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.

Saturday 7 December 2019

Access Gate, Consolidated Stencils

Last week I made mention of needing to install a gate at the rail entrance to the warehouse along my South Industrial Blvd.  Well, during the course of the week it took me a couple of tries, but I made one that will suit the purpose.  I may have overdone it a bit with too much of the dark rust.  
This frame of this access gate is .025 steel wire, bent to shape.  One end of the wire is stuck into the "ground", allowing the gate is to be swung open and closed by a gentle push with the skewer picks that I use for un-coupling freight cars. The fence mesh is bridal veil material (called tulle).

I've been a member at (a membership pay site) for several years, and like to occasionally post on the model railroading board there.  A week ago, I posted my photos of my DT&I 86 foot boxcar and received a bunch of positive feedback from other modelers.  One guy on there observed that I had not added the consolidated stencil to the side of the car, and that I probably should have since I had blanked out the original "capy" stencil. 
Lesson learned.

So, I spent some time scavenging consolidated lube stencil decals from various decal sets, and ACI (Automatic Car Identification) barcodes as well. I gave them all a bit of airbrush weathering before putting them on the boxcar. Here's a close-up view of the decals after I'd applied them.
I applied this 3-panel style of the consolidated stencil on 3 separate DT&I cars.  These are small details indeed, but they do make the boxcars look a little bit better.

 Here we see GTW 6210 moving DT&I 26035, with it's new decals in place, to the nearby parts factory spur.  The plan for the upcoming week is to (try) to get ballast onto the two sets of tracks visible here.  We'll see how that goes.

And, out in the  1:1 world yesterday, CN train 491 was westbound toward the St.Clair River tunnel being led by this set of Union Pacific locomotives (quite uncommon around here).