Tuesday Train #31

30751647961_dceb7f4196_o.jpgNever mind me, just crossin the street in front of the train.  A South Shore Line runs up the middle of 11th Avenue in Michigan City Indiana.  The commuter electric train is nearing the end of its journey from Millenium Station in downtown Chicago.

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oo9 Talyllyn – 3D printed bits and Stripping paint

The joys of model railroading, chemicals and things which can stink up your apartment really good (not to mention what they can do if you ingest them) if you aren’t careful.  Being aware of the potential dangers of different paints and glues, and being responsible with using them is a very important part of the hobby.  You need to make sure you read and follow the safety instructions on every product you use.

As part of the project to convert the Bachmann Thomas and Friends Skarloey to the Talyllyn Railway “Talyllyn” (see here and here), I need to remove the existing paint from the Bachmann model.  The paint is really thick, especially on the plastic parts.  So much so, that when i started stripping the paint, I didn’t realize there were rivet details cast into parts of the plastic cab and parts of the diecast body!  The good news is, I don’t seem to need to resort to any really crazy chemicals that modellers use like Automotive Brake Fluid or EZ-Off Oven cleaner that other modellers swear by for stripping paint.  A can of Testors Easy-Lift-Off that I had has quickly cut through the Bachmann paint.  Unfortunately, this is still a stinky chemical product.  Which means wearing gloves when handling parts (a good idea anyways when painting or using adhesives) and fumes, which push the work out to the balcony of our apartment for ventilation, even with a mask on.  It’s been a cold couple of nights on the balcony in mid-November with a plastic tray and a collection of brushes removing the paint, but it’s worked, and with a minimum of sanding for intransigent paint, I’ve reached a point where I was ready to put primer on to start the re-painting process.

Bachmann Skarloey, mostly stripped of paint revealing the surprising amount of detail beneath a very heavy coat of paint on the Thomas & Friends model aimed at younger folks.

I’ve primed the stripped locomotive body as well.  I’m not happy with the coverage on the cab, there are a couple of spots where the primer went on a bit heavy and ran, which means I’ll probably wind up stripping it and re-priming it, but that won’t take very long.

Skarloey in primer after completing stripping the original paint.  Note the new wire handrails on the water tank replacing the cast in bumps form the original version.  I forgot to put the 3D printed smokebox door on for the photos.

In my most recent Shapeways order, I received the print for the boiler backhead I drew up to fill the cab and make it look a bit better.  Once the body of the locomotive is re-painted and assembled, this will be installed in the cab to make it look a bit more realistic, rather than just a big open space.  Along with a driver/fireman figure in the small cab, this will fill the space and make it hopefully look a lot better.

img_32613D printed backhead for Talyllyn’s cab.  Clear styrene painted with transparent blue paint will be inserted between the two sets of large rectangles to model the water glasses on the boiler.

I’ve also got a brass casting for a Westinghouse Air Pump to mount on the side of the smokebox, and brass stanchions and wire for the smokebox handrail.  Once I’m happy with the priming on the parts, It will be off to the paint shop to spray glossy black over most of the locomotive, with a dull/grimy black smokebox, and cream cab interior.

Once Talylln is complete, the next narrow gauge task on my to-do list is to finalize the track plan for a small shelf layout with OO9 gauge track so I have somewhere to display and run the finished Talyllyn and some OO9 freight cars I’m planning on ordering.  I fortunately discovered I have a stash of extra Ikea shelf’s we aren’t using in the apartment (yay cleaning!), so at least I know I have somewhere to work, I just need to come up with a functional track plan and purchase track.

3D Printing & Model Railroading – Black Friday Sale!

So, i’ve written about 3D printing and Model Railroading here, here and here.  Now is a chance for you to go out and get yourself a good discount on 3D printed Model Railroad bits in the US Black Friday sales.  Shapeways has a 25% off site wide coupon good from today until midnight Pacific time Sunday (November 27, 2016).

I have provided links to a number of stores below (including my own) with Canadian and non-canadian prottype models, but go to www.shapeways.com and search for yourself to see what else you can find that fits your modelling interests!  I’ll add more links if I can through the next day or two, or feel free to add in the comments if you find a good one.  There are lots of amazing designers and products out there if you spend a bit of time searching!

This is a great chance for you to save a few dollars and experiment with 3D printing and 3D printed parts.  You can get in with the crowd and buy my best selling sprue of 20L BBQ propane tanks:

IMGP4766.JPGHO Scale BBQ gas tanks, my best seller. I guess no one else has ever made them.

Building a Train in a night

And, as a wise man once said… “And now for something completely different”.

As December and the Christmas season approaches, my wife starts getting out the decorations and making our apartment a very festive space.  After a long 2016 for a lot of reasons, we’re going away at Christmas (on Boxing Day to be precise) to go and visit Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles; and cousins in the UK for a bit over a week, so we are cutting back on the decorating and presents, primarily not putting up our tree so we don’t have to either rush and take it down on December 26th, or find it waiting for us in January after our trip.

