Thursday, January 9, 2020

Welcome to the New Year 2020!

Over the Holidays I had the chance to visit my favorite On2 layout of all time - Al Churella's Sandy River and Rangely  Lakes RR in On2. The layout is located near Atlanta, GA.

Here is our host Al

Of course, Al had us run some trains!


After moving the 23, I took some time making up an "empty" train of pulpwood cars.

I've always wondered where that gay ballast comes frome! Till next time!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Albion Gets Some More Structures

Two Structures for Albion

While I missed posting in November, I have been very busy building structures. I recently finished my version of the ice house and the Tilton's Potato House for the Albion module. Only one more partial structure to go, the cannery. Here are some pictures of the two completed buildings. I also finished the station platform and have done some more work on the station roof. Shingles soon!

 I based my drawings for these structures off two photo's of Albion. The ice house and potato house are likely compressed but I was not able to find any dimensions in the literature for these structures. They look like they fit. Happy to be done with shingles for a while.......


Both started out with cardboard walls and roof. I added lots of wood bracing and primer to help reduce any warping.


I then shingled the ice house entirely but only the sides on Tilton's potato house. I thought shingling the roof the potato house and the ice house would be too much visually. After all the Albion potato house, engine house and roof of the station are shingled.



Here is Tilton's potato house. It is angled into the backdrop. I just didn't have room for the whole structure.




Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wood Hooper

Berkshire Valley Wood Hopper

I've been trying to resist buying one of the Berkshire Valley Models new wood hopper kits. I've been eyeing them for a while as they look really cool. Laser kits are rather quick to assemble and after starting my last Deerfield Laser Kit, see previous post, I jumped in. Why did I wait? Well, the kit is a very "western" version of an ore car and I model the east. Oh, well. It's cool and who knows what I will model in the future........

 When the kit arrived, I was impressed. A much better value than the Deerfield Laser Kit EBT car. The Berkshire Valley Models kit was literally, complete except trucks and couplers. Well, you could argue that it didn't include all brake rigging but no problem for me as I find most of that ends up causing running issues. So, a quick, and I mean, quick build, I have a nicely finished wood ore car. I made two modifications 1.) I added some rods to hold the car together vertically and 2.) I changed out the ladders with some I already had and liked better. I didn't realize that they sell weights to go with this kit but I did add my own weights on the underside of the end slope sheets. Also, I think most wood cars built with wood trusses used rods to hold the mortise and tenon joints together.  Here's the car with modified McCleod West Side Trucks 4ft wheel base, brake hangers removed. Cheers!




Thursday, October 24, 2019

EBT Wood Hopper BM&S

 Deerfield Laser Kit: EBT Wood Hopper t in On3

A while ago I purchased a laser kit of an EBT Wood Hopper from Deerfield Laser. I made a few comments about the kit in my last post. I managed to get some better pictures of how these cars were updated so I changed the truss rod addition to be more like the prototype.

This was my initial guess how they did it. Kind of clunky
Here is what the photo's showed

I managed this week to get the car into the paint shop. I think it came out really nicely. Needs a little touch up on this end.


I think I'll purchase some BM&S trucks from Coronado to see how they look. The photo's I got clearly showed the BM&S trucks with the brake rigging hanging from the car rather than the trucks.


Finally, here is a shot of this kit next to one I scratch built in highschool. I'll update with better lighting this weekend. The scratch build model was built using other plans, which should explain in the increased height. It also uses the Coronado BM&S trucks with 20-inch wheels. Onto something else...........

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Some Deerfield Laser Kits

Back in August I picked up some Deerfield Laser Kits off a Facebook On30 group. The kits represent their version of the WW&F Coach and Combine  (or smoker). Someone on the group was selling them with Backmann under-bodies and roofs, so they seemed like a great deal. Why not? I had to order some new On2 car ends, which led me to purchase another kit, more on that later.
Here are the combine sides:


The two car bodies went together amazingly quickly, I thought, wow, that was an easy start!

It was then I noticed a few things that I should have seen before assembly. Note that the baggage doors have the panels outlined instead of cut out? The door ends are the same. Also, there is no trim for under the windows, its just a laser cut line to represent the trim. I thought these two items were rather noticeable, and decided to make some modifications as I moved forward. I really, really wish I had noted this prior to assembly, as it would be MUCH easier to cut out the door panels. I decided to try it on the passenger car first, as I had assembled the combine first. It can be done but use a sharp knife as the sides are plywood, which makes the material more difficult to cut. Getting a slight backcut helped quite a bit. I will likely not be able to do the back cut on the combine.

Here's one side done, one side waiting.....


