Tuesday, 29 May 2012

CNS&M 454: Part 2

I went to to Railex on Saturday and had a good time browsing the show, looking at the layouts and buying some Mashima motors. Pretty much the whole of the CLAG gang were there, what with Trevor, Susan, Bill, Russell, James (now editor of the Scalefour News), and myself being in attendance. It's just a pity Ted and Prem couldn't make it. We were also noticed, being labelled as the London Group by one friendly trader (High Level Kits).

It seems that the motor that I put into #454 was a 1628 round can, and today you can get smaller motors from Mashima, so I bought a pair of 1424s, one 1426, and a 1015, which I believe is the smallest Mashima make. The former have 2mm shafts, while the later has a 1.5mm shaft. I also bought some flywheels too.

Here is a comparison shot of the original Canon motor in #454, the round can I posted about, and then the new Mashima's. I intend to use the smallest in locomotive #450, to replace the massive old Pittman that is in it.

So now all I have to do is replace the round can motor in #454 with a flat can, as this will lower the drive shafts in line with the gear towers. And while I'm at it I shall rework #452s drive train as well.

As you can see above, the ball bearing make the tube for the drive shafts really floppy, as both of mine have drooped here.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

NYC 867399 Hopper Weathered

The Kadee hoppers are beautiful models, but  their weight is made up by the load, and therefore if you want to run them empty they are a bit too light to run reliably.

So I poured liquid lead into all the available space I could in the underframe, which helped to bring the model up to a light, but usable running weight. Adding the coal load brings the car up to the full recommend NMRA weight. Once I'd done this I ran the car through the weathering shop, trying out some different techniques I remembered from the past.

I have previously documented the interior weathering in a previous post. 

And all I had to do was finish off that like so.

Well I think this looks suitably distressed now, and having modified the coal load placement height and adding real coal I think this looks pretty sharp too.

Friday, 25 May 2012

CNS&M 459: Part 3

Well once I got the soldering iron out all bets were off on getting this job done and dusted quickly.

I took off the casting by wafting a micro blow torch across the joints, because my soldering iron doesn't have the thermal capacity to cope with large conductive surfaces. I added a shim to the floor so that the casting bracket would not be floating at an uncontrolled height from the floor when I re-soldered them back on.

I also chose to file the cow-catcher where the bottom Kadee box would fit, but even in spite of doing this, I ended up having to cut off part of the lid on the box, so that the coupler would fit as you see above.

All back together and a comparison between before and after modification to get the Kadee coupler box to fit.

And here is a side view showing how much lower the cow-catcher is. Unfortunately the coupler is drooping, which I suspect is down to the missing lid.

However, the height is in the right ball park when the assembly is checked against a height gauge.

Uhm... not totally 100 percent happy with this. So for the next one I'm going to increase the shim thickness so as to lower the cow-catcher casting a little more, as it appears I will have enough clearance for it not to short on the track.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

CNS&M 459: Part 2

Well I thought to myself if I'm chipping engine #454, why don't I chip #459 while I'm at it? After all how hard can it be? (Note to self: perhaps I should rename the blog "How Hard Can it Be?")

So here she is chipped and ready to roll. And she ran okay too. How about that for something that for once really was just a straight forward job?

However, I forgot to mention the coupler problem. What coupler problem do you mean, I hear you ask? Surely the mounting pad on the frame is the correct height to mount a Kadee on? It sure is the correct height, but the space between the top of the cow catcher and the bottom of frame is too small to fit a coupler box in the space in between. Furthermore, even if one remove said cow catcher the coupler box will hang out front like a cushion draft gear that you see on some freight cars.

Not good.

Also, there was the small matter of the loose handrails, which I had temporarily super glued back into position. What can I say? I'm a slacker for avoiding soldering whenever I can. Again, how hard can it be to take the locomotive apart and sort out the couplers?

Well by the time I had managed to get the sub-frame apart I had completely disassembled the model. Along with said handrails, and in the process found that all the apparently solid ones were worse for wear too.

So I think while I'm here I might as well put this baby in the ultrasonic cleaner, as one does, to remove dirt, grease and other residues. Took the parts out and there was a nasty white residue coating everything. I'm going to assume that this was the lacquer sprayed on the model when it was made. In addition a couple of foot steps came off in the ultrasonic cleaner too.

Anyway, most of the white gunk came off in the ultrasonic degreaser bath, and what was left mostly shifted with the help of some car screen wash, using an old electric toothbrush to scrub the surfaces clean. The really stubborn stuff require the use of a fiber glass pen.

Then out came the soldering iron...

Monday, 21 May 2012

CNS&M 454: Part 1

Again I found myself this weekend distracting myself by thinking about chipping another steeplecab, or two for that matter.

Number 457 is still in the shops being rebuilt (for definitions of rebuilt that include not doing much on it). So my model of number 453 was chosen, which I plan to modify to represent #454 when I get around to working on the hood sides to add the missing ventilation holes. Number 454 also had an interesting variation on how the window frames were painted, which is why I fancy turning #453 into #454. No two alike remember.

However, just because all the modification have yet to be done, it wasn't going to stop me from chipping her, and getting her on the road. So I started by taking the body shell off, and decided to remove the switch that allows one to go from track to overhead power; as after all I'm chipping this for DCC, and I don't think it is practical to use a switch to go between overhead and track power with DCC.

Then I thought I would look at the ride height, as I had noticed that the couplers were a bit low, and thought how hard would it be to fix this? So I disassembled the drive train and put some washers at the bolster, which brought the body up to the right height. Et VoilĂ  done.

However, and you knew there was a but coming along, as I start to reassemble the drive train I noticed that universal coupling shafts ends were freely rotating on the shafts. This is not good thing, and kind of explains why this steeplecab pulls so poorly. I started to work on fixing this problem and noticed that the angle of the drive shafts to the gear towers were quite extreme. I thought to myself why don't I replace the motor with something smaller? Again, how hard can it be?

So trusty puller to the rescue to remove the flywheel/come universal joints on the old motor.

New motor and I decided to use Ted Scannel's ideas from the CLAG website, using radio control aircraft fuel line, two small 3/32 ball bearings so as to extend the shaft lengths to match the new motor configuration.

All fitted, and here I'm making up a new motor retaining clip, using the old one cut in half with the plan that I'll solder the two halves back together in due course. I used my Kadee coupler trip pin pliers to adjust the circumference of the bands halves.

Here it is all hunky-bunky and ready to rock'n roll. Put it on the track and found I had an intermittent short. Poot! Back to the work bench...

On closer examination it was obvious that the ball joints were fouling the screw heads that kept the trucks in place. This is due to the fact that I have of course altered the ride height, but the gear towers remain the same height. Doh!

It was at this point that I regretted the fact that I had cut the original shafts in half, as after a bit of thought I realised that I could dispense with the original universal joints as supplied on the gear towers. Rather than spend time now making new shafts I stole the pair from engine #457 that is still in need of substantial cosmetic work.

And hey presto, just like that all done and dusted. Put the chassis on the track and she purred along like a sweet thing, rather than the old growl she use to have (I adjusted the skew of the motor you can see in the above picture before proceeding any further).

Next thing is to just run her around a bit, programme the chip using Decoder Pro, and then it will back to the bench for some cosmetic adjustment to get her to more closely resemble #454. After this

NB: Must get around to making some more poles. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

100 Posts Already

Teaser picture for following posts....
Well doggone it's not that 100 is a particularly significant number per se, but still 100 posts in eight months is not bad going, for this type of blog. So where am I today? As I'm writing this, you are reading it in my future, and my past, so the answer as to where I am is relative to time & space.

Anyhow, the layout progresses. I find myself thinking about doing one thing and end up doing something else. For instance I keep switching between doing freight cars, see my accidental weathering comment last time, to working on the track. In this case I've painted the track with rail rust using a Floquil pen device, and then dry-brushed all the sleepers.

So it is all starting to look good. My partner said that the layout was starting to look like the tracks down at our local station, which I think is just right.

I'm also looking at all the forlorn freight cars that are still awaiting wheels, and I have had a few new cars arrive in the post, which I've not taken out of their boxes because they would just be sitting around gathering dust while I wait of my back order of the rest of the wheels I need.

It all feels like Waiting for Godot.

My mood being driven by work stresses, which appear to be taking a turn for the worse, so motivation come from the pleasure I take from the things I do, and ultimately isn't that what any hobby is all about?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

May & Modelling

Well, by now the sun is usually shining and model making takes a back seat to going out to barbeques and having fun while one can. Today was cold enough to still need a coat, and it is the middle of may for Heavens sake. Oh well, mustn't grumble, could be raining...

Layout work this weekend involved fettling the tracks over the baseboard joins, which is now done in spite of being distracted and accidentally weathering two freight cars. How does one accidentally weather two cars I hear you ask?

Good question.

I was just painting the wheels and axles and thought to myself what if I I paint on some rust and wash it off with thinners? Not yet finished, but I shall show them soon.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Five Down, Thirteen to Go

A parcel arrived from Caboose Hobbies arrived yesterday. Opened it up to find some Reboxx wheels and ExactRail S2 Barber trucks, which is all well and good. Unfortunately, only a partial order of the wheels with only one packet of 1.030 axles in the parcel. However, I broke them out and immediately sorted them out by length; as they vary across a range of 1.026 to 1.029, so I can have matching length axles in my trucks.

As a result of my efforts I was able to get five cars back onto the layout. As you can see hovering above are my Suydam CNS&M passenger cars, still waiting for Bill to get back to me with the power truck solution.

Included is my caboose with PSC leaf springs in Kadee archbar trucks, and that I have started weathering it too. Got to blacken those leaf springs.

Monday, 7 May 2012

B&O 381132 Box Car Weathered

One of the good things about taking photographs of your models is that it gives you a fresh perspective on what you have done. Useful when weathering cars as it enables one to finesse the end results. I quite like the way this car has turned out. However, its sister, a Milwaukee horizontal rib box car I was working on at the same time, has gone back to the bench for some further work.

SCCX 1492 Tank Car Weathered


And after. First of my tank cars that I've weathered.

The process was one of applying washed, Games Workshop inks, and then washing off the excess using windscreen wash. After that I dusted with powder pigments and then drybrushed the trucks and couplers.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Gloop: The Modelling Season

Modellers of the North East parts of America talk about the fifth season, or season of mud. In modelling terms we have the gloop season, where one is gluing own texture onto the baseboard.

As can be gathered from the title of this post I have started into my gloop season.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Spraying Track

I spent about five hours disassembling the baseboards, pulling then into the bathroom, spraying the track a combination of dirt brown with random black, cleaning the bathroom top to bottom, and then cleaning the track. After which I was able to reassemble the baseboards, and putting back in the linking track that crosses the joints.

I've also extended the front baseboard edge to take account of the over hang of the track on the second outer  staging loop. As you see the Walthers building I modified earlier will hide the transition from layout to staging, without piercing a backdrop, as there is no backdrop. I think this is quite cunning arrangement  in its own way.

The plan is to make another store front building to go alongside this one, but facing the front of the layout. Due to the layout of the room's furniture, one does not need to have an obstruction to hide the staging track, as from all normal operational positions you will not be aware of the staging loop.

Looking from a position that only my camera can reach, one can be see here a shot from the staging loop. It also shows how painting the track conceals how the track crosses the baseboards joints, which can be seen as a white line crossing left to right in the above picture.