Above is my latest Snoopy handcar project using an eBay find (now restored) that exemplifies everything that could be
wrong with an auction item. All my assumptions about it were incorrect, partially my own fault for not asking questions of the
seller. However, the seller wasn't entirely truthful in how the item was pictured on the auction site or in the description. Buyer
beware!!!!! Briefly put, the Snoopy figure was damaged, poorly repainted, and the handcar frame was distorted, with one bent
axle and loose wheel, bad rectifier, and a poorly installed replacement motor. Fortunately, with careful paint removing, repainting, frame
straightening, rewiring, and wheel repair, I was able to correct these problems so it is now operational and looks good. The
rear lantern and the trailing ore car are homemade. The lantern on the front is a dollar store Christmas stock lamppost with the
pole removed, just the lantern top and base were combined to make a lantern with a new bulb, then painted a metallic gold.
The trailing ore car has a Lionel electronic e-unit in it so it can be run on the layout's main loop on AC, with the ability to be in
neutral and reverse in addition to the forward travel. (As originally manufactured, the handcar only traveled in the forward
direction.) The truck under the ore car picks up current with the help of a snap-in center rail roller with wheel contacts so the whole arrangement is electrically tied together and it will navigate switches, crossovers, and rough track without stalling. Both
lanterns have 14 volt grain of wheat bulbs. Better to use bulbs rated at about 18 volt for longer bulb life. A Bachmann "G" scale shovel
and pick ax will be added, same as my original handcar, with a few other "G" scale tools placed on the ore car's load.
The original handcar featured in the mining area was modified for DC only, so this one is used on the layout's main O27 loop
on AC and on the dining room table in a figure eight track arrangement. Without modification, the handcar will not travel through a 45
degree crossover without stalling, so the additional electrical pick up from the trailing ore car solves this problem, and greatly
improves overall performance and the tolerance of dirty track.
A 2 ounce lead fishing weight is concealed in a styrene box on the very front end of the handcar. The weight is necessary for
the handcar with the trailing car to handle the layout's grade. Rustic planking details were carved into the ore car's styrene shell, then
lightly "antiqued" with a brown acrylic paint wash.
This is the picture from the auction site. The reverse side of the Snoopy figure was missing some paint and the overall color was a light yellow, no resemblance to the white appearance in the eBay photo (the photo must have been digitally altered). Because the figure was poorly restored (repainted) by a previous owner or repair shop, upon washing the figure with a mild soap, the painted features, eyes, mouth, most of the ear paint, and part of the nose, washed off! Again, buyer beware!
After removing the yellowed white paint, the Snoopy figure had a deep brown stain into the white plastic on the side of his snoot that took a some effort to completely conceal with several coats of white acrylic paint. Woodstock, however, was in almost perfect shape.
After carefully scraping and sanding the figure to remove the yellowed paint, this is the repainted figure. With the aid of magnifying glasses and a coffee-free morning, the features were repainted, with the eyes not quite as thickly painted as originally manufactured, but more to my liking. Fortunately the arms were in good shape. Notice the rubber block under Snoopy is now painted brown to resemble a box. There is a wood grain embossed into the box, so the designers probably wanted it a different color than white. Would have been better if it were made of a brown rubber/vinyl.
This is the remaining lamppost from the dollar store package of 2. The scalloped edge of the cap was removed for the handcar lantern.
In 2007 the electronic e-unit was removed from the ore car and a rectifier with a large polarized electrolytic capacitor was used in its place. The capacitor provides an electronic flywheel effect giving the handcar good coasting ability through all sorts of problematic track, crossovers, and switches (turnouts). Stalling is a thing of the past, however the direction of travel is now back to forward only. Be careful when using capacitors! They must always receive the correct DC polarity and never be given voltage over their rating, or they can explode. I like to use a capacitor rated at approximately 3 times the voltage it may receive. Remember to protect your face, your eyes especially, when testing these circuits! If you are not familiar with using capacitors, get the "in person" advice of an expert.