Thursday, January 29, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: In Memory of Grandpa

I'm very sad to report that Grandpa Eulice is no longer with us.  He has been sick since December 1st and we knew it was only a matter of time.

Here is a video tribute I made to him while home in Illinois at Christmas.

It's a sad day at the ROCK.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Kitbashing Project Update

This evening, I worked on the unloading shed for the Libbey-Owens-Ford sand storage silo.  It took me about an forty-five minutes to complete this section.  I'm using Evergreen Seam Roof Styrene with 3/8" spacing #4523.  I used three windows from the Walthers George Roberts Printing kit.

I like this photo as you can see LOF in the foreground and the Ottawa Silica plant in the background.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Farm Update plus Kitbashing Begins

Late last night, I completed the grain elevator and placed over at Franklin Farms.

This evening, I began work on kitbashing my Libbey-Owens-Ford Sand Storage Silo structure.  I have started off with cardboard cylinders that I found leftover from a Girl Scout project.  I then cut styrene for the first section before the loading shed.

The prototype.  You will notice that the bottom of the silos have a concrete wall that goes around base.  The section I'm working on tapers off toward the last silo.  There is also a dock door here.  

I will fill in the gaps with Testors Contour Putty

So far, so good.  I am just a novice at kitbashing so don't expect amazing work here.  I will try to do my best though to make a reasonable representation of the facility.  

I have only kitbashed one other structure in my life.  It was the barn that resides at Franklin Farms.

Here is the barn on v1.0 of the layout.

Here it is today at Franklin Farms.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Farm Update

I didn't get very much done on the layout this evening.  I did manage to add a few more details to grain elevator.

The ROCK 3.0: Various Progress Update

I was lazy the first half of the day on Saturday.  I returned from a shopping trip and decided it was best to succumb to a nap.

When I came to hours later, I went up to the layout room.  My wife was working on cutting up fabric and working through the monster pile of stuff that had been placed on the workbench.  Finally, I came out of my funk of a nap and noticed the late afternoon sun shining on Franklin Farms.  I snapped a few photos.

While Carrie was working, I started work on a few oil tanks I had found the other day when rummaging through my building parts.  I placed one at Franklin Farms and two over in Ottawa Yard.

Later in the evening after dinner, we return to the layout room.  I worked on the layout stopping occasionally to help clean/organize Carrie's stuff as well vacuum the room.  I found the NJ International Twin Fuel Tank Facility kit the other night and decided to place this over at Ottawa Yard for diesel fuel storage.  I think they will work out well there.


I also found the walls for a small brick building.  I have no clue what this came from, but constructed it and added a styrene metal roof.  I will have to find windows for it later as well as paint the roof.

I found a walkway and some street lights to use for the smaller oil tanks.

Overall the scene is coming together as I add various things.

Old RI Box Car wrecked is now being used for storage.

Looks like the RI plans is doing some repairs to a CB&Q baggage car.

I found a small shed, but no roof.  I will have to make one.

I then turned my focus to the Highway 51 Bridge.  It is the bridge to nowhere.  The original kit didn't stretch all the way across Water Street as well.  I purchased another Rix Products 50' bridge expansion with pier.  Now, I need to mark the yellow lines and weather it up to match the original bridge.

While home at Christmas, my wife's Grandfather Eulice gave me a t-shirt of Pike County, IL (where they live) as he knows I love the area so much.  Grandpa has never given me much over the years as it has always been about what us kids could do for them.  It was a simple gift that I love very much.  The only issue was the t-shirt was too small.  I tried to track down a replacement while in Illinois, but I had no such luck.  I told Carrie I want to display it in the layout room somehow to remember Grandpa.  She found this old rustic wood picture frame we had and placed the t-shirt in it.  It worked out great and now hangs in our hallway upstairs.  I'm very pleased.

It was getting to be pretty late, but Carrie was still working, so I opened up my next project which is a Rix Products grain elevator kit to add to the two 30' Rix Products Grain Storage Bins that I already had at Franklin Farms.  I was able to get part of the elevator assembled before calling it a night.  I should be able to finish up tomorrow with no problem.  The kit makes two 60' elevators on one 120' elevator.  I only needed the one 60' elevator for now.

Overall, it was a really nice evening spent working together in the same room with my wife.  That was the whole idea of downsizing the layout room.  Now, that the workbench is cleared, I'm hoping we can do more of that as I manage to get a lot complete.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: In Honor of Grandpa Franklin - Franklin Farms Update

When I was growing up as a kid, I never knew my Grandpa Robert Howell.  He passed away when I was five years old.  I have no memories of being with him, but have numerous photos of me sitting on his lap.  I've been told that he adored me very much.  I liked to build things when I was a kid.  As I became older, I remember asking for my first power tool for Christmas when I was 13.  That year, my dad bought me a Skil Circular Saw.  Years past and I developed my skills some more and was often told by family that I was much like my Grandpa Howell (as he was a carpenter) and he would be very proud of me.

