Garden City Railroad

Tips

BENCHES

Cheap, solid benches can be made from plastic wall corner molding. Legs are made from thick plastic or styrene, measured off in paired blocks (strip at left in photo), a hole drilled in the center of each pair for the arch, then cut apart thru the center of the hole. Then cut a piece of round stock, drill a hole in each leg piece and glue the round stock in for stability. (center of photo). Glue legs to bench and paint. 

Cheap benches from corner molding.
LOCOMOTIVE HORN

Need an engine horn for a project and don't want to wait for an order to arrive or pay high shipping for a small part? Take a long flathead wood screw and drill out the Phillips head top (center of photo). Cut off threaded portion and wrap a band around it for the back of the horn. (I hollowed out a piece of metal stock, but you can probably wrap electrical or duct tape around and glue with CA glue to hold it). Then take a cotter pin and wrap it around and slide a small nut or 2 up, glue in place and paint.

Engine horns can be made from wood screws.
INSTALLING SPRINGS & BRUSHES BETWEEN WHEELS

When installing springs & brushes for electrical pick-up between the wheels of a car, put them in and cover the end with a small piece of electrical tape. When you slide the assembly in between the wheels, just yank the tape out and the bruches will stay in place against the back of the wheel.

When installing springs/brushes on trucks, cover end with tape until wheels are back on, then simply pull off the tape
MAKE A BEACH UMBRELLA-SIMPLE  & CHEAP

A friend is doing a beach scene on his RR so I decided he needed some umbrellas. Take a top off of a low-voltage lawn lite (left in photo- sometimes available at garage sales). Cut away everything that doesn't look like an umbrella (center). Paint, drill hole in top, insert small screw and screw into a round piece of wood.

Beach scene
MODIFYING A BROKEN LGB AQUARIUM CAR

 When the paper strip with the little cutouts that moved around & around the car was destroyed by the cog tearing it up, I figured it would be it would be impossible to replace with an original, so I decided to change things instead. Using the internet, I down loaded photos of Sponge Bob Square Pants and made up a different scene for each side of the car, gluing it into place. Then I cut the 2 dolphins off of the sticks (that go round inside and show out the top) and replaced them with gumball machine figures  of Sponge Bob and Patrick. Kids love it. 

 

Dolphin car redone into Sponge Bob car- Sponge Bob & Patrick rotate
MAKING A DUMMY EGG LINER

When one of my egg liners decided to quit working, I did not want to spend the money on a new motor block. Having several other egg liners, I decided to make this one a dummy to be pulled by others. 1) Mark the location of the 4 axel points on the outsides of the undershell, directly above the screws holding the existing wheels on the existing axels. 2) Remove the two screws holding the motor block in. Pull it out, and cut the wires. 3)Drill holes in the location you marked for the axels. The size of the hole depends on whether you will be using bearing sleeves like I did, or just inserting the new freight car axels in the plastic holes. I used the brass sleeves and counter-sunk the wide part on the inside. Fit the new wheels in by grinding off enough (about half) of the exposed outer axel. I used Aristo wheels- I don't think Bachmann will work due to the raised part on the outer part of the wheel. 

4) Add the pickup devices on both ends and use enough wire to allow them to run up into the shell.When I did this, I put a nut/bolt thru the slot behind the coupler to hold the device. I had to create a notch to accommodate the bolt/nut in the shell. and 5) Remove the shell and the metal weight, splice the 2 right side end wires into one from the switch (from the 'track' power end of the switch, the far right end of the switch in this view). Then splice the 2 end left side pickup wires into the other wire from the switch (again, from above the 'track' power end of the switch) 6) Where these splices meet, cover them well with electrical tape or wire nuts. Replace the weight, and re-assemble while tucking all wires up into the shell.  The lights are now on when the switch is slid to 'Track'. There is no need to touch the battery power wires.
Adding track cleaning capacity to a Bachmann tender Add a brush to the front of a Bachmann Steamer
This is a plastic bird feeder commonly sold at Lowes, etc. It has had the base removed, and the molded on details such as the broom and flower pot painted. After removing the base, 2 sides will have a gap on the bottom, which I filled with a brick-type piece of plastic left over from previous projects. I then cut out the window panes in the front door and side window. there is another door and window that I didn't do. I also painted the chimney. (The M&M figures are present for Easter only). This bird feeder, and at least 2 more, including a log cabin and schoolhouse, cost about $15.00. 
CABOOSE AWNING

This is an awning for a B&O wood caboose which I made. I print it on a cardstock. If you fold on each of the lines and glue (I use cyanoacrylate- AKA Zap-a_gap) the one flap under 'A', you should have the basic awning. I don't know what size it will turn out if you copy and paste, but you should be able to scale it to your need. To see these on a finished project, go to pages 6 & 7 of 'SPECIAL PROJECTS' where they are on the B&O caboose (which is the reason I made them in the first place). 

CABOOSE AWNING-2

Once you get the flaps glued in place and everything adjusted to shape, I coat the entire awning with a thin coat of cyanoacrylate glue to make it rigid. Once dry, paint.

 

CHEAP FLAT BUILDINGS

I found a pair of toy flat front buildings at a yard sale for a dollar and converted one to a station (Top). Bottom is the other as originally bought.

MODIFY AN ARISTO SEARCHLIGHT CAR

On this car I added the wooden posts connected with chain on both sides. Also added were new metal hand grabs on both sides of the entry and a stirrup to make it look more safety conscience.

QUICK & EASY FREIGHT CAR STIRRUPS

You can make this out of staples from large cardboard boxes (photo-bottom).  Just use 2 pair of pliers to shape it to the form and type of stirrup you want and to twist the top if necessary (Original on left broke). This also has 4 holes drilled in it to match the original bolt heads (which were for looks, but had prongs on the back to insert in the carbody). A simple straight pin, cut down, inserted thru the holes and glued will hold it in place. 

USA TRAINS PRR NW-2 KEYSTONE DECAL REMOVAL

The large PRR keystone decal doesn't belong on the cabs of NW-2s, and I didn't want to paint it if I didn't have to, so I tried getting it off with paint strippers but it was on tight. Then I tried sanding with something I had around called '400 grit metalite cloth'. Working carefully, it took off the keystone and road road number without damaging the paint. It is very flexible, but I don't know if it is the same as sand paper- I would guess sand paper for metal would be close or the same.

USA TRAINS PRR NW-2 KEYSTONE DECAL REMOVAL

I then gloss-coated the cab side. applied a new (correct) road number decal for a PRR NW-2 that I had made by Stan Cedarleaf in metallic gold (to match the road name color). Then a coat of dull-coat finished it off.

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