Friday, 24 March 2023

This and That for March

I had this wheelset taken apart 3, maybe even 4 times, trying to solve the problem with the thumping and lurching that I wrote about last week.  I cleaned gears, replaced gears, checked for bent axles, removed the drive shaft (to see how it would run if that end was unpowered), and then reassembled and test ran after each of those procedures. Nothing seemed to help.

And then finally...I happened to notice that one of the metal plates in the power truck assembly looked like it was bent just a little bit outward toward one wheel. The plate of course conveys electrical power from the wheels to the motor. I bent it back inward, too far the first time, adjusted that, and the truck was able to run smoothly across the workbench.  Reassembled everything again, and the locomotive now runs just fine, so that's a big win here.

That's the metal plate, the black looking area with the large round hole near the bottom, that I'm referring to as having been bent. behind the one wheelset

I was going to order new power trucks from Athearn, but that doesn't appear to be necessary now.  I have ordered a new handrail set though.  My belief now, given the damage to the locomotive that I noted last week, is that it had been dropped at some point. Buyer beware I guess.

So moving forward now, here's the GP40X on the bench, masked in preparation for some paint work to blank out the word "SOUTHERN" on the side.  Once that's done I'll move forward to the weathering.

In other news, a lifelong friend of mine, John Bell, and I grew up around the corner form each other.  John is president of the Edmonton Train Collectors Club in Edmonton, Alberta. The club has a display in the Bonnie Doon Centre mall in Edmonton, and they were featured on the Edmonton TV news on this past Sunday.

Here's the link to the news feature: 

Also, in local news this week is the story that the Pere Marquette rail bridge in Port Huron, Michigan is about to be taken down, or demolished as the news story reads.

Here's my photo taken from Ferry Dock Hill here in Sarnia, taken this past Monday.  I certainly don't remember ever seeing the bridge lowered, but whenever we looked across the river here, it certainly stood out to us locals as an iconic landmark.  I guess maybe it was somewhat taken for granted too. I'll be sorry to see it go.

A couple of cranes at the the site of the Pere Marquette bridge over the Black River

The story doesn't mention why the bridge is being taken down, just that it's about to happen.  Here's the link to that news item:   There's a much nicer photo accompanying that story.

Friday, 17 March 2023

GP40X for the JSSX

We'll get to the GP40X in  a minute, but,

First up this week is this nifty picture from the bakery module that Brian Smith is putting together.  Brian explains that the owner of the bakery is a classic car buff, and that the Pontiac Bonneville belongs to him.

The "Mandalay Red" sure adds a nice bright splash of colour to the scene.  Just look at that car. I bet that riding down the highway in a real one of those would have been like floating on a cloud.  Great choice Brian !

I have sold off a few of my locomotives over the past 18 months or so, but I still have plenty left that I rotate on and off of the layout.  And I have been trying pretty hard to not buy any more.  That said, I've often thought that adding a high-hood geep the JSSX would be a real nice addition for the shortline. So when one came up for sale on the internet about 10 days ago, I made an offer for it which was accepted.

This GP40X arrived here on Wednesday. Here's a few photos...

Five chime horns at both ends

Flared radiators

The seller did advise that there was some damage to the handrails at this end of the locomotive. I can get a replacement set of handrails for it, and didn't really think of that as being a big deal.  I've broken handrails myself too.
However, the seller did not mention that there are other problems as well that have taken the "shine" off of my new locomotive for me.

There's a hole that has been drilled into the top of the hood above the cab (should have snapped a photo of that to show here too).  I'm thinking that it was done to install an antenna, but there's no antenna in the box.

One of the hangers is broken off of one of the trucks.  Maybe that happened during shipping, because the broken piece was in the box.

And the truck at the long end of the hood rolls with quite a rhythmic thump, and can be seen lurching with each thump.  So, I'll have to find what's causing that, and hopefully be able to fix the problem.

To sum up, as Charlie Brown would say...Rats...

Friday, 10 March 2023

American Hardware Supply build - Part 3

I figured that I'd have this build all wrapped up by now.  Well, it's not quite there yet, but it's close.  I just want to add a little more bit to it still.  Just small things, like blocking out some windows, I want to try some static grass around it, throw a bit of paper litter around.

