Hiatus my arse… (or, the train wreck)

A pic of a train wreck goes here  Wow, that’s all I can say.  My last post on this blog was Dec 5th, 2011.  In that time, the layout became a true train wreck <sigh>.  I had to google some results for that span of time.  Here are the results;


The total number of days between Monday, December 5th, 2011 and Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 is 918 days.

This is equal to exactly 2 years, 6 months, and 5 days.
918 days is equal to 131 weeks and 1 day.
The total time span from 2011-12-05 to 2014-06-10 is 22,032 hours.
This is equivalent to 1,321,920 minutes.
You can also convert 918 days to 79,315,200 seconds.
Today is 6/10/2014 and 12/5/2011 is exactly 918 days before today.

Holy merde!!  over 1.3 million minutes.  And can you guess how much work got done on the layout?  Exactly none.  That is sad.  I have no defense.  I will say that I am on it again!

After a trip to Denver (and other places) to see Caboose Hobbies again, and my FLHS (Wig-Wag), I am re-energized.  I am ready to make a ton of mistakes and learn from them, hopefully.  I am busily sketching out new track plans, to go with the yard I already have soldered together.  This is gonna be fun… again :)

Oh, and the layout room is ship-shape again.  New vanes hung on the door blinds and everything.  Lots of cleaning and organizing done!  Well begun is half done!

Much better!

Bridge, Part II

Got the paint booth and airbrush all set up to make the bridge a bit more presentable.  Again, I can recommend this kit without hesitation.  It looks GREAT painted.  Cant wait to get the weathering on!

Even though my picture taking leaves alot to be desired, you can take my word for it, the detail in this kit really pops when you paint it.  It looks just great.  When the weathering is done I’m sure it will be top notch!

Details really pop with the paint... even my crappy work :)

Central Valley Model Works Bridge – fun kit!!

Plans are drawn and winter is here.   Its time to get to the train room and get to work.  That means doing something.  Didn’t feel well enough to tackle trackwork today, so I got started on the Central Valley Model Works bridge kit.  What a hoot that was to build.  It’s not the easiest, and the information from the N-Scale Railroading article (Mar/Apr 2010 Issue) helps a lot, but it’s not impossible without the article.

CVMW Truss Bridge

CVMW Truss Bridge

When done, you have a GREAT looking bridge that is very prototypical, at least from what I have seen.  I have not glued the ties/tracks down yet, because I still need to paint it, but it looks great right now.  It really makes me want to get to painting and weathering it.  I’ll add more later as I paint and finish it.  This kit is a total winner!!



Sorry for the lack of postings.  Alot of things have come up recently, not the least of which is a great friend and comrade of many years having bad cancer and the death of our long time pet, Chuikov.  I’ll be back to it very soon!

Accutrack Speedometer – Very Cool!

So, I have been looking for a good N-Scale speedometer for quite a while.  I finally resolved myself to building one from an Arduino that I have here and made that work.  It was not great and the time involved with using it was so much so that it made me not want to do it.  Well, least weekend the wife and I trundled off to Denver for a quick vacation (On the way home we did the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad ride!).  While in Denver, any serious model railroader has to go to mecca, AKA Caboose Hobbies.  This is the hobby stores that I use to measure all others.

Anyhow, they had this thing on the shelf called the Accutrack Speedometer for HO and N scale trains.  at $73.00 it’s not cheap, but the box made me want to have it, and when I asked about it, the guys at the store were all very convincing.  So, I grabbed it.

All I can say is – BRILLIANT!  It works perfectly.  I verified it’s readings against my manual system (Stopwatch and distance) and it was dead on.  I am very impressed with this box!  The unit is self contained and is set over the top of you track anywhere you like.  Locos run through the “tunnel” (if you will) and break 2 sets of IR detectors.  The first starts the timer and the second finishes it all.  The display reads out in xx.x format up to 10 mph then it reads xxx up through 999Mph… (really?)

The portability is a huge plus, you can use it on any layout or test track you want.  The applications for a good speedometer are huge.  Speed matching DCC locomotives, setting scale MPH markers on your handheld throttles or just showing people that they’re going un-prototypically fast!

In short order I was able to speed match 3 locomotives and more accurately than ever before.  I put all three on the track, set them for mid throttle (scale 40mph) and they ran flawlessly.  After a tiny tweak on one of them, they all ran great without gaining or losing on each other.  Now, I can speed match all my locos!  happy happy joy joy.

So, the combination of the Accutrack and the JMRI software is a bang-on home run!