Friday, June 12, 2020

Arroyo Tank Car Revisted and More

I recently finished up, i.e. painted, a couple of On30 projects that have been ongoing.

First is the new Arroyo Tram tank car. The model is my version of the Gilpin Tram tank car that was built in the C&S shops. The tank car was used to haul water to mines that had "bad" water for their boilers.

I also finished up and painted a Chivers Finelines flatcar, freelanced but based on the Gilpin cars. My last such kit. Sorry to see them go out of business.

Modern Cars........

Here are two all steel ore cars based on the old Roundhouse or Model Die Casting ballast cars. Years ago, I had seen a kit-bashed version similar to these. I have no idea where I found the picture but I liked it and picked up a kit to bash.

Long time later........I bashed this up so quickly that I bought a second one on ebay, super cheap. The only difference between the two is how I did the ends and where I located the chain turning mechanism to open the drop bottom doors.

I wanted to use trucks that have brakes that hang from the trucks, as per Gilpin style but SlimRails or the "new" Chivers Finelines closed down a few years back. So, while looking at Tichey archbar trucks, I wondered if they could be modified? Yes! A fairly easy and quick conversion though I had to wait between steps for the adhesive to dry completely. I think they came out very nicely and plan to modify a few more. I was even able to use the brake shoes that come with the truck kits.

The Chivers Finelines trucks are on the left and my modified Tichey's are on the right. Yes, I used smaller wheels to get the right coupler height but one could easily use larger Kadee wheelsets. The picture is mid production, so only one set of brakes is shown. The finished and painted trucks are in the picture of the completed car above.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Pandora's Box - On2 Musings

During a short period of free time I decided to take out a locomotive I had put away years ago (don't think its seen the light of day in 20 years...). I figured I could throw a cheap DCC decoder in her and get her back up and running, a quick project, right? No!

After installing a test decoder (no sound) I tried to run the locomotive. The gears on the rear truck did not mesh! Ugh. This had been a problem on this engine for a long time. I had never really been able to figure it out and had put  the loco back in the box several times. At one point I had managed to get the trucks "perfectly" bent so it ran fairly well. This time, I had to FIX IT! So, disassemble, re-assemble, test, disassemble, re-assemble, test, etc. etc. Then I began to notice that the truck was able to free rotate on a shouldered screw. I assumed it was to help the engine get over rough track, however, there was still too much play in the truck. The truck side frame had enough play to keep the  bevel gear from properly engaging with the pinion gear.

My first thought was to file the screw threads down to a little but determined it was the shouldered part that was too long. So, I made brass shims (the hole large enough to pass the shouldered part) and installed them with much fussing  (getting those short screws in and then turning the screw with the screw driver angled!).  IT WORKED!! After 3 times the amount of allotted time, I got her back on the track and running better than ever for that sound decoder, maybe tomorrow!

One good deed..........

The satisfaction was so great, I decided to get out another quick project! Yeah, right. So I pulled out
 another long term project. I thought I had put it back in the box because it really needed extra electrical pickups added and I hadn't wanted to do that at the time. I had re-motored the engine and installed a DCC sound decoder and stay-alive capacitor. The stay alive and stock poor pickups (one side on the drivers, the other on the rear truck) just weren't enough. Generally speaking, there are a fair amount of these out there in On2 and I haven't read much about issues with them, then pandora's box was opened!

So, I carefully, and I mean carefully added electrical pickups to the front and rear of the engine.  Did I mentioned that I was careful, so I wouldn't have to mess with moving or re-wiring decoder "stuff". Well, when running it, I found an intermittent short. I'd noted in the past that the method of holding the rear truck caused shorting issues on this engine even with DC, however, I thought it had been fixed on this engine so it MUST be my additional pickups, right? Disassemble, check, assemble, check, disassemble, check.  Ugghh...

 Turns out the truck mounting hardware would occasionally rub against a countersunk scew-head that was supposed to be isolated. Bad planning on the builders part, I'm thinking. So, using two strips of different thickness styrene, I managed to come up with a little better system to assure the screw head was isolated. Vola! It worked. During this project I had to put it down and walk away for a day. DCC sound decoder wires and problems can be super frustrating. All that handling can lead to a secondary issue. Well, she runs great now but even with the extra pick ups she needs to have that stay alive fully charged before taking off. As for painting, yeah, another day as I have to disassemble the engine...........another of Pandora's Box if ever there was one! Cheers!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Deerfield Laser Taconnet and Vassalboro in On2

Last year I picked up two Deerfiled Laser Kits from someone online. They were selling the laser kits with two Bachmann passenger car bodies, roofs and trucks for $50.00 each. That looked like an interesting deal so, I jumped in. I've posted previously on cutting the roofs for narrowing, etc. so I'll focus here on the finished cars and compare them to the GME resin kits.

