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31  Discussion Boards / N / Re: available ,unlettered &painted models on: July 26, 2017, 08:48:11 AM
I am surprised that you can use brake fluid to remove the lettering, only and not damage the base coat of paint.  Every time that I have used brake fluid, it has taken off all the paint.  The one exception is the B&O "powder blue" and grey paint jobs on Rivarossi passenger cars.  It takes some serious scrubbing to get off all that paint.

You do have to be careful with brake fluid, as well, because it can turn the plastic brittle.  Life Like shells do not stand up well to brake fluid.  Some Kato will, some will not.  Some B-mann will, some will not.

I use a plain, old eraser to remove lettering.  I am very careful and patient about it.  To be sure, there is a slight smudge, sometimes, but since I apply glossy coating before I apply decals then apply a matte coating afterward, you must look with a magnifying glass to find the smudge.

In some cases, I will remove the whole paint job and start again.  Usually, ninety-one per-cent alcohol works well for that.  There are some that are more stubborn and are >made of stronger stuff!  For those,  I do use something else.  Any more, if I do use brake fluid, I let it sit only a short time, then scrub, put back in for a short time, scrub and repeat until the paint all comes off the surface.  Brake fluid is toxic, so I use rubber gloves.  I scrub the shell several times using soap and water.  After I am finished, I wash my hands several times with soap and water.
32  Discussion Boards / N / Re: A correction is needed on the HO-SCALE N.C. 4-4-0 . on: July 24, 2017, 09:06:17 AM
In 2013, Atlas released its N scale eight wheeler in Northern Central.  The tender on that one reads NCRR.   The Pennsylvania got control of the Northern Central right around the beginning of the Civil War.

Hurricane Agnes washed out most of the railroad in 1972, by which time Penn Central had been bankrupt, so it could not afford to replace it.  Some track around Baltimore exists and part of the Baltimore trolley line runs on it.

I have one of the Atlas issues.  I run it with either the Athearn/MDC Overtons or, if a freight, with an Athearn PRR caboose.  Neither are accurate either for PRR or Northern Central, but that is what is out there.  I do not know if anyone sells decals for Northern Central.  I have not seen any.  The paint schemes on the Athearn/MDC passenger cars are not accurate for the era, either, but that is what is out there.

If I compare that Atlas issue to the B-mann latest issue (in the plastic box) my experience is:

1.  B-mann wins on reliability.  It stalls less frequently.  Do keep in mind that you should operate neither on plastic frog switches.  The things are just too small and will lose proper contact.

2.  B-mann wins on pulling power.

3.  Atlas wins on appearance.  The B-mann is an upgraded, but older design, hence some of the details are a bit clunky looking.  Most of the upgrades that B-mann has done to its involve mechanical upgrades.  Which brings us to....................

4.  Atlas wins on smooth running (as long as it maintains contact, that is, see #1).  B-mann has upgraded its version of this.  If you compare the latest version (plastic box) to the earlier versions, there is a markéd difference.  Still, there is a bit of a wobble in the B-mann that is not present in the Atlas.  The Atlas slow speed is a little better (when the Atlas keeps contact, that is, see #1).  Mind you, the B-mann slow speed control is still good, but the Atlas is slightly better.

You should use metal frog switches if you plan to run either of these (or the Atlas 2-6-0).  All three are small, so they will not maintain contact as reliably as will larger power.
33  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale DoodleBug. Lights on no power on: June 20, 2017, 11:00:58 PM
Still only one truck drive?

My original issue doodlebugs would pull six RR HWs, on RR trucks, up a one per cent grade at forty SMPH.  The newer one will pull only three.  Still, three is far beyond what the prototype would have done.

The trailer coach lists for something on the order of sixty or seventy bananas.  I am glad for the four axle paired window coach.  I can use them on B&O trains.  I would like to see some single window four axle coaches.  MT is supposed to be doing a single window coach based on a NYCS prototype.  While NYCS did have some six axle HW coaches, most of them were four.  I like the idea of a NYCS prototype, as I can use it on P&LE trains.  Microscale has a NYCS passenger sheet, that includes P&LE and P&E lettering.

