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The Hard Part (LONG) 5/31/10


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#1 laming

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:19 AM

Hi All!

First: May all of us here in the USA remember our Fallen Heroes on this Memorial Day. Our freedom is not free. Let us all take time to pause and reflect on the cost paid so that we can have the priviledge of being an American.

VSC Update:

Well... the hardest part of my modeling technique is: Textures. I essentially use photo textures exclusively to texture my models. I just can't seem to hand draw textures that come close to the results I can get with suitable photos.

If you have been following along here at VSC (been quiet lately, huh?)... you'll know that I have been dead-in-the-water trying to get textures suitable for 1890's towns/cities. (Tough order. Try it sometime.) This is the the main reason my fever/enthusiasm for my CM project cooled. Not near enough textures. This is easy enough to understand.

Then along comes Steve and Ann... and out we go for a Mini-Tour of the Ozarks with a side-order of Ozark railroading thrown in for good measure. One of the haunts we hit was the town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Fascinating town, Eureka Springs. I've never seen any other town in the US that has the same verticality as Eureka Springs.

Steve and I spent some time down at the Eureka Springs depot area on the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas RR viewing the static displays. Static, non-functioning displays that also consisted of slowly decaying steam engines. Steam engines that used to live and breath... working daily. Steam engines that I have RUN... and have some superb memories thereof.

Well... since our walk among the dying at the ES&NA... I have oft been reflecting on the impact the Eureka Springs area, the ES & NA RR, as well as the overall "spritual" nature of the Ozarks has had on me over the decades. It is unbelievable the prototype railroads that dared to venture into these tumbled mountains called the Ozarks. It is also unbelievable the railroads that propsed to build into and through them. Vast systems were envisioned, almost as if traversing these mountains would be chid's play. Only a small percentage of these envisioned lines ever laid rails, and NONE of them reached their far-flung goals: The harsh realities of these mountains essentially did them in long before maturation. In fact, when the very railroad experienced and knowledgable Steve saw some of the most rugged portions, I asked him how he'd like to try to shoot a rail line through them. His exact word: "Inpenetrable."

Needless to say, being in the Ozark mountains again, and walking among my steam-roots at the ES&NA... a myriad of emotions coursed through me. The empires that could have been.

But what has this to do with textures, you ask? Well... it has dawned on me that Eureka Springs is a tresure trove of 1880's-1900's structures. Structures that have been restored. Structures that can be used for TEXTURES. True, the tight confines that make Eureka Springs so fascinating is counter-productive to good texture photo-ops... BUT... given the right time of day and lack of traffic (pedestrian and automotive)... texture PARTS can be grabbed that can be used.

It should come as no surprise then, that I managed to fit in a quick exploritory trip to the Hallowed Ground yesterday after the wife and I finished a visit at her folks in Springdale. As I expected, it is going to be tough order to shoot complete structures... HOWEVER... getting "parts pictures" is gonna' work. Just need the time and circumstances now to spend up there nabbing what I can. I offer a few sample shots from yesterday:

Attached Files

  • Attached File  ES1.jpg   92.91KB   7 downloads


#2 laming

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:20 AM

...and another...

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  • Attached File  ES2.jpg   115.15KB   7 downloads


#3 laming

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:20 AM

...and yet another...

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  • Attached File  ES3.jpg   143.85KB   7 downloads


#4 laming

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:20 AM

...and the last one for now...

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  • Attached File  ES4.jpg   150.9KB   7 downloads


#5 laming

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:26 AM

As you can see, this is gonna' work. I have found an excellent regional source for 1880's-1900's structures. Just need the time and circumstances, both of which may be a while. (i.e. The tourist off-season.)

Now, just what all do I intend to do with these textures?

Well there Sonny... I'm glad you asked. Soon we'll pull up a chair, git out our pocket knives... an' do some spittin' n' whittlin' as I spin a yarn or two about it. foof.gif

#6 zhilton

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 07:09 AM

QUOTE(laming @ May 31 2010, 5:07 AM) View Post

As you can see, this is gonna' work. I have found an excellent regional source for 1880's-1900's structures. Just need the time and circumstances, both of which may be a while. (i.e. The tourist off-season.)
Is there an actual off-season in Eureka Springs? I've been there in January, March, May, September and October...there seems to be folks there all the time. I agree, it's a neat town...it has taken me a couple of years to realize it's a blessing that ES doesn't have all the stuff Branson does.


