Joppa Iron Works
A Fracture in History

On30 on the HO road…

January 4th, 2015

Need to take pics. On30 isn’t done. Next best thing is to photo on the existing railroad.

2015-01-03 19.58.33(1) 2015-01-03 19.59.33 2015-01-03 20.00.17


Working on a Railroad Yet to Appear…

December 29th, 2014

A few things are happening before rails are down. Love rust!

s Critter 2 s IMG_0304 s IMG_0310

Joppa Iron Works Has Moved

December 29th, 2014

The corporate offices have the same address, but all steel making is being moved to Forest Hill, Maryland for better access to the Pennsylvania Railroad.

As the new operations will be underway soon , pictures will appear here when available.

On30 is now underway!

August 25th, 2013

Finally benchwork has started. The layout is 72″x42″ and I am concerned that I may have made it too big!

On30 on HO Scale track. There is no reason for me to use On30 stack because I didn’t like how it looked with the trains. Code 100 HO is just fine for me.



December 5th, 2012

I am not forsaking HO scale, but adding a new and exciting chapter to my rail experience.

About a year ago, I started getting the bug to add another small layout, and wanted narrow gauge, but after looking at the very nice models from Blackstone, the sheer small size began to scare me. The Blackstone models are nice and well detailed and I understand that they run flawlessly, but the years are moving on and the use of glasses for close up work is pushing me to model in a larger scale.

The number of new models that seem to be appearing is good news as is the interest in On30. The major player is Bachmann, so I have begun to gather some motive power and freight cars – giving me the motivation to get started on a layout sooner rather than later.

There is a very short shot that I put on YouTube to show my brother on the West Coast my Climax loco. The shot takes place on my HO scale layout, but the foreshortening of the camera on my iPad makes it look just fine! Keep checking back here for more as the layout begins to take shape.

The new layout will be a prequel to the present Joppa Iron Works set somewhere in the 1920’s or earlier. I’d been thinking of the late 1800’s but I want to add vehicles from the teens and twenties.

We’ll see how it works out…

Rejuvination in another size!

November 22nd, 2012

Not forsaking HO altogether here, but I am adding another railroad in On30. You will see it come together here.

Thinking of tying everything together. Joppa Iron Works is named after an actual colonial iron works that disbanded in the mid 1800’s. It’s my “what if” in the same general locale basing the story on having the iron works graduate to a steel mill with no finishing capabilities.

On30 may be a good chance for me to back date my story a little without destroying the HO efforts. Iron foundries need a lot of wood, limestone and iron ore. This may give me a chance to have a background railroad.

Since photography is also a hobby, the On30 models are far more photogenic than HO just due to size alone and the focal plane of the camera. They do tend to make you be more detail oriented, but that is part of the fun!

Glass Plate Photo Look…

November 22nd, 2012

This is the look that I will be striving for in On30 when it happens. This is an update of an older post…

I’ve always liked old glass plate photos. Here are a few samples that I have done from PhotoShop. I’ll post my process of doing this on another page:

This is the original engine for Joppa Iron Works bringing a caboose back for repair.


The crew at Joppa Iron Works had to create their own slag cars back in the day. This one was photographed outside of the rolling mill.


In town, Habersack’s Cafe has served thirsty customers since the early 1900’s and has a family heritage. The owner had a business relationship with GBS Brewery (which was close by) while many others were outlets for Monumental Beer.


Another old gondola on the grounds of the mill.


These pictures in PhotoShop require a base paper image. You can search for these on a site like Flickr if you type in “Textures” and search for the ones that are represented by old paper. It is interesting to me online that some people have such a hobby of looking for textures.

Jordan Bus finished for now

March 11th, 2012

This is the Jordan kit I started a week ago. Except for the bumpers and maybe a placard on the side for an advertisement, I’m done. The kit went well. The mint green color is an old Baltimore Transit Company color used on its buses until around 1973. I used to ride the 44x to school.





Thank you to all of the little people…

March 5th, 2012

I recently picked up a Jordan Bus model at MB Klein‘s in Cockeysville – I have been going there for 28 years and has been a decent hobby shop. This was my first Jordan model and plan to airbrush it after it is finished – shouldn’t be too hard since I’m careful with masking.

Anyway, a while back I purchased 1/100 scale figures on eBay that I have used for places where my citizens are more than 2 feet from the front of the layout. They are convincing and at the price I paid I can have a whole city of them for a few bucks unlike the more popular figures from Preiser and others.

Since I had a number of seated figures, this was the right time to use them in my Jordan Bus model. As you see from the pictures below, they fit just fine – and better than a normal HO scale figure would fit. On the first few pics I show assembly of the model, then adding people. The latter pictures show a comparison of the relative sizes of HO scale people versus the 1/100th scale figures – and I have to say that I am all about the smaller people!

My eyes are getting old for this and my hands are a little big for the pieces, but the interior is underway:



Here they are all seated. I added two more standees after this pic was snapped….



Here is the bus with the standees and the body setting on it:


Here is a shot of several people on the right that are sold as HO and their scale heights and the 1/100th scale people on the left that are a little better fitting into the bus: (that fellow with the lantern must be at least 300lbs!)

Here is a shot of them standing near the bus. I vote for 1/100th scale people!

Weathering Creatology Foam Roads

March 3rd, 2012

Up to now I have been a big proponent of this method for making roads, but have had few chances to actually weather the stuff beyond a few selected places on my railroad. Rather than just blow off hot air, this time I am going to show the process.

So with no further ado, I chose a section that needed weathering (beyond dust) and documented what I did with my handy camera- usually I shoot later and regret it, but decided to document it here. This is the beginning shot of the area – it is on the side of the railroad that you see when you enter the train room. As I am still detailing, there are no crossing signals yet and more detail is needed, but you’ll get the drift.


I have had these weathering chalks forever – and if you recognize who made them let me know so I can get more. Recently in MRH I saw someone with the same chalks and made me think to ask here. The colors here are white, grey, and two shades of brown.

Using a knife blade I scratched off chalk over the section I am weathering letting the dust fall where it will. For the dirty edges of the road I am using brown, and for the middle of the road white and grey. Here it is before working it in with a brush:


After the above step I use a trash 2″ brush from any big box store to work the chalk into the roadbed:


On the dirt sections I press the brush down and in circles. It creates a chalk smudge near the edge of the road that matches my dirt that was glued down much earlier. Here is what the smudges look like prior to streaking the road:


Now it is beginning to look like something! It looks like old muddy leftover crud from a rain that washed onto the road – or old dusty dirt that has spilled onto the street. I am not sure that you can overdo something like this. Now for the next step I smudge the chalk into the direction of traffic travel – back and forth until all of the little specks of chalk have been worked into the foam road bed:


In the picture above I tweaked the contrast a bit to exaggerate what you see on the road. Here are more pictures:





I hope that someone else tries this out and has a good experience with it. When I looked at the amount of street I wanted on my railroad and the cost of commercial products, I was either going to do something else less expensive or re-think the whole city approach. Glad I found this inexpensive way to create streets!


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