Saturday 30 December 2017

Layout Extension #003

The first picture today is of the first styrene inserts I made for one of the Peco track switches.  These inserts are cut from .020 styrene. I actually erred by making this more complicated than I should have, as I cut them as 6 pieces. Later though, I taped adjoining pieces together, to use them as templates and cut new pieces so that there are only 3 inserts per switch. In the areas where the switch points are, I tried to slip .010 styrene underneath the points to hide the ties from view, but the .010 wouldn't fit. If I find some .005 thickness, I'll try that.

The switch inserts after they've been painted and installed.  Both of these switches are code 83 Peco. The expansion gaps in the concrete are drawn in with a black ink .010 tip artist pen.  The cracks in the concrete are drawn in with a black ink .005 pen. I ran several different engines and freight cars through the switches in both directons, trimming and filing the inserts until the equipment ran through the switches with no problems.  The styrene pieces are all press-fitted, no gluing at all.

The last of the switches that I have to do is this one. It's Atlas Code 83 the other two are Peco.  I've had a much more difficult time with the inserts for this one. The styrene piece that fits in between the points keeps buckling upward, and is causing detrailments. I've re-cut it twice, and each time the problem persists.  I think I'm going to stop with the "concrete" for a while, until I can get a left hand Peco switch to try here instead.  I can start to put in some ground cover in the meantime.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Weathering Wednesday #008

I did the weathering on this Scoular (SCOX) covered hopper some time ago, but photo-credit here as well as ownership of the car itself goes to Brian Smith.  It's pictured here spotted at the mill on Brian's layout. I like this picture because it shows the silvery colour on the air line glad hand and the rust treatment given to the wheels, something that I often seem to notice is overlooked on many weathered model freight cars.

 Thanks for the photo Brian!

Saturday 23 December 2017

Layout Extension (002)

Just a couple of photos today from the layout extension project that I've been working on. The intent is to have the 2 tracks down the middle inset into a pavement/concrete street. I haven't really done this before, so I'll be learning as I go.  The spurs on either side will be ballasted with gravel...I think...

In the foreground, to fill in between the rails I've used drywall patching spackling made by DAP. When it was dry the next day, I brush painted it with grey acrylic paint, and scored in the expansion gaps with the back of an Exacto knife. Following that, I brushed on a dark Vallejo wash to highlight the gaps.  Down the tracks beyond the crossover switches, you can see the spackling before it's been painted.

The space between the two tracks is filled in with .040 styrene salvaged from a previous failed project. I cut and filed the styrene to as exact a width as I could, so that it's just a pressed fit. The styrene sits on top of the molded spike heads, and just nicely comes up to the top of the code 83 rail.

Sunday 17 December 2017

Layout Extension (001)

The general idea for this layout extension has been in my mind seemingly forever, to add just a bit more industrial switching. Over time, I dreamed up a couple of track plan ideas and there have been numerous false starts and delays for one reason or another. There's not a lot of real-estate for this, as the space available is 2 feet wide by 7 feet long, and basically only one way in for the railroad to get there.

I laid out the track in this arrangement back in the summer, and left it pretty much as track only while I switched cars in and out of imaginary industries to see how the arrangement worked out. I've decided that this area will be served by the Grand Trunk, as that will give the GT a bit more to do other than just interchanging freight cars with the JSSX.

I've dropped in a couple of buildings now, so here's a couple of views of the way things are at the moment.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Weathering Wednesday #007

In this past Saturday's post I included an in-progress picture taken by George Dutka of my latest weathering project.  Here, weathering complete, is my 86 foot, 8 door GT boxcar.  Most modellers that know me know that these 8-door cars are my favourites.  It's just too bad that my layout isn't big enough to hold more of them.  I usually only have about 3 or maybe 4 of them out at one time.

First 2 pictures are taken on the workbench, with a similar car that I weathered a long time ago in the background, Also, note that on top of the other model, there are two photographs that I referenced throughout the process. I used one for each side of my car.  I'm pretty happy with the way this one turned out, although I think maybe I went just a little bit too heavy with some of the rust toward the right hand end of the car.  I took a best guess on the appearance of the roof.

I tried to simulate the darkened doors by masking them off and then spraying roof brown through the airbrush, followed by sprays of weathered black.

The other side, of course. I chose to not copy the black and white patched reporting marks from my 2nd reference photo.  I figure that I can always simply change that later if I decide to go ahead with it.

Out on the layout

The two boxcars together on their way to the auto parts plant.

I have at least two more 86 foot boxcars in my cupboard awaiting their turn for weathering, although they are the 4-door type.

