Saturday, 18 May 2019

Not Exactly the Home Run I Was Hoping For

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a product made by Modern Masters called Rust Effects, which I had picked up at Hobby Lobby. A 3-step process, I gave it a try this week on a boxcar that I had on the workbench.

Here's the victim.  I had weathered this car before, but I never really cared for the results of the work that I had done on the roof.  I also thought I'd try to do a little more on the rest of the car, so I've faded the blue paint a bit, and added graffiti and a couple of small details to the car's appearance.

Here's the boxcar, after it's been re-weathered. I patterned the rust and graffiti locations after a photo of another National Steel Car GTW boxcar that I found on the internet.
I've faded the paint with pale blue craft sprayed through the airbrush. The rust on the door is done by hand, as well as the graffiti scribbles. The larger graffiti tags are SGS decals. I've added an old ACI tag and a few pieces of grey tape stuck beside the door. The paint on the tack boards has "peeled" and is showing the greyed wooden boards.  I have to replace a missing stirrup step, but what do you think of the green notice stapled to the tack board?  It's a tiny piece that I cut from a green price tag sticker.

This view shows the roof as it was until this week.  I just never really cared for the way it had turned out, so that made this car my choice for trying out the Rust Effects product.

Step one:
The instructions say to use 2 coats of the Rust Effects primer.  I just brushed it on right over top of the oil paint that I had used before.

Step 2:
This photo shows how things looked after 2 coats of the Oxidizing Iron paint, again as per the instructions.

Step 3
2 hours later, I was able to give the roof 2 sprays with the Rust Activator, and then was to wait 40 minutes or so as it dried.  I think that this looks "rusty" alright, but overall, it's way more yellow than I thought it would be.  I didn't really like it. I was looking for a darker colour, more toward a reddish-brown rust.  I left things this way overnight, thinking that maybe the activator needed more reaction time, and also with the idea that I would look at it with fresh eyes the next day.

The colour looked the same the next afternoon and I was a bit disappointed.  Then I decided to give the roof another spray with the rust activator, just to see what would happen.
After another shot of the activator chemical, the roof has gone from the yellow colour to a deeper orangeish-brown.  This is better, but not really what I was hoping for at all. Can't hit a home run every time. I don't know if I'll try this product again on another boxcar roof (well, maybe), but I think it might work out well on the interior of a gondola or two.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Some Weathering and a Light Repair Job

Back from our vacation trip, I spent much of my time this week trying to get caught up on weathering projects that I'd been asked to do for another modeler. In the days ahead I'm intending to get something done on the layout.  But for now...

This Green Bay Western boxcar is one that I particularly enjoyed.  I looked around on the interwebs for photos of similar cars in this colour scheme, but there weren't many to be seen. I did get a couple of ideas though.
The "before" photo of GBW 7000

The paint is now lightly faded, less so on the 3 panels to the right of the door. Some rust streaking and a few scratches, fresh primer on the lower area of the door. The roof has been heavily rusted, except for 2 "replacement" panels.

On the 3 bay covered hopper below, I removed the "Farmers Cooperative Association lettering from the sides by soaking the lettering with Micro-Sol for a few minutes.  The Micro-Sol wanted to bead up on the plastic, so I laid small squares of tissue over the lettering to keep the liquid in place. After soaking for about 8 minutes or so, the lettering came right off when I wiped it with a clean, damp Q-Tip. The underlying paint was not affected at all.
The grey paint patches are strips of grey trim film that I cut to size.  The trucks and wheels are painted with Krylon Ultra-Flat Camouflage Brown. The wheel faces were also given a coating of dark powders.  Note also the rusting around the discharge bays.

This CSX covered hopper has had it's paint faded and some of it's vertical posts became rusty.  There are also two paint patches, with the colour just ever so slightly darker than the rest of the car.