Most modellers are going to run these things either singly, with one coach or one head end car.  You might get a few who will run it with coach and head end car or two head end cars.    You might get a few ATSF modellers who will run it with freight cars, as ATSF did have some doodlebugs that worked branch lines in Kansas that did pull a few freight cars here and there.
34  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale DoodleBug. Lights on no power on: June 18, 2017, 08:09:03 PM
Brokemotto! When you removed he decoder, were you able to salvage the led light, on the decoder? If not, were you able to match the color?

I did not even try, I just put in another light.

It does sound strange that you do not fry all of the decoder, but, the thing lit up and would not move.  When I took out the decoder and
re-wired, the thing moved and the lights that I wired in lit up.
35  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N Scale DoodleBug. Lights on no power on: June 18, 2017, 09:14:08 AM
I do not use DCC.  I have fried the decoder on two of these, so I simply took out the thing and re-wired.  Much like the 4-6-0, the 2-6-0 and the GE industrial power, the thing runs better on DC without the decoder.

I have two of the factory decoder equipped as well as several of the older ones, without the decoder.  When I fried the decoder, the lights would light, but the motor would not run.  When I took the things apart, I applied power to the motor poles and it ran.  From my experience with the steam, I decided that I had fried the decoder.  As soon as I took out the thing and re-wired, they ran and ran much better.

These so-called "smart" decoders, ain't as smart as the manufacturers would have you believe.  This does not apply simply to Our Host's decoders, this applies to "smart" decoders across the board.  I have fried BLI decoders on DC, as well.   Atlas was going to build their locomotives with a factory decoder but with a micro switch that you would change to run either on DCC or DC.  To be sure, that would have added cost to the power, but, it may be the way to go until someone can come up with a truly "smart" decoder.
36  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Peco Switches on: June 07, 2017, 10:41:15 PM
The Electrofrog turnouts are set up, already, to deal with the polarity.  You must,  however gap the rail past them if they are part of a roundy-round or passing track.  If they are in a reverse loop, you wire as always, with gaps and a turning section.  You must have power feeders before the turnout, as well.

You do not need gaps for ladder tracks or if they are not in the roundy-round.  The only exception would be if you add power jumpers beyond the turnouts.  There is an old book out there by Linn Westcott, How to Wire Your Model Railroad that tells you how to wire if you use metal frog turnouts.  The book is very old, but it will tell you how to wire properly.

If you use the Kato UNITRACK or B-mann E-Z TRAK, the manufacturers of those already have gapped the turnouts, as necessary, so, unless you have a reverse loop, no gapping or extra wiring is necessary.   If you have a reverse loop, you must, of course, have the isolated turning section.  Sadly, the E-Z TRAK does not lend itself well to the use of insulated rail joiners.
37  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N scale radius on: May 31, 2017, 01:07:07 AM
Read Spookshow's writeup.

I read it.  It appears that the mechanism is binding on those curves.  The cars are eighty-nine feet long, which is something of which I was not aware.  No wonder they need a nineteen inch radius curve and even that one ain't the best.
38  Discussion Boards / N / Re: N scale radius on: May 29, 2017, 09:12:25 AM
19" minimum radius required, for that set.

It requires that broad a curve?  I am not disputing what you state, I simply find it curious.  I would not buy an Acela nor would I run one, as it is far out of my era.  Still, the nineteen inch radius piques my curiosity.

I would concur that an 11,25 inch radius would be far too sharp for any passenger cars other than shorties.  An 11,25 inch radius curve works out to just shy of twenty-one inches in HO, which puts it near the mid-point of the "sharp" category.  Passenger cars seventy feet or more, especially if they have body mounted couplers, do not do well on "sharp" or even "conventional" (twenty-four to thirty inch radius in HO, thirteen inches to just over sixteen, in N).  I have gotten away with running full length passenger cars on Kato 13,75 inch UNITRACK (just over twenty-five inches in HO) which is toward the low end of "conventional".  They look pretty silly.

They will not run on a seventeen inch curve, -eh?  A nineteen inch curve works out to just under thirty five inches in HO, which puts it solidly in the "broad" category. 

