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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/03/2019 :  09:03:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Bob,

I did find the roofing shingles for the handcar/tool shed at the aforementioned major train show. At two acres of model trains in one building, it is always impressive. As to be expected there was HO and N roofing out the wazoo and even some S, but only two dealers that I could find that had O. Nevertheless, mission accomplished and now the shed can be completed.

I purchased mine from Rail-Scale Models. Give their website a look as they make and sell interesting laser cut detail parts as well as structures.

All the best.



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/04/2019 :  3:15:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Outhouse Serendipity

I had purchased an MTH (Mikes Train House) pre-built plastic outhouse (90001) several years ago. It was cast in white plastic with an overall spray of flat white paint and it always seemed to me that it was too bright to be right, so I considered toning it down a bit while on the current structure painting spree. However, when I started researching outhouses, I found that, historically, MTH got it right, so I left it as it was.

Period outhouses were often whitewashed inside and out. Whitewash is simply slaked lime (Calcium Hydroxide) mixed with water. It is not a paint that covers wood or masonry with a continuous coat, but it is applied as a thin emulsion that actually soaks into the covered surface. It does not dry like paint either. It chemically reacts with the natural Carbon Dioxide in the air to form a coating of Calcite crystals. The double refraction of light due to the crystal covering gives the coated structure a unique surface glow akin to the above described outhouse model.

Why did our ancestors rely on whitewash? In the age before manufactured medicines, it possessed a natural antibacterial property. This proved effective when spread over large areas normally adjacent to or surrounding people, such as backyard fences, the walls of a kitchen or a dairy barn or an outhouse. In addition, when mixed with a little ordinary salt (Sodium Chloride), it also develops anti-mold and anti-fungal properties.

Whitewash also worked as an insect repellent for ants and other creepy-crawlies. It also served with some effect as a deodorizer, but its highly reactive first cousin known as quicklime (Calcium Oxide) was better for that. An occasional dose of quicklime added to the "receptacle" would go a long way to making the outhouse civilized.

Its only major drawback is, unlike a coat of paint, whitewash is not weather resistant and it needs occasional renewing, but its cost is so little, this was not a big problem. As it had no injurious effects on the human body, recoating was also a good way to keep children busy or as a punishment for bad behavior, as portrayed in the Mark Twain classic Tom Sawyer.

Now for a few words about outhouse architecture. From what I've seen, most of the outhouses currently being modeled can be considered as "quaint" with a slanting shed roof over a simple closed structure painted in dark colors, with a door in one side. Actually, many outhouses were architecturally matched to their adjoining structures and the MTH one earns its place by having a peaked roof that compliments the factory building that was selected for the layout.

Most outhouses for public use featured fretwork ornamentation of a crescent moon or a star, which traditionally denoted usage by either women or men. However, the MTH ornaments are combined above the door on the pediment, which indicates that it is a coed facility, albeit one user at a time. Starting with the Plasticville ones in the nineteen fifties, which were marked His and Hers, the use of the star ornament has faded away on model outhouses and almost all now just have the crescent moon, if they have anything at all.

The source of my favorite "privy" story is railroad related. A new employee needed to relieve himself, so he went to find the facility, but another workman was standing outside of it, indicating that it was already in use. With no place else to go, literally, he waited in line with the other workman, who sized him up. After a few minutes, the workman let him in on the secret. The outhouse was actually empty and the workmen used the act of standing outside of it, ostensibly waiting for their turn, as an excuse to take extended breaks from work. By letting the new employee go ahead of him, so to speak, the waiting workman appeared to be a good guy plus he got to shirk work a little longer.



Edited by - Dan on 02/05/2019 05:49:01 AM

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railman28
Fireman



Posted - 02/05/2019 :  11:37:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
that was very interesting history.

Bob


It's only make-believe

Country: USA | Posts: 4951 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/06/2019 :  09:18:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Bob,

As a history and technology buff I like to research obscure things that affected the day-to-day lives of our ancestors.



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/08/2019 :  12:09:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From telephone shanty to fire hose shed with two stops in between.

The currently available MTH 90002 is sold as an O-scale ready-built, plastic Telephone Shanty and it was purchased with the intent of using it in some fashion on the layout. The body of the structure is molded in an unusual royal blue color with a tan painted roof and a white painted door. The window details are molded onto the walls and are painted white. It also comes with a three step base that is colored grey. The base just didn't look right so it was jettisoned and the structure now sits directly on the ground. Although a plastic telephone shanty was not specifically needed, it is a rather well made, very small O-scale structure that has a history of being handy to have around the layout.

