Category Archives: how tos

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.

 photo IMG_1411-640.jpg

 photo IMG_1416-640.jpg

 photo IMG_1416-640a.jpg

 photo IMG_1426-640.jpg

 photo IMG_1422-640.jpg

 photo IMG_1443-640.jpg

 photo IMG_1440-640.jpg

 photo IMG_1438-640.jpg

 photo IMG_1445-640.jpg

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.

 photo IMG_1333 - Copy.jpg

 photo IMG_1338 - Copy.jpg

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

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…

 photo IMG_2403-640_zpscc17c3d9.jpg

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

 photo IMG_2405-640_zps16545456.jpg

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

 photo IMG_2406-640_zpsa6187d9d.jpg

 photo IMG_2408-640_zpsa0eed5e9.jpg

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…

 photo IMG_2411-640_zps6e53bf29.jpg

 photo IMG_2412-640_zps449f338a.jpg

 photo IMG_2414-640_zpsc2970c04.jpg

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…

 photo IMG_2415-640_zps204ccf41.jpg

Before…

 photo IMG_2417-640_zpse1441e49.jpg

After…

 photo IMG_2416-640_zps1e9ca207.jpg

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

 photo IMG_2420-640_zps61510586.jpg

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

 photo IMG_2626-640_zps42a4c7d9.jpg

 photo IMG_2628-640_zpsd850dcc7.jpg

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

 photo IMG_2630-640_zps1fa79a39.jpg

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

 photo IMG_2646-640_zps00c0bd48.jpg

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.

 photo 1a020a12-a2bd-4d02-ad03-235fd22240e2_zps895660d5.jpg

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…

 photo IMG_2283-640_zps0532163a.jpg

…then mounted the new wheel assemblies in their place…

 photo IMG_2284-640_zpsad1e63e8.jpg

 photo IMG_2289-640_zps1bade3ed.jpg

…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.

 photo IMG_2287-640_zps72ed31cf.jpg

Blessings, grace and peace to you and yours…

Beginning model railroading: Rerailers, a tutorial…

There are two basic types, the sectional track mounted and the removable ramp.  The sectional track mounted type is most familiar, that easily recognizable grade crossing most often found in N and HO scale sectional track…

 Photobucket
…it works by simply lifting the flanges of the wheelsets above the rails while guiding them the necessary direction to rerail themselves.  By slowly rolling the car or locomotive back and forth–while gently pushing down on the car—, the wheelsets fall back into place…

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
The portable ramp has been my preferred method since I first found them in my teens.  Its only drawback is that you do need a straight length of track at least as long as the ramp itself,  plus half a car length to make it work its best.  You simply place the rolling stock on the ramp, roll it against the sides to straighten out the trucks, then slowly roll it down the ramp, allowing the guides to do their magic.  With a little practice and, again, no pushing down on the car with undue pressure, it will roll straight onto the track with ease…

Photobucket

Photobucket

 Photobucket

Portable ramps are made in both HO and N gauges, mine are made by Rix Products.

Model Power HO scale Bullet Train in Amtrack paint…

Got this a couple weeks back in a trade with one of the members of a forum I am a part of with the idea of modifying it with close coupling and Favely pantographs.  The idea of Amtrak trying out a Bullet Train over here is not far fetched at all as they tried several different foreign locomotives and trains in the early daze of service.  The weak point on this model is the awful gap between cars…

Photobucket
…it measures out at 8 scale feet.  Three feet is more prototypical but, with 20″ radius curves, would I be able to do it?  Fortunately, it was quite easy, the truck casting literally having the cut line cast into it.  By mounting a stand Kadee #5 box to a small brass strip, I got 3′ of coupling space AND found it can easily traverse my 20″ curves AND not hit freight cars on the adjoining track…Note that I found that a Rivarossi Hudson tender wheelset is a drop in fit.  Being metal, it’s a much better setup for the train…I only need 5 more…sigh…

Photobucket
Here is is, installed and setting on a 20″ curve…

Photobucket
…a side-by-side comparison of the old and new gaps…

Photobucket
…the finished train…

Photobucket