know those were big heavy shells being spit out of the barrels. How did they adjust for recoil? Stress on the superstructure must have been immense. Then the torque applied to the ship when fired perpendicular - how did it not turtle? 

Thanks guys. No… we're still in the L'ville and leaving for Monday when, hopefully, all the roads will be better.

The recoil from the guns didn't affect the ship at all. The engineering is brilliant. The main recoil absorbing cylinder was basically a large adjusting orifice shock absorber. Inside was a large piston with oil on both sides. There is a hole in the piston with with a tapered pin that runs inside. When recoil starts the pin allows more-or-less freely flowing oil to flow from the high pressure side to the low pressure side. The pin is fastened on the back cylinder head. As the piston travels, the pin gets gradually fatter reducing the orifice size and starting to apply some braking pressure on the moving piston. The taper pin continues to reduce the orifice until it is completely closed at the end of the travel. The decelleration therefore is controlled and gradual. The images you see overhead of the ship firing the guns and it looks llke the ship is moving are just the shock waves of the blast affecting the water beneath the guns.  Two cylinders on the gun top are accumulators that apply a backward force to return the guns to the load position. Recoil is four feet. The pin is not a straight taper, but follows a curve for a mathematically smoother transition.

At 40,000 psi peak pressure in the combustion chamber, the 2,700 pound shell is experiencing 8,000,000 poounds of force telling it to move out of the barrel. The recoil system must manage that force in the equal and opposite direction… thank you Mr. Newton. From what I've read, the recoil system operated pretty well over the life of the ships. There are pressure gauges on the counter-recoil cylinders since they probably are gas filled to apply the spring pressure to push back.

Now for the FINAL, FINAL images with the added and improved graphics. My grandson had a lot to do with the improvements.

ITP Done 1

ITP Done 3ITP Done 4ITP Done 5ITP Fone 6

If you're so inclined to read more, I produced this "After Action Report" on the Good, Bad and Really Ugly:

The Good!

1. Getting it finished where it actually exceeds my expectations. That's really not that hard since I expected nothing in the beginning.
2. Creating a very good rendition of the complicated and elusive Mark 7 16"-50 cal gun including the tiniest details of the massive yoke and breach.
3. Designing and pre-installing all the surface mount LED lighting and the use of the circuit board to contain the nine CL2N3 LED drivers making hookup fast and error free.
4. All the lights working after all the yanking and pulling I did to assemble the beast. The true Hanukkah Miracle of Lights!
5. Machining the back ends of the after-market aluminum gun barrels to 7/16" so I could produce the resin gun slides with sufficient wall thickness with the mating part of the gun slides to support the guns
6. Finally figuring a way to print the entire gun slide assembly in two parts (yoke and slide) fianlly resulting in a warp-free product.
7. SketchUp's ability to produce an accurate flattened-out shape which enabled me to get the circular bulkheads made out of styrene with minimal guessing.
8. My iPhone 12 Pro's LIDAR which enabled me to 3D scan the projectile hoists and lower powder hoist areas answering some major questions
9. My special private tour of the ship where I finally could figure out the nooks and crannies in the gun compartments and surrounding area.
10. Nailing the detail painting.
11. The intricacy and beauty of the long-base range finder and how close it is to the prototype.
12. Producing really small details in 1/72 like the powder scuttles, the inside periscopes, the auxiliary computer and all the pumps and machinery on the e-deck and elsewhere.
13. How well the roller bearing/ring gear came out… finally.
14. The stunning piece of furniture upon which the model sits crafted by one of my oldest friends and bass player from my college R&B band, Bryant Mitchell.
15. Even though it was an awful experience, the way the open bulkheads worked out as a way to display the innards of this complex machine.
16. Mastering the creation of a large Plexiglass enclosure with a minimum of screwups... which is a first for me. Had extra help with all the good advice.
17. How the graphics finally turned out with my grandson's input. The kid's terrific!
18. How the metal guns really highlight the turret.
19. Getting the elevating screws reasonably right... still not perfect.
20. And finally, having the tools, skills, know-how and physical faculties at 77 to pull this off.

The Bad!

