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Thread: Builder's Railroad Project: in the Beginning...

  1. #1066
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    Bernheim II Kitchen Work

    Got the little roofs glued down and did some touch up painting on the eaves. Installed the windows first! These windows were not a press fit and I had installed the little backing pieces to provide more gluing surface and provide a better light-block around the perimeter. As you can see in the picture, I painted the cement caps on the crenelations and the front steps.

    Got back to work on the kitchen. Installed the 3 trusses. They needed a bit of sanding at the bottom corners to fit into the notches on the truss support pieces. It was time to light it up before putting on the roof. Again, I used my n-gauge RR track to act both as a bus-bar and mechanical support. I removed some ties where the track would sit upon the trusses. I'm using a 3mm warm white LED with a 470 ohm current limiting 1/4 watt resistor. I soldered the LED leads to the track with one rail being positive and the other negative. I then soldered the red and black leads to their respective rails. I added some shrink tubing on the LED leads and then on the resistor's leads. The resistor was tied to the negative rail and to the black lead. The leads are tied to the track with a small cable tie, and then led through a hole in the wall into the corridor. I tied the lead to the corridor roof using some foam servo tape. On the cables other end I used small bore ferrules which will join this lead to the current distribution blocks.

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    I initially glued the rail to the trusses with medium CA, but then followed up with epoxy. Shouldn't go anywhere. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a commercial project and will be on display for, hopefully, a long time, so it should be made to hold up. The windows are not very secure being only held by their edges which aren't very thick. I was going to follow up with CA, but decided against it because it tends to be attracted by static and jumps to plastic. Once it hits the windows, it doesn't come off.

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    I then installed the roofs. They're glued and won't come off. After gluing them down I painted their eaves and added the parapet caps after which they too were painted with Model Flex concrete gray.

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    Next up will be shingling the roof. I will put flashing up the parapet walls up to the caps, and use simulated sheet roofing for the corridor roof. That too will get parapet caps, but I'm waiting until the roofing is in before adding them. I want to craft a nice chimney using the one-brick-at-a-time methods which makes great looking brickwork. I will then make a silicone mold and cast it in resin. If it's going to be a kit, it's a part that needs to be included.

  2. #1067
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    Bernheim II Window Install

    Did some errands today so only had an hour to work on Bernheim II, got more windows installed. Clearly, I hadn't adjusted the sizing on ALL the windows and some were falling through the openings so I had to glue some small strips of excess laser board to act as a stop and a gluing surface on several of them. I bought a 2 foot square piece of ply with an oak finish to act as the base board. I'm going to mount the model on a bias so it's a bit more interesting. The base will be landscaped similarly to how I did the one on my layout, but with a little more care.

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    I have a few more windows to do, then I'll put the lighting into the 2nd floor and put the floors in place. Then I'll install the roof truss supports and the trusses and put in the 2nd floor lighting. and we'll be ready for the roofs to go on. It takes a long to put on the Rusty Stump shingles as it would to shingle a real house.

  3. #1068
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    Bernheim II Lighting

    Finished the main house lighting today. I also add the rain gutters. The eaves boards were wrong due to not allowing enough space for the thicker tabs with the new wall material. In attempting to make the tab slots bigger I broke one since with the deeper slot the piece had a very narrow part which subsequently broke when handling it. The pieces were cut from 1/32" ply, but were aligned cross-grain and therefore weak. I remade the broken pieces aligning the prominent grain with the parts length and ended up with correct fitting parts. I then added a "splash board" to serve as the rain gutter instead of brass gutters. Many Victorian era buildings had this arrangement. I'll still used the brass gutters on the clerestory and kitchen roofs.

    On the large room I again used n-gauge track as a bus and support structure. I thought I didn't have any more 470 ohm 1/4 resistors to wire the lights in parallel, so I wanted to wire them in series which uses a 330 ohm resistor. At first I wired the + and - with the leads going on one end, and wondered why only one light lit. Doh! I had cut a gap in the rail so the two rails didn't go directly to both LEDs, but forgot that the other lead needs to be on the other end of the circuit since they were in series. I desoldered the hot lead and and scraped the cable since it was now too short to reach the junction block and remade the whole deal. It worked.