When the surface mounted Peco twin coil turnout motor, hooked up in the standard manner (non-DCC), was installed on the layout, it was found that the blue telephone shanty could be used to hide the Jurassic looking turnout motor by slipping the structure over it, thereby taking on the role of a switch tender's shack.

However, as the layout progressed, it was decided to convert the turnout motor to DCC. This required vertically mounting a control card next to the motor, so either a second telephone shanty was needed to cover the DCC card or a bigger building was needed to cover the both of them. The bigger building, acting as the yard office, was the option decided upon, which left the shanty without a job.

As the factory area developed, the shanty found another use as the control cabin for the mechanized bucket elevator that feeds the rock bunker. There is a maintenance door at the top of the elevator that was originally connected to the ground by a series of stairs and platforms. They increased the footprint of the rock bunker to the point where they had to be left off. In their place, a long ladder was needed to reach the access door. What was used was a duplicate of the laser cut wood ladder ordered for the water tank (the eBay price was two for a buck). The space required for adding the ladder bumped the control cabin off of the layout, leaving the shanty, once again, out of a job.

With the change from the needed, but unavailable plastic structures to the smaller, laser cut wood kits, a bit of real-estate opened up that begged to be filled. As the spot in question is along the right-of-way, between the ex-pump house, now a line side storage shed, and the handcar/tool shanty, situated adjacent to the factory building, a garish looking telephone shanty would seem out of place.

What would be practical is something even more garish and that would be the seldom modeled fire hose shed. These sheds were just large enough to hold a hydrant and a long length of hose, all set up and ready for use on a moment's notice, plus axes and other minor pieces of fire equipment. Externally, all that is needed to make the change from a royal blue telephone shanty to a model of a fire hose shed is a coat of red paint, but that requires another journey into the land of rattle-cans.

Just when you think that you have seen it all, things get even stranger. The mouth-filling name for Krylon paint that was posted previously has been surpassed. The present can is labeled Krylon Fusion All-In-One Paint + Primer (a whopping eleven syllables).

Regrettably, my theory that the quality of the paint is inversely proportional to the combined number of words in the name of the paint and the name of the color seems to be true. In this case the color name is Matte Fire Red.

According to the dictionary, matte is supposed to mean dull, lusterless, not glossy and not shiny. However, it seems in the present world of rattle-can paints, matte apparently means satin and the term satin doesn't mean anything at all because the satin finish paints will not come out of the (expletive deleted) can!

Much of the present-day reformulated spray paint dries to the touch rather quick, but it takes quite a while to completely cure. My house has hot water heat with cast-iron radiators, which come in handy for the wintertime curing of various types of glues as well as model paints (the radiators will be missed on the move to an apartment). I will let the structure "cook" for a while on a radiator to see if the unwanted sheen softens to matte. In theory, when the paint smell disappears, the object that is cooking is done.

If not, perhaps an old fashioned spritz with Testors Dullcote will do the trick. On the other hand, the Dullcote application may make everything curdle like month old milk. One thing that I have learned about using reformulated rattle-can paint...Life is a crapshoot.

At least they got the color right, kinda-sorta (it is a bit too orange to be a true fire truck red). Once again, the color of the can cap and the paint do not match. While it seems that I am really getting into being a grouchy old man, there is a lot riding on finding a suitable spray paint, as the fleet of company vehicles, currently factory coated in a very glossy, red and black scheme, also needs repainting.

The photos show the fire hose shed soon after the paint had dried to the touch, with waving guy, all six and a half feet of him, as a size reference. The glare of the so-called Matte Fire Red is noticeable. Also shown are the fronts of the storage shed and the handcar/tool shanty. When combined with the new fire hose shed they make a good looking threesome, which will become a layout vignette.
















Edited by - Dan on 02/08/2019 3:19:55 PM

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David Clark
Fireman



Posted - 02/08/2019 :  6:10:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dan,
A shot of Testor's Dullcote will knock the shine off that shack in sheconds.
Cheers,
Dave



Country: Canada | Posts: 1187 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/10/2019 :  06:32:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Dave,

As soon as I get a fresh can, I'll give it a try.

All the best



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/13/2019 :  06:48:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fire hose shed update.

Heeding Dave's advice about using Testors Dullcote to "knock the shine off that shack in sheconds" I mounted another expedition to my local arts and crafts store. They were out of Dullcote, if fact they were out of most things that could be used to build models, but they had something I had not considered as a way to shed the shack shine.