And below, this waffle sided boxcar is my own, acquired in trade for some weathering work.  I weathered it some time ago, obviously done mostly with my airbrush. Sometime after working on this car though, I found a problem...
One door is "replaced" and a small primer red patch on one panel as well. The entire car received an over-spray of CraftSmart's "Espresso" acrylic paint (thinned) which takes down the original black quite nicely.

On the car's other side, can you spot the problem?
One of the door posts is missing.  I've looked high and low, but it's never been found.  It was there when I was air-brushing the car.  You can see the paint shadow that was left behind the post when it was sprayed.

So, the boxcar has finally been routed into the repair shop, where a piece of .025 steel wire was cut to size and attached to the door.

 Brush painted with Weathered Black and then the same "Espresso" over top, the new door post blends right in.  The missing door post was a minor problem, but it bothered me, and now this waffle boxcar is going back onto the layout.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Pictures From a Road Trip

We were away so I was unable to post last week. However I did have my camera with me. It's quite a hit and miss prospect to take photos of trains, or anything else for that matter, when driving on Interstate highways and such. Even from the passenger seat.  Anything of interest rolls up on you so quickly, that there's no time. And there always seems to be a guardrail or a truck or something in the way. We did make a few stops though, so here's a sampling of the bit of railroad type stuff that I did photograph...

Taken at a stop light on Hwy 31 in Birmingham, Alabama, this NS C40-9W was slowly leading a mixed freight train through a very busy highway construction project. Nice road grime weathering just above the front trucks.

The depot along the CSX line through DeFuniak Springs, in the Florida panhandle is fixed up really nicely, and also features an L&N caboose.  Unfortunately, the museum inside the depot was closed when we were there. I don't know if Amtrak runs through here.  The tracks on the right looked like they haven't been used in a while, but those on the left were very shiny from use.  We followed the line for a couple of miles in each direction from here, but didn't see any freight cars at all.

I'm a little disappointed that this car was parked in front of the DeFuniak Springs depot, as it takes away from the photo.
L&N caboose 3155 is very nicely displayed at DeFuniak Springs.

Travelling eastward along Hwy 98 in Florida, some 86 foot flatcars used for carrying steel pipe caught my eye.  We did manage to double-back so I could have a look at this switcher idling alongside a local roadway. Sorry for the fence obstructing the view. This is JRWX 87, with Port of Panama City nicely scripted on the hood.

Maybe an Alco S2?  The reporting marks and number were hidden on the sill below the cab.

As an afterthought, here's a link to the Google Maps view of the Port of Panama City.  I found the track layout to be interesting, and I liked the pipe company in the middle.  Also if you zoom in at Hannah Street (kind of over at the right-hand side) and go to "streetview", you will find this same engine parked in the same location as it was when I took my pictures of it.,+FL,+USA/@30.180541,-85.7280484,676m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x889381562ac66341:0xbf585ed52c4701f3!8m2!3d30.1588129!4d-85.6602058

I'll be able to get back to some modelling this week.  I might try out this product which I found in Hobby Lobby while we were away.  Not sure how useful it will be for rusting freight cars, but I'm hoping it will work well for steel siding or roofing.
I'll be looking forward to trying this out soon.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Around Town and Around the JSSX

Peter Mumby and George Dutka - George writes the White River Division blog - came by for a visit last week.  Always a pleasure to see these guys, they took a good look around the JSSX before heading out to do some train watching here in Sarnia.
Peter and George are doing their best to appear casual while GT SD38-2 6252 gets ready to switch out a few industries.
After their visit to the JSSX, I met Peter and George down at the Via Station. While there,  the local CSX transfer train passed by, with this tank car looking like it's seen better days.

Just a very few minutes after the CSX train went by us, this CN track test car #1501 came around the wye and waited until it was allowed to cross over the main track and proceed onto the Point Edward spur.
Here's the track test car again, this time crossing at Ferry Dock Hill in downtown Sarnia.

