MODELING It's Monday, September 14th 2020: Weekend Modeling Accomplishments

Jim Wiggin Sep 14, 2020

  1. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Good morning, good evening, where ever you may be! Welcome back everyone. I hope you all were able to stay safe this weekend and get some model railroading done. Let's get started.

    Saturday: I had a serious case of the "blahs." It may have been the fact that it was rainy all day and that meant I could not work in the garage, or it could have been I was tired, but I think my biggest issue is track work. I know we have all had writers block, so what do we call it when we cannot get inspired and find a suitable track plan based on a prototype and our space allocation? Trackage right block? Whatever the term is, I had it and spending all day Saturday looking at Sandborn Fire Maps, Google Earth and other websites and books left me with zero ideas for a good N scale switching layout. At dinner, I threw in the towel and watched a movie with Ang.

    Sunday: The day started better, with sun shine and better temps. It didn't hurt that Angela made homemade blueberry muffins either. Walking away, getting a diversion and a good night's sleep must have been what I needed as I designed three track plans for my space based on the prototype by noon. I also finished the main section of the HO module. I need to get legs and foam on it before adding fascia, but a good chunk of it is done. I then took Angela for a ride in the Mustang, then switched it up for some top down driving in Jess the Jeep and visiting with some friends for a socially distanced dinner. Over all, an okay weekend.

    So how about you? How did you do. I hope all of our friends out west are staying safe in the many fires that are going. Please stay safe.

    Real quick, our friends in Oregon who produce some of the best N scale items, need our help. The wildfires have decimated their town. While the factory that employees them was sparred, many have lost their homes, transportation-everything. Because we model railroaders are generally awesome, someone has started a Go Fund Me to help out these employees devastated by this fire. Please go to: and help as you can. Every little bit helps.

    We'll meet up again on Friday the 18th to start the process all over again. Until then, have a great week, stay safe, be healthy and as always...

    High Greens!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  2. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

    This past weekend I got most done that I wanted, certainly never enough.
    • Finished the "cliff" on the east side of Albemarle City.
    • Managed to get several engines out that need some attention and got them boxed up and will ship out this week.
    Here's some shots of the "cliff", starting with before planting trees.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

    Started out ok. Didn’t get home from work until after 3 am and didn’t get any sleep so got nada done on Saturday. Way too tired. However Friday I ordered some soldering tools and they were due to be delivered Sunday. They all came a day early on Saturday so bonus.

    Sunday I sat down and built another switch. This second one turned out better. In the pic I have the two switches side by side. The shorter one is the first. I call it my test switch.

    I am officially on vacation so I will be modeling all week and then Thursday through Sunday is the free-mo meet up. I need to have three switches complete so my evaluator can see them at the meet. Monday I will be building a gauge separation turnout. Just need to build one more, add ties and then mount to so foam with wiring.

    gmorider, Kitbash, goatfarmer and 7 others like this.
  4. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

    Weekend started early.
    Zip, zilch, nada on the layout.

    Wednesday looked around Brocktown searching for evidence of where S&NY crossed South Banch. Took a couple pictures of Powell and New Albany Pa stations.

    Thursday took a run into Dushore Pa and shot some photos for layout building inspiration and future "then and now" postings.

    9/11 was my late fathers birthday. My wife suggested we take a ride and see what has become of my families former cabin that we sold last year. I thought I would be sad, but to my surprise I was quite happy to see the new owners had put alot of work into it.
    This is were I fell in love with PA's logging railroads.
    On the way back stopped at a thrift shop and picked up some items for the modeling bench, glass stopper pill jars, a Starrett ruler with edge guide and a miniature bevel square.
    After lunch explored S&NY roadbed along Schrader Creek and Long Valley Run.

    Saturday did something I've been wanting to do for years. Hiked up Long Valley run looking for old inclined plane roadbed. Found roadbed at midplane and hiked to top of plane then hiked entire length coming down.
    Saw location of engine house and small car storage yard across creek but was running out of time. Saved that area for a later date.
  5. SP-Wolf

    SP-Wolf TrainBoard Supporter

    It was not a MRRing kind of weekend for me.

    Saturday: We went to our friends house for some anti social distancing - socializing. Had a great time. Man, it was good to leave the house!!

    Sunday: - Same as Jim -- blah. Tinkered with my 2-10-2 project for a couple of minutes -- that was it.

    Hope Y'all had a great weekend,

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Spent Thursday and Friday prepping for an estate sale on Saturday. By Sunday I was so wiped out that I slept the better part of the day. All I managed was to get a first coat of paint on the GHQ scarper model I have been working on.
    gmorider, Kitbash, Tompm and 3 others like this.
  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

    I've had nothing but grief. :( Electronics grief. I have a string of 5 Tortoise / Hare switch machines, and I programmed addresses in them all OK, but I can never get more that 3 to work when testing them. I numbered them #41-45, because it's the 4th module of my Lester module set, switches 1 through 5.

