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Oh yes! I've had some spectacular train crashes too. Especially when something ends up hitting the concrete. In all cases I was able to repair and restore. It always happened when I walked away from the controls when I thought
"everything was running okay". It was until it wasn't. One time was when a coupler parted in the middle of the train and the engine and it's cars came fully around and rammed the caboose. It wasn't pretty, but the engine, while derailing, didn't leave the table. The other was when my baby grandson #2, while in my arms, reached out to grab the J1-a and managed to pull it off the table while it was hurtling by. It fell nose first to the floor, but my leg broke its fall a bit. It smashed the headlight, front steps on the fireman's side and broke the solder joint holding the cab and back end of the boiler to the lower member. I ordered a new light from Precision Scale, fixed the back joint with epoxy, and straightened everything else. Sunset 3rd Rail sent me some matching Brunswick Green touchup paint and it really looks pretty good.

The work on the Rick House is underway. I ordered all the scale lumber ($100+) and finished designing assembly jigs on SketchUp that I will 3D print. I could make the jigs out of scrap wood, but this way, the jigs and the drawings are all in sync.

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Jig #1 will be to assemble the individual Rick Panels. There are 72 of these in my design.

Jig #2 will set the spacing for the individual Rick Bays.

Jig #3 will set the aisle distance that separates the adjacent bays and set the gap to the next bay sets.

It will take some more experimentation with the actual foundation to get it all working as I'm envisioning it. Regardless, I will need some aids to get 72 of these things in some semblance of order.


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Amazingly, I have only had one engine hit the floor over the years.  It was a Bachmann HO Shay.  It went front first, and fortunately it was carpeted.  I was able to order all the parts and get it working again.  My uncle was rear ended on his way home from the RC airfield once.  He was more concerned about his plane being smashed than he was about the car.  It was the first time he flew the plane after many hours of assembly.

Yes I can imagine jigs are needed to keep everything spaced correctly on the rick house!  Looks good.

I'm following build threads on museum-quality flying scale models where the builder has been building it for 10 years. That's not a typo! When I say museum, I'm referring to talking about panel lines and rivets that are correct to the specific kind of fastener. If it's a flush rivet, headed rivet, Phillips head screw, or Dzus fastener. They're all placed by hand and the count is correct. And he says he's going to fly it. I'm not convinced. The plane has folding wings, opening canopy and operating dive brakes along with all the other control surfaces. It will have a 3-cylinder radial behind a dummy version of the R-3350 radial.

Just for fun, he's a link to Barry Dalwig's 10 year thread. And he actually started on the model in 2007. Barry was a fire-fighting helicopter pilot so there were lots of times he wasn't building model airplanes.

Here's a couple of interesting spots.

Page 16: Shows the custom machines landing gear. Barry has a friend who's an expert machinist. It really helps.

Page 29: The instrument panel. The model is 1:5 scale so you can show literally everything. It will also have all-operating bomb racks on the wings.

Page 41: Bomb racks and ordinance

That ought to get you hooked. He's not the only builder on RC Scale Builder that works at this level of mastery. Many do, but Dallwigs Skyraider has got to be one of the finest.

Back to Trains!

All the wood arrived from Northeastern Scale Lumber. It's a ton of wood! The packs all have a rubber band around them. That's because there's a few other packs of the same variety hiding below.


I'm running a resin exposure test series on my 3D printer to determine if my layer exposures are correct. I'll know the answer tomorrow. I think I'm already pretty close. The Elegoo ABS-Like Resin has an 8 second recommendation. But I'm mixing 20% Siraya Tenacious flexible resin to impart impact strength. Tenacious recommends 15 seconds when it's 100%. So what should a mix be? That's what I'm trying to dial in.

I also finished up the work bench mod and moved all my work tables. I put a power strip directly on my movable work bench so some of the all-the-time-used power tools would stay with the bench and not have cords stretched across open spaces. I put all the power tool tables on one wall so I now have an "Abrasion Station", with my bench grinder, and two sanding systems on the same table.


And here's a better shot of the modified work table. I'm starting to use pegs for some of the stuff that was on the pegboard on my main work benches. Definitely should have done this years ago.


Lastly, here's the reason why I love Spring showers. I predicted this rainbow. They always come with a late afternoon storm that moves off to the East and then have a bright sun break the clouds. The angle has to be just right. The trees are blooming like crazy around here in Louisville.


I may have to buy some more wood for the Rick House. I need the vertical spline that will make up the individual foundation ribs. Interestingly, the spacing between the ribs was determined to be able to get a skip loader in between them. The strips are 3/16" wide X 3/4" high X 16-1/4" long and I need 8 of these. There is a rabbet on 6 of these to support the first floor joists. I will make that by laminating a strip to the main piece. I think I'll build the ricks first and then use them to exactly space the foundation system. I will "excavate" the site so the foundation drops below the mean ground level. Luckily, this site is reachable from the aisle. I probably will have to build a perimeter chain link fence plus add some security lighting since this will be an active construction site.

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The building will be under construction, and only about 20% complete at that, so it won't be storing any barrels. I'm going to put three of so in one of the front spaces to test their sizing. According to the Buzick engineer, it's not uncommon to have a few test barrels around. If it was a complete warehouse of this size it would probably have several thousand in them. In the monster rick houses Heaven Hills is building each holds 60,000 barrels. Their 'normal' sized house hold around 40,000.

