Monday, March 19, 2018

Paving track along Edward St.

It took me a lot longer to 'pave' the track along Edward St. than I thought it would. 
I wanted the part of the street where the streetcars rolled to look something like the track sections in these photos. 
I especially wanted all visual clues more-or-less gone that underneath was commodity Atlas track. I wasn't able to accomplish that on my old layout with just Walthers street inserts and strategically placed styrene sheets.
Also, I didn't want the rail to be a prominent visual element. It had to recede into the street - as the real thing does - and not draw too much attention to itself
Two problems arose: I wanted the flange-way to accommodate all my streetcars - new and ancient - and the railhead had to be as level with the road surface as I could manage. 
First, the flange-way. It turns out my streetcar fleet - ranging from high-quality Bowser and Con-Cors to mid-range Bachmanns to ancient AHM trolleys from the '70s - has a range of flange sizes and different distances between flange backs. I wanted the track to allow for the widest range of streetcars possible so new acquisitions had a good chance of running the streets of the Alta Vista TC.
After a number of trials I settled on a track insert that has the profile shown in the above photo. The base is a 0.010 inch thick strip of styrene, 17 mm wide. Glued on top is a 0.040 inch thick, 12 mm wide styrene strip. Not shown, after painting that assembly, strips of 0.020 inch by 0.040 inch, aluminum painted styrene are glued to the centre section edges to simulate the other side of the flange-way rail. 
These inserts were glued into position, on top of the track's molded on rail spikes, with Testors styrene tube glue. Turns out that was a bad choice. Later I used plain, old thinly applied white glue and held the piece in place while the glue dried - as shown above - with hammers and pencils to distribute the weight. Styrene glue caused some unsightly distortions in the 0.010" piece in a few spots. 
Later, when affixing the styrene inserts between the east and west bound tracks, I decided to use transfer tape to hold all the pieces in place. That worked quite well.
The resulting flange-way is much wider that the prototype, but doesn't seem too bad once streetcars, automobiles and all the other street stuff is present. If you just run Bowser or Con-Cor models, the flange-way could be made more prototypical, and you could likely operate with no problem.
The paving between the east and west bound tracks are strips of 0.060 inch styrene inserted between the rails, resting on the track's molded on spikes. Each strip needs to have the outer edges on the reverse side ground down a bit - I used my Dremel - so that the paving strip sits slightly below the rail heads, otherwise the streetcar wheels rise up on the plastic strip and stall out the model. If I could have obtained 0.050 in. strip - or glued up the centre section from 0.020 and 0.030 styrene - maybe I need not have had to do any grinding. These strips are held down with transfer tape.

Ok. We're done. Let's go for a spin!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Preparing to build a mountain

I've been a bit busy with everyday things, but I did take the small step of moving the EVRR to a central location in the workshop so I can work all around it when I start mountain building.
That scan from E. L. Moore's Let's Build a Mountain in the January '62 issue of Model Trains is the clearest photo in existence of the EVRR's mountain. You can see all the major landmarks: tunnel organization and portals used, bridge locations, and the switch-back path to the mountain-top cabin. But first, some breakfast, and hopefully a little time this weekend for mountain building :-)

Monday, March 12, 2018

B. A. Bodil by Peter Dillen

I was recently introduced to the work of Peter Dillen in the Feb '18 issue of Model Rail. The magazine featured a full, double page photo by Chris Nevard of Mr. Dillen's IJsselstein. I immediately went to the web, and along with Peter Dillen's website, I found this amazing video of his B.A. Bodil dioramaWow.

Wild PCCs

Container Freight PCC by R. C. Mosely

If the Hot Rod Falcon wasn't wild enough for you, I couldn't resist these custom PCCs from an article called More Wild PCCs by Ralph Cantos in the September 1969 issue of Traction & Models.

The article's text is quite skimpy and doesn't elaborate on why the readers submitted these - maybe there was a contest - and doesn't accurately match each design with submitter. There are 10 of these PCC profile drawings and 13 attributions, so I've tried to match up attributions with drawings as best I can, but if you spot a mistake, I apologize and please let me know.
Piggyback PCC by R. C. Mosely

Joe's Servateria PCC by R. C. Mosely

Sand Car PCC by R. C. Mosely

Double deck PCC by Albert B. Lamborn or Chuck Happel

Imitation wood sheathed PCC by Albert B. Lamborn

Vista dome PCC by Albert B. Lamborn

Open bench PCC by Ken Robertson

Funeral car PCC by Ken Robertson

Private car PCC by Albert B. Lamborn or Tom D. Balch or Chuck Happel

The article was called More Wild PCCs, so I'm hoping there is a Wild PCCs that was published prior to Sept. '69 with more of these.

From the 'Bad News for the Future of Scale Model Building' Department

The Guardian reports that young children entering school are having difficulty holding a pencil and learning how to write, and mentions that Sally Payne, the head paediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust had this to say as to the cause,

Payne said the nature of play had changed. “It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”

Can’t grip a pencil is likely a small hop, skip and jump from can’t grip an X-Acto knife.

Hey, you kids, get that laser cutter off my lawn :-)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Hot Rod Falcon

Being a nerd, things like the Millennium Falcon come up from time-to-time in casual conversation as it did this week. I mentioned that maybe around 2005 or so, before I had rekindled my model railroading interests, I converted an MPC Millennium Falcon kit into a 1/24 scale, single-stage-to-orbit hot rod.
Can't say that I have lots of construction photos as I didn't take many back then, but there it is under construction on my workbench. The Falcon's cockpit / flight deck was cut off and the fuselage was made symmetrical. 
I recall using some plastic brick sheets to simulate reinforced walkways over the upper fuselage - they're those red sheeted areas you can sort of see in the photos.
The cockpit was taken from a Revell 1/25 scale kit of Ed Roth's Beatnik Bandit II. As you can see there are no seat harnesses, so this was a pre-seatbelt law spacecraft :-) 
I put some sort of circular exhaust dead centre on the bottom, and its grill is cut from a piece of drywall sanding sheet ...
... as is the rear grill. Those little exhaust pipes I added to the bottom always make me laugh. That's it for tonight. I leave you with Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lost photos from the Lost Ocean Line

I've been getting all nostalgic over the old layout, the Lost Ocean Line, and have been flipping through some photos. Here's some I don't think I've posted before, or maybe not in their current form.
Looking out to sea after being dropped off by streetcar at Feynman Beach.
Everyone needs a hobby.
Evening on Ocean Blvd sometime in 2012.
At the club in 2014
Downtown in 2012 well before the World's Smallest Model of the World's Biggest Bookstore came to town.

And, yeap, these days the Lost Ocean Line is indeed lost.