|8/01/21 - I'm away from my shop
and home for a few weeks, so I've been working on
revamping my Web Presence. I've been wanting to start
a blog like this, but I didn't want to
write/photograph daily, and I don't want to learn a
new platform (like blogspot.com). So, I'm trying this
periodic-update format within my web pages, which
will, I hope, be much easier for me. This Blog page
will be linked with my Home Page, which then also
leads to a Gallery of all my completed
work. Check it out, if you haven't already.
As background, my work is quite eclectic; I am drawn to a number of media, styles, and techniques. My work ranges from detailed scale models (trains and diorama scenes) to larger fantasy clay sculpture (Gnomes, animals, and people).
8/02 - I've also been working on my "artist's statement", and will share the current draft here:
I am an Artist;
I use my inspiration and imagination to create
I am an Imagineer;
I intermix the designs and technology of everyday
I am an Artisan;
I use my talents, my skills, and my tools to work
I am an Artist;
I do not have the ability, power, or influence to
8/03 - Right away, I'm going to break my own rule
about "only current projects", because I want to tell
you about a recently completed model locomotive. This
one I named L'Asino (the donkey, in Italian).
It is my 1" scale - 32mm gauge (1n15) interpretation
of an Australian Cane Railway shop-built locomotive
nicknamed the "Pie Cart" (photo below). My model is
driven by a tiny gearhead motor and chain drive to
both axles. It also has a LiPo battery and LocoRemote
R/C. I sculpted the driver too.
The petrol engine of this prototype was mounted transversely (cross-wise), and used a chain drive to power the wheels. The openings at the back and left side facilitated cooling the engine, along with the radiator, of course. The concrete weight at the front helps to balance the loco.
My model would be a much smaller, minimum gauge version, running on 15" gauge track. The entire body of the model was made from styrene sheet and shapes, plus resin castings from my own masters, and a few purchased detail parts (seat, control stand, handrails. The driver is an original, sculpted from polymer clay, and posed to fit into the tight cab space. This model has been sold.
Mulgrave Mill "Pie Cart" Locomotive L'Asino, Right Side
L'Asino, Right Front L'Asino, Left Rear
L'Asino, Driver, Right Front L'Asino, Driver, Close Up
8/05 - Finally, I can start telling you what's actually happening in my shop right now. I'm working on another 1" scale locomotive. From now on, I'll refer to this scale/gauge combo as "1n15" (1" scale, at a prototype narrow gauge of 15") for convenience. In 1" scale, that's 32mm gauge, commonly used for model track.
After I sold "L'Asino" (above), I needed another loco to run on my new indoor shelf layout (more about that another time). I wanted a short-wheelbase, small, petrol (gasoline) loco that could easily negotiate tight curves. I also wanted another freelance loco that I could design myself; a mostly-realistic shop-built design of the 1930-1950 era, with a touch of Steampunk and Magical Realism.
My approach to designing a loco has become a cut-n-paste operation. Rather than following detailed plans, I found some wheels (Slaters 7/8' scale, curly spoke), an old hood assembly (an early Campagne Loco; see Gallery), some journal boxes I cast from my own masters, and a 1929 Model-T Ford Radiator (a friend's casting). I laid these out and measured up some suitable frame dimensions; 55mm wheelbase, __ long by __ wide. Then I built a basic frame from Styrene sheet. This is sort of like "sketching in 3D" with styrene plastic. Below is the first iteration; there would be several more before I settled on a final chassis design with "pleasing" dimensions.
Overall view - on a crude drawing Top view - My couplers and journal castings in brown
Side view - Channel sides with "Pine Tree" journal castings.
The basic (and later rebuilt) styrene Chassis; all built from sheet stock, with temporary strapping across the top to hold it together. The journals are from my own castings (see below). Now that I have the basic size parameters set, I am ready to move on when I get home from our trip to Washington State. I still have to figure out how the whole chassis will fit together, and how to keep one side removable for service. Also, there are a lot of details still to be added to the chassis; bolts, screws, support straps, etc.
8/06 - Pine Tree Journals: Years ago, I made a brass master, then molded and cast this journal in resin. It was designed for the (now defunct) Northern New England Industrial Narrow Gauge Modeling Society (NNEINGMS), Rich Chiodo and myself founding, charter members. The pine tree is an iconic symbol of Maine, where I live, and I shared these castings with friends. For this model, I used some extra old castings of mediocre quality, and this extreme closeup shows that some cleanup was necessary. The color variations reflect my attempts to create pre-colored castings. It was not very successful, as you can see. Also, for this model, I milled the tops and bottoms square, and drilled out the backs to accept brass bushings, for better running qualities.
"Pine Tree" Journal Boxes, from my own castings.
8/24 - Post-Vacation: Dorinne and I traveled from Maine to Washington State to spend time on my son and his wife's Orange Star Farm. All our kids, our grandson, other family, and friends gathered there to help us celebrate our 57th Wedding Anniversary, and our 80th Birthdays. A wonderful time was had by all. After we returned home, it took a few days to recover from the long flights and time-zone changes. Also, it's been VERY HOT, and my 2nd-floor shop is not air-conditioned.
Now, I've been back in the shop, and back to work on my new locomotive model. Since the last update, I've made a lot of progress. I detailed the chassis with nuts and bolts, struts, etc. I rebuilt the hood/bonnet again, thickening the radiator, increasing the height, and filling some holes and divots. I made attachments for the hood to the chassis, using screws from below. I'm also shopping for the new R/C unit from LocoRemote, sound unit from Mtroniks, and small speakers (eBay). When these arrive, I will turn the free-rolling chassis into a powered loco, with sound. This will be my first loco model with realistic on-board sound!
Here are a two photos of the model as it exists right now.
9/9 - I've made some progress since my last update. First, I installed the motor and chain drive, with copper rods as tension adjusters (see pics). Then I made a floor from cherry wood, supplied and milled by my friend Al Casad. I cut the half-lap joints on my table saw, and added wood grain and my "go-to" Alcohol/India Ink (A/I) stain. Since I had the room, I'll use a standard 9v battery, which fits comfortably under the seat box. The seat is an old white-metal "tractor seat" casting a friend made from my pattern. More detail and weathering to come. The bolts on the floor are laser-cut pieces I got years ago from my old friend Jeff Saxton.
Remember, don't underestimate the value of a varied, deep scrap box or two, cultivate good hobby friends, and try bartering with them.
Also, I have now received the R/C and sound modules, and a speaker, which I'll be installing under the hood. Lots of wiring and component placement issues are coming up now; not my strong suit, but I know which friends to ask for help. Photos below.