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Author Previous Topic: Maine Highlands Topic Next Topic: DPM Pawn Shop
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Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/28/2017 :  2:44:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gosh Ted, it just warms the cockles of my heart that you wish me happiness, and I'm not even Irish. Even more so that the happiness is shared by all. Of course I'll eventually replace the bridge with the "modernized" version but as the saying goes "So little time, so many models". Currently I'm working very hard (ha! ha! ha!) to bring coherency into the DESPRR. And I'm almost there with my fifteen trains of the fifties. So in a way I'm glad that the bridge won't allow me to run double stacks because it forces me to stay focused on the single time period.



Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page

quartergauger48
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/28/2017 :  8:17:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I hear you loud and clear Aran'. Nothing wrong staying in the fifties..Sell the double deckers,
and the heck with the bridge....



Ted

Country: USA | Posts: 4876 Go to Top of Page

Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/01/2017 :  4:56:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Part with my doublestacks. No way! Besides what am I going to do when I'm 87? I'm only 67 now. In the mean time, here's another three of the fifteen.


A pair of SD7's pulling the fruit train up and over. The lead locomotive is from an early run and has orangy yellow paint. The second one is a little different, especially in person. Oh well. My reefers are a mix of Accurail woodsides and Intermountain steel sides. I was just so proud when I acquired ten Intermountains twelve years ago. I showed them with some Athearn blue box ones to a non modelling friend who couldn't see the difference. I mean, really.

This lovely ATSF 484 is from Broadway and really likes my layout! Its totally happy right out the box and will be employed in drag freight service.



Black Widow Geeps pulling a "pig" train. Athearn 50' flat cars with 22' trailers. They are maybe a little too toy like with the sort funny trailer holders but I like them anyway. Best of all, the trailers stay on without being glued in place.


Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page

Frank Palmer
Fireman



Posted - 03/01/2017 :  7:18:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Sheesh, you certainly have the motive power.


Country: USA | Posts: 3985 Go to Top of Page

Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/01/2017 :  11:03:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well Frank, without trying to go too much over the top, I'll add the last three sets of motive power. California in the 1950's was a pretty exuberant place!

I've had this pair about fifteen years and it became my first successful decoder installation. Six months ago it developed a hiccup in one particular layout spot. The engine would race on while the sound reset. The installation of a current keeper solved the problem. It's really like running a stationary power tool on 240 volts when you are used to 120. Current keepers (Soundtrax's name for keep alives) smooth out the momentum of a loco immensely.

"Every hands a winner and every hands a looser. The secret to survival is knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep"- Kenny Rogers - The Gambler. Awhile back I acquired a set of Rivarossi smoothsides quite cheaply.These were the Model Expo ones with interiors and RP25 wheelsets. At the time the 24" curves on my layout liked the Concor 72'better so I got rid of them. Okay I sold them on Ebay. My current pike has 30" minimum curves and the shorty cars looked a little too short. So back to Ebay for this mottly set.



More of those Proto 2000 Geeps that I bought from Modeltrainstuff as overstocks. And just to show that I'm not entirely down on Walthers I just bought a Cornerstone Jewelry Store ( it has a fabulous cornice) It came yesterday. On inspection I noticed that the front wall had a nasty sink in it. I called up Walthers today and they are sending me out a new part. Great service.

I got a little extravagant here with a Genesis FP7A and a F7B, both powered and with factory sound. As well they pull a seven car consist of Broadway Zephyr cars. Three domes no less - crazy!
Well. That's fifteen locomotives pulling fifteen trains. Stay tuned for the out takes.


Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page

danielb
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/02/2017 :  12:24:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a truly beautiful layout you have!

I'll be following this with interest :)


-Dan

Country: United Kingdom | Posts: 206 Go to Top of Page

Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/03/2017 :  10:50:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Now and then I start a project that becomes a "rabbit hole" (after Alice in Wonderland). It seems to consume inordinate resources, completion is elusive and the outcome dubious. Here I present a sad (but certainly not tragic) tale.

Here we have a Mantua Pacific of recent origin. I purchased my first one mail order from Crazy Charlies Discount Trains in Georgia. A nice solid locomotive in two tone gray livery, power drive with pie cutter wheels but in every way superior to the Tyco 060 from Toys-r-us. It overpowered our the 18" curves on our first 4x8 layout so it sat in the box. Later I acquired some Concor SP Lark cars and kind of had a train. For the longest time I considered stripping the lettering off the loco and releterring it for the SP but thankfully that never happened.

Ebay came along and I found a newer version with a can motor, RP25 wheel sets and in Southern Pacific livery. So I bought it. It was such a fine running locomotive that I bought another one. These turned out to be Mantua's last best effort before closing shop.

I then started the process of converting my fleet into DCC with sound. This in itself can turn into a rabbit hole of misinformation. All of the literature was about scrupulously clean track, power feeds every three feet, powered frogs in all turnouts and if your astrology is favorable for the day your locomotive will do what it is supposed to do and not randomly reset. Now, I know "keep alives" fix all that but that came after.

