Friday Night Ops


Last night I was fortunate enough to attend an operating session at my friend Mike’s. I took along my ScaleTrains EMD Leasing SD40-2 (Ex MILW Bandit) along to run. Now the history of this locomotive is it arrived broken (just an minor issue) just before I had to tear down my shelf layout. So all I’d done to it is get a decoder in it and program it’s address before it spent over a year in the box never having a shake down. Of course the first switch it ran over it derailed but after that it ran flawlessly.

Thanks again Mike for having me over to operate your wonderful layout!

Getting Some Track Down


The first part of Structure A is almost complete and one of the next steps is gluing it in location so it was time to start putting in some track. I had been stalling on this a little because this could be a harder thing to fix if I find it’s lacking once the whole project is done.

The lower track isn’t in it’s final position, it’s just clamped at one at to hold it in place long enough for a picture.

Putting Up Walls


One of the things I’ve struggled with this Scalescenes kit is building up the thickness needed. For Clever Models I’ve done you print directly on card stock paper and then cut, fold, and assemble but the Scalescenes you print it on regular paper and glue it to different thickness stock based on what the part is needed for. I had trouble finding card stock as thick as the instructions called for, up to 2 mm. I’m not sure what the creators intended but I finally found something called chipboard that I could get in those types of thicknesses (maybe it’s this but just goes by a different name in the States). I’d describe it as the cardboard type product used for stiffening up envelopes or the backing of a picture frame.

The other problem I ran into is gluing it to other stock a sheet would seem well glued until I started cutting out parts and then I’d find gaps where it didn’t glue and it was generally a mess. Then I realized I had some super thin double sided tape, not the super common double sided tape in the US that’s like a memory foam mattress that’s sticky on both sides but the stuff that’s as thin or thinner than scotch tape. With that I can make sure the whole surface or the parts I need are well covered in sticky and they stay stuck.

With those tricks figured out I’m making good progress on the structures. I’m going to wait to finalize the track positioning until I can get structures assembled so I can verify I won’t have clearance problems.

Another final note on the chipboard, it’s pretty cheap and a fairly good building material. Sure it’s not as rigid as polystyrene but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper and easier to work with. I’d never really heard of it as a modeling material before, but I’ll have to file this in tricks to remember for future projects

Laying Rails


You may be thinking, “Hey Matt, you are almost finished with your 3-plank wagon, while are you working on something else? Just get it done!” To that I say, I have a reputation of not getting modeling projects done that I have to uphold…

Since I’d started this boxfile project over a year ago I’d kind of forgotten what I’d gotten for supplies. This corked ended up being adhesive backed which was nice and meant I didn’t have to clue it down myself. I’m not sure if I realized when I bought it but ended up working nice for this project!

Being used to American prototypes this switch is hilariously small

I think this is about where I’m thinking I’ll put the track, I think when I first decided to do this I was going to do a pivoting sector plate but I’m not sure I’ve go the skill to pull it off right now so I’m going to leave the track leaving parallel and figure out what I’m going to do later. Either a traverser or some more track and another turnout. I’m looking forward to getting the track done so I can start assembling buildings, I have a feeling things will start speeding up once the track is set and then I’ll have to start finding a proper locomotive and some more wagons.

Slowly but surely


Making slow progress, I’ve got almost all the brake gear finished. All I’ve got to do is position the brake shoes correctly in relation to the wheels and glue in position and then when ready fold the tabs to hold the w-irons in place and install the coupling springs and pins.

Speaking of the couplings as I mentioned in a previous post the ones I got don’t actually fit, they were about 2mm too long so I re-drilled the pin hole and filed off the end of it. I have to say, the file has been a tool I have not properly appreciated until recently.

I’ve also started applying primers, I’m pretty sure the gray primer is not LNER gray, I’m not entirely sure what LNER gray is but I’m guessing it’s darker than that. If anyone has a suggestion for a Vallejo paint that closely matches LNER gray I’d appreciate it!

Give Me A Brake


No… I’m not above making a pun like that….

Starting the brakes starts with some real boring work (sorry, the post title was me just getting started). After that it was many days of carefully glue something in place and let it set and the glue cure and then inevitably touching it too soon and having the piece come off and start over.


Once this brake lever drives I just need to create a link to the whatcha-ma-thinging on the other thing and then glue the brake shoes in position. Then I think I just need to modify the couplers to fit and then start painting things.

In the meantime in the kid’s train box I found some more appropriate motive power…

Making a Pinball Machine


After I finished up my last post I thought it’d be cool to put in a coupling to see things coming together so I installed one, thought it was pretty cool and then thought it be even cooler to put one of the W-irons in place to get an even better view of things coming together. It was at this point I noticed something:

I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the axle is supposed to line up with the center of the leaf spring. Looks like my easiest solution at this point is to cut about 3mm off the coupling bar, drill a new hole for the retainer pin and shorten the spring. In the mean time I’ve discovered it makes a decent little pin ball machine if you pull on the coupling and it slips out of your grip (take a guess how I found that out)

Working with W-irons


Apologies for the title, it’s hard to follow up something as good as “Well Bust My Buffers“. It’s flippin cold outside, so more time working on trains.

I started by spilling some CA glue (the shiny bit on the left side of the picture), after that I moved on to trimming and gluing in the floor. The next step was the prepare the W-irons, now I should interject here I don’t know what a lot of these terms are so for my British readers I’m sorry, feel free to correct me in the comments (or just laugh at my ignorance).

Not sponsored by Mountain Dew… though if anyone from Mountain Dew is reading this and wants to sponsor this blog I’m down for it 🙂

I ended up gluing the bridle bars instead of soldering them like the instructions said, mostly because I don’t think I have the right supplies and equipment to solder them (and my skill level probably isn’t good enough). Then it was just a matter of folding things into shape. The support plates are pretty cool, how they work. The ones I got support setup as non-rocking and rocking versions. I’m not sure when you’d want to use one or the other but for this one I went with non-rocking.

The instructions called for soldering all the folds, presumably to prevent them from folding back so I took a stab at that. Looking at the discoloration I probably did a pretty poor job but things feel pretty solid. I think I should throw some primer on them quick before anyone looks to closely at them.