Workshop and Model Builds Update

It’s been a while since my last post.  Almost a year on from changing scale, I ran out of steam suddenly and got bogged down by a few projects.   I’ve been working on an ATSF Bx2 boxcar, and the end ladders have given me no end of grief.  There isn’t a casting or kit available, and I’ve been learning to assemble Chooch ladders by failing and breaking at least 4 sets, but I think I now have a way to adjust to this so we’ll see when the car comes out again.  

ATSF Bx2 with brake detail in place and grab irons finished. (Car from Rails Unlimited)

The other task bogging me down is finishing a pair of really finicky tank car rebuilds.  These cars started last San Juan cars that were stripped of details and had everything replaced.  The fact is, however, there isn’t really a good spot to grip these things that doesn’t have railings or other parts, and even though the decals have been here for over a month, and the cars have been on my to-do list almost daily, I haven’t gotten around to sitting down and putting lettering on the cars. 

I think I kind of locked myself up by starting too many projects, trying to have something to do, and then got overwhelmed by having too may open-ended ongoing builds.  

Getting out of the funk there takes some doing, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

For starters, the Bx2 ladders have been frustrating because I have been trying to build them off the car and then add them to the ends.  In reality, the easy way as suggested by a friend, and the way to fix some of those issues, is to build them on the car end.  The issue with doing that is my Bissey vacuum vise that I have used for years when building in HO scale does not open wide enough to properly hold an O scale boxcar vertically for me to work on the ends.  I had not replaced it, and now I’ve hit a frustration by not replacing it, so I’ve taken care of that.  A new, and surprising smaller, vacuum vise was delivered this week.  The new tool will replace the old one, and I should be able to get the end ladders on my boxcar projects without trying to figure out how to balance a car and work at the same time one handed.

The tool pictured below is a PanaVise 209 Vacuum Base Jr. The link is here: Amazon
One other new tool. A bright green (so I can find it more easily) ergonomic hobby knife. Spotting things on the table is frustrating sometimes, so the bright colors can help.

To address the stoppage with the tank cars, I’ve decided to power on and have all the materials ready.  I’ve set a date, and a reminder on my phone.  I also would kind of like to get things on track here, and as I feel the energy returning, I’m sure that the tank car lettering project will get done.

Today is the day…. 3/6/2020. I had to get up early before work, but the first side of these cars is now setting with setting solution.

Beyond those blocks, I’ve acquitted the tools to try and fix the warped R40-2 kit, and have tested the height ideas I have for the layout by setting the section I built last year up on a table and having not only me, but my wife, sit at it and reach in.  The height and leg debate is ongoing in my head.  We’ll see where that leads this year when it’s warm enough to set things back up in the garage to build the next layout section.

Layout height test. More on this soon.

I’ve also taken a step back from some things that have been taking little bits of time here and there that I can’t control.  A couple of volunteer positions that I have enjoyed, but that with the way life changes from time to time I don’t have the energy or time as a resource to fully commit to them at the moment, either have or will be ending soon.  Unblocking my small amounts of availability to work on projects feels like a good idea.

So, here we are, not much progress has been made, but the energy and time are now returning, and hopefully I will have more to share with you soon.

-Jeremy

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