Thursday, July 31, 2008

Paul Karczewski's HO scale circus train, Part II...

Again, my apologies to those with dial-up. Not shown are the three crew coaches and four live animal cars...just not enough room in the camera.









"Backdating" DCC installs...

...---or---, how I got my head out of the clouds and back to reality.

I installed DCC chips into a lot of my motive power when I was a member of a club. When that membership had to end, I had half my fleet unable to run in my DC equipped layout. DCC is a great innovation in the hobby but the two systems really don't work well as crossovers. Those familiar with the "Double Ot Dance" know exactly what I'm talking about. This left me pining for the day when; 1. I got a new neighbor who'd be more than happy to let some wild eyed evangelical run his train on their layout or, 2. I'd bone up for a new or used system and install it on a very small testbed loop of track, all the while trying to justify the expense.

In short, I was on a fast track to the suburb of Malcontent, a place where nothing gets done because all of its citizens put their hands to the plow and continually look back. So, for my spiritual well being, a decoder pulling festival unto the Lord was in order. Most of my decoders were Digitrax or Lenz and they both use a 9 pin socket that can easily be jumped for DC running without undoing all the hard work it takes to isolate motors in older units. This way, should the future hold a Digitrax Super Empire Builder setup sitting next to a dumpster, waiting for me to rescue it, I'll be able to easily reinstall decoders in my locomotives.

I began by bending a length of .015" brass rod into a 1/8" U shape. I then soldered a length of the same brass rod into the center, making an elongated upper case "E". Once cool, I clipped the ends clean with a pair of flush cutting nippers. Then it was a simple matter of pushing them into the sockets, connecting the black/gray/yellow and the red/orange/blue wires. The yellow is for the front headlight and the blue is its common. The red/orange, black/gray wires are the motor/track supply leads. I then wrap the whole smack in a wrap or two of electrical tape and I'm off to the test track.


The only drawback I've seen thus far is the LEDs I installed in some locos are not lighting properly. I figure this is a polarity issue that I can resolve later. The blessing is that my fleet of shelf queens is finally getting a workout after 2 years of idling under glass.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Paul Karczewski's HO scale circus train...

Part one of two parts, my apologies to those with dial up... A labor of love that required measuring each ride, then building it in a way that, theoretically, each could be assembled from the parts modeled. Just a marvel to behold, he also built each ride as an operating element on a traveling module.









Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Miracle Strip Model Railroad club, Part II...

One of my favorite spots on the layout is a Western town made up of old school 70s and 80s Fine Scale Miniatures and other high end craftsman kits. These were built by Mrs. Pat McCue and Pete Therrein over the years and include an impressive amount of interior and exterior detail and board-by-board construction. Though Mrs. Pat and Pete are no longer with us, their work shares a place of honor where it can be best viewed by all who enter into the clubhouse.


Pete would use a seamstress' pounce wheel to make the nail impressions. The stains and coloring he used would naturally pool into the dimples, making perfect nail heads.






Monday, July 28, 2008

Miracle Strip Model Railroad club pics...

Hal Warvari's C&O lashup awaiting the day's orders...

Ray Wilcox's 2-8-4 beastie slamming through Baker Pass...

My own yard goat and its crew, wondering who brought the doughnuts as they run light over Therrein Creek...

And finally, Tom Carry brought a German railfan with him to tour Nardin Yard...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Psalm 15

(1) --A Psalm of David.-- LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

(2) He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

(3) He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

(4) In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

(5) He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

It Is Well with My Soul

1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

4. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.

Text: Horatio G. Spafford
Music: Philip P. Bliss

------In 1871, tragedy struck Chicago as fire ravaged the city. When it was all over, 300 people were dead and 100,000 were homeless. Horatio Gates Spafford was one of those who tried to help the people of the city get back on their feet. A lawyer who had invested much of his money into the downtown Chicago real estate, he'd lost a great deal to the fire. And his one son (he had four daughters) had died about the same time. Still, for two years Spafford--who was a friend of evangelist Dwight Moody--assisted the homeless, impoverished, and grief-stricken ruined by the fire.

After about two years of such work, Spafford and his family decided to take a vacation. They were to go to England to join Moody and Ira Sankey on one of their evangelistic crusades, then travel in Europe. Horatio Spafford was delayed by some business, but sent his family on ahead. He would catch up to them on the other side of the Atlantic.

Their ship, the Ville de Havre, never made it. Off Newfoundland, it collided with an English sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and sank within 20 minutes. Though Horatio's wife, Anna, was able to cling to a piece of floating wreckage (one of only 47 survivors among hundreds), their four daughters--Maggie, Tanetta, Annie, and Bessie--were killed. Horatio received a horrible telegram from his wife, only two words long: "saved alone."

Spafford boarded the next available ship to be near his grieving wife, and the two finally met up with Dwight Moody. "It is well," Spafford told him quietly. "The will of God be done."

