I don’t have a huge update this week, it’s been rough recovering from the polar vortex that hit the Midwest a few weeks back, and winter isn’t over.
However, some progress has been made, however small, on multiple projects.
The benchwork moved from the garage into the house in the last week. Benchwork? Well, yes! I had purchased benchwork pieces from modelrailraodbenchwork.com last year to replace the things that were torn down when my supreme failure happened and I cut up the last layout attempt. One of the reasons the new plans are 11’ long is that the benchwork sections that I have will make an 11’x2’ layout in a 5’ and 6’ piece to fit in storage. It’s going to take a bit before it’s possible to work on adjusting things, and I need to get some plywood again to finish things out, but test-fitting things into the closet proved that the storage idea will work.
A test for a narrow gauge hopper arrived this week from Shapeways. The 3D printing technology is an up and coming tool in modeling, and we are starting to see more and more models that are either wholly or partly 3D printed. While I have, as I previously wrote, a pair of injection and brass cars to build for the narrow gauge line, the idea of using 3D printed cars, with their light weight and decent detail, is greatly appealing. I probably won’t need more than 25 total cars on that layout ever, including hoppers, log cars, flats, boxcars, tank cars, and anything else. The light weight of the cars will make it easier for the small locomotives that I want to use to pull trains.
Speaking of pulling trains, after doing some research on couplers in HOn3, I decided that I would try using Kadee #153 “whisker” couplers. Kadee has a narrow and a rounded coupler box that they sell separately. I’ll be experimenting with those boxes. I may also experiment with the Accurail couplers that I moved to for the standard gauge equipment that I’m building.
After long researching DCC systems, I finally narrowed my choices down to two systems and then the decision was made for me as I received a system as a gift. My choices were either Lenz or Digitrax, and the system that I’ll be using is the Digitrax Zeyphr. I’ll add the right components to be able to operate using a throttle on a phone or tablet. One system should be able to handle running both decks of the layout without much challenge as 3 locomotives moving, maybe 4, is a busy time, I got lots of input from friends who deal in DCC that was greatly appreciated.
One thing I’ve learned about modeling recently. I love, really love, building accurate models of prototypes. That’s why the YV, the N&W, and all the freight equipment winds up being heavily researched and detailed as correctly as I possibly can. However, as it gets harder and harder to see to read the lettering on cars, the idea of modeling on a system that has no interchange, that only might need to add a car number, maybe a reporting mark, is really appealing. I can see to do the details better than read the decals and numbers and lettering sometimes, and it’s really refreshing to know that I can complete a project without a vision struggle like that. I’m not saying that the Cincinnati portion of this project, the N&W portion of the project, is going to suffer. I always have found a way. It’s just nice to know I can build things without that ‘stress’ on my eyes.
The weekend ahead here holds some more snow and cold, but we’ll be working on structure assignments to locations, more research, and modeling fun.