Story by Tom Andersen
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I liked the picture of the railroad yard in El Granada, looks like an engine house? Do you know where that was located? Any chance it is still standing?
[June says: No the Ocean Shore Railroad yard no longer stands in El Granada.]
We spent the spring launching our Wolf Creek Roundhouse & Machine Shop kits, and have spent the summer shipping them. The Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette, published & edited by Bob & Irene Brown from Los Altos, ran a product review article on the kits in their July/August 2009 issue, along with our ad, and we’ve been non-stop busy ever since. Actually, we were already busy with filling orders as we had a number of pre-orders to fill, the first of which went to a fellow in Zurich Switzerland, who models the American Southwest.
There are almost no quality kits for roundhouses available, so we met a wide open market. There are a number of inexpensive plastic kits out there, but these are not of interest to serious modelers. Our kits are pricey, but in line with other craftsman quality roundhouses that have been released in the past. We are offering the kits in HO, S & O scales, and choices of two stall lengths, scale 70′ & 114′, so they can be used for old-timey smaller engines, or later periods when steam engines got huge. They also will work for narrow gauge or standard gauge, and are available with anywhere from two to thirty-five stalls. Besides the three scales mentioned, we also sold plans to a fellow who is building one in G scale, which is about 1/20th.
The attached photos are of a two-stall version with machine shop built by a professional model builder from Ohio, also a photo of the machine shop side wall from the builder in G scale. The model with the green windows is an O scale version we build as a proof of our instructions & drawings, which will be our display model at shows. The five-stall is our pilot model, built prior to writing instructions & doing the CAD drawings & assembly templates. It is installed on our Hon3 layout at home in El Granada, where we depict the fictional town of Wolf Creek in the San Jaun Mountains of south central Colorado. The picture with the pine trees is the 5-stall roundhouse on our layout, just inside Pine Hill Curve. Just to the right is C.C. Kays Blacksmithing & Steam Bending. We scratch-built the steam bending equipment to add to the blacksmith shop kit as the shop is named for Julie’s son, Charter Campbell Kays, who is the shipwright at the SF Maritime Museum. (He also knows how to do smithing, among many other things)
As we finish shipping the last orders in house, we are preparing to travel to Colorado Springs for the 29th Annual Narrow Gauge Convention where we will display our kits. We have a New Mexico style desert diorama with our adobe church, chapel, cantina & trading company, and a diorama with our roundhouse & machine shop. Attendance historically has been over 2000 people. We plan to make sales calls on hobby shops en route to see if we can expand on the fifteen shops that carry our products. Also, we plan to travel the old US highways searching for subjects for future kits. We also plan to collect rocks & dirt at Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado for use on our own layout, to give it authentic color. We depart September 12th & return September 28th.
We’re still taking time to have fun, caught the first Sunday matinee of Coastal Reps fantastic production of “Tommyâ€, and had a fantastic time August 29th listening & dancing to Joyce Grant & friends at Sam’s Chowder House. She puts on as spirited and enjoyable performance as heard anywhere! She does Sam’s once a month from 4-8pm on the last Saturday of the month, outside, next show September 26th.
Andersen Model Kits is my 7th business, and by far the best! We are meeting the most interesting, clever, & creative people in the modeling realm, both modelers and others in the trade. It is just fascinating! Not the geeky introverts expected, but largely people who are well accomplished in many aspects of life. Most are in a good, stable relationship, affording the renaissance that is high-quality modeling.
Hope you are having a great summer,
Tom & Julie Andersen