Friday 26 April 2024

A Modern Highway Overpass Build

After what I'm pretty sure has been a delay of well over 2 years, work has finally begun here on a new highway overpass for the layout.  I'm combining 2 of the Pikestuff Modern Overpass kits, and the original idea has been to replace my existing overpass with something that would look a little more prototypical.

But of course, I almost immediately ran into sort of a problem.  The roadway portion appears to be quite a bit narrower than what I had expected.  And I think that the support pillars in the kit seem kind of narrow too.  Anyway, I think now I will use this project to add another overpass to the layout, instead of as a replacement.

Each section of the kit roadway is 9 inches long, which seems kind of odd to me, as I think bench work width is typically a multiple of 8 inches (16, 24, or in my case 32 inches deep/wide), so I'll have to make a cut to one of the sections

I watched a couple of YouTube videos (links below) of this same kit being assembled and weathered, and got some really helpful ideas for mine.

Here's a look at the Pikestuff kits package photo and instruction sheet:

I don't want to use all of those large bases for the pillars, because I think they'll block too much of the view of the trains as they pass beneath the overpass

On the workbench of course, here's a look at the parts and sub-assemblies.
This is the underside of the overpass with the linear support beams all in place, and the support pillars and guardrails off to the side

Basically same photo, but with the roadway on top.  The roadway is 20 feet wide, which, as I mentioned seems to me to be narrow for a modern overpass.

So, my solution is to add width by cutting .060 styrene strips 4 feet wide and add them to each side.  This will create "concrete shoulders" on each side of the overpass.
I think that this extra width is going to make a big difference in the appearance.  I've also attached the guardrails to the side.

This final view, for now, is after the whole thing has been painted.  Trying to go for an aged concrete appearance for the overpass, so I've sprayed everything with Rustoleum "Smoky Beige" to start.
The paint filled in some of the section lines, so I cleared them out using the back of an Xacto blade. I dabbed small amounts of Tamiya's Black Panel Line to highlight the seams.

I'll have more on this project as it proceeds

To close out this post, here's a link to the video, in case you missed it, of the 5 cars on a CP freight train that were on fire as it rolled through London, Ontario on Sunday night.  It was gondolas of scrap railway ties.  Last I heard it was unknown just how the gondolas actually caught fire.

Friday 19 April 2024

Found a Fire Escape

I happened across this fire escape, assembled, which was part of the Roberts Printing Company kit from Walthers. Found it in a parts bin, and I really don't know when or why I would have put it in there.

This is actually a bit of a significant find for me, as that Roberts Printing kit is what the industry/warehouse building with all of those broken windows is kitbashed from.

There are exit doors at 3 levels at this end of the building, and with no landing on the outside of those doors, that's got to be at least a bit dangerous for any HO scale folks that might step out for a smoke or to watch the trains as they pass by or switch out the loading dock below.

Happily, the whole building held together as I picked it up and moved it over to the workbench.  I dusted off the roof (needed it) and then attached the fire escape with tacky glue, which allows plenty of time to adjust placement and of course dries clear.
Here's a look at the fire escape in place.  I'll have to put a ladder in place now from the dock to the 2nd floor level.

Just as an aside, I've been thinking of covering over some of those broken windows, at least those on the 2nd floor with some steel siding.  Just to give the building a different look.  If or when I do so, I'll post before and after photos.  The windows on the first floor have been covered over for a long time.

Over on the other side of the layout, last week I showed the two signs that I made for the Ferrous Processing & Trading site.  I've also made up this one for the large billboard that's placed by the highway overpass.
Again, copied from an online photo, and printed to size using my Corel PaintShop program.

That's it for this week.  I hope you'll have some fun doing some model railroading.

Friday 12 April 2024

Business Signs for the Metal Recycler

Made a couple of signs for the metal recycler on the GTW.  I have a couple of gondolas that I  lettered ZVBX, which is railroad speak for the Ferrous Processing and Trading Corporation.  I searched online for photos of that company name, and came up with this example of the company logo.

The company has locations in Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario, which fits right in with my upper midwest industrial setting for my layout.

I saved the logo image as a file, and then opened it in my Corel Paint Shop program in order to size it to the 8 mm height that I thought would be suitable. The program then automatically figures out the corresponding width for the printout.

I printed 2 copies at 8 mm on our ink jet printer, one copy for each side of the sign. I then trimmed them both with an Xacto blade, and glued them to a piece of plain .010 styrene.  Attached a couple of styrene posts and a piece of scrap styrene for the top and bottom of the sign.  I brush painted all of the styrene parts with Vallejo Rust Texture, and then glued the posts to the back of fence at the recycler site on my GTW.

I repeated the process to make a 2nd sign for the other end of the recycler site, but for the 2nd one, I increased the height size to 10 mm.

Here's a couple of views of the new business signs, finished and installed:
This is the smaller of the two signs, placed at the right hand end of the metals recycler's site. Looks pretty good. 

And at the left hand end of the site is my 10 mm high print.

And we might as well have a look at the two ZVBX gondolas that I mentioned above.  I wasn't  quite able to figure out an angle to see the gondolas and business signs in the same photo, as the tracks don't really run close to the sign's locations.
ZVBX 97337 is loaded with non-ferrous metals, aka scrap aluminum

ZVBX 97324 loaded with the rusty ferrous scrap

Have a great week.

Friday 5 April 2024

Utility System Poles

Decided to (finally) install a set of Walther's Utility System poles on the layout.  This is a set of four single cross-arm "utility poles" that come pre-wired in the package.

There's only four poles in the set, and I wish it was five.  The instructions sheet suggests spacing the poles 11 inches apart.  I spaced them 15 inches apart because I wanted them to run the length of my South Industrial Boulevard peninsula street trackage.

Here we can see the line of poles and wires in place.  The set was quite easy to set up, and didn't take me much time at all.

I felt like the wires should go to or come from somewhere, so I dug out an electrical substation kit from my storage cupboard that I had assembled previously.  The small plot of land that I made available for the substation was too small for the footprint of the whole model, so I cut off 1/3 of it to make it fit into the space.  I can probably make use of the other 1/3 some other time, perhaps at the side or end of an industry building.

I actually made a mistake when I made the cut to reduce the size of the sub-station, and so then had to add some add a piece on to the base.  The chain link fence is made by Alkem Models.  I had never assembled a photo-etched metal kit before.  I used tacky glue to put the fencing together.

Here's a look at the sub-station in place. I weathered the fence by airbrushing it with ModelFlex Rust and followed that up with Roof Brown.  The framework of the substation got a bit of the Roof Brown and Tamiya Panel Line Brown.
The pole in the background with no wires running to it yet will carry power lines to the building across the street, but I haven't gotten that far along yet.  I still have to do some scenery work around the substation too.

Switching gears now, out in the 1:1 world locally on April 4, 2024, down at the Government Docks, this is a view of the Cargill grain property.
Left to right, we see a clean new covered hopper, a not quite as clean covered hopper, an even less clean covered hopper, and a you can judge for yourself covered hopper

Have a good week