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    The rail again is held with medium CA and then J-B Weld 5 minute epoxy. You can see the missing rail just over the center truss. I also added some purling braces to stabilize that center truss since it was just glued at those two contact points on the truss support beam. I have an LED test rig where I check the LED before installation and then again after soldering everything up. Once the roofs go on, it's really hard to get inside to fix anything.

    For the front room, since it was just one LED, I drilled two 0.032" holes spaced the same as the LED leads and soldered the lead wires up on the other side. Medium CA is used to hold them in place.

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    I'm designing the display that this model's going into. I'm not building the display cabinetry since my shop is not equipped for furniture construction and I can't handle large plexiglass case making. I've re-drawn all the SketchUp drawings to make them better conform to the as-built model. The display would need some kind of description to tell folks the provenance of this building. Heaven Hill basically bought out Bernheim's operations and owns the rights to call some of their bourbon lines as Bernheim.

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    Have a great weekend!

  4. #1069
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    Bernheim II Roofing begins

    Started roofing today. I decided to put the faux tar paper (black construction paper) and the counter flashing against the gables with the roof off the model since it was easier to handle. As I was laying down the shingles (Rusty Stumps square and fish scale mix) I realize that I didn't have enough for the complete job and ordered more. The flashing is created using a nice pair of pinking shears which make a good O'scale version of stair step flashing common to brick structures.

    Before doing anything, I drilled the holes for the tall stack and broad ventilator. I didn't do this when I built the first one and had to drill them when the roof was glued on. I also recast some new resin parts. This time I modified the silicone two-part mold by enlarging the vent sprue that was tied into the parts' bottom to make that the feed tube and let the existing feed sprue to serve as the vent. This created a better fill by pushing the air out ahead of the resin. This produced a better product. It's best to have the resin feed from the bottom so the air doesn't have to go downwards to escape.

    You can see how I trimmed the tar paper out around the stack base so the base will be glued to roof substrate and not shingles. The picture shows the starter strip and the valley flashing as well as the black counter flashing.

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    In this picture you can see the alternating rows of straight and fish scale shingle, 3 rows of each. I align the shingles with front edge and trim the valleys on the bias. You align each successive row of shingles with the top of the cut and adjust the alignment gradually as I adhere the strip from one end to the other. I place them gently and go back and burnish the self-adhesive after the alignment is right. On big surfaces, I'll draw some guidelines to keep the rows straight. If I find I'm moving off horizontal I'll apply the correction gradually over several courses so it's less noticeable.

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    I won't do the big roof off the model since the counter flashing has to go under the shingles and also up against the brick parapets. So once I get the gable roofs shingled I'll be fastening the roof on.

  5. #1070
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    Bernheim II Roofing cont.

    Thank you!

    Finished the gable roofs shingles and then attached the front roofs, the clerestory sides and the clerestory roof. I painted the masonry details on the crenelations and then added some of the flashing to the front roofs. I made sure I attached the DC power supply to the bus bars and attached the wires from the front 2nd floor lights. I also need to remember to tie in the big gable's leads before fastening in the rear roof assembly. I'm using a 1 amp ac/dc converter to power all the LEDs. It's got an ac plug that will need some way of getting power when the model is installed on its base.

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    On these roofs I'm using the cap strips included in the Rusty Stumps Cap Strip/Starter Strip packet. I find that the self-adhesive sometimes doesn't so I have to go back and carefully slip some Formula 560 or med CA under to adhere it better. It's touchy work since the shingles don't get painted and any mess I make is visible.

    Before putting on the front roofs and after attaching the leads I took some more wire ties and tidied up the rat's nest. I also put several on the ac adapter's leads as they exit the brass tube that provides the path through the bottom of the model to act as a strain relief when the wire is tugged. The ties prevent the wire from pulling down the tube and keep from pulling on the connections.

    I'm going to change the roofing pattern a little bit. I'm going to use four courses of straight and three of fish scale instead of three and three. The packets come with 10 strips of straight and only 8 of fish scale. I keep ending up short on the fish scale, so by increasing the straight rows I hope to even out their consumption.

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    It's funny... when I first fit the clerestory sides they extended up way past the truss to which they glue, but after I sanded the top and bottom to conform to the roof angles, it fit perfectly. Well what do you know... I actually designed it right taking those angles into account when laying out that part.

    Tomorrow I continue roofing.

