Friday, 31 March 2017

GTW Woodchip Hopper and Southern Flat

  I finally finished up the GTW wood chip hopper project.  These cars were loaded at Wilner Wood products of Norway Maine and billed to the Brown company in Berlin, NH, a pulp and paper plant.  I painted it with True Colour CN red #11.  I had the decals custom designed and printed by Precision Design Company.  As usual their service and decals are top notch.

  There were 21 cars in the series consisting of  #'s 454001 - 454021.  The first 14 were constructed during 1964-66, with the remaining cars built in 1971.  They were originally American Car and Fundry built 70 Ton offset side triple hoppers.  Wood extensions were added to increase the capacity.  My son made the load for it using foam and saw dust from our table saw.

    The Southern flat car is a resin kit available from Mask Island decals.

   It came with a laser cut wood deck, unfortunately the pocket holes didn't line up very well with those on the body, so I made a new deck from 0.060" V-Groove Styrene sheet. I scribed individual board lines on the edges to make them look like separate boards.

  The load simulates hydro poles made from Southern Yellow Pine logs.  They are 3/16" Poplar dowels stained with Minwax Dark Walnut stain. I also dusted them with some Bragdon powders.   The stakes are brass rod, turned down to fit in the stake pockets on one end and drilled on the other so they look to be made from steel tubes.  The Brass stakes and poles add much needed mass to this car.  The poles are glued together by flowing some thin CA on the end of the pile and are secured to the deck with metal strapping made from black construction paper.

  I gave the under body a full set of brake rigging, you can't see it but I know its there.

  The car  is painted with Scale Coat Oxide Red and decalled with the fine Mask Island Decals supplied in the kit.

  Both cars are fitted with Rapido's 70 Ton Barber S2A trucks.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Rebuilt PRR X29's

  I finished up these two X29 rebuilds last night.  An X29B and a X29D.  Both are F&C kits.  I upgraded them with Yarmouth Model Works stirrups, Tichy wire, Kadee grabs and Plano etched metal running boards.

  The kit decals were not very crisp, but overall I am happy with them.  About a week after I put the decals on, Speedwitch Media announced new decal sets for the X29B, figures....

  As for weathering I went for a less is more approach. Dirty but not abused.  The X29D is on the left with the eight foot door, the X29B sports a seven foot door.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Canadian Style Youngstown Doors

  A couple of months ago I started on five Postwar 40'  boxcars.  3 CN, 1 CP and 1 TH&B.  The base model I used was Intermountain Railway's 10'6" AAR Cars with 6' door openings.  These kits come with 5/5 Dreadnought ends or 4/4 Improved Dreadnaught ends and Murphy Raised Panels Roofs.

  The cars I wanted to model either had PS-1 style or diagonal panel roofs and NSC 3 style ends, save for the TH&B car which required the 4/4 IDE end.  I ordered some PS-1 car kits from Intermountain and stole the roofs from them for the CN cars.  The other three needed diagonal panel roofs so I ordered Branchline parts from Atlas.

  As for the NSC3 ends - I could have used Sylvan Scale models NSC3 ends, but I have never been happy with the pattern work, as its missing the rivets and weld lines between the panels and the shape of the ribs don't seam right.  To my eye they look like a compromise based on the available styrene shapes used to make the patterns. 
  So I designed my own 3D models and had the ends printed on a 3D printer.  I took measurements and pictures from an actual NSC built 40' boxcar,  at the West Coast Railway Museum in BC, a few years ago.  One of the models has Sylvan ends on it.  I had a set, so I decided to use them up.

  I added Archer weld beads to define the separate stamped panels that the prototype ends are built up from.  Archer rivets needed to be added on the sides of the part because, the 3D printer puts  support material on the side of the part to print rivets sticking out - this messes up the face when the support material is removed.   I elected not to put them in the 3D model.  The support material leaves a different texture on the part that would show up after painting.  The rest of the rivets are in the print, but do to the colour of the plastic they don't show up in pictures.

