Thursday 25 April 2019

Hanging my Shingle......

I've decided to start my own hobby related business. It's called National Scale Car.  The focus of the new company is resin mini kits for prototype modelling, as well as modelling tools that I've created. I hope others will find the tools as useful as I do.

The first mini kit has already been released and up on the website.  The first run just about sold out in less than a week, but there is still a couple of kits left.  

More kits will be up on the site in the coming days.  Additional information can be found on the company website. Our first tool will be released at the same time.

I will be releasing kits and or parts in HO, S and possibly O scale depending on interest.  Some of the kits feature parts designed in CAD and 3D printed.  I will be offering N scaled versions of these through Shapeways.

Monday 2 April 2018

New Layout, New Blog

Well I decided that it was time to start a new blog, for my new Grand Trunk (NEL) layout.

Construction should start this spring.  In the meantime I am still constructing rolling stock and blogging about it there.

I have a visit with the "Model Railroad Enabler" planned for tomorrow to develop a track plan.  I will have to keep my guard up, or I could come away modelling the Yukon railway.  😜

I have copied all the GT relevant posts from this blog to the new one.  I will continue to post here for any non GT related topics.  In peculiar, I am going to blog about getting kids involved in the hobby, as I assist my son in building his first layout.  He and I will be using it a as a test bed for new scenery techniques.

You can find the Grand Trunk blog by clicking on this link.

South Paris Switcher

I have added an email sign up so you can follow along if you want.

Saturday 31 March 2018

Some blog house keeping

Its been 4 years since I started this blog or updated its layout etc.  I felt its time to do a bit of house keeping.  I added a page called First time here and a follow me by email gadget.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Stuff I shouldn't have to do..

I try to buy higher end tools not just because I like using them, but you usually get what you pay for.
I really can't afford to spend over $1500 on a fancy rotary tool such as an NSK electric or similar. So I did what most modellers do and bought a Dremel.

The basic thing any rotary tool should be able to do, is spin true. Well my most recent Dremel purchases, fail in this regard.  I bought one of the new Dremel Micro's a year or so ago and a Dremel 7300 a bit after, because the Micro had terrible run out. The 7300 was better, but still not what I was expecting.

The run out was so bad on the Micro, drilling with it was impossible. (which is what I bought to do)   I ended up leaving a wire brush in it, to clean paint off wheel sets.  The 7300 was better, but still not what I would call acceptable.  One day I got pissed off and took them apart.  The problem was easy to figure out.  Inside the motor shell halves, is a groove for the spindle bearing.  Well the groove  is much bigger than the bearing diameter. The bearing can be moved by hand about 0.010" in its bore in each direction. The pocket is basically 0.020" to big. I fixed it by adding styrene shims to the bearing pocket in the motors shells. The green knife is pointing at one of the shims.

Problem fixed.  I did this to both.  The Micro is still not as good as the 7300, which I account to the the 7300 having a shorter shaft which means less vibration from flex or whatever..

Now why Dremel can't make the bearing bore close to the right size is beyond me. The parts are injection moulded with glass fiber filled thermoplastic.  This process can yield highly accurate parts. So much so, that the bearing pockets shouldn't need 0.020" clearance, may be 0.002 tops..

I broke at least a few $20 drill bits because of this manufacturing issue.

About the chuck and drill bits I use.

I use the Dremel keyless chuck (not shown in the picture), so I can hold 1mm shank Cobalt drill bits from Richards Micro Tool. These are higher end drill bits, much better than any wire drill bit you can get from a hobby supplier. I get mine from McMaster Carr.  Here is a link..

Cobalt Inch Size Drill Bits with 1mm shank

With this combo I can drill hundreds of holes in resin in a fraction of the time I can by hand.

Don't try it on styrene though, the Dremel's lowest RPM is still to fast, to not melt the plastic with a #79 drill.

Friday 26 January 2018

RPO Part 5

Well here it is CN RPO #7810.

I used ScaleCoat CN Olive Green Paint for the body. Tamiya Flat Black for the roof and under frame bits.  The decals are from Microscale, the CNSIG set in particular.

The rivets are a combination of MicroMark and Archer.  There's at least 2500 of them on it!