#7 laming

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 08:26 AM

Hi Zack!

Well... let's just say there's a better chance of less population in the colder months. ES does have an off season, for some of the attractions close for the winter. I also like that the deciduous foliage is pretty much gone during the winter months, so you can see things that are tucked away in the hollers and alcoves better.

#8 HIBALL3985

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:33 PM

Andre,
Thank you for the updates. It looks like you hit a small gold mine of early structures. I'm headed to Chama New Mexico tomorrow ( god willing my 50 year old truck makes it ohmy.gif ) for a dose of narrow gauge steam. I hope I'm a lucky as you were. Looking forward to more updates in the future.

Jim

#9 S. Weaver

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:25 PM

QUOTE(laming @ May 31 2010, 11:07 AM) View Post

... so you can see things that are tucked away in the hollers and alcoves better.


tongue.gif

#10 milepost56

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:28 PM

Andre, what a Jackpot full of gold. I wouldn't know were to start. There are so many little towns out my way here in Illinois I sometimes think I should just capture the buildings. wink.gif

#11 laming

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 05:01 PM

Jim:

Wow... Chama is THE PLACE to really experience steam. It's steam on steroids! Wait 'til you hear the stack talk as they work the 4% from Chama to Cumbres. Have fun!

Steve:

tongue.gif back at 'cha!

Kev:

Pretty nifty town, huh? The streets are FULL of such structures. I'm hoping to get windows, doors, cornice, wall textures, etc. Maybe some more shots of full structures will present themselves.

All:

I guess it's safe to say the Ozarks run deep in me. As I've mentioned before, my ancestors date back to the Ozarks at least 3 generations. (That I can recall... could be more than that. I don't have ready access to our genelogy book.) Mom and Dad had just moved to KC when I was born, but I was raised among Ozark ways and customs until the missed Arkansas so much they moved back.

Anyway... little wonder that our trip through the Ozarks has me fired up about it again. So much so, that I've been tinkering with a little project that has been on the back burner for a long time. Here's a little AE grab of what I'm currently playing with. (The pic is out of date, btw, as of tonight the route is several more miles north.)

Of course, I can share more details if desired... simply ask! smile.gif

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#12 Larry_M

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 05:41 AM

Yes, more details please!

#13 billmoyer

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 06:14 AM

You want us to beg?????

I'm begging!!!!

Bill

#14 laming

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 10:45 AM

I thought you'd never ask! tongue.gif

Okay... here's the deal:

Waaay back when the Ozark Northern was conceived, it was conceived to be a PORTION of a system of rail lines in the Ozarks. Hence, the ORIGINAL name of the concept was "The Ozark Lines". I envisioned creating the Ozark Northern first, and eventually create the other lines that were to be a part of the "Ozark Lines" concept and release them as completed. Soon after getting good and started on the Ozark Northern, my life's schedule turned nuts, my enthusiasm for MSTS faltered, and it took me forever to get the Ozark Northern released. I was so tired of it hanging over my head by the time I got it out the door that I didn't think I'd ever really want to revisit it. (Of course, compounding the issues is the fact that I'm very flighty with my hobbies... so that too, has to be factored in!)

Well, it's been a while now since the ON has been released... and once again I recognize that my Ozark roots can't be denied. (They do run deep in me.) There is so much great stuff to find in the Ozarks, and the railroads that were there were fascinating. Of all the lines that tried to carve out a living in the Ozarks (dozens tried), only two remain, both spun off as regionals: The Arkansas & Missouri (from the Frisco/BN) and the Missouri & Northern Arkansas (from the Mop/UP).

My recent Ozark trip with Steve and Ann stirred up my roots as I again gazed at the beauty and quaintness that defines the Ozarks. Such beautiful mountains and interesting towns. Alas, they need railroads. Fortunately, MSTS can provide that missing element!