   The project stopped when I got to the point where I needed to add the doors.  The kits come with Youngstown doors with early roller fixtures. Youngstown doors with late style fixtures are available, but they do not have the correct rib pattern and the panels are not riveted in the valleys between the ribs - as on the Canadian version of the Youngstown door.

 These are available form Sylvan Scale Models but the moulds are old and need to be redone, so the parts don't come out very good anymore.

 The solution was to cut and spice two of the American version of the door into a Canadian version. Add Archer rivets, then make a Silicone RTV mould.  Something I have never tried.

  I made a trip out to Sculpture Supply Canada in Etobicoke with Doug Currie and the nice folks there helped us select the products I needed to make the mould and cast some parts.  Here's what they recommended.  The mould release is an extra thin version, which works better for highly detailed parts, The Smooth Cast 320 is an off white colour that they said would tint easier. 

  I glued the new door into a Styrene box and followed the instructions to make the Silicone Mould.  Doug came over to help out with the poor etc, and having an extra set of hands was very helpful.

  The silicone I used is a platinum cure type that mixes 1 to 1, and doesn't require degassing.  The mould turned out great. It has a few air bubbles on the back side but nothing on the part face.  It cures quick also, 30 minutes per the instructions.  I left it a bit longer just to be safe. 

   Casting took some practice.  I managed to make 8 good doors in about 14 attempts.  I poked the air bubbles out using a toothpick and slid a backer plate onto the back of the mould, but on top of a sheet of thin slippery plastic - rather than dropping it face on.   Using these tricks I had good parts coming out of the mould.  I ended up not using the tint. It was much easier to find air bubbles in the clear resin.  The resin turns off white as it cures.  I only needed 8 parts as the TH&B car will use the earlier style door included in the kit.

Here's what everything looks like.

I actually glued on the kit doors and let this project sit, while I came to the eventual realisation, that I would not be happy with the wrong doors on these cars.  I managed to get them off with little damage.

  In the end this project was pretty easy to do and a lot of fun, I should have just got on with it from the beginning.

At this point I have no interest in laying out a whack of Cash for Vacuum pots/pumps or pressure vessels to make full car bodies etc. 

Now I can get back to finishing these cars.  More to come....

Monday, 6 February 2017

1932 ARA Boxcars

Over the past few months, neighbour and fellow modeller Doug Currie has joined me in the workshop on Monday nights, for what we call Modelling Monday.  The project we undertook is the construction of 1932 ARA Boxcars.  We both picked up an F&C kit while attending the New England RPM in Enfield, CT.  Doug built a CP car while I built a MEC Car.  We finished them up a couple of weeks ago.

The cars were constructed according to the kit instructions, but with a few detail part upgrades.  We used Tichy wire in lieu of the floral wire in the kit for the air lines and brake rodding.  Yarmouth brake levers along with Tichy turn buckles cut down to resemble clevises and Moloco rubber air hoses completes the under body replacements.  Up top we used the excellent Yarmouth laser cut wood running boards and Kadee bracket grabs on the sides and formed our own cut levers attached with Yarmouth eye bolts..

Doug used the supplied kit decals, while I used a Microscale set to model a rebuilt MEC car in the pine green scheme,  representing a car in my 1966 time frame.

Weathering was done with Pan Pastels and artists oils using prototype photos as a guide.  We are both very happy with the finished models.  I had a great shot of the roof of the MEC car, so I went all out trying to recreate the rusted look on the raised panels.  After the photos were taken we cut off the trip pins on the couplers and painted the couplers and air hoses a rust colour and black respectively.

Doug has been involved in the hobby for a long time now, but he admitted that this is the first model he has built in over 25 years.  I'm happy that I was able to get Doug out of the arm chair and back into doing some actual modelling.  We've already started our next project, so I guess I didn't drive him too crazy!!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Grand Trunk Work Cars

For the last few months I've been collecting kits and detail parts to construct a typical 1960's era Grand Trunk Work Train.  From the information I gathered, a typically Work Train would consist of the following:

Bunk or Camp Car
Tool Car
Several, 40' Flat Cars
Small Crane
Hopper or Side Dump Car
Jordan Spreader

Here is a picture of the first car completed. 