Pat, I hope I enjoy it too. It could get pretty boring.

Happy Friday!

Well… the jigs and fixtures will speed things up as well as the power miniature cutoff saw which I purchased specifically with this project in mind. If I ever decide to build a timber trestle, I'll be all set. However, there is no place  to put one.

Today, at the local hobby shop I bought the remaining strip stock to build the foundation. So I now have all the lumber in place to do the job.

I also picked up the Friulmodel die cast track link set for the M2A3 Bradley with the "big foot" tread style to replace the kit's tracks. Now all I need is the "Q" sprue that's still missing. The Chinese said they were putting it "in the post" on March 17. I have no idea how long it's going to take to get here. Was it on the Evergreen monster that got stuck in the Suez???

I picked up my next plastic kit that is in the queue to be started after the Rick House is complete. So I'm set for at least four more months of constructive activity.

Meanwhile, the first RH assembly jig is on the printer. It's done in 18 minutes at which time I will remove it and print another since they are identical matched sets.

Most of the staff at my LHS have been/or getting vaccinated. That's really good, since I like spending as much time as possible chatting with the gang when I'm getting stuff.

Have a nice weekend.

I made the first movie with the new iPhone 12 pro. I used that tripod mount to hold it steady. I don't have a fluid head tripod which is evident with the slight shake when I attempted to pan the camera. I lubricated the head to keep it from grabbing, but it still wasn't perfect. My daughter in law, who's the video expert, does have fluid head tripods. I may have to look into this… or not.

Anyway, the camera takes really nice images. I cobbled together the six clips and edited out all the junk so it's a relatively smooth flowing video.

I'm making more blocks for Al. He miscounted and needs another 170. Starting that job today.

Thank you!

Yes! My phone was on this:

iPhone Camera Adapter

I got the holder on Amazon for $10.00. It works as it should. The tripod, on the other hand, is very light weight and is not really adequate for video use. I triggered the camera remotely with my Apple Watch. It will eventually enable me to place the camera in places where I couldn't reach to operate it and create some unique perspectives.


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  • iPhone Camera Adapter

Interesting about "rick house" .  When l was a kid l once took a long hike from small town of Fisherville, south of Louisville, with parent and brother,  past two? large "bonded warehouses", as so described. They stood alone on the road that winds down the hill from F-ville, back from the road.  This area is now a county? park, with no sign of warehouses, when l last drove it.  Have long wondered what distillery used those warehouses?  There is? an abandoned farmhouse on park property in that level area where l remembered the warehouses...the Southern tracks are not far (couple miles) but up that steep hill with no siding seen then or likely.

I believe that "bottled in bond" bourbon had to be aged at least four years.

Heaven Hill Distilleries is the largest privately held distiller in the world, and has millions of barrels in aging. There latest project, built by Buzick Construction, are the Cox's Creek warehouses. It's a cluster of eight, 300' L X 100' W X seven stories high. Each one holds 60,000 barrels. With the addition of these rick houses I believe they will have 48 warehouses. That's a ton of bourbon. Bourbon sales have been very good. In fact, I just learned how to make a mean Old Fashioned.

These buildings are huge and the amount of board feet of lumber within is staggering. Considering they hold 3.1 million gallons of liquid that is 50% alcohol in a completely wooden structure, when they catch fire it is frightening. Remember how fearful of fire the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz was. When multiply that by a factor of a million or so. In the 1990s Heaven Hill had a massive fire that destroyed several rick houses and the entire distillery plant. They moved distillation to the old I. W. Bernheim site in West Louisville and built a modern bottling facility where the old plant was in Bardstown, KY. They still have quite a few rick houses there. Meanwhile the Louisville distillery has been totally upgraded, enlarged twice and under full computer control. It's a beautifully run facility.

Alcohol vapors are constantly evaporating from the stored kegs. The building has a lot of air flow so vapors can't concentrate. All electrics are explosion proof or intrinsically safe to prevent ignition sources. But there's still lightening. The story height is eight feet.

WH#1 Siding 6

Started printing Al's additional blocks. The previous 140 had an "elephant foot" which had to be sanded off. An elephant foot is an enlargement of the base layers in a 3D printed object that's printed directly on the build plate. While the normal layers are exposed to the UV source for 10 seconds, but the bottom layers are exposed for 65 seconds. This is necessary to ensure that the bottom layer cures harder and adheres well to the build plate. The number one cause of print failures is the forming object to detach from the build plate because the suction on the teflon film is stronger than the adhesion to the build plate.

While the extra exposure provides the added adhesion, it also causes these starting layers to expand laterally. Depending on how much extra exposure is used equates to more enlargement. When the enlargement is on a platform upon which is a forest of supports and then the object, it makes no difference. But when the object is being built directly on the build plate the enlargement is seen as an the base of the object to have a raised edge around it. That edge is the elephant foot.

I had to carefully sand all of the first run's blocks to remove the foot so the sides would be flat. I did some research to find out how to reduce the foot. One way is to keep dialing down the bottom layer exposure times, but you run a big risk of not having adequate adhesion and losing the prints entirely. Another source has produced an app that does some magic with the LCD mask, but throttling down pixels on the edges of the bottom layer so their exposure is lessened by a gradient to keep the foot from forming while fully exposing the rest of the bottom layers. I've looked into this and may use it in the future, but it's a bit arcane and I didn't want to get into it now.

