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Version 5 of The CB&Q in Wyoming

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  • Member since
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  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
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Posted by selector on Thursday, February 17, 2022 6:48 PM

The fascia looks great, Mark.  I hope your op session is as good as you hope.  Nice gift of the hoop. Cool

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, February 19, 2022 12:50 AM

selector
The fascia looks great, Mark.  I hope your op session is as good as you hope.  Nice gift of the hoop

I'll second all of selector's comments!

Actually, I have to embellish selector's first comment - the fascia looks fantastic! It really focuses the eye on the track areas themselves and it makes the layout look so professional.

I'm wrong - your layout doesn't 'look' professional, it IS professional!!Bow

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, February 25, 2022 10:14 AM

Thanks, Crandell and Dave!

Unfortunately the ops session didn't happen as planned. My buddy caught a cold, so we've had to delay for a couple weeks. Instead I did a solo session, running the same trains we would have if he'd made it over. It's still going on actually - the CNW run to Hudson isn't complete yet, and I also have to break down two trains when they get back to Casper.

25 February 2022

It worked out okay, though - I used the manifests and switchlists generated for the session to test out Casper yard in a "real world" situation. I videoed the Casper work, and finally put together the Building Casper video episode about testing the yard. That was posted to YouTube last night:

A few days before the scheduled operations "shakedown," I added onto the skyboard at Riverton and Powder River. Those now extend all the way around the corner at the end of the wall, and end where the canyon scenery will climb to the ceiling. I've applied the first layer of plastic putty to the seams, but still have to sand that and then add the finish layer.

Since most of the industrial structures haven't been built yet, I added placeholder labels at their locations. Here's one example - Riverton (top) and Powder River below.

Thermopolis now looks like this:

A couple days ago, after I cleaned up the train room, I took this picture of the view down the Wind River Canyon aisleway. I am really looking forward to starting the canyon scenery! That will be the big "signature" (I hate that usage) scene on the layout. I'm torn between extended trackage east from Casper, west from Thermopolis onto the second peninsula, or starting canyon scenery. What a great quandry to have!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Thursday, March 3, 2022 5:39 AM

Pruitt
I am really looking forward to starting the canyon scenery!

It’s a pity that I’m not available to help out on that job, Mark.
A friend, to prove that you didn’t need much room for a model railway, built a series of switchbacks on layout that was about 10’ wide, 4’ tall and 18” deep. There was a lot of overhang but I sure enjoyed setting up the chicken wire, then laying the plaster soaked torn up cotton squares and carving the slapped on Plaster of Paris. His dry brushing really made it stand out, but unfortunately he moved soon after, so after the track and switches was removed, it was scrapped.
Did I mention the Mess??!Stick out tongue
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, March 3, 2022 10:05 PM

You're certainly welcome to drop by, Bear! I'm just a short(!) plane ride and then a few hours' drive away!

3 March 2022

I posted my latest layout update video today:

I followed that a few hours later with a short video of a train through Douglas, Wyoming:

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, March 3, 2022 11:42 PM

Hi Mark,

Lot's of progress on the layout! Well done.

I look forward to hearing about your first official operating session. You have certainly waited long enough for it.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 6:49 PM

Thanks, Dave!

9 March 2022

Well, it's past time to do some maintenance on my locomotives. All need lubrication, and a couple of the Mikes need some repair. On one, the trailing truck derails when running in reverse around a curve, and on the other the left side valve gear jams when running in reverse.

The problem is I have no cradle to hold the equipment while I work on it. I looked into buying one, and found prices ranging from about $9 for a simple bit of foam rubber from Micro Mark to $14.00 for a slightly fancier Walthers one to substantially more. That didn't include shipping, which doubled the cost of the Micro Mark cradle, and nearly doubled the cost of the Walthers one. Plus I would have to wait a week or so for it to arrive.

So I built my own, out of scrap materials I already had on hand. Took about 45 minutes, and I didn't have to spend a dime. Here's how I did it:

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, March 10, 2022 1:13 AM

Nice use of available materials Mark!

I just threw out my homemade engine cradle. I had built it out of foam packing material many years ago, and I hadn't used it for quite some time. Then, when I did try to use it, I realized that the foam was deteriorating rather badly, thus rendering the cradle useless. I have all the parts required to build your cradle. I'll have to get to it soon. Thanks for the idea.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, March 21, 2022 11:04 AM

22 March 2022

"It's been a few weeks - how about a layout update?" Smile

I'm glad I asked. Here's what's been happening.

Shortly after my last layout update video, I finally embedded Rocky Mountain Drilling into the ground, rahter than leaving it sit all cattywampus on top. Still have to add dirt around the foundation, but it looks a lot better than it did.