Years later, I was fortunate to meet not only my wife Carrie, but my best friend in life.  Heck, she even had the last name.  LOL!  I know what you are thinking, but we are not related!  As our family size was dwindling due to the passing of much of the older generation, I gained my wife's very large family.  I had more cousins than you can shake a stick at!  I loved it!  The true jewel I found was my wife's Grandpa Eulice Franklin.  

I found Grandpa to be a quiet soul.  It was quite evident he had earned great respect by everyone around him.  When he talked, everyone would take notice and listen intently.  I learned that Grandpa had worked many jobs throughout his life.  One that was most interesting to me, was that he was a bridge painter for the Norfolk & Western Railroad.  He worked painting the lift bridge that crosses the Mississippi River in Hannibal, Missouri.

After a period, my wife suggested I should go to have coffee with him and her dad at the local restaurant in town.  I wasn't a coffee drinker, but after a little persuasion, I decided to go.  I woke up at 5:55am on vacation and drive the two blocks over to the local restaurant in town for breakfast.  The restaurant changed over the years, but the people attending (my father-in-law Randy, family friend Ronnie and Grandpa Eulice) and the stories they told were always the same.  This quickly became a tradition for me when home visiting Carrie's family.  One that I cherish very much.

I got to know Grandpa pretty good.  As years went by, I realized that Grandpa Eulice had filled the void of my Grandpa Howell.  Not only did I adopt him as my Grandpa, but he had adopted me as one of his grandkids.  He always loved, cared and inquired about me as if I was one of his own.  That meant the world to me.  He filled the void of me not knowing my Grandpa Howell.

One of my fondest memories of him was when we drove up to Illinois secretly to surprise my mother-in-law for her 50th Birthday.  We drove straight arriving late in the night.  The following morning, I got up and walked out back of the old farmhouse where they lived.  Sitting in the backyard smoking a cigarette, Grandpa greeted me with a smile.  We hung outside talking and enjoying the spectacular September morning.  My girls (only four of five at the time), came running out to hug on Grandpa.  The biggest smile would appear on his face when the great grandkids came around.  The silence of the rural farm was broken as excited screams and laughter from my girls filled the air as Grandpa would pull them around in an old wagon.  That day could have lasted forever as far as I'm concerned.

On my first layout, I created a section of the layout called Franklin Farms to honor my wife's Grandpa.  With the construction of the new layout, I wanted to continue with this idea.  Tonight, I worked on the scene and made a lot of progress.  I'm very pleased.  I still have more work to do like adding the barbed wire fence and more details, but when I view the scene, it takes me back to the wonderful Fall day hanging out at the farm visiting with Grandpa.  It holds a very special place in my heart.

Here is what I started with a few days ago...

I introduce to you Franklin Farms....

A funny side story....
Remember that Skil saw I was telling you about earlier?  Well, it died a few years back.  Being a little crazy myself, I wrote up an obituary for it on Facebook.  I was reminded of this when typing earlier so I decided to share.

Skil Saw R.I.P. December 25th, 1986 - May 9th, 2009

R.I.P. Skil Saw
I'm sad to report there was a death in the family. The Skil saw that my dad gave me for Christmas when I was 13 sadly passed away this evening. It was my first power tool that I cherished greatly. When I started cutting the lumber for the train layout, I smelled the distinct smell of an electrical motor fire. I pressed on figuring that the old saw was just tired as it hadn't been used in a while. Before long a lot of smoke started pouring out of the vent. Sadness. Halfway through its last cut, a large puff of blue smoke (its last gasp) and then it flat lined. I kept hitting the trigger, but nothing. I checked all cords and tried again. No response. Sadness! The time of death was 7:23pm. After 23 years of use, the Skil saw was dead. :-( The old saw was nothing fancy, but a true workhorse. It will be sorely missed. The saw is survived by its electrical counterparts: the Ridgid family including regular drill, impact drill, sawzall (saw o' death), and cordless circular saw, and the Dewalt family including the biscuit joiner, jig saw and compound miter saw. 

The Skil Saw worked hard for its owner including numerous projects over the years: the deck at my parents house, multiple model train layouts in the garage, large plant stand, various garden (timber walls) projects, the famous bridge to nowhere (at my parent's house), multiple desks in the apartment including the original 8ft wide desk and then the infamous J-shaped two level desk, the deck in Huntersville, and the fence to just name a few. Not to mention numerous contract jobs for various parties including Marcus' layout, large desk complex at Tommy's house, and multiple projects at Ruby's house. The saw has done it all. What a sad day.

The family requests instead of flowers that friends & family make donations to the "Buy Steven a Replacement Saw" fund.

The viewing will be tonight between 5:15pm and 5:30pm before the ceremonial cutting of the cord and descension into the garbage roll out can.