The last way is to chamfer the bottom edges so the elephant foot that will form just fills in the chamfer making the outer walls more or less flat. I modified my block drawing in SketchUp to add a small chamfer on the outer edges and those surrounding the block holes. My first print out of 21 objects had 3 complete failures where the forming block detached from the build plate and was stuck on the teflon. So of the other blocks had some of the base layers partially formed, but not enough to cause a complete detachment, and the remainder were good.

The second run had five complete failures and some partials along with some good ones.

The last run had 9 complete failures. It was time to change the vat teflon and see if it prints successfully. If it doesn't I would go back and remove the chamfers since they reduced the bottom surface area too much and caused detachment.  This is what the film looked like when I removed it with the stuck blocks. The stuck ones on the previous runs I was able to remove with damage. These guys didn't want to let go. The film was getting scratches due to using paper towels to clean it. I've purchased some specific wipes and solvent just for cleaning photographic film that does not scratch.

Al's Blocks Time to replace FEP

Right at the end of the day I ran another load with the new film and had 21 perfect blocks hanging on the plate, so it looks like it was the film that was failing.

It was my last piece of film and I have to order more. Sometimes I get very long runs on a single film and others not so much. I think it all depends on those micro-scratches changing the adhesion factor of the film. Ideally, you want no surface imperfections at all. I'm hoping this new cleaning system will solve that problem. I hadn't been able to test it on pristine film as the one on the machine already had a lot of parts created on it.

And the blocks with the chamfer have a much smaller elephant foot which was removed with just a few strokes on the sanding block. More importantly, it helped keep the holes open and burr free. I'm going to use the chamfer more often.


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  • Al's Blocks Time to replace FEP
  • WH#1 Siding 6

In Bardstown, at the edge of "My Old Kentucky Home", toward town, l drove back in there and down into a creek valley where there were destroyed buildings.  A sign for a distillery, which l did not find, sent me down that road.  Was that site of Heaven Hill distillery and fire?  I did fairly recently visit distillery visitor centers off the Interstate to Elizabethtown.  Did visit Jack Daniels site in Tenn.  Always looking for rail service.  Only found it on Frankfort and Cincinnati's ROW passing an abandoned stone distillery, between Frankfort and Paris, Ky.

That especially freaks out my wife, with her understanding of just how much these babies cost. I'm not going to say anything about how safe they run because I know the minute I do something terrible will happen. One of my to-do list items is to put up some plexiglass barriers around the obvious places to catch any trains that want to test how hard the concrete floor is below the layout. We toyed with the idea of carpeting the perimeter floor to help mitigate horrendous damage, but I didn't want to do that until all the sloppy work was done on the layout. The outer track's curve on the front left and right are super-elevated and it actually makes that turn at speed more secure. Regardless, trains are like a two year old. The minute you take your eyes off of them bad things can happen.

The edge spacing was dictated by the O-96 outer loop curves and the maximum width the room would allow. I needed to separate the inner and outer loops more than I had in the previous iterations of this layout in Germany and Pennsylvania. The walkways are quite narrow on the front face and adding even a few inches to the layout's width would have made it worse.

We all know that every track plan and layout design encompasses lots of compromises. There are some of us who are very fortunate to have no limitations of space, talent or cash. I am not one of those. That said, this layout exceeds my wildest expectations that I had growing up. Moving to this house in Louisville with its wonderfully open basement, made most of it possible even with its limitations. Many of the houses we looked at, although with the footprint to have large basements, already had them finished. All of them, while very comfortable living spaces, were chopped up with different rooms, none of which were large enough for the trains that I would want. There were other drawbacks too so we didn't buy any of them. My wife insists that I wanted this house for its basement. She partially right… The house was great in many other ways that met all of our needs. The fact that the basement also met my special needs was a bonus.

I printed over 120 of our second brick order and found that in addition to the teflon film wearing out, my machine was not level. I had a good full-load print for the first run, but then had one failure on the second. I began to suspect something else might be working. I checked the machine cross-level and it was out in two directions. Level is important because it can affect how the fresh resin backfills the print area when the build plate rises. The front row was consistently showing the defects. After leveling the next run was perfect. I will finish the job tomorrow with another three loads. I'm running a little assembly line. When one load is printing, another is in the ultrasonic and still one more is in the post-cure box. I then take the cured blocks, lightly sand their faces and then put them back into the ultrasonic to remove any sanding debris. I can do this because the clean cycles are 15 minutes for ultrasonic, 30 minutes (curing two sides @ 15 minutes) and the print time to 45 minutes. It takes about 10 minutes to sand a cured run.

Last edited by Trainman2001

All the 3D printed jigs are done, but I'm rethinking how I'm going to use some of them. The most important is the individual rick assembly jig and that came out superbly. Here are the three posts in their slots. The posts are one scale foot too long. I will be chopping off that foot on the mini-chop saw.

RH Rick Build Jig 1

And here's how incredible the fit is between the post and the jib. I measured the posts with a digital caliper and drew the slots to match. The result is a tight slip fit. The barrel tracks will sit on top of the raised cross bars on the jig and get glue to the posts. The fact that the printer can reproduce accurate fits like this is remarkable. I keep saying it, "If I can draw it I can probably print it."

