It was six years ago to this very day that someone joined our little train group but didn’t last long. Keep in mind we’re a pretty chill group of mostly older men who still play with trains. Some of us are into train and structure building, some are into sophisticated replicas of real operating procedures, some “roundy-rounders” have only a small loop of track that goes, well, round and round. If there is one thing that encompasses all of us, it’s that we’re pretty harmless and we aim to have fun and help each other out. Except for this one guy.
He claimed to have precise plans for stuff — I don’t remember exactly what it was — but he wouldn’t share with anyone and he openly disdained all the “napkin builders” who drew up crude drawings on a piece of paper somewhere and thought it was somehow acceptable in cultured model-train society. Anyway, like I said, he didn’t last long before either he split or was unceremoniously dis-membered. But through this attack on our values and all that was holy, we became napkin builders. The late Allan Bupp, aka Mik, was a master napkin builder.
I didn’t participate last year but my 2018 project — Bennett’s Livery & Stables, where I took third place — is chronicled here and here. This year’s Mik’s Challenge features a formidable bunch of napkin builders. I hadn’t done any serious modeling since the 2018 Mik’s, as my detached retina occurred just a day or two after the competition ended (while looking at the project on my layout, I might add!). Instead of replicating a feature of Martinez in the early 1900s, I chose to do an Arts & Crafts style farmhouse that was typical of properties in the area during that time. Alhambra Valley Farmhouse will sit on a winery, a feature quite common to Martinez in those days. Still not sure what to name it, although something Italian is a pretty sure bet.
UPDATE: As it turns out, I didn’t finish the project in time due to some poor planning on my part but I did make some major inroads and am finishing it up. Details can be found here. Congratulations to the winners. As I said before, the competition was formidable. Along with the usual certificates, one of our members this year added a special prize for the overall winner and for the winner of a random drawing from those who had voted. I’ve always been considered by many to be somewhat random, so I guess it made sense that I would win.
The prize came today (March 2) and it is a beautiful ink pen, courtesy of Dan Hilyer of Waverly, Alabama and the Waverly Southern RR. Thank you, Dan!