Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Fluesheet, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member


    I made a temporary re-connection of the red wire but didn't get any response from the decoder / lighting. I cut the old decoder out and temporarily wired in a fresh decoder and found, to my relief, that the lighting circuit / lights were working.

    Out of curiosity, I tested the old decoder by itself and found that it also worked. I'm not sure why it didn't work with the temporary connection. Through this process, I soldered extensions onto red and black power leads and the blue, green and purple function wires to make the testing easier. My guess is that during this process, I cut out an unseen non-continuous wire.

    This photo is after all is put back together (and working) with the original decoder prior to stuffing everything back in. Note the condition of the black insulation!


    After one more test to make sure reinserting the decoder and wiring didn't cause any problems, I resealed the bottom:


    and got started on the last detail - sheathing bolts in the cupola area. The bolts were from the Details Associates #550 caboose kit. Because I didn't trust eyeballing the locations - and the fact that I now have two more caboose models waiting in the wings, I made a drill template for the bolt locations from an index card:


    The locations were determined from photos - I measured the wheel diameter in the photo with dial calipers, then divided that by 33 (the real-live wheel diameter, in inches)to get a conversion factor. Then I was able to locate the bolts relative to the window sills by dividing a photo measurement by the conversion factor. THEN I eyeballed it to make sure it looked right prior to actually drilling.


    I may put one more photo in with the lights on, but this more or less wraps up this construction thread. One benefit to this thread will be for me - I can use it as a guide to remind me what to / not to do with the two additional models!

    Overall, I'm very pleased with this kit - it was much easier to assemble that a box of sticks, but was a better solution than RTR (which doesn't exist!). This is my first laser cut kit of any kind and I was pleased with the accuracy of the cuts and the peel and stick parts worked very well - I was suspicious of this feature. Instructions were very good.

    The downside, in my mind, is the lack of included detail that was recommended by AMB, but not included (detail kit, trucks, couplers, etc.).

    So, the last photo of this thread is the current state of the cab - compete less lettering. Once that's complete, I'll put another entry into the Fluesheet's Builder's Photos thread



    <edit - Removed one dead link due to removal of the photo from the source gallery>
  2. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing. I'm sure I picked up a few tips for my projects along the way.
    Glad the decoder wasn't toast.
  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Great job..!!! Can't wait to see the pic with the lights on..!!!
  4. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    the caboose looks amazing matt! i could never get that level of detailinto my cabeese! :thumb:--josh
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Great results, Matt. :thumb::thumb: I'm looking forward to seeing her all lettered up and maybe weathered a touch.

  6. sgtcarl

    sgtcarl Member

    Matt, Fantastic job, all the way around, and underneath and inside, and...
    I apologize to you for not taking the photos you asked for, earlier on. The doctors keep changing my meds, and since more than one Dr. is involved, they sometimes get me pretty drugged up. I also take Ambien CR which plays havoc with the memory. I'm not making excuses, just stating facts, (unfortunately.) Again, my sincere apologies. Anyways, Fantastic Job!
    Carl :confused:
  7. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Lights on!

    Thanks again for all the comments! As for the detail (bigsteel), keep in mind that it took me 16+ months to build it!

    sgtcarl, no worries about the photos.

    I took a couple of "lights on" photos tonight; I wasn't quite able to get the environmental lighting I wanted; the tools I was using were pretty crude. A couple showed detail very nicely, reinforcing the importance of shadow to make detail stand out.

    The TCS FL4 decoder that I used has 8 or so different lighting effects. For "night" operations, I'll most likely leave it on a setting that cuts the current to the bulbs approximately in half. This, I figure, will help the bulbs last longer and will more accurately resemble the true lighting on these cabs - oil lamps. For these photos, however, the bulbs are fully powered. Getting a good photo with the dimmed bulbs required a level of environmental lighting beyond my skills at this time. So I cheated. :mrgreen:

    As an aside, having one light set to double strobe and the other to Mars gives the effect of a party going on inside the car!