It sounds like a lot, but it was only three evenings work to put them all on. One evening for the ends and then one for each of the sides, spending about two hours or so per.

The Mail room windows are Tichy Work Car frames, with the sill removed.  Using 0.010" x 0.030" styrene, a frame was added to the top of the outer portion to make these into single hung windows.  The Tichy muttons were not used. Clear styrene representing glass, was slid between the new upper framing and the rabbet in the Tichy window frame.  It would normally receive the muttons.

The Bars are brass wire held in some styrene blocks that I milled grooves into. The grooves space them correctly. The assemblies are then simply glued to the inside of the car.  The mail room windows, got a coat Testors Dullcoat to frost them.

The roof is held on with magnets, a method I will be using again.

I am very happy with how this car came out. It's the first passenger car I have modelled and I can't wait to get started on some more.  It really pushed my modelling skills up a notch. Here is my lessons learned.

Being a more complex build, it forced me to slow down and put more into the planning before each step was taken. 

At a minimum I have new found skills in working with styrene and decal rivets.  I also have a better understanding of passenger car details, and figured out a method to reproduce roof panel lines.  

All of these new skills will make tackling other projects easier while resetting the bar for what I can achieve.  

I even spent some time figuring out the white balance settings on my camera, so I can take better pictures.  Hopefully this has removed a road block, in me submitting a magazine article in the future.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

RPO Part 4


The Branchline under frame is designed to work with the kit supplied 3 axle trucks.  ACF built these RPO cars with short wheel base, 2 axle trucks.  The Walters 8'6" passenger car truck was selected as the closest to the prototype.  In order to mount these trucks, the under frame was modified in the following manner.

1. Mill off the bolster even with the surounding material.

2. Install a block of styrene for the truck to rest on, that provides for the correct coupler height.

3. Drill the truck mounting screw on center and the correct distance from the car end.  To ensure the screw is centered, I coloured the block with some pencil graphite and then used my dividers to scribe two arcs using the moulded holes near the end of the car, on either side of the coupler.

4. The smaller piece of styrene helps to keep the Branchline swinging coupler box wiskers,  flat against the under frame, improving the coupler mounting box angle.

5. The openings were filled with sheet styrene from the inside.

The trucks were modified by adding a small washer to fill in the large hole to size it for a 2-56 screw.  These were glued using ACC.

 The underframe was detailed the best I could figure from my reference photos and a photo supplied by one of the blogs readers, of his Bethlehem Car Works kit of this car.

 The Sill steps were formed from Details Associates flat stock in a simple wood jig and soldered together.

 The roof was sanded of all detail including the panel lines, as they were in the wrong location for this car.  The panel lines were recreated, by first priming the roof, then masking off the half of the panels, followed by adding 4 more coats of primer.  The masking tape was removed shortly after the last coat, while the paint was still soft, so that it would not chip.

The roof was detailed with Custom Finishing Vents, brass bar stock for the drip rails above the doors and a brass wire with mounts for the Gas Lighting Pipe.

In the next installment I will show the final car so Stay tuned.....

Saturday 23 December 2017

RPO Part 3

These CN RPO's feature an Arch Style roof with rounded ends.  An Athearn 70' Round Roof Coach was sacrificed to provide the roof.

First the roof was separated just below the upper rivet strip using a large razor Saw.

Next I scraped and sanded the roof even with the rivet strip.

It was determined that this point the roof was too wide to mate with the RPO body.  I calculated the point at which the roof narrows along the arch profile where it would be the correct width.  I used my height gage and scribed a line around the roof at this point.

Then I used a small modelling plane and my plexiglass mounted sandpaper to remove this material.

I now had an Arch roof of the correct profile and width to match the car.

The forth step was to shorten the roof to the correct length.  A razor saw and miter box were used to cut out a section from the middle of the roof.  I then used my milling machine to end mill the roof sections to the correct length to match the RPO body.   These were glued together using Testor's model cement, as it has a slow cure time compared to MEK.  I used my machined gluing jig to keep things lined up.

The final step was to reinforce the joint from the inside with some sheet styrene.

Next steps will be to detail the roof correct for the 7810-7812 series RPOs.