Category Archives: pictures – structures

Yup…still here…

I could say that it has been a hard six months, but my missionary family in Nepal and my immediate family in Baltimore might beg to differ.

I had a career move go bad back in October, leaving me to work at the bottom rung in a trade where I used to be the top dog. I literally wept when I realized for the first time that I was back on 24/7 emergency call once again, a duty that never failed to remind me that it came with an 80 mile round trip commute, and at the oddest hours one could want to work, and in a part of town not known for its hospitality at those hours. The physical demands were taking their toll as well, upwards of 4 hours of my day was just the commute, not including any emergency calls. I put 10000+ miles on our only vehicle in 4 months, one that has way too many miles on it already.

As of yesterday, I no longer work there. When my employer found out that I was still scouting another job back in February (read that: a much shorter commute), the hunt for my replacement was on, with me staying around until they found one, or until I found a new job. They won that race, as I am currently still looking for work.

The whole thing has left me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted to a point I have never been before. My well of tears has run dry, and any desire for the pulpit has been thoroughly beaten out of me–I don’t even want to do a Sunday School class, and my Bible reading and study times are at the barest minimum at the moment.

These are by no means complaints or murmurings, they are just an explanation of where I’ve been these last six months. I’m still modeling, just not at the pace I used to, and that wasn’t a lot then. I’ll just post the bigger projects from the last 6 months for now, in the hopes I can chronicle them individually and in more detail later, should time permit…

I was given a Bachmann 4-4-0 “Jupiter” with a drive that was too damaged and too difficult repair, but that was cosmetically complete. I turned it into a flat car load, after removing the motor and sheathing in the fuel bunker. Once done, I chained it down after building some lathing for it on the flat car decks…

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I received a batch of slightly damaged cars that I repaired with various items, including bits of wire, scale lumber, and…toothpicks…

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…this old Revell Beano crummy was a nice rescue…

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I am still converting toy diecast into reasonably accurate models as well. This Majorette RV was a simple fix with some scrap wheels from long lost HO trucks…

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This Kibri truck kit was purchased second hand, only to find during its assembly that the wheels were missing. Wheels salvaged off of Reader’s Digest fire trucks fixed that in short order…

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Several kits were finished, including this Roundhouse kit from a series made in memory of John Allen’s famed Gorre & Daphetid R.R….

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…and this old Comet kit from the ’40s of an outside braced auto parts box car, complete with a set of Baker couplers, the type John Allen used on his road. I plan on building a short consist using these couplers and other 45+ year old kits I have on hand…

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I did some flat car loads…finally.

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Lastly, I started a Fine Scale Miniatures kit, “Water tank and tool shed #125”, one of 6 FSM kits I recently purchased from a fellow modeler’s estate. After informing the executor of the estate of the value of these, he still wanted to sell them to me at an excellent bargain, feeling that that is what his friend and his friend’s widow would have wanted, especially seeing how knowledgeable I was on their history and intricacy. I well remember slavering over the color ads as a teenager, and now I will likely be kept occupied with them for some time to come…

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With that, I bid you all God’s greatest blessings, grace and peace found only in Christ, may your hope be only in His Cross, and may this only ever be your hobby and not an unholy affection.

UPDATED: Revell N scale Diesel Engine House, kit #N2805…


Something that escaped my noticed when I examined the building…it was in fact, offered by Arnold Rapido, not Revell…

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What I did not know at the time was that Rapido and Revell had joined forces, effectively pushing out Rapido’s stateside importer, Charles Mertzbach, who went on to introduce the Charmerz HO scale train line. The engine house was reintroduced in 1969 under the Revell name with more roofing detail…and…

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…without the automatic door feature evidenced in the Rapido issue of the model. Note the elements necessary to raise the doors with some under the track type mechanism shown on the doors and in the center aisle.

Charmerz HO scale rolling stock ad, November 1971…

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Revell N scale Diesel Engine House, kit #N2805…


I’ve always enjoyed stumbling upon “ancient” model railroading…this piece dates back to the late ’60s, when N scale was in its infancy as a commercial enterprise.

Scaling out at just over 73′, it can barely handle servicing two family minivans, much less two full size diesel growlers. Ahhh….but such was model railroading back then, when folks were content to pull three boxcars into a siding to an “industry” that was hardly big enough to fill a UPS truck every day, much less produce three full railroad carloads of goods.

I happened upon the original America’s Hobby Center ad where this kit was featured for $3.98 back in 1969…

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Life-Like KFC restaurant…


The simplest way to include your family into your hobby is to install things they can relate to. My beloved worked at one of these when she was in high school. This one was a freebie available for the price of postage…

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I have a scan of the original peel-and-stick graphics that I will dress it up with later.

—And yes, I’m even at this moment trying to work in a way to make that bucket rotate…

Life-Like Tracksiders “Bob’s Dumping Station”…


…those who know me can appreciate why I want one…

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…from an Ebay pic…

From Donald Miller’s blog…

Recently I started reading the New Testament again. My friend Ron Frost recommends reading the Bible all the way through, then reading it again, and then again, until you die. So I am taking his advice. And I’m enjoying it. I didn’t start in Genesis this time, I started in Matthew, and so read the account of the Birth of Christ.

Each time I read the Bible I’m taken aback by how much we dilute the power of its stories with sentimentalism. The story of Noah and his Ark has been reduced to a Children’s story (a God-orchestrated massacre of all humanity) and the story of the Birth of Christ into a regal pageant complete with gifts and robed choirs of angels (A poor virgin and her new husband delivering a baby in a manger of a stable. Followed by an angry king slaughtering all children under two years old to try to kill off the Messiah.)

What I like about the Bible is it doesn’t clean up history. It isn’t a clean book, and God does not always look good (from our finite perspective) and yet it doesn’t hide or sell or bait and switch, it just tells the truth.

One of the problems with sentimentalizing the text is that we begin to sentimentalize our actual lives. We begin to think the Christian life should be free of hardship. We think God is going to navigate us around the hard things. But there is really nothing in scripture that should lead us to believe this. What God offers, instead, is to be with us, to not abandon us, even in the midst of our hardship.

Laying in bed this morning I was thinking about a difficult thing I have to do. It’s nothing compared to some of the stuff you might be dealing with, just a big job I have to complete. I remembered the scripture from Philippians 4: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I’ve said that verse to myself a thousand times, I am sure. But laying there, I realized something the verse didn’t say. It didn’t say “I can do all things through Christ who makes it easy.”

This paradigm shift is important because if we think God is going to take away our troubles, we assume there is something wrong with us if He doesn’t. We assume we did something bad, or that God doesn’t like us, or perhaps even God Himself isn’t good. To be sure, some of the hardships in our lives happen because we made bad decisions, but even in this we are given the grace of a God who is willing to discipline us in love and restore us. A careful understanding of Biblical stories reveals every hero goes through difficult trouble. Nobody is spared.

In an age where we are taught through commercialism there should be no struggles in life that the purchasing of a product won’t relieve, the Bible is incompatible. But the age of commercialism has let us down. Many have found their stuff has made life more meaningless. What we’ve forgotten is that every great story has to involve a difficult ambition, and must then travel through the land of conflict. The best stories have their protagonist wondering if they are going to make it. What scripture teaches us, then, is that God will be with us in that place, and will give us the strength to endure a hard thing.

Here’s to the courage to face conflict, the bonding benefit of hardships, and to living better stories.

Shirt card board models…


Years ago when I was a child, our Christmas garden featured a building my father had constructed using cardboard, balsa and kitty litter as a stone facade. Shortly after I got married, my beloved and I continued with that low budget idea on our garden…I being the builder, she following with paint…

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…most were done with a heavy card that I was given a box of, using lighter gauges of shirt box cardboard and the wooden sticks from large kitchen matches. My beloved would paint them with inexpensive craft paints. The windows were fitted with hand drawn and colored decor on typewriter paper.

Moving to another level…


…so I’ll be passing on some of my model work to those who would have a better home for it.

This is an HO scale light tower I built, of the kind used to guide ships into harbor since the 60s. It is kitbashed and features a working flasher. Just join the Model Train Forum and be a part of our “Random Acts of Kindness/Pass It Forward Auction” thread to get a shot at it…

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