Model Power acquired the assets of Mantua and did some re-engineering on the Pacific. In order to make it DCC friendly they created tender trucks that pick-up power from both sides. They also offered the Pacific with DCC and sound factory installed. One spring when I tried to buy the new trucks from Model Power I was told that they'd be available in the fall.

Fall came and Model Power was in bankruptcy. The "Close-out Kings" at Train World ended up with some of Model Power's re-engineered product. They had a Pacific in B&O livery with the new trucks and DCC and sound for about $125. My plan was to switch out the painted parts and have an SP version so I got one.

Other things came up. Train World then found some in SP Livery so I bought one and thought that I was done. Not.

Who knows the provenance of my SP Pacific? My guess it came from some department of defectives because it's a clunker. It runs with a wobble and grates and the tender would not stay on the track. The MRC decoder well is an MRC decoder - worth about $10 on a good day. Good speaker though. I like MRC speakers.

The Model Power product was made in China. The tender didn't stay on track because it's frame was warped. The pot metal had too many impurities in it to make a good casting. I ended up putting a replacement tender frame together from brass stock.

The locomotives wiring was a patched together mess, the sound too muddy for my taste so installed a Digitrax SDH164D that I had on hand.
One site suggested that a keep alive can directly replace the capacitor and I did and now when the locomotive stalls out and stops the sound keeps on chugging. Its like the old cartoon where a guy gets thrown from a horse and the horse turns around and laughs at him. Oh well.

And that B&O locomotive? I sold it to a guy in India along with another, packed them in the same box. He some how managed to circumvent Ebay's "Global Shipping Program" and got to me directly. Took forever to pay and only paid after I put a claim into Ebay to void the transaction. A month after I shipped them with tracking only as far as the American border, he put in a claim to Ebay for ONE of them. Ebay accepted his claim and backcharged me.

I'd still like to be able to run the Pacific because of sentimental attachment. But obstacles still present themselves. One of the wheelsets fell out of the locomotive lead truck. The truck broke wheel I tried to pop it back in. I'm not looking for a solution here, only commiseration. I offer this a tale of the folly of trying too hard. Afterall everything that I showed so far is a pleasure run and a joy to watch.



Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page

quartergauger48
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/03/2017 :  11:59:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A truly enjoyable disputation'..I think most serious RR modelers have been down that track'...and most likely more than once. And probably go down it again'..


Ted

Country: USA | Posts: 4876 Go to Top of Page

Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/04/2017 :  11:49:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
More fun with a camera. The Santa Fe drag freight is on the double tracked main line that represents the coastal route from the Bay Area to LA. Its level grade can be set up as a continuous loop and mostly I just set three trains running around and around (about 125 feet).

The two upper tracks start out as a spur from the mainline, separate and diverge on grade to join again behind the scene in the staging. I have to be quite coherent to run trains on and off this loop. As a result it get a lot less use.

The black widow cadillacs are pulling a fruit train that will exit through the back drop in about twenty feet. This represents the Overland Route through Donner Summit.

The Western Pacific Geeps are pulling a mixed freight northward along the Shasta Route.


All of the land forms are made from recycled styrofoam packing materials. I shape it with a saw, a wood rasp and a scrap of a 50 grit sanding belt. After draping the land with cheesecloth (from Walmart). I smoosh on Dap Alex Plus caulking and smear it around. I then dump on sawdust from my table saw and sand from the beach and work it in by jabbing it with a much abused paint brush. If I want it to be smoother, after wetting the mess with the same paintbrush I'll sprinkle on the dust from the bag of my belt sander.

At this point it will have a very pleasant velvety look and seem dry. It isn't. The hardest thing to do is to wait for it to dry. Three days. I then paint it with my earth color cheap acrylic paint. When that dries, I then add normal ground cover. Lately I've been using Scenic Express "Flock and Turf" with Woodland Scenics fine turf and static grass flock added to balance out the color. I use a Noch Grassmaster to apply this into a coating of Tightbond II water resistant glue. I guess this yellows over time which I don't mind because California hillsides turn yellow every summer anyway.

The shrubs are made by wrapping a ball of barbeque cleaning pad material with polyester pillow stuffing. The actual stuff that I've now run out of was from a roll end of ridge top vent tossed away by the roofer of a job I managed. I add a trunk with a twist of floral wire. The leaves are simulated with Woodland Scenics coarse turf adhered with the cheapest unscented hairspray I can find. It still smells anyway.

All the trees in this picture use Woodland Scenics plastic armatures, polyester pillow stuffing attached with Ailene's Tacky Glue and coarse turf attached with hairspray.

I'm especially proud of the line of trees behind the bridge. Its about half an inch thick. I made it from a piece of black constuction paper to which I stuck on some nylon window screen with hot glue. I then added some scraps of rejected polyfiber shrubs and patches of coarse ground foam.





Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page

Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/05/2017 :  02:34:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

A longer view


Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn
Fireman



Posted - 03/05/2017 :  08:25:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Aran,
Thank you for all the photos of structures, trains and scenery with narrative.