When I learned this curve business, I was in HO.  At the time, those in the know were teaching us rookies that unless you wanted to run brass, almost anything would run on a thirty inch curve (just over sixteen inches, in N).  Brass was far beyond my means as a high school student, even though I did have jobs in high school.  When I saw how some of the brass locomotives of that era ran, anyhow, I was glad that I was not tempted to save my quarters for one.  In fact, when I see how some of the current N scale brass runs, I will not spend my  money on it.

To Original Poster:

B-mann does sell E-Z TRAK in nineteen inch radius.  Atlas sells SNAP-TRAK in nineteen and a half inch radius.  Kato has an equivalent, but I forget the exact radius, now.  If you use the Atlas, you must use some sort of roadbed.  If you are going to try to mate the Atlas and B-mann or Kato, you must shim the cork or the track, as the B-mann and Kato track do sit higher than does the Atlas on cork.  Mind you, I am not panning the B-mann or Kato track.  Both serviceable.  I use them on my pike, as I use Atlas SNAP-TRAK and FLEX-TRAK, Kato UNITRAM and PECO.
39  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Durango & Silverton won't run new out of box x 2 on: May 16, 2017, 09:47:07 AM
If, indeed, this is the problem, you might also want to get some track cleaner fluid, dip a Q-tip into it and slop some on the armature of the motor where the brushes are. (it is the narrow, copper colored shaft toward the "front" part of the motor)  This will help to clean the gunk from it.  Failing track cleaner, some seventy-one per-cent rubbing alcohol should do the trick, just take care  not to slop any onto the painted surfaces of the model.

Another thing to check is to make sure that the stiff wires in the drawbar (the shaft that connects tender to locomotive) are clean and making proper contact with the split post on the back underside of the locomotive.   If they are not, you  might have to clean the contact post and stiff wires.  If you try to bend them inwards, DO SO VERY CAREFULLY.  Those wires are delicate and break/come unsoldered easily.  You might try taking a small pair of needlenosed pliers and gripping the stiff wires at their base before you pinch them inward.

If there is no split contact post on the back underside of the locomotive, you have an even older version of this.  Instead, there are two brass tabs that contact the drawbar.  You might have to clean those and bend them up from the bottom, slightly.  You can improve the contact further by making sure that the contact tabs on the front tender wheelset are making proper contact with the drawbar.  It is best to disassemble the tender truck to do this, but, if you do not think that you can get it back together, you might get away with loosening the screw and pushing up on the tabs.  Do not loosen it too much and take care that you do not pop the tab/wiper out of the truck.
40  Discussion Boards / N / Re: 0-6-0 Driver Size on: April 29, 2017, 09:08:10 AM
I recall measuring the drivers on the MDC 2-8-0 many years back.  They scaled out to forty-eight inches.  I can not find my calipers, right now, so I can not be sure, any more.  Athearn now sells the same locomotive.  If I can find my calipers after I get back from the Nationals game, I will measure them, again.  The 2-8-0 in question does have both middle pairs of drivers blinded.

Those things had various wheel arrangements, including an 0-8-0.  I do not know if the dimensions of the MDC/Athearn locomotive might match some of the Winans.  I would expect not, as the MDC/Athearns are 1880s power.

Still, if my measurement was correct, the MDC/Athearn drivers are two to three scale inches closer to the Winans drivers.
41  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Bachmann older Spectrum ABA F7 video on: April 17, 2017, 07:53:25 AM
Nice weathering jobs on the power and rolling stock.
42  Discussion Boards / N / Re: will a bachmann 2-8-0 N scale run on 8.5 radius track? on: April 13, 2017, 10:34:52 PM
My B-mann 2-8-0s often climb on nine and three quarters and will sometimes derail.  They always climb and derail on anything sharper.
43  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Old N 2-8-2 with Vanderbilt Tender on: April 06, 2017, 12:29:51 AM
B-mann sold this in some versions as a 2-8-2 and some as a 2-8-0.  It is really based on a Reading Company I-9 or I-10 (I forget which), which was a 2-8-0.

A while back, I did a test fit to the chassis of what was then a SPECTRUM 2-8-0.  It looked like it would go, but would require more than a little work.  If you want to keep the shell, you could do that.  You would have to give up the Vanderbilt tender, though, as the newer 2-8-0 does require the all wheels live tender.

