Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Upgraded my Mike

One of my best-running steamers has always been my L1 2-8-2. It's a Kato mechanism with a GHQ pewter shell. Unfortunately one of its few shortcomings was pulling power. Even with the heavy pewter shell, 13 cars was all I could ever get this thing to pull up the 2% grades on my layout. Thankfully Kato made a replacement driver set with traction tires. I purchased one of eBay and installed it tonight. Now the locomotive can easily pull 18 cars. installation was dead simple. All I had to do was remove the bottom plate, remove one drive axle and install the replacement.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Times, they are a changin'

Wow, more than a month since my last post. I suppose you're wondering where I've been all this time. Well, I haven't had much time for the layout as of late. For one thing, it's finally summer in my neck of the woods and whatever spare time I have, I prefer to spend outside. On top of that, school was particularly hard this semester and I was a bit overloaded with final exams and course work.

But the biggest reason for my lack of layout activity is my wife and I welcomed our first child in late March.

Me and our family's newest addition. Cuteness factor off the scales.
So, with a new baby, my time for the layout has been virtually non-existent. I've been lucky to run the trains a handful of times since we got home from the hospital. Not that I'm complaining mind you. I love my little guy and treasure every minute I get to spend with him.

Now, I did manage to get some work done on the layout just before the little guy arrived. First and foremost, I did a whole bunch of work at the Altoona shop complex.

First and foremost, I laid the track down to the backshop. The track is a mixture of Peco C55 and Atlas C80. The code 80 was used for the track embedded in pavement and for the turnouts. I don't intend to actually run anything on that track so I didn't have to be as careful laying it.

The next thing I did was mask out the roads with Woodland Scenics paving tape and set about paving them with plaster of Paris. I have to tell you, embedding track in pavement is a pain in the ass to put it mildly. I painted the roads black and the area around the backshop with Woodland Scenics concrete pigment.

I used WS "fine cinders" ballast as a ground cover around the shop area. Between the shop and the main line, I used some WS fine turf. This time however, I used burnt grass as the primary color with green patches to give the area an industrial look.

Just after the baby arrived, I finally got my Broadway Limited DC Master control box and only five months after the originally-scheduled delivery date! I origionally pre-ordered this because it would allow me to make use of the sound effects on the BLI M1a I pre-ordered back in April of 2014. It's a bit of a moot point now that I have the MRC Tech 6, which will allow me to run the engine on DCC. Now if BLI would just get off their duffs and make the engine, which is now going to be at least eight months past its original delivery date. Seriusly, I wonder if BLI is run by Orren Boyle.   They aught to change their name to Associated Models (if you don't know why that's funny, read Atlas Shrugged).