RH Rick Build Jig 2

This last jig is the one that will space each completed bay to the next. It's this one and the one that spaces the ricks in each bay are the ones I'm rethinking. There will be no way to keep the bottom of the ricks stable when they're off the foundation. There is a header that runs the length of the warehouse on top of each post, but the bottom sole plate is attached to the foundation. So… I'm thinking that I will build the individual rick sides using the above jig, and then create a different spacing guide to assemble each rick directly on the foundation at the work bench. The spacers won't have to be so elaborate in this scheme.

RH Bay Spacing Jig


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  • RH Rick Build Jig 1
  • RH Rick Build Jig 2
  • RH Bay Spacing Jig

All my version 1 and 2 of the assembly jigs printed successfully. Then I woke up this morning realizing that the way I designed them, I could build two bays and then I couldn't remove the assembly jigs. Actually, the bay building jig would be stuck after building the first bay, and the bay spacing jig would be stuck once I used it to space the 2nd set after placing the first set. So it was back to SketchUp to create spacers that would both space the various assemblies correctly AND make so I could get them out to use hem again.

Here's the SketchUp drawing of the Ver. 3.0 jigs. What I did wrongly in the other versions was positioning part of the jig under the cross-bracing. Since the bay is being glued to the sole plates as it's being assembled, and not being built off the model, I needed to be able to lift the jigs up and out without interference. The new design was simpler.

The yellow/orange jig spaces the individual bay ricks and the purple jig spaces one bay to the next. Notice they're touching the cross-bracing, not the posts. My first designs were abutting the posts but this trapped them under the cross bracing. Because the cross-bracing lies in the narrow space between the bays, it has to be put on when the ricks are being constructed off the foundation.

I made extensions on both jigs so I could grab onto them to pull them out. They are complete and were successfully printed.

Right now, the columns are going to be butt glued to the sole plates that run lengthwise in the building (the ricks run cross-wise). If this joint proves unstable, it could be further reinforced by selective pinning. I may resort to that at periodic locations to ensure it all stays together.

I took some more time today to start working on that other worktable mod project. Got a lot done with some cross-bracing to be added tomorrow. I've added some extensions on the back end supports to replace another role served by those old saw horses; a place to store long lumber. I don't have much lumber, but it still needs to go somewhere. Speaking of lumber, I bought literally the exact amount needed to do both tables. I did take a couple of pieces of 2 X 2 back to Lowes, but all the rest is being consumed down to the littlest piece of scrap. Since I have some scrap pieces of 2 X 3 left, I'm going to use them as doublers to tie the butted angle brackets to the leg instead of cutting Masonite gussets, only because I'm lazy and don't feel like messing with the saber saw.

Table Mod Part 2

Bradley Update: The metal tracks (Friulmodel) are now complete for the Bradley waiting for paint. I found out today that the Meng Customer Service folks in China forgot to mail my missing "Q" parts sprue. They were apologetic and are sending them again. I sent them a note yesterday to ask what happened since it was one month since they said it was posted.  I'll keep you informed. I thought I could chemically brown the tracks using the JAX solution, but it's only for copper and its alloys and didn't do a thing on white metal. I'm going to see if they have a treatment for that. Otherwise, I'm going to have to paint. I cleaned the tracks in the Ultrasonic.

Bradley New Tracks Ready for Paint


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  • Table Mod Part 2
  • Bradley New Tracks Ready for Paint

The jigs are getting hardened as I write this. Yesterday I finished doing all the table mods on that other table top. I then broke down those four ancient saw horses. I chose to not scrap them at this time, since they could be useful sometime in the future, but I also took the opportunity to clean up that rear-shop area. It had gotten pretty bad. There's still more to do. Meanwhile the new table with it's lumber-storage rack on back is solid as a rock and probably highly overbuilt. Right now it houses the paper cutter and my Sculpey hardening furnace AKA an old Black and Decker toaster oven.

Table Mod 2 FinishedTable Mod 2 Back Extension

Here's all the stuff on it. I'm still at a loss about what to do with partially chopped up Masonite.

Table Mod 2 Complete\

The last trouble spot in the shop that needs my attention is this substantial pile of bead styrofoam. I was originally going to carve into scenery, but it's such a mess to work with I only used it as temporary fixtures to hold big models under construction, like the B-17's fuselage. I'm not even looking forward to chopping it up to trash it. Our recyclers don't take bead board scrap. I have a large MicroMark hot knife to cut styrofoam which I'll use to turn this pile into bite-sized chunks and put it with the regular trash.

Workshop Junk

I'm going to consume some of that Masonite on the rick house project. I think once I'm done with that, I'll scrap most of the odd-shaped pieces. I don't have many places left to add structures on the layout, so a lot of these boxes of scrap lumber cutoffs and OSB chunks will no longer be needed. Once they're gone the shop will be much nicer. I still have to add the fabric skirting around the layout. That will truly make a major difference when all those legs will be hidden.


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  • Table Mod 2 Finished
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Last edited by Trainman2001

Thanks Mark.

Only did one little thing today. I wanted to come up with a better method of securing the add-on depth stop that I built for the mini-chop saw instead of using a rather insubstantial Quickie clamp. I measured and drilled a series of stop holes at 1 inch spacing to capture a piece of 0.140 drill rod. I also drilled and aligned hole of the same size in the saw's base. Next session I will turn a brass knob to hold a shortened piece of the same drill rod so I can quickly reposition the stop to accommodate different cutoff lengths.

