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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Progress on the 1/25-scale diorama

 Structure completed and most of the detailing done. The structure is about 13" z 8". A few more details to add to the interior, then it's on to the base.

Friday, June 11, 2021

1/25-Scale Garage Diorama

 My friend Bob Kremer, a superb plastic car modeler, is building a model for me of one of my dream cars -- a 1934 Ford four-door sedan. In return, I'm building for him a 1/25-scale garage diorama to display and photograph his amazingly realistic car models. This is a new scale for me, nearly four times the size of my RR structures, but it's been interesting and fun.

The interior walls are a paper texture sheet from, framed with basswood that has been stained with my alcohol-&-shoe-dye weathering goop. The windows and doors are also paper -- the windows built up from the wall texture sheet, the doors from my "digital parts bin." I will add exterior walls, wood floor, and partial roof, all from paper textures framed with basswood. Then I will clutter it up with lots of paper details -- posters, signs, tools, toolboxes, parts boxes, and cans, maybe some tires and a few car parts.

I'm enjoying the project, but I'm awfully glad my model RR isn't 1/25! I would need a much bigger workbench, to say nothing of a bigger basement.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Kendall Printing - 1/87 scale - FOS Scale Models kit

 This is another laser-cut wood kit from FOS's Kit-of-the-Month Club (KOTMC). It was a nice little three-evening project. I painted the walls grey, then sponge-painted them white. Doors and windows were painted grey and sponge-painted green. The large sign was applied following FOS's instructions and weathered with light sponge painting and dry brushing. 

The loading platform railings and supports looked almost too delicate at first, but with careful handling, they were fine. Laser cutting has come a long way. I painted the platform engine black and dry-brushed it with rust.

For the tarpaper roof, I substituted planking and tarpaper texture sheets from Paper Creek (no longer in business), with each row of tarpaper applied separately.

My only complaint was the hoist:  the kit put the upright too close to the building. I substituted a longer  cross-beam on the hoist to make room for a truck to back into that space. I stained the hoist beams with my alcohol-&-leather-dye weathering "goop." 

The KOTMC kits are delightful little projects that can be built as is or kitbashed into larger structures. They are also a great way to learn and practice new techniques.