Saturday 9 December 2017

The Railway had Visitors

Back on November 29th, George Dutka and Peter Mumby visited with me and took in the sights around the JSSX.  Their visit was pre-arranged, and I kind of figured they'd bring cameras and maybe take a couple of pictures while they were here. But truthfully, I was a little bit intimidated when I saw them unloading camera bags and tripods from George's car.  I quite enjoyed seeing which things caught their interest around the layout. A couple of super nice guys and terrific modelers, these fellows are welcome back here anytime.

George was kind enough to send me a bunch of the photos they took, so here are a few of them:

First up, is the 3 of us.  That's me on the left, Peter in the middle, and George on the right.

JSSX 508 is just getting back to the yard with a short train of autoparts boxcars.  That "star" feature shining from the lights on my GT SD38 sure is a nice camera effect.  And that cab just will not sit down properly ever since I had the ditch lights were added.

The track in front of the abandoned freight warehouse at the other end of the layout looks like it has become a good place for JSSX to store the crane and flatcar.

SWeep 7104 sits at the side of the JSSX engine shed.  This locomotive doesn't actually run on the layout, as it's DC and the layout is set up with DCC.  I bashed the model several years ago from a couple of Athearn locos, and I like to at least set it out on the layout from time to time. I took a real nice photo of 7104 beside the Sarnia roundhouse.  If I ever figure out how to get my scanner to actually work, I'll share the picture on here.

An abandoned quonset hut.

I didn't realize George was actually taking this picture of an in-progress weathering project that was sitting on my workbench when he and Peter visited.  There's the prototype photo in the background, sitting on top of the other boxcar.  Weathering is now complete on this 86 foot boxcar. I'll try to feature it soon on a Weathering Wednesday.

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Weathering Wednesday #006

Just a single shot today of this boxcar (Athearn), weathered lightly by first flattening down the red with a spray of Terra Cotta acrylic.  Then some grey patches to simulate over-painting of graffiti, and a little bit of dark rust in a few places.  The roof rust is done with burnt sienna and burnt umber.  And dullcote all over .

The building in the warehouse background has been sold and removed from the layout.

Sunday 3 December 2017

JSSX Covered Hoppers

It had occurred to me quite some time back that it might be time for me to take my Red Wing Milling company model off the layout as I had grown tired of it, and replace it sometime with something else. When the chance came up to sell the building to friend my Brian, away it went.  However, doing so also meant that, temporarily at least, my small fleet of covered grain hoppers really had no purpose on the layout. Maybe they would have to be either put away or sold off as well. 

I've weathered and patched four of the covered hoppers to show ownership by my JSSX shortline. Before removing or selling them though, I thought I should at least take a few pictures of them.

Here, in the foreground of the first photo are those four JSSX hoppers strung together, and being pulled around to the company yard by SW1200 1317.

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Weathering Wednesday #005

Most, if not all, of the newer boxcar models seem to have their doors moulded into the body so that the whole thing is one-piece.  This Atlas car has been available for many years, featuring double doors that actually open or close, which presents a slightly different modelling or weathering opportunity.

The outside of the boxcar is rusted and scarred, but with the doors open we are also able to get a glimpse of the inside. Black steel banding still stretched across the opposite side doorway, and on the floor more banding, scraps of cardboard and plastic packaging, and even an old piece of two-by-four litter the inside of this car.

Saturday 25 November 2017

Abandoned Tower

This is a picture of Delray Tower, in Detroit, Michigan.  I took this photo in September 2011 when I went on a quick trip to the area with my friend Luc Sabourin. This is the picture that, even though it looks nothing like my tower, gave me the idea to build the model and scene below for my railroad.

A CN freight slowly rounding the curve across the street from Delray Tower.

Here is my yard tower, abandoned and derelect.  It's located at a double diamond crossing of my GT and JSSX lines. 
The model is a laser cut wooden kit made by MonsterModelworks.  I built it as abandoned because that's the type of thing that interests me.  I've situated the tower just across the tracks from a warehouse that's also abandoned and boarded up.

The concrete pad of the former parking area has become cracked and broken, and weeds now grow in them.  In what was probably a vain effort to keep vandals out, the lower floor windows have been covered over from the inside with sheet steel that has since gone rusty. The outside has been covered in graffiti.  As for the upper floor, the windows have all been broken out, and sheets of plywood now cover them.  A few shingles are missing from the roof.

