Saturday, March 5, 2016

HOJPOJ Reno: Done!

Yes, it’s finally done. I can hardly believe it myself. Looking back over the posts in this series it’s taken around 5 months of on-again, off-again work. Although, a lot of that time was spent thinking about how to solve particular problems. And there was a bit of an intimidation thing going on. I didn’t want to screw up, or do wrong by an E. L. Moore model. It’s the only one I’m likely to ever work on, so, no pressure :-) But, it’s been a great experience for me and I’ve learned a lot. Anyway, let's move on to the last few things that had to be finished on the diorama.
The main brick building still has the light E. L. Moore installed in the clerestory. The wires run out through holes in the floor and then are bent sideways and out through those two little holes at the bottom of the back wall. 
You can see that one wire is broken. I soldered some extensions to both, but instead of running them out to power through the back wall, I simply drilled a hole in the diorama and ran them out the bottom of the building.
Mr. Moore used the same idea on the other half, but the internal lights were long gone. The holes for the wires in the back wall were still there though.
To light the multi-unit complex I inserted a small LED strip into the bottom. You can see in this picture that the wires were run out through the bottom of the diorama and then through the side frame.
In this photo you can see the lighting wires for both buildings protruding through holes drilled in the diorama side frame.
I hooked the lights up to a couple of 9v batteries for this photo. The LED lighting is rather subtle given that the widows in the multi-unit complex are frosted.
It wasn't until I got the diorama all put together that I realized that it's got lots of potential for staging scenes. 
To finish off the fencing I needed to the build the gates over the track. In this photo I've glued up the frames and inserted them over the track to test the fit before gluing on the fencing.
The gates are hinged so they can be opened and closed. To make the hinges I folded a strip of paper into an L-shape and coloured it aluminum with a Sharpie pen. A couple of short pieces were cut from the strip and then glued to the gate ends and fence posts.
Here are the gates after the hinges are glued in place and the balsa pieces have been stained with some thin dark brown acrylic paint.
The next task was to install the 'pipes' that cross over the tracks from the shack and into the brick building.
In the upper right area, just above the roof, you can see the very small holes that E. L. Moore drilled into the brick building for the pipes.
The wire needed is very fine indeed. To figure out what diameter was required, I inserted drill bits into the holes until I found the one with just the right diameter for a snug fit. I then bought some piano wire of the same diameter.
Mr. Moore's design bent the pipes in a very flat V-shape. I found that with such a shape, I couldn't get the the right clearance for boxcars to roll cleanly underneath, so I went for a slightly more elevated design. 
All that was left to do was anchor the smokestack guy-wires around the property. Each thread had a balsa stake attached, and that stake was glued to the diorama base. A pair of tweezers was used to hold each stake down and its weight applied the small amount of tension to the thread to kept it taut while the glue dried.
I'm happy with the way it turned out. It looked a little shabby - although in good structural condition - after 3 decades in storage, but it seems to have weathered the years quite well.
Modern digital photograph helps to show how good these old models were. Although not fine scale, they would look quite at home on many of today's layouts.
Well, it looks ok as long as you don't look too closely at the back walls :-) The multi-unit complex never had complete metal paneling applied to it's rear wall.
Well, that's that. Please close the gates on your way out.

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