Saturday, 31 July 2021

Boxcar Kitbash (Part 4) Completed

First up, I'm quite pleased that for the first time, I've had photos of my models printed in model railroad publications.  Two magazines actually, and by coincidence, both are in the same month. I've made it into the August issue of Railroad Model Craftsman as well as the August issue Model Railroader.  Single photos in both magazines.  RMC's Boomer Trail section shows one of my patched GTW (former ROCK) boxcars (page 76) while MR has a photo of my GP38 #815 (page59) in their Trackside Photos section.

I don't even have the original photos anymore, as last October the hard drive in my laptop crashed "with extreme prejudice", and everything stored on the hard drive was lost.  Perhaps I'll try to re-create the two photos in the magazines, and post those here next week.

As for the extended height boxcar that I'd been working on, here's a look at how the finished product turned out...

Laurinberg and Southern 1421, with faded paint, rusty scratch marks, and graffiti.  I followed a prototype photo to get the placement of the scratches as best I could.

As best I could tell on the prototype picture of another similar car, there wasn't much weathering on the end, so I just sprayed a light layer of rail brown on the ends.  The patched numbers at the top looked like black had been painted over the original lettering, and then that was covered with a white sticker with black printed letters on it.  I did my best to try to mimic that.

A look at the other side of the boxcar.  The prototype had the white reporting marks over red patches over black.  I used maroon coloured trim film (Microscale) for the red.  I freelanced the graffiti, and then faded it a bit.

This next photo is a belated addition to the post.
As a height comparison, here is the finished project boxcar, now18 inches taller, alongside another car of the same type and size that the project started out with.

So this boxcar is now complete, and out on the layout in revenue service.  It's not perfect, but I do think it turned out very well. This project was a bit more involved than usual for me, and took longer to complete than I thought it would, but overall fun to do.

Saturday, 24 July 2021


I thought I'd feature a few views of Brian Smith's B&O SD7 model. I never seem to be able to tell an SD7 from an SD9, but has B&O 1830 listed as an SD7, so I'm going with that.

Brian's B&O 1830, as it was upon it's arrival here at JSSX.  This is a fine looking model right out of the box.  The one (minor) thing that I noticed that I thought looked out of place was the wonky yellow colour of the 4 ladders, but the weathering should camouflage that.

1830 at the JSSX maintenance facility.

A closer view

A view showing the roof.  I put a little bit of rust powder on the exhaust stacks.

And after I was finished with the weathering, Brian asked for one more thing.  Would I be able to blank out the "B&O" lettering on the side of the cab.  This was really not a problem. My solution was to spray decal trim film B&O Blue, and cut narrow strips of that to apply over top of the lettering.

At the maintenance tracks again, with the lettering "painted" out.  The solution of painting the  trim film worked out very nicely

1830, with the paint-out stripe, sits idle at the far end of the JSSX yard

And one more thing...

This link is to another YouTube video, this one of the of a GTW GP38 working at the Dunn Paper plant in Port Huron, Michigan.  The video is only 2 minutes long.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Ferromex Boxcar on the JSSX

 Taking a bit of a break from my boxcar project this past week, I swapped out a few of the cars that have been out on the layout for a while, and replaced them with cars that have been tucked away in the storage cupboard.

Here are a few looks at one of them as it makes it's way from the JSSX yard around to the consignee.

This patched FXE boxcar as it's just being dragged out of the JSSX yard was formerly owned by the Nacionales de Mexico railway.  The Ferromex decal was made for me a few years back by Sean Steele.  The FXE letters and numbers are from Microscale stencil font decal sets.  The overall grimy appearance was done by brushing on thinned ivory black acrylic water mixable oil colour.

Some fresh paint seen along the lower portion of the boxcar side was done with Microscale Trim Film.  Interesting to note that the weight data is in kilograms.  I don't really know if the Mexican road blanks out the capacity line as the US and Canadian railroads have.

The view of the other side of the Ferromex box is somewhat obstructed as it rounds the curve behind the JSSX storage area.

A better view of the boxcar as it emerges from beneath the highway overpass. The overpass, which spans both the GTW line and the JSSX rails is slated for replacement, hopefully sometime this year.

The graffiti is a mix of a couple of different brands of decals.  I particularly like the image of the Spanish looking gentleman.

As happens so often to railfans, these views of the more visually interesting side of this seldom seen boxcar are partially obstructed, this time by a fence and an old guardrail.

JSSX workhorse #815 has the switching duties this day. 

And one more thing...

Brian Smith sent me the link to this YouTube video a long time ago (4 years ago actually) and I've just stumbled across his email again this week. I thought I'd share the link. 10 minutes long, the video shows the GTW working hard in a few rather sketchy looking areas of the Motor City.  In some ways, the video sort of sums up just what it is about the GTW that makes it my favourite railroad. 

