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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Basic Tips For Figure Painting

From Chinook & Hobby West

1.      Wash all plastic parts in a grease cutting soap to remove oils and release agents.
2.      Inspect, clean, trim and sand as needed.
3.      Prime with white or gray so features stand out.
4.      Plan out your colours for your project.
5.      Paint basic colours. Go from light to dark. Paint flesh & eyes, white, tan, etc.
6.      Select colour wash in dark versions of your painted piece. Brown for flesh, Navy for uniforms, black for battle worn.  Dilute paint with water or thinner at a one to one mixture.
7.      Do highlights and lowlights, as needed using dry brushing.
8.      Seal your piece by spraying with dullcote (matte finish), glosscote or preference.
9.      Glue (or place if movable) onto your diorama.


  • Take your time
  • Be patient – Mistakes can be fixed
  • HAVE FUN!!!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Guide to a Simple Train Around the Christmas Tree

Since the first model train came into existence (Lionel in Germany in the 1830's) , kids and adults alike have dreamed of a Train around the Christmas Tree. It has become a special Holiday Tradition in many homes.

Remember the simple track you used when you were a kid?  Remember the train stopping or not running properly around the tree?  This was most likely because of all the dust, pet fur and other nasty surprises that can get drawn into the wheels and gears of the Locomotive.
 The train sets today have EZ Track (HO & N scale sets) or FasTrack (O scale sets) so you can put the track directly on the floor or on fabric and not have to worry too much about this problem. Although learning to maintain your locomotive is a good idea. Cleaning the wheels and gears weekly if you run it frequently, just to have that uninterrupted level of fun!

N & HO EZ-Track, O Lionel FasTrack

So let's get to why you are here:  Setting up a Simple track and train around your Christmas Tree!
Things You'll Need:

  • Electric Train Set, with  track and power pack (choose a scale suited for the area you have- the most popular are HO (1:87 scale), O (1:48 scale), and G (1:22.5 - 1:25)
  • piece of plywood (optional)
  • Christmas Tree with a stand

  1. Your Train - After a year in storage, your trains may need a little cleaning. In addition to brushing off the dust, the track and wheels need to be thoroughly cleaned. Older, steel track is prone to rusting if stored in humid locations. If your track shows signs of rust, save your time and just replace it. Clean wheels with paper towels and cleaning fluids.
    After extended periods in storage, it may be necessary to disassemble, clean and re-oil locomotive gearboxes. Do not over-lubricate.  (If you bring in your Train, we can teach you how to do this. There is no cost unless replacement parts are needed) Check power supplies and wires for any signs of wear or distress. Replace if needed.  There are many different sets with Steam and Diesel Locomotives, in different scales to choose from should you need to purchase one.
  2. Track - See how much track you have (most sets for HO come with a minimum of a 36" circle or 36"x 48" oval- which is usually enough for a simple 'around the tree' layout). Most O scale sets come with a 40"x 60" oval- but check the box first!)  When adding more track into your oval or circle, you MUST add two.  Meaning, if you add a rerailer track that's 9" to one side, you must add an equal size to the opposite side so the layout doesn't bend and break. This is the same for curves.  If your track does not have roadbed built into it, place down a piece of plywood first.                                                       
  3. Measure the area from the base of the tree out to make sure you have enough track for around the base of the tree. Keep in mind where the presents will go.  We usually have a space to either side of the track (on the outside) so we can run the train while opening gifts.                                                              
  4. Keep It Simple - If you are only running the train for the Christmas Season, keep your track plan simple (to an oval or circle). If you want it a little more than just the traditional track plan, try these: 
    HO  Oval with incline

    HO  or O  plan

    Twice Around The Tree plan

    Twice Around The Tree Finished in O scale

    For small tree - HO scale plan.     For a larger tree- O or G scale plan

  5. Assembling the Track and Testing the Train - Assemble the track, Make sure your electrical connector track is in an accessible position with the wire hookups facing the outer rim of the track circle.
    Connect the power pack to the track as directed by the instructions and test the flow of current using the model engine. Make sure it can circle the track at half speed without hitting a bump or falling off.
    Test the train one more time before putting the tree in place and decorating.                                          
  6. Make it Kid Friendly - Christmas trains are meant to be enjoyed by all ages, and they are a great introduction into the hobby for children. One easy way to make any model train display more kid-friendly is to make them part of the action. In addition to running the trains, kids will want to help build and decorate the layout. Incorporating kid's toys into the display is a great way to make it personal and still keep a holiday feel.                                                                                                                         
  7. Cleaning - If your trains are running beneath a Christmas tree, you'll probably find yourself pulling needles off the tracks by the end of the season. There is no great secret to keeping needles off the tracks (even an artificial tree will probably lose a few.) 
    Make sure you can reach all the way around the tree to clean. Make sure vacuming needles won't result in losing other scenic material or details.
    One additional concern for under-tree-trains is the power supply. Make sure your electrical circuit can handle the needs of both the trains and the tree lights. And make sure the cords for both don't interfere with the tracks.
  8. Packing and Storing

    ©2010 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to, Inc.
    Next year's display begins when you put this year's away.
    • Before you pack, take the time to clean track and wheels again.
    • Pack trains, tracks, power supplies and all accessories carefully. Use original boxes if possible.
    • Store your trains in a dry place. Store fragile items where they will be safe.
    • If possible, give your locomotive a brief break-in run periodically throughout the year.

