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Better Modeling Through
live in central Oklahoma, I recently joined a model
railroad club in Fort Worth, Texas. Here is a
"tongue-in-cheek" article I put together for the
members of the club about how we modelers do things
up in Oklahoma.
As the newest member to the club (and an "Okie" to
boot), I feel obligated to share a few modeling
tips with the rest of the group. Up in Oklahoma, we
modelers use common household appliances to improve
our modeling techniques. The only problem is
getting our wives to understand why we do such
things. Here are a few tips:
First of all, the wives need to be educated. Things
they consider to be "household appliances" are
really just "hobby tools" that can also be used for
other purposes. Don't take this to mean that you
should have her do a load of laundry immediately
after you use the Maytag Hydrocal Mixer - rinse it
out real good first. But it is amazing how many
modeling tools she can use in the kitchen and
throughout the house when you're not using them.
· Proctor-Silex Foam Grinders can also be used to
· Maytag Bulk Paint Mixers can also be used to dry
· Whirlpool Airbrush Cleaners can also be used to
· Clairol Paint Driers can also be used to dry
· Mixmaster Spin Casting Machines can also be used
to mix cake batter,
· Rival Casting Wax Melting Pots can also be used
as crock pots,
· Kenmore Paint Baking Ovens can also be used to
· Tupperware Foam Sifters can also be used as flour
· Custom-made, hand-hammered EZWater Heaters can
also be used as woks,
· Hamilton Beach Microwave Weed Driers can also be
used to heat food quickly, and
· Coleman Propane Airbrush Propellant can also be
used for cooking and lighting during power black
We all gradually accumulate a collection of Pyrex
dishes, pans, spatulas, brushes and the like for
scenery use. But don't stop there. Wives will hide
hobby tools throughout the house. I found a power
weathering tool hidden in the bathroom - she was
calling it her electric toothbrush. And she thought
my foam carving tool was her electric carving
knife! The list goes on and on. Don't let her tell
you that your hobby tools are actually her toaster
oven, measuring cups, spoons, strainers, cake
decorator, serrated knives, etc.
The problem is ... wives just don't understand that
the "better modeling with modern appliance methods"
actually save time and allow us to spend more time
with them. The old fashioned method requires many
hours to shape a nice tunnel; the appliance method
using a power post-hole auger does the excavation
instantly with one quick flip of a switch. And
since that's the way the real railroads do it we're
being more prototypical too. I realize this is NOT
using "household modeling appliances" in the
strictest sense of the rule book BUT one does have
to improvise on rare occasions.
Another use for that Cuisinart electric foam
grinder (besides grinding coal): When Fall arrives,
save some dead leaves and grind them up to use as
scenic ground cover. Wives sometimes think our
manual foam grinders are cheese graters.
There is always room for improvement. I'm working
on some new experiments with chemicals, electricity
and appliances. Still haven't finished checking out
which combination of electricity and water works
best on Tuesdays. I can't seem to get past 3 quarts
of water per 220 volts of electricity. The lights
don't stay on long enough to read the gauges. Maybe
higher amperage will work better ... yeah ...
that's it ... higher amperage ... that sounds like
the right solution. Note to family: Expect power
outage throughout the Oklahoma City metro area at
I'm also busy testing the latest appliances. Do you
realize what improvements you can get out of the
new energy efficient Hamilton Beach Weed Drier when
you wire it with 220 volts?
saying: "Hey y'all, watch this! ... YAHOOOO !!!" Uh
oh ... there goes my neighbor playing with his 911
speed dial thingie again.
Fear your wife when she catches you making scenery
in the kitchen. I speak from experience. But don't
be intimidated by what your wife says is
inappropriate use of kitchen appliances.
Remember ... she's not always around to watch you.
You want real intimidation? Just spend an afternoon
in the kitchen with me. I give new meaning to the
old saying "if you can't stand the heat, get out of
the kitchen." It might be a good idea to get out
before the explosion though, unless you're wearing
asbestos underwear. As we say in Oklahoma, "Blow it
up, but blow it up wisely." I usually prefer
fissionable materials but I'll try anything once.
At last count the State had imposed a surcharge on
any appliances going into the county where I live.
This is to offset the additional fire and paramedic
protection that is required for anyone within a
fifty-mile radius. "Hello? ... 911? ... Yep, it's
Most of you here in the Fort Worth area are far
enough away to avoid the fallout. But only because
of these gol dang new wimpy energy saving
appliances ... they don't give as big a bang as the
old gas guzzlers that made modeling more dramatic.
I sure get nostalgic thinking about the good ol'
days when kitchen appliances were included in the
Nuclear Arms Treaties. Roasting a chicken or drying
sawdust just ain't as exciting as it used to be.
Back then, the only thing to fear was fear itself
... and maybe the mushroom shaped cloud in the
That reminds me, I probably should warn you about
using denatured alcohol and shoe dye to quickly age
wood in the Amana Weed Drier. Go very easy on the
alcohol until you get used to mixing it. When in
doubt, it's better to use less. That is, unless you
want to try ... nah, just use less. I would send
pictures, but the insurance investigators are
holding those until they determine the cause of the
... aw, you know.
We're now getting into very specialized modeling
tools. Don't be afraid to improvise. Don't let the
wife force you to go to the AA (Appliances
Anonymous) meetings. Know where she is (and when
she will be home) at all times. A good homeowners
insurance policy is highly recommended when using
above mentioned modeling devices. Put 911 on speed
dial. Get to know your local SWAT Team. Trust me
... I know of what I speak.
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