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The string lights came. I tried them with the included battery back and it worked, but they're not very bright. They're running on 4.5 VDC in parallel. I figured that you could shorten the string to any length and they should still work. So I clipped off two at the end and powered them with my 12VDC source through an LED driver chip and they lit up nightly…. until they didn't. I think that the voltage source was too high. Then the rest of the string didn't work either on the battery pack. So I put the whole deal aside and will worry about it later. I need to power them with one of my miniature DV voltage sources at 4.5 volts and see what works. But I have other things I needed to finish.

Speaking of other things, spent the rest of my working time driving myself crazy trying to successfully 3D print the HO version of the ALCo 251. Since I screwed around with the support parameters after following the 3D Printing Pro on YouTube, I have been having 80% failures. And I don't know what the factory default settings are (which I am trying to ascertain). I did get the induction system printed (and TRIMMED) successfully along with the front and rear covers, but am having a terrible time with the two block halves. The problem stems from their shape. With the bulging injector covers and my need to not have supports on finished, detailed surfaces, I'm having to position the part at angles that seems to invite support failure. The Xacto really shows just how delicate that induction system is in HO.

ALCo 251 HO the good parts

As I've said many times before in this Saga, I am not patient; I am persistent and will solve it…eventually.

Meanwhile, I'm having much more success finishing up the chain link fencing for the engine house.

I soldered the diagonal braces using 0.032 phosphor bronze wire. I could have used brass, but my LHS is out of it an had Tichy Phos Bronze instead. Phos Bronze is stiffer and works okay in this application. I built the swing gates and made some rudimentary hinges. When it was a double corner like this one, I used a single piece of Phos Bronze and bent it to fit. This further reinforced these unstable corners.

EH Fence Corner Reinforcement

I then cut and applied all the bridal tulle to form the fencing proper. I trimmed the pole tails to make them easier to install by making them varying lengths. Every fifth one is long, the middle one is shorter and the remaining are shorter still. This way I mark and drill only the long ones first. Insert the fence so it's stable and mark the next longest, and so on. Otherwise you're trying to hold a very squirrelly assembly still while trying to establish some critical locations.

The hinges are also 0.032, but in this case brass. The Phos Bronze was too brittle and didn't like all the bending. I soldered the loop after closing to the fence, leaving the gate portion able to swing.

EH Fence Gate Hinge

To cut the bridal tulle I taped it down to my cutting pad so it was flat and used a brand new #11 blade to cut on the pad's 2" lines. The amount I purchased was exactly the right amount. It was 4.5" wide and I split it into two. I start with a squared edge also cut on the pad. I used medium CA with accelerator and tacked the first edge to the first pole. This isn't technically correct. Brennan instructs you otherwise. In real chain link fencing, the cloth is woven through a narrow strip of steel which in turn is clamped to the starting and ending poles. I did this on my substation fence and, a) it's a real pain in the butt, and b) no one notices at all. It's a meaningless detail that I wouldn't do again unless the fence is part of a diorama that's going into a judged modeling contest. In that case, when it's being evaluate under a microscope, I would add it. Otherwise, ain't going to happen. I didn't do it for the refinery fence. I didn't do it for the fence behind the appliance store and no one has ever noticed.

EH Fence Starting Edge

Because of the non-linear shape of the fence's longest part, I had to be "creative" in finding ways of supporting it and holding it still. After tacking the tulle to the starting point I would attach medium width blue masking to the other end and put it into some tension, being sure that it was pulling evenly and in line with the upper rail. If the lower rail was hanging over, that's okay since I went back, and again with a new blade, trimmed it flush with the bottom member.

EH Fence Jerry Rig

Once you get the hang of it, the glue up goes pretty quickly. The fence is now complete waiting for paint. Again, I'm probably going to gray primer it, shoot it with silver, and then dust it with rust. I'm sure this fence would not be pristine. I'm then going to add some home-made signage, "RR Property - KEEP OUT" and "Beware of Attack Dog". I'm going to 3D print a nice doggy.