Some Final Tips to keep in mind:

  • The lower branches of your tree will need to be trimmed up to allow enough room for the train to circle as well.
  • The temptation may be to get a big train with lots of buildings, switches, figures and lights, but under a Christmas tree, limited space makes this impractical.
  • For the same reasons, a Christmas train should be limited to a single engine and four cars.
  • If your train set comes with securely locking tracks, you can avoid using plywood as long as the track will stay steady (for example, on a hard wood floor). Carpeting can create problems.
  • If your train wobbles or comes off the track easily, disassemble the rail cars and glue weights inside to keep pressure on the track.
  • Experiment with speed, but remember, a train flying around the track will also fly right off.
  • If children will be operating the train, very young kids may have more success with a larger train gauge like 0 or G. It will be easier for them to hook the cars and place them on the track.
  • While the voltage of a train power pack is not great enough to cause real damage, you should use a watering can with a long spout if you are using a live or cut tree. Water can damage the train and cause a short.

Thank you for reading our blog. Please feel free to leave a comment or email us a comment. 
Also check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and our Website!

Happy Hobbying!

Want to learn more:
First Model Railroad
Maintaining Your Locomotive
Replacing Model Train Wheels
Small Layout Holiday Ideas
Twice Around The Tree- Full Article

source 1
source 2

Friday, 29 November 2013

National Aviation History Month - Part 3 The Futuristic

National Aviation History Month -
What Does the Future Hold?

When you were a child what ideas of the future did you have?  Did you watch the Jetsons and think that by the time you were an adult we would have flying cars and moving sidewalks?

The Jetsons

What about your hobbies?  Were you building models of Lost In Space, Star Wars or Star Trek ships and robots? Did you fashion a space ship out of boxes? Tell stories to your friends about space adventures you would have? Or did you stay on the earth and fantasize about homes that would read your thoughts and turn on the lights automatically, cook your favourite meal in seconds, or shower and dress you in minutes?
Enterprise Model Kit
Annekin's Jedi Starfighter

A glimpse into the future of aviation

Fuel is getting ever more expensive. If we still want to be able to fly in the future, we'll need new and more efficient planes. Aviation pioneers are working on concepts on how the planes of the future might look like.

draft plane of the German Aerospace Center blends cabin with wings to create a "blended-wing body."

Green aviation

Aviation causes around 3 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide. For the EU commission, this is too much: it's calling for a reduction by 25 percent by 2050. Visionary new aviation projects could help realize this ambitious goal. The plane pictured here, built by Bauhaus-Luftfahrt, uses electricity to get off the ground.

What do you thing the future will hold for Aviation?
Let us know by commenting on this blog or on one of our other medias.  Thank you for reading our blog, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Chinook & Hobby West
Where The Fun Begins!

5011 Macleod Tr. SW
Calgary, AB   T2G 0A9
PH- 403-243-1997
toll free- 877-525-5785

Don't Forget To Join Our Collectors Club!

Friday, 22 November 2013

My Favorite Part of Aviation History - An Interview with Glenn K.

November is National Aviation History Month:

This is an interview with one of our staff members who's hobby is aviation history.  Glenn has many passions, although his want for knowledge (especially Aviation History) is massive and unquenchable. Come by and talk to him sometime.

Glenn K.

 Valerie:   Have you always been interested in Airplanes?  
Glenn: Not really.  I am more of a history buff and I became interested in aircraft after watching an old black and white documentary about the Avro Arrow on TV when I was a teenager.  I was intrigued with the history of the aircraft and over time, I read everything I could get my hands on about the Arrow.  In those days, not much was available.  In 1997 (I think), CBC produced a movie about the Avro Arrow starring Dan Aykroyd as Crawford Gordon.  Gordon was the President of A.V. Roe Canada, the aircraft manufacturer that produced the Arrow.  Although it is a movie, it does have a lot of history facts about the building of and the ultimate demise of the Arrow.  And, for the record, nooooo . . . an Arrow was not “spirited away” !!!!!!!!! 

