Well, what a year it has been, in so many ways, for so many people. We have been lucky in our house and family. Everyone has kept their jobs and their health, and that is thing one, far more important than model trains or anything else. Who knew what was waiting for us when I cheerfully reviewed 2019 12 months ago!
2020 Started out with a bang, a new years visit to operate on a friends layout, and friends coming here to help me wire the layout and reach a point where I could run trains, and that was just the first two weekends of the year! I then had my first “random” visitors in early February who weren’t dragged kicking and screaming through my promises of dinner being provided to help me build (Hopefully Matthieu and Chris can visit again and run trains!), then, well, we all know how the next 10 months of 2020 went. I spent a lot of time working on my own after March, but I have made good use of that time, applying myself to putting things I have learned from others into practice to actually achieve things on the layout, and make some real progress on construction, far more than I had hoped to before the pandemic and having no where else to go and nothing else to spend disposable income on other than hobby supplies.
View of the layout on December 31st showing the state at the end of 2020.
A summary of my year is below, followed by some brief thoughts on my year and the hobby:
Projects Completed in 2020
- Track laying. All the track on my layout is installed, and wired, and mostly working (I think I found a short on a turnout last night!).
- CNR Rescue Crane and Boom Car – Here
- Lighting – Finally installed a lighting valance and have some decent light on the layout, it makes such a difference. Needed to be done sooner if i’m honest.
- Non Train Things – Ford GTLM, Star Wars Droids, Lord of the Rings Bridge of Khazad-Dum Diorama
Projects In Progress
- Building Liberty Village Layout – Did lots on this!! See page here. This whole post could really be a look at the layout, and I decided for this year, I didn’t want it to be. I want to touch on some highlights and things that mostly make me feel good in a year where feel good has been in short supply at times.
- Freight Car Kits – I didn’t finish any as of the time of writing, though 5 are literally waiting on me setting up the airbrush to clear coat them before weathering. 5 more are partly built, 3 not started, and one on order. But that is the way of the hobby.
- Bullfrog Switch Machines – I’ve installed 4, that leaves 8 to go. Its pretty much a laziness thing at this point that I just haven’t felt like doing it as each one takes some time.
- Scenery. I did a lot, worked on base scenery, learned static grass. Am working on improving my painting techniques in a variety of ways
- Wiring, well, I learned, not always good things, but I am pushing myself to become better at soldering and wiring, blown up decoder to end the year notwithstanding.
- Resin Casting, I bought supplies and cast my own parts. Starting with simple flats like manhole and drain covers, moving on to rocks and stone, then finally windows for buildings from 3D printed masters. Its been a good year on this count.
Thing’s I’m expecting to arrive in Stores in 2021 (This list doesn’t seem to move some years)
- Rails of Sheffield Caledonian Railway No. 828 – See Here
- Bachmann LMS Patriot “The Unknown Warrior” – See Here
- Rapido Trains GO Transit F59 – See Here
Strangely, none of those have anything at all to do with or on a layout set in Liberty Village in the 1950’s, but that’s what display cases are for!
I mentioned at the start that this has been a year of challenges, and while things have generally been good for me, I have not been without the dark times and depressing feelings and moods. It has not been an easy year, even if it hasn’t been “bad” for me, isolation, being at home 24/7 almost with my wife (and we love each other and get along just fine, but space is also important), has worn on me, and I have written about it this year, how living, working and relaxing in our home has been a challenge at times. Talking is a good thing, its part of why I do this blog. I hope people learn something or are interested in what I am doing, but it also is an outlet for me to shout to the interwebs about the things I am doing to be happy and function, even before the pandemic struck.
I am not going to do a “preview” post of what I want to achieve in 2021 as I have some years in the past, the one thing this year has taught me is that it really is true that making plans and scheming isn’t worth it. Roll with what life gives you, take the good and the bad, and make something of it. Thank you all friends I know and those I don’t for coming back and reading. Your feedback, likes, page views helps me keep going, and I hope I reciprocate enough for those of you who blog as well to know I read and appreciate your work and efforts to.
From my workbench to yours, as we see out the end of a year we’ll all be glad to have behind us I think, be kind to each other, and hopefully sooner rather than later, we can talk trains in person.
December 21, 2020