Tuesday, November 29, 2011


There are only a few elements of the By-Products plant that I haven't built yet, the Bleeder Stack being one.  This is your basic waste gas burner or bleeder, common in steel mills and oil refineries.   Once again I am basing my model on the Thomas Coke prototype.

I started with a simple base structure I turned on the lathe out of some scrap wood.  I turned the horizontal rings of the base in place and also drilled a small hole for the stack.  I added some styrene strip to the base structure and fabricated hold down bolts and their cast fittings using strip, tube, and hex strip.  Still plenty of work to be done on the stack.

Bleeder Stack Base

Full Structure - Stack needs work

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Work continues on the ship and other structures but I've also been redoing much of the wiring on the layout.  It's one of those things where I didn't really have a plan so just started shoving stuff everywhere, eventually to the point of having a big mess that I couldn't even figure out what wire went where, and also, not having room for signal circuit boards and stationary decoders,...etc.   And to help things out and order from All Electronics and Yankee Dabbler (DCC components) arrived last week.   Two real cool items in these packages - besides wire, switches,...etc.. I ordered some ultra-violet LEDs -  I am going to mount these in the ceilings of several of my structures that handle hot iron or steel - specifically to set off my new resin slag, iron and steel loads.  I've been casting these in a fluorescent yellow-orange, and they look good as is, but under black light they look even better.  NOTE - These will be commercially available soon.  

Ultra-violet LED and "hot" steel load
Another arrival was a NCE "Mini-Panel".  This nifty piece of engineering is a circuit board that has the potential for many many different applications.  Simply, it has 15 pairs of inputs, to which you can connect switches (electrical), detectors, ,...etc  anything that would close the circuit.  In response the chip on the circuit board is programed to execute up to four DCC commands for each input pair.  Essentially it allows you to access DCC features from a traditional control panel.  The possibilities are endless as you can access engine, turnout, signal, macros,....etc.. .  There is a video on You Tube in which a model railroader used the Mini Panel to automate a locomotive switching a small array of turnouts and track, including, speed changes, horn and bell sounds,....etc.  Despite only having four command lines you can use a "link" feature to extend your program, although, you loose another input pair for every four command lines.   The first use of this device for me will be for automatic route control for my hidden primary mill staging.  

NCE Mini Panel
In addition to model railroading we hit the trail this weekend for a quick backpacking trip up in New York.  Not Boy Scouts, just my son and a few friends of mine from work.   Same area of New York that we did last April.  Take New Jersey Transit Train into New York City - hike from Penn Station to Grand Central - Metro North Hudson Line (ex NYC mainline) to Garrison, NY.  Trail starts at station - hike a variety of trails in the Castle Rock Unique area and the Osborne Preserve and eventually link up to the Appalachian Trail.  Take the trail to the monastery on top of the mountain and spend the night there - reverse trip on sunday.  Some photos - 

Camping on the Monastery Ball Field

Metro-North Locomotive - Runs on Diesel or Third Rail (south of Croton-Harmon)
West Point

Sunday, November 13, 2011

S.S. VALHALLA - Part 5

An old Mainline Modeler magazine I bought at TImonium got me thinking about the Valhalla again, specifically some of the deck arrangements,...etc.     First however, I had to take care of some basics - first the anchor chain holes had to be drilled, along with holes for the various crane posts.

You can see anchor and anchor chain holes at very front of vessel.  Other, larger holes , are for the crane poles.
You will also notice that I have finished all the angled supports between the deck and the hull sides.  Then I turned my attention to the hull sides - adding the rivet bands that will give the ship the affect of a riveted hull.

Banding on sides is .020x.188 styrene strip with rivets embossed
Finally, I started installing some of the crane posts.

Posts are 5/16" tubing

Friday, November 11, 2011


Finally I was able to get back to some modeling this past week.  The Ensley Mixer project had been at a standstill for awhile - My original roller assembly was solid modeling, just not to scale - the rollers turned out to be too large.  Disgusted with wasting the time I set this aside, but with construction on the Bessemer Plant underway, the mixer will soon be needed.   So, I built the cast supports for the mixer using a variety of solid plastic and plastic strips.  The webbing was punched out and holes filed to size.   Roller assemblies were constructed of 1/4" tubing and solid styrene.  Also, an elevated concrete foundation was built and the four access hatches were molded in resin.

Assembly photos to follow, but first a new product alert - Central Valley has come out with another type of girder assembly.  As you have seen over the years, I love these products and this is just one more type to add to my structures.
New Central Valley Girders

Assembling Cast Bases for Mixer

Foundation and finished supports

Building rollers
Finished Roller Assmebly