Division One Web Site Railroad Item of the Month View from the Cab From the Editor's Desk Clinic Corner Doug Hickman Cartoon American Elm Trees Christmas Party Menu Classifieds
Vol #49
November 2018

LogoTrain Order

Train Order

Division One of the North Central Region of the National Model Railroad Assoc.
Our mission is to promote education and fellowship through the sharing of information and the promotion of the world's greatest hobby. - Model Railroading.

Railroad Item of the Month

If you have never checked out the Hesston Steam Museum, I definitely recommend it. I have been a number of times over the Labor Day weekend when they have a steam festival.

Paul Marsden

View from the Cab

cab Wow, have my modeling efforts taken a turn! For years I have been planning to include a scene on my layout replicating Searsport, ME, where the Bangor & Aroostook RR had a deep water port. A major reason was the export of Maine potatoes, as well as lumber, potato starch, and paper. There was also substantial inbound traffic for oil, petroleum products, and coal. If you are going to model a port, you've got to have ship action, right? So after years of planning and plotting, I finally spread out my materials on a spare table and laid the keel for a 500' freighter. It is based on the iconic C-2 class of the post-war era and bears strong similarities to our WWII liberty ships. I am going to have three of the five hatches open with loading scenes in the holds below. I'm constructing the hull from balsa, using a flat base with bulkheads to provide the shape, then covering the hull with sheet and plank strips. Once the hull is complete, I will cut the decks from sheet styrene, install them, and paint the completed hull assembly. From there it's a matter of building the superstructure and deck details in place, working from one end to the other. As of day four on the project, I have the hull built up and am already wrapping the side sheeting. Working with balsa raises a lot of technique questions that I have not encountered before. I have learned that Elmer's yellow wood glue provides sturdy bonds and dries fairly quickly. I'll probably have to use some kind of contact cement to attach the styrene decks to the balsa hull assembly, but after that I can use plastic cements for the topside work. I also need to figure out the best way to fill wood gaps, seal the grain, and provide a smooth impervious finish for painting. If there is any grain whatsoever, it won't look like steel! By the way, the hull is constructed from the waterline up. I plan to place a template of the hull base on the layout when I construct "water" so there will be a slight recess in the surface to create the appearance that the ship is in the water, not sitting on top of it. Once again I'm reminded that no matter how long you are in this hobby, you constantly face new challenges that require new learning and skills. Right now I'm still figuring things out as I go, and I'm sure I'll face many more puzzles as the project goes forward, but I'm having a blast! I will bring the project to the November meeting and show you the progress.

Don't forget that the November 30 meeting is the deadline for Christmas Party reservations. The event date is Friday, December 14, and the location is the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg. We will have an excellent meal (menu choices can be made at the November meeting) and enjoy our annual Chinese Auction. So remember the date, be at the November meeting, and sign up!

I want to send all of you and your families the best of Thankgiving wishes, with hope that your household is filled with peace and appreciation for all we are blessed with in this country. I'm looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting on November 30 at Proclaim FM.

See ya on down the line,

Dave McMullian,

From the Editors Desk

cab Recently my wife tagged me in facebook with some newspaper articles that looked like they were going to be about the railroad line that runs through Port Clinton, and why it was elevated from street level. I hoped they might be interesting enough to put into the train order. I got them organized so I could read them (facebook had them as images that were not that easy to read), and got comfortable expecting to read some interesting articles about the arguments for and against raising the railroad. Wow, was I surprised, and did not realize how news reporting has changed so much since the late 1800's/early 1900's. The articles ended up been about accidents that had happened in Port Clinton with pedestrians crossing the railroad tracks. It was interesting how the whole situation was laid out in each article. It was like the reporter interviewed the casualties as they were going about their day, and then witnessed the whole incident. With the aftermarth no details were spared, who needs horror movies, just read old newspaper articles.

Mentioning Facebook, I have taken our division into the 21st Century and created a group on Facebook. If you have a facebook account look for Black Swamp (Division One) NCR NMRA. It is a work in progress so there is not much on it yet. But that does not mean you should not join the group. We will be adding more content, and using it to help promote our 2020 convention.

Paul Marsden,

Clinic Corner

Now for something a little different. I was not able to attend the October meeting but I heard it was a fun and informative meeting. I have decided that going forward I am not going to talk about all of the next meeting's clinics and learning opportunities for the next meeting but will just highlight one or two. I am going to challenge our membership to start sharing more and I will start with myself with 2 challenges.

Truth be told I have never built a true "craftsman's kit". I have built a laser kit wood tower about 10 years ago but nothing else. I had the chance to visit several layouts at the Lansing Regional convention that had some really well done kit buildings and I have decided that I want to learn those skills, especially since I have a couple of them sitting on my "To be built" shelf. I am very hesitant to just build one of them without developing all of the skills and have a disaster so I am going teach myself the needed skills. There are so many different manufacturers of really nice craftsman kits and Dave Capron MMR (Master Model Railroader) gave an excellent clinic on tips for building craftsman kits at the Lansing convention so I have a starting point. I am going to take Mr. Capron's advice and start with a beginners kit. I have one of Bar Mill's very inexpensive starter kits (about $10 or $12 I believe) that I am going to start with. And then I am going to build progressively larger and more detailed kits. I will be sharing my progress every meeting with the division including my triumphs and my failures and will include some pictures for the train order. I have not build anything but bench work and track work for several years so building these kits will give me a break from that occasionally.

