Friday, December 29, 2017

LEGO block HVAC units

These rooftop HVAC units are mat board pieces glued around LEGO blocks. The blocks are upside down, so their nubs form feet for them to stand up off the roof a bit. The other vent units seen are caps from computer cables, and some keycaps from a dead laptop kepboard.

Easy LEGO block sheds

This article describes how to make sheds and small utility buildings using a core of Lego blocks.

Parts required:
  • Legos, 2x2 used here (has 4 nubs).
  • Mat board scraps from a framing shop
  • Hot glue gun
  • Black cloth tape (friction tape or gaffer's tape)
  • Acrylic paints in desired colors
Legos are glued together to make a core. A basic 2x2 Lego is 4.5 feet square (HO) or 8 feet square (N). For these HO sheds we will combine four to make a 9' x 9' shed, and two to make a 9' x 4.5' shed. Sides and roof are cut from mat board scraps. Window openings are cut out.

Sides are hot-glued onto the Lego core, then additional pieces added behind the window openings. Black "panes" are inked in. Doors are glued on the outside. Glue on the roof and apply black cloth tape for texture.

Stack some more Legos and snap into the bottom to make a temporary painting handle.

Grey acrylic paint is applied unevenly to the roof to simulate weathering.

On larger buildings, use Legos to keep the corners square and to provide a gluing surface.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

What to do with brass track?

Everyone has some old brass track around, and it is just plain awful to use. Brass oxidizes, and the oxidation is non-conductive, so you have to continually clean it to get power to your locos. Nickel-silver track oxidizes, too; but the oxidation is conductive - so you don't have to do anything to it!

But what to do with the old brass stuff? Here's a way to use up your brass track. This line with the hoppers on it is brass - and it is a fake line, it just runs between two fake tunnel portals on the layout. It doesn't connect to anything, and it is not powered. My backstory is that is was abandoned when the tunnels were bypassed by that nice nickel-silver line in the foreground. I just stash my seldom-used MoW cars on it.

Monday, December 18, 2017

MEC interchange and caboose

The daily Maine Central /BAR interchange run usually shows up with a nice Tyco caboose bringing up the markers. This is an oldie, from my original train set when I was kid (at that time it was silver and said Southern Pacific); so I put it about 50 years old. So far.

Mini Diner 901

The work crew thought they had died and gone to heaven when this showed up on the work train. This is 901, a shorty diner in a grey/black paint scheme reminiscent of the 20th Century Limited. The Cape Ann needed to replace the worn-out “kitchen car” - a converted boxcar which featured take-out dining (no seating), and came up with this instead. This carries a 900-series road number which indicates non-revenue service, so it won’t appear on regular passenger trains. It will be shared between the MoW work trains and the business train.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Switcher 200 + Slug 701

Cape Ann 200, an EMD SW-1, is the yard switcher assigned to Davis Yard. Here it seen entering the yard from the intermodal terminal, pulling a sting of shipping containers. It used to struggle with long cuts of cars until it got mated to switching slug 701.

200 is an AHM, slug 701 was made by splicing and shortening two AHM GP-18’s (like 714 in the foreground).

Switcher 273, an Alco 1000

Cape Ann 273, an Alco 1000, is seen parked outside the Bolton Shops. It was picked up at auction, non-operational, and was towed to the shop for a spare-time project for the shop crew. They work on it as time permits. Once operational, the plan is to use it as a switcher for the shops, so it is unlikely it will ever get painted in Cape Ann colors. Right now the crew is busy with a UP boxcar that is getting a door repair.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

CP's exploding boxcar

CP 34053 has appeared on the interchange track - and it is a car with a story attached.

There is no car storage on my layout. Every car on the layout is in the process of going somewhere else. Storage is in a rolling wire rack, which represents the world beyond the layout. Cars are selected from the rack by a roll of the dice and come in to the layout on one of the two interchange tracks.

Sometimes the roll of the dice turns up a car with memories. CP 34053 turned up last night. This is a HO scale Lionel exploding boxcar from when I was a kid, probably about 50 years old. It has a mousetrap-like mechanism inside which would explode the boxcar periodically causing great hilarity. (Here also is a pic of a similar car from eBay seller bggameboy showing what is inside).

In the years between childhood and getting married (and a basement) I amused myself by making structures and cars for the future layout. At some point I disabled the mechanism inside this car, glued it shut, and repainted for CP Rail.

There are a number of cars from my original train set still in revenue service on the layout.

Tyco CP Rail boxcar reworked

A heavily reworked Tyco CP Rail boxcar shows up on the empty track at Kenton Yard. The multimark logo has been corrected (colors were reversed) and moved to the end of the car. The road number and reporting marks have been rearranged (would have been obscured by an open door). These issues were caused by Tyco opting to center a print pad intended for a 40’ car on a 50’ car, rather than make a new one.



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

$1 Lumber truck

Saw a cute "glass truck" at Dollar General - Matchbox brand - for $1. A little disassembly, a new deck made of styrene, and the lumber yard has a new delivery truck. 

Out of the box truck. 

Drill out 2 rivets to separate the parts. The blue piece was cut in half, keeping the cab half and discarding the "glass panes". The rack was discarded.

Stripped down truck. A U-shaped deck was cut from styrene and glued in place around the center spine.

The lumber load is stacked over the center spine to conceal it.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Night shot with Sepia

This pic was an experiment. I wanted to create a more dramatic night shot, so was going to try converting my color pic to black and white. However, the simple editing software I was using did not offer that as an option, but it did offer "sepia". I think it came out pretty well!