Category Archives: general model work

Bubba and Billy Joe Ray Bob’s new adventure…

Built from a Life-Like pickup truck…I cut out 3/8″ from the bed and raised it up a bit. Except for the shovels and brooms, everything is scratchbuilt (mowers, trailer) or kitbashed from bits and pieces. Look for an N scale fire escape, a bit of a old 1:1 scale air conditioner, HOn3 brake cylinders…whatever looked what I wanted found its way in…

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HO scale Burro crane model from a 25 ton crane model…

I’ve always wanted a running model of a typical Burro crane, models of which are usually in brass and quite pricey. I’ll let the pictures do the explaining. It requires a Train Miniature 25 ton Brownhoist crane (later offered by both Life-Like and Cox) and the power truck from a Bachmann Cable Car.

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Test run…amazingly, the flatcar outweighs the crane by a full ounce–1 1/2 oz. as compared to 2 1/2 oz.

Mister Rodger’s “Trolley” from a Bachmann Cable Car

I can believe that it took me 3 1/2 years to finish it. I’m given to much deep thought as to how to best finish a project, only to find that the simplest of methods and techniques are usually the most effective. In this case, rather than try to cut around each seat setting in the sides, I simply dimpled the top of the card stock between each seat, thereby reinforcing the old “3 foot rule”–if it looks good from three feet away, then it’s good enough.

The sides and sign are simply printed on heavy stock, then glued into place. My beloved lifted the graphics from a picture of Trolley, then reduced them to the dimensions of the cable car.

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As the video shows, it runs quite well, and the open air effect is quite nice.

Yup…still here…

I could say that it has been a hard six months, but my missionary family in Nepal and my immediate family in Baltimore might beg to differ.

I had a career move go bad back in October, leaving me to work at the bottom rung in a trade where I used to be the top dog. I literally wept when I realized for the first time that I was back on 24/7 emergency call once again, a duty that never failed to remind me that it came with an 80 mile round trip commute, and at the oddest hours one could want to work, and in a part of town not known for its hospitality at those hours. The physical demands were taking their toll as well, upwards of 4 hours of my day was just the commute, not including any emergency calls. I put 10000+ miles on our only vehicle in 4 months, one that has way too many miles on it already.

As of yesterday, I no longer work there. When my employer found out that I was still scouting another job back in February (read that: a much shorter commute), the hunt for my replacement was on, with me staying around until they found one, or until I found a new job. They won that race, as I am currently still looking for work.

The whole thing has left me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted to a point I have never been before. My well of tears has run dry, and any desire for the pulpit has been thoroughly beaten out of me–I don’t even want to do a Sunday School class, and my Bible reading and study times are at the barest minimum at the moment.

These are by no means complaints or murmurings, they are just an explanation of where I’ve been these last six months. I’m still modeling, just not at the pace I used to, and that wasn’t a lot then. I’ll just post the bigger projects from the last 6 months for now, in the hopes I can chronicle them individually and in more detail later, should time permit…

I was given a Bachmann 4-4-0 “Jupiter” with a drive that was too damaged and too difficult repair, but that was cosmetically complete. I turned it into a flat car load, after removing the motor and sheathing in the fuel bunker. Once done, I chained it down after building some lathing for it on the flat car decks…

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I received a batch of slightly damaged cars that I repaired with various items, including bits of wire, scale lumber, and…toothpicks…

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…this old Revell Beano crummy was a nice rescue…

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I am still converting toy diecast into reasonably accurate models as well. This Majorette RV was a simple fix with some scrap wheels from long lost HO trucks…

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This Kibri truck kit was purchased second hand, only to find during its assembly that the wheels were missing. Wheels salvaged off of Reader’s Digest fire trucks fixed that in short order…

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Several kits were finished, including this Roundhouse kit from a series made in memory of John Allen’s famed Gorre & Daphetid R.R….

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…and this old Comet kit from the ’40s of an outside braced auto parts box car, complete with a set of Baker couplers, the type John Allen used on his road. I plan on building a short consist using these couplers and other 45+ year old kits I have on hand…

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I did some flat car loads…finally.

