Scratchbuilding, Marx-style: Finishing the roof

This is a continuation of something I wrote well over a year ago detailing how I build Marx-style boxcars out of simple materials. Train season is starting up again soon, so it’s about time I finished this story.

Once the box that will become your Marx-style boxcar is dry, it’s time to tend to the roof.

This method won’t produce a contest-quality roof by any stretch, but it will produce something that will blend in well with Marx cars. The idea here is to produce something that most hobbyists can accomplish in an evening and that won’t overwhelm the other cars in the train. Read more

If you have wooden trains, you need Suretrack

If you have wooden trains, you need Suretrack

I finally bought my boys a box of Suretrack, after thinking about it for a mere two years. Wait. Make that a long two years. A long two years of the most destructive forces known to humanity (two young boys) ravaging their wooden track.

Here’s the drill: I spend 45 minutes building an intricate layout to their ever-changing specifications, and of course since they think there’s no such thing as too many bridges, that layout comes tumbling down about 45 seconds after the first train hits the track.

Sound familiar? Read more

LED bulbs and breakability

A longtime friend posted something on Facebook about CFL bulbs–namely, that in addition to containing mercury, that they also emit ultraviolet light. I thought everyone knew that fluorescent lights emit more UV than other types of lights and that wasn’t news, but maybe not.

I pointed out that LED bulbs don’t emit any UV light at all, and the proof is that bugs aren’t attracted to LED lights. They’ll come to an incandescent or a fluorescent light though.

He asked if LED lights pose any hazards if they break. I now have an answer. Read more