Sunday, December 11, 2016

First Kit Down, Two to Go

Finished building the SR&RL Baggage Car. All she needs now is a trip to the paint shop, window glazing and a tin roof. I guess the roof should go on before painting........

I added the vacuum brake hose after the pictures, forgot they weren't on till I took the pictures.

Pictures are always good for showing you what you missed. Looks like a little glue cleanup will be required.

 The under body brake detail isn't exactly correct but I doubt anyone would notice. The two brake clevis's should be joined rather than pinned. Something I didn't realize till looking at some wreck pictures of the two footers. Pictures of turned over combines and passenger cars can be very useful!.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

GME SR&RL Baggage Car Resin Kit

Started the Sandy River baggage car kit first. All three GME kits have the same floor, roof, and details. The sides and miscellaneous details are different from kit to kit, as are some of the car ends. I decided to begin with the baggage car in hopes of learning some assembly tricks prior to the WW&F cars.

Good idea so far. I had to come up with a way to attach the top, sides and ends to the floor. Also, I had to use a different method for attaching the sides and ends to the top. No rubber bands that big and I really couldn't see how the rubber band idea would work. So far the kit has gone together well and quickly. The sides, ends, and top fit well together. One end is very slightly wider than the rest of the car but that is minimal. I have to be careful checking this on the other cars. I think on end of one side needed a little more sanding flat. So little was required for all the items to fit, I just missed it. The floor fits well, especially given the strips or "stops" added to keep the floor in place (picture later).

Had to raise the bolsters 0.08-inches to use the Coronado On2 trucks. They assembled easily but are not rolling as smooth as I would like. Likely replace the Grandt Line plastic wheels with metal rims and axles with NWSL wheelsets and see if there is a difference. I assumed with metal axles, all would work fine. The car seems heavy, so you would think it would roll better.

Started working on the brake rigging. There are no instructions for it, just a diagram (check carefully, as the locations of some items are not correct) to assist with figuring out the routing of vacuum lines, diaphragms, and brake rigging.  This is my least favorite thing to do. I've found that brake rigging usually just fouls up the running quality of the trucks. We'll see. Having to make some modifications such as adding some 0.08-inch styrene to raise the diaphragm over the beam supporting the truss rods. On the next cars, I will drill out the locations of the brake rods so BEFORE gluing the bolster risers on. That should help with locating the rods below the wheels.

Things will slow down as I have to fabricate the inside window sills, add the railings, steps, and finish the brake detail. Back soon.......

Monday, December 5, 2016

Passenger Cars (Well, kits....) Arrive

My GME kits arrived in the mail today! Yeah!

I ordered the WW&F passenger and baggage car. They look great-minimal flash, good detail, detail castings included, heck even the specially bent handrails look pre-bent! Randy also sent me the Sandy River Baggage car, its a long story, bottom line, I'm now a happy customer.

I couldn't help but jump right in. Starting with the Sandy River baggage car, since the construction is the same for all cars and if I make a mistake on this one, I can avoid it on the other two. 

For passenger car kits, these seem like they should assemble rather quickly and without too much difficulty (we'll see, right?), with a minimal amount of sanding, filing and clearing flash with a knife, I was able to fit the sides to the roof. I said minimal, which so far is impressive given my experience with O scale resin car kits. 

Well, I'll update the blog as these come together.

Managed to go a little more terra forming during the lunch hour. Slowly coming together......

Getting the hills behind the coal shed to look a little more like rolling Maine farmland. A bit more shaving to do. 

Also did a small test with Gorilla Glue. While a small section, it dried between lunch and later this evening, which is very positive.  Think I'll give it a try on a larger scale. Too bad I didn't try this earlier. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Terra Forma

Waiting for the paint to dry on my Train and Troll 309 boxcar, fighting being tired, good time for doing some scenery! Well, start shaping the ground for my Albion module/switching layout.

 Oh, the blue foam!
 While it doesn't look like much with the weights on it, there's a significant amount of work here. Still needs to be shaped a bit more, but the initial forming with the hot wire is done and several sections are glued down.
 While I like using blue foam for scenery, I kinda don't like using it. Smells terrible when you cut it with the hot wire, I'm sure its toxic. The adhesive glue takes FOREVER to dry as little oxygen gets in to cure it. While you can form as you go, if you overdo it, it can be difficult to fix without plaster cloth. Also, its really messy when you get into shaping with a rasp, file and sandpaper. Bottom line though, if you want light, its a great way to go.
More work to do shaping it up, but it IS coming along. Looks like I'll be building some passenger cars soon, their in the mail! Oops, maybe I should start that snow plow first? Always something!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Switching Albion

Managed to get the gondola (flat car with sides) done this weekend. I should have the coal load ready for it in a few days. The WW&F shipped a good bit of coal over the line as inbound traffic. There's at least one good shot in the later days of the line of folks shoveling coal from a gon into a small Ford truck. I imagine that coal was also used at the cannery and tannery.