My second challenge for myself is to share my layout progress every meeting with all of you. Agreeing to have my layout open for the October 20th division open house really lit a fire under me to make progress on the layout whenever I could. As of August 1st this year I did not have even one foot of bench work up so I had roughly 2 and 1/2 months to get to the point my layout was at on October 20th for the open house. And yes, I did lay 3 feet of track that Saturday morning to have the town of New London operational! I'm hoping this challenge will keep me moving forward at a good pace as I have a goal of having all of the track down and operational for the regional convention in October of 2020 as well as a good amount of scenery. I'm hoping that at least some of you will challenge yourselves to share something like this with division each meeting. It is one way we can all learn from each other and will also motivate us to stay active and get something done.

The main clinic for the November meeting will be a clinic on DCC systems with a panel of people who have been using a DCC system on their layouts. So everyone speaking or answering questions will have actual experience with owning and using a DCC system. This is the time for you to ask any questions you may have about DCC systems.

I hope everyone has a really nice Thanksgiving. See you at the November meeting!

Norm Cattell,
Assistant Superintendent

Doug Hickman Cartoon

American Elm Trees

Note From Editor: I was impressed seeing the pictures of Jim Donovan's layout at our last meeting, the attention to detail was amazing. Here is how he created his trees.

For great looking trees look no further than your garden. A perennial growing locally (zone 3 to zone 8 for you gardeners), called Sedum Autumn Joy is blooming and will be ready to harvest by November. In HO scale the resulting seed pods can be cleaned and look like the American Elm. They are 25 - 60 feet in HO height with a trunk diameter from 1-3 feet. Here is a picture of an actual American Elm in winter and the dried Autumn Joy with seed pods removed:

Figure 1. Real American Elm Tree in Winter.
Figure 2. Autumn Joy with Seed Pods Removed.

Woodland Scenics offers a natural armature tree product that looks better then average, retail cost about $9.00 for a dozen 'trees'. The stem structure looks something like Autumn Joy but with a little effort we can make a much better tree for our layouts.

The method of converting this flower into an elm tree follows the 'how to' video provided by Luke Town. Click here to watch it. He calls it five minute trees but expect to take perhaps twice as long due to preparing the Autumn Joy cutting for use. Watch this video for the method of making the tree, it is only a couple of minutes long. What I will describe is using his method to achieve even better looking trees using Autumn Joy.

Figure 3. Autumn Joy beginning to change color and fully bloom.

This photo shows Autumn Joy growing near our driveway. If you do not have it in your yard a neighbor most likely does. Further information on the plant can be found at here

You want to let the flower go to seed and dry out before cutting. By November this will have happened. Put them in a bag and leave in the garage until you are ready to make trees so bugs don't hop a ride into the house. They will look like this when cut and dried:

Figure 4. Autumn Joy cuttings with Seed Pods.

Following the Luke Town video, I first prune the seed pods from the stem. Using angled tweezers works great. Put the stalk upside down over a waste can. Use the tweezer to comb through the stalk towards the trash can. Don't pull hard or you will break the branches off as well as the seed pods.

Figure 5. Combing Seed Pods Off with Stem with Angled Tweezers.
Figure 6. Stem after dipped in India Ink and Alchol wash.

At this point they now look like figure 2.

You could now add the leaves to the branches per the video but for more realism dip the stems into an India ink/ alcohol mix. I used a mix consisting of 1/4 cup 91% isopropyl alcohol with 10 drops of Bombay black India Ink added. I let the stem stay in the solution for about two minutes. The following picture shows a stem before the A/I wash and one after. After the wash the trunk shows more detail and has a slightly more darker 'bark' look to it.

Figure 7. Foreground Tree has just Woodland Scenics course turf for leafs.

Again following the video I use Woodland Scenics' Course Turf but only as the first application of 'leaves'. It provides a nice foundation. If you wish you can continue with just this product (medium or dark green works fine). You will end up with a tree that looks much like this:

For an even better looking tree do a further application but this time with Scenic Express Super Leaf material. I first used the medium summer green color. Spray the tree again and then sprinkle the leaf material onto the tree while holding it over the tub filled with the super leaf material. Do not dip the tree in the material or you will mix the Woodlands product and Express product in the tub.

Next do a quick third spray and sprinkle a second tone of Super Leafs (I used olive Super Leafs) all around the branches (not the trunk) to add a third layer of color to the tree. Finally, I lightly sprayed once again and added a very gentle sprinkling of yellow Scenic Express Super Leaf on only the top to give the look of the sun hitting the tree. Let the tree dry completely then spray the tree with Dullcote to protect and seal it the tree. Here you will see the results. I have put the finished tree on my layout next to a modified Campbell Supply Store I am currently working on along with a Preiser six foot scale figure so you can see how it looks compared to surroundings and how it compares to a real Elm Tree:

Figure 8 & 9. Finished Tree Next to Building with 6ft man underneath
Figure 9.
Figure 10. Real American Elms

Harvest the flowers in November and make as many trees as you want during the winter. Enjoy.

Jim Donovan

2018 Christmas Party Menu

Choose 1 @ $15 per person :

BEEF Homestyle Pot Roast
CHICKEN Chicken Cordon Bleu
FISH Herb Crusted Tilapia

All meals include:

  • Betty's Salad
  • Baked Potato
  • Vegetable Blend
  • Rolls and Butter
  • Coffee, Hot Tea, Iced Tea, Lemonade
  • Sherbert or Ice Cream


2018-2019 Schedule

28th September, 2018
26th October, 2018
30th November, 2018
14th December, 2018
2nd February, 2019
22nd February, 2019
22nd March, 2019
26th April, 2019
All Meetings start at 7pm

Save the Date

On Friday December 14, the Black Swamp Division will celebrate our annual Christmas Party
Need to know where we meet? Click here for the address and a map
Division One is a 100% NMRA membership organization. For insurance purposes, you are required to be a member of NMRA. Membership in NMRA grants you membership in both the North Central Region and Division One.