I carefully glued the trim below the window on all four sides of the car. This involved adding a narrow strip following the laser cut line and then adding an even smaller strip 90 degrees on top. Tricky! I realize they are a bit narrower than the prototype but I thought it was important to use the laser cut line for alignment. I think it came out fairly well and definitely adds dimension to the model.

I narrowed the Bachmann underframe and modified the steps to make it a little closer to the two-footers. 


The roof was a little difficult to get to fit correctly. The roof laid flat along the sides but raised on both ends. I had to file the top of the laser cut ends significantly to get them to fit. I little surprising but eventually, they made and acceptable fit. Photo above looks better than the two photo's below. They are is still a work in progress.....
Working on the coupler attachment and the truss rods. I need to order some trucks from Coronado, I hadn't planned on building another combine and passenger car after the two GME kits. 

I also started one of the EBT BM&S wood hopper kits. Just like the passenger car kits, the body went together super, super quick. The way the sloping interior boards are put together is very clever and works really well.

I was a little disappointment that the kit did not include the n-b-w and rod for the sides. These cars had significant rods holding the side framework together. I added these details, they were easy and I think add quite a bit to the car.  I had to order some extra stuff to finish the car, these cars were rebuilt with truss rods, on the outside of the sides of the car. None of these parts were included but I thought it added to the look. More soon.......
Finally, a little fun from Wild West Models. Super fast builds. Started them this afternoon for something different.

 That's all for September! 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Scenes from the road....CO

I managed to get some fun travel in this summer. Recently, I spent a little time mountain biking in Breckenridge, Colorado. There are some interesting mines and C&S equipment in town. I thought I would share. If your interested in the mountain biking done, check out our three vidoes on youtube. If you're into trains, skip them!

Here is a mine we passed on our first mountain bike ride. Not too far out of town. Its called the Sallie Barber Mine



 Check out the stone firebox on the mine's boiler. Interesting bit of work.

On another ride we passed a few old dredges. This one looks like its seen some repairs despite having sunk. The tailing piles are amazing!



Here is some of the C&S Equipment near the ice rink in town. Nice display. Its easy to forget how small this stuff is, especially when you consider equipment over 30 ft to be "BIG"! Ha, ha.





Finally, on our way back to Denver, we passed through Gilpin Tram Country! Crazy place to say the least. It was really fun to pass through the Forks Creek Gorge on the way to Denver. The buildings in Central City were very nice but the town looks dead.




That's all for now!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Arroyo Update, Running Trains, Weeks Mills On2 Extension/Staging

July Update 

 Arroyo Extension (On30) 
Deer Creek and Laurel Operations (On3) 
Albion Module -Weeks Mills? (On2)

Arroyo Tram

I've had a little time to work on the layout this month, so  Arroyo Tram  (On30) extension has been progressing along. Getting land forms up and preparing for some scenery. I've also been working on a Gilpin Tram style engine house, two stall instead of three. Running trains to make sure my two home built curved switches work ok. They seem to. My three cylinder kit-bash of the Backmann shay is in the paintshop and should be revealed soon, although with the start of the semester looming, it could be a while.

 End view of the 24-inch wide by six foot extension. Man, I wish it was eight feet long.......

 Scratchbuilt Gilpin Style engine house behind a Wild West Kit.

One of the mines on the Arroyo Tram. Man, I really need to work on a backdrop! I just don't enjoy them. Maybe a printed backdrop for something different?

 Deer Creek and Laurel Ry

Ran some trains last night on the Deer Creek and Laurel (On3). My son has very recently begun to enjoy the "puzzle" of switching cars to selected spots. So long as I keep it simple and only help when asked, he really likes it. He's always enjoyed running trains around but this is an interesting twist.



 Albion Module II Weeks Mills (0n2)

I've been wanting somewhere to send trains and make up trains for my On2 Albion module for quite some time. Getting track down on the Arroyo Extension really increased my interest in operations and I wanted something similar. Switching Albion is really neat as the yard is basically set up just like the prototype, just more compact and contains a runaround since I don't think gravity will work to drop cars in On2. 

There is actually a fair amount of variety of freight handled there for a narrow gauge. During my last visit home, my father let me take a peak at an actual W&Q, WW&F bill of lading book. You can see the handwritten freight handled to and from Albion on a daily basis from 1897 to 1902. Cool, a lot more bark was handled than I expected. So, I decided to build some kind of staging, staging turntable to selector plate staging yard. Gave up when I figured out I could make a "fake"version of Weeks Mills, which I have always wanted to model. So, the only prototype arrangement I'm following is the station, freight house and run around track. An engine house and turntable (gone by the time period I'm modeling) will be freelance. However, it fill fit the flavor and give me somewhere to run trains and more switching to get back to Albion! Benchwork is underway!


I'm trying yet another method of building lightweight modules. Quick to assemble but I'm not convinced this is any better than my previous approach.  See you next month!