I tried on the finished fence for size. I was going to put a gate at the far end, but decided against it. It's going to butt up against the wall.

EH Fence Final Fitting 2EH Fence Final Fitting 1

My photographer friend, who used to own one of the larger fabric distributors in the country, is helping me install the skirting under the fascia boards. The railroad's mature enough that skirting should be there to hide its underbelly. I'm going with black. He found a dealer who has pre-stitched table skirts with the velcro already applied. They're not quite as long as I would like, ending up about 7" from the floor, but they'll work. I have 40 yards of surface area to accommodate since there is the outside perimeter AND the inside space as well. He has the mating self-adhesive velcro to attach to the fascia. I would like this installed before we take the final beauty shots for the engine house article.

Speaking of articles, I've sent a prospectus for two articles to OGRR, but didn't get anything back. Is there a direct person I can contact?


Images (7)
  • ALCo 251 HO the good parts
  • EH Fence Gate Hinge
  • EH Fence Starting Edge
  • EH Fence Jerry Rig
  • EH Fence Final Fitting 2
  • EH Fence Final Fitting 1
  • EH Fence Corner Reinforcement

Painted and installed the fence today. Thinks went surprisingly well. All that's left to do is add some weeds around the fence perimeter to hide any anomalies from the installation. My galvanized steel mix is about half and half Tamiya Gunmetal and Flat Aluminum. The gun metal was get really chunky and the chunks weren't dissolving as they should. I ended up filtering the paint with one of my resin filters. After filtering it air brushed correctly. After the galvanized coat and thinned some Vallejo Dark Flesh (a great base rust color) and lightly airbrushed the whole deal.

EH Fence Painting

And here it is all installed. After drilling the holes (first located with a scratch awl) I dribbled some medium CA into the holes. It's holding good enough. Normally I would have used Gorilla urethane glue since it swells when curing and nicely fills gaps, but I didn't have any so I got lazy and used CA.

EH Fence Finished 1EH Fence Finished 3

Need to populate the lot with some interesting train things… I also have to put some cribbing under those 30,000 pound prime movers.

Speaking about prime movers, I finally got successful prints of both halves of the ALCo 251 cylinder block. I finally got enough supports of the right size in the right places so they both finished. They're in the UV hardening cabinet right now and I'll finish cleaning them up tomorrow. 

I'm on the drawing board working on three future projects at once. I've finished up the design and cut list for the Rick House under construction. I'm finishing up the design for the mine going on my mountain. And I'm drawing another neat Victorian Building, this one is in Edward Hopper's painting, "House by the RR". 

The Rick House is going to consume about $60.00 worth of Mt. Albert scale lumber. Trouble is, they don't seem to have much O'scale stuff in stock. I've sent them a letter, and haven't received an answer yet. I could make it out of styrene, but wood would be much better since I'd leave it natural. Painting styrene in this configuration would be a pain. And under construction bourbon warehouse is more interesting than a finished one.

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.11.04 PM

The mine could be styrene or laser cut. I'm going to have to mock it up entirely and custom fit it to the mountain. It's generally best practice to build the structure and then build the terrain around it. Of course, I did it in reverse (which is more realistic since mountains are there before the mines), and will have to design the building to fit. This is how it looked in the old RMC article from which I took the design.

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.08.44 PM

Lastly, the Hopper building. Since it's entitled "House by the RR" I had to build it… right? It has complicated and varied window frames. They were not easy to draw. I now can 3D print all of these details which makes this building a drawing exercise as much as a craft one. The difficulty was Hopper was not a photo-realistic painter. He was an impressionist. Gleaning the tiny details, therefore, is not possible and I have to fake it. And, as with the distillery, I only have one view and have to imagine was the unseen two other sides are. And what's going on with the front door? The whole porch is in shade and you can't see anything that's going on in there.

Here's the Hopper masterpiece.

House by the Railroad\

And here's my SketchUp rendition. This too could be a styrene project of laser cut. It looks like the walls are clapboard. I'll have to design the cornices and corbels too. There are lots of samples on SketchUp's 3D warehouse for those details. Unfortunately, all those windows had to be drawn from scratch.

Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.07.51 PM

I won't be building these right away. I'm going to start working on the Airfix 1:24 Typhoon first. Need to do some plastic modeling to change the pace.

While buying some FEP film for my printer, I saw these on Amazon and bought them. It's a whole selection of different size syringes to us for applying cements, irrigating 3D prints to clean out the uncured resin, etc. They were very cheap and came with a wide array of nozzles and caps. All for $5.59. How can you go wrong? There are three each of five different sizes.




Images (8)
  • EH Fence Painting
  • EH Fence Finished 1
  • EH Fence Finished 3
  • Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.11.04 PM
  • Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.08.44 PM
  • House by the Railroad
  • Screen Shot 2020-01-29 at 10.07.51 PM
  • Syringes

Thanks! I am very busy. And I'm very happy about it. 

I finally got my printer lined out and producing workable parts again. Trouble is I don't know which variable made the difference. I changed three. I went with heavier supports, I changed positioning on the slicer AND I increased exposure time from 8 seconds per layer to 9. Whatever I did worked. 

And as a reward for my efforts I finally got a finished ALCo 251. And I've got some more requests for printed prime movers including a naked block. Making a naked block is not as simple as it sounds, since punching holes in objects is not always a straight forward operation in SketchUp. This is a tiny HO model. The separate piping print worked, but it was touch and go getting it to settle down into the valley. It was very delicate and I couldn't really do much filing or sanding without breaking it.

ALCo 251 Turbo end

Due to the big supports coming into the sides of the block, I lost some detail on those lower access ports, but its small size precludes too close an examination. This engine will work better in a bigger scale. If you had microscopic eyes, there are gear teeth around that flywheel.

ALCo 251 HO Flywheel end

I also got a successful print of the roller table and now have a horizontal band saw and feeder table for it.

EH MS Saw and Roller Table in Place 1

A colleague suggested that I put in a butcher block floor which was used frequently in these facilities so if heavy things were dropped they wouldn't damage the part, but would damage the floor. The damaged blocks would just be lifted and replaced.

EH MS Saw and Roller Table in place3

The end of one of the middle legs got accidentally cut off (by me) and it was just about 0.080" square, so I drilled, pinned and replaced it with some styrene.

EH MS Saw and Roller Table in place 2


Images (5)
  • ALCo 251 Turbo end
  • ALCo 251 HO Flywheel end
  • EH MS Saw and Roller Table in Place 1
  • EH MS Saw and Roller Table in place3
  • EH MS Saw and Roller Table in place 2

Hi Myles, the last picture you was very surreal looking at and through the engine house, with its window in the background, and the view of the mountain tunnel in the scene. Do it again with a train exiting the tunnel, and one in the shop. Even without the posed engine it is a tribute to your modeling.

Thank you folks! Larry, your layout is spectacular also. Your very humble.

One of my new customers wanted a "naked" 567, so I've drawn the following:

567 Naked Block

As usual, I've taken some artistic license. The crank pins are the correct diameters, but the spacing's a bit off. Also the inner block structure is a bit stylized. The lower part, including the oil pan are sheet metal, but would be unprintable, so they're much thicker for this model. The air box walls are also sheet metal welded to the more robust inner structure. This too had to be thickened considerably to ensure it would print successfully. To print it, I've split the block right down the middle including the bearing supports and caps. I will install the crank before gluing the two halves together. I will also print cranks as display parts in their own rights.

The shaping of the naked block is based on these pictures. These look like 645 series engines with the round access ports.

Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 6.59.43 PMScreen Shot 2020-01-31 at 6.57.31 PM

One of the block halves is on the printer now and my intermediate check showed that it was printing successfully. I'll post the finished products.

I'm also creating the end-grain block flooring for the machine shop. Since I have the CorelDraw drawing of the laser cut plans for the actual floor, it facilitates making a false floor with the graphic on it.


