Speeder crew

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Following some great feedback from readers (you know who you are!) I’ve added not one but two figures to the speeder setoff scene.

Sometimes, moving figures about a scene can suggest stories that their final placement can tell. In this case, I grabbed my box of figures, sorted about a few likely candidates, and started trying various arrangements.

The guy at left in the above photo has both hands in front of him – I believe he’s supposed to be a brakeman hanging on a boxcar ladder. Naturally, I tried positioning him on the water tank’s ladder – but then I started to wonder, “What’s he doing up the ladder?” “How long is he going to be up there?”

Frankly, he looked hokey.

Then I realized he could be leaning on the speeder – but the question was, why? And what would the second guy be doing?

The second figure provided part of the answer – he’s looking down, and wiping his hands on a rag. He looks like he’s thinking. And then it occurred to me that if I added one more detail to the speeder, they could be planning their work at the job site. The two figures together look like their having a discussion, and the first figure could be holding down a plan to keep it from blowing away.

It was a simple matter to cut a couple of small rectangles from a paper bag and create some plans for the guys to be studying:
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(As the photo shows, I’ve also stained some 2″ x 8″ strip wood and added it between the rails to make it easier for crews to get their speeder on and off the track.)

Maybe it’s a leak in the plumbing? Maybe it’s an inspection of the pump? Or maybe the guy in blue is showing off the plans for his new layout? Whatever it is, I think it works.

The little yellow speeder

As mentioned yesterday, while building the setoff near the Lynn Valley water tank I also started work on crafting a speeder to put on it. Today, I finished the speeder and set it in place on the layout:
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To the best of my knowledge, there are no kits currently offered in S standard gauge for a speeder. So I started with a white metal kit for an Sn3 model, Kit T-2220 offered by Wiseman Model Services. When I ordered the kit, I wondered whether it would be a simple matter to substitute longer lengths of wire for the axles – but the prototype on which the kit did not accommodate that. Therefore, I cut apart the white metal frame and substituted appropriately-sized styrene strip to widen the speeder.

This required building the kit in a different order than given in the instructions. I assembled the frame sides and fenders for each side, then added the axles and wheels – properly gauged – and then connected the two sides with styrene strip. For the top deck, I used the white metal deck casting, but glued scale 1″ x 8″ boards on top. Where the original Sn3 deck had three boards, the new S-std deck has five. I stained these boards and painted the speeder body a mix of bright yellow and warm black. Weathering powders gave it a well-used look:
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The shovel was included with the speeder kit. The pipe wrenches are beautifully rendered in photo-etch, and part of the Hand Tool Set (Kit 102) from TractorFab. I thought they would be appropriate for a job call to the water tank.

Since this is in the middle of nowhere, relatively speaking, a speeder could not have been left here unattended so I will search through my supply to find a suitable figure to represent the CNR employee who drove it here. He can lean against the water tank to provide a roll-by inspection, or be working on something on or around the tank. A tool box would be a nice addition, too.

The speeder is a subtle detail on my layout. It’s a bright speck of yellow, mostly obscured by trees:
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But while it’s difficult to photograph because of the trees, it will be easy for visitors to spot and appreciate – providing they’re looking for such details.
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I like to build vignettes for people to discover – providing such vignettes are realistic (in the sense that they convey an authentic sense of life in the place and era I’m modelling). I love the idea of rewarding careful observation of my layout – and the little yellow speeder does just that in a way that (I hope) isn’t hokey or contrived.
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The Daily Effort in photos: June 1953

Now this adds some flavour to what I’m doing…

Turning Mogul 90

I was just Googling about and I came across a blog that includes a four-part feature, with photos, of the mixed train that served Port Rowan (and Port Dover, and points between Simcoe and Hamilton). The pictures were taken by Bruce Murdoch, a photographer for the Hamilton Spectator, who rode the train in June of 1953.

Hamilton to Port Rowan to Port Dover and Back

Part One :: Part Two :: Part Three :: Part Four

Enjoy if you visit.

(BTW, I was happy to find the photo below as part of the series. It shows the Lyn Valley water tank with a MoW track speeder pulled off to the side. I’ve mentioned this photo before but had no online source for it – now I do. This will make for a great vignette on the layout!)

Lyn Valley Tank