Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Progress. Slow, But None-the-Less Progress

With projects around our new digs, I've spent only a few moments at the workbench with my On30 steam locomotive project. But I have been able to make slow and steady progress on converting a Bachmann 2-8-0 HO scale loco into an cool-looking On30 narrow gauge logging 'woods' engine for my future On30 Blackwater & Mosquito Creek Lumber Company "Swamp Logger" layout.
For a quick run-down of the project so far, please check out my previous blog postings. Here's what's been happening in the past week or so. This, belive it or not (seen above), my friends, is the new "saddle tank" for the new woods steam engine. The discarded piece of PVC pipe was cut just off center with my power miter saw, then cut to length.
In this view, above, 'mounting planks' are cemented to the trimmed pipe. These styrene pieces will help the new saddle tank attach effortlessly to the stripped-down HO scale boiler and serve as front end platforms for the engine's walkways, as seen in the photo below.

The tank sits on the boiler on the HO walkways which were left on the model (not seen in this view) and just clears the smokestack opening. You can see I have cut piece of flat styrene to fit as the front section of the tank. I have since trimmed and sanded this to match the curvature of the tank. Here's how it will look on the locomotive boiler, below.
The running gear and motor housing just squeezes, and I mean SQUEEZES, up into the boiler with nearly zero-clearance. So, it will be interesting to route the headlight wires to the front of the smoke box! I will next test fit the steam and sand domes to the top of the tank. I am still trying to decide if I will use the small HO scale ones I pulled of the boiler or make something from the scrap pile. I will use a section of the same PVC pipe with sandpaper attached, to form the proper curve to the bottom mounting areas. OK, I know, I could have shelled out $20 and bought them in 1/4-inch scale, but what fun is that?

I also need to fashion and new exhaust stack and mount a smoke arrestor on top. I'm eyeing an old plastic ink pen on my work table that seems to have just the right taper and diameter to it. Hmmmm.
The new cab will mount to the rear of the new saddle tank and extend towards to back of the engine with the cab roof overlapping the tender slightly.

The O scale rivet decals I ordered from Micro Mark arrived today in the mail. I can't wait to see how these look on the new saddle tank and the tender. So - as I wait for the UPS guy to bring me the other O-scale detail parts I ordered, like the bell, handrail stanchions, headlight, etc. - if you don't mind, I have a cab to scratch build!

Comments are always welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog posts!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back To Scratchbuilding, For A Moment

(Announcer) "When we last left our newly moved model railroader, (me) his layout was in sections piled-up in his new, smaller basement and the pre-snow-outside house -projects "Honey-Do"list was growing by the minute...."

Well. I'm happy to report the outside projects are done, so let the snow far the weather has been sunny and cool - go figure! The inside projects list is getting addressed with caulk, Spackle and paint. In the spare moments of the day (ha) I have had a chance to work on my On30 2-8-0 logging locomotive conversion from HO scale. (See previous posts for background info.) I have had the forethought to actually document the process with photos so if I ever get around to putting together another "how-to" article for a modeling magazine, I'll have the "beginning construction" shots done.
To update the project, I have completed the locomotive's tender to the point of doing final gap-filling, detailing, testing the DCC and finally painting. I started by building an extended frame around and over the HO locomotive tender chassis using styrene strips, so the new 1/4-inch-scale width tender frame measured-out to about 7.5 feet. I'm still toying with the idea of replacing the small HO trucks with a set of On30 trucks and then somehow adapting them to pickup power from the rails like the HO ones do. In the meantime, the HO scale trucks will do just fine.
With razor saw in hand, the tender body was cut in half and all the un-needed plastic was cut, filed and sanded away. I cemented the sides to the new extended frame. The "stock" loco's wiring and DCC plug-in can be seen as well. Now, the fill in the gaps.
Above you can see a filler section bridging the gap between to two original rear tender sides. I also cut and added sand bins from an old Shay tender to this section to add interest and take the eye away from the gap. I did the same gap filling in front, but with more pieces to create a "walkway" over the mini plug that connects the loco wiring to the tender. (See other photo below) Once this stage in the construction was done, I tested the DCC and sound components into the enlarged tender body to see how everything would fit.
In the background of the above picture, you can see the tender's top deck section. This was built to be removable to access the DCC system. I cut a section of the old HO tender's top and water hatch and glued that to the new tender deck, as well as adding a fuel oil hatch. I want to get some of those Micro-Mark rivet decals to add details to the new tender and locomotive. Has anyone used them yet?
I'm going to have to mount a coupler pocket to the rear, but I guess I'll wait on that until I decide on the taller On30 trucks or not. The tender will get an operating rear headlight, as well as coupler lift bars, grab irons, steps and all the other detail goodies to bring it to life.
This tender has given me an opportunity to get my feet wet in the new scratch building project. Now onto the actual locomotive with the saddle tank, new cab, walkways and all the other doo-dads. I guess that means a trip to the on-line hobby shop!