Wednesday, February 7, 2018

NTS&B Merry Belated Christmas 2017

Well, Kathy took a fall down the stairs the day after Thanksgiving and fractured her tail bone.  She was doing really well after a couple weeks, but started having ankle and leg pain about a week before Christmas.  Christmas Day, she couldn't support her own weight, so we ended up calling an ambulance.  She spent from Christmas Day  until January 8th in the hospital, then from Jan 8th to Feb 7th in rehab.  Here are the only pictures I took during the holidays and day she came home.

Kennestone Hospital.

Had to stop at Publix on the way home.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

NTS&B Army Air Corps P40s flying in formation

Have added a second Army Air Corps P40 to my fleet of aircraft.  Looks good to me flying in formation.  Thinking about how I can add a cloud for them to fly through.   Something for another day.

Friday, August 18, 2017

NTS&B LCCA Billboard and lighting

I joined the Lionel Collectors Club of America (LCCA) while at a train show in the Kennesaw Civil War and Locomotive History Museum.  One of the benefits of membership, is that you receive all of the Lionel Catalogs for the year.  I also received this Christmas billboard for joining.  I decided to convert some spot lights that I bought at York from bulbs to L.E.D.s.  The spot lights are metal and nicely made, but the bulbs they used were defective.   Here are the results.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

NTS&B Banjo Signal

At the same show that I bought the 153 Semaphore, I was also talked into buying a Lionel 140 Banjo  (Road Crossing) Signal.  When activated, the signal has a swinging stop sign that swings across a red light, so the light appears to be flashing.  The following pictures show the stop sign in both positions, now that I finally found a place to use it. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

NTS&B Lionel Semaphore and Z Stuff Signals Installed

I was recently talked into buying a Lionel #153 Block Control  (Semaphore ) Signal at a train show, since it is a neat accessory.  When I finally figured out I could use it on the mainline, I had to buy another one since I have 2 mainlines.  These 2 signals control the end of the passenger station yard.  I had also bought some used Z-Stuff Dwarf Block Signals and crossing bells in a box of stuff way back in 2010.  All of these devices are powered off a separate supply, so they stay on even if there is no track power.  The semaphores are controlled by supplying the grounds using isolated track sections.  This initially consisted of most of the loop, but the devices were getting too hot because the chance of parking a train on the block was very high which kept them constantly activated.  I then shortened the block tremendously.  This is still sometimes a problem, so I need to come up with a solution to cut them off if they get too hot.  The Z-Stuff signals can operated off a built in photo cell or isolated track.  Since the signals were on a curve, I could not get the devices close enough to the track to use the photocell, so I had to use isolated track sections with them also.  The crossing signals could also use photocell or track sensing.  Since it was 'protecting' three tracks, the 2 mainline tracks are detected with isolated blocks, while the inside 0-27 loop depends on the photocell.  This is what they look like.

 Semaphores indicating clear tracks ahead.

 Semaphores showing occupied block.

 Z-Stuff Dwarf Block Signal

 Z-Stuff Crossing Signals

Sunday, July 23, 2017

NTS&B Hidden Military Base Bunker Entrance Complete

The assembly now has all electrical and scenery items added.  The motor drive had to be redesigned, because the original operation was too intermittent.  Power to the radar tower, bumper, and door drive have all been installed from the appropriate power strips.  Here is what it looks like, and the steps involved:

Final Result, with Lionel #44 Missile Launcher coming out getting ready for action.

 Re-designed motor mechanism.  Rubber band is to apply spring tension to pull it up an additional 1/4 inch when opened.  Limit switches are applied with hot glue to the side of the DC motor, and was done MUCH  neater the first 10 to 15 times.  The motor is powered using a DC HO power pack connected through a double pole, double throw, center off switch. The switch is wired to reverse the DC and turn off power through the switch.

Internal connections for radar tower, bumper, and motor power.  Voltages are applied through a 6 pin connector at the base of the platform, so the assembly can easily be removed to work on.