  6. #1071
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    Bernheim II Roofing cont.

    I found a nice steam-era box car for under the canopy. It's an Atlas O double-sheathed box car in their Steam Era series. It's got a lot of detail and I added a pair of rust-red Kadee couplers to it to make it a little more prototypical. The build date on the car is 1924 so it would be the kind of car that would exist before the distillery was razed. It was not easy fitting the Kadees to the Atlas since all that coupler lift rigging was in the way of the coupler moving. As it is their not situated properly and are sitting too far into the car. Since this car will not be going on a train, it won't matter. At least the O'gauge couplers aren't hanging out there. I'm probably going to lightly weather the car since it will be practically new when the distillery existed. I'm going to recess the track down to the tie level since this was a spur and wouldn't be ballasted like main line. It would also have weeds growing up between the rails. To recess the track, I'm actually going to raise everything else up on Masonite. I don't have a router to cut a recessed channel. I have a colleague who has a CNC router he made. He might be able to do it for me.

    I'm also going to remove the center rail since it can be done without too much difficulty with Ross since the rail sits on top of the ties and are held with staples and glue. They're not imbedded in the ties like Gargraves, nor do they have molded-on details like Atlas track. I don't have a ready source of two-rail track in L'ville. My local train store does not carry 2-rail O'scale track. Painted rusty, with buried ties, the Ross track will be passable. It has a flat top and realistic, albeit big, profile.

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    Got more flashing in place and started shingling the front roofs. I've killed the idea of using the eave boards as a gutter. When the roof was in its resting place it almost completely closed the drain space, so I sanded the vertical edge to match the roof pitch and shingled over it. That vertical board will now act as the mounting point for the brass gutters which I will make. I made the change to the 4/3 arrangement of straight to fish scale shingles.

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    Tomorrow, more shingles... In looking at this work and thinking, I realize that I have to make a hole big enough to slide the AC converter which is already hard-wired into the building.

  7. #1072
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    Bernheim II Roofing cont.

    Did some more roofs today and then ran out of shingles.

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    I haven't gotten an order confirmation from Rusty Stumps, but I'm sure the order went through. I then added some flashing to the kitchen roof. I first tried the stair step flashing, but it didn't look right since the roof pitch was so shallow they looked funny so I went with a solid sheet. It also covers the unblocked parapet area.

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    While moving the big house from the work table to another spot, the almost-worst-thing happened. My thumb put pressure on one of the 1st floor windows and it popped inwards. It's terrible because I can not longer access that floor since the 2nd floor plate is glued down, unremovable and ain't going anywhere. So it was time for some clever problem solving... the window that was no longer in place was right next to the open slots where the corridor keys in to the main building. I fashioned a hook out of floral wire that would reach up from the inside and push on the window to bring it to the outside. This worked well and I removed the window, reapplied glue and attempted to reinsert it.

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    That's when the actual-worst-thing happened. I pushed a tad too hard and the entire window fell inside the building's unaccessible innards. This led to phase II problem solving. I attached a sticky stick to the other end of the wire. These are available form MicroMark and have a semi-strong adhesive for picking up and placing small parts. I find that the stickum is just a bit too strong for PE work since it tends to re-pull the part off the substrate when attempting to de-attach the sticky stick. But in this case, it's stickiness was the perfect solution. I turned on the building's lights so I could see inside, pressed the stick on the window and VOILA! lifted the window out of its opening so I could try again to glue it in place. This time it worked well and I reinforced the joints with some strategically placed dabs of medium CA.

    Lesson: KEEP YOU FINGERS OFF THE WINDOWS FROM NOW ON. With the sticky stick concept and I can go in and retrieve any window that does fall inside. Whew!

  8. #1073
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    Bernheim II Corridor roof and Chimney

    Still waiting for the shingles so I finished up roofing the corridor to the kitchen. I didn't have any more of the "tar paper" strips that Bar Mills includes with their kits, so I cut pieces of Avery mailing labels. It basically worked the same. After laying down 1" strips (4 scale feet) I adhered them on the roof and up the parapet sides, and then painted them Tamiya Rubber Black. I highlighted the joints with Tamiya Gloss Black as "tar sealant". I pre-painted the parapet strips which are a laser-cut piece with Model Flex Concrete and then glued them on the top edges with Aleen's. I installed flashing at the top and bottom which will be attached to the wall and roof shingles respectively. The slight misalignment you see on the lower left corner was fixed after I took this picture.

