Saturday 25 January 2020

Painted Rail...Making a Difference Again

I'm not sure there's anything quite like a photograph from our layouts to help us see where an area might be lacking. A recent case-in-point for me was the photograph that I put up at the top of the page 3 weeks ago.

I liked a photograph I'd taken of my NREX SD38 leaser well enough to put it up there as the header photo at the top the blog for the month of January. But as soon as I did that, my focus went to the appearance of the rails, which quite noticeably look like they're nickel silver. And that look bothered me enough to make me want to do something about it.  It took me a couple of weeks to actually get to it though.
The header photo as it was.

Sooooo, first I removed all of the removable items (freight cars, buildings, everything) from the area, then powered up the compressor and loaded up the airbrush with (ModelFlex) rail brown to paint those rails. And as long as I still had paint in the airbrush, I kept right on going and painted the rest of the rail on the two nearby industry spurs while I was at it. I used a long piece of cardboard to shield anything left behind the rails from overspray.

20 minutes later, with mission accomplished, I was ready re-stage the SD38 in the same location and take the picture again. And here's the result, which I'll leave up at the top of the blog until at least the end of the January.
Don't the rails in this photo make the scene look much better? I updated the blog's header photo to this one on Thursday and I think I'll keep it there for at least a couple of more weeks.

This is the 2nd time in recent weeks that I've painted rails on the JSSX, and I guess I'll have to set myself the goal of doing so all around the layout.  I don't know why I had hardly ever done this before, but it really does make a difference in the appearance of the layout.

And here's a look at nothing much, as in a big empty area along the GTW line, right next to the MidWest Plastics plant.  The total space is 30 inches wide, and I've finally got something underway to fill it in with.

Below is a very early look at what's in store for this empty location, although it won't be served by rail.  There's just not room to properly fit a spur in there, and I won't try to force it as sometimes less is more.
I'll be putting this 25 inch wide structure into a 30 inch wide space.  And the rails in this photo have been painted already, except for that one leading off to the left.

Saturday 18 January 2020

Ground Throws, CP Cylindrical Hoppers

I've managed to break a couple of the normally reliable Caboose Industries ground throws recently, so I included a 5-pack of the smaller sized 5202S with an on-line order I placed recently.

Here's the link to the Caboose Industries product information page.

I never much cared for that shiny black of the delrin plastic that these things are made of as I think that it makes them stand out just too much.  I've tried painting them by hand before, with mixed results.  I had a couple that I put the paint on too thick and they locked up,  so I thought maybe I'd try airbrushing them this time.  

I airbrushed 4 of the 5 pieces, first spraying them with thinned "rust" brown, and then following that with a lighter coat of flat black. You can see the difference from the unpainted, shiny looking one on the left, below. I like the look of these 4 much more than the way they appear straight out of the package. Hopefully they'll work out well and blend in a little nicer along the JSSX.

And continuing on with my efforts to play catch up on quite a backlog of weathering projects, I worked on some covered hoppers for modeller Jamie Barron this week. Among them was this pair of CP cylindrical covered hoppers (Intermountain cars I believe).

Looks like some time after CP had painted over graffiti on the lower portions of these cars, the taggers were right back at them again.

And below I've attached a link to a YouTube video of City Limits Railway.  I think that the trains in the video run too fast for the urban setting that is depicted, but this layout looks really good, featuring modern era freight switching, weathering, and lots of details.

Have a good week, and I hope you can all find time to do some modeling.

Saturday 11 January 2020

One of These Boxcars Was Not Like The Others...

One of these boxcars was not like the others, One of these boxcars was kind of the same...

I've given myself a break away from doing much actual work on the layout for the past few days, which provides kind of a nice change of pace.  I've got my next project for the layout in mind, but before I get started on that I want to catch up on some weathering projects that I've fallen behind on.

During the holidays, Brian Smith dropped by with an assortment of rail cars, asking me to do some weathering on them.  One particular car that grabbed my attention right away is this Greenville 60' high cube boxcar, lettered for the old DT&I.  These Exactrail models are really nice, and as you can see above, I've got two of them myself that see occasional time running around on the GTW line on my layout.

Brian's Greenville boxcar, fresh out of the box and waiting on the workbench.

I masked off a few areas of the boxcar, which when the car is finished, will hopefully give the impression of fresh paint patches. The green paint is faded with Concrete Gray, which seems to have become my go-to for fading.

Burnt Sienna acrylic simulates the rust running the length of the panel seams, while darker burnt umber highlights the spaces between the doors. I also used the burnt umber, with a tiny bit of black mixed in, on the upper and lower door tracks.  The panel seams closest to the doors are highlighted with thinned black acrylic.

With that part of the process completed, I then airbrushed the boxcar with a few light passes of thinned "Espresso" coloured craft paint on the upper and lower portions of the sides to simulate light rusting and road grime.  I sprayed some extra on just one door to add a subtle bit of interest.

Here is Brian's DT&I 25934 all finished up, sitting on the street trackage on South Industrial Boulevard.  Quite the transformation.

Looks like the JSSX's 815 might be going to pick up the DT&I car and drag it around to the yard from here.

Saturday 4 January 2020

Those New Storage Silos at MidWest Plastics

Work progressed on the new set of silos at the local Midwest Plastics plant. In fact, the silos are finished up, installed, and actually they are looking pretty good.  

Now, this was not the easiest of kits to assemble, for me anyway, as to begin with the silo halves didn't really mate up as well as I had expected.  There were also a few of the piping parts that did not mate up properly, but I wonder if that might be because I had decided to only use 3 of the 4 silos. I'm happy with that decision though.  Odd numbered groupings of just about anything always seem to look better to me for some reason.

I spray painted the 3 silos with Rustoleum "Chalked Aged Grey". and then weathered them before I put them onto the base. That became a problem as they didn't fit over the locating rings that were molded in place. When I tried to press them onto the base the weld seams on two silos split apart.  An easy repair, but still not something you'd expect to happen.  I ended up shaving the round locators off of the base and then gluing the silos down.

The rest of the kit went together a bit better, but the hose and pipe pieces didn't line up quite as I would have hoped either.  That was overcome by slightly bending the parts and use of CA type glue.  I painted / weathered most of the remaining parts while they were still on the sprues.

The new silos are spaced differently, so before I installed them I had to increase the size of the notch in the building by about 3.5 inches or so.

Here's a look at the plant with the old silos:

And a close-up of those old silos:

Here are the 3 new silos coming along nicely on the workbench.  The railings and the ladder assembly were hand painted with Armour Yellow and then sprayed with Modelflex Rust.  Once installed, I added more weathering by hand, using artist type acrylics. I found that streaking the rust straight downward on a cylinder is not the easiest thing to do as the brush tended to want to wander to the side.

And with the building modified the whole assembly is set into place.  The walkways at the top are in place, and I added a chain link fence (with an access gate) across the front of the storage area.  I also added a personnel door to the building near the right-hand silo.  I made up a couple of flexible hoses and ran them across the ground beside the gate.  The hoses are lengths of solder painted black and grey.

And an overall view of MidWest Plastics as it stands now.  I've still got a bit more that I want to do on this plant, such as adding some detail to the roof, a rail access gate, and some more piping.

Also thinking now of maybe adding a 2nd storey wall to run the length of the building behind the silo area.  Maybe made of brick or cement block.