Though reports vary as to when he did so, Spafford was led during those days of surely overwhelming grief to pen the words to one of the most beautiful hymns we know, beloved by Christians lowly and great.

------The railroad train on which Mr. and Mrs. Bliss rode to their death left Buffalo, New York, on Friday afternoon, December 29, 1876. At eight o'clock that evening, while approaching Ashtabula station, and crossing a ravine, the bridge gave way, and the train, with its precious freight of human lives, was precipitated to the bottom. Fresh as is the memory of this horror in the minds of all, the newspaper accounts given at the time will be read now with renewed interest, and fittingly form a part of the record made in these pages...When the train fell, Mr. Bliss succeeded in crawling through a window, supposing he could pull his wife and children after him. But they were jammed fast and every effort of his was unavailing. The car was all jammed up, and the lady and her children were caught in the ironwork of the seats. Finding that he could not save them, he staid there with them and died.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Miracle Strip Model Railroad Club in Shalimar, Florida...

Went there for a visit, most likely my last in a long time because of the gas involved. I wanted to get a good batch of pictures and videos to put together a presentation for them that highlighted more of their upgrades and equipment. Found Ray, Bob and a new member working on the yard modules of the club's portable layout. They were upgrading the turnouts from #4s to #6s and reconfiguring the yard throats and roundhouse area.





I have many pictures to post of this visit that I will show in the coming daze including a photo spread of Paul's scratchbuilt circus train and their new engine servicing facilities.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Arnold Rapido N scale NYC Vista Dome coach... the 65' "Shortie" version, a compromise designed for the tight curves of smaller N scale layouts. The NYC never owned vista domes, the tunnels on eastern roads were mostly built in the early to late 1800s, making them too low for over height cars like these. Now that major upgrade work to the tunnels has been done because of the advent of double stack container trains, these could conceivably be run by Amtrak but, I wouldn't hold my breath.


Original ad from 1968...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bowser/Penn Line HO scale 4-6-2 Pennsy K4...

...from about 1963 when Bowser bought out Penn Line. This beast weighs in at 2 1/2 pounds and sports the old fabricated brass frame and Pittman open frame motor. Note that the attention to prototype fidelity wasn't quite as strict back then as it was now---no bottom to the water tank or coal bunker in the tender.

Newcomer FYI---the easiest way to tell a Pennsylvania RR steam locomotive is by the Belpaire firebox, that boxy looking bulge on top of the boiler in front of the cab, it was pretty much exclusive to the PRR.






Still trying to find those blasted marker lights for just above the smoke box...they're around here somewhere I just know it...sigh...

Penn Line ad from Jan. '52 Model Railroader---could you imagine some dandy puffing a pipe in a hobby mag now?

...and another one from the Aug. '75 MR.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Still too busy running them... N scale this time. I'm celebrating 18 months of dust free operation with my cabinet/bookshelf I built for the layout.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Nothing new to post...

...too busy running them...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Psalms 37

(1) ---A Psalm of David.--- Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

(2) For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

(3) Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

(4) Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

(5) Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

(6) And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

(7) Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

(8) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

(9) For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

(10) For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

(11) But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

(12) The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

(13) The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

(14) The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

(15) Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

(16) A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

(17) For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

(18) The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

(19) They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

(20) But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

(21) The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

(22) For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.

(23) The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

(24) Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

(25) I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

(26) He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

(27) Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

(28) For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

(29) The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

(30) The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

(31) The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

(32) The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

(33) The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

(34) Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

(35) I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

(36) Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

(37) Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

(38) But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

(39) But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

(40) And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

MRC Throttle Pack...

..."copperheads" to those of us who've been in the hobby awhile, the older units from the 60s and 70s anyway. MRC has been a trusted source of power for model trains for a long time. When I first got into the hobby, you knew if a fellow modeler in the after school club was serious if you saw one of these peeking out from under their bench work. At 2-4 amperes output, one of these would send those can motored, flywheeled shelf queens from Kato squealing home to mama.


These are mine, they have their original boxes and paperwork and were purchased over the last 3 years as NIB items that were never used. Not bad for being 35-40 years old already, they provide all the power I will ever need.

November 1971 ad from Model Railroader magazine.

April 1978 ad from MR.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Marklin HO scale HR800 4-6-2...

---or---just say yes when someone asks you, "You want this European stuff I got in this box? I'm just gonna toss it."


Marklin 4-6-2

Wrapped in a Sept. '56 newspaper, it ran after a couple of drops of Wahl Clipper oil were put on the commutator and motor bearings. The track was in excellent condition, the lot also included 12 tinplate freight cars and 4 passenger coaches. Even the lights worked after 50 years in storage, a testament to Marklin's workmanship.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Paper steam engine...

Recently I came upon an intriguing hobby, paper card modeling. I've been amazed at what is available out there. I even know of one individual putting together a Union Pacific "Big Boy" kit.

If you want to give it a try, here is a free download of a steam engine that, if properly built, will mimic all the functions of an operating one.



Me? No thanks, I've got plenty to do.