You can't see me...

No, this isn't a post about John Cena.  You can find those over at Cageside Seats or Bleacher Report.

This has to do with model railroad details.  Specifically, the really small details.  So small, in fact, that I was unable to photograph them to show you what I'm talking about.

I was adding lift rings to the SD40-2W's that I'm building.  Why?  Well, because there are some details that should be on a locomotive in order for it to look right.  Lift rings are on the roof, so anyone looking at the nice Cannon and Company fans or the nice Railflyer snow shields would see the lift rings or observe that they were missing.

In the past, I used Detail Associates plastic lift rings.  Really simple...cut them off the sprue, put them into a hole on the locomotive, and glue them in place.  Unfortunately, they break really easily if you look at them the wrong way, and the price on them has gone up and supply has gone down.  So, I needed a replacement.

Railflyer planned to bring out etched lift rings, and I even ordered some.  Unfortunately, they never arrived and possibly never will.  I do hope Chris and his business land on their feet, as the parts were the best I've worked with.

So, that left me with Plano and their lift rings.  The Plano ones are beautiful, but they're tiny.  They look like a tiny locomotive drawbar.  You have to cut them off of a fret using a knife (and chisel blades will not fit in the space and your knife had better be sharp), fold them along a small line in the middle, and then put them into a hole on whatever you're using them on.  A drop of super glue is supposed to be put in between the folds, but I didn't do that yet.

Anyway, they are beautiful.  They are also an ingenious torture device that causes me to say "bugger" about every fifth lift ring.  Because of their small size, they tend to like to drop to the floor and disappear.  Despite being made of a very shiny metal, they do not reflect light very well and that means once they've hit the floor, they're gone.  Much like the tools I wrote about many years ago on this very blog, I think some of my detail parts have grown legs and have learned to run away on me.

I will continue to use them, even though they occasionally frustrate me.  They're like the 0603 leds I use for lighting...small, hard to work with, but totally indispensable.  Thank goodness I didn't try to solder 0402 leds...that would drive me batty.

Speaking of detail parts...

There was someone earlier this week complaining about Detail Associates.  He was discussing the fact that he can't find the beacons in the quantities he needs to run his business (he makes lighting kits for locomotives).  Someone else suggested that he get one beacon, make a silicone mold of it, and then make as many as he needs in resin. 

That's not right.  It cost Detail Associates a considerable amount of money to create the original tooling to bring that part to market.  Making resin copies for yourself is fine, but making them for sale is wrong.  Legally and ethically wrong.  I do hope that "Big Al" doesn't seriously consider taking the advice to copy these parts...