Saturday 30 June 2018

Balmoral Bulldog

In Point Edward, Ontario, beneath the Bluewaster Bridges, there's an old drinking establishment called the Balmoral Tavern, know locally as "the Bal".  The place has been closed down for quite a few years now, which I think is really too bad even though I was only ever in the place a couple of times - yes, really. It was kind of one of those places that was part of the local fabric.

I used to pass by the back side of "the Bal" on my way to and from work. The rear wall is covered with a sports themed mural.  One day I stopped with my camera and took a picture of the mural. I had kind of an idea to put on the layout.

I printed that picture, with just the bulldog sized to cover the side wall of one of the commercial buildings on the JSSX.  My building is made up of 2 City Classic Iron Front building kits combined, with the lower section of one of them cut away and supported by concrete pillars and footing.  The JSSX passes through it on the way to the auto parts and printing plants. I should add that the City Classics building looks absolutely nothing like the Balmoral.

 I cut out just the bulldog from the picture, and glued it to the side wall of the building ( I used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive).  I did this quite a long time ago, and still have much more work to go on the rest of the building, but here's how it turned out so far:

Saturday 23 June 2018

Hey, What'd ya get, Jim?

Well, last summer I went online looking for a flatcar that I could letter TrailerTrain, and found it at Pacific Western Rail Systems. I ordered it, and then promptly received an email from the vendor telling me that the item was out-of-stock, but that they could get it in for me from the manufacturer.  As I said, that was last summer, mid-July I think.

Time went by, and I pretty well forgot about it until late January, when I was billed one day and then received a package in the mail shortly after.  Good on PWRS for not billing me before they could supply the item.  Not all online vendors would do that.

From January 'til now, I've just been busy with other projects and stuff, but this project car has finally come up in the rotation, so here we go.

The box is open (finally):

The contents spread out on the workbench. Doesn't look too difficult. The laser-cut wood deck is 3 separate pieces. I've done a couple of wood projects before, so I'm looking forward to this part.

First thing I noticed was that the car really wasn't going to weigh very much. Indeed Intermountain tells you so right in the instruction sheet that the weight is 7/8ths ounces. I put half a dozen inch-and-a half finishing nails in the hollow of the undercarriage spine to try to help with the weight. It didn't help much, but better than nothing. I also planned to use an excavator as a load on the flatcar, so that should really help with the weight.

Another surprise was that the car comes with plastic wheels. Not too impressed by that, but oh well, I can scare up a set of metal ones here someplace.

For the wood deck I first painted it on both sides with Folk Art's Barn Wood colour acrylic craft paint, and then weighted the 3 pieces down flat overnight to prevent them from warping. I then painted random boards with different grey coloured acrylic paints. Finally, I went over the deck with thin washes of India/alcohol mixture to accentuate the lines and the bolt head markings.

All of the plastic parts in the kit fit together real well, and I ran into no trouble whatsoever assembling the flatcar. After it was assembled, I sprayed the model with Railbox Yellow, and then lightened that a little bit by spraying with Craftsmart yellow. The decals are Microscale.

I weathered the sides and steel deck tracks using burnt sienna and burnt umber paints. After they had dried for 2 or 3 days, I added Vallejo's dark grey wash on the tops of the side sills and the 2 steel tracks running down the middle of the deck. I am really pleased with the way the deck turned out.

Here's a look at the flatcar with the (Herpa model) Case excavator loaded on.  I used clear parts glue to attach the wood blocking and tie-down chains to the excavator, not to the deck of the flatcar. This way, I can remove the load any time I want, allowing me to use the flat for another load if I felt like it.

Saturday 16 June 2018

Abandoned Warehouse on the JSSX

Back on April 25th, in my "As if I needed more projects..." post, I mentioned that four times I have built (well, kitbashed really) the Walther's REA Transfer Building.  I kept one for my layout, and sold the other 3 at train shows. They seemed very popular.  Here is a look at the the one that I've kept.

I've done a simple kitbash on this, using the back wall - which is identical to the front wall - to double the length of the building.  The rear wall is not visible from anywhere on the layout, so I just put a piece of black cardboard across the back to close it in. All of the windows and doors have been boarded up, and the building is modeled as having been closed down. India ink/alcohol mixture darkens down the brick colour and fills in the mortar lines. Some light airbrushing with grimy black ages the building as well.

I've located my building at the far end of the 3-track JSSX yard, with a single track curving left from the yard to cross the building's loading dock.  The JSSX finds this track to be a good spot for their work train to be stored, or occasionally 2 or 3 freight cars can be held there for a short time if the yard is overcrowded. The maintenance department has a stack of 39 foot rail sections and an equipment storage container located next to the track.

The GT main line runs behind the building. I do think I should add a few trees and bushes at the layout's edge to better set the scene of abandonment.

Although the windows have been boarded over, sometimes the nearby residents do manage to find a way to gain access.  It looks like they've torn some of the plywood off  a second story window.

The weeds have been making progress as they slowly take over the former truck lot at the front of the old warehouse.

Here, we see the short JSSX work train stored in front of the building. 

Saturday 9 June 2018

SCOX Covered Hopper...well, ex SCOX now.

Friend Brian asked if I'd weather this covered hopper car for him, and then asked if maybe I'd like to re-letter it for him as JSSX.  My shortline has a few covered hopper cars already, although they are the rib-sided type. I thought it might be a nice idea to have one interchanged - permanently - over to Brian's railroad.

I looked on-line for reference photos of these SCOULAR cars, but there weren't many available, so I just free-styled the weathering on this one.

I first dull-coated the car using Testors from the rattle can.  It's either that or wash it with soap and water to prevent the acrylic paints I'm going to use from beading up.

Anyway, after the Dullcote, I sprayed the car with thinned Craftsmart Yellow to fade the original paint and take the shine right down to flat. The top half (roughly) of the car was given a couple more layers of the yellow than the lower half. I figure the upper half would receive more of a beating from sun and rain, and so should be faded a bit more. I also gave two of the hatches on the roof a couple of extra passes with the airbrush to fade them a bit more than the other two.

I dull-coated again to protect the fresh acrylic layer, and then brushed on grime streaks with Winsor and Newton black that I thin down with Micro-Sol. I also went over the walkways with the black.

You can see the grime streaks, but they are not really obvious, and that's just as I intended. They're faint, and kind of subtle. At first you sort of see them without really noticing them.

I patched over the SCOX letters with boxcar red trim film and then I put the JSSX letters on top of that.  I used black letters because in the white letter decal sets I had on-hand, there were no letter "X"s left. The Microscale alphabet sets only give you 3 "X"s in any given size, which is really too bad, because I think it's a pretty common letter used in railroad freight car reporting marks.

On one side I re-painted two panels, again using the boxcar red trim film.  The film went on smooth as could be. I also patched over the lube plates and added new ones.

The wheels and trucks are done too, with my usual "go-to" Krylon Camouflage Brown and then rust and black weathering powders over top of that. A couple of really light passes along the length of the lower portion of the car with weathered black. 

Dullcote (again) finishes everything off. So altogether, that's 3 layers of Dullcote.

Here's the wheels and trucks done, and then the rest of the covered hopper.