Weekend Update 9

Trains, Weekend Update

It’s been a busier than usual week for me so I’ve got a couple things going but haven’t had much time to write up posts on them so this is kind of a summary of what I’ve done and provides a little bit of a hint at whats coming.

Right after I received my new airbrush I ordered what I guessed was the correct adapter (of course none of the documentation actually list what size it is) but I received this little guy today which will get me hooked up to my air compressor (it’s a 1/4″ to 1/8″ for those interested


I started looking for pictures of my boxcar update project and found some interesting pictures and got some good information from my friend and CNW expert Mike but I’ll detail that in a future post.


I picked up some supplies (on sale and rebate at Menards this weekend) to finish the ceiling in the train room. I started this project a long time ago so it’ll be nice to finally get around to finishing it.

While most of my active train projects were waiting for airbrushing I started working on my jordan spreader project. In part it’s Trevor Marshall’s fault with his “S” is for “Someday Spreader” post. I’m not doing a total assembly at this point since I’m going to be repainting it. I’m just assembling different sub assemblies so it’ll be easier to paint. Expect a post on this coming up soon as well.

Weekend Update 8

Trains, Weekend Update

This week was a pretty good week for me hitting the train room once for at least a little bit. I’ve been thinking about making an accompanying facebook page as there is already some pretty active groups on facebook and I generally avoid posting modeling stuff to my personal feed. You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/MattsModelRailroading/

My plan is to have most of the content mirror the blog for the most part, maybe with more facebook style shares than the blog. Feel free to like it and comment if you want.

I was looking over my stats and wordpress tells me Sunday is the most busy day of the week for this blog and 2PM is the busiest hour of the day. Of course I’ve been scheduling the Weekend Updates late Sunday night so I’d have time to add any Sunday activities. I think I’ll try switching the weekend update to Saturday Night and if I get anything done on Sunday just make it a post during the week or recap in the next weeks Weekend Update

Weekend Update 7 – Labor Day Edition

Trains, Weekend Update

Regular readers may notice that this is later than usual and that’s because of the US holiday Labor Day. Not working in retail that means I’ve got an extra day off.

My plan was to have hit the garage while it was nice out to do some weathering but ran into some obstacles. First off I couldn’t find one of the paints I had purchased (or so I thought) specifically for weathering.

I did have the right supplies for painting and weathering some trucks and wheels though so I started tearing down some cars thinking I’d get a bunch done at once. That’s when the second catastrophe struck, the only thing I could get out of my airbrush was, well, air. A sub-optimal situation for painting.

Since I had already mixed some paint and somewhat annoyed I decided to brush paint the trucks.


Which I did, here’s a not terribly great picture super cropped image from my phone. Since I’d gone this far and was still a little annoyed about the airbrush thing decided to try the next step which was to use weathering powders to made it look old and rusty. This truck is off an older style 70-top cement hopper which could be 50-60 years old by the general era I’m modeling so it’d be pretty rusty (it’s hard to explain but with my annoyed mood in regards to the airbrush for some reason really weathering it seemed better than light weathering).


Same truck different sides, I used Bragdon Powders for this, mostly with the Dark and Medium Rust but a little Light rust. Unfortunately since I don’t have a working airbrush I can’t put a matte varnish on it so it’s not likely to find itself operating on the layout anytime soon.

One of the other things I wanted to try was modeling a newish wheel using a the light rust.


For this I did a grimy wash similar to the trucks and then give it a good coating of light rust. I think it will work but I’ll probably need to see it in use before I’m entirely sold

Weekend Update 6

Trains, Weekend Update

Things are still busy but there is a hint of fall popping up in the air, not to say it’s here but cool mornings and leaves starting to turn a little bit is starting to set the mood. That said I’ve been able to put a little time into doing test operations and things have been improving, the pile of cars that need wheels re-gauged isn’t growing as much and I can see before long I’ll be able to setup a short operating session for myself.

Hidden Blessings

A great post from Lance Mindheim popped up Saturday about hidden blessings. The takeaway for me was not having the time, space, or money to go big time in the hobby is a hidden blessing because it forces me to become a better modeler. I had been coming closer to this realization for a while myself so it’s cool to see some confirmation. It is still hard to see all of these wonderful models you can buy and turn around and build something that won’t be as nice (at least until one builds up the skills)

The Hidden Blessings Of Constraints – Lance Mindheim

More Test Runs

One of my ideas to fix a switching deficiency was to put up my Raging River mini module to give a little more room. I did that this evening to great success.


