Weekend Update 19

Trains, Weekend Update

Another busy week and another week with not enough trains. My wife edited and sent me the best picture she got with her DSLR in my light box post from earlier.


Saturday was such a nice day, up to 57F I believe, so I was outside working on projects. Mostly I was working on household projects but while it was so nice I thought hey I’ll start a project that needs the airbrush. And right on cue the airbrush was struggling to put down some Vallejo acrylics (it could barely spray just water). It was behaving oddly and occasionally spitting so I suspect there is an adjustment issue so I’ll have to tear it down again and see if I can figure out what’s preventing a good siphon from being created.

WP_20160228_18_23_09_Pro_LI (2).jpg

Fortunately Vallejo is nice and thin so it goes down by brush fairly well. This is actually a primer. I started with just the piece in the back (it’s the deck of another flat car) but had a bunch of left over in my paint tray so I did my custom lumber car as well. I won’t describe that project anymore as I should have a full post on the project up in the next week or two (hopefully).

Weekend Update 18… quick version

Trains, Weekend Update

I don’t have much of an update this week, in part because I’ve been so busy with other stuff. Warm weather is starting to return (hopefully it’s not a tease before a cold snap) so I’ve been working outside a little bit…. I even got the last of the Christmas lights down… so that means it was time to get off my duff and fix my airbrush which I did get done this weekend. It was a little bit of an adventure remembering how it went back together. I had bent the 0.3mm needle when I broke it but I still have the 0.2 and 0.5 needles so I’ll get by. I figure if I get good enough to need the difference it’s time to upgrade.

One of the projects I was supposed to get done is a little photo box, this one had a deadline (even though I missed it) because my wife wants to use it for her own photography as well so that’s should be coming up as a post soon.

Weekend Update 17

Trains, Weekend Update

Was invited over to another operating session at my friend Mike’s last night, I brought along my Scale Trains boxcar to show and it quickly had a car card and was soon delivering goods. Unfortunately I didn’t realize before hand that one of the coupler springs had found a way to freedom so it’s back in the car shop for a quick fix.

I also helped another friend Ted upgrade his DT402D throttle, he’d been having a bunch of weird issues and it turns out the firmware was way out of date and a quick upgrade (once I got my PR3 playing nicely with my laptop) seemed to solve the problem as it worked great the rest of the op session.

WP_20160213_11_18_05_Pro_LI (2)

I also started a new project post this week but I’m going to try a different way of doing it, I’m not going to publish it until the project is done. So instead of a post at each step spread out across weeks it’ll be one post start to finish.

WP_20160213_10_27_57_Pro_LI (2).jpg

Finally I got to work on some track today, I’ll have a separate post about my experiences soon but I got about 9″ of ties with tie plates on one side and started thinking about rail and how I’m going to fasten it down.

Weekend Update 16

Trains, Weekend Update

I went to the WGH train show in St Paul this morning, it was my first train show that was big enough for the big vendors to show up (Athearn, Bachmann, Walthers, etc). It was a cool show but I think I prefer the smaller show… in small part because I don’t enjoy paying $10 for parking or $15/adult to get in.

WP_20160206_08_57_20_Pro_LI (3).jpg

I have very slowly been making progress on ties and tie plates… I’ve got one glued down. I had originally ordered a getting started kit which just had a single tie spacing jig. They call out specifically that it’s more for demonstration and if you want to dive into it to get one of their nicer jigs which I can totally get and very strongly considering before continuing.

I also realized that my kit came with a sampling of Proto 87 Stores joint bars which are etched metal but otherwise the same as what I just got from Precision Design Co. I’ll probably use both eventually but the PDC wood ones seem a little easier to work with (and I wanted to try out the simple switch machine).

Weekend Update 14

Trains, Weekend Update

I’ve kind of dropped the ball on weekend updates lately, time flies when you are to busy to blog right? 🙂

Not much new modeling this week, in fact this weekend and early next week I’ll be packing up the modeling stuff again as the homeschooling classroom (the corner of which is my modeling area) is finally getting flooring so everything not having from the wall has to go.

A discussion did pop up on facebook about track spikes and various sizes. Since I happened to have on hand Micro Engineering, Walthers, and Proto87 I took this picture:


Upper left is ME code 83, upper right Walthers Code 70, and below is about 250 P87.

