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.

Friday 3 November 2017

CSX GP38-2's transfer freight

On November 2nd, the CSX transfer has just come up the industrial track here in Sarnia, and is passing the station with 43 tank cars and 2 covered hoppers on their way to the CN's "A yard" to the east.  Just a few yards west of this platform, the 3 CN tracks in the foreground condense down to a single track which leads into the St.Clair tunnel to Port Huron, Michigan.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Weathering Wednesday #001

I was asked to weather this Walthers boxcar for friend and modeler Brian Smith.  This is how the car looked when I received it from Brian, with chalk or powders covering the sides and doors.

The first step here was a trip to the sink for some soap and water to wash off the powders.  Better sometimes to start with a clean slate.

I had weathered a similar car of my own not long before Brian brought me this one.  It can be seen in my September 29, 2017 post.  I had an idea of how I wanted this one to turn out for Brian, although I didn't want it to be exactly the same as mine.

The plastic wheels have been replaced with metal ones, which I've painted and weathered, and the trucks are done too.  Here's the end result: 

The other side:

Brian's waffle car out in the wild on my layout