Sunday, May 30, 2010

Signal placement

One item I'd like to get right on my layout is the use and placement of signals. Every country, and sometimes railroad have their own standards, depending on which side of the tracks (in case of double track main) the trains run in each direction, and other factors. I wasn't entirely sure where to put them in the case of US railroads. But after asking around, it turns out that signals , when not on a signal bridge, were usually placed on the right side of the track, a rule that was more strictly enforced until 1985. After that date, the placement can be on the left too, which is sometimes needed to facilitate access for maintenance crews, or geographical challenges etc.  So now my search is on to find a great looking model signals, and I think I have found some great looking ones in the range from BLMA models.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Everything Airbrush(ed)

A few posts back I reported that I received a new airbrush compressor, but could not get my airbrush connected to it. I've asked on several forums etc but got no further, due to the age and model of my airbrush. However, when I wrote Everything Airbrush they had a very elegant solution for me. The solution was to get a new hose with 1/8"BSP connections at either side, then a quick connection coupling attached to that, and finally a small quick release tail connected to the airbrush. (see picture , copyright Everything Airbrush) It has the advantage to quickly disconnect the airbrush from the hose to swap with another airbrush if needed. I ordered it, and received the order next day, and it all fits perfectly! So I can recommend them for anything you need for your airbrush! My thanks to them and particularly Tim from Everything Airbrush for their advice and help!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

1000 visits

thanks for everyone visiting here, I've reached a first modest milestone since starting the blog a few months back, and exceeded 1000 visitors. Thanks again and hope to 'see' you back soon!

California Northern Youtube video

I've posted my first short video about my layout on youtube today. It was made with my daughter's toy video camera, so the quality is a bit poor, but you can still see roughly the state of progress as well as me playing around with the Withrottle.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Realistic operations is one of the many aspects of the hobby, that can make it more enjoyable. Of course it's not for everyone perhaps, but if you have a small layout, it might add a dimension to it and make it more interesting, and give train movements a sense of purpose. One of several 'musts' in that case , particularly if there is a lot of switching involved, is smooth operating couplers. A lot has been written about this subject in the press, online, and elsewhere, and I can confirm once again perhaps, that the best couplers for this are Kadee. All others that I've tried, just don't work as smooth, and have several problems. The most common are:
- The coupler doesn't center properly
- the coupler claw doesn't operate smoothly
Kadee's (when installed properly) have these problems very rarely.
It has to be said at this point that I haven't tried the realistic couplers made by Sergent Engineering. However, these are quite different in construction from Kadee's and Kadee compatible couplers, which makes them less compatible , so that I have not bought any (yet).

Kadee's it is for now, at least in my case. :-)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Airbrush compressor connections

I had a nice surprise this weekend when my parents surprised me by giving me a new airbrush compressor. (as pictured). I have had an airbrush for years but I didn't have a compressor for a while.
The airbrush is a bit older (a Devillbis Aerograph Sprite) and has what I believe to be a NPT thread connection.  The compressor has a more common 1/8"BSP connection. The diameter is pretty much the same, but the thread is a bit different. (the NPT is a bit finer than the BSP thread). Therefore the two don't fit and now the search is on to find an adapter piece, or an adapter hose to be able to use this airbrush with this compressor. I have not yet found the item I need, but when I do I will report on it, so that it may help others.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Next steps

Now that I managed to get 3 loco's working properly in DCC mode, I am shifting my focus back a bit to working on the layout.  I've continued marking out several important scenery details (e.g. position of buildings, roads etc. ) and will try to get a base coat of earth coloured latex paint onto the surface. This should transform the layout into a layout that is more than a few pieces of foam board with track spiked onto it. As soon as the latex paint is dry I will continue putting the base ground cover down in places where I can (but first painting the tracks).  
If the above sounds familiar, then that is because I really like the way Pelle Soeborg constructs and approaches building his layouts. You may know him from his books, articles in Model Railroader magazine, or even in person during clinics at NMRA conventions etc.   If you are not familiar with his work, check out his website, which can be found by clicking here. Here's a taster pic, borrowed from his site. ;-)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Customer services

I recently communicated with both TCS and NCE in regards to a few decoder questions/issues I had. I have to praise both companies for their prompt and helpful replies. I am glad that in this day and age, customer services is still something that is valued by companies, and very much appreciated by me!
TCS and NCE, thank you both!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Western Union meet May 2010

Today, the Western Union held another meet, and I had the chance to test out my first two loco's that have been converted to DCC. One of which didn't work very well, but I found some small issues with it, so I shall be working on that. The other was my SW1200 switcher, which can be seen in action on this picture on the layout.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I just have to 'abuse' my blog for a moment to praise the customer services department of Athearn.
I recently wrote their parts department to order some replacement handrails for one of my C44W-9W locomotives.  They replied next day with a price quotation , and I after I gave the go ahead I received my parts within 8 days. Their website states 6 weeks so I was very pleasantly surprised to receive them that quick. So hereby a big  'THANK YOU' to Athearn!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Progress on the CF 7

Here's a picture on the progress on my CF 7 locomotive.
As previously reported, I use my spare time while traveling for work to do a bit of modeling in my hotel room etc. Seen here is the loco with some of the detail parts test fitted. Compare this with the picture of the loco in one of the earlier posts on this blog in February (although you will have to blow up that pic to see it better :-) ) to see what's changed since then. For some information about the prototype and it's more famous underpinnings, see to get you started.