Workshop in the workshop

Workshop modules in the workshop

I’m still setting up my new workshop, but I’ve already had a chance to put it to good use as I prep my S Scale Workshop modules for an upcoming appearance. I thought I’d share this photo because it illustrates how I plan to work in the new space.

The central work table – a Festool MFT-3 – is at a good height for working, and allows me to get around all four sides of a larger project like this. For now, I’ve covered the MFT-3 in cardboard to protect the surface from glue – but I’m planning to build a proper, removable cover.

Meantime, the cabinets at the back provide a handy place to hold all the tools and materials I need. In this case, I’m punching up the scenery on my Workshop modules so I have my static grass applicator, static grass and other tools and materials laid out.

This is also a good opportunity to remind you that I’ll be joining my friends in the S Scale Workshop at Exporail: The Canadian Railway Museum on August 20-21 for the museum’s annual celebration of model trains. The Workshop exhibited at the museum for the first time last year, and it was very well received.

Click on the image, below, to see photos and videos from last year’s exhibit, and I hope to see some of you at Exporail in a couple of weeks!

Workshop modules in the workshop

Scenery on The Roadshow – on TrainMasters TV

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(Chris Abbott looks on as I add leaves to what will become a whole mess o’ shrubs while behind us, a CNR intermodal train hauling a single-height stack of containers is barrelling past outside)

My layout gets a lot of compliments on the scenery – especially the large meadow around the turntable at Port Rowan. Those of you who want to see how I create meadows will enjoy the final, regularly-scheduled instalment of The Roadshow, currently playing on TrainMasters TV.

With my friend Chris Abbott in the studio to help, I demonstrate how I do basic ground cover, then add grass, bushes, weeds and flowers. The segment runs about an hour and covers all of the steps, step-by-step, to create basic yet convincing scenery, ready for super-detailing. While I model a railway set in the 1950s, I think my meadow-building techniques would make for a good start on the overgrown railway land bordering a modern right of way – the kind one sees right outside the TrainMasters TV studio.

Thanks, again, to TrainMasters TV brass hat Barry Silverthorn for letting me be a part of his terrific show.

Click on the image above – or follow this link – to start watching. You need to be a subscriber to TrainMasters TV to see it, but membership is quite reasonable.

The Roadshow, at the show – on TrainMasters TV

For most of us, there’s a point in the hobby that we approach with anticipation and – it must be said – some anxiety. It comes after the track is laid and the layout is wired, and it’s time to turn on the power and run the first train.

Is the track work good enough, or will the train derail?

Will it even run at all? Maybe there’s a short, or a bad solder joint, or something else?

The anxiety is even more acute when the first attempt at running a train takes place in a public venue – like a train show. And, for a real case of the jitters, there’s nothing like testing modules, for the first time, in public… while the whole thing is being recorded for an Internet TV show.

Naturally, that’s exactly what I did with the two modules I built as my contribution to the S Scale Workshop Free-mo style exhibition layout. As regular readers know, I took these two modules to the inaugural North Shore Train Show in the Montréal, Canada area last October – and yes, they did work as advertised.

But the full story – from unpacking to set-up to running at the show – is the subject of this week’s episode of “The Roadshow” on TrainMasters TV:

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Click on the image above – or follow this link – to start watching. You need to be a subscriber to TrainMasters TV to see it, but membership is quite reasonable.

As always, a tip of the hat to TrainMasters TV brass hat Barry Silverthorn for making me look like I know what I’m doing.

Enjoy if you watch: I did!

Cooking show scenery

Yesterday, I visited Barry Silverthorn at the TrainMasters TV studios in Belleville to record another instalment of The Roadshow series. I was joined by my friend Chris Abbott, and we spent a delightful few hours in front of the cameras to craft a video on creating a meadow.

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(Barry and Chris look on as I lay out four work-in-progress boards, finished to various stages. Note the backlight on the cabinet, and the camera mounted on the ceiling)

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(Barry ponders a helicopter shot as Christian Cantarutti looks on. The monitor between them allows those on-camera to see what the ceiling-mounted camera is shooting. It takes a lot of people – and equipment – to make great TV)

To prepare for shooting day, I created four 12″ by 12″ demonstration pieces out of foam board insulation. These, I finished to various stages, each building on the previous stage:

1 – Plain foam, roughed up on one surface.
2 – Sculpta-mold applied to create some rolling terrain.
3 – Base coat of paint, plus various scatter materials, glued in place with dilute Weld-Bond.
4 – Static grass applied and airbrushed.

