Saturday, 25 January 2020

Painted Rail...Making a Difference Again

I'm not sure there's anything quite like a photograph from our layouts to help us see where an area might be lacking. A recent case-in-point for me was the photograph that I put up at the top of the page 3 weeks ago.

I liked a photograph I'd taken of my NREX SD38 leaser well enough to put it up there as the header photo at the top the blog for the month of January. But as soon as I did that, my focus went to the appearance of the rails, which quite noticeably look like they're nickel silver. And that look bothered me enough to make me want to do something about it.  It took me a couple of weeks to actually get to it though.
The header photo as it was.

Sooooo, first I removed all of the removable items (freight cars, buildings, everything) from the area, then powered up the compressor and loaded up the airbrush with (ModelFlex) rail brown to paint those rails. And as long as I still had paint in the airbrush, I kept right on going and painted the rest of the rail on the two nearby industry spurs while I was at it. I used a long piece of cardboard to shield anything left behind the rails from overspray.

20 minutes later, with mission accomplished, I was ready re-stage the SD38 in the same location and take the picture again. And here's the result, which I'll leave up at the top of the blog until at least the end of the January.

Don't the rails in this photo make the scene look much better? I updated the blog's header photo to this one on Thursday and I think I'll keep it there for at least a couple of more weeks.

This is the 2nd time in recent weeks that I've painted rails on the JSSX, and I guess I'll have to set myself the goal of doing so all around the layout.  I don't know why I had hardly ever done this before, but it really does make a difference in the appearance of the layout.

And here's a look at nothing much, as in a big empty area along the GTW line, right next to the MidWest Plastics plant.  The total space is 30 inches wide, and I've finally got something underway to fill it in with.

Below is a very early look at what's in store for this empty location, although it won't be served by rail.  There's just not room to properly fit a spur in there, and I won't try to force it as sometimes less is more.
I'll be putting this 25 inch wide structure into a 30 inch wide space.  And the rails in this photo have been painted already, except for that one leading off to the left.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Ground Throws, CP Cylindrical Hoppers

I've managed to break a couple of the normally reliable Caboose Industries ground throws recently, so I included a 5-pack of the smaller sized 5202S with an on-line order I placed recently.

Here's the link to the Caboose Industries product information page.

I never much cared for that shiny black of the delrin plastic that these things are made of as I think that it makes them stand out just too much.  I've tried painting them by hand before, with mixed results.  I had a couple that I put the paint on too thick and they locked up,  so I thought maybe I'd try airbrushing them this time.  

I airbrushed 4 of the 5 pieces, first spraying them with thinned "rust" brown, and then following that with a lighter coat of flat black. You can see the difference from the unpainted, shiny looking one on the left, below. I like the look of these 4 much more than the way they appear straight out of the package. Hopefully they'll work out well and blend in a little nicer along the JSSX.

And continuing on with my efforts to play catch up on quite a backlog of weathering projects, I worked on some covered hoppers for modeller Jamie Barron this week. Among them was this pair of CP cylindrical covered hoppers (Intermountain cars I believe).

Looks like some time after CP had painted over graffiti on the lower portions of these cars, the taggers were right back at them again.

And below I've attached a link to a YouTube video of City Limits Railway.  I think that the trains in the video run too fast for the urban setting that is depicted, but this layout looks really good, featuring modern era freight switching, weathering, and lots of details.

Have a good week, and I hope you can all find time to do some modeling.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

One of These Boxcars Was Not Like The Others...

One of these boxcars was not like the others, One of these boxcars was kind of the same...

I've given myself a break away from doing much actual work on the layout for the past few days, which provides kind of a nice change of pace.  I've got my next project for the layout in mind, but before I get started on that I want to catch up on some weathering projects that I've fallen behind on.

During the holidays, Brian Smith dropped by with an assortment of rail cars, asking me to do some weathering on them.  One particular car that grabbed my attention right away is this Greenville 60' high cube boxcar, lettered for the old DT&I.  These Exactrail models are really nice, and as you can see above, I've got two of them myself that see occasional time running around on the GTW line on my layout.

Brian's Greenville boxcar, fresh out of the box and waiting on the workbench.

I masked off a few areas of the boxcar, which when the car is finished, will hopefully give the impression of fresh paint patches. The green paint is faded with Concrete Gray, which seems to have become my go-to for fading.

Burnt Sienna acrylic simulates the rust running the length of the panel seams, while darker burnt umber highlights the spaces between the doors. I also used the burnt umber, with a tiny bit of black mixed in, on the upper and lower door tracks.  The panel seams closest to the doors are highlighted with thinned black acrylic.