Images (3)
  • 567 Naked Block
  • Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 6.59.43 PM
  • Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 6.57.31 PM

A couple of odds and ends. The 3D printer is finally working as it used to and I've just completed my fifth perfect print in a row. Changing the exposure time up one second seems to me to be the biggest change. I got one side of the naked 567 block printed and cleaned up and then successfully printed the oil pan and crank. The crank actually fits into the journals, but represents a significant trimming challenge. You can't print an object like this without supports. I bit the bullet and printed it almost horizontally so all the supports were are 90 degrees to the journals.

I used a #15 drill to open up the cylinders since they were blocked off by a plane. A couple cracked during trimming and I fixed them as best I could using Bondic. This is for one of our forum readers.

567 Naked Block Right 3

My journal spacing is not perfect so the crank, which was fit into them in SketchUp only goes in one way. But, it still amazes me that you can do this at all.

567 Naked Crank and Pan Printed567 Naked Block Right 1

I had located the cylinder stud holes in the print, and then opened them up with a drill and pin vise after post-curing. Same with the Cylinder vent holes.

567 Naked Block Right 2

Lastly, I printed out the flooring for the machine shop. It's in two halves that will be matched and glued onto a new sub-floor. Since it's drawn in the same rectangle that the laser cutting used, the floor should just drop right in.

MS Butcher Block Floor print


Images (5)
  • 567 Naked Block Right 3
  • 567 Naked Crank and Pan Printed
  • 567 Naked Block Right 1
  • 567 Naked Block Right 2
  • MS Butcher Block Floor print

More work on Engine House and got the first version of the Naked 567 constructed. I've redesigned the block and will be printing it again tomorrow. I took out the cylinder liners since the bare block would just have holes for their insertion. Also, they were breaking during the cleaning operations. I redesigned the crankshaft to give a little more side-to-side clearance for the bearing blocks and increased the bearing bore about 5% so the crank would be a sloppy fit. It was almost a press fit and that broke some of the bearing caps. With the changes, the crank should rotate. This is the rendering of the version 2 design without the cylinder liners.

567 Naked Block Ver 2

Here's the assembled version 1.

EMD567 Naked Ver 1 - 1

I bought some Evergreen 1/4 I-beam stock to make some pedestals so these specimens aren't sitting on the gravel.

EMD567 Naked Ver 1 on Display

I was able to figure out how to rotate holes on the perimeter of a cylinder to put the barring holes in the flywheel.

EMD567 Naked Ver 1

I finished the flooring for the machine shop, gluing it with 3M99 spray adhesive to some thin plywood. I then added some fine line yellow graphics tape (doubled) for the "safety walk lines", and finally sprayed it with Matte fixative.

As I thought, having the original laser drawing enabled me to make it fit exactly without excess trimming. I pulled everything out of the machine shop and laid them out on the floor. This was before matte coating.

EH MS Flooring Layout

I laid out the walkway lines and decided a tool crib was in order. I wanted to put it in the foreground left corner which is hard to visualize anyway. I used a Sharpie to delineate the walk lines and then added the tape. This image is after putting on the matte coating. I will add some weathering to the floor before fastening down the machines.

EH MS Floor Fin 1

The chain link fence around the tool crib will be made in similar fashion to the larger fence. It will be 8 X 16 scale feet. I started soldering together and then today realized that I wasn't allotting for a door. So I quickly changed plans and started building a door. The door doesn't have to be 8 feet wide, only 3 feet so that wall will have some more structure in it for the door framing. It goes where those Sharpie lines are on the floor. I have some shelving for the crib, but I may have to build some more. In addition to the monster crank shafts (printing three more), I need to make some smaller parts. Instead of printing con rods and pistons as separate (and difficult) pieces, I may produce them attached to the table tops thereby making supporting them much more stable.

EH MS Tool Crib Frame WIP



Images (7)
  • 567 Naked Block Ver 2
  • EMD567 Naked Ver 1 - 1
  • EMD567 Naked Ver 1 on Display
  • EMD567 Naked Ver 1
  • EH MS Flooring Layout
  • EH MS Floor Fin 1
  • EH MS Tool Crib Frame WIP

Well… thank you! Amazing? Ok… I'll give it to you. Sometimes it is amazing. To me, because I'm seeing it in such granular changes, the amazing part sometimes passes me by.

