So, in a fit of something or another I picked up this:
I'm not exactly sure why. It's a Rail Power Products shell/chassis,
so I'll still have to pick up trucks, a motor, and stuff to connect
the two. And various details and superdetails. But the theory is that
by the time I finish detailing it (ha ha rims) I will have found some
sort of supplementary income, i.e. a job.
Snowfighting in the summer
So, my major model railroading project lately has been to
electrificate an Athearn rotary snowplow (Made all the more fun by the
fact that of the 4 prototype plows for the model, none were ever
modernized). So, I got myself an undecorated F7B to act as the power
unit, put a winterization hatch and some grab-irons on, did some
close-coupling mumbo-jumbo, and removed the dynamic brake fan once I
figured out which fan that actually was (not shown). Of course, I'm a
little unsure about the winterization hatch, since the prototypes all
either have no hatch or have the BN Insane-O-Hatch.
The work on the actual plow consisted of adding the funnel wings on
the front, replacing all the molded on grab-irons with hand-made metal
ones (just because), applying a random diesel horn, removing the
smokestack and the boiler, shortening the coupler pocket (possibly too
much), and replacing the silly rubber-band blade-spinner with a motor
to be controlled by DCC. It also turns out I misplaced one of my
dummy couplers. Oh well.
There also some (largely uninstalled) bits of styrene that will be
painted black and placed around the windows and such to prevent people
from seeing through the model.
All that's really left is painting, lighting, DCC installation, and
installing the diaphragm on the plow (I want to do that after
painting, because it's a working diaphragm). I'm still unsure if I'm
going to install working diaphragms on the power unit.
The problem is you can only run it facing clockwise
So, after purchasing a regear kit, realizing that I can open up the
gearbox after all, shaving off the fill ports on the inside of the
gearbox (bad design), and remembering where I put that bottle of gear
oil, my Shay finally runs. I put it on the club's layout and it only
stalled occasionally. I think the PWM inherent in runing an analog
loco on a DCC track actually helped the running.
I also took a few pictures of it pulling a bi-level enclosed autorack,
you know, just 'cause. Of course, I took them on film, so it'll be
another three years before I finish up this roll, and then several
weeks before I actually bring it to a developer, and then who knows when
I'll get it to a scanner.
Things change in a decade or so
So, in the 10 years or so since I've been in model railroading, two
major changes occurred. First off, DCC is all over the place now,
which I think is really great. The other major change is that the
Kadee magne-matic coupler patents expired. So now everybody has their
own magnetic couplers. And some of them really suck, and some of them
don't, but they're nearly all plastic. Which is good, because some
model makers like to have a solid metal bit going from coupler pocket
to coupler pocket (and to a rail, if it's a loco).
So, for those of you who haven't been paying attention lately, I've been slowly getting back into model railroading. I've been trying to go to the university's railroad club and seeing if I can help them out. They're doing kind of a modern/whatever-gets-donated era layout.
As far as my modeling, I can't really decide what I should go for. One option is a 1920s/30s era mountain line, as an excuse to use Shays and Heislers, limit the length of the rolling stock, and model crazy terrain. Or a modern electrified freight line, with overhead electrical power and no good prototypes.
I've half-decided to go with the modern electric in HO and if I ever get enough time and garden to do the mountain line in G scale. Of course, I've already got some rolling stock for each choice and neither choice in HO, and an HO Shay, so I'm not really all sure.