But, the good news is, I got it mounted onto a piece of MDF, and some scenery along the loading dock sides.  The roof also has an air unit and some vents added, so the model looking pretty good now.

View of the roof

I thought I had sealed up the MDF base, but it warped on me I think as a result of getting wet  with the diluted white glue I used on the scenery ground cover.  A little disappointed about that.
Here's the sign I made up for the closed down door.  I had it mounted on the door, but it lookeed quite oversized there, so I moved it to the wall.
One end of the building. Still need some ground cover put down here.
The truck loading docks .
This would actually be the street side of the structure.  It doesn't show up in the photo, but I used some fine mesh as screening over the "basement" windows.

Another look at the rail side of the building. I should point out that we can't see through the building on the lower floors.  That's because I blocked the view using strips of cardboard that I placed diagonally across the inside of the building.  I left the top floor open on purpose, just to make it different.

So that's it for the time being. Time now to go shovel some snow.  Again.

I like the way the model has turned out, pretty close to what I had envisioned for it, but I'll have to find a way to overcome the warp in the base.  Maybe I should have tried using the "Gatorfoam" product that I've read about.   

Friday, 3 March 2023

Maintenance of Way Crane

The new image at the top of the blog for the month of March, shows a somewhat imposing view of the front end of hard working JSSX 813 switching cars along South Industrial Blvd.

I recently sold off this work crane to another modeler in Prince Edward Island.

The crane hadn't been seeing a lot of use on the JSSX, and I happened to stumble across someone that was wanting one, so...
I'm hoping that Stephen in PEI is happy to have this one.
I used to have photos of the crane actually on the layout, but of course I lost those in the great 2020 hard drive crash.  I should have thought of that and re-taken a few new ones before I shipped it out.  Too late now.

And here's an updated view of my paint-by-numbers effort of the scene along the JSSX east side
It's really starting to take shape now.  Keeps me out of the basement for a couple hours at a time. I sort of wish I'd used a different locomotive for this (my B23-7). Oh well, it is what it is as they say.

Friday, 24 February 2023

American Hardware Supply build - Part 2

Made a little more headway on the American Hardware Supply building, but it feels like it's been slow going overall.  Weathering the walls as I go, and then modifying the loading dock.

First off, those loading doors are all rather small, so I cut out some of the brick wall to make one door larger.  I used a spare roll-up door from my spare parts box, so that all worked out well.  The other door I intend to leave as the smaller size, and was thinking of putting a sign on it to say "Do Not Use.  Closed.", or something like that.

I thought I'd like to extend the loading dock across the entire length of the building, rather than just reach from one dock door to the other as it's designed.  I made an extension the proper length out of scraps of .040 styrene, and put a concrete block facing on it just to make it appear that one section or the other had been re-built at some point. This worked out too, but took me some time, as the first time I made the dock section it turned out too tall. I'm not sure how I got that so wrong.

The windows on the left hand side have been permanently filled in with concrete.  I used actual concrete patch material for that.  A quick brush over with thinned dark grey toned down the look of that material.

The building wall had a bit of a warp in it.  I've seen this often before with Walther's structure kits.  I used some small C-clamps I had to get the original section of the loading dock to stay welded (glued) to the building. I also reinforced that bond by adding some scraps of styrene angle underneath the dock.

This view shows the loading dock's two sections as installed.  I had also put a few gouges in the edges of the dock to show a bit of damage, and ran some weathering streaking down from them.  The two brick sections are wall sections for the head house (?) on the rooftop.

You get spare or alternate support parts for the water tank in the kit.  I kind of like this steel one.  It might make a nice change from the concrete supports that I've used for the Walthers water tank on other kits in the past.  Some cutting and filing will have to be done to use it though, so I'm not sure I'll actually do that. We''ll see.

Hoping to get to the window glazing and the roof next.

Wouldn't want you to miss this new YouTube video of the Miami Downtown Spur layout from Lance Mindheim and his friend Tolga Erbora.  Lots to see and soooo many great structures and scenery ideas.  Here's the ;link...

That's it for this time.  Thanks for looking in.