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Boxcar Kitbash (Part 3) Paint

 I drove out to the local Michael's store this week to look for paint for the boxcar project.  I took along the prototype photo that I've been using, and came home with two craft paints called "Celery" and "Beach Glass". They looked like near perfect colour matches.

As a refresher, here's the prototype photo that got me started on this project in the first place.

I cut some .005 styrene into strips to use as the reinforcing, or whatever it is, on the vertical ribs of the prototype car.

So here's the painted boxcar, with the reinforcing still to be added.

The car looks pretty good actually, although I kind of think that the paint looks a bit too yellow.  I was expecting it to appear a bit more green than it does.

This is where the project stands at the moment.  I guess the next step will be the lettering and weathering and graffiti.

I have this local shot from Friday...
Looks like fresh paint on this GP38 belonging to Larry's Truck & Electric.  3830 has emerged from Lambton Diesel Services in Sarnia on July 9, 2021.

And this one as well from a couple of weeks ago to go along with it...
3830 even looks clean on the inside.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Boxcar Kitbash (Part 2)

I didn't get as far along on my boxcar project this week as I would have liked, but the weather's been nice, it's hockey playoffs, and the Blue Jays games are on too, so those are my reasons.

However, the roof is now re-attached to the car, and I removed the factory lettering from where I thought it absolutely needed to be removed.  I soaked little bits of one ply of paper towel with MicroSol and left it on top of the lettering for about 20 minutes and the lettering lifted right off using a damp Q-Tip. Just that easy.

Here's a look at the boxcar in grey primer...

And another.  I think the car is looking at least decent...

Then, of course, I realized that I'd made the posts directly above the corners of the doors the wrong size.  I popped them off (with no damage to the styrene behind them), and cut new ones the proper width.  

So that's where we stand with this project as of this morning...

On another note, I found this wooden sign interesting when I saw it in a photo posted on  The original photo was taken by Dwayne Reinhart in roughly 1995.  I first straightened the photo in my Paintshop program, and then cropped out everything else to leave just the sign.  Might make for an interesting detail to include somewhere on the layout.

Posted here with permission from Dwayne, so, my Thanks certainly go to him.  He also told me he wouldn't mind at all if any of us use the photo on our layouts. I'm going to print one or two copies and use it at an industry to be decided, somewhere along the JSSX.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Boxcar Kitbash (Part 1)

 I saw this (Collin Reinhart) photo of LRS 1421 on and thought maybe I could give modeling it a try.  Obviously the boxcar has had it's height extended, but I found the added bracing on the vertical ribs interesting as well.  Having the two different colours of green doesn't hurt either.

I've cropped the original photo to remove items surrounding the boxcar.

This Athearn boxcar will serve as the victim in this effort.  I hope this goes well.  Not a lot of experience cutting up  freight cars.  Oh well, here goes...

Off with the roof...which was a little bit nerve wracking.

A few minutes work with a Zona saw and I had the roof removed.  I should also note that I removed the stirrup steps first.  I figured that I'd probably just break them anyway as I worked on the boxcar, and maybe if I took them off I could save them.  Well, I got 3 out of 4 off alright, but that 4th one flew off across the workbench, never to be found.

Between Luc Sabourin and I, we figured that the boxcar height was extended by 18 inches, so I cut strips of .040" styrene to that width, and added them to the top of the boxcar body.

Below, the boxcar roof is just loosely sitting in place for the moment.
Adding the short vertical ribs to the extension should be next.  Stay tuned, as I'll try to have more on this project next time.

Before you go though, here's a link to another YouTube video.  This time it's highlighting Rapido's June 2021 arrivals (8 minutes long).  Nothing there of interest to the JSSX really, but it's real good to see them continuing to add more to their product line.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Unusual Gondola

 Received another of his real nice photo contributions from Brian Smith this week, in the form of this view of BISX gondola 30915 (Brandenburg Industrial Service Co.).   Brian asked if I'd ever seen one of these myself, but the answer is "no".  Never seen a model of one either for that matter.  Too bad, because one sure would be interesting at the metal recycler yard on the JSSX.

I searched this unusual looking gondola online, but could not find out who the actual builder was.  I did find however that the lighter yellow middle portion of the gondola is where the name Brandenburg has been painted out. My thanks go to Brian for the photo.

And on the layout, I had been having quite a bit of trouble with one track switch (PECO, code 83) at the GTW yard...six-axle engines, most notably the GT SD38, were tending to short out the whole layout as they ran through the switch.  I finally got tired of that, so I removed and replaced the switch with a new one.
The switch is out obviously, and the rail joiners are in place.

Switch is in place, and I taped over any contact points before doing any painting.  I guess that I probably should have done the painting at the workbench first, but the truth is that I never even thought of it at the time.

The switch is in place, ties and rail are painted, ballast is in, and best of works!  I'll go over it again with a bit more paint on ties and rail though.