Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gettin' Jiggy with HO Catenary Construction

Jigs and holders and gauges and whatnot are necessities for catenary construction. That thing with the plastic strip is a pole height gauge. The plain block is a wire height block/gauge thingy. The flat one on the track is a drilling jig that (hopefully) will guide correctly spaced and square mounting holes. The styrene sheet nestles the jig into the gauge of the track; the gauge will be held in place temporarily with a screw during drilling.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cleanin' and Primin' Model Memories South Shore Catenary Span Bridges

The span bridges all primed with Rustoleum metal primer, which will dry for a week or two before further painting.  Hats off again to Oberleitungsbaumeister Don Silberbauer of Model Memories for producing these showpieces--
the bridges looked great in bare brass but they look even closer to real with this first coat of paint. The etched
brass lattice is truly delicate-looking, but still quite sturdy.
Model Memories South Shore Catenary Span Bridges prepped for painting. They were thoroughly
rubbed down with a wire brush, then with steel wool, and finally wiped down with denatured alcohol

Monday, July 22, 2013

South Shore Catenary Construction First Steps--Woo Hoo!

Siting the Model Memories catenary span bridges--the first step of many in my catenary construction adventure! One lesson learned here is to plan better, because it was starting to look like the grade crossing and Mineral Springs flag stop might need to be rearranged (as in torn out and rebuilt). but I think I worked it out so that the flag stop will actually look more interesting , with a pole right there by the shelter.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Workbench in a Rare State of Grace

Flag stop accoutrements almost ready for final installation at Mineral Springs Road on my cleaned-up workbench. If this blog had smell-o-vision capability, you'd be catching the sweet whiff of turpentine, as there was just some dry-brushing with artists' oils and subsequent paintbrush cleaning going on here.  Coffee in a Star Wars cup is a vital part of my pre-noon model railroading activity.  Porter (the beer, not the tiny steam locomotive) in a tumbler helps out with post-noon model railroading .

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Flag Stop Progress is Progressing

The Dunes Junction flag stop is coming right along. From left to right: the a-building flag stop shelter, scratchbuilt from styrene and temporarily held together with drafting tape; a painted and decaled Walthers Cornerstone public telephone held in the clutches of a clothespin; and guard posts fashioned from Code 70 rail and painted an awesome shade of dull orange from a Liquitex spray can. Good times!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Grade Crossing Progress

Mostly finished and scenicked in. I built some footings
 for the crossbucks  from styrene, which I then painted with
Floquil concrete. Aleene's Tacky Glue holds the crossbucks
 down on the footings.
Over the recent long holiday weekend, I was able to nearly complete the Mineral Springs Road grade crossing. The road and wood crossing had been completed for some time, but was missing crossbucks.

I decided to try my hand at some lighting effects to add a visual action to the scene. Busch 5934 US Crossing Signals had the look and the price I was looking for, plus they were 'ready-to-run' with a flasher circuit included in the package.

The Busch signals are pre-wired with hair-like magnet wire, and the circuit is in very small case around the size of large ice cube. Two leads connect to a 12-24v AC or DC power source.  The magnet wire terminates into the circuit via binding posts that are secured by press-fit plastic pegs. Have never seen anything like this, but they work.

I like to test electrical things, and re-test them, and then test them again during all stages of construction and installation. I test-ran the circuit and crossbucks off an old analog power pack, and ultimately acquired a Radio Shack Enercell 15V wall wart power supply, which will now serve as accessory power for the whole layout. These Enercell wall warts can be equipped with a variety of tips, including a plain old set of test leads, but I chose an actual plug-and-socket arrangement that can break away easily when moving the layout .

The flashing crossbucks are controlled via a miniature SPDT switch mounted to the front of layout adjacent to the road. I considered but rejected a detector circuit (too expensive, too hard to install at my current stage of completion, and probably would be annoying on such a small layout) and DCC stationary control (too expensive and kind of complicated compared to direct control via a cheap and simple ol' switch).  I wired it all up to easily accommodate an ITT crossing bell sound module, which will go in over the coming weeks.
The crossbuck flasher circuit from below. At upper left, the SPDT control switch. The black doo-dad with three yellow binding posts is the Busch flasher circuit; barely visible wisps are the magnet wire leads for the crossbucks. At the rear left is the terminal strip for the installation, which is ready to accommodate the addition of a sound module. Left of the orange spring clamps is the socket for the type 'N' plug fitted to the Enercell wall wart on the bottom right.  A cheap AA battery-powered headlamp was essential for me to see and complete all under-layout wire terminations.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fresh Images From Rick Abrams' Awesome New Haven Under Wire

Go over to Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine's blog community and check out new shots of Rick Abrams' electrified New Haven layout--make sure to check out the comments to get the whole schmear.

Rick's work demonstrates what can be done with state-of-the-art heavy electric modeling--always a pleasure to see this awesome depiction of the heyday of New Haven electric operations.