Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tedious 8 Tonner

I've been working on a GrandtLine 8 ton Porter for the last 2-1/2 weeks. I purchased this porter about 15+ years ago from Coronado Scale models at the same time I picked up the 2-foot gauge Merced Gold Mining version of the engine. I built the Merced engine with a bit a difficulty and put this kit away for a rainy day.

For some reason, I pulled it out and decided to give it a go. Easy and smooth sailing for the most part. I went slow and worked a little at a time, using a highlighter to indicate what I had completed in the instructions. There were a few tense moments with some of the tiny details but I managed to get most of them in there. I was quite proud up to almost the end. Then, the motor......

The motor and gearbox are very small and are supposed to sit in the boiler. Fit fine, but work, nope. The boiler was too small, pressing on the side of the motor and the motor wouldn't turn. So, free handing some dremel work, I got the motor to fit. However, the gears weren't lining up appropriately due to some side torque when going in one direction with caused them to move on the drive train. Lots of fussing later, I used a pin (literally, a cut pin) to keep the gear in question from pushing off the shaft. This part was a real pain. I could get the gears and motor running smooth and easy out of the loco but as soon as I put it back together -grrrrrr. Must have had the thing about 50 times and it's not fun putting the rear firebox back on. Then I had to figure out how to hold the motor from moving since the boiler was now widened out so the motor would work. Managed to figure out a fix with styrene.

Finally, she runs with a LookSound decoder, not hooked up to a speaker yet. The decoder and wires are visible in the cab but will be hidden in a coal bunker. Not sure if I'll use the sound decoder as she's really, really noisy going forward. Not quite so bad in reverse but the gear noise is rather audible and would likely just make sound with a small speaker worthless. We'll see. Getting the thing running has been a real trial. I wanted to have the cab removable and smashed the delicate cab. Luckily, I only had to rebuild one of the rear sides. The rebuild looks ok.  I might try to work on the gear alignment a little to see if I can get it quieted down and then decide on a small non-sound decoder or the LookSound decoder with a mini speaker. Not much room for the speaker or decoder much less all those wires. We'll see. Was it a fun build? Well, the first 7/8ths were delightful and fun. The last bit has been a trail of patience and while I'm happy to have the engine running, it's not as quiet or as smooth as hoped.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Some Boulder Valley Model 4 Wheel Cars

This weekend I finished up painting two Boulder Valley On30 4 wheel flat cars. I bought these a while back before they folded up shop. Thought they looked interesting. They were fun and fast to put together. Took me longer to paint them than to build them. I added a short strip of lead weight underneath the deck and body. They roll great. Nice little cars.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Arroyo Tram Gets a Staging Track

This weekend I manged to complete the long awaited staging track for On30 Arroyo Tram module.
I originally built the extension a bit too short to accommodate  a run-around track, which made it less than ideal. Also, it had to propped up with something on one end, which made it impractical. So, I extended it 12-inches, and added foldable legs and wires to power the track.

Wow, does it make operations more enjoyable! The layout/module is now a layout and not a switching puzzle. Before, you had to really watch train length and were limited in moves by the two tail tracks. Now you can use all the length needed, which makes operation much more prototypical and more enjoyable, plus there is somewhere to come from and go to complete the operation session. I should have done this a long time ago. 

The removable staging area will now be used until the layout gets completed and I start Phase II which will have a model of the Gilpin's enginehouse. A "someday" project.

Also, work continues on the On2 WW&F Albion module with slow but continued progress on the Albion station. Till next time........

Monday, February 26, 2018

Heavy Motive Power

Last week our local On30 group had a get together/operations session at Mike's B&H On30 layout. I wanted to bring something to show and have had this loco sitting around 85% complete for quite a while. So, I finished it off and snapped some shots.

