Thursday, August 30, 2018

My O Scale National Convention Clinic Slides

For those who couldn't make my hour long presentation, I am putting these slides here.

It's more my research methodology and resources for detailing my models, than actual step by step instructions on how to use a pinvise to drill a hole to put a brass casting in a model.  Researching and getting the materials you need are often more work than the modeling itself.

Those looking for how-to's on pinvises, airbrushing, etc, can find those kind of techniques in the many pages of O Scale Trains (OST), Railroad Model Craftsman (RMC), O Scale Resource (OSR), etc.  There are also other one-off model build instructions floating around out there.  Bob Harpe, who is an expert HO model builder that models Southern Railway, also has very nice PDF's floating around of techniques on how to add detail parts themselves to models.

Perhaps at some date, I can put together a culmination of various build photos together going over various techniques for putting detail parts themselves on models.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April 2018 York TCA Show Information and Photos

Below is a collection of photos and Videos I took at the York TCA Show this year.

It was lightly attended on Thursday and Friday felt like a typical York day to me. Thursday was bitterly windy, rainy, and cold.  Friday was much better. I felt like there was a bit more 2R scattered about at the show this time around, mostly in orange, purple, and silver halls.  As always, you have to look for it.

I had never seen TT scale before (half Z?) and there is a video of that down below too.

As for Manufacturer news that I am aware of or asked is what I noted.  Nothing really significant, but hopefully thinks are looking up for AtlasO's production schedule:
  • AtlasO had fliers on their re-designed turntable and universal Signal Control System.  I took pictures of the handouts and they are down below.  They are also bringing out the water tower from Walther's cornerstone series.  They also mentioned that Dash 8's will be coming our around June if all goes to plan.  Bill was pleasant to chat with and told me that the new Loksound decoders sound amazing and even allowed them to put synchronized smoke in the 2R units.  GP7's should be out by the end of this year and SD40's will probably be sometime in 2019.  Looks like the feared loss of AtlasO was premature.    They had an assortment of freight cars, etc on display.
  • Bachmann said they were cutting the tooling now for the 70 tonner. I believe the rep said spring of next Year would be the actual release.
  • Lionel had an assortment of new stuff and were mainly running their Niagara.  21" Passenger cars galore in Conrail among other things including the interesting tinplate-painted scale equipment.  Photos down below.
  • MTH had some holiday-lighted things setup and a few other items including some modern SD70 paint schemes.  Not for me, but pictures down below. They also had a DCS explorer that you could connect to with your phone and play with the engines they had on display. Not a bad idea.

Below are photos and videos I captured of the show.  Please click on photos for large images.

TTscale layout:

Wanna see a VGN triplex pull doublestack cars?  This video is for you:

Interesting layout that replaced the OGR Booth:

Video of said layout:

Lionel Booth:


Lionel Booth Layout:

 From the AtlasO Booth...

AtlasO Layout:

From the MTH booth...

Friday, February 23, 2018

First Video of the Southern Railway Piedmont Division

Description from the youtube page:
This is the inaugural run of the Southern Railway Piedmont Division.

The video shows a freight train made up of various rolling stock made by MTH, Lionel, AtlasO, and Weaver. Looks like I need to fix one of my curves.

The locomotive is a 3rd Rail/Sunset Models SD9, super-detailed and weathered for roughly 1970. The decoder is a Loksound L V4.0 select running the 16cyl 567C Full Throttle Sound File. A lot of tweaking still needs to be done in regards to headlight intensity, auto-notch increments, and volume control. The horns on this brand really aren't loud enough, when they should be louder than the prime mover.

Track is AtlasO.

DCC is Digitrax. (Though once I start consisting, I may want to move to either NCE or ECoS, since I read Digitrax doesn't do it well.)

Video camera is a GoPro HERO+ set at 1080P60 settings, but apparently the room isn't lit (I'm blaming the lighting, but I am not 100% sure.) enough to get the best quality. The GoPro takes very nice video outside. Somewhat disappointing in that I can't get the same quality inside. I tried a Sony HDR-AS10 and it did worse.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Why did I move to ESU Loksound decoders and some other handy links.

So in the midst of studying for a certification exam I have next week, I had a 3R buddy stop over for an hour and I showed him my 2R layout, my workbench, my small "library", and talked his ear off quite a bit.  I think I answered all of his questions and hopefully he remembers something from the firehose. Perhaps he may down the line become more interested in scale-oriented side of the hobby. He's already trying to add the rope used to blow a steam locomotive whistle, so he's appears to already be on that trajectory.

In any case, while talking to him, I made reference to quite a few things and felt like some of that would also be appropriate to throw up on the blog, in case it can help others learn and grow.