They had Testors Flat Red in a spray can. A quick spritz over top of the failed Krylon produced a nice deep red that has a very flat finish, which is what I originally had in mind. It looks like this will also do for refinishing the company fleet of vehicles.

Testors also has the same color in a small bottle for brush and touch up work. Testors was always noted for their color matching between mediums and paint runs, but as they are now "associated" with Rust-oleum and their myriad reformulations (both are owned by the same conglomerate) things may have changed. There is so little of the "old ways" still around, let us hope not.

If changes were made, I can always fall back on using kindergarten finger paint to complete the layout, although it tends to be a bit messy. There are some things in this world that will never change.



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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/23/2019 :  10:47:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Photographic Memory

The new digital camera seems to be working out for taking photos of the layout and this stimulated an ancient memory from back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Along with just about everyone else at the time, I was a railfan photographer, using an SLR to take color slides in the then popular 35mm film format. The well heeled ones flaunted their Hasselblads and their Rolleiflexes, along with an occasional Brontosaurus. Or was that a Bronica?

For those who found themselves on the other side of the railfan tracks, one way to acquire an SLR was to buy a camera that was previously used. In my case it was an East German made Hanimex Praktica. Compared to newer SLRs, constructed from exotic light weight materials, the older Praktica weighed a ton and I referred to it as being a photographic brick.

On a routine failfan trip, I stayed in a Motel 666 to save some money. While I was out to get a bite to eat, the room was broken into and the camera was stolen, but this was not as bad as it seems. The reason for this is, after years of riding as well as chasing cinder spewing steam trips, the camera controls and the lens has acquired a crunchy feel (the medical term is crepitus) and that is not a good thing.

Nevertheless, although the camera had become a photographic Albatross around my neck, its past performance was no less than admirable and, in its own way, it continued to be so after it was gone. I collected its remaining monetary value from my insurance and invested that amount in a modern replacement.

A sincere "Thank You" to whomever it was that stole the Hanimex Praktica, lo these many years ago, and you are welcome to the hernia that you, no doubt, sustained while trying to carry it from the room.



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railman28
Fireman



Posted - 02/23/2019 :  3:58:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just hope you had it's memory wiped and stored someplace safe.

Bob


It's only make-believe

Country: USA | Posts: 4951 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/06/2019 :  9:29:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Discovering several blasts from the past!

While rummaging around the inside of a musty, long forgotten box found in a secluded spot of the basement, I ran across several blasts from the past. Why they may not look like much when compared to present-day On30, they represent the status quo from nearly a half century ago, when there were only two model building options - scratch or bash.

The first group of photos shows an early attempt at On30 scratch building when I was a mere pup who had been in HO scale for just a few years. The following canine reference applies to my present situation; you can't teach an old dog new tricks, nor can you get him to improve his mediocre scratch building skills. Thank heavens there are now kits and R-T-R in On30.

A passenger car was built from Northeastern Scale Lumber products and the postage mark on the corresponding shipping label, dated July 14, 1971, indicates that this modeling effort occurred some forty-seven years ago. Built without using a plan or even a specific prototype car as a guide, it turned out to be about three quarters of the size of the current Bachmann On30 passenger cars. An old dime store kid's water color kit supplied the paint for the car and, as the photos show, my hand painting skills were atrocious back then and they have not improved.

The car was completed from the railheads to the roof line, but I just could not get a standard railroad roof to work and an arch or monitor roof would not be right for the design of the car. The project was set aside until the problem could be resolved, but it now appears that it never was. Eventually, the car was robbed of its useful parts.

The second group of photos shows the remains of my initial attempt at making an On30 locomotive about the same time. Unlike the passenger car, this model was completed and it ran well on a small switching layout equipped with momentum features supplied by a British made, state-of-the-art Hammant & Morgan transistorized throttle. Even back then I was an operations geek, which is good as I didn't consider myself to be much of a loco builder. However, I may have set my expectations a bit high for as a teen I devoured the landmark series, "Thornburg Builds a Wabash Mogul" in Model Railroader magazine. Over the years, I have learned to lower them to R-T-R levels.

As with so many loco projects at the beginning of On30, it started out as an HO scale Mantua Booster (the one with the side tanks), the boiler of which consisted of a hefty chunk of metal. Its cast on accoutrements; headlight, stack, domes and cab were carefully sawn off and their remnants filed down. Cast brass O-scale parts were used for the replacements.