 Valerie:  What was the first Aircraft you became enamored with and why? 
 Glenn: Well of course it is the CF-105 or more commonly known as the Avro Arrow.  The key reason why is because it was a totally Canadian built jet-fighter interceptor and was head and shoulders above anything else in the world.  It is unfortunate the Arrow program was terminated and all existing aircraft were cut up and sold as scrap.  Almost all of the drawings, plans and tooling were destroyed and no sales of the Iroquois engine were ever allowed, even though the French government wished to purchase at least 400 of the them.  One can only imagine what kind of an aircraft industry Canada would have developed, had the government not terminated the program.     

Versions of The Avro Arrow
Valerie:  Why is the Avro Arrow your passion when it comes to Aircraft?
 Glenn: It was the most advanced jet-fighter interceptor in the world at the time.  In the end, A.V. Roe not only designed, developed and built the Delta wing airframe but also developed and produced one of the most powerful jet engine of its time (26,000 pounds of thrust).  Eventually, A.V. Roe, Canada even took over the development of the firing system to be used in the Arrow. 
A very bold step for a single aircraft manufacturer to design and develop all three major components of an aircraft. 

A. V. Roe

 Valerie:  What two facts about the Avro Arrow do you find the most interesting?
 Glenn:  One of the most interesting facts about the Arrow is that it had “fly-by-wire” technology in 1958.  This technology was not used in military aircraft until 1971 and even then it was limited.  I’m not quite sure but I believe commercial aircraft (Airbus being the first) did not use this type of technology until the 1980’s!!  A second significant fact is the aircraft was not built as a prototype, that is, for testing purposes only.  Every single aircraft was designed to be built and put directly into service.  This was and still is something not normally done by aircraft manufacturers.
        Something not specific to the Arrow but significant nonetheless, was the “Brain Drain”.  When the program was terminated in 1959, many Avro workers were recruited to work for major British and US aircraft manufacturers as well as for NASA.  Some of NASA’s space  research and development technology, such as the Apollo lunar orbiter and the Canadarm, were developed with the help of key Canadian engineers and scientists that came from A.V. Roe Canada. 


Valerie:   Do you have a favourite pilot? Why do you find him/her interesting?  
Glenn:   I guess Max Ward comes to mind.  He was a Canadian pilot who originally flew bush planes in the north.  He was a pioneer in aviation and also an excellent pilot.  He went on to form his own commercial airline called Wardair Canada.  It began as a simple but quality charter airline (which I had the distinct pleasure of flying to Europe on in 1968).  Wardair grew to become an independent transatlantic airline, the 3rd largest in Canada behind Air Canada and Canadian Pacific (CP Air).  Wardair was eventually acquired by Canadian Pacific Airlines

Max Ward

Valerie:  Have you built any model airplanes? Which one? Do you have a photo? 
  Glenn:As a teenager, I built several aircraft, mostly military jets.  Interestingly, I built a Lancaster bomber, which ironically was manufactured during WWII under license to A.V. Roe Canada, in Malton Ontario.  Unfortunately, those models have long since disappeared however, I still have an old Avro Arrow kicking around.  Not in the best of shape but I probably built it more than 20 years ago.  I have attached a couple of photos for you – don’t laugh.

There are quite a few links for you to enjoy on this post.  We hope you will check them out to learn even more about some of Aviation Histories interesting events and people

  • Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow

  • The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow was a delta-winged interceptor aircraft, designed and built by Avro Canada as the culmination of a design study that began in 1953. Wikipedia

  • First flightMarch 25, 1958
    Length24 m
    Wingspan15 m
    Engine typesTurbojetPratt & Whitney J75

  • We hope you enjoyed this blog, please leave a comment to let us know what you thought about this blog.

    Chinook & Hobby West
    Where The Fun Begins!

    5011 Macleod Tr. SW
    Calgary, AB   T2G 0A9
    PH- 403-243-1997
    toll free- 877-525-5785

    Don't Forget To Join Our Collectors Club!

    Friday, 15 November 2013

    Why I Love Aviation - An Interview With John H.

    November is National Aviation Month:

    This is an interview with a former staff member who's hobby is aviation.  John is now a pilot and loves getting air under his wings whenever he can.

    John Hunter

     Valerie:   Have you always been interested in Airplanes?  
    John:  I've always liked airplanes.  My dad travels a lot and I really liked to be at the airport and would watch airplanes take off and land.

     Valerie:  What was the first Aircraft you became enamored with and why? 
    John:  My first aircraft that I loved was the Lancaster bomber.  There was an airshow some time ago that I went to that you could get inside and look around it was pretty cool.

    Lancaster Bomber   (click photo for more info)

    Valerie:   When did you know you wanted to become a pilot?
    John:  In high school the high river pilot school came down and gave a presentation I pretty much decided then.

    Valerie:  When did you take your first flying class?  What did that first flight feel like?
    John:  My first flight was in the summer right after high school. It takes a minute for you to really grasp that your are actually flying.

