Motive Power on the box file layout


I had previously mentioned my attempts to order a Peckett from Hornby US with no success. Technically I guess I still have one on pre-order, who knows if anything will come of it. In the mean time I found one on an internet auction site so now I have this:

The cement hopper is provided for size reference, as it’s one of the smaller cars you’d find on an US themed modern layout. That is to say a Peckett is small, though very highly detailed. I was surprised how intricate the details are and even more surprised with how heavy it is.

It should come as no surprise a decoder for this little thing is even smaller. This isn’t the official Hornby decoder, it’s a TCS M1 which is actually smaller. The reason I went with it is because it’s much easier to get ahold of. Surprisingly this was probably one of the easiest decoder installs other than the drop in type. This is likely because there is no lighting to worry about.

I took a video of it on a test run under DCC power… unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of track to test it on but what I did it was working like a champ.

Getting Some Track Down Part 3


The very observant on my last post may have noticed a problem in my track work.

It’s not easy to spot, but I’ve introduced a short in two of the sidings, though not at the same time. Basically whatever route is not selected has a dead short between the rails. In theory the way I intend to operate this that shouldn’t be a problem but I’d rather not wait for it to be a problem when it’s finished (I know it’s optimistic for me to use the word done on this project).

Way back in the before Covid times (well at least in the US) February 2020 I pre-ordered a Hornby Peckett. I think I first saw the Peckett on the OTCM blog and knew I had to get one at some point… that was a few years ago. When I started this boxfile project I also knew I wanted to use a Peckett to operate it but I never got around to actually trying to track one down. Through Hornby USA I pre-ordered one (Port of London Authority) that was at the time marked Winter 2020 delivery (to be fair it’s still marked as Winter 2020 delivery) but the weird thing is I can’t get any response from their customer support so I kind of wonder if they are still operating or if the US arm has shut down. It looks as though I will have to look elsewhere for motive power.

Getting Some Track Down Part 2


It’s kind of hard to believe this is a sub-project I started February 29th 2020. Of course I could use the chaos that is 2020 as an excuse for taking a break from the hobby… and I might still do that, we’ll see where this train of thought takes me. The downfall probably more goes back to 2017ish when I changed jobs which made me a lot busier, then at the end of 2018 the room that was my home office and train room became a bedroom and my new office didn’t have the space for my existing layout and not really space for any layout. Then in 2019 I started this boxfile layout… which is fun but I’ve not been very good at making progress.

When last I blogged about this project, 11 months ago, I’d worked out where I needed to fasten down the track and where I needed to tunnel in a way to actuate the switch from the front. I got some small brass tubing that I could run piano wire for the actuation, and that was super back ordered and that’s why it’s been 11 months… or it arrived two days later and I just never got around to it. With that in place it was only a matter of fastening the track in place.

My plan for wiring is to run it inside the building in the upper right corner and have a plug to the outside world on the side or back to power it up.

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)