 Scenery was done using joint compound, textured with an old come to give the appearance of rock blasted out with dynamite.

 Assembly is now painted.  The wire sticking out is for radar tower.  Also, there is a bulb sticking out that is wired in parallel with the motor, which will be on only when motor is on.  If a limit switch fails, the motor will stay on and  possibly burn up, so the light is wired to stay lit until the motor is off.  

Picture of finished assembly, with door brick wall installed.

Friday, July 7, 2017

NTS&B Hidden Military Base Bunker Door Started

The last module I had to build was the bunker door assembly.  It sits on the end of the hidden track at the Top Secret Headquarters, where the Lionel #44 Army Missile Launcher lies waiting for action.  The assembly will consist of 1) a 'dummy' track bumper mounted on the door to simulate the end of the siding just past the coal loader, 2) an operational door for the bunker, 3) Track power for the bumper and siding, and 4) Power for the Lionel Radar tower which will sit on top of the bunker.   Here are the initial pictures:

 Structure built, with bumper mounted in door panel.

Side view with bunker door opened.

I used a slow speed DC motor I had purchased a few years ago for this project.  I used fishing line to open the door, and added counter weights under the bumper to help close the door.  Limit switches are hot glued on to the side of the frame, and on the motor casing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

NTS&B New Shelves and Skirts Installed

I had to move the existing  under layout shelf to make room for the new ones.  Then I hemmed new skirts (with Kathy's help) and hung them by the shelves, and under the crane controls drop downs.  Here's how they turned out:

Saturday, June 10, 2017

NTS&B New Under Layout Shelves

I had enough left over boards and plywood from building the large wall shelve to build 2 smaller shelves that fit under the layout.  Even though the shelves are small, they are supplying a little more much needed train storage area.  Only 1 set is painted, because I ran out of white paint.  The unpainted one will go next to my other unpainted shelves.  Here's a couple pictures.

Monday, April 17, 2017

NTS&B Water feature almost finished

I had painted the bay area in October of last year, and now am finally getting around to pouring the simulated water.  I had heard good things about a product called  'Quick Water for Silks" which is used for fake flower arrangements.  I bought 4 kits at Michaels at 1/2 off, so thought I had enough to finish it.  I poured the first 2 kits on the first layer.  According to the directions, it was to harden in 4 to 8 hours.  After about 3 days, it was still extremely tacky.  After doing some research on line, I found an entry that it took this person 4 or 5 days for it the surface to harden fully, and the 'water' was the result was like a

'super ball'.  It also recommended adding a couple drops of paint for a more realistic look.  I mixed the next 2 kits with a couple drops of blue, and wished I hadn't.  The blue made the water more cloudy than I liked, so you couldn't see all of the detail I had painted on the bottom.   It also recommended that it be covered with cardboard while drying, to keep dust and stuff from sticking to it.  After day two, I put a piece of cardboard on it, which sagged and touched, and instantly boded itself to the surface.  I had to literally dig the cardboard out of the water, which made it a mess.   So then I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited for about a week, and the tackiness never did go away.  So then I decided I had to come up with plan B.  I went back to Michaels and bought a kit of Enviro Tex Life Pour-On High Gloss Finish.  This finally hardened to the touch after about 8 hours. The next day, it was totally cured.  All told, I have about $46 in water products. Below are pictures of a sample of both products, and the steps along the way to create the bay.

Item on left is Quick Water with a couple drops of blue paint in it.  It is still somewhat tacky after about three weeks.  The one on the right is the EnviroTex from the bottom of the mixing cup. Unfortunately I had thrown a tissue in the cup, which is now encased in the EnviroTex.

I started out by painting the plywood a mix of blue and black paint to simulate shallow and deep water. 

Quick Water and EnviroTex water poured.  The couple drops of blue in the Quick Water made it cloudy, so a lot of detail in the painted plywood was lost.

Finished (almost) scene with boats and people.  I also bought some Woodland Scenes Water Effect a long time ago, that I want use to try to make waves around the boats.  Maybe in a few weeks.