    Valerie:  What two facts about flying an aircraft do you find the most interesting? 
     John:  Just look up a video about aircraft spins that can really be 10 interesting and terrifying things.

     Valerie:  Do you have a favourite pilot? Why do you find him/her interesting?
      John:  Alan Shepard the first american in space.  I really found his story interesting because he wasn't chosen because of his background or piloting skill there were better choices out there.  He was picked because all those pilots really liked and respected him.

     Valerie:  Have you built any model airplanes? Which one? Do you have a photo?
       John: I have a few models airplanes my favorite being the SR-71 or the blackbird.

    SR-71 Blackbird   

    Valerie:   What plane do you fly?
     John:  The aircraft i do most my flying in is the Diamond DA20

  • Diamond DA20
  • The Diamond DA20 is a two-seat tricycle gear general aviation aircraft designed for flight training. In addition to its role as a civil and military training aircraft, it is also used for personal flying by pilot-owners. Wikipedia
  • Cruise speed256 km/h
    Range1,013 km
    Length7.16 m
    Unit cost198,800–238,375 USD (2013)
    Engine typeAircraft engine

  • We hope you enjoyed this blog and we would like to know what you think.

    Chinook & Hobby West
    Where The Fun Begins!

    5011 Macleod Tr. SW
    Calgary, AB   T2G 0A9
    PH- 403-243-1997
    toll free- 877-525-5785

    Don't Forget To Join Our Collectors Club!

    Friday, 8 November 2013

    My Favourite Trains - By Robby Gale

    This post is from the view point of a 10 year old boy fascinated by Model Railroading and Railfanning.

    Mikado Locomotive

    The Mikado steam locomotive was owned by many different rail way companies.  Her are just some of the companies that owned this fine locomotive. Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Union Pacific, Santa Fe, Pennsylvania and other fine railways.

    This engine is quite big but it is an extremely useful one. The bigger the locomotive the stronger the locomotive.  

    When steam was in service (like the diesels today ) they were often freight pullers.

    Russian Locomotive

    The Russian Locomotive was a pretty big locomotive.  Its wheel combination is a 2-10-0 a locomotive built to pull about 20 freight trains across Canada.  The railway companies that owned these locomotives are Canadian National, Union Pacific, Eerie, and Pennsylvania.

    Big Boy Locomotive

    The Big Boy Locomotive is one of the Giants of the West.  They were built to pull big, heavy freight trains across North America.  The wheel combination is a 4-8-8-4.  One drive-wheel is seven feet tall.

    The Railway companies that owned these engines are Union Pacific, Pennsylvania, Santa Fe, Great Northern, and Milwaukee Roads.  Each one looked a little different.

    Tram Car

    The Tram (or Trolley Car) was invented in 1900.  It was invented for two reasons, one was for a smoother ride to transport people and the other was to make less work for the people who had to build the railway. 

    Tram Cars ran on railways called road lines.  This made less work for the workers because when they built the road,  all they had to do was put rails in the road, make two flange spaces and power poles along the side.  Or they put a third rail down the center and made the third rail electric.  

    These Tram Cars were small but useful.  Now C-trains and subways have taken their place.

    The Subway
    The Subway system was built in approx 1867. They became popular in the 1970's because, most of the passenger railway companies had gone out of business or stopped their passenger trains because they were not making enough money.  The only railway that was permitting passenger travel at the time was AMTRAK.  A popular railway with only passenger travel.

    It still only does passenger trains today.  They are also participating in the subway business.  The subway transit is located in New York, The Cordillera and many other busy city's in North and South America.

    All of the drawings on this page are original line drawings by Robby. Robby works at Chinook & Hobby West on Friday afternoons and loves to talk to anyone about Model Railroading and Trains.  He has been studying Trains since he was 4 years old.

    For more info on these locomotives, click the titles below.
    Please comment on this post and let us know what you thought.

    Chinook & Hobby West
    Where The Fun Begins!

    5011 Macleod Tr. SW
    Calgary, AB   T2G 0A9
    PH- 403-243-1997

    Don't Forget To Join Our Collectors Club!

    National Aviation History Month - Part 2

    Its National Aviation History Month! For our blog on November 1, 2013 we posted about the interest we, as humans, have in flight.

    We asked our Facebook community what their favourite aircraft are and there were some interesting responses!

     Favourite Aircraft:
    1. Glenn K. - Avro Arrow  Info & Video
    2. Mark Y. -  KC-135 Info & Video
    3. Ted B. - Junkers 87  Info & Video
    4. First Powered Flight - The Wright Flyer Info & Video (Kit Available)
    So what is your favourite? Why is it your favourite?  Please let us know by commenting on this post!

    Encourage that inner aviation explorer, come down to our store and check out our great selection of plastic aircraft and sci-fi ships and diecast aircraft too!

    Plastic and Diecast Planes- Hang them or Shelf display its up to YOU!

    Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVIe