Friday, February 27, 2015

under wraps..

Some time ago I mocked up a wrapped lumber load for my bulkhead flats to collect from Northwest Lumber. These were very basic and intended as a test. 

Yesterday I knocked up version 2.. made some changes to the dimensions, decided to create two stacks and add some relief.

Basically this load is a plan on one sheet of A4, printed out and cut to shape. I then wrapped the drawings around some foam board and card cut to shape. I scored the lines with a pencil and added strapping - black electrical tape sliced to size. Turns out to be rubbish as it doesn't stick very well.

That's the floor of the wagon that is bowed, not the load!

I am much happier with the look of these, I think the design works for me, so I'm going to source some other tape (Jack Trollope suggested 'nail tape') and make up a couple of these loads properly. (ie take a little more care measuring,cutting and gluing)


Thursday, February 26, 2015

BL-2 and Split Gears

Despite telling myself that I didn't really want to take on any 'projects' as such, today I am introducing a potential new member of the YPRR fleet - a BL-2, lately in the service of the Monon Railroad.

This was a cheap speculative purchase from ebay. The model is an older Lifelike Proto 2K and needs some work, but I have always liked these ever since I first saw a picture of one, and have hankered after one for a while. 

The BL-2 is considered to be an 'ugly duckling' and a failed experiment at creating a 'branch line' engine that was a road switcher. The odd shape of the body sides was to allow the crew to view along the body, something that couldn't be done with the big road units 'F' types etc.. but ultimately a number of other designs with walkways which allowed crews to cover the length of the loco during switching without having to constantly dismount, proved more popular. There were other reasons too, I'm sure.

Despite it's lack of success, or perhaps because if it, I like it! (always a champion of the underdog, me!) Actually, I intend to get a Ford Edsel to park outside Smith & Hogg.

As to this model, I gave it a run on my test track - it is DC and will need chipping but wanted to make sure it was a runner. The motor is actually nice and smooth but there was definitely an audible thunk and a little stutter in it's gait. I suspected that this was the infamous P2K split gear issue. The internet came up trumps here in describing exactly what this meant, and how easy it was to remedy. I happened to have a later P2K GP18 that has been causing me issues for a while, so I decided to swap out the wheelsets. Although the replacements are slightly smaller in diameter, they actually look okay and the engine runs very well now.

It turned out that 3 of the 4 axles were affected, tiny little hairline splits that I most likely would have never noticed if I wasn't looking for them.

So the next big step is to convert this to DCC. Ideally I'd like to install sound. Initial investigation suggests either the Loksound Select (recommended by a friend), or the cheaper Digitrax SDXH166D.. before I choose either, I need to be confident that I understand the electrics on board and make sure that I identify anything that needs isolating. Someone has already swapped the lights and done some modification, so I'm just in the process of working out what goes where!

I shall upload a short video in a while.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Some scenic work and another video

I've been steadily pottering away at Brett in between painting soldiers and looking for paid employment. Mostly little scenic jobs - planting weeds and making a start on the Lumber yard.

A moment of inspiration found me in the garage and mackling up a device to rest my camera on whilst taking videos, as trying to hold the camera steady in one hand and use the controller in the other was proving too much of a challenge.

Basically a little shelf with a length of broomhandle and a 6" square platform for the camera  - clamped to the unit under the layout. It places the camera at about my eye level when operating.

Camera Support thingy Mk 1
Today was one of those days when things didn't go quite to plan in 'real life' and I decided to grab an hour this afternoon to test it the new device, and get running some trains again, so I made a video. Actually it's Part One.. as I didn't plan my switching moves at all and subsequently 'today's train is going to take a little longer to switch!

I don't know how prototypical it is, but I tend to pause quite a bit to allow time for little invisible men to switch points, uncouple cars etc. As this can be incredibly boring to watch, I edit most of these moments of inactivity out. Thinking about it - I perhaps should have used those pauses to actually plan my moves! (doh!)