Trolleys in cardstock and the first coffee today

The days have been really busy lately and I haven’t had much time to think about the hobby. I have been stealing minutes here and there to at least watch some short Youtube videos on train things that catch my interest. I’ve been sharing a few of those videos on here and some are likely even ones that I’ve posted before. Early this morning while enjoying my first coffee I watched a video created by the Orange Empire Museum. The video was an interview with Bill Everett and included some really beautiful footage of his O scale trolley layout. I hadn’t thought of this layout in a long time but seeing the models and some familiar scenes reminded me of the first time I’d seen photos of it in an old copy of Model Railroader magazine. I can’t recall the issue’s date but it would have been from the mid-1980’s. I was still fairly young but already deep into the hobby of building model trains. I’ve always harboured a love of trolleys and spent a lot of time reading and re-reading the article and was so captivated by the fact that Mr. Everett built most of his enormous trolley fleet from simple things like cardstock and wood. Being young and of very limited means I too built everything I had from those same materials. I’ll admit that my models were fun to build but never really reached the level of fidelity that Mr. Everett’s did and after a while I got frustrated and slowly started to admit defeat. I think I’m a pretty decent model builder and I’ve even finished some that took some awards at local model railway shows so not being able to finish a roof, well, it gets to me and perhaps a lot more than it should.

Watching the Youtube video this morning I realised I wanted to learn more about how Mr. Everett built his models. He seems to have the process down to a set of steps that really works for him. The choice of media for him is reflective of the time period when he started building models so I assume that perhaps there might be a handy guide out there, or at least some nice magazine articles. I thought I’d start searching for something by folks like Bill Clouser or the Walthers folks. I found a lot of freight car building articles but so far none on building a trolley. I’m particularly looking for one that really gets “into the weeds” of construction and covers the things that really frustrate me. Highest on that list is learning to deal with the fact that I just can’t make a decent clerestory roof. Those compound curves just get the best of me every time and there’s no way I’ll ever finish a model of a decent Brill semi-convertible or other classic Canadian-friendly streetcar without learning to deal with this issue.

Maybe you’re reading this and it triggers a memory of an article you once saw in a fifties-era issue of Model Railroader or a similar magazine. Drop me a line or leave a comment below if you’ve got a suggestion. Speaking of suggestions, we’re still knee deep into the house hunt with little to show for our efforts so far. Spring is around the corner and that’s the traditional high season in Charlottetown’s real estate market. We’re looking for a early-20th century home in the downtown core (Charlottetown). If you have one and are thinking of selling up or maybe you have a neighbour who is – well, we might be interested. Ladies and gentlemen, bring us your Craftsman homes…




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