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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Back again for the winter!

I have to say, it's been a busy summer!  So busy, I've neglected this blog completely.  But, thankfully, the season for playing outside is over and with the (now Montana) snows approaching in the next month or two, it's time to sit down and do some projects!  Not only that, since I'm taking a break from college, I have time on my hands to do some real modeling instead of this speculative stuff I've been writing for over two years.  And finally, now that I have a job (one that pays well enough I have a small bit of money left over if I budget tightly) I'm able to pursue some projects that have been in my head over the last two years.

Thus far I am in the middle of my 2nd N scale layout, the 1x4 footer meant for train shows.  I've got some basic, very basic, scenery in place and it's ready for track, structures, power, trees, and details.  So all of that is to come this winter.

That is really the only project I've started that I haven't finished this year, but I have a few in mind that I want to get working on and be done with before spring 2016.

  • Remote Control.  Yes, after weighing my options, I'd gladly give up sound and convienient (run when I want) for battery power and remote control.  While I don't have to skip DCC or sound completely, a basic system is what I'm aiming for, and Deltang fits the bill quite well.  Therefore, and locomotive projects (which there are in the works inside my head) will have RC installations.
  • A McKeen car in HO scale.  To start off my scratchbuilding/kitbashing/RC battery power adventure, it's only natural that I start with a simple, relatively cheap, project such as a Mckeen car (more on this later in the post).
  • MRL Engine's 402-403 (or 405-404) in HO scale  These are a couple of GP units that I want to model which I see daily making the rounds around Bozeman and Livingston.  Montana Rail Link owns these locomotives and their used for the local freight.  Of course, I'll have to track down two GP-35's or something similar and I want to convert to Remote Control.  Depending on the design inside each unit, I may pull out the motor in one and reduce the weighted frame toe minimum and use that locomotive as a battery car (also giving me a long battery life)  Both locomotives, as far as I've seen, have never been separated on the main, so running them as a pair is an option.  Otherwise, both units will be powered and have a battery in each (although both will be controlled by one reciever/ESC ).
  • Weathering a small fleet of HO scale cars.  I've found a local club that models in HO scale, hence the sudden interest in that 'boring' scale, which means that if I want to do some real running on a large layout, I'll need to dive into HO scale again.  Weathering and realism practice will be great in this scale and something I can apply to O scale moving forward.
But anyways, time to take a quick look at my next project.  Combining the first two points listed above, I want to scratch build/kit bash a Mckeen car in HO scale.  There are a couple of problems though:

  1. Real Mckeen cars had one 42 inch wheel that was powered, followed by a 33 inch wheel to help support the weight of the motor.  The trailing axles also had 33 inch wheels and used a modified passenger car truck to support the rear of the unit.  All in all, the frame of a McKeen car as a model would be a hodgepodge, so I'll have to make some sacrifices and use a standard frame and motor set up, for reliability's sake.
  2. The roof curves in two different directions (front to back and left to right) which is very hard to reproduce in model form.  Besides that, the damn thing is pointed on one end and curved on the other, so.... I'll have to work that out.
  3. Porthole windows.  These, of course, will need to be made by hand and somehow framed inside and out.  Again, this needs to be worked out.
As projects go, this list is pretty short so it's still worth trying out, even if all I end up doing is making a deformed doodlebug.  And yes, this project will use battery power, RC control.  perhaps mounting the battery in the center of the car, using a worm drive, vertical mounted electric motor, and keeping the passenger bay open?

Well, if you want to know more about Mckeen cars, here's a few links:


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