The tower scene as it sits on the layout today.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Saturday 18 November 2017

On a very damp May 5, 2017, in Port Huron, Michigan, the drawbridge over the Black River is raised. This view is looking southward, with warehousing on the left and Domtar Paper on the right.  This line runs from the GT yard in Port Huron up to the other Domtar plant, which is just north of the Bluewater Bridge.  The line is used daily, and typically seems to see short trains of 2 to 6 cars with a GP38 providing the power. 

This picture looks north from the River Street crossing, showing the raised drawbridge from the other side.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Weathering Wednesday #003

Greenville DT&I high cube boxcars

ExactRail produced these Greenville boxcars in the green and yellow DT&I colours, and when they were released the first time, I wasn't able to get any of them.  So when they had a 2nd release, I was quick to jump in.  I like them so well that I've recently been thinking of adding a third one to the fleet.

I weathered the cars by first fading the green with pale green acrylic craft paint that I sprayed through the airbrush. The rust blisters and streaks are done with water-mixable oil colours in Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.  And then Dullcote to finish everything off.

Saturday 11 November 2017

Storage Shed

I included this same photo back on October 15th, and at the time I remarked that the little yellow shed needed some weathering. I said I'd put it on my list.

You know the list I mean, don't you.  You probably have one too...sort of.  You notice something that doesn't look quite right, some little thing that could be done better.  You maybe took some shortcut, or decided it was "good enough for now, I can fix it later" and moved on to something else. I'm pretty sure we've all done it. Whether we ever actually get back to it is really the question.

Every once in a while that plan actually works, and something that needs doing actually gets crossed off of that list.  In this similar photo, is my improved shed. I've also removed the Woodland Scenic trees to the left of the track, and replaced them all with Super Trees.

Here, the shed door is left open, and the missing window is plated over with rusty "sheet metal". The shed has been painted silver, and given a coat of AK interactive's rusty wash.

I'm quite pleased with the difference. I think that the shed looks a lot better, and the trees beside the track are a big improvement. The Woodland Scenics trees that were there just looked so thick and clunky.  The Super Trees appear much better.  They're much lighter and airy.  Now, I think I need to paint the sides of the rails.  I'll put that on the list.

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Weathering Wednesday #002

When I was asked to weather this TruLine Trains caboose, I looked through a number of photos to use as reference.  I didn't try to copy any exactly like a particular prototype.

I first faded the overall colour, then patched over imaginary graffiti all along one side.  I then patched in the reporting marks, and added some graffiti to the other side.  The shine of the black roof was flattened down, and rust blisters and streaking down the sides from rust and grime runoff was added.

My favourite part of the project is the rusty expanded metal grating that I put over the side windows. That should stop any HO scale vandals from throwing any ballast stones through them.

Sunday 5 November 2017

SP Exterior Post 86' Boxcar

I had this project in mind 2 years ago when I picked up a used Athearn blue box 86 footer model at the train show in Ancaster, Ontario. I've always liked these massive boxcars, particularly the 8 door versions.  Read on for the story of how I converted the original Athearn model to this exterior post version.

For years I've held on to the September 2000 issue of Model Railroad Journal, because it contains an article written by Mike Budde outlining how to convert an Athearn blue-box auto parts car into an exterior post model. I used that article for reference throughout this project. In his article, Mike listed the different sizes of styrene he used, so I just followed his lead.  I used ModelFlex SP Scarlet to paint the car, and Microscale decals for the stripes, lettering and markings.

Below is the model I found at Ancaster that I started out with.  This seemed to be the logical model to start with, even though I did end up re-painting and re-decaling the whole thing anyway.

Below is the boxcar after most of my modifications have been made, but before painting and decals. Shortly after this picture, I took the car outside to paint it with primer and dropped it onto our brick patio. You're not supposed to do that !  I lost all 4 stirrup steps, some of the ladder rungs, and chipped off one bottom corner of the car itself ! 

After making the necessary repairs, I actually removed ribs that I had already applied between the sets of doors before I painted it with ModelFlex SP Scarlet.  I did so because I realized that it would be easier to apply the big white SP ball decal over a flat surface.  Below is the boxcar in fresh scarlet paint and awaiting application of decals.  It sure doesn't look like much at this point.

As upsetting as dropping the model on the patio was, those big horizontal grey stripes were far and away the most frustrating part of this project. They're so predominant on the car, that I felt that they had to look just right.  I cut the stripes into small pieces and went piece by piece over the ribs and the raised areas of the doors.  Then I filled in the spaces in between.  It took me forever to get through that step. That large white SP ball decal in the middle actually went on surprisingly easily.   I hand painted the scarlet onto the ribs where they cross over the letters. 

Here is my finished 8 door autoparts car in service, on it's first trip to the parts plant.