With that part of the process completed, I then airbrushed the boxcar with a few light passes of thinned "Espresso" coloured craft paint on the upper and lower portions of the sides to simulate light rusting and road grime.  I sprayed some extra on just one door to add a subtle bit of interest.

Here is Brian's DT&I 25934 all finished up, sitting on the street trackage on South Industrial Boulevard.  Quite the transformation.

Looks like the JSSX's 815 might be going to pick up the DT&I car and drag it around to the yard from here.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Those New Storage Silos at MidWest Plastics

Work progressed on the new set of silos at the local Midwest Plastics plant. In fact, the silos are finished up, installed, and actually they are looking pretty good.  

Now, this was not the easiest of kits to assemble, for me anyway, as to begin with the silo halves didn't really mate up as well as I had expected.  There were also a few of the piping parts that did not mate up properly, but I wonder if that might be because I had decided to only use 3 of the 4 silos. I'm happy with that decision though.  Odd numbered groupings of just about anything always seem to look better to me for some reason.

I spray painted the 3 silos with Rustoleum "Chalked Aged Grey". and then weathered them before I put them onto the base. That became a problem as they didn't fit over the locating rings that were molded in place. When I tried to press them onto the base the weld seams on two silos split apart.  An easy repair, but still not something you'd expect to happen.  I ended up shaving the round locators off of the base and then gluing the silos down.

The rest of the kit went together a bit better, but the hose and pipe pieces didn't line up quite as I would have hoped either.  That was overcome by slightly bending the parts and use of CA type glue.  I painted / weathered most of the remaining parts while they were still on the sprues.

The new silos are spaced differently, so before I installed them I had to increase the size of the notch in the building by about 3.5 inches or so.

Here's a look at the plant with the old silos:

And a close-up of those old silos:

Here are the 3 new silos coming along nicely on the workbench.  The railings and the ladder assembly were hand painted with Armour Yellow and then sprayed with Modelflex Rust.  Once installed, I added more weathering by hand, using artist type acrylics. I found that streaking the rust straight downward on a cylinder is not the easiest thing to do as the brush tended to want to wander to the side.

And with the building modified the whole assembly is set into place.  The walkways at the top are in place, and I added a chain link fence (with an access gate) across the front of the storage area.  I also added a personnel door to the building near the right-hand silo.  I made up a couple of flexible hoses and ran them across the ground beside the gate.  The hoses are lengths of solder painted black and grey.

And an overall view of MidWest Plastics as it stands now.  I've still got a bit more that I want to do on this plant, such as adding some detail to the roof, a rail access gate, and some more piping.

Also thinking now of maybe adding a 2nd storey wall to run the length of the building behind the silo area.  Maybe made of brick or cement block.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Painted Rails

First up, I've just added a new link to a new blog on my "Blogs I Follow list" this week.  

Consolidated Motive Power Services is the name of the site. Dave has commented on here several times, and from what I see, it certainly looks like he is a really talented modeler with a keen eye for detail. Click on the CMPS name at my list, or you can just click on this link and check it out !

I got a bit of a start on assembling my Walthers Pellet Transfer kit which I want to add to the MidWest Plastics plant, replacing the temporary silos that I have there. Here's a promotional picture of the kit from Walthers.

I opened up the box, and the first thought that came to mind was..."Yikes!".  There are a lot of really fine molded parts in this kit, particularly the piping, and the base is the only thing not molded in shiny white plastic.  The kit includes 4 silos, but I think I only want to use 3 of them.  The instruction sheet mentions that it can be kitbashed using fewer silos, but gives no real help or advice on doing so. It looks to me like assembling this is going to take me some time, lots of care, and quite a bit of painting.

I should also mention that I'm going to have to modify the recessed area of my MidWest Plastics plant itself, no matter how many silos I use.  Too bad I didn't have this kit first so that then I could have built the plant around it.  Oh well.

As the post title suggests, the only actual progress made on the layout was that I managed to paint a total of about 12 feet or so of track that I showed here back on December 14th. 
The view before I painted the track this week.

I masked off the points on 4 track switches, and also lifted out 2 of my large industrial buildings and the highway overpass altogether to prevent getting paint overspray all over them.  Here's a look at how the area looked with the buildings removed before spraying.
You can see the spur leads for the two industrial buildings that I lifted out before airbrushing.