The picture shows the un-cut drill rod. It holds the slide securely. I'm going to shorten the piece of threaded rod to make so it's less wobbly. With the slide having all the 1 inch stops, I only need the threaded rod to adjust for the final inch.

I'm going to need this depth stop to cut 1/4" off 432 of those railroad ties for the rick house columns. Right now they're a scale 9 feet and have to be 8 feet. Even with the power saw doing all the work, it will still take some time to do this. Having a secure and immovable stop will help. I'm also going to add a flat something to the end of the threaded rod to broaden its contact surface. I may want to cut three at a time and will need a wider contact surface.

Mini-Chop Saw Elegant Position Lock


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  • Mini-Chop Saw Elegant Position Lock
Last edited by Trainman2001

Rare Saturday session due to the crappy weather outside and a nice wife inside. I did some of this work yesterday and some today.

Yesterday I turned the knob for the mini-chop saw detent pin. I was able to simply use thin CA to hold the properly-sized drill rod to the knob.

Mini-Chop Saw Lock Pin

I shortened the length gauge bar. I lubricated the threads with paste wax so it wouldn't wear the wooden threads.

Mini-Chop Saw Screw Mod

Today, I tried it out cutting the columns to the 8 foot scale length (2"). Got it pretty close...

RH Column Length

Repeatability is very good. I need 216 of these pieces cut from 9 feet to 8 (1/4"). I tried cutting two at a time, and it worked fine. I have a bag of these from Northeastern that I used to create the tie piles at the Goode Ties, but didn't know how many I had left. I decided to weight

I'm going to post this unfinished so I don't lose the images. I edit it tomorrow or later tonight.

OK! I'm back. We watched some movies last night and if you just leave a post open it times out and you have to reload all the images.

I realized that my original site plot template was in error. It's actually 16.5" X 15". I don't have much Bristol Board left so I just added to the piece, and then tried it on the site. Whew! It just fits wit very little space around it. By rights, it's way too big for the site since there needs to be access for trucks to load and unload barrels, but I don't want to change the design. I can make it shorter by cutting off rick bays, but can't really make it narrower. I'll leave it this way.

RH Updated Foundation

I then cut the foundation plate out of 1/8" it Masonite. I wanted the plate to be thicker and therefore flatter so I laminated another layer onto this first piece. Unfortunately, I didn't have any single piece of Masonite to cut another 16.5 X 15 piece so I did a mosaic. To clamp the pieces while the Titebond II glue dried, I simply screwed it down to the work table where the clamps couldn't reach. This was the lazy-man's solution since I just didn't feel like making multiple trips to the other end of the basement to gather enough "gravity" clamps to hold them together.

RH Base Plate Laminate

The hardest thing to do on the RH project will be to "excavate" the site. It's hard because it's not as close to the table's edge as I would like. I'm having to work over a plaster ridge, and at a long reach, if I approach it from the table's left side. The other choice is from the Serpent Gulch gap. That's closer, but it means multiple trips under the layout on my scooter so it's definitely more athletic.

Bradley Update: The Chinese came through and I received my "Q" parts yesterday. After the first request a month had past so I contacted them again, only to get a response that they forgot to send it. This time they did and it came in less than a week. I can now finish that project. I exchanged the kit's plastic snap-together track links with Friulmodel's cast metal links. This track assembles like the real ones with a single pin holding each link. I substituted 0.022" phos-bronze for the kit's 0.015" brass wire since it produced a more stable track. After degreasing in the ultrasonic, I airbrushed Tamiya Dark Iron, then Vallejo Rust, the a dusting of Tamiya Buff. I followed this up by hand-painting the rubber tread pads a lightened Tamiya Rubber Black and finally a dusting of dust-colored pastel powder. Last thing was to scrape the paint off the guide lugs and the bars that sit proud of the tread link. The coloration was learned by studying several photos of the Bradley tracks.

Here's a real track. Notice too that the lugs on the drive sprocket are also worn to bare metal.

Bradley Real Track Wear

Bradley Tracks Install Frt

I'm told that the track is a bit too slack. I had to remove one lug from the track on the other side, but they're still too loose and probably need one more link removed. It's a pain to do. The link pin is retained by a tiny NBW casting that's held in place by Gel CA. The pin itself is way inside the space and is hard to get out. I did the one mod by having to destroy the one link I was removing, but was able to get the other pin out without damage. I have a bunch of extra links, but that's a problem based on having the remaining links undamaged so they can be reconnected and there's the re-painting challenge. I suppose it's prototypical to have a new link occasionally in a track. I'm really happy how the real metal links look. They exceeded my expectations. It's especially rewarding since you can scrape it back to bare metal and nothing looks better than metal than real metal.

The slack will actually be non-viewable since the upper part of the track is completely hidden by the skirting. So I may leave well enough alone.

Bradley Correct Track fit

The arrows show the polished track ribs.

Bradley New Tracks Wear Bars


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  • Mini-Chop Saw Lock Pin
  • Mini-Chop Saw Screw Mod
  • RH Column Length
  • RH Updated Foundation
  • RH Base Plate Laminate
  • Bradley Real Track Wear
  • Bradley Tracks Install Frt
  • Bradley Correct Track fit
  • Bradley New Tracks Wear Bars
Last edited by Trainman2001

Another Bradley update. Started using those Q parts and almost have the assembly finished. Got the side skirting with its Explosive Reactive Armor installed and began working on the front. Found a few odds and ends parts that were on sprues that I was fix'n to toss. I also adjusted the tracks again, by removing one more link on both sides. It's now the proper tension. It's a terrific model and a pretty cool machine in real life.