On Sunday, April 14 2019, train 397 is about to pass by the Sarnia station as it heads for the St.Clair Tunnel.  2098 is a C40-8W, and a former ATSF locomotive leading a somewhat unremarkable train, except there is one small detail on that GECX leaser engine that I though was noteworthy.
 Did you spot it?  There's a Seaboard System logo on the side of the cab nose.  Kind of an interesting detail on this C49-8 leaser locomotive.

Another engine that's been busy in the yard here in town for some time now, is this GP38-2 leaser from. GMTX.  I do like this shade of blue with the white, and notice the dark grime streaking down the sides at the door hinges.  A model of this locomotive would be a real nice leaser addition to the JSSX.  I could do without the web address on the sides though

A bit of a lull this week as far as actually working on the layout goes.  I thought I'd post a couple of random photos.

I wasn't satisfied with my weathering on the this former AnnArbor Railroad boxcar, but I really like the logo, which represents a car ferry in the fog.  The car has been sold to another modeller.

A view of the JSSX maintenance shop.  The yellow post with the letter "P" marks where the isolated DCC programming track begins.
Second-hand GP 38 JSSX 815 sits beside the engine shed and and waits for it's next assignment.  I got this one as an undecorated Atlas model.  I used Primer Grey, Weathered Black, and Grimy Black to paint the model.  Then the weathering was done with burnt sienna, burnt umber, and ivory black

Saturday, 13 April 2019

The JSSX This Week, 04/13/19

I attended the Woodstock Train Show back on March 30th.  I didn't have a table this time, as I didn't feel that I really had enough things to sell to make it worthwhile.  I thought that it was a pretty good show though, and came away with a couple of items.

I picked up a very nice gondola, made by Rapido. Painted for the Algoma Central, this will make a real good addition to the layout once it's weathered a bit.  I'll have to make a removable load or two for it also. And the other thing I purchased was a set of 4 modern looking streetlights, made by a company called Dijikeijs.  They are pre-wired, including a resistor, and LED light.

The Algoma Central gondola and LED streetlight set.  The gondola needs some weathering before it goes out on the rails, And I look forward to setting the lights in place and having them operable.

Also while I was at the Woodstock show, I spoke with Peter Mumby, of Peter's Trains.  Peter mentioned to me that when he reads my blog on his iPad, the blue lettering doesn't show up very well against the black background, which makes it difficult to read.  I had no idea that this was the case, as everything seems to show up just fine on my laptop.  I don't use an iPad.  My adoring wife has one though, but I just never really have occasion to use it. I had just always thought that the blue font looked nice.

So, in thinking this through a little bit, I figured that this orange coloured font should show up better against the black background.  So, I gave it a try last week, and sure enough, it's much easier to read.  So, thanks for the heads-up Peter.

Knowing that I've been chipping away at a building a scrap yard on my layout, Peter referred me to a post from September 2015 on George Dutka's White River Division blog, in which the Zubick's Scrap Yard in London, Ontario had been featured. 

I actually found two posts referring to that business. One of them featured this photo that George had taken near the entrance to the scrap yard while he was aboard a locomotive.  So, with permission, I've copied it to show here, and also added a photo I've taken from a somewhat similar view of the entrance to the scrap yard on my layout,

Full credit for this photo goes to George Dutka and his White River Division blog.

When I saw that photo of George's, I had the idea to take a comparable picture on my layout. Here's my attempt.

A while back, I wrote about wanting to change the depth of the MIdWest Plastic plant that's situated against the layout backdrop. Well, I finally got around to doing that on Thursday.It took a couple of hours or so, and some careful work with an Xacto blade, but the basic work is now done.

