Saturday, March 25, 2017

Coupler boxes

I got in contact with the guy who had designed the Berwick coupler boxes mentioned above and on sale at Shapeways. I asked him if he thought those boxes would fit my PS-4427 hoppers. He said no, but kindly (and totally surprising for me offered to design some that would). I guess he could use some for himself, and not did this out of kindness only. But who knows? Anyway, I am very grateful. We exchanged some proto and model photos, along with some model measurements, and he came up with this beautiful design:

The box is not specifically designed for the Protocraft Clouser coupler, since he wanted a more generic design. But I think I'll be able to come up with some way of mounting such a coupler in the box.

I have bought a six-pack of the coupler boxes and they arrived a few days ago, and in IRL they look like this:

Very good, don't you think?

The boxes are easily attached to the cars, using the original mounting screws and holes. They only need to be countersunk for the screws to not later interfere with the coupler shank. Here is one of the boxes test fitted on one of the cars.

Friday, March 24, 2017

An old battered shed

There is not much room on the layout for any structures, but I wanted at least one building of some kind. I settled for a battered old shed or barn, in the far corner. It serves, and has not served, any rail purpose but just happens to sit close to the tracks. Here is what I came up with.

Come along if you want to see how I built it.

I started with a Masonite base painted black and a frame of scale lumber. All lumber, throughout the build, was cut to length and stained in a bath of India ink before assembly. For size comparison, an O scale figure is seated beside.

Next I cut wall boards from .4 mm plywood and glued in place.

I also added some doors, broken and hanging askew.

Next was the roof frame, and the upper part of the gables.

Now for an extra fun part. Fun because I had never done anything like it before: Metal corrugated roof panels, etched in ferric chloride to get a worn and rusty look. The warning in the how-to-pamphlet that came with the roof panels was true - it is easy to etch the panels to oblivion.

As seen I also added door hinges, made from styrene. The green is supposed to be mildew or fungus of some kind, but I not too happy with the result. I later tried to tone it down.

If you look carefully you can also remnants of batten on the side wall. I added a few of those to indicate that the shed originally had a board-and-batten siding.

Last, some more pictures of the shed in its final scene on the layout.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Assembling couplers

The type "E" couplers i ordered from Protocraft arrived a few days ago, and today I assembled them. As advertised, it took some filing and drilling to get the parts ready for assembly, but it was a fairly straightforward process given the detailed instructions that Norm at Protocraft sent along. So I now have one set of couplers for each of the hoppers, and one set for the engine.

Here is what (six of them) looked before assembly. Three parts each - body and shank, knuckle and lift pin.

Actually, there was a fourth part also. A small spike acting as the knuckle hinge, referred to as the "escutcheon", a word I never heard of before,

And here are the first two I assembled. The hinge spike will later be trimmed to length.

Since I do not yet have any coupler boxes I am unable to install them and cannot make any live tests. But they seem to couple and uncouple as they should when doing a simple test by hand.