More odds and ends. The tool crib cage is done and temporarily in place. I also cobbled together some support frames for the prime movers in the yard.

As I noted yesterday, I almost forgot about a door to the crib. I removed the end panel and rebuilt that side to accommodate a five foot door in the 8 foot wall. Having the RSU really makes any of these kinds of assemblies so much less stressful. Took about an hour to make the door, make the working hinges and then get the last remaining pieces of my bridal tulle in place. I painted it rattle can Tamiya Silver Leaf. This is an inside structure so rust would be inappropriate. 

The hinge is simply a elongated loop of 0.021 phos bronze that I carefully soldered just to the end post making sure that it didn't joint the movable part. Again… RSU gives you this kind of control.

EH MS Tool Crib Cloth

I marked the location of the cage legs and drilled them with a #50 drill (0.067" = slip fit for 1/16" stuff). Remember, the flooring is backed with very thin ply.

EH MS Tool Crib Fitting

After temporarily laying the floor into the machine shop, I drilled through these holes through the MDF that makes up the machine shop real floor. I was then able to fit the crib into the real engine house machine shop. I have to paint the shelving that's going in. That will wait until Monday.

EH MS Tool Crib Placement 3

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I created the engine stands out of some Evergreen 1/4" I-beam. I had to add additional height to clear various lumps and bumps under the engines. The EMD needed to clear the attached generator that's on some of my models, and the Baldwin had to clear the lower part of the oil pan that lies below the support rails.

Incidentally, the exhaust manifold connections on the 567 are all wrong. I've modified them so future printings will be correct. The exhausts connect straight down to the block, not on the angle that I originally depicted it. It will actually be easier to install. I originally had them coming out of the side of the head above where the valves would be. Actually, the exhaust path makes that bend below the block deck top.

EH Engine Supports

I still have print a 1:48 Fairbanks Morse and ALCo 251 engines. These too will get custom-designed bases. I'll paint them dark rust colors since these are being stored out of doors. 

I also went back and added some interest to the work tables. I found hand tools on the SU 3D Warehouse, pulled some parts off the front end of the 567, drew some scale 8.5" bore 567 pistons, and then found a full engineering drawing of the 567s connecting rods. So those, at least, are actually scale properly.

Workbenches and Tools

By printing the stuff actually attached to the table tops, when in the slicer, very few supports were needed to print them. This way, the details will be nice and crisp. I situated the tables with the legs facing the build plate so the supports will be all underneath and not destroy the top details. I'll print these next week. It will require some fancy painting. A full set of pistons and rods would be overwhelming. Don't have enough room for all of that. Or…even if I have the room, didn't feel like creating it all. This is just a theme.



Images (5)
  • EH MS Tool Crib Cloth
  • EH MS Tool Crib Fitting
  • EH MS Tool Crib Placement 3
  • EH Engine Supports
  • Workbenches and Tools

Thanks loyal fans!

Haven't posted, but was making progress. I'm working three projects at the same time.

I finished some of the engine frames for three specimens. I will need two more for the 1:48 F-M and ALCo prime movers. They need to be custom built since there are some differences in their lower ends. I air brushed them Tamiya "Dark Iron" acrylic. The "Naked" engine is my first version. I finished up most of the version 2 today.

EH Engines On StandsEngine Bases

Here's version two. Note the tight fit of the crank into the bearing. The new base just came off the machine tonight and I'll have it finished tomorrow. It's for a Forum reader. The crank actually rotates in the re-sized bearings. I removed the cylinder sleeves and just have the openings. I redrew the crank making the mains journals slightly wider and re-drew the main bearing bores to enlarge them and make them more perfectly round. In SketchUp it is always harder to redo something than draw it originally.

EMD 567 Naked Block V 2 Crank viewEMD 567 Naked Ver 2 Top View

On the machine now is printing the work tables with the parts on top. 

