One of the lovable aspects of model railroading is variety. Another is creativity. I love the variety, but wish I was more creative. As a result, when I do manage to figure out a way to do something, it gives me great pleasure. Here's a story of one of those times.
This weekend, while walking through the Wal Mart in Baxter, one goal was to find something that was pretty much round and had a hole in the center. The goal was to develop a better way to simulate the "reflector" on crossing signals. It's hard to cut out a perfectly round object and then cut a perfectly centered hole. A sequin seemed to be the potential solution, so I parted with a buck or so to acquire a bag, as shown here.
Now these sequins come in a variety of sizes. The largest ones seemed like a possible candidate for what I intended, but before I even got to try that I was sidetracked by another idea.
The sequins are slightly "dished in", not perfectly flat. As I sat pondering one of them, (yes I actually do things like that, just ask Mrs. L4T someday), a figurative light bulb appeared above my head. These looked an awful lot like tiny versions of the disk harrow blades I used to sell at the Co-op way back when we lived in Baudette. Sadly this is so many years ago that a lot of you were no more than tricycle motors at the time. Makes me feel old.
Anyhow, after test fitting a few of the sequins on a plastic rod, it seemed like this might just be a workable plan. The following photo shows the small size, which would work for a finishing tandem disk, but a heavier offset disk would be easier to build.
The small size was a tight press fit on the rod, but the next size up, which would be more appropriate for a heavier offset disk, had larger holes and each one needed a dab of CA cement to hold it in place. After what seemed like an eternity I had enough installed to move forward with the project.
The next stop was an image search, where I found this. Now you might already know that I am no rivet counter, and my models are rough impressions of reality, so comparing the photo of the real thing to what is below will reveal many shortcomings of the model. And that's OK with me. I like how it looks, and I especially like how much it cost (very little) and the fact that it's something I made with my own two hands.
I posted a picture of this thing behind a tractor the other night, in this post. Now to try and find some tiny John Deere decals.
The point of this is what makes modeling fun for me. I set out to do something, in this case improve on the crossing signals I made earlier, and end up in an entirely different place. So not only is model railroading fun, it's surprising too. And not only that, this project started and ended on the same day. I just love things like that.