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    That's all the roofing I can do until the shingles arrives so I started on the faux brick chimney. I'm going to construct this as I did with the Victorian Station's chimney; brick-by-brick. To do a tiny project like this is not too onerous. For anything bigger, I wouldn't recommend it.

    Here's the plan I drew.

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    And here's the start. On this base with go two layers of bricks, one for the little bit you'll see through the cutout and then another layer on top. Solid styrene pieces will be used for the top pieces and styrene strip for the bottom angled base. Instead of bricking all the way across on the base level, I will brink the center section and use strip of the same 0.010" thickness to pack it out. There's not point in doing the finicky bricking work in areas that will not be seen.

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    This master will then be silicone molded and cast in resin. It should be a nice chimney for an ornate building. Stay tuned. Silicone's great because you down have to have draft angles to remove the master from the mold. The mold stretches and releases all the square edges and reverse angles.

  9. #1074
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    Bernheim II Chimney Master cont.

    Today will be a two-post day since I didn't post yesterday.

    Work continues on the chimney master. Instead of completely bricking the inner layer, I'm just bricking the open part you see. I'm holding the piece in a vise so it stays nice and still while I'm fussing with all these little bits. One the first side shown here, I sawed off the bricks extending outside the inner boundary, but on subsequent sides, I framed this area with styrene and am placing the bricks inside.

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    I have a whole bunch of pre-cut half bricks and half bricks plus 0.020" for doing outside corners that look right. It looks a bit of crude at this point, but I think it will look better eventually (hopefully). All of the exposed styrene gets bricks. This afternoon I'll have a lot more bricks applied. The real test will be how this piece will pull out of the silicone mold.

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  10. #1075
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    Bernheim II Chimney Master Today's Second Post

    Mostly finished up the chimney this afternoon. I am in the process of sanding the base so it sits more vertical on the roof. Also I'm going to add a hollow flue pipe to the top. Otherwise with a little filling and cleaning up, it's ready to be molded in resin. The bricks are little irregular, but that kind of adds to its reality. You really can't get that look with brick paper or molded sheets. As I said, I wouldn't want to build any substantial structures this way. It would drive you crazy. The one thing you can do with individual bricks is actually get the corners to be fully 3D.

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    I didn't have the right sizes and thickness of solid bar stock to make the wider parts so I had to resort to laminating thinner pieces to make the right sizes. After sanding and a little filling, you won't see the layers. The bottom piece is also fabricated out of multiple pieces. Tomorrow, I'll finish it all of and start the molding process.

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    I got the base plate back from my friend who CNC routed it for me. I now have a very precisely fitting groove to bury the tracks into the terrain. This person has an amazingly complete metal and woodworking shop, and has invited me to work in it as long as I teach him how to work the lathe and mill he has. Shingles should be coming any day now since they were mailed yesterday from Fishers, IN and that's not to far from Louisville.

  11. #1076
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    Bernheim II Chimney Mold Making Part 1

    Yesterday I made the bottom mold for the silicone pour. This time I correctly designed a large enough feed sprue to bottom-feed resin to the model. You have to use special sulphur-free clay in which to embed the master. Normal kids modeling clay isn't like this and the sulphur inhibits the silicone from curing. You push the master in to the half-way point and try and get the edges and the clay aligned. Legos make great molding boxes for these small projects. The nubs in the clay will serve as alignment keys on the final mold. I will cut the remaining silicone away from the sprue areas before pouring any copies. The top vents come off the sides of the hollowed out flue pipe. That's where air would get trapped if I didn't vent right from the top. Also, You need to put sprues and vents where you can cut them away without wrecking the casting.

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    I mixed way too much silicone for this first pour. It must be mixed thoroughly and uses equal parts by volume which makes it easy. The Smooth-On 00M25 2-part silicone is very forgiving, doesn't need vacuum degassing and cures at room temperature. It needs to be at about 70 degrees and the basement is a bit cold so I bring the box upstairs for curing. It takes a few hours. You can see the bubbles that rose spontaneously.

