Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Going away for some much needed R&R... can figure out what I'll be doing part of the time...


Sunday, August 28, 2011


For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.---(Hebrews 4:12-13)

***People are disturbed and troubled by the real Gospel: under the false gospel they can sleep unto destruction. Bring out the Sword: it is meant to wound; let it exercise its salutary sharpness. The Gospel has two edges so that none may play with it.

When they think to run their fingers along the back of it, they will find themselves cut to the bone. Whether we regard its threats or promises it cuts at sin. Let us therefore know that the power of the Church does not lie anywhere but in the Word as Jesus Himself speaks it.
---Charles Spurgeon

***With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, “Be still, and know that I am God,” mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper in this middle period of the twentieth century.

This loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.
---A.W. Tozer

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mantua hook/loop couplers...

...pretty much an HO industry standard until the introduction of horn/hooks...look carefully at pictures in any pre '65 or so model mag and you'll see that many folks used them....



You opened them by pushing these uncoupling pins up from underneath with a ramp or a tool called a "spoon"...

This box I purchased at last week's train show was pristine from one end to the other, the metal looks brand new. It's bare zinc, as I prefer it over other peoples paint jobs when I buy old school stuff like this, so I can show newcomers their hobby's roots.

Note that this Mantua 0-4-0 Booster has 2 wheel pick up---2 WHEELS...the other two being nylon. You had to be pretty faithful to the hobby to keep with it as balky as this thing had to be on that old school brass track...note the solid metal saddletanks to aid in power pickup. Even then, there was no way it could make it through Atlas Tru-Track with its plastic switch soon as one wheel touched, the current flow would stop immediately.


The full valve gear would have been purchased as an aftermarket item I knew about but, until now, had never seen an original one, though there have been plenty of copies made by a variety of manufacturers since.


Aurora Plastics, November 1961...

Photobucket just don't see this kind of "Rah-rah" advertising anymore, no matter how self-serving it may be.

The Great Train Show...

...came to town last weekend. Looking to move into another market, it was important to attend if for no other reason than to show the organizers that there was a market to cater to. I bought a couple of trinkets...

Photobucket HO scale AHM/Rivarossi 2-8-4 Nickel Plate Road "Berkshire", in excellent condition...and...


...this nice vintage lot containing a 1953 Mantua 0-4-0 Booster, two assembled Mantua flat cars and a 4 wheeled bobber from 1960-62, as well as an Ulrich two bay hopper from 1959. Note that they have the older Mantua hook/loop couplers that were pretty common at around that time, and that the bare zinc metal and brass looks like it hasn't seen air for most of their 50+ years of life.

I'll give more detail reviews of each as time goes on...right now, I'm enjoying a slow day at the house.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's only a little sin....


And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.---(Genesis 19:17-20)

Read the whole story, it does not go well for Lot, ending up with an incestuous relationship with his daughters that birthed the fathers of Israel's enemies to this day...

Why do I point that out?

LSU fans were looking forward to a great season. Traditionally, 2 weeks before the first game of the season, our football team breaks curfew and gets stupid 'til about midnight. They get caught, they run laps, boys will be boys...right? This year has it running 'til the wee hours of the morning and ending up with four players in a fight and in trouble with the law. Now two are out on bail, arrested for felony battery. If convicted, their football careers, their free rides through college are gone...done finished, period, the end.

Their lawyer is already feeding the classic line..."(The police) ruined the kids' careers."

Male bovine effluvium...

A conscious decision on their parts---a wrong one---snowballed, leading to other conscious decisions on their parts that led to the final decisions that ruined their lives...period. This is yet another classic example of "The Garden Syndrome"...Adam busily blaming God for the woman He gave him, whilst Eve blames a's always someone else's fault, never mine. Go ahead and plan on standing before the Great White Throne on that one...

Your sin ripples through life and eternity like a stone tossed in a pond, ever spreading out and affecting anyone and everyone around you. Picture it this way...two boneheads won't yield on the Interstate, ending up in a fender bender that ties up traffic for miles. Before God, they are accountable for all the gas, all the lost wages, all the business expenses, all the wear on the vehicles, all the cost of clearing the road and posting law enforcement, all the resulting road rage, all the missed appointments, all the grief that anger generated from this event inflicts on the lives of others, all the pollutants, all the lost commerce...shall I go on?

Whatever it is, get it you find out how you look in a tangerine jumpsuit...and ultimately, whether Hell is real or a Victorian concept created to keep the masses under control---a place you could have avoided, if you had repented of...

...those little sins.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

James 1:12-26

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Train show today...

...then a visit to shirt tail kin, I'm done...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mantua HO scale CM&PS RR. 2-6-2 Prairie...

A recent pick from Yahoo's HO YARD SALE forum, it was found to have bent rods on one side, explaining why the original owner couldn't get it running, and its exceptional price tag...


Compare this to their 0-4-0 Shifter and their 0-6-0 Big Six and it's easy to see that Mantua got a lot of miles out of one boiler casting.