As part of the trip, we’re skipping buying each other presents, yet I arrived home a few weeks ago to find a present sitting in my desk chair in the office, with a note that said something along the lines of, “we’re not doing presents this year, but it’s kinda  a present for us both”.  Open the box, and discover, a Lego Christmas Train set!!!

imgp6742Lego Creator set 10254 – Winter Holiday Train

As the Christmas decorations that are going up mostly appeared last Sunday during the Canadian Football League Conference finals (strangely, Christmas normally explodes in our home around Grey Cup Sunday at the end of November when I’m often not home…not sure why that is?).  With the decorations coming out, I decided that last night was the time to build the Lego train.  I sat down at the kitchen table, and dutifully set about sorting out the bags of Lego and reading the instructions.  If you haven’t built a Lego set recently, the sets now come with parts sorted into bags by sub assembly or chunks of the model, and with bags for large pieces, and small pieces for each stage. It means you can keep things under control and be reasonably sure you are finding the right bits as you go along.  I didn’t really take any pictures of construction as it went, I’m a bit single track minded when building Lego, but in a bit under two hours, the set went from bags of bits, to a Christmas decoration on top of our entertainment centre, well outside the range of our deranged hairball…er cat who no longer has the ability to leap up there as age catches up with her.

Lego Christmas Train, all built.  Notice the train within the train around the Christmas Tree.
imgp6749Two hours from bag of bricks to Lego Train

If you’re still reading this, there is another type of Christmas Train out there too, one that does good for those less fortunate in your community.  The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is winding its way across Canada and the US where CP runs.  The schedule of dates can be found here.  Its a great event for young and old alike.  I can’t make the Monday November 28th stop here in Toronto, but its run is a reminder to make a donation to our local food bank as the holidays approach.

70670967_1d60d7c951_o
The 2005 Canadian Pacific Holiday Train in 2005 at North Toronto Station on Yonge Street.

Hamilton & Ancaster Model Train Show & Operations on the Grand River Railway

Sunday was a full day out with friends railroading.  Along with friends Ryan Mendell and Doug Currie, I set out for a trip west to the Hamilton & Ancaster Model Train Show to do some shopping, and then further west to Brantford to visit Roger Chrysler’s fantastic layout for a tour and some informal operations on his Grand River Railway.

The Hamilton & Ancaster Model Train Show (formerly the TH&B Flea Market) is held twice a year, in January and November at the Ancaster Fair Grounds.  Its a show where anything and everything can be found.  Sometimes I go and spend nothing, other times I go and spend a fortune.  This year was more on the fortune end of things, but all on good bits and pieces and some kits for great deals.  My big purchases were a copy of Clegg’s book “Self Propelled Cars of the CNR” from the estate of Dan Kirlin, a renowned modeller who sadly passed away suddenly earlier this year; a Kaslo Shops CPR Fowler Patent Boxcar resin kit for $15.00; and a Tichy 40′ flatcar kit for the bargain basement price of $4.00.  If I never build the flatcar I can probably sell it for more than I paid! It was too cheap to pass up (Ryan and Doug also got $4.00 flatcar kits, we bought 3 of the 4 the vendor had!).  After a couple of hours at the show, we headed into Ancaster for a delicious lunch and pints at the Coach & Lantern pub.

We had an invitation to go and visit Roger Chrysler’s layout in the afternoon.  His layout features a point to point model of the Grand River Railway as it was in 1953.  With operations from Glen Morris in the north, heading south from there through Paris and Brantford, and the countryside to Port Dover Ontario.  Most importantly, the Grand River Railway was an overhead electric interurban railway in this time, and Rogers layout features working overhead electric pickup for all trains.  I don’t have a layout at the moment, and opportunities to operate others layouts don’t come along nearly as often as I’d like, so I jumped at the opportunity.  Through the afternoon a number of other locals stopped by, and a couple of other Torontonian’s eventually showed up as we were readying to depart.

img_3245A scratch built Lake Erie & Northern Railway interurban car at Port Dover on Roger Chrysler’s layout.  The cars draw their power from the overhead catenary, just as they did in real life.

The quality of Roger’s layout is inspiring.  Between the working overhead wiring and the scratchbuilt locomotives, cars and structures, the locations really feel real.  This is re-enforced by the pictures above the layout fascia which show the locations during the operational era for reference.  The layout is effectively the southern half of the Grand River Railway.  One of the nice features of the line, is because of the overhead, everything was bi-directional, no need for space eating turntables or wyes to turn equipment.

Trying to give an overview of Roger’s layout in his 11′ by 40′ basement space.  I really should have brought my good camera in from the car rather than using my cell phone.

We didn’t operate to a set schedule, but we operated a number of trains and managed to sort out meets at the sidings/stations, and mostly keep things on the rails.  Part of our visit was to just run trains and help Roger identify areas on the layout where the overhead wires need work, or where the track needed work to allow more complete operating sessions in the future.

img_3246Doug, Roger and Ryan looking at a derailing issue in the Brantford yard.  The best way to find places on a layout where things don’t work is to run trains, which is what we spent a great Sunday afternoon doing.

Not only is the concept of an interurban railway modeled with real working overhead somewhat unique and cool, Rogers fantastic modelling really brings the layout to life.  His structures are largely scratchbuilt to match the real prototypes of the structures on the line and near the line.  This attention to detail makes a huge difference.

The Brantford Armouries on the left (one of the few buildings modelled in Brantford that still exists), and the Paris coal drop, both beautifully modelled.

I certainly look forward to going back and operating a more intensive schedule of trains in the future.  Strangely enough now, two of the operating sessions I have done have been on layouts which feature Lake Erie ports, with Roger’s layout and Trevor Marshall’s S scale Port Rowan Dover layout! (Ed – Thank you Trevor, completely crossed myself up on where your layout runs to!)  Thank you Roger for your gracious invitation to visit and let an amateur operate on your layout, and to Doug and Ryan for the great company during the day.