Herb was helping Ralph detail the dusty streets of his O scale 1880s era western town when he noticed an O scale 3-legged German Shepherd entering the town saloon. What was even more remarkable was the holster & Colt 45 the dog was wearing. Herb asked Ralph "What's up with the dog & the six-shooter?" Ralph replied in his West Texas drawl, "Wall, he's looken fer the hombre that shot his paw."
The Talking Dog
While attending the 29th National Narrow Gauge Convention in Colorado Springs we were making the rounds of the local layout tours. We were intrigued by the most remote layout, past Cotopaxi, and up ten miles of first gravel, then deeply rutted dirt road. We were even more intrigued by the sign at the door, "Talking Dog For Sale". As we were greeted by the modeler, a hermit with a long scraggly beard, we asked about this alleged talking dog. He said it wasn't an actual dog, rather an O scale model dog he had bought while traveling in the boondocks near Hickory, Carolina. "Go ahead, ask him something, he is on the porch on the scale model of my cabin". Sure enough, here is an O scale hound dog, and when we asked what his story was, he moved, then spoke:
"Well, I started talking as a young pup, and as word got out, the government became interested, and soon enough, the CIA came around. They wanted to engage my services to spy on enemies of the US. Not only did it pay well, plenty of money, and all the bones I wanted, but they appealed to my sense of patriotism. So, I was assigned to be placed on the model railroads of all these world figures, listen in & report back, I covered Castro, Arafat, Khadafy, Sadaam Hussein, you name them, I passed along what they said, their never suspecting that an O scale dog could talk. After years of this, I retired, and was put into an O scale witness protection program, and retired to this very out of the way layout."
Astonished, we went to the modeler & inquired as to the price.
"$2, he replied. Only $2? we said? Yep. Why so cheap? Well, that dog is a chronic liar, none of what he said ever happened".
John Allen & Ray Charles Modeling Challenge
Ray Charles came to hear about John Allen's famous model railroad in Monterey, California, and headed there to experience the fabulous layout. Although blind, Ray appreciated the sounds & descriptions of the incredible artistic creation. Suddenly, while talking with John on the porch, Ray challenged John to a model-building duel. Ray bet John a token dollar that he could build a better model structure than John. On hearing this, John said, "You are on! Just name the place & time." Ray said, "Right here, on your back porch, midnight tonight!"
How They'd Like to Go
The three senior members of the local model railroad club were several hours into hand laid track on the latest branch line of their layout. The repetitive nature of the task, while fulfilling, did lend to some thoughtful discussion. One modeler asked the other two how they would like to go when that time came. One replied, "I'd like you fellas to find me on the floor, a smile on my face, still clutching the DCC controller powering my favorite locomotive." The second thought for a spell, and said, "Well, I'd like to be found slumped over my workbench having just completed. that model of Chicago's Union Station I started twenty years ago."
Having said that, the two fellas asked the first how he'd like to leave this world. "Well, I'd like just to go peacably in my sleep like my Granpa, not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car."
Model Railroad Store Hours
The owner of our local model railroad hobby shop was awakened by one of his better customers asking what time the store opened. "Ten AM, replied the proprietor, but why are you calling me in the middle of the night?" "Not until ten AM?" He replied, clearly disappointed. "Yes, ten AM, but why would you want to get in before ten AM? The customer replied, "I don't want to get in, I want to get out!"
Model Railroad Suffrage
The local chapter of the Women's Liberation Society had succeded with nearly every organization in town, but the local model railroad club remained 100% male. At their latest meeting, they decided to try a new tactic. They decided to make their move by having the two most attractive, blond young women apply for membership.
The railroad club was resistant as usual to female members, but were overcome with just how attractive these women were. So they decided to give it a try, imagining how much the club would be livened up by two gorgeous examples of the fair sex.
They decided to proceed by first giving an overview and tour of the club facilities. In fact, there was a lot of competition as to just who would be conducting this tour.
As the women were shown around, they were most impressed by the realism in the railroads, stowns, scenery, and operation of the layout. They were particularly impressed with the size. It was a labyrinth of passways, blind alleys etc., in fact, the two women got seperated and did not know where the other was.
One woman ended up in the viewing area, where the public observed the layout. This was near the entrance, and now she knew exactly where she was. Just then, she spotted the other woman, quite near the rear of the layout, just in front of the large painted backdrop.