Once I straightened the rods out, it ran fine but was found to have an arcing issue between the tender sideframes and the steel axles of the wheelsets. It would generate enough heat to make the sideframes too hot to touch, very disconcerting... Consulting other owners I soon found that it was a rather common problem with older Mantuas, and that the fixes were as numerous as the owners.

The one I settled on is a variation of one offered by a friend, that is, use the truck wipers off of a TYCO searchlight car and mount them to the trucks on the tender. Since both of my searchlight cars are mint examples, I opted for modifying a pair of wipers found in my scrap box...


It works quite well, the arcing is gone as well as the alarming heat and now I have yet another nice running old school steam model from yesteryear.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1Kings 19:1-18

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.

And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.

And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave.

And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

...our sorrows often arise from our not observing the Holy Spirit. He is in us, and he shall be with us for ever. We are troubled about the little progress of the kingdom of God in the world, but if we believe in the Holy Ghost we shall soon get our courage back again.

There is no reason why the simplest sermon, preached in the humblest place, should not at any time be the commencement of a great revival. There is no reason known to us why the simple preaching of Jesus Christ, on any one Sabbath day, should not prove to be the conversion of all the hearers, and, through the hearers, very speedily of an entire nation. We do not know as yet — we have none of us, probably, any notion of — the great power of the Spirit of God.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "A Welcome Discovery".

Saturday, August 13, 2011

1:64 scale Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. remote control NASCAR racers...

...produced by Motorworks about 5 years ago. Picked up at a yard sale in like new condition---Sr's car was not even opened---they have excellent detail and very good paint, my son and I will be road testing them tonight.

They steer much like a real car, with both front wheels turning on their own steering points, the front end being fully simply amazes me how far rechargeable battery and micro-motor technology (the top picture being fairly close to actual size) have come in just the last 7 years....



UPDATE: The battery in Jr's car is toasted, leaving me free to experiment with it for future rail models, unless I find a source for replacement batteries.

The mechanism for steering is quite ingenious, using a rare earth magnet on the tie rod that is drawn to either side by small electromagnets.


Lindberg HO scale EMD SW 600 ad, 1962....


Friday, August 12, 2011

Model railroading cartoons....

...have never been the best out there. For the most part, they just plain stink. They can be very sexist in a pre-PC ugly manner. They can be remarkably cruel...I think of the "Thumbz" series of cartoons in the NMRA Bulletin and how callous the other members of the portrayed club were in dealing with an inexperienced klutz. They tend to put the husbands and wives at extreme odds with each other, with lying and exchanges of sharp barbs. In short, they rarely are funny and, more often than not, if the editorial staff were thinking them through, would never see the light of day in a publication of any kind.

But every so often, someone gets it right, nobody is demeaned and it can even be understood by someone not in the hobby...Model Railroader magazine, April '62...


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Isaiah 1:9-20

Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Walther's HO scale Impact Test Car #933-6892...

Though you wouldn't know it from how often my Blackberry has been going off, I've been on vacation the last 3 daze. Spent some time fixing this old kit from the 70s, upgrading the wheelsets and trucks and adding an onboard button cell battery power source rather than relying on track pickup. I repaired the missing corner steps and touched up all the paint with a 1 to 6 mix of Humbrol Matt 60 and 154, an almost perfect match.

I installed a flasher circuit that has a 15 second timer on it as well, the problem with the original being that the penalty flash was momentary most times. This one will flash long enough to see that the bad operator move can be noted without a doubt as to what happened.



The basic car is an Athearn bulkhead flat painted especially for Walther's. I'm not concerned that I've "ruint a classic", it was a bit rough when I got it, so I felt free to do as I pleased with it while retaining the original spirit of the car.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

HO scale Pocher Lincoln funeral car...


One of the few truly rare pieces of plastic rolling stock in HO scale, it was offered for a short time back in the late 1960s in two variants, this one with separate castings for the roof vents and another with the vents cast in. Mine has had its smoke stacks replaced and the railings have some damage but it is in pretty fair condition, fulfilling a lifelong desire to own one. There's a definite "man cave" appeal to the idea of articulated trucks on a private car...

It's fascinating to note that the real one, built in 1864 for President Lincoln, was never ridden by him until his death, many at the time believing he thought it too pretentious for someone with his simple beginnings. The car, named the "United States", was built to ride both the Northern 4' 8 1/2" gauge and the Southern 5' gauge. It was fitted more like an office with no kitchen or sleeping area and was not suited for long distance travel.

Shortly after the funeral, it was sold to the Union Pacific RR. for about $8,000. 8 years later it was sold to the Colorado Central for $3,000 and used as a day coach. It slowly was downgraded to a work car until the 1890s, when it changed hands several times, finally ending up in the care of former SOO Line president, Thomas Lowery, who restored it to its former glory. In 1911, a nearby Minnesota grass fire burned it to the ground. I know of no items left from it on display anywhere.

As venerated as he was at the time, you'd of thought better care would have been taken to preserve it.