I also managed to get a Tsunami decoder into the Sandy River No.6 (Could be WW&F No's 2,3,8, or 9). What a pain! I re-motored the engine and then added the Tsunami. Short, short, short everywhere! The truck mount, when screwed in all the way shorts on on the frame- I added a small 0.010 sheet styrene, then had to add electrical tape to cover another screw head holding the original insulation material to the frame (shorts on that too), then the pilot needed to have electrical tape added. Then the rear truck fell apart while running on the line! I eventually found the loose screw but turned out some soldering was required. Using some resistance tweasers, I managed to send the part into the basement oblivion (insert inappropriate vocabulary here). Luckily, for some strange reason, I just happen to have some 0.40 brass around and made a duplicate part. Loco ran fine till I put the boiler cab assembly back on, then a mystery short somewhere, moving more wires around, finally it runs! I'm now remembering what a real pain in the rear DCC is!

Both engines have "stay alive" capacitors, which are needed due to poor electrical pick up (one side on the drivers and one side on the rear truck for both!). I will eventually add more, maybe when it comes time to paint them. I need a break from installing decoders, YUCK! All those tiny wires are a PAIN when you try to fit them into a small space. I have no idea how the Sn2 guys do it.

I managed to find one spot where additional contact wiring was required. The module seems to run well at this point. No. 7 is running rather well. I managed to cut, drill and tap some Kadee couplers for the front of both No. 6 and No. 7., which really increases their utility. 

Now, just need some scenery............

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Train Arrives in Albion

This weekend I managed to get 90% of the track work on the Albion module. Only the side track to Tiltons potato houseand the one to the turntable were not completed. As of today, only the turntable lead is missing. After much fussing, I managed to get a decoder in No.7. No headlight yet. A nice model but poor rear truck design. I actually did some switching moves with the flat cars and a box car. Track work and switches work well. I did have to widen the turnout guard rails as they wed too tight for the Carr Works No. 7, they were fine for the cars and the Custom Brass 0-4-4. More To come.....

Monday, November 7, 2016

Three Little Gilpin Cars

Purchased some plastic Hon3 West Side trucks and widened them to On30. The three small Gilpin ore cars are almost done. I added a small amount of weight and need to letter, weather and tuck up some paint, then all done! Well, actually, it looks like I need to add decks to them. One more thing! Must have added the decks during the rebuild.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Fun weekend using FastTracks No 8. Turnout jigs. I hope to not have to make another turnout for a LONG time. Oh, well, its major progress as far as I can tell. All seven turnouts for the Albion module. 2 x 10 with seven turnouts! Yes, I know there are only six in the picture......

Also, a few pictures of an On30 Diesel that I have been trying to finish. Backwoods Miniatures Shell on an HO Athearn unit, WOW sound. It's for sale......

Sunday, October 16, 2016

How Long Does It Take

Sometimes I forget how long it takes to get things done. I was wondering, how long did it take to get from the conception of building a on2 module based on Albion, ME to getting to laying out track center lines on the module? Well, I'm not exactly sure when the idea started. I do know that the first "final" cad draft was done for the plan in late July, so let's say 3-4 weeks before that, so maybe July15th. I remember trying to decide what to build a module of? Coopers Mills was the original idea, much simpler and could have been done in eight feet. However, I wanted a little more switching and decided to see what could be done with Albion.
So, idea was borne in mid July, bench work started in August (have to check my receipts for HD), track center lines down by October 14th! Still no track to run on!

I have managed to kill time building two flat cars, one gondola, one box car and a creamery car. So maybe not all that bad? Note to self, keep this in mind the next time you hot to move on a project.....

Sunday, October 9, 2016


The Albion module has fallen behind a bit due to a lack of legs. I had wanted to start laying track weeks ago. I had intended to bolt the two module sections together, place some saw horses under them and start on some much anticipated track work. However, the bolted joint ended up performing more like a hinge, so I decided that I'd better just build the legs first and figure out how to stabilize the whole thing.  Legs are now on one module and should be done on the second soon. Can't wait to not be cutting and fitting bench work! Track down soon! (Famous last words)


Monday, October 3, 2016

Chasing the WW&F

In September, I had the chance to attend the 2016 Narrow Gauge Contention in Maine. Spent an afternoon chasing down what is left of the WW&F.

Here's the station in Albion

The number 9 all done up at the WW&F museum.

