Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Sky Backdrop for My Shelf Layout

 I want a particular kind of backdrop for my shelf layout, and I created this one in Photoshop. Each panel is 150" x 11", and the ends blend according to code (A/B/C). What I have posted here is a small version @ 300ppi & 250kb. You could download this and expand it to full size. At 72ppi, the full-size panels don't look pixelated.

Or you could send me an email address, and I will send you the full-size file -- about 2mb. The height of the file is 36" because that's the size my local print shop uses for banners.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Ceresco & Wolf River Railroad 2.0

My solution to the wiring debacle (see next post below) was to tear everything down and start over. As of today, 14 Nov 21, the new benchwork is mostly up and I have laid, wired, and tested about one third of the track, testing every section as I go. I should have much of the track laid and wired by Thanksgiving.

I'm using Peco Electrofrog switches everywhere, and I'm isolating each switch electrically to ensure that there are no more shorts. The two turnouts I had to discard were both bought used on eBay. I've since spent the money to buy only new turnouts, and so far all of them have been flawless.

The new 9'x17' U-shaped shelf layout is based two published layouts from Model Railroader:  David Leider's "Soo Line on a Shelf" from the June 2008 issue, and Art Fahie's "Wharf Street" S-scale plan that appeared in Great Model Railroads 2014. I condensed the long shelf on the Soo Line layout to 9 feet. I scaled Wharf Street to HO and added a hidden track that will allow continuous running and serve as a small fiddle yard. 

Between the two is about 20 feet of single-track main line running though mostly scenery. I'll put my scratchbuilt version of South River Model Works Martin Machine in a corner, and I'll put my FSM Cartwright's Machine Shop somewhere in the woods. Most of the structures on the layout will be scratchbuilt in paper or FOS Scale Models kits. My scratchbuilt covered railroad bridge has been waiting many years for a favored spot on the line. It will have one now.

I will run short trains to serve the few industries on the line and to interchange with C&NW and Milwaukee Road.

This afternoon, the layout space looks like bomb damage as I clean out the rubble from layout demolition and reconstruction. I will post some photos when I get it cleaned up.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

I HATE Wiring!

 I hate wiring. I HATE IT!! I have the entire module wired and control panel built and installed, and now I have two sections of track that are dead for no reason that I can find, and a turnout that, if I throw it for the siding, EVERTHING goes dead! I'm going to have tear the whole &^%$$#@! thing out and start over. I don't know what else to do.

After a good night's sleep, I woke with a more positive outlook and a plan. I'm going to start over with a much simpler track plan -- fewer turnouts, no reversing wye, maybe a turntable (maybe not). And I will test everything as I go along. I'm not building for operation. Structures and scenery are my favorite pursuits. I won't say I would be satisfied building a basement-sized diorama with no railroad, but a single-track main line with a few sidings, a loop for continuous running, and a few well-detailed scenes will keep me quite happy.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

DIY Tower-Style Manual Turnout Throws

On my next module, I wanted to control turnouts manually using something like the commercial levers pictured below. Then I found out what they cost. When I started breathing again, I sat down and worked out an inexpensive alternative using old SPST toggle switches and some brass stock.

I use Peco Electrofrog switches and DC cab control, so I don't need the levers to route power or to apply tension to the switch rails. I just need the levers to flip easily and hold position. But it would be relatively easy to add power routing, or to control signals with the levers by using DPDT toggles instead.
I will use steel wire to link the levers to the turnouts, and I will mount the levers on (or recessed into) the fascia. With a rigid baseplate, it should be easy to build a bank of 4 or 5 levers (or more) and locate them near my HO scale tower.
I won't take credit for this idea; I probably saw it somewhere, some time ago. I've seen other DIY switch levers, but this seems to be the simplest to build, and I certainly like to keep things simple.

Following a suggestion from someone on Facebook, I have decided to use bicycle shift and brake cables to link the levers to the turnouts. I can buy enough cable and guide for one module for about $10 and it will be easier to rig and adjust.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

My New Bedford Whaleboat is in FineScale Modeler magazine!

 My paper model of a New Bedford Whaleboat is featured in the Reader Gallery of the September 2021 issue of FineScale Modeler. The hull and sails of the model are from Fiddler's Green. Almost everything else is scratch built. The editor's photo caption calls the model a "showstopper." Wowie! Zowie!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Lisunov Li-2D - 1/33-scale paper model

Several years ago, I started repainting FlyModel's C-47 kit as a World War II era Lisunov Li-2. The US provided hundreds of C-47s to Russia under Lend-Lease. The Russians built C-47s under license. The Lisunov Aircraft Factory built a near-identical knock-off, and never acknowledged that it was an American design. The Li-2D I'm modeling was a WWII paratroop transport and glider tug. Some of the Li-2s were fitted out as transport/bombers or photo recon ships. Like the DC-3 in the US, the Li-2 became a mainstay of post-war Russian civil aviation.

After I finished repainting and printing the kit for my father's C-47, I went back and looked at the Li-2 repaint. It was nearly finished. So I have now finished it, except for a few bits that will have to be repainted during the assembly process, and my plan is to build the two in parallel. Together, they should make an interesting display.

"Repainting" the two kits was done in Photoshop Elements. For the C-47, that meant painting out the invasion stripes and changing the squadron and aircraft markings. For the Li-2, it involve all of that plus adding camouflage and Russian insignia, and modifying several components to match photos.

Printing will be a tedious process because the original sheets are 16x11 inches and my printer can only handle letter and legal size cardstock. So l'll have to use Photoshop to slice up the pages and rearrange parts to fit my printer.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

My Father's "Bird"

 It took me a week of scanning, scaling, repainting (in Photoshop), and printing the FlyModel paper kit, but I finally have a 1/33-scale paper kit of my father's C-47. Now it's time to start building.

The C-47 "Argonia" depicted in the FlyModel kit was the plane of Col. Charles Young, whose hometown was Argonia, Kansas. Young was CO of the 439th Troop Carrier Group. My father flew as a copilot in Argonia with Col. Young when Dad first arrived in England. The Argonia is preserved at the D-Day museum in Normandy, France.

Removing the invasion stripes was the most tedious part of the repainting process. My father and his plane arrived in England two weeks after D-Day and never got the stripes. Repainting the kit also involved changing the squadron and plane markings. Printing involved first scaling the scans by comparing their dimensions to the printed kit, then dividing up the parts (in Photoshop) to print parts from 16"x11" originals on letter-size and legal-size cardstock -- a lot of fussy work.