Here's a view of the building, with about 2 inches trimmed from the back., and the spur track roughly set into place.  The extra couple of inches of separation between the spur and the main track will look much more prototypical and allow for better scenicking 
The MidWest Plastics building has been reduced in it's depth, in order to be able to move the spur track further away from the mainline. I've obviously got lots still to do here, on scenery as well as on the building itself, but that's the general idea anyway.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Scrap Metal Piles at the Recycler

My plan, if I'd had one, for this week would have been to work on the MidWest Plastics plant that I wrote about in last week's post.  That went by the wayside however, as Brian gave me a couple of small bags of "busheling", metal chips, that I could use at my scrap metal recycler.  I was given separate bags of steel chips and aluminum ones, which is great, because I felt that this industry should really have separate piles for ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

So, I spent time gluing the chips to two of the base styrofoam mounds that I had carved and painted. The longest of them I had featured in this photo way back on March 2nd. By the way, in the background of this photo is that MidWest Plastics industry that I mentioned.
I attached the metal chippings to the styrofoam using white glue. Working in small sections at a time, I spread the glue on full strength, and then sprinkled on the metal chips and sort of pressed them down into the glue.

It was at about just about this time that I came to realize just down how sharp these little metal pieces can be. I took two or three slivers in my fingers as I was pushing them into the glue.  I learned fairly quickly though (for once), so after that I used a folded up piece of paper to save my fingers as I pressed onto the metal.

 As I worked on each small section, I also sprayed the chips lightly with isopropyl alcohol as a wetting agent, and then dribbled thinned white glue over them to make sure they are well glued down.  The whole process, while easy enough to do, was fairly messy as the busheling seems to tend to scatter around a fair bit.  And then to add to that, the thinned white glue is runny, which compounded the mess.

Here is an up to date photo from roughly the same viewpoint as that above, showing the pile of scrap metal with the actual scrap metal glued to it.  This stuff makes the scrap yard look waaaayyy more like what I had originally envisioned it to become.

In the foreground here (above) is the non-ferrous (aluminum) metals pile. I've also used the busheling to make removable loads for my 65 foot gondolas, with more underway for use in 50 foot gondolas.  It looks like two of these gondolas are loaded and could be picked up anytime by the GT.

These busheling pieces are glued down to pieces of .040 styrene sheet that have been cut to drop fit into my 65 foot gondola cars.

I think I'll add a couple of pieces of square styrene tube to the underside of the loads to raise them up a little closer to the top of the gondolas.

And, if you have interest in gondolas of scrap metal, and about 12 minutes to spare, Brian also forwarded me this link to an interesting video of a CF&E train. It's mostly overhead views of the train. Real good looks at a variety of loaded gondolas, which are spread throughout the length of the train.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

MidWest Plastics

Running along the far side of the scrap recycler is the GT main track and a passing siding. One of the industries that GT serves along this section is MidWest Plastics, a plastics molding plant, whose rail spur seems to typically receive 2 covered hoppers of plastic pellets and either a box car (usually a high cube 60 footer) or occasionally a tank car of resin. I kit-bashed this building from the Walthers paper mill plant, and added the brown building on the left.  I've forgotten the name of that kit.

This industry is in a fairly prominent location on the layout, as it's directly opposite the doorway into the room. It could be one of the first things seen by anyone entering.

I've been thinking for some time that the siding at MidWest Plastics is much closer to the GT main than I really would like it to be, so some improvements in this area should be forthcoming.  I can't change the location of the GT main and passing siding, so I think I'm going to be making some changes to the industry building itself, which would then allow me to move the siding further away.

I do like the total length of this industry, which is about 46 inches altogether. That converts to something like 333 feet in HO scale. The white steel sided building where the cars would be unloaded measures about 5.25 inches deep, but I think I'll be able to reduce that by 2 inches or so. Doing so will then let me move the siding 2 inches away from the GT main. Then I could finally add in the much needed track ballast, scenic ground cover, etc.
Photo taken from the room entrance, there's MidWest Plastics across the back wall of the layout.  On GT tracks in the foreground are 2 cylindrical hoppers I've weathered for Sean Steele

In the photo below, I could possibly slide the entire industry further to the right to allow the siding to run the entire length of the buildings.
Midwest Plastics, including the brown brick structure at the far end totals about 46 inches in length, and provides spots for 3 or 4 railcars.