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    Today, I pulled the mold apart to get to the clay. I disassembled the mold from the bottom to keep the silicone in the mold box. I had to use a tool to pry the clay off the chimney master and two little bricks detached and stayed in the clay. I glued them back on and will pour the top part of the mold on Monday. I was afraid when I got up this morning that the clay would be completely stuck in the brick mortar grooves, but my fears were unfounded and only a little bit of clay had to be removed from the master.

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    It's a bit tricky to keep the chimney firmly embedded in the silicone in preparation for the next pour. If it comes up and silicone flows underneath it will fill in the bricks on that level and ruin the mold. I will have to be very careful to ensure that the master is down into the mold as far as it can go before pouring more rubber.

  12. #1077
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    Bernheim II: Chimney Mold Complete

    Thank you Alan!

    Didn't do as much today as I would have wanted, but I did get the mold made. Poured the top half of the mold and after curing separated them, and opened up the sprues. Tomorrow I'll be attempting to make the first copy. Wish me luck. You never know how they're going to turn out util you pull the casting. Brick detail looks good. I opened the vents into the top flue where the air would be trapped. That's the most challenging area.

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    While the mold was curing I finished shingling the kitchen roof. Straightforward job, no surprises. I was going to add the gutter and downspout on the side that would less accessible after attaching kitchen to the main building. And then I found that I had no stock for the gutters and would have to order them from Special Shapes.

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    Then I spent the rest of the day in the emergency room or our local hospital. I woke this morning with a rapid and irregular heartbeat. I've had them before so I didn't think too much of it. Usually a deep breadth or cough with get it all in sync. Not today. This kept up the whole day and at 3:00 my wife suggested that I call my internist. He said go to the nearest emergency room now since his office didn't have the right equipment.

    To make a long story short, I have atrial fibrillation. I used to take a beta blocker for heart palpitations, but when I lost weight, retired, ate better and exercised, my heart rate was so low as to be dangerous so my doc said to stop the beta blocker. Now I'm back on one. I'm also going to be on Eliquis, the blood thinner to prevent any really bad things from happening. A-Fib is not the worst thing that can happen, but it does make you think about mortality...darn!

  13. #1078
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    Bernheim II: Chimney and Roofs (Part A)

    This is two-part, 8-pictured post.

    Poured the first resin chimney. The flow worked as planned and it didn't take much resin to fill the cavity. When liquid resin was visible in the vents I stopped pouring. Entrained air came out okay generally, but there were still some pinholes from bubbles and a bit of trouble on one of the square extension sections. I've subsequently filled these with Tamiya filler.

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    I'm not happy with the parting line. It was offset a bit and was due to not having the piece set in the clay exactly at the sides' apexes. While some filing can mitigate it a bit, it can't make it completely go away without losing too much brick detail. It's making me think that I may want to remold it and try again. Meanwhile, I can probably use this one on the project, but for any further kits, I would have to do a little better. I'm going to ask my colleague, Les Lewis, if setting the piece at 45 degrees is the best way to mold it. I'm learning this resin casting stuff on the fly.

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    I traced the chimney base and removed the shingles under it for a better glue surface.

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    I then cut out a piece of wine-bottle foil to make some flashing for under the chimney. Here again, I tried to make it out of one piece of foil which inevitably creates gaps. I think I'll make it out of separate pieces so there won't be any gaps. The upper flashing needs to be tucked under the shingles, while the lower lip extends over the shingles. In looking at this image, I'm definitely going to make it out of separate pieces.

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    Last edited by Builder 2010; 22 Mar 17, at 00:20.

  14. #1079
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    Bernheim II: Chimney and Roofs (Part B)

    While the chimney was curing I took care of two maintenance items on the layout. I had a #8 switch on the main line passing siding that had it's insulating pin on the wrong side so the switch was dead when the mainline was de-energized. This wasn't right since I have two passenger trains that can run consecutively when I shut off one or the other block. But when shutting off the outer mainline track, the switch was unpowered and the engines coming from the passing siding would stall on the switch. Furthermore, if the sitting passenger train was in that block, the running passenger train's passenger cars would shuttle current to the sitting train through the passenger cars lighting systems and the sitting train would briefly turn on. So I isolated the switch by cutting the connection pin on the center rail about a foot from the switch, and added a power jumper on the other side of the switch where the power should be coming from on the energized part of the mainline.