Kemtron was about the only O-scale parts supplier at the time, with many of their popular parts perpetually backordered, or so it seemed, so I used what I could get. A steam dome was notched and fitted to accommodate the cast on front corners of the boiler's Belpaire firebox, while a seemingly oversized stack occupied the top of the smokebox. A now missing O-scale bell was mounted to the boiler casting in the space between them. The stack had also come loose while in storage, so it was reattached for the photo, but it came out a bit crooked. I ain't the man or the modeler that I used to be.

As the model was to be an "inside the plant" industrial loco, which tend to be caricatures, neither a tender nor a cab mounted fuel bunker would be needed. Originally, a cab was made out of cardboard, but for a loco this heavy, a far sturdier one was soon formed and soldered together using hand cut sheet brass pieces reinforced with short lengths of code 100 brass rail.

My next attempt at On30 scratch building was a rail bus, which involved various materials, as shown in the third group of photos. Around that time, the line of Lesney old time cars in approximately O-scale called 'Matchbox Models of Yesteryear" was coming on the market and one was acquired for experimentation. The hood, radiator and headlights grace the front end of the bus (apparently, the plastic radiator insert turned to dust as it was not found).

Two of the wheel centers from the Matchbox car were combined with the flanged tires from a defunct set of HO drivers and they were mounted to the underside of the chassis that supported the rail bus body. In anticipation of making the rail bus powered, the chassis was made from brass shapes, carefully aligned and soldered together. The front truck assembly in the photo was temporarily put together for the shot.

The wood bus body scales out to be thirteen feet three inches long by five feet six inches wide by six and a half feet tall at the side windows. This time it was to have a much easier to build peaked roof, but my interest in On30 was rapidly on the wane as I was spending more and more time working on the really big stuff, 12" to the foot. Unbeknownst to me, that interest in On30 would not pick up again until after Bachmann introduced their line of R-T-R equipment, so everything was stored away for the interim.


























Edited by - Dan on 03/08/2019 06:37:57 AM

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Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/15/2019 :  09:26:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As sometimes happens, my trip down memory lane came to smashing, crashing halt when a massive chunk of present day reality made its presence known. So it is back to being a septuagenarian On30 modeler, vexed by the vicissitudes typically experienced by those of a certain age.

Nevertheless, the present year is 2019 and my excursion back to when On30 modeling consisted entirely of scratching and bashing, has made me very grateful for my current gaggle of Bachmann R-T-R locos and rolling stock. Barring another Great Gear Debacle or some other unforeseen manufacturing miscalculation, I should have enough equipment to last until the end of time; well, the end of my time anyway.

However, before that time runs out, I need to finish up the layout, so as scenes from memory lane fade into the distance, quite possibly for the final time, I'll return to work on it.

All the best to everyone.



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Philip
Fireman

Premium Member

Posted - 03/15/2019 :  11:12:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit Philip's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Interesting facts about pickling lime. I wonder if any modelers have tried it? I remember tree being whitewashed, same mixture?

Your rail buggy is neat!

If I may ask, how old are you?

Philip



Edited by - Philip on 03/15/2019 11:17:00 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 2620 Go to Top of Page

Dan
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/15/2019 :  12:12:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Philip,

Thanks for the reply. I am seventy going on a hundred, or at least I feel that way.

The whitewash for trees is the same as for the other uses. It was applied to discourage insects from crawling up the trunk. Modern chemical sprays have taken its place.

I found the plastic radiator insert for the rail bus hood way in the bottom of the old box, under one of the bottom flaps, so I might take that as an omen to try and complete the rail bus, at least as a static model. I may replace the ungainly four wheel truck under the front with a pair of large wheels as are at the rear, in the manner of the Bachmann Evans railcar. Getting the proportions and geometry right while combining O-scale with HO trucks and wheels was always a problem in the earliest days of On30. The largest wheels that were readily available were from period Athearn diesels equipped with the rubber band Hi-F drive. Some really strange looking things were created on the workbenches of the time.



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David Clark
Fireman



Posted - 03/15/2019 :  12:37:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dan,
Those are some cool units. The rail buggy could be a sweet-looking machine. I always admire those who can work in brass. I suppose that, like most skills, practice makes perfect (or better). My wife hates it when I "clean up" my hobby room or storage area - it always results in me going over past projects or reading long-lost articles or magazines (to see if they need keeping, of course). At the end of it the area doesn't change much and little gets tossed but a whole day disappears. Love to read about your adventures.
Cheers,
Dave



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