This late addition is courtesy of some brainstorming on the Railwire. The odd thing is I don't understand why I hadn't thought of it, especially since Rick Spano did it for his Sceniced and Undecided. The effect is pretty simple: a low-RPM motor rotates a disc that has irregular bumps along the edge. A spring-loaded lever rides along the bumps, and a length of fine monofilament is attached between the end of a flexible fishing rod and the lever. For the Mountain Vista, the mechanism needed to be very compact, because the water level where the animation would go is only a half-inch above the layout base.
Subsequently I added a little twist that I don't recall ever animated, at least in N Scale. That's a fisherman holding up his prize, and the fish is wriggling. So, how would the fish wriggle? The fish is made of silicone, which is applied over ultra-fine wire that descends through the ground and connects to a gear. As the wire is turned, the rotating silicone creates the illusion of a wriggling fish. The principle of the mechanism is similar to that of the barber pole.
For the fishing figure, I had to drill a #80 hole endwise into his hand so he could hold the pole (above left). I bonded very fine nylon monofilament to the pole provided by Preiser and kinked it at the end of the pole. For the figure holding a fish, I had to drill a #95 hole vertically through his hand for the rotating wire (above right).
I made the mechanism with a low-RPM geared micro-motor, three gears and a cam ring (above). One end of a lever rides the irregular cam shape (below left); the other end has a screw mount to facilitate attaching the fishing line (below right), as well as to make it adjustable, since tolerances are surprisingly tight owing to the very small movement involved.
The figures are mounted on a base that will be incorporated into the scenery when the time comes.
Note that this scene is located toward the middle of the layout, so it's not up front for close scrutiny. Also, scenery will be strategically designed so as to help hide the wire that makes the fish wriggle.
Subsequent to the above video, I made an improvement to the "wriggling fish." I felt as though it looked exactly like what it was: a rotating bit of silver caulk. So I modified the mechanism so that the "fish" swiveled instead of spun. I also used a better fish: I cut the one from the Preiser figure holding his prize, and glued it to the wire. It's not ideal by any means, but I think it's much better than before.
On 17 October 2020 I installed the fishermen animation unit. First I had to tear out the previously-installed riverbed because it was much too high. I then carved out a recess for the unit in the base layer of Gatorfoam to make it as deep as possible (below left), and installed the unit (below right).
This is what I had in mind for the fishing spot in the river.
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