Bradley ERA L

The AC units hanging off the back are only included in Bradleys in desert climes.

Bradley Mud Flaps R

I'm going to selectively mask some of the mud flaps that will be peeled off after the body color is put on, revealing the "rubber" that lies beneath. Even on relatively clean Bradleys, the paint is quickly worn off the mud flaps. BTW: the model has 874 parts, 180 of which belonged to the kit's plastic track links.

Bradley ERA Front WIP

Assembly will be done tomorrow and body painting will commence after masking the track area which is already painted. I still have to finish the diorama base, but I think that Rick House construction will begin sometime next week, if not earlier. We're taking our first road trip back East starting on May 17. Haven't seen our Eastern family since January 2019. It's about time.


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  • Bradley ERA L
  • Bradley Mud Flaps R
  • Bradley ERA Front WIP

Bradley's done! Need to finish the display base, but that's a quickie project, and then I'll be building the rick house. Meng's Bradley was a heck of a kit with lots of complexity and lots of parts. The Bradley itself, with the current modifications is a complicated vehicle that looks as awesome as it is.

That's not the engine you're looking at. It the transmission and final drive. The engine is buried way back under that radiator grill in the center of the vehicle. I did a beautiful job on the engine, but no one will ever see it.

Bradley Finished 13Bradley Finished 5Bradley Finished 4Bradley Finished 2

The large ac units hanging on the tail are used in the Middle East service only. They don't need them in European theater duty.

Bradley Finished 10Bradley Finished 9Bradley Finished 8

Bradley Finished 11


Images (8)
  • Bradley Finished 13
  • Bradley Finished 5
  • Bradley Finished 4
  • Bradley Finished 2
  • Bradley Finished 10
  • Bradley Finished 9
  • Bradley Finished 8
  • Bradley Finished 11

Thanks Mark! The Heritage Park tank is a 1:48 scale Hobby Boss Sherman that was given to me by my buddy at the hobby shop in an almost-built condition. The Bradley was a completely different animal. The model is more closely related to the Ryefield Model M3A4 76W HVSS Sherman that I finished last year. The Bradley had 874 parts including the track parts (which I didn't use). The Sherman had 2,000 parts, 800 of which were to their ridiculously complicated track assembly, the rest was for the tank and its full interior. I believe I posted Sherman pics in this never ending story, but I'll give you a refresher. The Sherman was a beautiful, complex model when assembled, but was not an easy build and Ryefield increased the parts count just because they could. If something could be made with two molded parts, they make it out of seven.

This is looking upwards at the underneath of the gun breach. The gun actually recoils and has a spring inside.

M4A3 Turret Fit

I built this stand so the insides and underneath of hull top could be viewed. It's now on display this stand at the Hobby Shop. (Scale Reproductions, Inc).

M3A4 Display Rack Glue Up

The broken star was actually part of the insignia of that particular prototype.

M4A3 Done 4

This is the turret basket looking top down. Gunner's seat and controls are upper left. Loader's seat is lower right. The box the gunner's seat sits on is the "Ready Ammo" box that holds 6 rounds. The rest of the magazine is below the deck floor. The ammo was stored in ethylene glycol to prevent ammo from cooking off in case of fire. The late model Shermans were the only tanks to have this in WW2. It worked until the crew started storing more ammo all over the place.

M4A3 Turret Basket Installed

Open hull view looking to the right side. The ammo magazine is open and you can see lots of rounds. There also another big box of rounds in a container under the floor behind the asst. driver's seat. The crews liked Shermans. They were roomy compared to other country's tanks. They were also easy to repair and keep running and we made thousands and thousands of them.

M4A3 Hull Done Right

And a view looking left… The model was so complex that the transmission and its controls had 70 parts. All the turret controls in the Sherman were electric. It had an APU, the OD mechanism in the upper center in this image, that would power the machinery so the main engine did not need to be running. The German tanks, in comparison, used a power takeoff from the main engine, so the engine needed to be run constantly. Not a good thing for a country that was running out of gasoline. Also, the Sherman turret traversed much faster than Axis equipment. The Sherman was the only WW2 tank that had a gyrostabilized gun that could aim as the tank was moving.

M4A3 Hull Done Left

The Ford GAA engine was superior and the model's engine was complete.

M4A3 Radiators Done

Overhead cam, gear driven 500 hp, 1,000 ft. lbs torque. Those two small drive shafts extending out to the sides drove the gear boxes that turn the radiator fans. From the gear box the fans were belt driven. Ignition was by dual magneto. If was basically a V8 high-performance aircraft engine.

M4A3 Engine Painted 3M4A3 Engine Painted 2

Sorry… didn't mean to get carried away.

Have a nice Derby weekend! Weather should be perfect.


Images (9)
  • M4A3 Turret Fit
  • M3A4 Display Rack Glue Up
  • M4A3 Done 4
  • M4A3 Turret Basket Installed
  • M4A3 Hull Done Right
  • M4A3 Hull Done Left
  • M4A3 Radiators Done
  • M4A3 Engine Painted 3
  • M4A3 Engine Painted 2

We didn't and have never gone to the Derby. Our daughter and son in law have a few times and we babysat when the kids were younger. Instead, we took a drive to Cincinnati and went to the Frank Dueveneck exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum of Art. Since vaccination we've started going to museums again. We also eaten inside some restaurants and it's been GREAT.