I started with the ME spikes, they are available fairly cheaply in large volume. My only complaint is it can be too easy to bend them. The Walthers spikes I haven’t used as much as I only found them in a hobby shop toward the end of my last handlaying effort. These are much more rigid and easy to handle (in my opinion) but if your ties are not glued down well enough they will split more easily than the ME spikes. I have not yet had a change to use the Proto87 spikes.

Since I got the P87 spikes for the Speeder Shed diorama for highly detailed track I got P87 tie plates as well.


Like the spikes they are pretty small but not only are they small they are super thin!


The are basically paper thin, some days I look at them and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into 🙂

Weekend Update 13

Trains, Weekend Update

It feels like it’s been about 4 weeks since I last posted, in large part because it has been. Not much has happened since my last post either, other than the dust and pile of non-train items on my modules has deepened considerably as I really haven’t had the time to do anything.

I did, however, have an ops session at my friend Mike’s layout. This time I took pictures.  He models CNW in the Twin Cities just before the UP merger but last night some Missabe power was on loan (as I brought it with me).


DMIR 210 and EMDX 9003 in South Saint Paul yard (SSP)


EMDX 9003 is actually mine as well but has been running on Mike’s for a while. A combination of me not having anywhere to run it and leaving it behind at a previous operating session. As I was going to be switching East Minneapolis (the upper deck) and that involves a long steep grade the pair were consisted together.


Heading out on Main 1


Passing the 400 Club at West Mendota


Approaching the bridge (not sure what this area is called)


This is my last picture of the night, shortly after this my train went into a long behind the view block route to the upper deck and from there I was too busy switching to take any more pictures.

On the way back I encountered an odd sound coming from 9003 and discovered the fuel tank shell had come loose and was dragging along the track (which was an unexpected find). Overall it was a good and fun night at a great layout (my pictures really do not do it justice)

Weekend Update 12

Trains, Weekend Update

It’s time for another weekend update, I’ve missed a couple mostly because I haven’t had a lot going on in modeling life. Last night I had a great and fun operating session with my friend Mike and his wonderful CNW layout.

I had been hoping to get my CNW boxcar project done for this session but as I noted in my last post things went wrong. I’m going to strip and repaint this model and I’ve decided I’m going to do some more detail upgrades as well so that’s an upcoming project.

When I get around to stripping the boxcar I’ve got a number of other painting and weathering projects I wasn’t happy with and I’ll be stripping them and starting over. While at it I’ll also probably do new grab irons on as many as possible as extra practice and hobby time.

Weekend Update 11

Trains, Weekend Update

I almost forgot to do this one, it’s been a busy week so I don’t have much actual progress. I started documenting my shelf layout idea and there is a lot more to come on that subject, just need time to write it all up.

I made it to Scale Model Supplies today for some scale model supplies (see what I did there?)


The wheelsets I really got for the metal wheels not the trucks themselves as I only needed one set of 36″ wheels for a difco side dump and just wheelsets came in packs of 12 for quite a bit more. The paint is for weathering, and the stirrup steps are for specific projects but the brass grab irons aren’t necessarily planned for anything yet. I figured while I was at the store I should pick some up and find a good practice model to try upgrading.

I also picked up the November issue of Model Railroader (yes, it is only October 3rd… felt a little weird purchasing a November issue). I have only flipped through part of it so far, this issue was of particular interest as I’ve heard Marty McGuirk mention his fall modeling article on a couple podcasts and it is in this issue.

Weekend Update 10

Trains, Weekend Update

This has been an interesting week for my hobby. I started out the week by finishing the ceiling and ended the week by turning it into a homeschooling room. I still get a small corner of it but most of it is becoming classroom. The current homeschooling room will be turned into a bedroom. My oldest and middle child have been sharing a room but getting the middle child to sleep has been difficult and it’s causing the oldest to stay up much later than he should do.

The net result for me is a big shrink of footprint which is kind of a bummer but I’ll just have to buckle down and use the smaller space to increase my focus on smaller projects and finishing up some projects so there are fewer going at one time to reduce the clutter a little bit.

My reorganizing has turned up a number of surprises, I’ve found a number of wheelsets (enough for 7 or 8 cars) and metal couplers. No doubt these are off old projects or something similar but they will be put to good use. I also uncovered some old projects with mix reviews (some I’m happy with their current state, some not so much) that will certainly become future blogging topics.

Hopefully next week will include a little more modeling and a little less model packing 🙂