    One of the nice things about using a decoder to power the lights as opposed to a constant lighting circuit is the ability to turn the two lights on and off independently of one another. One of the pictures below shows this. I don't know how much I'll use that feature, but it's there... :rolleyes: Since this particular decoder has four outputs, you could also go so far as to add marker lights on one end or the other and control them independently; either by manually turning one end on and the other off, or setting the functions to be directional. In the latter's case, you would have to "reverse" the caboose via the throttle - identical to directional lighting on a locomotive. I, however, wasn't willing to go there - and in any case, am not sure if the pieces parts are even available.

    Last, if you're curious to see each and every single one of the photos I took during the construction of this caboose, you can find them in the following gallery::
    Zenfolio | MGoodman | Cabooses

    This photo shows some interior detail - the end of an upper bunk on the opposite side can be seen through the left window; the right window shows another bunk (the light colored line is the "frame", the dark area above, teh "mattress". Unfortunately dust obscures the view somewhat. For this reason, the next caboose will get "dumbed down" interior detailing - possibly just walls to separate the ends from the cupola area.

    At sunset, waiting to be assigned to a train. Crew is on board and has fired up the lamps:

    Midnight, with only the yard lighting and some buddies car headlights to light the scene...

    Dawn, and the dang train still hasn't budged! What's going on here?

    Thanks again for all the interest in my opus!
  8. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    the night shots look great matt! the lighing adds a great sense of realism.--josh
  9. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I finally got around to decaling this model. The delay has something to do with life, and a lot to do with worrying about screwing it up! I don't believe I've done any decaling since I was building plastic funny car models in the 1970's!

    In any case, it worked out well; the good side is pictured below. The roadname is going slightly uphill on the other side - not too bad.

    I used Champ decals and their decal setting solution (called "Decal Set"), and ended up creating a template to locate the road name and number - similar to the one used to locate the bolts. I hope to learn enough to just eyeball this type of thing at some point, but I'm not there yet! Plus I have two more to build at some point in the future, so the various tools I've built during this project will pay off.

    Just have to dullcote it and paint the wheels (changed RP25's out for "semi-scale"), and a couple other minor things, but I'm calling this DONE! YEAH!


  10. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Nice. This weekend I watched video of N&W articulates...it was great.

    Thanks for posting your work here!
  11. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Looks good, Matt. :thumb::thumb:

    A simple aid to keep lettering straight and to position it in the correct spot on the car side is a piece of masking tape. I like to trim away both factory edges (they can get nicked and dinged with handling) using a new blade in my X-Acto, working with the length of tape stuck to a sheet of glass. Then, using your scale rule and dividers, trim the tape to the correct width that will allow you to put one edge (top or bottom) aligned with the top or bottom of the car side, leaving the other edge as a guide line above or below where you intend to place the lettering. Make sure that the cut edges are parallel. After you have the tape in place on the car, mark on it, with a pen or pencil, the car ends, the outer ends of the string of lettering, the ends of each individual word, and any other marks that you think will be useful. If you're lettering a number of similar cars, the tape should last long enough to do both sides of at least 3 or 4 cars, and if you need to do more, use it as a pattern for another before you throw it away.

  12. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    This is an excellent idea. My template accomplishes the same thing, other than it is not on the car at the time of applying the decal. Apply decal, overlay template to check ends / level, adjust decal, overlay template again, etc. The tape would be an on-the-car reference, and may also help prevent the decal set from being wicked away in the "tongue & groove".

    Thanks Doctor!
  13. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Nice work! You should feel proud of this accomplishment, taking an already nice kit to the next level and then some! (Anotha Notch, as Emeril says)

  14. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Thanks for the comment ocali. I will definitely be weathering the model, but don't have any immediate plans for it. I tend to work on things as the spirit moves me - i.e. it may be this weekend or years from now!

  15. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Matt...Love the night shots...And that 'boose is really gorgeous..!! Great work...Hope you post when you get started on the other two...:thumb:
  16. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Funny that you should post that as I've in fact recently started them.

    I'll post again when they're finished - if experience is any guide, I'll see you in a year... :eek:


  17. olamat

    olamat New Member

    Really nice and inspiring! I guess you'll read through your own log and remember the weight on these two! ;-)
  18. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Exactly! sign1

    I believe I'll leave the bottoms removable on this pair as well so that I can make internal changes if needed.

    Thanks for the comment!


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