Head Tide area, Church on the Hill and the "cut". Lots of trees, all absent in the historical photo's!

Old lumber mill still standing
 Nice rock abutment!
Turner Center Dairy Car - 65 in Wiscasset
 What's left of the pier in Wiscasset

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tin Roofs on Two Footers

Tin roofs were used on many of the two foot narrow gauges in Maine. There has been lots of discussion on how model them on the various modeling forums. I really like the look of the train and Troll tin roofs (Picture 1) but I'm not sure how well they represent the real thing. Most On2 modelers are moving to model them in this fashion. These particular ones are laser cut with aluminum HVAC tape.

The tin solder joint is less than 1/4-inch in reality, so in 1/4-inch scale, it would barley be noticeable. Here's a picture of the real thing, WW&F box car 309 at the WW&F museum.

 I guess it's like modeling wood grain or nail holes, many like to see it and the only way to effectively model it is to over exaggerate a bit? I like how they've turned out and may use the idea for my scratch-built cars, or may come up with a different technique. Time will tell.......

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sheepscott Ops Session

Traveled to Va Beach this weekend to finally get a chance to run on Tom Sullivan's well planned 0n30 Sheepscott railroad, based on the Sandy River and the Wiscasset two footers.

The crew of six worked out Tom's new system of waybills and car cards. Tom has worked out what seemed to me to be a very prototypical way to run a narrow gauge railroad. I might have to borrow some of his ideas.....

Here's my train, definitely looks like Maine  two foot! Toms done a great job planning his layout.

Here's Tom checking the detail on the local.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Albion Begins

Its been a while since my last post, so time for an update!

Albion, on the WW&F begins.....

This summer, I inadvertently was once again bitten by the two-foot bug. I injured my back and was not able to bend over to complete the changes on the Deer Creek and Laurel that I had desired. I started looking at some books and information on the Wiscasset Waterville and Farmington Railroad, a two-footer in Maine. Interest increased the more I looked into it, more books purchased, then a track plan for a module, then lumber, then some kits........

About 5-7 years ago, I sold off 90% of my two foot equipment. Frustrated with its performance and well entrenched with my On3 layout, I sold or traded my cars and all but one locomotive, which needed a little work before re-sale.  Now I have re-motored that engine and will begin installing DCC and sound, then painting. Not sure how this interest has manifested into all my current modeling time and effort.

Differences this time?
Precision Scale flextrack and Fasttracks No. 8 turnouts and 42 inch minimum radius curves.
No handlaying track this time, no building turnouts on the workbench and trying to get them to fit, no kadee uncoupling magnets under the track, no heavy wood and plywood benchwork. Good, reliable turnouts, light benchwork, modular construction, reliable track, and more experience.

I've built two modules using some old standards I pulled off a Texas On30 module group on Yahoo. They use 2 -inch foam, a little plywood and MDF. I have found them to be good, reliable and light methods. They have been updated to use plywood under the 2-inch foam, so I gave it a try. Results - I think the extra 1/4-inch plywood is a waste of time and money. The 1/4-inch sandply is so flexable, more so than the 2-inch foam, that it doesn't provide any support to the center of the panel (flexing in the middle of the width of the module). I'm not even sure support is necessary, as I haven't had problems with my other modules but if there is a weak spot in design, I think this would be it. So, I added some 2-inch wide strips across the bottom to provide support. I think I will do this if there are any future modules and leave the 1/4-inch ply on the bottom off. 

I tried out a different type of adhesive this time, a Loctite product. It was much more difficult to apply, much thicker and required a lot of pressure on the applicator. However, it does appear to provide a stronger bond than the Liquid nails projects adhesive. I think I'll use liquid nails for large areas and the Loctite product for ends and sides.
Had some issues (imagine that) with the foam panel sitting flat. One edge dried with an edge raised. So, I had to level this out with a knife and rasp. Ugh. Should have seen this when gluing it up. Sloppy work! A good craftsman is one that can recover from mistakes without remaking the part!

I have been avoiding painting several models lately, so the paintshop has quite a backorder list! I really need to get to painting as several new On2 cars need the painting step before progressing.

Here is a Train and Troll WW&F flatcar laser kit. It was a nice kit and went together fairly quickly. It was interesting to see how they planned the underbody construction. Nice to have all those holes for stake pockets, pre-cut for me. I have put two of these together and am working on two of their boxcars. Thanks to Train and Troll for some WW&F On2 car kits....

Here are four cars waiting to go to the paintshop. Two Train and Troll flats, one scratchbuilt 30-ft flat (will be a coal gondola) and a scratchbuilt (styrene) start of a Turner Center Dairy boxcar.

More as time permits.......