It solved the problem of not having enough room to put outgoing cars, it’s not an ideal solution to this task (it was designed to be between two modules, preferably mini-mos) but for now it’s handing the job admirably. I think the eventual solution will be to build a small regular module to take that space. If I go 2 ft I’ve got a little more room to work with than Raging River and stay clear of the switch. If I make it a regular width module it’s better equipped to catch cars if they should derail and can be used as a general filler module at shows.


Selling Projects to Fund Projects

I was invited to a Facebook group called HO Model Railroad Yard Sale, the intent being a place for people not dealers to buy and sell things. I’m not doing much buying right now but it did get me thinking. Some of the projects sitting in my pile of projects have been sitting there a real long time, and some of them are just “I thought it’d be neat” but I really don’t need it for anything and it doesn’t really fit the theme at all. Rather than sitting on them and doing nothing why not sell them. I also have some parts laying around I don’t need that would be great to turn into cash for parts I do need.

If you are interested in any of these items leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.

Brass RDC 1


This one has been sitting around for a while, and was actually something I got in a trade. The plan when I made the trade was to do it up as the DM&IR’s RDC but after getting it and doing more research the differences between an RDC-1 (what this is) and an RDC-3 (what the DM&IR had) were to much for me to want to try that. It’s a very nice model but I don’t really have any motivation to do anything with it

Athearn BB Rotary snow plow


This one has been around a really long time. I’ve had it longer than I’ve had most of my kids. It’s mostly assembled and the only thing that doesn’t work from stock is the rotation of the blade while moving. They were rubber band powered and that has long since disappeared.

4 Tortoise switch machines


I had a use for these at one point but with the module re-build I just don’t anymore. Nothing wrong with them just don’t need them anymore.

Weekend Update 5

Trains, Weekend Update

What seems to be a recurring themes in the weekend update series is improving my blog. This week I updated my blog roll and added a list of links the top podcasts I listen to. First a little layout update, I was able to do part of a test run with my SW1 switcher. It still needs a decoder but it was running really well at low speeds. I’ve had a number of wheel gauge related derailments. It’s always wheelsets that are at least a little bit out of gauge but I suspect things are still a little tight and will need some tweaking.



The ones I have listed are the top 3 model railroad podcasts I’m listening to right now (ordered alphabetically unless you are Lionel Strang, then it’s by quality). All of these podcasts have a vibrant Facebook groups and I would definitely recommend checking them out.

  1. A ModelersLife — This is a podcast by Lionel Strang (of Model Railroader fame) and Jim Rindt (of Rindt’s Relics). This podcast focus more on the modeler than modeling itself, it’s quite fun and interesting
  2. Model Rail Radio — Model Rail Radio has been around for a few years run by Tom Barbalet that always has good discussions and great characters
  3. Model Railcast Show — The Model Railcast Show was started by Ryan Anderson and was one of the early modeling podcasts. Sadly Ryan recently passed away from cancer and Tim Harrison and Craig Bisgeier have done a great job carrying it on in his absence and honor.


The blog roll is pretty huge and I certainly won’t describe them all but I will call out a couple that are really inspiring me right now.

  • Malcolm Johnson’s N-Rail — I like this one because he’s got a Japanese themed N-scale layout which is very cool.
  • Lance Mindheim — Fortunately Lance has updated his site to have an RSS feed so it’s easier to follow. He always has great insights and as I’m planning a shelf layout inspired by his current LAJ project
  • Trevor Marshall’s Port Rowan in 1:64 — Trevor is an incredible modeler and his S-scale layout is no exception

Weekend Update 4

Trains, Weekend Update

This week was pretty busy for me, and some of that was even modeling. I managed to get the rail and ties painted and the module sections went back together well. I was able to even run some trains across the track in a largely successful way. Things had gotten a little messy with my last minute wiring rush so the train room is in disarray as I take it apart, re-arrange, and clean.