    So I had #41, #42, and #45 tested fine, and both #43 and only worked throwing one direction, and #44 threw upon power up but don't respond anymore. I tested the Tortoise motor on both working, so figured it had to be the Hare decoders, and started by replacing #43 Hare. Then I tested #43 working fine, so I test #41 OK, and now #42 is dead.

    So I connect 12V to #42 Tortoise and it won't throw. Reverse current, still won't throw. I bust out the whole decoder, and manually cycle the motor by pushing the throw back and forth OK, then test with 12V, and the Tortoise works again. So I install the decoder and it will not throw now?

    I measure the voltage at the Tortoise motor and it is +0.15V, I then throw the decoder and the voltage measured -0.34V. What? I have a DCC signal going into the Hare decoders, and all 5 Hare decoder LED's turn on upon power up, then turn off, and I can tell them individually to throw the turnouts opened and closed, and all LED's confirm the Hare decoders are receiving commands OK, but not all of them are throwing the Tortoise machines.

    So I measure all Tortoise motors, and they are all at very low voltage of half a volt or so, and the polarity reverses when I tell the Hares to throw. So now I suspect my DCC system is not putting out enough current.

    I realized all my Tortoises are powered from the Hare switch machines, which in turn are all 5 are parallel powered from the DCC track bus. My DCC test system is an NCE Powercab with a 14.5V 1.35A wallwart powering it. I was under the assumption that Tortoise / Hare combinations only draw 35milliamps at stall, so I should be able to drive 38 Tortoise / Hare pairs at a time with this DCC system.

    So maybe my wallwart is failing or maybe one of the Tortoise/Hare combos is drawing excessive current and dragging everything down? Or maybe the Tortoise/Hare combos actually draw much more than the specified 35mA each? I don't know. I fought this issue Saturday till it got too hot in the garage, and Sunday till the smoky heat drove me back in the house. Today is another RED air quality day, and now the forest fire smoke smell is inside the house as well as in the yellow smoky air outside.

    I think I am staying inside today, and am ordering a new wallwart for the Powercab. I will get a 12V 2A to replace the 14.5V 1.35A. The Powercab don't have any regulation inside, so if I got a 12V 3A wallwart, then the Powercab plastic case will get hot and melt, so I will go with 2A max.
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Well, my plans for outdoor activities went away Friday afternoon. Forest fire smoke from the coast blew in and combined with ours. AQI has been Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy since then. Reeks outside, and the odor is easily identified indoors. I then thought about the modeling bench, but a disk in my neck is bulging, so can do little more than sit still and rest. :mad::mad::mad:
    SP-Wolf, SteamDonkey74, Tompm and 3 others like this.
  9. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

    Good morning,

    Well my weekend modeling activities where a combination of accomplishment and frustration.

    Accomplishment first. I got the turnout and track put in for the siding on the return track at the loop end of the yard, and got one of the existing Tortoise motors linked up to it. This motor was what ran the 4th turnout on the ladder at that end so it was just a matter of turning it around. Yes, I am making quite a mess doing this work !


    Next the frustration:

    Air quality here too has been poor. I have been limiting my time out in the train room and then wear an N95 while out there and still get a sore throat and come back inside the house. I got the Digitrax DS64 re-programmed to match the new control scheme. Everything tested good with LED's but attempting to run the new MP5 turnout motors it appears that the DS64 can't handle it. The MP5's take 110-120 ma which is much more than the Tortoise. I have not been able to find anywhere what the output rating is for the DS64. The DS64 still test OK with my LED test board I made so hopefully it is not burned out and can be re-used somewhere else with another type of motor. So it looks like I will need to build a circuit to control the yard ladder. I like those type of projects and have everything to do it.


    I did start to gather parts for the new control panel and ordered what I don't have. At the entry end of the yard I have some of the feeders installed but have been frustrated by a short on the first turnout. When I get frustrated I run a train to clear my head.
  10. OlyPen

    OlyPen TrainBoard Member

    I installed a dual Tam Valley Frog Juicer, made a bit of progress on the backdrop, and discovered that the Fast Track copper-clad PC ties I have are .035" thick, while the ME N scale ties are .050" thick. So I need a .015" shim to bring the PC ties up to snuff for use at a sector plate.
  11. rray

    rray Staff Member

    Right there with you, I feel your pain Brad!
    nscalestation likes this.
  12. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

    Since we had some nice days, I did some yardwork, mostly weeding. I had to clean the fishpond filter. The wife and I took my car to the carwash and stopp
    ed at local nursery/grocery store to get a few things and look at plants for the fall gardens.

    Saturday night I participated in the Ontario & Western Railway Historical Society meeting via Zoom. It took me awhile to get things right with my phone to join the meeting. The program was very interesting and enjoyable.