I did that now because I'm getting ready to extend the mainline east out of Casper, and this will be a longer reach after the extension.

I did some preventive maintenance on all but two of my steamers. They'll be done over the next few weeks. Here I am hard at work:

Since I was doing a lot of loco work anyway (PM, plus fixing issues with a couple of older BLI Mikados), I dug out an old (ca. 2010) Athearn Genesis Pacific I picked up slightly used at a train show a couple years ago. When I put it on the track after buying it, the motor spun but the unit didn't move. Cracked gear syndrome. I orded a gear from NWSL, then put both the gear and the loco away. Now it's time to get it running.

I took off the bottom cover plate, and sure enough the driver gear is cracked.

I disconnected the side frames and valve gear from the driver to remove it, then realized I have no way to pull the driver off to replace the gear! I ordered a Puller from NWSL (those guys are great! They have very useful things no one else does) and sat the loco aside to wait. Here's the driver all ready to be lifted out of the frame:

I took a photo at each step of the disassembly so I'll know where everything goes when I'm ready to reinstall the driver. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have another loco ready for the layout.

In between the loco work I continued layout construction. I installed and painted the skyboards for the Douglas area:

I also started (barely) on scenery between Powder River and Shobon west of Casper (Douglas is to the east). Impressive, yes? Big Smile

That was March 8th. I worked slowly on the area in between other things, and by the 20th it looked like this:

Still not much to look at, I know, but at least the foreground has some contours!

I can't do much more until I get the backdrop onto the skyboard, since the ground will rise up in some gentle hills behind the track. I also can't go farther west (to the right) until then. I have the backdrop finished and will be getting a test print today, to make sure it fits well with the end of the Casper backdrop.

Yesterday I built a bump out onto the Wind River Canyon benchwork. 

It protrudes into a wide open space, and doesn't impede people flow into the area at all. The idea is to allow me to model both sides of the canyon for a short distance. The entire width of the Wind River will be seen on the bump out, with a bit of the opposite canyon wall and highway 20 there as well. This is what I'm going for:

The postcard view is looking the opposite direction from the benchwork photo, but it conveys the idea.

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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, March 21, 2022 11:41 AM

Pruitt

22 March 2022

"It's been a few weeks - how about a layout update?" 

I'm glad I asked. 

Mark, thank you so much for answering the question that was on the tips of all of our tongues. We held back asking only because of our distraction by March Madness.

Another informative update. Well done. When can we expect another? Stick out tongue

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by NorthBrit on Monday, March 21, 2022 1:08 PM

Thanks for the update, Mark.    You certainly have been busy.

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, March 27, 2022 11:18 PM

Thanks for the comments Rich and Dave.

27 March 2022

Over the last week or so I've been busy preparing the backdrop behind Powder River and Shobon. I was about to start installing it when I realized I still had to paint the track. Don't want to be doing that once the backdrop's in!

First I had to do my least favorite thing in all of Model Railroading - install missing ties at rail joints.

While I was at it I just did everything that's been installed over the past few months, right up to but not including Thermopolis (I'll do it over the next week or two). What a pain! Even using a Dremel with a grinding wheel and a disc sander it was an onerous task! I prepped and installed what seemed like a thousand times but was probably only 50 or 60.

Here's the progression at the the Shobon Turnout.

Before installing ties:

After installing ties:

After painting and initial railhead cleaning:

I did the Riverton area and the rest of the line back to where it will disappear behind the scenes, plus all of Wind River Canyon right up to Thermopolis.

Now I can install the bckdrop behind Powder River and Shobon and start scenery right up to the canyon.

An update on the Athearn Pacific - I replaced the cracked gear successfully and then discovered that a piece of the flexible coupling between the worm shaft and the flywheel suffers the same problem of the gear did - cracked where it was press-fit onto the shaft. That Athearn Pacific (and from what I understand, the Mikado that was sold at the same time) was, mechanically, a real pile of garbage from a reliability point of view. And no one has any parts for the coupling, unlike the gear!

I've come up with a repair, I think. Parts arrive tomorrow. Hopefully in a few days I'll be able to post a successful resolution. But if it doesn't work, I'll probably just chuck the whole locomotive into the trash. In any case, I'll have to think long and hard before I buy another Athearn product made since Horizon Hobbies took over.

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, March 28, 2022 10:35 PM

28 March 2022

The repair on the Athearn Pacific drive train was successful - provisionally.

The motor / flywheel and worm shafts are 2 mm diameter. I bought a couple feet (smallest quantity I could get) of 1 1/2 mm ID flexible tubing from Amazon. It arrived today.

