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Author Previous Topic: Devils Mountain Quarry Topic Next Topic: 1/48, 1/43, 1/50 - 25, 28, 32, 40 mm, figure ref.
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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/29/2020 :  06:46:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I Bought A Bag Of Tribbles At The Dollar Store

My local dollar store has managed to stay open during the current pandemic, so I visit there often, mostly out of boredom. In this spring's floral garden section, there is something that is potentially usable as cheap scenery for the layout. It is a bag of Faux Moss Stones and they remind me of the Tribbles from an old Star Trek TV episode.

In O-scale, the stones look like fuzzy green boulders of moderate size. If the flattest side is sanded down (inside there is a shaped lump of common bead board), the result simulates a mounding bush so often found in nature. While I wouldn't use them in the foreground, I see a role for them as understory shrubbery in the background. The photo shows waving guy between an unmodified fuzzy boulder on the left and a simulated background shrub on the right.

At the price of one dollar for a bag of ten stones, there is little to lose financially and sanding them down by hand will give my arthritic, Godzilla upper extremities something low impact and safe to do while watching old shows on TV and railroad videos on YouTube.




QCAW



Edited by - Dan on 04/29/2020 06:50:29 AM

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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 05/07/2020 :  4:22:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Skinny Square Structures For The Layout

In working up the scenery, I found that the layout needed two skinny square structures, each with a footprint of about one and three eighths inches per side, preferably of two different designs.



The structure on the left is for the yard, next to the front legs of the rock bin. This noticeably vacant space is the ideal location for another fire hose shed and this need is readily filled by an A M Models 902 Shed kit. Consisting of just six injection molded plastic parts, it was easy to put together.

There are no windows on this kit, just an entry door cast into one side. Normally, the existence of the door would cause a major problem, as I cannot hand paint straight line details, like door and window frames, even if my life depended on it. However, to indicate the presence of firefighting equipment, the entire building is coated with red spray paint, which effectively eliminates the door painting problem.

The structure on the right is a shelter out by the kilns for the operator of the cable winch, either horse or steam powered, that moves the kiln cart. It was bashed from a Berkshire Valley Models Outhouse Kit #860, which is a petite laser cut wood kit with walls consisting of multiple layers of rather thin stock. As the separate door and corner trim work of this kit was neither pre-colored nor self adhesive, as with some other wood structure kits, these fragile parts were hand painted before being removed from their laser cut sheet. In fact, unlike my previous attempts at precut wood kits, where the walls were spray painted with the contents of rattle cans, everything in this kit was hand painted with acrylics.

In a nightmare scenario, the delicate wood parts spontaneously bent into a variety of potato chip shapes when first coated with the water based paint, but when evenly pressed under heavy books, the parts straightened out again as they dried. For this purpose, my recent train show purchase of the Silver San Juan, a large and hefty tome, found an unexpected, nonreading use. With multiple layers of fragile wood parts needing to be precisely aligned, while being assembled by my wonky digits, the kit turned out to be an adventure.

Nevertheless, the right side wall and front wall, the ones that are seen from the the front of the layout, look rather good (when viewed from a distance), while the others are fair to middling. The roof turned out to be the best of the lot. In building the other layout structures, I dreamt of of buying several of the same kit, so that by the last one I would have learned the pitfalls in their assembly and could do an excellent job, but this illusory idea was economically unfeasible. Instead, I strive for acceptability on the viewable faces, while using the others for practice runs.

QCAW



Edited by - Dan on 05/08/2020 10:13:17 AM

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friscomike
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 05/07/2020 :  6:12:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit friscomike's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Those stones would make good landscaping for bushes around a house. Good eye to catch them.
~mike

quote:
Originally posted by Dan

I Bought A Bag Of Tribbles At The Dollar Store

My local dollar store has managed to stay open during the current pandemic, so I visit there often, mostly out of boredom. In this spring's floral garden section, there is something that is potentially usable as cheap scenery for the layout. It is a bag of Faux Moss Stones and they remind me of the Tribbles from an old Star Trek TV episode.

