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Author Previous Topic: Central Valley Kits Topic Next Topic: Steam Era Freight Car Modeling
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Premium Member

Posted - 03/15/2013 :  08:15:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Last weekend, I did a Scratchbuilding in Styrene clinic for the Hub Division's Spring Training show. The subject was Mike D's house on Winter St. in Newburyport at the time we first became friends in the late 1960s.

It's a modest house, built about 1850 as the nearby depot changed the demographics of the area. I paced off the frontage as about 25 feet and figured the rest of the dimensions by counting clapboards etc. Here's where I got to last night:

I'm using plain .040" styrene because at the time I'm modeling, it had asbestos cement shingles. I plan to use one of the peel-and-stick products and apply the windows, doors and trim over them.

Edited by - jbvb on 03/15/2013 08:16:38 AM

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Premium Member

Posted - 03/15/2013 :  09:10:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That is a nice start, James. Whose windows & doors are you using?


Modeling the railroads of the Jersey Highlands in HO and the logging railroads of Pennsylvania in HOn3

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Premium Member

Posted - 03/15/2013 :  09:52:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Bruce - Micro-Engineering 80-067 windows (25x50 4 over 4, but I'll cut out the horizontal mullions), Campbell 903 "6 Windows" for the attic (which hadn't been converted to living space yet) and Northeastern D100NEB 30x80 4 Lite Door.

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Premium Member

Posted - 03/15/2013 :  09:56:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice start, James! Keep us posted!

in Michigan

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/03/2013 :  07:46:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I haven't made any photogenic progress since my last post, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on the railroad. The Hub Division organized an operating session at Keith Shoneman's layout, and during it a couple of members remarked they were looking forward to trying out the Eastern Route. My track and control system are complete enough, but aside from a timetable and 100 car cards/waybills, I also need more equipment:

1. Convert or buy a DCC switcher (I have 7 DC switchers ranging between "undecorated in the box" and "needs weathering")

2. One more DCC roadswitcher (I bought a Bachmann RS-3 yesterday, but I may not have the willpower to put off fixing the details)

3. Several more DCC RDCs (I have 3 in-progress, having finally worked out how to get the right trucks on a P1K)

I made a start at organizing the layout space for company, moving a lateral file full of papers and structure kits to a semi-permanent home under Newburyport, but I also have a lot of in-progress projects which will be better completed than boxed up and put away. Which is why I'm typing this while decals dry on a Branchline 6-3 becoming the B&M's Gounod. And also why I'm thinking about more/better tool, parts and material storage.

I also need to run the various jobs, with the multiple goals of a) checking feasibility and fun value, b) shaking down infrequently-used track and c) shaking down the freight car fleet. I did a little of that trying out 1536 last night, but much remains. The routine "op setup" stuff I'll talk about here, but if I have any ideas that seem new, I'll start a thread in the right forum.

And yes, structure and scenery work continues, with a potential deadline of November if I'm asked to join Tour de Chooch.

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/04/2013 :  11:15:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Equipment progress is also clean-up progress, and working on 1538 has a sentimental element: Given clean wheels and clean track, it's been a joy to operate for more than 25 years.

Gounod is ready for dull varnish, then windows and tuning for operation. 1538 needs decals on the engineer's side, then further detailing.

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/08/2013 :  08:17:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
More work detailing 1538, my old Hobbytown RS-3:

Here the photographer catches the 'glint' as an eastbound Portsmouth local stops in Rowley. 1538 shows off her new Pyle dual sealed-beam headlight, Nathan M-3 horn bracket-mounted to the front of the cab and ATS equipment on the running board.

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Tyson Rayles

Premium Member

Posted - 04/08/2013 :  12:34:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice loco!


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Premium Member

Posted - 04/08/2013 :  2:10:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Its been many years since I seen a Hobbytown RS3 all dressed up with details..

Thanks for sharing.

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/09/2013 :  12:38:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yesterday my Atlas HH-660 arrived. Nice engine, decent sound, programs OK on my Prodigy Advance's programming track just like the Bachmann RS-3 (are you listening, Athearn?). Much better printed documentation than Bachmann's, but a significant omission: the exploded parts diagram doesn't show the user-installed end handrails. Not too hard to figure out, but I did have to drill the holes in the cab out to #74 (0.0225) and both end platforms/steps to #72 (0.025). I had a moment's worry before I realized it arrived in "full shutdown" mode, needing either the magnetic wand or an F6 DCC operation before it would do anything.

