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Friday, June 27, 2008

Birney Project ~ Lets Open A Window!

Early 20th Century air conditioning = opening up a window. A majority of historic trolley photos I see depict the trolleys with their windows in various opened positions. Only in the colder areas of the country are trolleys seen with all their windows closed.

Unfortunately, San Diego has the finest weather in the country (now there is something I don’t think has ever been stated before!), so windows are almost always open to take advantage of the fair weather. Why “unfortunately”? ‘cuz now I gotta open some windows on this model as all traction models are made with all their windows closed. Which is fine because if they did, the pattern of open windows would be identical on every car of that make. And it’s easy enough to open them, just takes some time and precision.

Before. Here in this close up of the Birney car you can see the vertical posts of the window frames coming up out of the side wall, up through the transom and into the upper side wall. The window sash can be seen on either side of the post and the lower sash rests on the side wall. These, or a portion of, will have to be removed in order for the window to appear opened.

After. So I took a file to the sashes. The window on the left I filed away all the sashes to depict the window fully opened. The center window I left closed. The window on the right, all of the lower sash was removed and only filed away half of the side sashes to depict the window opened half way. The filed away lower sash will have to be re-added to its new, opened location at the bottom of the window glass.

Adding glass is one of the very last things to be done to a model (especially after painting). So, through the magic of Photoshop, I’ll simulate what would happen last. The “glass” (clear styrene) would be one big piece glued on from the inside. The styrene would be cut to fit the various sizes of the window openings. The lower sashes I’m going to cut from styrene strips, paint and then glue onto the clear styrene from the front. The upper sash, where seen, will be glued onto the clear styrene from the back to simulate the effect of being behind the transom glass.

And there you go! Opened widows. Now “Ride & Relax” and enjoy that fine breeze, yessir, enjoy that fine San Diego breeze!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Birney Project ~ Drilling out the Marker Lamps

Prominent! That’s what I find those marker lamps over the center window to be. So I decided to drill them out so I can light them.

Standard practice was, as I understand it, that there are colored “gels” that fit in between the lens and the lamp thus changing the color of the light seen. When the lamps are in the rear end of the car, they display red. But what they display when on the forward end was up to each individual traction (trolley) company.

Steam railroads had standard practices that were recognized around the country when it came to marker lamps, and some traction companies elected to follow these, such as:

White = Extra or Special car, not scheduled on timetable.

Green = Another car following on same schedule.

Etc… You get the idea.

Or traction companies could elect to display white to compliment the headlight, or just run them dark.

Color? I don’t know what San Diego Electric Railways practices would have been when it came to the color of these lamps. So I’m going to have to make an educated guess. Of course if YOU know what color they were, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. I would be most grateful.

What color I’m going to display I don’t know yet until I actually get to the lighting part of the project. But I decided that adding the marker lights would be worth the effort and will add to the entertainment value of the car. Yessir! Add to its entertainment value!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Birney Project - Opening up the destination signs.

One of the modifications I want to make to the Birney car is to open up the solid brass destination signs so that I can have it light up.

The destination sign is over the short window on the left. Ken Kidder has the shape of it stamped in there, so that simplifies things some.

Start by drilling small holes large enough to accommodate a miniature ream.

A ream is basically a cylindrical file.

Ream out the holes into a roughly square shape so that it can accommodate square file.

I highly recommend using some sort of magnification while working with such tiny models. That’s Dave wearing his Optivisor®.

Hack away at the brass now that the square file fits in there, roughing out the shape of the opening.

Easy does it now with the flat file, carefully leveling out the edges into straight lines out to the final size of the openings.

Corners are the toughest. Your file with the sharpest edge will determine how sharp the corners of the opening will be. I find that a three sided file has the sharpest edges.

And there you go. An opening where once there were none. Took about an hour to do, and I still have the one on the other end to do.

Then I'll have to figure a way to light it, but I’ll worry about that when I get to it. Yessir, worry about it when I get to it.