SOOO... I reopened RE, took a ride on the Ozark Northern through a pair of fresh eyes, and came to the following conclusions:

1. Wow... the ON is a REALLY NEAT little road! Now that it's "new" again to me... I find it interesting and, in a way, a very unpretentious contender for being THE route with the most unique atmosphere.

2. Even though the protoype Ozark lines of yore were fascinating entities, simply put: There wasn't enough livelihood to keep them afloat. Hence, almost all went belly-up. Scant business makes for minimum track at towns and very few trains. Both of which equate to boredom in MSTS. Not cool. If I'm going to personally invest loooong hours and lots of frustrations building a route... it MUST have enough to do when finished to make the project seem worthwhile to me.

In my opinion, what the Ozarks needs for a fun and interesting MSTS project would be:

1. A system of railroads thriving and interchanging during an era that makes this plausible.

2. Draw upon prototype information and utilize prototype practices, AND use prototype locations when possible or practical, capturing as much prototype authenticity as allowable.

Reflecting on the above, it is a simple conclusion to me: Revisit the Ozark Lines idea.

And so I have. The original idea was fairly good... but I wanted to see what I could do with it, and if I could improve upon it. In so doing, the following changes are being considered or implemented:

1. The Ozark Northern has either purchased the Arkansas River & Northern (the AR&N was to run from Turners Bend to Ozark)... OR... the AR&N is at a different (non-modeled) location. This yields ONE line 36 miles long, instead of two tiny ones. Moving the tonnage I foresee, two tiny ones isn't as plausible.

2. Strike off toward Eureka Springs and see if its possible to get the ES&NA there. This is important because the ES&NA was envisioned to be the northern portion of the Ozark Lines. Plus, it touches base with the all-important (to me) town of Eureka Springs.

Agreed, the Ozark Lines would be primarily "protolanced". BUT... did you know:

* The current Ozark Northern already has actual railroad road bed alignments and towns in use AND that the modeled St. Paul is very close to the prototype town and the railroad that served it?

In addition, I intend to:

* Use prototype track charts for towns along the way as I can. (Some of these will be from the prototype St. Louis & North Arkansas.) One example already on the ES&NA extension is found at Aurora. I layed the track as per Shirley, Arkansas which existed on the North Arkansas. Shirley included a largish sawmil/timber industry as well as other customers. So, when switching Aurora, you'd be switching Shirley, Arkansas, without all the track between interest points that existed on the prototype North Arkansas! Now ain't that cool?

* IF I can find a way through these tumbled mountains and reach Eureka Springs... the town will be a replica of the St. Louis & North Arkansas tracks during their heyday. Data unearthed since my building of the St.LNA route reveals there was a LOT of facility crammed in that tiny hollow. REALLY tight confines. Fascinating stuff.

Further...

The ES&NA is following the survey of a prototype that PROPOSED to build a line into the region, but failed. (I have a copy of their timetable showing the map and towns on their extension.) Said survey to be followed will be from Aurora Arkansas, through Hunstville, and onto Eureka Springs, a distance of about 40 miles. So, in a way, the ES&NA is being based on a prototype, just one that wasn't built!

BUT, for now, the GOAL is: See if I can indeed get rails to Eureka Springs. Thus far, I've had several failed attempts to get a line up through these ridiculously tumbled hollows. IF I can reach Eureka Springs, then the Ozark Lines is a viable deal for me. I can then pick where to start the scenery and get with it. IF NOT though, I'm not too interested in pursuing it. Eureka Springs is my "piece de resistance" that I am striving for. IF I can get there... the entire concept is attainable (to me mentally).

Wow... I've typed a novel. Well... all for now. I'll let any interested assimilate the above... then I'll feed 'ya some more.

As for tonight: The quest continues to reach Eureka Springs. Wish me luck!

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#15 laming

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:54 PM

So WHY do I feel this route MUST go to Eureka Springs?

Welp... 'cause Eureka Springs is very special to me.

* Not only is the town the most fascinating town I've ever seen, it is also the most vertical. I have seen a BUNCH of towns firsthand and in photos in the Colorado Rockies... and none of them have the verticality of Eureka Springs.

