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.

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 🙂

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 🙂 ) 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.

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!

More Coupler Assembly


Right now I’m in the middle of “snowmaggedon” (ice, a lot of snow, and blizzard conditions) so to stave off a little cabin fever I worked on some coupler conversions. I’ve been reorganizing my home office/train room and found some cement hoppers in what I thought was a repair drawer but I can’t find anything wrong with them and can’t remember what was broken so maybe they’ve been sitting in the drawer a couple years for no reason.

I ended up running out of couplers, and it’s still snowing, so I there was nothing for it but to make some more.

I ended up making 32 more, 30 standard ones and 2 narrow shank ones. The narrow shank ones belong to cars that have been half converted, that is a Sergent on one end and Kadee on the other. I’m also planning on finishing some scratch building projects I started a while ago and doing Accurail scale coupler boxes and narrow shank couplers.

Some Scratch Building Part 3


I was going through my paints to see if I had anything on hand to use for my speeder shed (not that it’s done by any means, just had a few minutes). I settled on Vallejo Model Air 71.105 Brown, it looked pretty good brushing it on a test piece so I thought to myself “once I get my airbrush working I’ll have to start painting it”


Then I realized, that’s how I tend to not get things done so I pulled out a brush and started on one side. Being fairly thin airbrush paint it takes several coats to brush it on but it’s something I’ve been able to spread out over short painting sessions with good results so far.


I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do for shingles yet though I’m open to any suggestions.

Some Scratch Building Part 2


When we last left our scratch building project I’d gotten the basic shell built up. I ordered some smaller styrene to trim wood and this weekend got a chance to continue work.

I think I should have gone a little smaller on the trim, especially on the small window but it’s what I had it and just went with it. I was able to straighten out the windows and doors with the trim pieces which does make it look quite a bit nicer so that’s a plus.

I’ve got some scraps in my styrene stockpile that should work for the roof and doors so I’ll have to try them next. I’m also going to take some of the cutoffs of the siding to test paint colors and see what looks good.

Trying Some Scratch Building Part 1


I realize I’ve done scratch building before but I’ve never built a building before. Since my layout will require almost entirely scratch built buildings I thought I’d start with something simple.


This is not something I scratch built, this is a card stock building I made a couple years ago. I like it, it looks awesome… but keeping things straight is a hassle and it weighs nothing so it doesn’t like to stay put. But most importantly it’s a simple building so it seemed like a good thing to try replicating (and it’s handy not having to convert any measurements).

I started with some clapboard siding styrene, once I got the walls all cut out I went to glue the walls together. I had even gotten some Plastruct specifically for styrene and that’s when things went wrong. I used some magnets to try and hold the first two pieces and ended ruining the siding.


After that I switched to CA glue because it works reasonably fast and doesn’t melt the plastic.


Overall I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out so far, I need to dig through my styrene to find some pieces for the doors, roof, and trim pieces for part 2. I also need to determine how dilapidated I want to make it look once painted. I didn’t really have a choice with the card stock version as that’s how it printed out. I’ll probably go with a better maintained look as my diorama’s era is more contemporary to when the building would be well maintained.

I’ll also note this progress has been the result of small bits over several weeks. It’s been a nice project where i can come spend a couple minutes on something and put it away until I have time again (so don’t necessarily expect part 2 to be published tomorrow 🙂 )