I finished drawing the "House by the Railroad". It was a difficult draw basically because so much detail was obscured by shadow or impressionistic brush strokes. The house that Hopper originally used was possibly in a town in New York State, but was much bigger… huge, in fact! He compressed its size a lot (if that was the house), and I managed scaling also so it wouldn't look stupid on the layout. It scales about 30 feet on a side.

Here's the masterpiece to refresh your memory. Notice, you can't even distinguish a front door, or anything else going on in the shadows.

House By The Railroad Hopper

Here's a screen shot of my drawing superimposed on the Hopper painting in SketchUp's "Match Photo" function. You'll notice some slight discrepancies between his work and mine, but it doesn't matter in the end.

Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 7.26.48 PM

And here's a rendering of my drawing. While I drew all those windows from scratch, I was able to find a nice traditional front door with Demi-lune and side lights from the SketchUp 3D Warehouse.

House by the RR final Render

I've already taken all of the architectural details, refined them, sliced them and got them ready for 3D printing. This includes the three major window frame designs, the balustrade, columns, front door and corbels. There are a ton of those main windows and it will take about 6 hours to print each. I'm thinking about using one as a master and resin casting the rest. Resin parts cure in 30 minutes and don't need much additional cleanup.

I tried to take the entire cupola with its window frames integrated into the part, and attempt to print it as a complete parts, but it was too big for my machine. No matter how I turned it, it stuck out of the envelop (width). So I've sent the file to a friend who's the manager of the U of L's Advanced Manufacturing Lab. It's one of the premiere facilities in the country teaching all kinds of additive manufacturing. I'm asking him if he can do it for me. Meanwhile, I did also prepare the cupola's windows for printing separately. I can build it the old fashioned way if I have to.

Next step will be to prepare 3-view drawings for either laser cutting or my old-school build method to create it. Like all the projects that precede this, it has some unique and new attributes making it something that will keep my interest.

Oh… and one more thing… I was wondering about how to take pictures with the iPhone where I wouldn't have to click the shutter with my hand. I wanted to put the camera in novel locations, but couldn't hold it or snap the "shutter". So I looked on Amazon for an iPhone tripod adaptor and found that you can trigger them using Blue Tooth. So I Googled "How to snap iPhone shutter?" and found that there are at least five ways, including using the volume control on your headphones cord, plus the phone has a self-timer too. That means I can set the camera INSIDE the engine house, close the roof, and still trigger the camera. I can set it up in places that are almost impossible to hand hold it, and get smooth, shake-free, pictures. I've had these phones for years and just found out last night that it's had remote operation all along!

I also just found out three weeks ago that my Capital 1 Venture Card has had "Tap" capability. When it's available I use it since it easier than sticking the card into the slot and waiting until it reads. It also means the card never leaves my hand. 




Images (7)
  • EH Engines On Stands
  • Engine Bases
  • EMD 567 Naked Block V 2 Crank view
  • EMD 567 Naked Ver 2 Top View
  • Screen Shot 2020-02-11 at 7.26.48 PM
  • House By The Railroad Hopper
  • House by the RR final Render

Thanks Pat! That's a neat feature. Voice control.

Just a quick note. The tables failed due to too weak supports, but the surface detail was terrific! I'll reprint with modified supports. And my friend at U of L will print the entire cupola for the House BTRR as a single part. It will save me a lot of crafting. Actually the drawing and refinement took almost as long as scratch-building the cupola in real life. Printed successfully another naked block left side fixing the improper internal structure. Again, I thought I had a support failure, but it really was a drawing error. One of the internal cylinder plates had shifted so it was no longer in contact with the block structure and the vertical wall tying it to the top plate. It's a wonder that anything printed at all. I fixed the drawing and the part will be perfect.

Last edited by Trainman2001

Thanks, as always, for your support. The second table print was half successful. One table is great, the other had a failure of the middle tray. I'm thinking to eliminate the middle layer since it becomes hard to place and remove supports and see what happens. Tomorrow I'll clean up the good table and photograph it.