* It was at Eureka Springs that I had my steam epiphany. (I call it The Experience. Perhaps some day I can share it with you.) It was there I learned about steam engines, begin to work some on them, and eventually to fire and run them, even drew paychecks as a Steam Locomotive Engineman! I have so many wonderful memories from our Huntsville years of Eureka Springs and the ES&NA RR in particular.

* It was there the original Eureka Springs Railway terminated. It was there the St. Louis & North Arkansas, the descendant of the ES Rwy, began its southeast extension. Eureka Springs was the location of the main shops of the ES Rwy from its inception, as well as the StLNA from 1899 until about 1912-1913. Data I have since aquired indicates the shops and yards at Eureka Springs were ultra compact, yet very interesting.

So... Eureka Springs is a quest. IF I can get there and get a line down to the prototype railroad's location: I'll feel like I've really done something.

Below you'll find a Eureka Springs pic I can share. (I have many of the town, but all too large and won't condense without severe pixelation/grain.) Trust me, this pic does NOT acurately convey the sheer steepness of the town... but at least it tries to convey it!

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  • Attached File  es1.JPG   45.65KB   7 downloads


#16 laming

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:56 PM

And last for now... here's a pic of the shopped and repainted StLNA #3 taken in about 1908-1909. Though not the era I'm targeting... it hints at the tight quarters and confining nature of Leatherwood Hollow.

Off to RE!!!

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#17 pensfan

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:57 PM

Wow! This sounds very interesting. I really like the concept. Good luck getting to Eureka Springs!

Al

#18 laming

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 02:21 PM

Arrgggghhh! mad.gif

I forgot I was going to share a Eureka Springs track map with you!! It's a big file... but that will allow you to zoom in and take a look. Bear in mind this is only the shops area. There's still a small yard, large ice house, small stock pen (mini-pen? rolleyes.gif ) etc. Not visible is the tight confines this lays in. When Steve saw the area, he was amazed at how much was stuffed into it during that time.

Al:

Glad you find interest in it! I'm almost a one-man Ozark modeler campaigner! Nobody else models therein!

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#19 copperpen

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 07:42 AM

Andre

I surely do hope you make it to Eureka Springs. To have near on 110 miles of TOLC Ozark Mountain railroading would be truly awesome.

That is one of the things I like about the PRR-ER route. You can spend all day railroading and never cover the same bit of track more than once.

#20 laming

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

QUOTE(copperpen @ Jun 3 2010, 9:23 AM) View Post


I surely do hope you make it to Eureka Springs. To have near on 110 miles of TOLC Ozark Mountain railroading would be truly awesome.


I hope so, too. smile.gif

I've got good news and bad news. biggrin.gif

The bad news is, I can't shoot a line out of Rockhouse Hollow and over the next hump. I managed to get down Rockhouse Hollow... but couldn't find a way out using acceptable prototype practice.

Sooo... I had to regroup and think out a different attack.

Leaving at the top of Rockhouse Hollow, it looked like a line that avoided hollows altogether and would become a ridge runner for several miles to Turpentine Hollow might work to further the rails northward. So, instead of the rails dropping down Rockhouse Hollow, I severed the track at Lookout, veered left, and made a run for it.

Now the good news is: I arrived at the top of Turpentine Hollow, and a summit town is plotted. I'm now ready to descend into Turpentine Hollow, follow Keel Creek and then make one final climb over the final ridge that would stand between the railhead and Eureka Springs. Preliminary surveys indicates this final ridge will be a toughie. Have no idea what gradient will be needed to get over it. (So far I've kept the ES&NA grades around 3% or less. Mostly less.) I want to keep the gradient less than 4%, and IF I can twist the rails around enough to make the climb, I'll be happy. Very tight confines.

The ES&NA will have a totally different personality than the Ozark Northern. Unless I'm stumped at the last ridge and have to use 4%, the Ozark Northern will still hold the record for steepest and longest grade on the Ozark Lines concept. The Ozark Northern will also retain the greatest difference between summit and valley (hence vista), but the ES&NA actually runs through more RUGGED terrain. The fingers in most of the hollows and the box canyon nature of the most of them has proven to be impassable. Like Steve said: Inpenetrable.

Ah well... enough of this for now: One more rugged portion remains to be conquered. Wish me luck!!