My Arroyo lighting is fairly bad for side shots but I think one can get the idea. The locomotive is a Bachmann On30 2-8-0, the one based on the M de M 30-inch line in Mexico. (Hey an actual 30-inch gauge prototype, of course no one models that!) A great locomotive with a tender. I have one that has been supped up to meet the prototype but when I saw the Backwoods Miniatures side tank build kit for the locomotive, I really wanted one. Backwoods no longer is in business but I picked my kit up, well, let's just say a long time ago.

I initially intended to re-gauge the loco to On3, which I did and it ran great! However, once I removed the tender, I just couldn't get the locomotive's electrical pickups to suffice for a 2-8-2T. So, I re-gauged it back to On3 with significant electrical pickup improvement.

The loco has a Soundtrax mini Tsumani with a current keeper and speaker in the cab and coal bunker. She runs very well and looks totally cool. The only problem is those steps are WIDE! My Arroyo module has some tight clearances, and the steps hit some of my turnout throws (Ooops! My bad). She's too big for the Arroyo anyway.

So, I took her down to Mike's for a test run. The last time I had her down there, the pony truck would short out on the cylinders on his 18-inch radius curves. So, I increased it's length by a tiny bit and wanted to see her turn the drivers on a longer run!

She ran quite well as expected but did have a couple of problems. Mike's turnout throws are based on HO clearances and her steps wouldn't clear them (sound familiar?). They also hit scenery on his 18-inch radius curves. I did get her to run well over a large portion of the back section of his layout but. I think she'll need 20-22-inch radius curves and a layout with proper On30 clearance's for scenery and turnouts. She's 98% complete, needs a little touch up painting and a little weathering.

She's looking for a good home.................

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Arroyo Scenery

With the snow and rain this weekend, I managed to get some scenery done this on the On30 Arroyo Mines layout. My Arizona Rock and Mineral order arrived along with some eBay purchased trees.
 I'd say the greenery adds quite a bit to the layout. Fun placing the trees and some other small scenery items. My son thought it made a world of difference. I'm liking the results. Trees may look small but pictures of the Gilpin Tram show bare hills and small trees coming back up. They must have cleared the hills early for fuel.

The Benson Mine now has the upper roof on and the first coat of paint. Not pleased with the new paint I am using and will finish it up with remaining Floquil stock.

The whiting mine has made great progress. Just needs a roof! Working on it, the roof is a little more difficult due to the angle of the roof to back of the layout or someday, the backdrop.

The foreground cribbing is where the Grand Central gold mine will go. I purchased a kit for that one. Taking a brake from scratch building.  I have an interior from Wisemann Model Services and am looking forward to getting the kit built; however, I would like to get the Whiting Mine done first.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Whiting Mine on the Arroyo

Started the Whiting Mine, from the Gilpin Tram this weekend. Card stock, wood and something new, balsa foam. The rocks are a test from a cutoff, what is pictured is about 10-15 minutes of test carving. This stuff is amazing. I've held off using it for lack of need and skepticism. Well, its great! Should have the Whiting mine up and running soon. Of course, its kind of a 1/3 or less of the structure.......

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sometimes You Just Don't Know................

Sometimes you just don't know what's going on around you. Local modelers may exist in your area and you just don't know it. I stumbled onto an O scale display layout in Pulaski, VA today. Pulaski is about 40 minutes down the road. The Raymond F. Ratliff Transportation Museum contains the Milton Brockmeyer Train Diorama. Milton lived in  Pulaski and built an O scale, two-rail layout with the entire town, all the buildings in the town that existed in the late 1920's. Cool. They even scratch built a N&W 611 that used a sewing machine motor! The locomotive was very well built. Worth a stop.

During the last week and this weekend, I made some progress on the Arroyo Tram, On30 module. I kept passing it to work on other things and the "white" just bothered me. So......

From this......



I had to take a break as I ran out of Arizona Rock and Mineral scenery supplies. A quick search turned up their website, which is no longer working. However, they still have an eBay store, so off with some $$

On the Albion module, On2, I managed to get all the shingles on the Albion potato house, whew, no shingles for a while......