August 14, 2012

Nobody talks about Book Club

The first rule of Book Club is that nobody talks about Book Club. Wait, that's not right. Oh well.

Wet glue on track ballast
Every few months, it is wive's book club night at Paul Dolkos' house. During these times, Paul finds it expedient to head over to my place to work on the layout or just hang out.  So he arrived right after dinner and I had a job ready for him to do.

Paul is one of the best ballasters in the hobby. He even wrote an article for Model Railroader on the subject. So I aked him to do some ballasting in the area of Weillep's Cut. I had earlier sifted a large batch of Utah soil for this job. So Paul spread it out and did about 5 feet of track.

While he was doing that, I swapped the trucks on car 1224 with new free rolling ones. Now the car runs great. The trucks I used were actually one of the prototype sets I built with home made brake part parts, not the later etched parts. The homemade parts work great. So 1224 is back in action with new trucks and working brakes.

The problem with the first set of trucks of 1224 was that the wheels did not roll freely. Turns out the wheel faces were rubbing the inside of the truck side frame. This occurred because I had filed the axle ends to make the axle shorter. I did this to try to make the truck as narrow as possible. Why? Because I am using O standard gauge, my track rail width at 5 scale feet is about 0.07 inches too wide.  Standard O Scale axles tend to have a good amount of axle outside the wheel faces. This means that the truck has to be unprototypically wide to accomodate the long axles. When installed under the freight cars, the trucks don't look quite right. So I have been progressively making my trucks narrower as I evolve the design. I also have been trimming the axle length. But in this case, I made the axles too short. Thus  they could move around while in their journal and interfere. In the future, I will not modify the axle length, but just design the journal to be a little deeper to accept the longer axles. As a last resort, I may make my cars a little wider so they look like they overhang the trucks appropriately.

When Paul was done with his track ballasting, we spent a few minutes looking at the MR 75 year DVD collection. Paul asked me to look up an article from Harold Geisel from the 1940's. Sure enough we found it. Geisel was modeling a Pennsy Branch line in 17/64th inch  to one foot scale. Why such an odd scale? It works out to about 1/45th scale  and it makes standard O gauge track the correct 4' 8.5 inches. All this mathematical gymnastics and confusion just because of an historical quirk in the original O gauge. The obvious answer is P48 and perhaps when I build my next ACW layout,  it will be P48.

After Paul left, I took some of the scenic supplies and put a base layer on the hills surrounding the Weilepp's Cut.

It is about time to install the mill at Accokeek Creek. The structure is ready, but I need to build the sluice.

Base scenery at Weilepp's Cut is still wet. The rocks still need their final paint treatment.

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