1. Having to produce the detail that would be on the back side of the officer's booth bulkhead on a separate piece that is the rear gun compartment. This was necessary as a function of the 3D printing process to avoid supports on details that would have been wrecked by them. It complicated the build.
2. Not drawing the plastic parts in the SketchUp modeling. This came back to bite me right at the end with things like the decking no fitting on the model (among other things)
3. Starting the drawing process with little or no dimensions only having to redraw-reprint more times than I'd like to mention.
4. Attempting to 3D print the thin circular bulkheads on the lower decks. 3D printing doesn't like thin sections.
5. The inaccuracy of tracing part foot prints on non-dimensioned illustrations. Some of my equipment is probably overscale due to how tightly things ended up fitting.
6. Having to make the annular decks into 1/4" thick assesmblies to resist the constant stress of the styrene circular bulkheads trying to straighten themselves out. Besides stressing glue joints that kept popping, the thick decks created assembly challenges at the end.
7. Specing the central column holes too close to the column's diameter. They didn't have to be press fits.
8. Making the cradle assemblies too close to prototype proportions leading to constant breakage and three reprints.
9. Not having a good idea of how some of the parts would assemble in the real world when drawing them, necessitating lots of custom fitting.
10. The constant repainting caused by the late changes.

The Ugly!

1. That collosal error of assembling the armor barbette at the wrong height and having to almost destroy it to fix it.
2. The printing of the ring gear wrongly only to find this out when I was fixing #1.
3. The final misalignment of the projectile flats with their respective annual decks. Maybe people won't mind, but I do. This is due in part to the thick annular rings problem.
4. Getting the spacing wrong between the guns on the gun girder. This caused lots of problems. And that was the 3rd girder I printed.
5. Not having a clue about how long the elevating screws really needed to be and still not happy with the installation.
6. Having to redo the side sighting compartment designs and the telescopes due to not understanding the geometry.
7. Painting the central column only to have it all scrape off as I manhandled it into position and then touch it up two times reaching into the model.
8. Reprinting and breaking the back bulkhead three times.
9. Getting the long-base rangefinder optical ends too short, again becasue I didn't draw the actual plastic parts when doing the design. I took my lengths from line drawings.
10. Dropping important things on the floor and having to repair them too many times.
11. Screw up the projectile hoist fits right to the end.
12. Relying on CA to hold stuff when it's totally unreliable, especially gluing styrene to resin.
13. Having the audacity to think I could create this thing and almost not making it.

Now it's Completely Done… Well… almost. I want to add a QR code tage directing the visitors to one of the build threads so they see how it was really created. Our Internet was out for about 24 hours due to the weather so I didn't make the tag yet. Needed to access Internet to learn how to do it. I'm going to do it now.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (7th night), Happy Qwanza and Happy and Healthy New Year.


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  • ITP Done 1
  • ITP Done 3
  • ITP Done 4
  • ITP Done 5
  • ITP Fone 6

And one more thing…

The I was able to drive the model to the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial and deliver it yesterday morning. NOT A SINGLE PART FELL OFF. And that my friends has to classify as another miracle considering that parts were falling off of it all the time during construction… hmmm … or maybe dropping things on the floor contributed to that? Anyway, the model exceeded Ryan Syzmanski's expectations. Later in the day, the model was photographed and catalgued. The USS NJ is property of the State of New Jersey and donating is a formalized process. I will post the final location in the ship when I know it. Right now it looks like it willl go in the ward room. It's a place where folks with disabilities go since it's readily accessible and has a lot of the ship's information and displays.

The handover took place in Ryan's office, one deck below the main deck.

ITP Delivery Ryan and Me 4

It bears repeating: That the model made the trip completely intact is miraculous. I think I'll create a new Jewish holiday….


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  • ITP Delivery Ryan and Me 4

I'm scheduled to start laser cutting the Hardware House next Wednesday at First Build at U of L. I have three hours reserved, but don't have a clue if it's going to be enough since I've never done a job with all the brick engraving.

Meanwhile, I actually had some fun running trains yesterday. I turned them on last week when one of our model club members visited to drop off a job he wanted me to do (custom decal work). Forgot how much fun it is to just let them run around a bit. Nice thing about O'gauge and their weight. They can sit for six months and just get up and go. If it was HO or N, I'd be spending hours just to clean the track.

This is a vid of yesterday's run.

That pedestal with the pillow lurking over the refinery is my custom support that permits me to work on the road behind the refinery without crushing anything. I still have to do that job and I AM PROCRASTINATING. I'm thinking about buying some scale road building equipment and making it under construction.


Videos (1)
January 23 Run - Large 540p

That’s a nice video of the trains running and views of the layout!  You added some nice touches with the graphics citing what each engine is.

Making that road in the back is a nice idea!  It reminded me of when they were building the new road past my grade school in 1962 or ‘63. Our teacher had to close the drapes then open them once in a while for us to watch the men working.

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