First the Taconnet.  The baggage doors are a bit wider, the windows more square and the car is shorter in stature. I am definitely glad to have added the trim under the windows, as it would really be missing on this car.

The Vassalboro. Relatively similar. I'm glad I added the under window trip. The lack of rounded corners isn't too bad as painted. I think the square windows look better.

Conclusion? Well, the GME is the correct width and height. The Deerfield Laser kit is an 1/8 short but has square windows. The GME doors on the Taconnet are a bit  narrow.  Neither is perfect, both have some limitations. Both work just fine for me. Buid'em and let me know your thoughts.

Both sets are cars were painted with Floquil Pullman Green and Oxide Red roofs. The GME has Floquil Oxide Red and the Deerfeild has Polyscale Special Oxide Red. The GME's were finished with semi-gloss and the Deefield laser kits finished with Gloss.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Monson Railroad - Fun with Two Foot!

Finally finished my Monson On2 Fleet. All the cars started out as Portland Products kits. They took longer to paint than to assemble. Fun, now I just need a Monson locomotive and a module of Monson Junction yard...........

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Time Warp!

IC on the Arroyo?! IS On30, right? 

Bill's comment in one of my previous posts is the motivation behind today's. While attending a very interesting (zzzzzz) Zoom meeting today, I pulled out my old Backwoods Miniatures On30 diesel conversion. It's never run very well, and I've been stumped by why not. Each wheel supposedly picks up current. The basis is an old Athearn SW-1500, something like that.  It has a WOW sound decoder (darn thing talks to you when programming - doesn't really help make things clearer....) So, I messed around a little and used some contact cleaner on the the trucks and voila! Well, as voila as this loco is going to get. Runs fairly smooth while switching at really slow speeds. So, a little more weathering and some windows and I'm gonna call her done (oh, yeah a number). I originally picked this up for my On3 layout to use in staging but I'm not going to convert it. So, in the end, thanks Bill.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Proof of What You Already Know but Don't Want to Know

I've been running trains again on the Arroyo Tram. A nice relaxing way to end the day. Operations run from 20-40 minutes. While I use computer generated switch lists on the DC&L and have used them on the Arroyo, I wanted something simpler for such a small layout. I didn't want to use the computer (I'm on that for work all day it seems) and I wanted something quick that I could just walk up to the layout and use on demand. So, I pulled out my old box of Micro Mark car cards and waybills. I re-read an old MR article by Malcom Farlow on using car cards for his San Juan Central, looked quickly at Tony Keoster's Operations book and sat down to come up with something.

What a quick way to come up with something! In less than an hour, I had the cards and waybills written and the boxes installed. Started operating. Quickly learned that I need more cards. I then used an Excel program written by a German narrow gauger that I found on line about 10-years ago to generate 4-sided waybills. Still works! I worked up some better waybills and off we go!

 The system is working great. I can just walk up without any planning an start operating a train. I can walk away and come back when I want to. Easy, simple and quick, which is what I wanted for this particular layout. Operations have identified three things that I knew but didn't really want to be reminded of:

1. I need to build something to put the cards on! I always put the cards on the layout, on the scenery. Bad! I need to build something on the fascia to hold cards. On the to-do list, maybe you'll see it posted...NEXT YEAR!

2. I need to install a Tam Valley frog juicer. One single frog juicer hooked up to all my turnouts will work great since I only run one locomotive on each module at a time. I just need to do it as I'm getting stalls on the frogs. No, none of these loco's have stay alive's.

3. I have too many cars. I've known this. I just can't help building cars. If you've followed my blog for any period of time, you'll realize that what I really like about the hobby is building things. There are so many opportunities to scratch build or kitbash cool cars for this On30 layout! However, I need less than half to run the layout effectively. With less than 1/2 the cars, I still have plenty of switching, it looks better and I have enough sidings to handle traffic. With all my cars, well, everything is full and operations are, well, not that realistic. Heck, it's a small layout, what did I expect! Basically, it is an L-shaped layout with one 2 x 8 section and a 2 x 6 section.

What to do with all those cars...... and I'm building more. Oops! I'll have to find somewhere to store them, maybe make a drawer under the layout - you'll see that posted in.......2-years!

So, I'll get that Tam Valley frog juicer installed this weekend, get over 1/2 the cars off the layout and someday build that little sloped table to hold car cards but in the meantime, I'll be building more stuff and running the occasional train on the Arroyo Tram.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Weekend Projects

My son was working on some tank models on my workbench this weekend, so I brought out some projects that I've had on the back-burner for a while. That way we could share some model building time.

Here is a new hopper for the Arroyo Tram. It started out as a old HO Roundhouse Sand and Gravel Car. I saw something similar but a little different on a website years ago, I thought I would give it a go.

Then I put a Wisemann Model Serivces (V&T Shops) donkey engine kit together. A quick but delicate build.