Meanwhile, I got a great print of the other half of the naked block. So one of them is ready to ship. I find out that Bernie wants two of them and a fully built EMD 567. I'll have to get cracking. 

Here's the completed good naked block. Similar to the picture yesterday, but the exploded view shows both half correct. The real engine doesn't split down the middle like this, but making scale sized bearing caps would have been an exercise in futility.

EMD Naked Block Explode

By ensuring that no supports were on the flywheel end, that part look terrific with the barring holes and the hex head bolts.

EMD Naked Block Fin 1

The cupola is being created at the U of L Advanced Manufacturing Lab so work has officially started on the House by the Railroad. I've contacted Stephen Miley at Real Scale Trains. He now owns all of Rusty Stumps inventory and is a laser cutter in his own right. He'll do the cutting on the House. I'm 3D printing the window frames, but I'm going to have him do the sashes and glazing. I'm also going to replenish my depleted stock of laser cut Victorian Shingles. I'm going to need them for this building too. I'm drawing the cutting plans now on CorelDraw and hopefully I'll get the slots and tabs right for a change. I screwed them up on the distillery, then again on the engine house, so you'd think I'd finally learned. We'll see...


Images (2)
  • EMD Naked Block Explode
  • EMD Naked Block Fin 1

Beautiful modeling! And I have only looked at the last page so far. I see I have some catching up to do!

Being an artist who has studied Hopper extensively, I particularly like the "House by the Railroad" you are making. I look forward to seeing the final product. The original is in Haverstraw, NY, near Nyack where Hopper was from.  And like you said, he took a lot of creative license with it.

By the way, small point, but Hopper is considered a realist, not an impressionist, but I understand why you used that term because he leaves out a lot of detail that a photo-realist might put in.

I seem to remember that John Armstrong modeled Hopper structures for his layout, notably the all night eatery from Nighthawks.

Well Myles,

I have made it through page 5! I need to pace myself. Your chimney on page 4 is what really blew me away. If you ever get tired of retirement, you could head out to Hollywood and make miniatures for film. I say that in all seriousness. Of course I don't know how many of those they are making these days, I think its all mostly CGI now.

The Nighthawks Sage starts on page 53. Spoiler alert: Here's the finished product. Like Hopper, I took a lot of artistic license. Hopper is one of my favorites specifically because how he blends realism with some creative initiative. The counter in the original Nighthawks appears to be triangular with no way for the server to get out. He is purported to shape it this way so he and his wife are facing the viewer. It would have been very difficult to replicate this distortion in my 3D model.

37 NH Lights on 545 NH Complete 2

Funny you should mention Movie model making. In 1985, upon getting laid off from ARCO Chemical, I was given out-placement help. They gave us an aptitude test to see what we could be good at. My result was a model maker for the movie industry. At 74, I'm finally living up to my potential.

I was able to cobble together two 3D printed work tables with parts. Both required some major rework to replace legs that failed to form or holes/missing edges. For the legs I used 0.040 X .125" styrene strip CA'd to the resin and for the other defects I used a combination of Bondic and styrene filler. Here they are in their raw form. With Bondic, you add a bit, cure it in UV, add some more and so on until you've piled enough to create the final shape.

Tables with Parts raw

And after air brushing EMD green and my "steel" mixture of black and flat aluminum. I'll go back and weather the work surface and pick out all the details. The print accuracy is really outstanding, but the details are very delicate. I broke off the "movable" jaw of the bench vise during handling. The piston pin holes in the pistons pass completely through as do the holes in the tiny piston pins on the table. The small ends of the connecting rods have through holes as well. It was a good proof of concept in how to handle tiny details by attaching them to broader surfaces. The engines have 16 cylinders. I would need a bigger table to hold all of them.

Tables with parts First pass


Images (4)
  • 37 NH Lights on 5
  • 45 NH  Complete 2
  • Tables with Parts raw
  • Tables with parts First pass
Last edited by Trainman2001

Never too late… until it is, that is. So far, it's not too late.