In O-scale, the stones look like fuzzy green boulders of moderate size. If the flattest side is sanded down (inside there is a shaped lump of common bead board), the result simulates a mounding bush so often found in nature. While I wouldn't use them in the foreground, I see a role for them as understory shrubbery in the background. The photo shows waving guy between an unmodified fuzzy boulder on the left and a simulated background shrub on the right.

At the price of one dollar for a bag of ten stones, there is little to lose financially and sanding them down by hand will give my arthritic, Godzilla upper extremities something low impact and safe to do while watching old shows on TV and railroad videos on YouTube.




QCAW



You can follow my construction of the logging camp kitchen: http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=47400&whichpage=1 and the dining hall at http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=50236

Country: USA | Posts: 1577 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 05/08/2020 :  10:11:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Mike,

I am always on the prowl; looking for real world things that are adaptable for layout use.

All the best.

Dan



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 05/16/2020 :  03:16:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A Make Believe Barney

This posting is not about the onetime purple dinosaur that graced our TV screens beginning a generation ago. Personally, I much prefer the childhood lessons learned from watching Sesame Street.

In the early morning hours, after the usual old man's journey to the can and back, while lolling on the bed, waiting for the analgesics to kick in (analgesics is a fancy medical term for a couple of aspirin), I sometimes think of things to do with the layout. Not all of this cogitation will bear fruit and this is why the posted subjects appear to be at random. The recent Tread-Power project began as one of these nocturnal ruminations. Its success, in turn, inspired thinking about the use of a barney.

If the kiln cart were hooked directly to the Tread-Power, there would not be enough work to keep the horse busy. One or two round trips in a typical workday is all that would be necessary. As the outside flange, tramway rails are already a part of the layout, using them as a barney track would give them additional utility, something with a longer life than the previous explanation about collecting wood ashes during WWI, although that idea is still historically viable.

A barney is a cable hauled, flanged wheel carriage, running on separate narrow gauge tracks set between the normal running rails. As the loco hauled trains consist of three rock cars and a cordwood car, the individual cars and the kiln cart will need to be moved by the barney, multiple times in any given workday, thereby keeping the horse employed. Most of this, of course, has to be imaginary, but the visual presence of the model barney, as it shoves the kiln cart, demonstrates the feasibility of the situation, thereby satisfying the layout goals of prototypicality and plausibility.

In theory, inbound the yard at the factory is powered by gravity and outbound it is barney powered, with the level bits being people powered. When the cable reel at the Tread-Power end (it replaced the original pushpin capstan spool) is set to freewheel, the barney runs downgrade to the factory, paying out cable as it goes. There the barney ducks down into a pit between the running rails, awaiting its next assignment. This allows the regular loco hauled cars and the kiln cart to pass over it, as needed, in the yard.

When a car or the cart is ready to move upgrade, it is positioned ahead of the barney pit. When the Tread-Power cable reel is mechanically engaged and the horse starts to walk, the cable is pulled tight. The barney then rises up behind the positioned vehicle and shoves against its rear. For loco hauled cars, the barney only needs to come part way up the grade, where a turnout in the running rails diverts the empty cars to a level pick up track. To reach the kilns, the cart runs straight on the running tracks and the barney continues on.

Following a prototypical layout timeline, the look of the layout can be changed as desired. Both the Tread-Power and the horse will wear out and they will be replaced by a steam powered winch, bashed from a Bachmann Log Skidder, with the barney installation serving the both of them. Further down the timeline, the steam winch and the unseen sheaves and pullies for the barney cable system would also wear out and they will be replaced in toto by a battery powered mining locomotive, possibly running on the old barney tracks. However, this radical idea is still in the ruminating stage.

QCAW



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 05/17/2020 :  2:43:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Some Ideas Ruminate For Less Time Than Others

I am referring to finding a newer replacement for the layout's ancient barney operation, using a storage battery powered mine locomotive. While something more suitable may appear at sometime in the future, squirted out by a computer like toothpaste from a tube, at the present time the only suitable loco kit that is available is the classic 3053 made by Grandt Line. The loco is a big one, about a five tonner, so it must operate on the regular thirty-inch running rails.





I made only one minor modification to the Grandt Line kit. I centered the battery box over the axles. This requires the "operator" (in this case Waving Guy) to be standing up, instead of hunkered down behind the battery box, which had been required for close clearance mine work.