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Lastly, I started a Fine Scale Miniatures kit, “Water tank and tool shed #125”, one of 6 FSM kits I recently purchased from a fellow modeler’s estate. After informing the executor of the estate of the value of these, he still wanted to sell them to me at an excellent bargain, feeling that that is what his friend and his friend’s widow would have wanted, especially seeing how knowledgeable I was on their history and intricacy. I well remember slavering over the color ads as a teenager, and now I will likely be kept occupied with them for some time to come…

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With that, I bid you all God’s greatest blessings, grace and peace found only in Christ, may your hope be only in His Cross, and may this only ever be your hobby and not an unholy affection.

New life for a TYCO Bicentennial C630…

Having received a C630 shell in a lot of train stuff, I sought to get it running again. In the same box lot was the frame to an old Athearn Trainmaster. With some careful cutting and filing, I stretched it to fit the shell, thus giving me a fine running (if not somewhat noisy–the shell appears to act as an ersatz amplifier) C630 for my Bicentennial trains.

Checking the length necessary…

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I built up a block of styrene from sheet stock to be used as a filler…

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…then epoxied it on with JB Weld, using zip ties as temporary clamps…

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There are stress factors that must be addressed. A better way would be to do it with a metal rod as a reinforcement between the two halves. I understood these factors and went ahead anyway, as I wanted to see if this could be done without a lot of precise drilling and fitting. With a couple of minor splitting problems in the beginning, the block is now very solid and works just fine as is…

Some sanding, fitting and shaping came next…

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Electrical continuity was achieved by soldering a jumper wire between two brass screws set into the frame halves. Motor and shell clearance issues were resolved with a bit more carving…

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Before…

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After…

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The bottom motor clip was attached at this time, before the motor was mounted…

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The front drive shaft was extended a half inch to cover the new length…

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Then the whole assembly was bench tested for a half hour in each direction…

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I hard wire all my Athearn locos by removing the top clip and replacing it with 18 gauge wire…

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The finishing touches…painting the frame, replacing the missing hand rails, etc…made for a nice looking locomotive once finished. Painting the sideframes silver kept it within the spirit of old TYCOs with their silver plastic frames.

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A wagon for my Mamod TE…

Picked up this little John Deere farm wagon for 25 cents with the express purpose of turning it into an appropriate wagon for my TE. The biggest problem was finding and mounting suitable wheels, but this was fixed with a bargain yard sale purchase of K-Nex and Meccano bits. The Meccano bushings fit perfectly into the K-Nex wheels, which then fit onto Meccano axle mounts. I simply cut the old axles with bolt cutters…

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…then mounted the new wheel assemblies in their place…

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…making for a snappy looking combo for the next steam up in Jackson. Bending the hook on the tow bar down 90 degrees hooks it right into the loop on the spirit burner that protrudes from the scuttle box.

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Blessings, grace and peace to you and yours…

1:34 First Gear Mack Granite tractor w/ dump trailer #19-3301 circa 2004…

You would think paying $10 for a model that retails for $170 would make my day.  What if I told you that I could have picked up two more for a total retail value of just over $570…for less than $35–including tax?  What if I told you that two of those models were found in the toy aisle at a local thrift store and that the kids had already found one and proceeded to play with it as though it were a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle rescue vehicle?

How many of these are now finding a wall at the hands of children who have no clue what they have, given them by parents who just wanted them to shut up so they can shop?

How did they get there except at the hands of a family palming off Pop’s estate of “toy junk”, not knowing they had a sizable chunk of money to get, if they simply had the patience to look them up on eBay and sell them there?

How about a Christian thrift store ministry that had no clue they had a treasure trove of dollars waiting for their work, if they’d only draw from knowledgeable brethren an idea of how to maximize this endowment?

In my line of work I walk among millions in wasted dollars every day.  Being in debt up to my eyeballs in incidentals makes this a soul crushing venture.  The mental exercise of “What I could do with that money.” is quite disheartening, I’m at a loss.  To see the Church unwittingly fritter it away makes it all the worse.

“But Br’er Shaygetz…why don’t you offer your services to these folks?”

 …because the offers are often at best ignored or received with a polite pat on my head or, at worst, viewed with suspicion…I’m often left with a sense of distrust on their parts towards me, after all, who would willingly tell a ministry that they can get more money for what they’re selling?