I'd be interested in seeing a sketch of your track arrangement if you have one.

Very nice work.

Mike.


_______________________________________________________________________________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me, as I go walking that freedom highway -- Woody Guthrie

Country: USA | Posts: 2755 Go to Top of Page

Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/05/2017 :  2:24:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Ted and Mike. I enjoy posting here. It's downright therapeutic. Its good to find a non-judgemental place where I can post my work. People can tend to be overly tribal. As the song goes "I try and try and try to be just what I am. But everybody there wants you to be just like them".


While looking through my model railroad files the other day I found this original track plan. The general configuration has remained though track layout in localized areas has moved around a bit. The layout room is 22'4" by 24'4". One of the peninsulas stands away from the wall to create "the slot". The dotted line indicates a wall that separates the layout from the staging tracks.

The city peninsula is an obvious derivative of the Franklin and South Manchester. Its a little hard to make out from the plan but two tracks begin their climb along the wall behind the city, gradually separating to produce my rationalized version of the "French Gulch Effect".


Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page

Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/06/2017 :  3:41:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here's a couple more stalled works in progress. I'd say they are definitely "back burner" but more accurately they are off the stove but at least still in the kitchen.

This IHC Mogul is the first smooth running steam engine that I acquired back in the early nineties.Not a great puller (four cars and a caboose up a 2% grade) but very much at home on my first 4x8 pike. I've always had a fancy for Vandy tenders - I mean even the name is so cool. So I've added this one from Bachmann. It needs a decoder and redetailing. I'll get back to it some day, honest.

This 440 is also from IHC. It uses the same body as the Mogul but with a different wheel arrangement. This particular model was lettered and detailed for the New York Central when I bought it. I like it with the SP tender that came from the mogul.
Its another decoder installation disaster. Same story - ran fine in DC, hit and miss in DCC with a Digitrax SDH164D. Its performance was not improved by replacing the factory capacitor with a current keeper. I understand that Digitrax dropped this one from their product line and replaced it with the 166 which has a place to plug in their keep alive.

After studying my decoder intently I think I've located the four diodes that rectify the AC. They are really weensy tiny and I'll need a higher powered magnevisor to see exactly where to attach leads to them. I'll leave that rabbit hole alone until I'm feeling really lucky.

Both locomotives seem to be okay on Atlas code 83 track. Their wider flanges bump and grind on some of my rail joiners and the frogs of the turnouts but its pretty smooth going on the flex track.

My goal is to place them both in light service on the Hellegon branch.


Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page

quartergauger48
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/06/2017 :  10:43:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Okay Stiff Now you reveal your secret for trees and shrubs after me spending the past 5 years and a small fortune, building, designing, buying, building, and buying.......Great trees, shrubs, buildings, motive power, rolling stock, entire layout'...nice work indeed'. And I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your verbal analogies...
Hang in there and keep up the great work'...



Ted

Edited by - quartergauger48 on 03/06/2017 10:47:50 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 4876 Go to Top of Page

Bindlestiff
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/07/2017 :  6:19:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Ted for your comments. I have no secrets. Scenery is easy, low demand work. The hardest thing about it is always color.

This little structure, like almost every thing else is mounted on its own removeable mini-diorama. Its up against an embankment so its backed with trees and shrubs.

Here's the shrub sequence. A ball of the coarse pad, wrapped with polyester pillow stuffing, pinned with loop of floral wire twisted to hold it together and made a mounting pin. Ready for hairspray and coarse ground foam.


Here's my tree sequence. The first one is a Woodlands Scenics 3" tree plastic armature from the $14.99 TR1122 assortment of 28 trees. I cut off the plastic pin at the bottom and insert a finishing nail into a hole drilled with a Dremel. I'll bend out a bunch of these while watching a baseball game or heavens! an English period drama on TV. The next one has Polyester fiber glued on with tacky glue. After the glue dries the last step is to spray it with hairspray. Sometimes stray fibers need to be trimmed off. It looks like I was a little regular with this on the third tree.

I have used tree kits from Woodland Scenics which come with their "Clump Foliage" but ended up with trees that look too much like broccoli. So I just use the armatures, polyfiber and coarse ground foam.

I also like the deciduous tree kits from Accurail. They are similar but include polyfiber "brambles" and ground foam. The "bramble" material is perfect for trees. their ground foam is a little too bright and a little too finely ground for my taste but at $12.98 for 24 trees 4.5 to 6" they are a deal and I use the foam for something else.


I also like to have trees and shrubs right up against the back drop. I make thse by hot gluing a finishing nail to a rough circle of fiberglass window screen. I then glue some scraps of coarse bramble to this and work some polyfiber into it once the glue has cooled. The last step is hairspray and coarse ground foam.


Raw materials.

Its really easy to use too much fiber material when building a tree. It's also easy to strip off material that looks too heavy, soak the remainder of the glue off the plastic armature and start again. I recycle the material here and there as roadside brambling weeds.


Aran Sendan

Country: USA | Posts: 154 Go to Top of Page
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