Running it, I found it could handle about 12 cars on my layout's grades. Since one of the ruling grades is pulling west from the Bexley yard into the tunnel, and that's only 2/3 of a track, the HH-660 is now in last place for Bexley switcher. I tried some of my others:

P2K Alco S-3: 16 cars
P2K USRA 0-8-0: 14 cars
Kato NW-2: 20 cars (the clear choice for the Bexley Switcher, if I can get DCC into it without removing too much weight)
P2K EMD SW-900: 16 cars

By comparison, my R-1b 4-8-2 handles 29 freight cars - once you get to that length, the yard exit and a couple of other locations become momentum grades.

This has me thinking about the Tonnage Ratings page for my Employee Timetable - it would be easier on operators if I assumed 100 ton cars, or maybe I should just skip the realism and give train lengths. Another variance from the standard format will be the difference between Hobbytown 1538 and Bachmann 1536, RS-3s from the same order, but the former is likely to haul 50% more than the latter.

The set of cars I was testing with included empty hoppers & gons, plus a TLT 8-hatch reefer that arrived with all 4 axles out of gauge and is still picky enough that it's going back to the bench after it's done its job finding glitches: One bad solder joint, a bunch of spikes I'd skipped in the rush to finish track, some gauge and point issues, closed gaps; West Lynn yard is much better now.

Edited by - jbvb on 04/09/2013 12:41:44 PM

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/12/2013 :  07:53:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wednesday night was more track and equipment tinkering, last night I got back to the Hobbytown RS-3 project:

I haven't seen zinc alloy casting taken to this level by any other manufacturer. Using mostly needle files, I removed the draft angle and thinned and rounded sections that needed it. A little blackener worked like a charm; both castings were back on the loco in an hour.

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Posted - 04/12/2013 :  6:34:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit LandNnut's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Sometimes the old stuff is better.
L&N nut

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Posted - 04/17/2013 :  02:29:03 AM  Show Profile  Visit nhguy's Homepage  Send nhguy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
I have an old Hobbytown RS3 I need to convert to DCC What a puller that is. Did you convert your to DCC?

Bill Shanaman
New Haven RR
Hartford Division
in Colorado.

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/17/2013 :  07:48:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Jon, I agree, though more often it's 'different in a way that can be appreciated'. And sometimes it's just 'wow, I used to put up with that?'

Bill, I haven't put DCC in anything by Hobbytown. One obstacle is the motor - it draws about 0.3A and 'cogs' in a way that works with slack in the universals to contribute a lot to the unit's noise level. The other is that all pickup comes through four brass wheels. Bear Locomotive Works is gone, but if I can confirm that NWSL has a nickel-silver wheel that can be gotten onto the axle without a major struggle, I'll be changing them, and possibly the motor too.

I spent about half my personal day yesterday working on the RR. Here are the most photogenic results:

Decaling residue washed off and Scalecoat Flat Glaze applied to 1538's cab and 6-3 Gounod, but I lost the 6-3's bag of toilet windows (it was built as a traveling project) so I need to get some from AMB.

Weathered & Grimy Black applied to the new 'high window' coach. Alas, the blue masking tape did a little damage to the Maroon, so I'll be coming back to it in a few days.

Bethlehem Car Works underframe applied to it and the older coach (NPP/KMT left the floors flat, partly because they'd put a battery box where one of the crossbearers was supposed to go).

Foundation interior color applied to two P1K RDC-1 shells.

Air-brush weathered the REA express reefer.

Started to put better couplers on the Atlas HH-660, but have to visit Charles Ro during lunch hour for more couplers.

All of this took longer than I expected, because my Passche H airbrush had been getting more and more balky. Finally, I took it apart and found thinner wouldn't flow through the needle. So I cleaned it out with a piece of .020 piano wire - lots of gunk had solidified in the neck above the needle opening. The stuff was mostly gray, which could have been pigment from 'aluminum' paint, or possibly ground glass from Scalecoat Flat. At any rate, I now know where to look if I see that symptom again.

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Crew Chief

Posted - 04/17/2013 :  08:11:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit CVSNE's Homepage  Send CVSNE a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote

Looking good. I like your passenger train. I need to get serious about building up my B&M passenger roster or there won't be enough trains in White River Junction!

Hobbytown RS-3s may not have the "slick" detail of the more modern models, but if you got them running well they lacked nothing in performance.

Marty McGuirk
Manassas, VA

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