The problem with Grandt Line products is their exquisite level of detail, making the rest of my layout appear somewhat shabby. However, much of this detail will disappear due to the effects of my usual, ham-handed paint job, which will soon be applied; so two minuses can make a plus. It's all in how you look at it.

The small, people powered, ash collecting cars will continue to operate on the tramway rails. "Vanishing Coal Mines Of Pingxi Valley" is a most remarkable YouTube video. The scene that immediately follows the big truck hauling a load of coal, documents how similar cars were being used until quite recently (1993). With our mostly automated, mechanized industry, who would think that such a simple operation could get the job done so effectively. The rest of the video is full of things that really ring my chimes, but alas, there are no battery powered mine locomotives.

QCAW



Edited by - Dan on 05/19/2020 06:25:21 AM

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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 05/19/2020 :  3:24:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bashing A Barney






As the photos show, the barney model started out as an old HOn30 small dump car from several decades ago. For a size reference, the coin in the photos is a U.S. Quarter. Nowadays, this size is about as small as I can manage. The four wheel dump car chassis will work for the barney as it is suitably short as well as narrow enough to fit between the running rails as per the prototype and its height is such that its storage pit only has to be about a scale foot and a half deep.

The thirty year old plastic is unstable, so extra care was needed to forestall disintegration. The wheelsets were carefully removed and the wheels flipped around on the axles so the wheelsets are now outside flanged to run on the existing tramrail. The chassis was then stripped down and a stout pushing timber was attached on the centerline of the chassis. Variations in the unstable plastic makes the timber look twisted when viewed from one end, but this is not noticeable when on the layout.

The final photos show a piece of four rail track (a piece of HO code 83 sectional track combines with a piece of N, which has most of its ties removed). The barney is shown pushing against a wood buffer block attached to the rear end of the kiln cart and the usual coupler knuckle on a loco hauled car.

The kiln cart started out life as a Bachmann side dump car, as in the last two photos, which took a catastrophic fall onto a concrete floor. The U shaped body was salvaged and it is set directly on a T25 Central Valley HO passenger truck for a classic On30 bash.









Through such bashes as the above, I am using up my decades old accretion of odd parts.

QCAW



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 05/20/2020 :  7:56:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Learning To Work Around The Adverse Effects Of Being Elderly

Currently, I no longer have the fine tactile feedback in my fingers that facilitates manipulating lightweight objects. Not willing to give up on the idea of having replaceable parts on the layout, such as the aforementioned Power-Tread and the bashed steam winch, I found that by adding some weight to them, about a half ounce each, there is less likelihood for them to slip out of my grasp.

The diminutive as well as fragile, flyweight barney is the most difficult to handle, so it requires a different approach. It will be permanently mounted in a suitable position on the layout. Exploiting the size difference between the barney and its replacement loco and using a bit of tinplate magic, instead of being physically replaced by the mine loco, the barney will be engulfed by it.

The hollow space between the mine loco frames is wide enough to accept the width of the barney; however, the barney length will not fit within its rigid wheelbase. Nevertheless, the angle of viewing is such that the loco wheels are completely hidden by the outside frames and this allows the front wheelset to be removed. Serendipitously, a shallow bracket on each frame, just ahead of the former front axle position, provides the means to install a cross frame bracket. This bracket allows the front half of the mine loco to rest upon the top of the stationary barney.

QCAW



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 05/21/2020 :  07:48:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Step Up! Step Up! See The Amazing Barney Eating Locomotive!

Here is the barney in its natural habitat...



With a flick of the wrist while uttering the magic words, "Geez it hurts when I do that!" the barney is ingested by the much larger loco...



But Wait! It is all a parlor trick, as the barney is just hiding inside the loco...



Tada! (Insert applause sound here.)



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 05/30/2020 :  08:01:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Spring Is Sprung; The Grass Is Riz; I Wonder Where The Spray Paint Is?

Now that the sun is getting higher in the sky and the normal temperatures are in the mid-seventies and getting ever higher, it is time to move my spray painting projects outside. During the winter, I don't mind painting small objects in the basement and then bringing them upstairs to finish drying with the aid of hot water radiator heat, but the larger and more complex, as well as odoriferous projects, need to be done out of doors, where they can be left to dry and air out in the sun.

