The Mary Street bridge disaster

For years, foamcore mockup buildings have helped tell the story of Pembroke; even though they’re plain white, lay visitors can immediately understand that this is a model of a town, and begin to appreciate what I’m aiming for. I’ve used them to understand and modify massing and composition, which should help to avoid waste down the road when I start building the models. These are the well-known uses of mockups. I’ve just discovered another: identifying foreground models that will get broken.

The real bridge across the Muskrat at Mary Street (Alfred Street to the east), was supposed to be a temporary detour during the construction of the new Pembroke Street bridge: it was light and wooden, and the model will be fragile. Fortunately the current model is happily robust because while I was working on the two turnouts behind, the giant Elbow of God came down and smote the whole structure far downstream.

Being close to the front of the layout, smoting will be a regular occurence. We can expect the Elbow of God to come forth again during track cleaning, and even re-railing a car could lead to an appearance of the equally dangerous Wrist of God. Then there is the corner of the bridge closest to the edge, which has already encountered the devastating Shoulder of God.

Essentially, if it is to survive, the final model will have to be removable, and able to cushion a careless knock without damage. I’m glad I found this before investing time into the model. Those scraps of foamcore have paid for themselves.

In related news, here, mostly for Rob, is a short video of 622 on her trials.

6 thoughts on “The Mary Street bridge disaster

  1. You know how to catch attention with a lead photo! I was seeing what looked a bit like a brass cartridge casing – or could it be the cylinders of a locomotive – floating on the surface of the river; a lone truck (pilot truck?) on the distant track. Disaster!

    But no, nothing so dramatic.

    Good to see the loco running now. Thanks! It doesn’t look especially diminutive in its natural setting.

    Couple of thoughts I’m curious: are you going to try a DCC decoder in there? And what is your process for fine tuning and breaking in?

    Also enjoyed this morning’s post on the drawing with the soldering irons. I have mine occupying place of pride right in the middle of my work space – and basically making it impossible to use the surface right now. So a bit of inspiration from you to clean it up. Thanks twice!


    1. Thanks Rob. I’m just glad the bridge was unoccupied when it was smitten.

      622 has a DCC decoder but unfortunately the chuff isn’t working. There was a lot of background noise due to other occupants of the train room so I cut the sound completely.

      As for fine tuning. I fear this is as good as 622 will get, save for whatever improvement results from more lubrication. However, I have learned quite a bit so 621 and 624 should be better.

      You’re welcome for soldering drawer idea.

      Happy modelling!

  2. For the bridge could it be held in place with magnets? A friend of mine has been buying these very tiny magnets lately and embedding them in the feet and arms of wargaming miniatures. I think they’d be brilliant for holding structures in place but still able to remove if necessary or by accident.

    1. Wait, does your friend embed them in the legs and arms to make the figures posable?

      Anyway, yes, magnets are exactly what I’m thinking too. The main thing is to realize this is a design criterion for the model. You can’t solve a problem unless you know it exists!

      1. It started with a unique storage solution. The wargaming miniatures are so delicate. To make them easier to transport he bought an old metal biscuit tin then embedded these tiny magnets in the feet or bases of the figures so they’d stick to the case and not move around and get damaged. Then, with smaller (still!) magnets embedded up higher to make it easier to exchange an arm holding nothing for an equal arm that might be holding a weapon so the figure can be used for more than one role in a game.

        I was thinking these small magnets would easily hide inside places like bridge pilings or even under structures to hold them in place but leave them still easily removable for maintenance.

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