Friday, 17 February 2023

This and That for February 2023

I was pretty happy (make that excited) last week to hear from Kevin Smith that a photo from my JSSX has made it into the March issue of Model Railroader magazine.  It's covers pages 62 and 63, in the Trackside Photos section.

Also newsworthy, George Dutka, who of course has the White River Division blog, now has a book out appropriately called "Model Railroading with George Dutka".  It's published by White River Productions, who as we all know are the publishers of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine.

Here's a link to the White River Productions web page for George's book.  You'll be able to read the bullet points of his book's contents, and order it if you'd like to do so.

In other news, I suppose everyone has seen video of the giant NS derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.  Another separate problem took place in North Carolina last week.  I thought this image from the news was a bit of an eye-popper...

National Salvage & Service, a used tie storage facility in Wayne County, North Carolina had a fire last Saturday.  Those fire trucks look awfully small, and that fire looks awfully big.  I hope that no one got hurt.

Click on this link below to read more about it, keeping in mind that it's dated last Saturday, the 11th.

Last September I showed this image here on the blog.

Below is the first "update" for it.  The painting sat in it's packaging for the rest of the fall and well into January before I finally got started actually working on it.  Here's a look at what's been accomplished so far.  This is after probably about 10 - 12 hours actual working time at our dining room table.
This thing isn't easy. I'll show more again in a few weeks, hopefully with a bit more progress.

I'll close out the week now with this view of JSSX 813 on the spur alongside South Industrial Blvd.  I just wish I could get that chain link in focus too.

Maybe I can go back and try again to improve the focus, but the neighborhood looks a little sketchy

Friday, 10 February 2023

A Start on the American Hardware Supply Kit Build

 We'll get to the American Hardware building in a minute, but first I wanted to show the picture that Brian sent this week of his new diorama he's been working away at.The main structures and silos are the Walthers Bakery kit.  I like the dark colour Brian has used here, and I kind of like that some of the ties on the spur are missing too. 

Brian also found time to double back for another picture of the gondola that I posted here a couple of weeks ago.  Not sure how he did it, but this time he managed to grab a shot of the interior.
Rails, gravel and dirt, and some broken ties.  Maybe these ties are the ones missing from the rail spur on his diorama.

As for me, I got a bit of a start on one of the structures that had I picked up at the Woodstock Train Show 3 weeks ago.  I really like assembling or kit bashing these type of structure kits, and I've looked at the American Hardware Supply kit in hobby shops and on-line for a long time.  I was pretty happy to run across this one at a friendly price at Woodstock.
I also watched a video of how another modeler assembled the same kit. Not saying I'll do the same things, but there's a couple of ideas that I might try out for myself. The video is a half hour long, but there are some interesting ideas in it.  Here's the link:

Below is a look at the structure's walls while they're still on their sprues

Pretty much the same view again below, but I've painted the concrete pillar areas with a darker grey.  Sort of pre-weathering, or pre-shading I think it's called

And the same picture yet again, but with the brick areas painted.  I used CraftSmart Brick Red craft paint applied with a flat brush for this. 
That's as far as I've gotten with this building so up will be to darken down the brick a bit with a dark wash.

Friday, 3 February 2023

Ground Hog Day


Looks more like a cartoon beaver to me, but maybe that's just me being Canadian

An internet acquaintance (Monty) had this Atlas boxcar for sale last week via facebook.  I'd didn't think I'd ever seen this particular paint scheme and reporting marks on a boxcar before, so I decided rather quickly that I'd like to add it to the roster here.

Atlas NSC 50 foot boxcar, decorated in Youngstown & Austintown paint.   Ooops, just now noticed the wheels off the rails.  That's not good.

I haven't yet found any photos of these cars in this paint scheme on the interwebs, so I'm not sure how this one will be weathered. I'll keep looking though in order to get some ideas.

I brought this Bowser SD40 out of the cupboard this week.  It's not the type of thing that the JSSX shortline would buy for itself, but could have a chance to show up around here from time to time as a leaser.
An excellent model that I've seldom operated with here. How 'bout that fuel tank though?!  I believe that the prototype engines were sold off to a leasing company.

Of course I would like to patch this one as a lease engine, but it's another model that I've had trouble finding photos for.