As part of this cleaning I’m moving my projects from various boxes and totes to a more visible shelf. This is one part re-organizing and one part keeping them visible as reminders to work on them. To help with the visibility these are also being added to the projects page as additional visibility. I also plan to add links to posts as I start working on them to help keep track how long I’m letting things sit. As an example I noticed with my little bridge mini module that I blogged about it around Christmas 2011 and didn’t do a single thing with it until 2 years later, almost to the day.

I’m also going through my old posts and cleaning up posts that don’t really add value either because the information is no longer relevant to my interests or because it’s just plain not relevant so if you notice changes that’s what’s happening

Weekend Update 3

Trains, Weekend Update

It’s been a busy week for me so I don’t have any modeling updates so this weekend update is just links to other blog posts that have caught my attention.

Track as Model – Ontario in HO Scale

I love the picture because it’s great track work and the spikes are so tiny. Hunter’s using Proto87 spikes and I’m definitely going to give them a try on a future project. I’m thinking at least a diorama and go with tie plates and joint bars as well.

Pipe Load and Stone Load – Port Rowan in 1:64

Trevor Marshall’s modeling is always amazing but these posts caught my attention because they are projects that have already been simmering in my brain just waiting for time and supplies. I particularly like the rip-rap load (in part because the prototype picture he found was DMIR) because my raging river mini module uses basically the same woodland scenics rock and the left overs would make a great load.

Urban Backdrop Transitions – Lance Mindheim

I’ve been following Lance’s work on his LAJ shelf layout because I’m using it as inspiration for a shelf layout of my own (except winter and snowy). This post has some good ideas for basically hiding or obscuring a road going into the backdrop and has definitely got me thinking how I want to handle it if I do at all.

Weekend Update 2

Trains, Weekend Update


I’m starting off this weekend update with a picture my five year old son, Jacob, colored for the train room. He really likes drawing tracks, for him any parallel lines are train tracks.

I haven’t made terribly good progress on bus wiring but it is coming along. My JMR-Pi project has made a little progress too, even though as of last writing I was about to give up on it. I managed to figure out a couple of problems and now have DecoderPro opening on it now I just have to solve for getting it to talk to my PR3 which I suppose is appropriate as that’s the common problem I have on Windows with my PR3.

Today I was able to do a test run on the main and through the small siding off the main. The switch to the siding worked pretty well, even with an unpowered frog my SD38-2 worked pretty well. My original plan was to power the mainline frogs of the built in switches in the tortoises and I’m starting to think I won’t do this and instead eventually upgrade them to frog juicers if for nothing else but simplified wiring.

The other switch needs a little work, when thrown the point doesn’t press tightly against the stock rail resulting in a derailment every time. This should be an easy fix but potentially another problem is the point of the frog is raised a little and creating a bit of a bump.

Given the drastic increase from zero trains ever to more than zero I figured I better do something about controlling these mainline turnouts as finding a 9V battery to hold up to exposed wires underneath until the points are facing the right direction so I dug out my DS64 which was recycled from the previous incarnation of my free-mo modules. It will be responsible for taking push button inputs and driving the Tortoises

Weekend Update!

Trains, Weekend Update

As I was trying to figure out what to title this I thought it’d be neat to try and do a regular weekend update post that either covers anything I’ve done over the weekend or recap anything in the week that I never blogged about. Of course by suggesting this will be a regular thing I’ve doomed myself to forgetting about but here is to trying.

Earlier this week I mentioned running out of rail with just 27″ to go, a trip to Scale Model Supplies and $4 and I was back on track (pun intended). Just as I was finishing up the siding my mind wandered to something another modeler told me a while back, and that was putting styrene in they electrical gaps to prevent an expansion short. Which was fortunate I thought of it because I realized I hadn’t gapped the turnout for that siding. After carefully extricating the turnout, and breaking a jewelers saw blade, and the turnout itself I got it all fixed and reinstalled.

Next up is wiring and turnout control, the two mainline are going to be tortoise controlled and the industry turnout will be caboose industries ground through with a frog juicer. I want to get it wired up and do some track testing to make sure everything is running smoothly. Then I’m going to work on separating the modules so I can take it out to the garage to paint the ties and rail as well as cutting out the land form areas of the bench work (so it’s a little lighter and a lot less flat).

I’ve also got some weathering powders on the way and I’m going to try some of the weathering techniques in Done in a Day by Pelle Soeborg when those arrive.