    This wasn't the prettiest solder job I ever done and tomorrow, I'm going to redo it with a piece of solid conductor 14 gauge Romex ground wire which looks a bit cleaner, but this jumper did work and the trains run as they should. I used the RSU for these joints since you need a lot of heat to solder the steel track and the RSU lets you continue to hold the joint together while it cools. That looks disgusting and is way out of my normal MilSpec soldering skill.

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    I also had to fix a track on the new Ross switch that was out of gauge by 0.030" and was causing my Allegheny's pilot truck to derail. This was a factory defect. Trouble was I couldn't get the Ross spikes to go back into the wood ties in the new more-outward position. And believe me I tried. Finally I selected the nuclear option; gluing it in place with J-B Weld steel infused epoxy. Stuff is really strong, but it takes overnight to really cure. If all goes well, it will hold that track forever. If not, I'll have to contact Ross and get a replacement. Again, this is not pretty, but it's far away from the usual vantage point. I'm more concerned about having bulletproof trackage that doesn't derail stuff heading into the tunnel. This is at the critical hinge side of the swinging door which accounts for having no rail joining pins.

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    All these repairs were necessitated because I'm going to have guests on Friday. One of the staff at Roundhouse Trains has been saying for months that he wanted to see the trains and bring one of his 3-rail friends. Finally, we made a date and I wanted the operation to be flawless.

    I got back to roofing and finished the fore roofs on the main building. I'm going wait for the brass for the gutters to arrive before get to the hind roof since I need to build and attach one of the kitchen gutters before the kitchen is attached to the main house. I want to permanently fasten in the kitchen first since it's wiring needs to feed into the main building to tie into the terminal strips and this has to happen while the building open from above. Then the main roof has to be fastened in place with it's wire also first connected. It's possible to shingle the hind roof while off the model, but it's a tight fit and I'm concerned about how to do the flashing. I could glue that to the building sides and then install the shingled roof, but I'm concerned that the clearances are tight and the roof could peel the flashing off as I attempt to slide the roof in place. I can wait. I'll work on the Avenger...

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    I thought I give some more details about shingling with Rusty Stump adhesive product. I trim the back end on a cutting board to either a full or half shingle, run the shingle to the other end, press it into the corner with a burnishing too that I have left over from the era of using press-on-lettering to make visuals. Jeez... remember those days. It would take an hour to make one page, and then you had to get it printed on transparency film. It would take a work week to put together a normal sized presentation. Anyway... I digress. After burnishing it down, I take a sharp #11 and trim the excess into the corner (kind of like hanging wallpaper). I leave this more ragged edge behind the front parapet so viewers won't probably ever see it.

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  15. #1080
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    Bernheim II: Chimney and Roofs (Part C)

    After looking at the filling I did, and then painting, weathering and installing the chimney, I think it will work. I remade the flashing in several pieces although it you look closely, it's still not correct since the front piece has little wings that are lying upon the side piece providing a path for water to get under the flashing. I'm leaving it all alone. I haven't used any weathering powders yet which will dull it down even some more. Some of the resin defects actually lend some more character to the piece.

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    The J-B Weld fastened the track into the new position perfectly so the tracks at the hinge are aligned. There was a bump from a bit of excess epoxy that I cut down to smooth passage over that area. I also replaced two traction tires on one truck of my MTH Union Pacific U50-C. I had a heck of a time getting the truck to motor screw installed and had to take the shell off so I could hold the motor still while aligning the truck. The motor kept drooping forward which put the screw out of alignment. I even tried using a brass rod to hold the screw holds aligned, but when I took the brass out to replace the screw, it was out of alignment. This simple little job took over a half hour. I still need to buy a new shell for this engine. When the shell fractured, it also fractured the standoffs that the shell screws tie to a and those ingenious contact devices MTH uses. You can't tell from a distance that the shell was completely fractured, but you better not pick it up by the body. That engine is now being reissued as a PS-3 so maybe that shell can be purchased.

    I then found some black coated adhesive paper that comes with Bar Mills kits and it would make terrific flashing since it's already got the sticky stuff. And it's thinner than the construction paper I was using so it will be easier to slide the main roof next to it. The reason for this discussion is that I can now fully shingle this roof before installation, thus giving me more to do while waiting for the gutter brass. I'll start shingling tomorrow.

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