    I finished these cars:
    Atheran General American Refrigerator Express 50 ft express reefer
    Athearn CN 40 ft steel reefer
    MDC/Roundhouse Lehigh Valley 36 ft wood reefer

    Here are some inventory shots.




    (The blue paper tells me the car still has plastic wheels. I need to order more metal wheels.)

    I weathered the trucks and wheels, and applied washes to 4 – Bev-Bel/Roundhouse PRR 50 ft wood express reefers I am in the process of weathering the trucks and wheels on the other 3.

    I built the second MDC/Roundhouse Lehigh Valley 36 ft wood reefer. I applied Dullcoat to it and the MDC/Roundhouse Chateau Martin 50 ft wood express reefer as the first step in weathering them.
  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    You probably know of it John, but Thomas Taber, III is a prolific author who wrote and/or co-authored a bunch of eastern railroad books in the 1970s, many about lesser known roads. He did a dozen or more on PA lumber railroads. His books are increasingly hard to find; eBay is s good source.
    Tompm, Kitbash and Mark St Clair like this.
  14. Mark St Clair

    Mark St Clair TrainBoard Member

    Joining the folks who didn't get as much modelling finished as hoped.

    The smoke lingered here all weekend. A little better today, but forecast says it will be here till Thursday. Reminded me to check the progress of the MTL employees' burnout fund. It was over $25K earlier today. Heartening to see. I am sure more would be appreciated.

    Saturday: Started the day watching soccer on TV. Before the kids went off to college, the weekend soccer matches were one of the things we all shared. Still great fun as we exchange messages about the action while all watching from wherever we are. Next best thing to being together. Followed that up with bacon and eggs for brunch. Spent a little time outside. Had the family on video chat in the afternoon. Good day!

    Sunday: Trip out for groceries in the morning, helped my wife hang a picture of her grandparents' farm and had a video chat with my daughter who missed Saturday's session. The grandparent's farm was on the BNSF line to Sumas, WA and is likely the future subject of my first foray into T-trak modules.

    As to current modeling accomplishments, I drilled 24 holes. Admittedly really small holes that took a long time, but only 24. It was progress. so I'm good!

    Here's hoping the worst of 2020 is behind us.

    Stay well.
  15. goatfarmer

    goatfarmer TrainBoard Member

    I finally got a loop of track laid on what will be half of my layout. I had to build a couple of custom turnouts to fill the holes ;)
    Now I'm waiting on an order from the big jungle so I can get things wired up and run my first locomotive on the layout with my first ever DCC system. I'm also waiting for my new phone to arrive from Verizon so I can maybe get some descent pictures. Overall I am pretty happy with progress.
    SP-Wolf, SteamDonkey74, Tompm and 3 others like this.
  16. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

    Awesome looking reefers Tom. I've got a couple of places to park that 36' LV car. I'll have to root around the interwebs and find one.
    Mark St Clair and Tompm like this.
  17. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 TrainBoard Member

    I have been working on a couple of dioramas for photos, as my sectional layout is often stowed.

    This weekend, I tuned up the scenery on the first and have made some scenery progress on the second:

    IMG_1131-sm.JPG IMG_1128 sm.JPG IMG_1124-sm.JPG IMG_1125-sm.JPG

    I hope to get some ballast down this week on the second one.

    Take Care All,

    -Bob T.
    Kurt Moose, BNSF FAN, SP-Wolf and 9 others like this.
  18. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

    Wow! Looks like I need to remind myself to be thankful. My heart goes out to those who have suffered loss of any kind due to wildfires. As far as The Omega Scale Railway goes, I have begun making components and hope to be able to work on the Mogul and two cabooses in tandem. First time for everything. (Mr. Ray, reading your trials almost made my head hurt.) Pics of projects look great! Wishing all complete safety.
    SP-Wolf, Mark St Clair and Tompm like this.
  19. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    Like some of the others who have commented, the fires in the west have left me with significantly depleted air quality. Portland is usually at an AQI around 10-30, where anything up to 50 is considered good. This weekend it reached almost 600, at which point it's not even a good idea to do much activity inside, so instead of working on the modules I inherited I worked on track plan ideas. This is a service and siding segment I am considering. The turntable is the Kato N scale turntable. Most of the track is Unitrack.

    The air is supposed to clear up considerably this coming weekend. I hope so.

    Attached Files:

  20. Tompm

    Tompm TrainBoard Supporter

    Thanks. I have a second 36' LV reefer in the pipeline. It is road number 6048. So I know that at least two were produced. I am keeping an eye out for more. There is another 6001 listed on Ebay. I have it on my Watchlist just in case I ran into a problem with the one I got. If you want I can message you the link now that I don't need it as a backup any longer.
    nscalestation and Mark St Clair like this.

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