Sunday, January 21, 2018

Return Loop Modules

I've finished up the return loop modules. These are 4" wide double and quad length modules that complete the return loop on the home layout. They probably won't be sceniced at all, their only purpose is to allow continuous running. If some day backdrops get put up on the rest of the layout you won't see them anyway. I'm thinking there could also be some staging sidings put on them, actually, there probably will be, because as it stands, there is nowhere to park anything.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

CNW Hopper Fleet: Status Update

Nearly four years ago I started on a fleet of CNW covered hoppers. Circling back around to it now, it's grown from the original desire for 12 to about 16. Here's how it breaks down:
  • 2x PS 4427 low side (1 green, 1 Continental patch) (Exact Rail)
  • 2x ACF 4650 (green) (Intermountain)
  • 2x PS 4750 (1 green, 1 pea green) (Intermountain)
  • 1x FMC 4700 (green) (Precision Masters)
  • 1x PS 4427 high side (green) (Micro Trains)
  • 1x Ingalls 4750 (gray) (Precision Masters)
  • 1x Thrall 4750 (blue CRIP patch) (Atlas)
Given the ratios I talked about earlier, this is pretty heavy on the oddball stuff and light on the ubiquitous PS 4750. As such, I'm on the lookout for some of the old Precision Masters cars to fill in. A guy can only paint and decal so many hoppers. I've seen scads of them in CNW livery so it shouldn't be had to find 3-4 of them in green. Also would like to do another high side 4427, and of course the Marine Ind. cylindrical hoppers need to get done yet...

I did manage to slob some more dirt on the things that are on the roster already and take a group photo on the bench.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

River Valley: Town

I started doing some mockups of the River Valley town module. It's going to be very minimal if I can help it, a couple buildings or a couple houses at most. Just enough to convey that there's a town. I can't decide if they highway should be "Main Street" or if the highway should be perpendicular to it.

The real meat of the town will be the co-op and scrap yard built on a quad module and irregularly shaped S module. Placement of things here is more straightforward, obviously the elevator and fertilizer shed go on the elevator spur, and the scrap yard office somewhere on it's spur.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

FDDM 411 GE 70 Ton

Starting the railroad season off with a quick (and dirty) project. I need Diesel for the Kate Shelley Division fall swap meet contest. Needing an engine for shoving cars under the loader at the elevator, I took this opportunity to build a Fort Dodge, Des Moines, and Southern GE 70T. Bachmann makes a superb little engine with DCC that is pretty inexpensive. It also comes from Bachmann in the GE orange and cream paint scheme that some of the FDDM units used making this a simple decal and dirt job. Decals were printed myself on Testors paper. I also added a teeny (non functional) beacon and a radio antenna.The final plan is to install a sound bug in the elevator with a good size speaker rather than try to cram sound inside the shell.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cutting T-Trak Boxes

Here are some dimensions used for a few of the modules. The big quad I have planned and the two singles that are already done are standard widths and depths. Shown in the picture is an inside corner that is also pretty standard as is the double.Also in the drawing is the proposed modification to my end caps, knocking the corners off. I have no idea how you'd scenic those corners so I just eliminated them.

The real variance from typical T-Trak specs are the polygons for the s curve and the s curve with a couple of spur extensions. These ought to be a real challenge to get glued up...

To make the boxes I'm ripping 1/4" sanded plywood into 2 1/4" strips. This will allow a 2" piece of foam to slip in and have 1/4" of clearance for wires and the mounting pads for feet. I screwed up several cuts, but all modules on the proposed arrangement were cut from two 2'x4' panels.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

CNW Condolas: PRIDE

I managed to get just one of the CNW Gondola Fleet finished in time for the KSD contest. It was a fairly basic job, simply stripped, built the bulkheads from Evergreen channel and brass sheet, paint,
apply decals, weather, done.

This is my first model with Micro Trains' new True-Scale couplers. Honestly, They look very nice. The air hose is a nice touch. They appear to couple easily, and decouple with a tool like a toothpick just as easily. They are TINY and somewhat fragile. Honestly, I probably won't be converting anything though. They're not compatible with anything else and don't see the necessity. These will get swapped out for standard 1015's. I will definitely use them on display models though, they look great.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

River Valley Central: T-Trak Division

Gosh it seems like only yesterday I abandoned my permanent layout plans and embarked on some t-trak to satisfy my railroad bug. My how things have changed in the past year. My family has moved into our 2nd home, which is much more suited to our needs, including a magnificent 10'x10' layout space.

I still really like the t-trak method, and intend to build my home layout one section at a time using t-track sections setup on top of the benchwork with scenes that can be mix and matched. Here's a peek at a first set of modules for a complete layout. There are some nonstandard shapes in here, but they follow the standard length dimensions either single, double, or quad. The two end caps connect to a permanent return loop behind the backdrop. The intention is to add passing sidings back there for staging.