I pulled the coupling end off the worm shaft and pressed the tubing on. It expanded and gripped the shaft decently (though not as tightly as I would have liked), so I went ahead with the repair. When I went to remove the coupling end from the flywheel shaft (it's recessed into the flywheel), I saw that that coupling end had broken into two pieces. No wonder the thing wouldn't move!

I fished out the broken coupler pieces with a tweezers and checked the length of the shaft. I cut a piece of tubing long enough to fit over both shafts but short enough not to jam against the worm shaft bearing and pushed the tubing onto the flywheel shaft and the worm shaft onto the tubing. I reassembled the mechanism (after searching a couple hours for screws that were right in front of my face Angry) and set the unit on the track. 

Holding my breath, I dialed up the cab number on my throttle and gave it some juice. It moved! Forwards and backwards, it moved!! It never did that before! No pilot truck, no tender, no boiler and the decoder just hanging off the back of the loco, but it actually ran.

I don't have any pictures of it yet. I'll take some tomorrow then finish reassembling the entire locomotive. Then I'll give the rods, pistons and valve gear a proper lubing and test it out with a dozen or so cars.

Even if it doesn't haul enough to be a useful addition to the stable, at this point it's something of a moral victory.

More to follow. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 1:29 PM

Pruitt
The repair on the Athearn Pacific drive train was successful

Hi Mark,

Congratulations!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 11:07 PM

Thanks Dave!

30 March 2022

I got the Pacific reassembled and tested it out. It seems to run smoothly enough, but it's very stiff (years in sa box without ever having been run at all might cause that) and there's a lot of gear noise, especially in reverse.

Here's the repaired loco sitting on the layout:

You might have noticed the handrail stanchion holes in the boiler. All the purchaser-installed parts, including the handrails, whistle, and tender coupler are in the box, still in their sealed packaging. I don't think this loco was ever run at all. Certainly it never pulled anything. I'll add the handrails when I do a few other things (described below) to the loco.

Here's a short video of it in operation.

I didn't replace the idler gears in the unit when I did everything else. Since I have to try to make some adjustments to reduce the gear noise anyway, I'll replace those gears at the same time (I already have them on hand).

The other problem I see is something someone mentioned in an old thread in these forums - the wiring harness that runs from the loco to the tender is so stiff it tends to lift the front tender truck off the rails, meaning the tender derails very easily. Both the Pacific and the Mikado that Athearn released at the same time were apparently very problematic with the gears cracking and the wiring harness problem. Some serious design and manufacturing issues with these locos.

I'm a real bear about smoothly operating equipment, and at this point the Pacific doesn't measure up - by a long shot. If I can't significantly reduce the gear noise and get the mechanism "loosened up," (plus correct the wiring harness problem) it will not stay on the layout. I checked ebay - these things, in running condition, are fetching nearly what they cost new! So maybe I'll take it to a train show and sell it for $50-60 (with full disclosure, of course).

Anyway, as I said before, a moral victory if nothing else.

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, April 3, 2022 10:17 PM

3 April 2022

I just posted my latest layout update video. This is a long one - there was a lot to cover!

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, April 3, 2022 11:22 PM

Hi Mark,

I think you are far too worried about the length of your videos. They move along at a very entertaining pace, which is not something that can be said about a lot of modelling videos. Everything in the video was interesting IMHO (although I don't like it when you talk about tossing a defective locomotive in the trash bin!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh). At no point did I feel the need to skip forward. In fact, I replayed the part where you were servicing the Mike in the cradle because I noticed that the front drivers were wobbling a bit and I wanted to confirm what I was seeing (I suspect the rods do not have enough play where they attach to the wheels).

You also do an excellent job of creating interest in your next layout progress video. I look forward to them every month. I'm sure others do too.

Quite frankly I wish I had your drive and devotion. Unfortunately in my case I have to push myself to ignore all my aches and pains so I can just get out of bed. If I spent two days working at your pace I'd have to take a week off to recover. Getting in 1/2 hr on the layout is a major accomplishment.

Oh well, enough of my whining. Keep up the good work!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • 164 posts
Posted by tankertoad135 on Monday, April 4, 2022 10:51 AM

As usual, superb video Mark!  As previously stated, your videos are definitely not too long and very entertaining and helpful.  I always look forward each month to see your updates.Cowboy

Don; Prez, CEO or whatever of the Wishram, Oregon and Western RRGeeked

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Monday, April 4, 2022 5:52 PM

Thanks for the compliments Dave and Don!

