Progress Report – 6 Oct 2019

Time for another progress report. Lots of random things have been worked on since the last update.

I’ve been adding more details to Lutgens Creek and here is a photo where I am test fitting the bridges and bridge shoes.

Lutgens Creek
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Turnout Control – Sorted!

I’ve been mulling over the issue of how to throw the turnouts on my layout for a while now.

I bought a BullFrog controller a while back to test but I was disappointed because it wasn’t working very well.

BullFrog turnout control.

It appears that my hand-built turnouts are a little more springy than most commercial ones and the throw wire that comes with the BullFrog wasn’t fully throwing the turnout.

I did some research and looked at the Caboose Industries ground throws but they are pretty large and the ones with electrical contacts for powering the frog are even larger.

I also considered the Bitter Creek ground throws which are smaller than the Caboose Industries models, but they don’t have any power routing at all.

I didn’t really want ground throws at all because I don’t really have enough room for them and most of the switches are at the back of the layout and I’d have to reach over all the buildings to throw them.

So I pondered some more and realized that I could probably just add some stiffer wire to the BullFrog and make it work.

I measured the stock wire and it’s .035″ diameter. I stopped at the hobby store and picked up some .047″ and .055″ wire to try out. Those were the next two larger sizes they stocked.

I bent up a piece of the .047″ wire and cleared out the holes on the BullFrog and turnout throwbar to suit. I installed the BullFrog and now I had a different problem! The .047″ wire was too stiff and I could barely get the BullFrog to make a full throw. On the other hand, it was fully closing the points in both directions, so progress!

I’ve ordered some .039″ and .043″ diameter wire to test out, but based on my current results I’ve gone ahead and ordered another dozen BullFrog controllers.

So that problem is resolved.

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Progress Report – 24 Sept 2019

Time for another update I think. Lots of things in motion again now.

I finally got my backdrops printed correctly. That’s a whole ‘nother story I don’t think I’ll get into. Suffice it to say that I ordered the backdrops in mid-July and finally got the correct ones in mid-September. But they look great.

So, major project one was installing the backdrops. I ordered them without adhesive on them since the pre-stickied ones are pretty much a “one-shot get it right or you’re screwed” kind of deal.

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Building GN PS-1 Box Car No. 21954

This is the second InterMountain kit that I bought the other day. There were not quite as many tiny parts as the last one, but only by a few.

I changed the assembly order a bit so I ended up putting the most fragile parts on last. That seemed to help quite a lot as I only broke one part this time, and that was while I was removing it from the sprue.

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GN 12 Panel 40′ Box Car No. 2531

I went to Scale Model Supplies again the other day (I need to stop doing that) and picked up another couple of box car kits. These two are InterMountain kits and are just as detailed as the Red Caboose kits. Which is not surprising because InterMountain bought Red Caboose a while back.

I didn’t take any assembly photos.

This model is pretty detailed and has plenty of small, fragile parts. I think I broke all the stirrup steps more than once. I’ll be replacing those with some metal ones in the future.

Building it was a little frustrating due to the fragility of some of the parts, but I think I can change the assembly order a bit on the next model to try and prevent some of the breakage.

It did turn out as a pretty nice looking model in the end though.

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Creating and Crossing Lutgens Creek – Part One

As I looked at the bare pink foam base of my layout I decided something was missing.

I needed a creek. And that creek would need a name. I decided to name it after my good friend who passed away about a year ago.

Unfortunately after I decided that I needed a creek I realized that I had three tracks running across it and that there would also need to be a road crossing.

That meant I needed three railroad bridges and a road bridge. And concrete abutments for all of them. And I needed to complete the creek detailing before I could install the bridges and the track.

Whoo boy.

This post will bring us up to date on the progress of this pretty major project. It’s not done, but I decided that I should document the progress to this point.

There are lots of pictures here.

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GN Engine 1246

I bought an old Tenshodo brass model of a GN Consolidation on eBay when I started getting back into model railroading. Back in the 80’s Tenshodo brass models from Japan were really something. I couldn’t really find any current offerings that really matched what the GN Consolidations looked like – mainly because none of them had the distinctive Belpare firebox hump. The Tenshodo model is a pretty good replica and has pretty good detailing. It wasn’t a super-good deal, and it’s not in the Glacier Park paint scheme (that one went for too high of a price) but I can always buy another one later.

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GN Gondola 75846 Build

I hesitate to label this a quick build, because it wasn’t. This drop bottom gondola is the second Red Caboose kit I picked up at Scale Model Supplies. This kit has substantially more details than the flatcar kit does, mainly because you can see the undercarriage on this model.

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Quick Build – GN Flatcar 69007

I swung into Scale Model Supplies today to pick up some misc parts for the steam engine re-motor I’m working on, and while I was there I perused the rolling stock they had. (Always a mistake.)

They had a selection of inexpensive models by Red Caboose that looked pretty highly detailed for the cost, so I picked up a couple of them. One of the models was a USRA 42′ flat car with fish belly sills painted for Great Northern. I’ll have to see if the GN actually had any of these, but I’m not to worried about it.

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GN Engine No. 141

I went to a swap meet in May and one of the few things I bought was a new in box Stewart Hobbies model of GN Engine No. 141.

Engine No. 141 (Prototype photo)
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