While they tend to add some "texture" to the overall paint job, I don't know which is worse, putting up with the dust sifting down from the floor joists in the basement ceiling or the plague of miniscule no-see-ums buzzing around outside. What ever happened to those umbrella like, gauze covered wire frames that were used to keep the flying bugs off of the food on the picnic table? Aha! They are available on e-Bay with free shipping. At 17" by 17" and 11" tall, these dome shaped covers should be big enough for most of the things that I have to paint.

QCAW



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 06/04/2020 :  4:12:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bashing And Installing A Faux Turnout And A Kick Switch At That

Faux turnouts are a bit of tinplate magic that were used to visually connect a scenery only spur to a live mainline track, avoiding the expense of buying a model turnout. The current layout has a similar need at a spot that is only a couple of inches square and at a sharp angle. As this is an impossible place to fit a conventional turnout, a type of faux turnout will fill the need.

Kick switches are single point turnouts with neither frogs nor guardrails nor even a switch stand. The name comes from having the switchman shove his foot against the side of the pivoting point to reverse the turnout. Fascinating contraptions, they were often used on industrial trackage and for mining operations, such as shown in the Pingxi Valley coal mine video that was previously referenced.

With a near complete lack of track building skills, I use only sectional track for the layout, the bashed faux turnout needs to be simple, so modeling a kick switch was decided on. Modifying a piece of straight track with my trusty razor saw, using hands that behave more like catchers mitts, the bash turned out to be good enough on the first try.



While it may not look like much, the result is plausible as well as prototypical. The track geometry proves out and the faux kick switch could be made operational with some extra fiddling, but that would be well beyond my meager skill set.

The spur meets the mainline at the apex of Outhouse Curve on the right front of the layout and their convergence creates a visual focal point from the normal operating position. The spur is for scenery only and will act as a simulated repair track for the layout's four wheel equipment. The other equipment is too big to use the kick switch, thereby staying off the spur.



QCAW



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 06/07/2020 :  06:28:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bashing An Auxiliary Water Tender For The Bachmann 0-4-2

While the Bachmann 0-4-2 is a good performing locomotive, the overhang at each end requires the use of long shank couplers. While they do accommodate running on small radius curves, their wide horizontal swing tends to be a problem on a switching layout. This is especially true at the fuel bunker end, so one answer would be to use an auxiliary tender or a tool car behind the loco to provide a centered, short shank coupler for connecting with the train. What is now the kiln car was originally going to be used for the tender, but it is just a tad too big to look good.

A suitable substitute is the somewhat smaller On30 Logging Water Car Kit from Wiseman Model Services, which is a good match to the Bachmann side dump cars. It is a simple kit, just three cast metal pieces with a cast resin water tank, plus a an assortment of detail parts that, in my current dexterity dilemma, I will ignore for now. I wouldn't mind using the kit as just a tool car, but the center of the deck top is roughed up, probably from removing the casting sprues, so hiding this rather extensive area with something like a water tank is a necessity.

I've never been a big fan of square water tanks, such as the one that comes with the kit, so that tank was replaced by a horizontal cylindrical one. To my mind's eye, this just looks better. The new one is the cast resin O-111 Utility Tank from Crow River Products. Mimicking prototype old-time construction, some scrap strip wood was used to build up a rectangular framework to hold the tank in place on the tender deck.

The underside of the deck is cast to accept the old style Kadee No. 5 coupler pockets, the ones with ears on the long sides. Nibbling off the cast on nubs and some swipes with a file, allows the snap together pockets, which come with the newer types of couplers, to be glued to the car. As the photos show, the car deck is a bit too low to use centerset Kadee couplers. A pair of underset Kadee couplers should raise the knuckles to their correct heights.

There are three things to keep in mind during assembly and painting. Once the kit is assembled, the wheelsets are not removable, so change them out beforehand, if desired. Be sure to place the insulated wheel on each of the metal wheelsets against the same metal side frame during the assembly process to prevent shorting out the track power. The proliferation of plastic side frames tends to make one complacent about such things. Also, during painting, cover the inside face of the journal boxes to keep the paint out of the needle point bearings. The mostly cast metal car is rather heavy for a short four wheeler (nearly two ounces), so its wheelsets will need to be free rolling.