Good observation on the driver wobble, Dave. When I take the loco back out of the box again (assuming I ever do) I'll look at that first thing. You know, I get out of bed to avoid aches and pains. I figure I need to put in the time I can now, because in five or ten years it'll be a lot more difficult to do.

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Monday, April 4, 2022 7:19 PM

Mark, your benchwork is beautiful.  Too bad it will be hidden by scenery!

 

Ray

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Posted by "JaBear" on Thursday, April 7, 2022 11:07 PM

tankertoad135
As usual, superb video Mark!  As previously stated, your videos are definitely not too long and very entertaining and helpful.  I always look forward each month to see your updates

Yep, and Her-in-doors agrees!

Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, April 8, 2022 6:27 AM

Another great video, Mark. I particularly liked the opening with you wearing that railroad workman's cap. It is good to see that you are stylin' while you are mod'ln.

Rich

Alton Junction

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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, April 15, 2022 8:48 PM

Thanks Ray, Bear and Rich!

It'll be a long time before all that benchwork is covered!

Rich, if they weren't so darned expensive, you'd see me occasionally in bib overalls with appropriate gloves on too.

15 April 2022

This past week I've been laying the groundwork (ha ha) for the scenery between Powder River and Shobon, and into the south end of the Wind River Canyon.

Here's the carved foam for the former, waiting for plaster cloth and plaster:

And here's the bare beginnings of the canyon. I wanted a solid foundation for the towering foam-based canyon walls, so I attached 3/4" oak plywood to the benchwork.

I used the oak plywood because I have quite a few 6" X 4' strips left over from the library bookcase project. Didn't know what I was going to do with them, but fortunately I couldn't bring myself to just discard them. Now a few have a new purpose in life - supporting the rock walls of the Wind River Canyon.

And I glued down the first few layers of foam in the area. This is slow going, since I want to carve in the basic shape of the canyon walls as I go. I'm waiting on the arrival of a 4" hot wire cutter I ordered from Micro Mark a few days ago. The curve closest to the camera will be partially in a tunnel.

And what kind of tunnel portals will these tunnels have, you ask? 

Well, I built one almost 40 years ago(!), when I lived in Kent, Washington. When I moved out of that house, my niece was carrying the tunnel portal, and turned around and banged it smack into a stair railing. The whole thing came apart of course, but I saved all the pieces and now, 35 years later, I'm reassembling it to use on the current layout. It's not quite done yet. The wing wall will be removed, and I still have to reinstall the left hand buttresses. Should be finished by tomorrow evening. But here's where it's at right now:

Here's one of the real portals in the canyon. All the portals in the canyon are similar. A couple others look more like the one I'm reassembling. Hopefully you can see the resemblance.

In the early 2000's most of the portals were replaced or significantly reworked with steel, but one or two are still mainly timber construction. This photo is one I took in 1990.

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, April 16, 2022 5:32 AM

Pruitt

Rich, if they weren't so darned expensive, you'd see me occasionally in bib overalls with appropriate gloves on too.

Mark, you gotta do it. You really need to go for that look in order to get those videos nominated for Best Short Film. If need be, I could start a GoFundMe account for your benefit. Smile, Wink & Grin

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, April 21, 2022 6:13 PM

Rich, I'll see what I can do!

21 April 2022

Work has progressed on the Wind River Canyon. Over the last few days I've built up the south end of the canyon to it's final height:

Obviously this is just the rough base. Next I'll carve out the basic shapes of the mountains in this area before I proceed northward though the rest of the canyon.

I also tested the tunnel, of course. I had to do a bit of foam trimming on the inside where a bit of foam was too close to the tracks. Here's a close up of my largest locomotive, a Santa Fe type, exiting the tunnel towards Thermopolis.

No doubt about it - I have to get that bell replaced!

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, April 22, 2022 12:07 AM

Pruitt
Work has progressed on the Wind River Canyon. Over the last few days I've built up the south end of the canyon to it's final height:

Hi Mark,

That canyon is going to be impressive!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
  • 3,384 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 6:23 PM

Thanks Dave!

I just posted my latest update video:

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Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 5:03 AM

3P by Bear, on Flickr

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

  • Member since
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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 6:22 AM

Mark, this is clearly your best video yet.

Outstanding opening, worthy of an Oscar for Best Short Film. Your elegant attire was suitable for an appearance at the Met Gala. I was waiting to see one of the Kardashian girls on your arm. But, the real showstopper was the appearance of the Michael Jackson glove at 0:40 of the video. If only you had done the Moon Walk!

Let's see now. What am I forgetting? Oh, the layout. A fantastic work in progress, as usual!

Rich

 

Alton Junction

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Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 9:40 AM

Great video Mark.  I enjoy watching your progress.

- Douglas

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