Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hmmmm.....What to do?

Yesterday we had our first session in an instructional series on by Ian Holmes on how to build a micro layout from start to finish. The session was held at the Princeton Depot. Ian talked about his past modeling and what has inspired him to keep modeling small layouts. He also instructed us on areas to find inspiration and of the possibilities of micros. It was very interesting and highly motivating. However I was left with one major problem. What is my layout going to be about? I found some great mining ideas in books. The DM&IR has allot of great spots to model. I am also vary fond of logging operations. I really enjoy all the hand made equipment and how the logging roads did what ever they had to do to get the job done. There are tons of other options that would be allot of fun but I am sure that it will be one of these two subjects. What ever i decide to model, it has to fit some criteria. The layout has to be under 4 sf., easily portable, light weight, it has to have action to the scene, HO scale, I would like it to be in a fall setting, I want it to run hands off, light track work, steam era (shay or small rod loco). I will put some thought into this and see what comes out of it.

Shifting Gears

As you have seen I have not been on my blog much lately. I have been vary preoccupied with life for some time. I have made the decision to close down the hobby store, sell our home and most likely move. This decision comes mostly from the desire I have to get into a different line of work and the decision to start a new business. To get right to the point, this blog is going to shift gears and head away from being a blog for my business and instead toward a true arcive of what I am doing with all of my hobbies. So mabe I should list all of my current hobbies. I enjoy gaming and have been painting my Warhammer "Empire" army for about 7 years, hopefully I will get them all painted before I am to old to see them. I currently am building an O scale 4 x 8 layout for fellow that i used to work with. I have not done much with this layout in about a year however I need to get going on it so that I can get it to him before I move. I also enjoy computer gaming, this is the biggest black hole for time I have ever known. You can sit down to play a game and it seems the in a blink of an eye 5 hours are gone. Finally, as of yesterday I have decided to start a micro layout due to the inspireing teachings of Ian Holms. I look forward to getting going on this layout ASAP. I just wanted to let you all know where life is right now and what I am up to.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting beyond the train set

I enjoy watching trains run around a track as much as any child. However, as I increase my skills and learn what things can be done I become increasingly less interested in a oval of track nailed to a piece of plywood with a few toys running around it. I recently was vending at a train show when I noticed that there was a small "Micro Layout" near my booth. It was drawing an amazing amount of attention. I saw people look at a layout that was less than 4 square feet total for over an hour. This layout was top notch don't get me wrong, but I was amazed at the response it was getting from visitors. This got me talking to the creator (Ian) of the layout about doing some modeling classes. He was interested in the idea and we talked about some possibilities. With that all said I am happy to say that we will soon be launching a hands on modeling series called "Getting beyond the train set". This series will be taught by Ian (if he agrees to it, PLEASE) it will most likely be Saturdays and in the class we will teach some folks to build a "Micro Layout" like Wingett's recycling (pictured above) from concept to operation in around 8 sessions for 100 dollars or less. There will be no charge for the class other than we will ask that you purchase your products from our store. So if you are interested in this how to series contact us at (763) 856-2140 and we will get you on the list.

The opening

On December, 19th we opened the doors of our new store to the public. It was a slow day (due to no advertising) but an exciting one for me. I chose not to advertise a Grand Opening due to the uncertainties of the first day. Things like forgetting to order bags for checkout. The store is small and the shelves are not as loaded as I would like to see but these things will improve as we learn more and grow the business. We want the store to be a place that people feel comfortable and want to hang around, drink some coffee and work on models. As I began to set up the store I realized I had greatly under estimated the amount of time it would take to set up all the shelves, decide where to place all the product and price it. So while I had planned to have it all ready to go for the first day, I did not and was still setting up when the doors opened and 10 a.m. It made little difference to anyone that showed up and I even put one to work (Thanks, Ian) helping me set up shelves. All in all the first day was a success in my eyes and gaves me great excitement about the future.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

One day I was searching Google for some pictures of the DM&IR R.R.(Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range). I was having some success but I hit the jackpot when I found This site is amazing! There is thousands of photos of each railroad. They have a rule that you can only post photos that you have taken. The photos are categorized in many ways, you can perform searches as general as most popular or as detailed as a locomotives number. I especially like looking at the Peoples choice photos. Some of these are amazing. The author of the post usually writes a few words about the photo and where and when it was taken. I find this site to be a great resource for modeling. The photos can show you what the color of trees are in British Columbia in October for example. I also like to look at the derailments category. It really amazes me how they can even clean up some of those. I use this site mainly to find backgrounds for my computer. All being said have spent many hours looking at the photos on this site and it never ceases to amaze me. Check it out if you dare. Warning! this site is addictive.


After some talking with my Senior editor (wife) she advised me to have our first post include some information about what I vision for this Blog. With that in mind I had to do some thinking about what my vision was. I would like this blog to serve multiple purposes. First, I want family, friends and customers to read about, and see photos of what I am currently up to with my hobbies and our store. Second, I want to archive my progress on my hobbies. Third, I want to promote our hobby store and would like to linking this blog to the store website (not yet done) and show product reviews and tests.