ESU Loksound Full Throttle

So, a little while back, I was introduced to a variety of things, the primary being MRH.  Always thought it was just an HO magazine, and while it is more focused in that scale, there have been many articles that I felt like I learned from, including layout construction, weathering, and quite a bit about ESU Loksound Full Throttle. (They appear to be a prominent sponsor and work a lot with Mike Confalone, an accomplished modeler and bigtime writer for MRH.)

The two YT videos below, sold me on ripping out everything I had (NCE, Soundtraxx, and QSI) and going to Loksound.  Well that and the obvious hobby backing and customer support that ESU American has that extends beyond just a Yahoo group. I only have about 5 locomotives converted and of those, only a few are FT equipped, but the sounds and functions (minus the horn volume) have been spectacular.

Loksound's notching and dynamic breaks on Mike Confalone's really nice HO layout:

Loksound Full Throttle Explained in detail through video:

More on some of my own decoder installs later when I free up on time.

Train Magazines and other online resources

With the potential unfortunate demise of O Scale Trains magazine (They are no longer publishing and for sale as of this writing), there has been a lot of talk about 3R/2R/etc and the magazine sources that are available to us.  Included in that discussion was whether or not we should be looking outside the scale or at other sources/scales for influence.  Whether or not 2R has enough support to continue having its own hardcopy magazine, etc. It is completely open to the individual, but I personally do look around a little bit, in case there is something I can learn from.  Otherwise I skim through the less interesting stuff and only lost a few minutes of my life. I keep it to model railroading though, since while I am sure I could learn a thing or two from some of those Armor modelers, I only have so much time.
There are two FREE online magazines that I follow in addition to my occasional MR magazine.  I bought a nice collection of RMC magazines from a fellow modeler, including some really recent issues and I was impressed with what I read and how much I was actually interested in techniques being used there.  I am leaning to adding a subscription to that as well to help enhance my modeling.

MRH (multi-scale):
OSR (O scale):

While I do not model proto48 personally, I also keep tabs on this site and their mailing list in case there are new products that I can use and support those manufacturers.

And most recently, I also have stumbled across a Facebook group for 2R/proto48.  Some really nice stuff showing up on there as well, so definitely worth the look from time to time:

And don't forget, the 2018 National is only months away. Be sure to register early.

Til I find some free time...

Monday, January 29, 2018

Layout Design and Initial Progress Photos - January 2018

I've spent the last month or two on my roughly 30' x13.5' layout, so I have at least a loop to run stuff around and show my friends and coworkers what model trains are like.  I tried to photograph various parts of it along the way to show what I did to build it.

I am unsure how long I will continue to live where I am, so I did not want to have too complex of a layout, but enough to stretch the legs of new and old purchases and tweak some Loksound Full Throttle decoders.

Here is the general layout diagram. It is generally followed, though the industries in the top left are not going to happen, and some curvatures ended up different in reality.

The original concept was to model the Southern Piedmont Division in and around Atlanta, GA.  This allows me the opportunity to model two interesting areas - Pegram Shops and Inman Yard.  Pegram Shops will be the showcase of this layout and allows me to complete two concepts:
  1. The first is a standard place for roster shots. A lot of photo's were taken of locomotive power outside the shops over the years, so I will do the same.  
  2. The shops allow me to more realistically roster a large variety and amount of the power. Since Atlanta was perhaps the biggest hub on the Southern, and almost everything came through there at some point in time.
Inman Yard is an interesting two-level yard that grew over the years, and even has photo evidence of some sort of icing station for reefers.  Some neat photos out of there.  The bottom two tracks will be elevated for the bi-level aspect and the rest of it will be used as typical classification yard, when completed.

A future layout may contain some sort of version of Terminal Station, but due to the nature of not wanting to make a layout more complex than it needed to be for now, I forego this in my design.

Height - 48" off the floor.
Track - Atlas O
Roadbed - Midwest cork
DCC - Digitrax (DCS200/UR92) w/ DCC Specialities PSX-1 and RRampmeter.
DCC Wiring - 10AWG bus, 18AWG feeders

Initial test train - 3rd Rail SD9 and various equipment from Lionel, Weaver, AtlasO and MTH

Below are some initial photos of the layout in benchwork stage with one loop of track completed.

 The first piece of track being laid on the right.

 Base area for any electronics. You can see the Digitrax Power supply, DCS200, UR92, PSX, RRampmeter.  The bus bars are for the 10AWG bus.

 View of layout down the length of it.

 Hinged area for easy interior access.

Front view of Pegram Shops Trackwork. Sorry for the mess.