I painted the bench details, but probably screwed it up and will have to paint over it. I added some of the AK cream silver, but because of the details, couldn't apply it evenly. Then I dirtied it up a bit with some Tamiya Clear smoke, but I should have shot it with some lacquer first because the the smoke dissolved into the base paint and made it all very, very dirty. Anyway, here's what they look like now.

EH MS Tables w Parts Final

The Molotow Chrome Pen really made the tools pop. I painted the pistons and rods gray and then the piston heads Dark Iron. The engine subassemblies are EMD green. Some of those tiny sockets actually have hex openings in them. And then there's that vise with the broken jaw. One day when I was out sick when teaching metal shop. The kids wanted to see how tight they could make a large Witon bench vise and broke the movable jaw right off. The substitute teacher obviously wasn't paying very much attention. I think if I just fix up the table tops it will be okay.

EH MS New Tables

The machines are fastened down and the floor is not affixed yet. I just wanted to see how it all looked.

I cleaned up the first window frame and I'm pleased with it. It's not quite perfect enough to be a resin casting master, so I'll make another.

HBTRR First Window PrintHBTRR First Window Print rear

I then attempted to "grow" the front door with the door in an open position. It was a total failure. It failed for several reasons, not withstanding there were errors in the drawings themselves. I fixed those drawings and will attempt another print later this week. I thickened the framing, separated the door from the frame and corrected some areas that appeared not so solid.

The failure required me to pull the vat, empty it and filter the resin, and then clean it up including removing any hardened resin stuck to the teflon bottom. Unfortunately, some smaller pieces wouldn't let go and I had to replace the FEP. Instead of using up my supply of new Elegoo FEP films, which aren't cheap, I decided to use more of the McMaster-Carr film. I'm printing some more naked blocks as I'm writing this, but I'm worried that it will fail since the print is sticking to the film each time it raises for a new level. It's "popping" as it pulls away, and that's not a good sign. When it's printing well, you hear no sounds when the platen pulls up for a new layer. I'm not going downstairs. I will check it tomorrow morning. One of the ways to prevent the sticking is too apply a light coating of teflon containing 3-in-1 oil, which I applied and it's probably not working. 3D resin printing can be exasperating at times. This is one of those times. And I have a lot of things to print.

I re-designed the House to put the tower in the center. This meant adding many feet to the right side of the building. I wasn't able to fit a window next to it on the second floor and I felt this was architecturally wrong. The building in Haverstraw NY that Hopper supposedly used as his subject was symmetrical. At first I tried to stretch the existing main structure, but as I've noted, sometimes making major changes in SketchUp is easier if you just redraw the hole thing. Otherwise, you can lose complete control of the envelope. So I scrapped the original building body and redraw a clean version. I may no longer match his image exactly, but I like it better. Modeler's License.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 9.54.55 PM

I purchased the last remaining "Tie Hacker's Cabin" from Real Scale Models. It was a Rusty Stumps product, but Walt Gillespie is officially retired and his website is shut down. All of his products and laser cutting drawings have been purchased by Stephen Miley at Real Scale Models. I'm going to create a Johnny B. Goode vignette on the moving door part of the layout. It's going to be a "Cabin made of earth and wood" with a figure "sitting in the shade, strumming to the rhythm that the drivers made". The cabin will be the easy part. The figure of Johnny is going to be much more challenging. The kit has a ton of castings and details, but none of the actual lumber. That I'll be getting from Northeastern Wood. This will be my first kit project in years, and it won't be a magazine article. It will be fun. It has a bunch of out buildings with tables full of woodworking tools. I think I'm going to buy a MicroMark Micro Lux powered miniature chop saw. Not only for this project, but for the tons of lumber I'm going to have to cut to make the Rick House under construction. I'm not looking to cutting several hundred pieces of scale lumber with a razor saw and miter box.

Tie Hacker's Promo


Images (7)
  • EH MS Tables w Parts Final
  • EH MS New Tables
  • EH MS Tables in Place
  • HBTRR First Window Print
  • HBTRR First Window Print rear
  • Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 9.54.55 PM
  • Tie Hacker's Promo

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