Saturday, March 18, 2023

Time Marches On in March

I leave a lot of threads unfinished....and I am now 79 years old so many will probably never get done. 

Just the same I have started two new rolling stock projects without finishing any of the previous projects. 

One project starts to stall and another arrives in the mail...
I have been working this past week on converting an HO Accurail plug door refrigerator car into an fairly accurate PFE R-40-26.  A lot of the time has been building a photo library of prototype R-40-26 cars and digging deep into my copy of Tony Thompson PFE  book along with articles by Ted Culotta and others that have specific information about this class. A recent Hindsight 2020 clinic by Ted that included his etching for correct side ladders for this specific PFE class also spurred my interest.  

Now I am faced with the dilemma of waiting for those etchings to become available  or plowing ahead with a "good enough" model . Thus the stall on one project.  Note that I found the Moloco TRK3 50t Ride Control FB trucks are an excellent match to the prototype trucks shown in prototype photos of the car. I have added Tangent Code 88 wheelsets as shown in the photo.  Kadee #158 couplers (or are they now #178) are also used.  I would have to scratch build a new  underframe to correctly match the prototype but have not yet committed to that level of unseen detail. 
In the mail Friday (3/17/2023) was a throwback kit from LaBelle Woodworks (I can remember LaBelle wood kits from the 1960's) for a 1901 Day Coach that will be added to my little SP Port Costa 1950's layout as the grounded Barney and Smith 1886 SP (Central Pacific) coach that was used  behind the  round house as an  employees locker and wash up facility.  

This is a fine milled wood kit that is going to require me to reach back into my very long ago wood kit building skills (If I ever had them.)  I had originally planned to just splice some old MDC Overton Coaches but would still have had to add vestibules as by the mid- 1880's the SP had moved on to closed platform passenger cars.  I can only imagine that the 19th century long skirts women wore would make it difficult to go between cars on open platforms of moving trains.  Closed vestibules were certainly a marketing advantage in getting ladies to take the train.  Anyway this Labelle kit is now on my workbench along with the 1951 built PFE R-40-26 plug door refrigerator car. At least no trucks or couplers will be required for this car.  

Most of the above is in a post earlier today on MRH as a a What's New on Your Workbench topic under my old English railway modeling forum name  "Autocoach". 

I have found a storage spot for the LaBelle kit in the new 10 drawer/tray rolling stock projects storage cart. 

This is now full of kits except for the top drawer which has the SP 2-8-0 from Bachmann Baldwin 2-8-0 engines and their tenders project. 

My work environment has been upgraded as well. The other new additions to my modeling environment are a new work bench illumination source in the form of a tri light source LED bench lamp which replaces a rather broken down floor lamp on the right of the workbench and a Pine64 Pinecil Smart soldering iron.

I still have to add a rechargeable battery pack for the Pinecil soldering iron which when fully operationable replaces an unmendable 15 year old ISO-TIP iron.  

The moveable parts and supplies storage racks on the far right are a series of 5 wheeled storage carts that I added to my environment after the early 2019 water damage disaster that forced me to build the new Port Costa layout.  There is a lot of scenic construction "stuff" under the layout right now but it was built high enough that each all of the 5 carts can eventually be rolled under the layout. The project storage cart in the photo above will fit under the 3 foot layout fiddle yard extension. Again, scenery construction stuff must be moved to roll it into its intended location. 

Ultimately I plan to extend the un-prototypic lead behind the roundhouse structures above the workbench through a narrow shelf to mount the house wifi routers and making an 90 degree turn onto a pair of 18 inch wide modules topped with a truncated Walnut Creek station diorama.  The modules will be on cart wheels and removable for access to the built in bookshelves drawers and cabinets of my train room. Right now it is all still in the dream stage.  

So much has been inspired by Kevin Phair's English GWR layout "Little Muddle" built in an 8 foot by 8 foot English home 3rd bedroom. Google "Little Muddle Layout" to see what can be done in a tiny layout space.
Something's got to keep me going through my 80's. 

That's all for now folks...