While the gear ratios were pretty good, the constitution of the gears was not the best.  They tended to crack.  The motor was not the best, either.

I would buy the B-mann 2-8-0 and run it as it is.  If a 2-8-2 you must have, I would buy a Kato USRA heavy or Model Power USRA light.  Several of the MP USRA light 2-8-2s do come with Vanderbilts.  The Vanderbilt that you get on the MP is based on an SP Vanderbilt that it ran on eight wheelers, moguls, some consolidateds and some ten wheelers.  In truth, though, the MPs are best when you swap out the stock tender for the B-mann SPECTRUM tender.   If you do not want to do too much work, buy a later run of the Kato 2-8-2, as it has the traction tyre driver and all of the details installed, already.
44  Discussion Boards / N / Re: ballasting n gauge on: March 31, 2017, 10:00:19 PM
You are going to get some on the ties.  It happens.  If you look at prototype track, you will see ballast on the ties.  Unless you have high piles of it on the ties, do not worry too much about it.

The way that I do my ballast is to do it in sections of three to six feet.  I put tape on the tops of the rails.  You must, of course, cut down the tape, as all that you want to do is cover the rails.  You do not want too much overhang/excess tape.

Next, I put a line of Elmer's™ or whatever white glue that you choose, down the middle of the track and on each side.  Next, I spray the glue lines with water.  I let the glue lines spread out, then I pour some ballast in a shaker and shake it on the places where I sprayed the glue.  I let it dry, then take a brush and brush  up the excess.
45  Discussion Boards / N / Re: Are these shells interchangeable? on: March 31, 2017, 10:36:54 AM

My mileage has, indeed, varied.  I was finding that if I left the drawbar on the slopeback as it was, the drivers were not making proper contact with the track.  When I did the surgery that Spookshow and others have described to the chassis and flipped over the drawbar, the problems disappeared.  When I left the slopeback as it was, there were derailments, stalls and poor pulling power.  When I made the changes, all disappeared.

I see that you mentioned MBK.  If B-mann's Forum rules will permit discussing dealers and vendors..............................If Original Poster is buying on FeePay, he might note that there is a seller there, Favorite Spot, who sells large quantities of Bachpersonn.  He knows his Bachmann, so if you use the "Ask Seller A Question" feature, he can tell you if it is the new version with the new motor, the new version with the old motor or the old version period.

There were some split frames issued with the old motor.  They were, indeed, a markéd improvement.  I was running one for some time until the tube that held the drivers split on one driver pair.  The tubes appear to be the same on all versions, so I simply must get out one of the old ones and cannibalise it.

There does seem to be some improvement to the one live truck on the stock tender, but it still creates too much drag for my purposes.  In addition, my experience with half wheels live tenders is not the best, while my experience with all wheels live tenders is excellent.

The newest version with the smaller motor is, indeed, a real winner, once you swap in the SPECTRUM tender.  The "prairie" that you received with the older motor is not bad.

If you want to see what can be done with the split frame with the old motor, Skipgear posted his work on one.  He upgraded a Baltimore and Ohio locomotive.  One thing that he did to cover the back of the motor was add a curtain.  B&O ran any USRA locomotives, including the
0-6-0.  It also ran USRA light 2-8-2s and 4-6-2s.  While Model Power has issued them in N, and MRC has taken over the line, MRC did not address the problems in the MP construction methods adequately.  In addition, many of the details are cast onto the locomotive.  I have seen the HO versions of those that B-mann has issued and hope to see them in N.  I am convinced that B-mann could do a better job.  In addition, the B-mann HO versions have high or center mounted headlights, per the practice of the given road.  While all roads received the locomotives from 1918-1920 with center mounted headlights, when a given road rebuilt the locomotives, they moved the headlight if such were the practice.  Thus, the B&O moved all headlights to the high position.

The MPs with a B-mann SPECTRUM tender run very well.  In fact, adding the B-mann tender addresses all of the runnability problems.  The swap is not difficult.

Miranda's Maxim as explained by ke:  "The poor performance of many N scale steam locomotives is almost always directly attributable to poor electrical contact".
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