The woman in the rear called out, how do I get back to the other side? The woman in front answered, "You are on the other side!
Short Memorial Speech
The two senior members of the local model railroad club were far into the evening hand laying track, driving hundreds of spikes. the two old friends had plenty of time for philosophical thought & discussion. "Herb, when you are at your memorial lying there with the preacher talking about you, what words would you most like him to be saying?" Ralph thought only a fraction of a second, and replied "He Moved!!!"
Harder Than Moving a Mountain
In the wee hours of the morning Alfred was just completing the third and largest trestle of his HOn3 layout, when the room was enveloped in a dazzling yet suprisingly soothing white light. At once stunned yet amazingly serene, he was greeted by a deep voice bidding him "Good morning!". "Good morning indeed", Alfred replied, "but who are you?" The voice replied "I am the creator of all things, master of the universe, the force of goodness throughout all eternity!" "You mean you are God?" said an astonished Alfred. "Some call be by that name. I am here with a purpose. I've been most impressed by your work, such exquisite beauty, such attention to the most minute detail. It is, in fact, the finest I have observed since I created heaven and earth. In light of that, I've decided to grant you a single wish." "A wish?" said Alfred. "Yes", was the reply, "Pick something, anything really..." "I am truly honored, and overwhelmed. But, in all the time I've spent modeling, there has been a recurring desire, a wish for realism beyond that I've been able to achieve". "What would that be?", said the voice known as God. "With all due respect," Alfred replied, "I would like the trees and bushes and grasses on my layout to be living, growing things. I would like the people and animals to come alive, to speak, to live the lives I've chosen for them to depict. I'd like real water to flow from the mountains, to evaporate into clouds, and fall to the ground as rain and snow in lightning storms. I'd like to burn real wood in my locomotives and have them run on live steam. Could this be my wish?" After a long pause, the creator, that force of goodness, master of all things said "Of course, all is within the realm, but the last time I undertook such an ambitious venture, it took six days. As it happens, I've chosen other modelers to visit and extend similar offers. Is there perhaps an alternative wish I could grant for you?"
Alfred thought of his wife, and all the long evenings they spent apart as he created his layout, and said "Well, if you could somehow bring my wife to see the value and joy in creating my layout, such that she would work shoulder to shoulder to me, and never again think that $1500 for yet another brass locomotive was a waste of money."
God thought for a few seconds, and said "Just how often would you want it to rain on your layout?"
Our HOn3 Layout
Modeler's Relationship Ad
An ad appeared in the current issue of all the model railroading magazines, which read:
Seeking woman for permanent relationship, marriage and a life of bliss together. Must be skilled in cooking, cleaning, laundry, sewing, DCC wiring, track laying, rock casting, model tree construction, airbrushing, scratch-building structures, and locomotive repair. Also must own extensive collection of vintage brass locomotives. Please send photo of brass locomotive collection.
Our Scratch Built Bar
Modeling Noah's Ark
Michael built model railroads for fifty years. Having mastered all aspects of model railroading, he wanted to apply his skills to something different. The resulting project became his tour de force, and that, was a scale model with complete detailing of Noah's Ark!
Well, the ark was a huge project, stretching his model railroading skills somewhat, but turned out to be a museum quality masterwork! But what really tested his skill was the modeling of all the pairs of animals. Few were available, so he became adept at RTV Silicone castings, and painted them so realistically that in photos taken from just a little ways back, they could be mistaken for real animals!
But he didn't stop there. What really burned Michael's midnight oil was the DCC recodings of all the voicings of the magnificent creatures he had created.
He became so enamored with the project that he personalized, then humanized the animals. What really suprised him was when the animals began to move about the deck, they had actually achieved animation on their own! And their voicings took on human diction!He had trouble hearing what they said, so he honed in, leaned in close, as he noticed the two lions talking to Noah. Finally Michael heard the male lion tell Noah, "Noah, you need two more Gazelles..."
Pine Hill Curve~Our Layout
Papa bear looks over our layout from aspen knoll, near the hiking trail. There is a sign, however, warning hikers that they are entering bear country. They are advised to wear bells so as to alert the bears to their presence, and to carry pepper spray should there be a confrontation. Additionally, they are advised to learn what types of bears are present by observing the nature of bear scat. Black bear scat usually contains nut, berries & grey squirrel fur. Grizzly bear scat contains bells, and smells like pepper...