QCAW



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 06/10/2020 :  1:31:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The outdoor food covers (aka the anti-bug paint drying domes) have arrived in the mail. I plan to use two when painting the factory, a fairly large building with numerous parts, but there is a problem. The covers are so lightweight, they will blow around the yard in a light breeze and the answer, once again, was found at the dollar store.

In the decorative accents aisle, they sell ten ounce plastic mesh bags of glass beads (the bags are actually more like pouches). By letting one of these bags drape naturally over the plastic tube on the top of the cover, both the bag and the cover will stay put.

The dollar store also had a shipment of white foam boards and two will be cut down to make twenty by twenty inch spray painting bases that will accommodate the use of the seventeen by seventeen inch covers. The covers have frills around the lower outside edges to discourage crawling bugs from entering the domes. A couple of extra glass bead bags from the dollar store, protected from the spray paint by encapsulating them in plastic food storage bags, will keep these super lightweight, but cheap and disposable bases from also flying around the yard.

When the painting is done, the bags of glass beads will be recycled to ballast the vases that will hold summer and fall cut flowers. I am not the only member of the household that has developed the unwanted knack for unexpectedly knocking things over.

QCAW



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 06/16/2020 :  12:26:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A Lesson In Heavy Lifting - Model Railroad Style

The most important real world lesson is always to lift with your legs and never with your back; unless there is something really heavy and then you need a crane.

The subject of cranes provides an opportunity for a brief lesson in model railroad history, when dinosaur sized heavy lifters graced the Christmas gardens of yore and the idea of "scale" as we know it today, did not exist. To provide a familiar size reference, the tiny figure in the next two photos is non-other than Waving Guy, all six feet six inches of him in today's O-scale.

The oldest model railroad cranes (at least on the New World side of the big pond) are from the Triassic Period of tinplate trains (aka the Early Era). The first photo shows a Lionel 2 7/8" gauge No. 600 Derrick Trailer, circa 1905.

This hand operated crane is made from cast iron and folded sheet steel, with a boom that rotates through a full circle, with a usable "reach" on either side of the car, and a hook that is attached to a hoisting drum by a chain that is long enough for the hook to reach the ground. Of a somewhat ambiguous design, whether it is to be used as a movable cargo crane or as a "big hook" to pick up wrecks is the decision of the possessor. This early and impressive four wheel crane is 14" long, 4 1/2" wide and 11" tall and it weighs about four pounds.



The second photo documents the very popular Jurassic Period of tinplate trains (aka the Classic Era), a time when model cranes became more prototypical. It shows the T-Rex of its time, a Buddy "L" No. 240 Small Derrick, circa 1923. Don't be fooled by the name, it is BIG and it could be used with any of the period trains. These where often Standard Gauge trains (2 1/8" gauge) that generally came in two sizes, large and even larger.

With the boom and the hook independently adjustable, just as on the prototype, and the boom swinging left and right through an arc of about 270 degrees, it is a delight to behold and to operate. Also made of cast iron and folded sheet steel, this majestic hand powered model is 21" tall, with a horizontal swing of over two feet and it weighs about seven pounds.



A vast multitude of operating cranes came from the Cretaceous Period of tinplate trains (aka the Post War Era). In lieu of using track gauge to determine relative size, they were made in the newly adopted O and S scales and they presented the opportunity for every industry and/or railroad to have a heavy lifter of some type.

In more modern times, cranes for scale model railroad use, in their quest for realism, diminished greatly in size. They are often small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand, so one now has to pretend that they are functional. The final photo shows our friend waving guy in his normal environment, posing with a current bash in progress. It is an 8007 Jib Crane from Tichy Train Group.



While the dinosaurs are long gone, their ability to be used with different sizes of trains lingers on in the DNA of some of the present day model cranes. The Tichy 8007 is marketed as being suitable for all of the scales that are currently offered in their product line: N, HO, S and O. In the history of model trains, there are some concepts that just don't change, except, perhaps, in physical size.

QCAW



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BigLars
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 06/16/2020 :  9:59:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dan, If you are looking for the Grandt line battery engine to operate I have done a few of them. Message me if you need me to post details.



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