One of the non-layout related projects I have started is a David Provan etched brass kit of a Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes railbus. I had always wanted to have a go at a UK etched kit and an On30 North American outline vehicle gives me something more than a display model. (Or at least to the same extent as the rest of my currently un-layouted On30 rolling stock!)
With the recent acquisition of a resistance soldering unit and an increase in time for model building, I decided to have another go. I got stuck back in during our usual Train Night in Canada video call. It was easy to find the project in progress since it resides in one of my storage boxes. Remembering where I was at and what I had worked out about the pieces on the frets is still in progress. Nevertheless, I did get the next bit on although I used my digital iron since the joint wasn’t amenable to soldering tweezers and I haven’t worked out a satisfactory method of grounding for use with the probe.
The only downside of this sort of project during a video call is that it requires focus. I missed some of what others were showing to the camera. I need a call specific project like applying shingles. The modelling equivalent of knitting as it were.
One of the great things about the model railroading hobby is the many and varied tasks required to execute a model railway. Some modellers end up with a favourite aspect such as building rolling stock, or structures but for a complete railway, somebody had to do all the jobs even if it is some unknown person in a factory on the far side of the world. Even then, there are many basic skills to be aquired.
My skill development in the hobby has been uneven due to some of that factory based help. I find myself able to hand lay track to finescale standards, build fancy benchwork, the odd craftsman kit, wire it all up and so on but I have never replaced, installed nor assembled a coupler. I don’t think I have been unconsciously avoiding this potentially character building task but who knows.
With the companionable support of our Saturday night video get together, I set out to remedy this lack. My initial solo operating session pointed out a number of things to address, two of which are coupler related. I figured there was no time like the present while I had a head of steam going. Soon I was searching the show floor for tiny little springs like a seasoned pro. (That would be the character building part of the deal)
The SW-8’s Atlas O couplers are much too stiff for my liking and are hard to get loose from the Kadees on the three cars I have on the layout. I suspect that the springing specs are aimed at 3 rail operation. The photo shows the bottom of the loco after I have got the old couplers off. This was a learning opportunity in itself! I tapped the holes for the 2-56 machine screws prescribed for holding on the Kadees and then realized my only screws on hand are too long at 1/2″ for the loco. Box cars can take any length of screw but the end platforms on a loco not so much. Order placed!
The other coupler related issue is that there are only three cars on the layout. I have an assortment of Ow5 cars and kits on the project shelf that will remedy this to some extent. I identified the car I had appropriate trucks on hand for and installed new couplers and replaced the trucks. So now there are four cars on the layout to knock about once I get the new couplers on the loco.
We now have a series of virtual gatherings scheduled and seven of us gathered on Zoom to catch up, model, have a drink and generally socialize. I think we successfully managed to combine mutual support and encouragement. Having a scheduled time designated for this helps give one the emotional permission to take a break.
Prior to the actual video call, I did some tidying up around the shop. I have two workbenches and neither one is suited to current needs. Unburying them is a necessary first step to moving them out/on and clearing space for the replacement.
During the call, I worked on my Waterfront Willy’s kit. By end of the night, I had the sub=roofs on, the dormers on, and the walkway planking stained and stuck on. I even remembered to install the laser cut rafter ends before glueing the roof down. It was a near thing, though.
I have some ancient Campbell shingles somewhere in the stash. I need to find them or make some substitutes. This being the only HO scale structure I am likely to build in the near future, it would be great to use the pre-made ones up.