Friday, 27 January 2023

CSXT Gondola

Brian Smith sent me a few pictures that he took recently.  He had particularly noticed the "MW" mark on the side of the gondola and thought maybe I would like to do the same on a model.

A bit closer look

While Brian liked the "MW", what caught my about this gondola was the doubled reflective stripes, as well as the L-shaped combination of two stripes at the end. And looking closely, there's a single stripe at the right hand end of the gondola that is located lower than the others.

I thought I'd do something similar to one of my gondolas here, but without the Maintenance of Way marking.  I chose JSSX 1410 for the subject.

Here's my gondola JSSX 1410 with the reflective stripes as they were.

Now, I know that it's a small change to the gondola in this next picture, and really, who else would even notice such a thing?  But I'll know it's there.
Just a simple matter of moving Smokebox Graphics reflective stripes and adding a couple on on each side.  Took five minutes for me to do this.  The hardest part was deciding which gondola to choose.  I picked one belonging to my shortline (that way nobody can say it's not prototypical).
And a look at the other side of the gondola

Brian also went to the trouble to take a few more photos that day, so I'll show them here as well.  I've adjusted each photo to be just a bit brighter.
A nice look at the gondola's "A" end.  Track buried in the dirt

Coupled next to the CSX gondola was this RailGon
This one bears the old Chesapeake & Ohio "CO" reporting marks

And there's this picture with a tank car parked on a siding.  Notice the condition of the rails..
Thanks very much for the photos Brian !

Friday, 20 January 2023

Yikes !

I honestly don't even know what to say about this, so I'll just let the video and story speak for itself.  Yes, the link is legitimate, as I've tested it.  You'll have to scroll down just a bit to see the video, photo, and story.  And I'm sorry for all the advertising, but it's the internet and not much can be done about that. 

Gotta feel sorry for the little guy. Feel free to leave comments. The best one I saw was "That's Nuts ! "

In other news, I went to the Woodstock train Show last Sunday.  First show I've attended since October of 2019. I got to chat for a few minutes with George Dutka of the White River Division blog, who was running a table at the show.  I also met Nick Masney from Imagine That Laser Art. Another acquaintance from some years ago that was there was excellent modeler Steve Juranic. Modeler Gary Crowther from London, Ontario was there, as was Barry Wright who is an old friend from the (defunct) Sarnia Model Railway Club.

There was a guy selling a Proto 2000 SD60. in the CSX grey and blue paint scheme.  I wish now that I'd bought it.  Would have made a real nice leaser engine. However, I did pick up 3 kits, including this LBF boxcar that George was selling.

And this warehouse kit from should fit in nicely on the layout

I've often thought about trying this kit out, and it was there for a good price, so...

Those two above are in addition to this one that I already had here.

So, all in all, I've got lots to do.  I already had plans/ideas for the Magic Pan kit and it will likely be first up of the 3. 

Friday, 13 January 2023

One Thing Leads to Another

 Well, I decided that I'd ought to get busy on this covered hopper that Brian sent for me to weather for him, and then one thing led to another...

I had also read a comment somewhere else about people not weathering vehicles on their layouts, and I thought that yes, although I've done a couple of them, the comment does also apply to me. 

This day cab tractor was close by, so I grabbed it and set about weathering it at the same time as the covered hopper.

The holes in the roof are where air horns are supposed to be, but I don't have them so I don't quite know what I'm going to do about that.

Faded the blue Colormark panels and added some rust to the hopper.  Good thing it never rains on the layout or the inside of the cab would get wet.

The covered hopper isn't actually quite finished yet, as I still have to do the wheels and trucks, but here's a few pictures anyway.

Some fading, rusting, and a bit of graffiti.

Below is pretty much the same view as above, but with the car out on the street trackage
Yep, gotta paint those shiny wheels.

 And as for that day cab, I also gave a couple of trailers a quick weathering as well.
Mostly what I did here was Tamiya brown and Tamiya black panel line on just about everything on the cab and wheels.  Can't really see it, but I also used those same two products on the landing gear of the trailers as well.

Some grimy black airbrushed onto the trailer where exhaust soot traditionally builds up.

I've also got just a few more vehicles to weather, but before I do those I think I'll just ponder over these ones for a bit and see what I like and what I might try to do differently next time.