To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jean Deschenes Retires From Scratch Building Trolleys!

On June 6, 2012, the following email was received.

Ed - Good morning!!!
Since starting scratch-building back in 1965, I finally want to "retire" from trolley building and get back into some carving and ship model projects for myself I have particularly enjoyed building the various cars for you-some unique and different stuff! So I hope you keep building the fine quality cars you have!
Take care,
Jean D.”

Jean is an award winning, master trolley model builder. He has built trolley models for himself and others. He has also built models of boats and ships plus some of the mills and other buildings found in the towns near where he lives in Grafton, Massachusetts.

Jean would build a trolley model with wood by starting out building a box with reinforced corners and holes for windows. His cars were built with the roofs attached and the floors removable. Jean would hand paint his models with acrylic paint using a brush. He must have built hundreds of trolley models this way.

I first met Jean about 10 years ago. He had built a model of the CSS overhead line car 1100 and accompanying reel car for himself. His models were of a newer era as the 1100 had a Farley single arm pantograph. The 1100 has a full interior.

I approached Jean about building a model of the 1100 for me with the following exceptions:  my model would be of an older era with the older style of pantograph plus the floor would be attached to the body with the roof removable. The trucks, parts, and decals for the model were gathered together by me and shipped off to Jean. This is the model Jean built for me. Beautiful!

Over the ensuing years, Jean built other models for me. Having Jean scratch build models for me allowed me to build other models plus work on my layout. With each model Jean built, since he left the roof loose for me to attach and the wiring left for me to finish, I was learning more and more about Jean’s methods of scratch building models plus his quirks, for example, Jean did not like to solder together the individual parts making up a lost wax cast detail part. To make things easier for Jean, I would make sub-assemblies of cast brass parts.

Two model Jean built for me are a CSS caboose and a CSS express car.

To demonstrate how well Jean would research the building of a model, note the offset in the distance from the truck centers to the ends of the express car. He would catch every detail.

One of the more interesting models Jean built for me was the CSS 23, a Pullman Car Co. coach with a “Pullman style smoker”. I had obtained a professionally painted and finished Max Gray CSS coach. This was to be the lead car of the CSS Duneland Limited pulling the Joe Fisher scratch built CSS solarium car. My challenge to Jean was to build the 23 to match the Max Gray model.

The Max Gray model was shipped off to Jean along with parts to make the 23. Here’s a photo with the Max Gray model on the right and the 23 on the left. Jean did an excellent job.

This is a photo of the 3-car Duneland Limited in O scale!

Another interesting model Jean built for me is the CA&E 11, line car. The prototype car is at the Fox Valley Trolley Museum. The model has working side doors and elevating work platform on the roof plus a full interior. Unfortunately my camera will not take good close-up photos to show off the interior.

There are other models Jean has built for me. I have to finish them off with minor details. Some time in the future more of Jean's work will be featured.

Like many trolley modelers Jean started as a model ship builder. He is planning to work on ship models in his retirement from making trolleys.

Jean, may you have fair winds and following seas. Thank you for your patience and the models you have made for me.


No comments:

Post a Comment