Wednesday 27 April 2016

Visiting Bar Mills Scale Model Works - Part Two.

This Bar Mills logo is prominently displayed on one of the side walls of the "Strong station" facility.  You can definitely see the connection with the artwork displayed in the photo in George's earlier Bar Mills post. Mar. 31, 2016.

Commentary by Peter Mumby........Photos by George Dutka and Peter Mumby.

As you may have surmised from a number of George's April posts, we recently returned from a seven day jaunt that took us from Southwestern Ontario into the states of New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.  George is a veteran of many such forays into New England, so he knew exactly where he wanted to go.  He planned the route and the itinerary, made the reservations, and did all the driving - all I had to do was keep the accounts and keep my camera at the ready.  My kind of vacation!  The main pretext for the trip was a visit to the Fine Scale Model Railroader Expo at Danvers, Massachusetts.  However, our time at this event was scheduled to be only a little more than one full day, so there was lots of additional time to plan layout tours, hobby shop visits, and railfanning.

The first two days were devoted to covering the distance between home and our Danvers-area hotel.  This left lots of time for railfanning, so we followed the blue skies ( and George's GPS ) into rail sites at Syracuse, Utica, East Deerfield, Greenfield, and Bellows Falls.  Day three started early for us, as George had booked us in for a 9:00 tour of the Bar Mills facility at Bar Mills/Buxton Maine, a location due west of Portland, and at least a two hour drive from our hotel.  Bar Mills was not setting up this year in the vendors section of the show, and was offering these tours as an alternative.

The Bar Mills facility is located in a structure in the front yard of the property belonging to proprietor Art Fahie.  Not just any structure, mind you - this is a 1:1 scale replica of the former SRRL railway station at Strong, Me.  Of course, there is a small scale replica of this replica on display inside.  As soon as you enter the building you take in Art's remarkable Sn2 Wharf St. layout.  As we were the only participants in this particular tour, we were allowed ample time to take photographs.  As well as the layout, nearby shelves were filled with dioramas featuring many of the Bar Mills kits, past and present, in several scales.  These would have been featured in show displays.

Bar Mills fencing completed on large sheets. This project is one of the most time consuming sheeting to laser cut.
Once we had dragged ourselves away from the layout, we were taken on a conducted tour of the manufacturing facilities.  Art quickly turned us over to Lenny, a younger employee ( also a modeller ) who showed us the laser cutter in action, and demonstrated how the metal castings are reproduced.  We were then taken to the second floor where the various kits are packaged and readied for shipment.  Bar Mills kits have been produced in N, HO, S, and O scales.  In addition, kits are being produced at this facility for other manufacturers.

Our two-person tour group never felt rushed while we were there, and George was able to get a "factory direct" price on a BM kit from his wish list.  On the way out the door we were provided with clear directions on how to find the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum, our next port of call.  Altogether, this had been a very pleasant experience.

In this view, Lenny is cleaning the laser cutting machine prior to its next use.  Lots of scale wood is available on the shelves at the rear.

Here Lenny is removing castings from the metal sprue produced from the mould.  None of this excess metal will be wasted.  It will be re-melted for use in the next castings.  We each were given half of these castings to take home as souvenirs.  Now we just have to build a structure that needs five chimneys!

Upstairs the kits parts are assembled, boxed and sealed.

Perhaps your next Bar Mills kit will be packaged up here later in the day!

Another sheet with parts laid out for a kit.
Here George and Lenny are discussing the intricacies of kit construction (or was it Red Sox vs. Jays?) in the loft area.  The room behind the photographer is used to produce the "instructional videos" available on the Bar Mills website.

Here we see some of the dioramas featuring built-up versions of O scale BM kits.

Thursday 21 April 2016

The Red Fox Amusement Park - Gn15

The Red Fox Amusement Park train ride is a very creative use of On30" equipment in G scale.
One of the displays at Schomberg this year was the Red Fox layout which is G scale running on On30" track. Brain Fayle built it in 1:24 scale. It is built on a 2' by 3' pink foam with a light frame. The track plan is a loop with 3 sidings, two which are hidden. The history of the line began by servicing a gravel pit which became one serving an amusement park. The background roller coaster is the one in Vancouver based on an image Brian found online. This layout was featured in the Nov/Dec 2004 Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette. One can also view it on line at Dutka

This photo cropped was used in yesterdays White River Division wordless Wednesday. While photographing his layout Brain lifted off the roof so I could experience the whole layout. Some of the figures he had made for this layout but he assured me these two are stock item he purchase some years keep your eyes peeled for these two.

An overall look at the Red Fox layout. Brian is also an artist having painted many Ontario barn scenes over the years. Many of these barns are now gone. He did a great job painting the background roller coaster.

Monday 18 April 2016

Visiting Bar Mills Models - Part One

Peter and Art at the front door with a really nice mural behind them on the wall.
The Thursday before the Fine Scale Expo Peter Mumby and I booked a time slot for a tour of Bar Mills which was included in this years Expo. It was to be about an hour long but by the time we photogarphed the Sn2' layout it turned into nearly two hours. Here are a few views of what we saw that will be followed shortly with views from our tour of the plant...George Dutka

Peter getting a few shots of the Sn2' layout which is near the front door. A lot of the kit stock is found stored under the layout...kind of reminds me of all the stuff stored under mine which needs building.

Rusty Radiator diorama is a kit I have that still need building. An interesting set of  wall angles

Graves is a newer kit on display near a window. Art was very helpfull, pulling the blinds down.

The wall outside Art's office one can find a collection of original drawings used in Bar Mill ads and on their web site.

Art had two screens on the go all the time. At the moment he was working on a line of kits for another kit manufacturer.

All past and present kits are displayed on shelves all around the building.

Art holds up a kit in a larger scale that once was offered by Fine Scale Models...more to come in another post.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Schomberg Narrow Gauge Show - 11th Annual

Mt. Albert Scale Lumber was handing out flat car flooring as samples during the day. The O scale plaster castings are 4 for a dollar that I picked up from Schomberg Scale Models.
Yesterday was the annual Ontario Narrow Gauge Madness. A great group of narrow minded modelers showed up to take in narrow gauge in many scales. The models and modules are very creative to say the least. Peter Mumby and I hauled up a collection of our narrow gauge modeling to help fill a display table...the photos tell the story...more photos on my White River Division Blog...George Dutka

This was a real creative scene. On30" equipment was used to model a amusment park attraction. There is more to this layout than one can see...will explain later. The roller coaster in the background is a painted copy of one set up in the Vancouver area.

Mt. Albert Scale Lumber display of sheeting that was available for a great price.

One of the clinics Peter and I attended was how to make O scale trees out copper cable using solder on the base and furnace filter on top. Here Chris Creighton showing us how it is done.

A large scale operations.

Looking through the door at the Crowsnest display. The keys in the desk is also modeled.
Here we see my just completed On30 SR&RL flat car. I entered this in the rolling stock contest and won. Also won two awards for my O scale W&Q frt. house, best structure and the Mt. Albert Scale Lumber award. An unexpected haul of awards...but fun. Will cover this car in a future post.

Peter and my display table.
This engine won a award at the Kansas City National Narrow Gauge show a couple of years ago. Amazing engine. Each rivet was drilled and pounded in place. It was on the For Sale table.

Peter and I had lunch outside since it was a great sunny, warm day. Here we see one of the operating layouts that was sold at the show. I though it was a great deal for what the gentleman got...more on this one later.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum - Portland, Maine

After our visit to Bar Mills Peter and I headed over to the display of narrow gauge equipment along the waterfront in Portland, Maine. The museum is closed on this visit but I will be back for the fall convention to see the engines steaming...George Dutka

Here we see me standing aboard a combine along the waterfront of the Portland, Maine museum. We took a close look at the long string of coaches. Peter Mumby photo.

A SR&RL caboose is seen at the end of a long string of coaches.

Friday 8 April 2016

Bar Mills Scale Model - Strong Station

A model scratch built by Art Fahie of Bar Mills on display in his office.
While visiting Bar Mills, Art Fahie showed us a model he had built of the Strong station. To begin with Art has already built a full size model of the station which is the office and shop of Bar Mills. I believe he mentioned Banta Modelworks using his model as the prototype for their O scale model kit...George Dutka

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Year Four Begins

Off to Bar Mills tomorrow. I purchased this HO kit a few years ago...mine is still in the box but at some point it will come together...wonder what I will come away with this time around.
I had this post ready to go at the end of March for the beginning of year four of my bog, but my computer crapped out on us so here it is a week late...hope the rest of the year goes better.

Peter and I am currently in New Hampshire heading to Bar Mills tomorrow to tour their operation, then off to this years Model Railroad Expo near Boston the following three days. Looking forward to all that we will see. I guess the beginning of year four will be filling you in on what we saw once we make it home...stay tuned...George Dutka