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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Well… That took a while


As I was preparing to write up this post I realized that my last post on this project was nearly a year ago… I guess time flies.

12T Wagon Kit

The quick recap is this is a Wizard Models kit that I’m building for my Box File Layout which to recap is this Scalescenes Kit. Now reviewing my posts on this project (this one will be #3) I’ve noticed I introduced this project as getting back into it, and that was in February 2019… and it’s currently January 2020 so that didn’t work out. What I recall from last year was that my first attempt at gluing did not work so I needed to either learn how to solder white metal or use an epoxy. The instructions recommended Araldite so I imported some, there is probably an equivalent available in the US under a different name but I don’t know enough about epoxies to know for sure. For future use if anyone knows of one please leave a comment!

Anyway my first attempt failed then, I ordered and received glue and essentially was afraid to mess things up and put it off, then got busy and all of a sudden it’s the next year. So today I cleared off a years junk and dust (and hey even found some stuff I’d been looking for) and started gluing

So far it seems to be working better though obviously it’s going to need some cure time to know for sure (though I’m certainly optimistic). In the year since I last worked on this another hobby has sprung up for me, one that has a bit more Wife Acceptance Factor, hand tool woodworking making furniture around the house. In addition to what was likely a needed break from trains it’s been useful in other ways like changed how I think about building models and it made me think of something Chris Mears at Prince Street said few years ago, or perhaps he said something that inspired something else for me which was an idea that layouts should be more furniture like. I’m not sure this is where he was going at the time but for me I started thinking that my layout should feel like furniture, something well built that fits in with it’s surroundings. I’ve never achieved it, never gotten far enough on a layout to achieve it, but it gives me ideas for this box file layout.

When I started this I already had in mind once I finished it I wanted to build it again, either as a different season or different techniques but I have a new inspiration that ties into my furniture building which is to build the “box file” box with a nice hardwood so closed it looks like a nice wooden box that’s nice enough to be in the house on it’s own and when it’s open it’s a nice little layout inside the nice wooden box.

Well that’s all I have for now, hopefully it’s not a year from now when I post next ๐Ÿ™‚

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?


I had some time the other night to work on trains, so I out this wagon kit I got from Wizard Models. This is for my box file project, sure I haven’t started yet (other than starting to print it) but as soon as I get started I’m going to need some rolling stock right?

My plan was to actually start gluing things together but I realized I didn’t know where any of my glue is so it ended up mostly familiarizing myself with the instructions and try to figure out what all the names of things are.

Over all I really like the nature of these kits, American rolling stock kits end to be shake the box hard enough and it might be assembled when you open it so it’s nice to see something that takes a little bit more effort to build.

Getting back in the groove


I think it’s obligatory for a hobby blog to 1) start any post after a long period of noting with an explanation why, and 2) a comment about how unnecessary such explanations are…

So here is my totally unnecessary explanation of why it’s been nearly a year since I’ve done any significant modeling. I think that covers #2 so on to #1, about a year and a half ago I made a pretty big job change, that changed what kind of time I had to do hobby related things so it dropped off significantly fast forward to this fall we came to the realization that the room that my home office/train room lived in would be better utilized as a bedroom so that’s what happened and the layout/storage shelf came down.

Fast forward a couple months and I’m sort of settled into my new office (in terms of work) but haven’t done anything modeling related other than stacking boxes on shelves in the closet. Then I see this post show up in my RSS feed: Scalescenes Box File Layout

Now I had looked at Scalescenes before as I have done a couple printed card stock models but at the time I couldn’t justify spending the time or money on something that wouldn’t even be on the same continent as my ongoing projects. But I have wanted to do some UK themed projects for quite a while (and my UK trip last year didn’t help with that ๐Ÿ™‚ ) but I was looking at it from the lens of 1) I don’t have active projects, 2) I don’t have a lot of space and this doesn’t take much space, and 3) this is awesome.

I don’t have much started yet (hence no picture) as I’m waiting on supplies (the size boxfile they use isn’t terribly common in the US) and I’ve got vague memories of various things I’ve seen on blogs that I saved away somewhere for when I did a project like this… and have no idea where I saved all these things but expect to see more here soon.

Tearing things down…


Earlier this weekย  I started tearing down my shelf layout. In short the room that is my home office and train room needs to be re-purposed as a bedroom which means I need to put the closet back in… the one I removed to accommodate the shelf layout.

As I’ve been packing things up I’ve found a lot of started but not finished projects so maybe it’s a good opportunity to try and get some of these projects done before I start thinking about figuring out another layout.

Not a Weekend Update


It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, and it’s not a weekend and also not a specific topic so I’ve decided to be a little cheeky.

Primarily I’ve just been too busy with kids activities and work. At the end of August and beginning of September my wife and I had a trip to the UK. We didn’t really see much train related stuff because I more paying for it than planning it ๐Ÿ™‚

There were a few things that were tangentially train related that I also managed to get pictures of (and a bunch of things I couldn’t/didn’t for various reasons). To start if off we were in Oxford briefly (on our way to Highclere Castle which was cool) and as we were walking to Christ Church College (which was also cool) I saw a sign for Pembroke Square which made me think of Pembroke:87.


We took a train from Edinburgh to London and there was plenty of cool rail infrastructure and trains but where I was seated couldn’t really take any pictures but one day in London I looked up and saw a “CANADIAN PACIFIC” and I thought that was pretty cool.


The only other train related pictures from that vacation are of Waverly and Kings Cross station.

I’ll also included this picture because I think it is one of the best ones I took, and this was just a quick shot with my phone.


In more local news I got a SD40-2 I ordered back in January. This one is a rivet counter EMD Leasing unit. Unfortunately like my last SD40-2 this one also arrived in not perfect condition.


I was able to get the truck re-attached fine and it seems to run well. It’s a DCC ready one so I added a LokPilot 4.0 decoder to try and get all the lighting effects possible without having to pay for sound. I’ve got the colored class lights working which is pretty cool but have yet to get the strobe light to turn on at all yet.

It would be nice if the cool lighting effects were available on the operator edition because I don’t really need all the easily breakable detail pieces (like the ones I broke trying to get the shell open to fix it and install the decoder) but I guess we can’t have everything.

In other news Jeremy Dummler’s WordPress blog was compromised and he basically lost the content of his blog. He has a new blog setup atย so check it out if you were following his blog before and hadn’t heard… or just check it out if you are looking for a good model railroading blog.

Weekend Update 29

Trains, Weekend Update

First off, yes posts 3 days in a row… it’s been a crazy snow storm.


You know it’s bad when your snowblower turns into a tunneling machine

Most of my weekend was converting cars to Sergent couplers and making more. I ended up putting together some 64 couplers with only 3 not making the cut (one I forgot a ball bearing, two glued shut but they are soaking in acetone to be redone) I only got 8 cars converted so I’ve got a good stash of couplers ready to go.

I also dug out some long languishing projects, I’m hoping being visible will help them get a little more attention to get done!