Happy Monday!

Not an exciting day… but something did get done. I filled the holes I used to clamp the multi-layer RH base. Tomorrow I'll be working on this and the Bradley base at the same time. While one's drying I'll work on the other. When it's nice and level, I layout the positions for the foundation ledges. I used Tamiya Gray Fine Filler. The reason for the large sections is that I used the 4" belt sander to knock down the bumps and also removed a little too much of the Masonite surface. Filler was invented for people like me.

RH Base Filler

Fear not, it will get more interesting.


Images (1)
  • RH Base Filler

Little bit done today. I got the baseboard laid out and started laminating the vertical foundation members. I made a small error. I found the center and drew a guideline, then measured off of that to set the first datum lines for the inner most foundation pieces. The total distance was 1.66" and I measured half on each side of the center line (.83"). I drew these lines. I then measured the exact thickness of the doubled foundation member which has the steps for the floor joists. I used this measure to step off the member width and got set to do the three rick columns on each side.

But now I had a perfect gauge: the actual device that's going to build all the rick frames. I used the gauge to set out the next three guide line sets, which only left the outer piece which will just be glued at the base's edge. This shows the start of the marking the distance. Notice that I positioned the left column on the right side of the foundation guideline. This is critical since the inside edge is the ledge for the floor joists. The foundation top that will actually support the sole plate and the column is on the outside of this piece.

RH Laying out Baseplate 1

And here's the gauge showing the other end of the guidelines. This was a much surer way to establish these points instead of actually measuring each point.

RH Laying out Baseplate 2

Tomorrow I finish gluing the rest of the foundation pieces and begin gluing them to the base. I'll then seal the entire base in preparation for painting like newish concrete. Without sealing, the Masonite tends to absorb the paint, which I don't want. When the foundation is glued up I'll put it back on the layout and trace it's perimeter. I will then have the unenviable task of cutting out the foam (excavating) in a harder-to-reach place than I though it would be. I wish the site was just a bit bigger since I want to have the Grove crane on site to have it helping to build the warehouse.


Images (2)
  • RH Laying out Baseplate 1
  • RH Laying out Baseplate 2
Last edited by Trainman2001

Multi-tasking today… working on the Rick House foundation and the Bradley display base. Got the foundation glued up and painted. I also traced it on the layout.

I finished gluing up all the laminates for the foundation ribs that have the rabbet to support the floor joists. There are three double sets of these: one in the center and two outside aisles. Between them go the single foundation ribs that support the center of the rick house bays.

I used Aleen's Tacky Glue for the bulk of the gluing for most everything, but did add some CA to hasten things along.

I needed to glue three sets of 3/4 X 3/16 + 1/2 X 1/8, which then get cut into 6 piece of 16.5" long pieces. I measured each directly on the base since my Masonite cutting wasn't perfectly square. I don't have a table saw and didn't want to fuss setting up a rip gauge, so I just followed the cut lines as best as I could.

RH Gluing the Foundation Members

I started laying down the foundation working from the center out. I glued one piece down and of course I had the rabbet facing the wrong. The glue hadn't set so I was able to pop it off and reset it. Of course I did this again later on and reset that one also. It's forest for trees syndrome. So concerned with getting the piece glued on the guidelines that I forgot to see that I had it wrong way around. DOH!

I glued the non-rabbet piece next spaced on its guidelines and also double checked with the 3D printer rick assembly jig.

RH Spacing the Rick Foundation 1

After I used it just as a checking gauge I realized that I could use it as a spacing gauge and did so going forward. This ensured that the foundation spacing will match the rick column spacing throughout the build since they're based on the same gauge. This picture was taken when I was already setting up the other side's foundation. Notice too in this image that I cut some additional spacing to space the middle walkway. I cut two the same length and spaced them on each end.

RH Spacing the Rick Foundation 2

I made another set of gauges to set the outer walkway distance on both sides. By using a gauge to set them up on both sides I was assured that I can mass cut all those floor joists and expect they'll all fit. I made four identical gauges so they were not only spaced properly, but parallel over their length. Notice the judicious use of gravity clamps to hold the centers down where the clamps can't reach.

RH Spacing the Walkway Foundation

I finished up gluing all the members in a fairly short time. Occasionally I reinforced the joints with thick or thin CA to help close any gaps that were there. The Masonite base did have a dip in the center.

RH Gluing Last of Foundation

After it all dried I took it to the layout and traced the perimeter for the site cut out. I had to maneuver it a bit so it wasn't too close to the tracks, but still not into the street. Regardless, it's still a tight fit. Oh well… we're O'gaugers and used to compressing space.

RH Foundation Placement

I took it outside and rattle-can painted it with Rust-oleum Camouflage tan which is a great concrete color (remember; I used it on the engine house too). Took it inside to dry.

RH Foundation Painted

While this was drying I started cutting the length on 216 columns. I brought the mini-chop saw onto my regular workspace so I could sit down and cut these pieces.

RH Cutting the Columns

When the foundation's dry I will glue the sole plates to the tops of each rib. They will not be painted. For once, I'm building something that's going to have all new lumber. I'm thinking that I might pin the first couple of rick bays so they're very secure since the rest of the assembly will sort of key off of them. If I start plumb and square I'll be in better shape to finish that way.