Chris and I used these as our starting points to demonstrate various techniques. (For example, we added scatter material to board number 2 and static grass to board #3.) On a layout, this work can take several days – mostly spent waiting for the previous step to dry. But when doing this on camera, it needs to be done in hours, not days. So the approach is similar to a cooking show, where recipes are prepared to various stages. Rather than wait for the glue to dry on a scenery board (or for the chicken to roast in the oven), we can simply move to the board that represents the next stage, and demonstrate what happens next.

Also like a cooking show, where recipes are tested and perfected before the camera rolls, doing the scenery boards ahead of time allowed me to think through what I wanted to demonstrate, what tools and materials I’d need for each step, and so on.

The result is that shooting the segment went smoothly and the final board looked really good. It received flowers, weeds and bushes on top of grass and basic ground cover, and I think TrainMasters TV subscribers will enjoy the process and like the results, when this segment airs this summer.

We even had a couple of great meals as part of the day. Chris and I started with breakfast at Fran’s – a Toronto institution since 1940. For lunch, Barry took us to The Boathouse for fish and chips: Yum!

Thanks, Chris, for coming along – always fun! And thanks as always, Barry, for allowing me to be a part of your awesome show!

Wiring the Roadshow modules

Grab a coffee or cold beverage and join Chris Abbott and myself as we wire up my S Scale Workshop modules on this week’s episode of “The RoadShow” on TrainMasters TV.

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Chris knows more about wiring than anybody I’ve ever met. He’s explored many options, and he’s come up with some great answers to make the wiring of modules (or stand-alone exhibition layouts) stand up to the rigours of transport and storage, as well as some tricks to minimize the chances of error when the pressure is on and you’re trying to set up and test a layout before the train show opens.

Not just a “here’s what we did” video – but also a lot of information on why we did things and some of the things to definitely avoid. The segment runs just over an hour and there’s a lot of information conveyed.

Click on the image above – or follow this link – to start watching. You need to be a subscriber to TrainMasters TV to see it, but membership is quite reasonable.

Thanks, Chris, for coming out and helping with this: the wiring worked out beautifully as a result, and it was a grand day out at the TrainMasters TV studios!

Laying track on The Roadshow

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I’ve written many posts on this blog about how I hand-lay track. But if a picture is worth a thousand words than a 38-minute video must be worth about 68,400,000 (at 30 frames per second).

On the latest episode of The Roadshow – which documents the construction of two Free-mo style modules for use with The S Scale Workshop – I demonstrate my track-laying techniques. These are the same techniques I used for my Port Rowan layout.

Click on the image, above, to watch the episode. You need to be a subscriber to TrainMasters TV to see it, but membership is quite reasonable.

Thanks as always to Barry Silverthorn at TrainMasters TV for letting me be a part of his show!

“I see England, I see France…”

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Who knows what I see with those things?!?

To find out, tune into the latest episode of The RoadShow on TrainMasters TV. This time around, I show off some of the tools that I use to contour terrain and put them to work on my S scale modules. I also demonstrate the greatest tool I’ve ever used to trim fascia to follow the contour of the land.

Along the way, I make a mess – a huge mess. Shredded foam board gets everywhere

Click on the image below to go straight to the episode’s page – and enjoy if you watch it.

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TMTV :: Racks for The Roadshow modules

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(Remember kids: Always wear your safety goggles! Especially if they’re really goggly…)

The fun continues at the TrainMasters TV studio, as Pierre Oliver and I return in the 3rd episode of The Roadshow to finish building the benchwork for my S Scale Workshop modules. This episode focuses on creating racks so that I may safely transport and store the modules.

Will the modules fit the truck?

Will I have to take up knitting?

Will Pierre get his sweater?

Do these goggles make me look like a Minion?

TrainMasters TV subscribers can find out by clicking on the image above. Enjoy if you watch.

TMTV :: Pierre and I build benchwork

Yep – there’s me again, with Pierre Oliver at the TrainMasters TV studios…

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… and that means the second episode of The Roadshow is now online and available to TrainMasters TV subscribers.

In this episode, Pierre and I build benchwork for my two S scale modules. Okay – truth be told, Pierre does his famous “Benchwork in a Day” magic trick, and I do the Tool-Time equivalent of Vanna White.

Click on the image, above, to find out more – and enjoy if you watch!