I sprayed the rails with ModelFlex Rail Brown (the colour name makes sense) through the airbrush.  The tracks that were painted include a main, a run-around siding, and the leads into three industry spurs.  As soon as the painting was finished, I cleaned the rail heads off with a Peco track cleaner, and then replaced the buildings.  Ran an engine around on a test run and everything worked well, so I guess that project is done and over with.  The whole process took under 2 hours.

And below is that same location again as I showed two weeks ago, but with the rails painted.  Looks a lot better now.
Have a great week everybody...and a very Happy New Year to you all.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

MidWest Plastics Update

Made myself busy this week with some work on the MidWest Plastics plant that's located along my GTW line. This plant takes in loads of plastic pellets as raw material, and ships out boxcar loads of finished product.

I've been planning to making some more changes/improvements to this industry for some time, and I've given quite a bit of thought to the way I want it to look if I ever manage get it finished up.

Here's the way things looked at MidWest Plastics this back in March.

And then in October I had the industry over on the workbench, while I changed the spur entrance from the right-hand end to the left.  At that time I mounted the whole thing onto a piece of 1/4" MDF, ballasted the track, and added some scenery.

I figured that a plant such as this would and should have a fence around it to at least discourage any ne'er-do-wells from causing trouble, so I made up a chain link fence to run the full 49 inch length of the MidWest property.

So, it was back over to the workbench this week for the whole industry to get the fence installed. I attached "No Trespassing" signs to the fence, and also painted the rails with "rail brown" using my airbrush.  That made a big improvement in the appearance of the MidWest spur.  I do still have to make a gate for the rail entrance, but here's a view looking down the spur
The rail joiners in this photo above can be slid back (toward the camera) enabling me to lift out the entire industry assembly and take it over to the workbench to work on it. More on that another time.

I had blanked out the lower windows of the brick building with siding previously, but I thought that I would rather see them as having been bricked in with concrete blocks. It was a simple matter to cut some block patterned plastic sheet to size, and press-fit them into the window areas. I put the concrete block into just two of the windows, and blanked out some of the individual panes on the other two. I also put the concrete block in the upper window on the end of the building as well.  The steel siding is moved to the top row of windows.
The primer coloured steel frameworks that I've scratch-built are intended to carry piping up and over the rail cars to the building.  The three silos are slated for replacement soon.  I've just this week purchased a new Pellet Transfer kit from Walthers, so that MidWest Plastics can have the railings, ladders, and piping details added.

That'll be all for this week, except to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Former MPA Boxcar

Just to expand on my reference last week to the ACI labels that I had applied to a couple of boxcars, I found this rather interesting article about that identification system.

I had thought that I'd put those ACI codes on some more of my railcars, where appropriate, but I've misplaced my small sheet of them.  I know I've got some, made by Herald King I think, but I've combed through my decals box 3 times and I can't find them.

I mentioned last week that I wanted to get ballast onto the two tracks where the photo of the 86 foot DT&I boxcar was taken.  Here's that photo (again).

I really don't like doing the ballast, and I don't think I'm very good at scenery type work in general.  And, as I've done before, I forgot to paint the rails first, so there's still room for improvement there too. Here's the same area today.
After the ballast and ground foam was glued down, and I had cleaned up the tops of the rails, at least it all worked electrically. It all seems a little too clean and vibrant right now for my liking, but it's a process.  I've got some brown coloured ground foam that I'll add to help tone things down.

I like that Berwick boxcar in the photo above.  Luc got it for me from ebay earlier this year.  I remember loading a couple of Maryland and Pennsylvania boxcars a very long time ago.  The star graphic on the right-hand end was very distinctive.  I searched pictures of these former MPA boxcars on the interwebs before I weathered this one, and used them as sort of a guide. Waterloo Railway seemed to have a few of them.

I like that the black has taken on a brown tone over the years, so I sprayed the boxcar with light coats of rail brown until the black turned to the colour I wanted. The white door with the rust streaking looks good, although I think that the picture I saw showed a Superior door.

Luc has since given me another model of the same car, so here's sort of a before and after photo.  I'll weather the 2nd one eventually too.

I left the circle/star graphic barely visible, although on the photos I saw it was patched over.  And the black band on the upper left is where the prototype cars had ''Maryland and Pennsylvania" printed.  The model didn't actually have that printed on it, but I added the black band patch anyway.  Here's a closer picture of my finished boxcar.
Weathered, replacement door, patched, re-lettered  and re-numbered, and with an added ACI label too, I think that this older 50 footer turned out very nicely.