While I was standing on the stool to reach the rick house site, I took some "drone" shots of the layout. You can plainly see that the rick house site IS the last piece of open real estate in town. Interesting… the roof color of the distillery. I thought it was dusty. It's not. The Rusty Stumps laser cut shingles have faded. They were slate gray when applied. I don't believe it's the LED's fault. It was lit by florescent lights for a much longer time and it's UV that does the damage. The painted roofs have not faded.

Layout Woodbourne Drone Shot

The refinery from a higher point of view.

Layout Refinery Drone Shot

And lastly a shot down the railroad yard.

Layout Yard Drone Shot


Images (11)
  • RH Gluing the Foundation Members
  • RH Spacing the Rick Foundation 1
  • RH Spacing the Rick Foundation 2
  • RH Spacing the Walkway Foundation
  • RH Gluing Last of Foundation
  • RH Foundation Placement
  • RH Foundation Painted
  • RH Cutting the Columns
  • Layout Woodbourne Drone Shot
  • Layout Refinery Drone Shot
  • Layout Yard Drone Shot

Yup Mark! It's been a while and we're not getting any younger. I've used that particular shingle on three projects since then, although not on a big pitched roof. And now with the LED lighting, there's little or no UV so any fading should slow down a bit.

Today I began building the Rick House in earnest.

I applied scale  2 X 10s to the foundation ribs to serve as sole plates for the rick bays to follow.  I made sure that they were flush with the upper edge of the floor joist rabbet. I didn't care if they overhung the other side.

RH Foundation Sole Plates

While this was drying, I finished using the mini-chop saw to cut 1/4" off the rest of the Northeastern pre-cut RR ties for a total of 226 pieces. The saw and my depth stop made a tedious job with a razor saw and miter box into a much faster deal.

I then assembled the first half of a rick bay using the spacing jig I 3D printed. The columns fit a little bit too tight so getting the finished part out risked damaging it. Also, as you'll see, the foundation spacing, even though I used the same jig to space them, are spaced a little bit to narrowly. I may make some minor changes to the jig and reprint it. If I open the slots a few thousandths and narrow their spacing by about 1/32", it would be perfect.

The 1st rick here is sitting on the sole plates. I have enough RR Ties left over at their 9' scale length to use as the floor joists. All is as I have foreseen it.

RH 1st Rick Test

As I've said many, many times over when I screw up it's because a) I'm rushing, and b) because of "a" I'm not letting glue (of paint) fully cure.  With that in mind, you'll understand some of the troubles I had today. I was very anxious to see how the first two ricks (one bay) so I was handling the parts and constantly knocking glue joints apart because they weren't fully cured. While Aleen's seems to grip quickly, it's still a PVA glue and takes several hours to cure.

My original spacing jig didn't work as I wanted it too. I tried to modify it a bit, but decided to scrap it and make one out to a piece of scrap MDF. The rick spacing is .83" from column to column. I made on spacer for the bottom and a short on for the top so it would also plumb them as I installed them. It all depends on getting the first couple of ricks in proper location. Here's the two spacers in use on the first test.

RH RIck Spacing Test

I used the Chopper with my other home-grown depth stop to cut the barrel support rails. I still haven't come up with the best way to mass produce the diagonal bracing. I will need 72 of them. I was ready to install the first rick and decided to pin it with 1/32 phos-bronze wire so it would stay put. The first one on each row is a critical part.

I tried to fit the few barrels I have in my railroad parts drawer. The barrels are a tad oversized, and I will sand them down a bit so they fit. I only will need three of them to show how the warehouse works. This one part I haven't detailed for this would be the elevator shaft that is used to move barrels from the upper floors. Not sure how to approach that since I have no drawings of it.

RH Barrel Test

I actually broke two carbide drills making 12 holes. That's not so hot. The balsa foundation ribs, rather than drill nicely, it just wound down deeply like a screw and broke the drills too easily. I may use a steel drill and the Dremel instead of a pin vise.

I squared the first one up and used CA to lock it in place. I first used a small machinist square to plumb rick #1. This worked okay for the rick facing inwards, because I could get a true surface across the three barrel rails.

RH Squaring Up 1st Rick

But this didn't work on the other side of the bay since it was contacting the diagonal braces. So I glued a spacer to an angle block to get it above the diagonals and had good contact with the center column. I was getting a good plumb measure.

RH Rick 2 Square but upside down

But look closely at the second rick frame… Can you see that it's rails are at a different level that rick #1? I had installed the pins on the wrong end of the columns and installed it upside down. When I removed it, the rail de-glued and practically wrecked the whole assembly. I reglued it and ran out of time. I was so concerned about squareness and plumb that I forgot to look at what size I was drilling for the pins. I'll be more careful next time.

So we're underway. I'll probably cut some sticks, glue some frames, fasten some frames and then cut some more sticks just to make it less monotonous.

Stay tuned and have a nice weekend.

Next week will be a short modeling week. We're taking our first road trip back East since New Year's 2020. Finally visiting our son and family in State College, PA and going further to Philly to visit the rest of the gang.


Images (6)
  • RH Foundation Sole Plates
  • RH 1st Rick Test
  • RH RIck Spacing Test
  • RH Squaring Up 1st Rick
  • RH Rick 2 Square but upside down
  • RH Barrel Test

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