  The kit is a Tichy 40' Flat car.  The Grand Trunk owned very similar flat cars to which the Tichy kit represents.  The main difference being the type of stake pockets.  The kit is supplied with cast style stake pockets, with three ribs cast into them, on the sides and face of the pocket.  The prototype cars had stamped steel stake pockets, with only one dart centered on either side of the pocket.  To accomplish the conversion to a stamped pocket, I sand the face of each Tichy stake pocket and then carve off the four left over ribs on the top and bottom leaving only the center two ribs on either side.  This conversion takes about an hour to do all 24 stake pockets.  The GT flat cars also only have 11 stake pocket but changing this is more involved an not worth the effort in my opinion.

  I also added cut levers and air hoses, wood side stakes and wood boards on the B end,  but other than that it's built straight from the kit instructions.  After reviewing a prototype photo I can see that the sill steps are to short, and need to be replaced with longer ones, as this is a typical feature of the Canadian built version of these flat cars.  I painted the car with True Colour CN Freight Car Red #11.  Decals came from an old Herald King GTW Set, Black Cat 40' flat car set and a Microscale number set.

  I detailed the car with drums, a scratch built tool box(with pic axes, hammers, crow bars), ties, torch and a welder.  A quick Google search led to some great photos of welders from the 1960's, yielding what colours to paint it. 

  The car still needs a coat of clear flat and weathering, but I am gong to wait until the other cars are done so I can make the weathering similar on all the cars using the same colour palette. 

  I think the deck turned out great. I used my own spin on the Tichy Method.  Here's the steps if you want to try yourself.

  First I paint the deck with an earth coloured paint.  I used Polyscale Rail Tie Brown thinned 30% with water.  Don't worry so much about using Polycale just get something close.

  Second I thinned some Polyscale Concrete and Valleo Model Air Medium Grey about 50% with water and painted individual boards. 

  Third, I thinned the Rail Tie Brown about 80% with water to make a really thin wash and painted everything again. 

Fourth I lightly rubbed the whole deck with fine steel wool.

  The final step was to flood the deck with Hunterline Creasote stain.  I use a wide fan brush for this so I can apply it very quickly and evenly across the deck, as it dries quickly.

I have some other stuff on my bench that I need to finish up but then its back to these Work Train Cars.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Board Fencing

While most of my modelling efforts of late are focused on building rolling stock for my future GT layout, work on the Algonquin continues.  I've decided to add a fence to the yard scene in the town of Whitney.  I want it to frame an area where the railroad stores things like ties, tie plates, rail etc. next to the MoW shed.

At first I considered buying strip wood and making it myself, but after comparing the cost of the strip wood, to the cost of a Blair Line laser cut fence kit I quickly bought the kit.  The strip wood, would've cost about a third more and I'd have to cut it all myself on the chopper.

I assembled the fencing in sections, with the posts spaced so they would be evenly spaced after installation on the layout.  I stained them with a Hunterline Red stain.  I wasn't pleased with the look, so I tried the kits instructions instead. The kit says to prime with grey (I used a rattle can) and then brush paint the colour of your choice.  I think they came out great.  I dry brushed the top coat to give a weathered look.

Next up is to install the fence and take a few photos. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Van, Caboose and Wood Chip Hopper

Its been awhile since my last post.   Summer has been very busy in our household and not much modelling has taken place.  I've been back at the bench for a couple of weeks now and have a few photos to share.

  First up is the MEC Cabosse 663 from my previous post.  I manged to put it together and get it weathered.  I used an Oil wash and Pan Pastels to achieve the look I was after.  I may still add a bit of road grime to the trucks with my Airbrush, but my paint booth is out of commission right now so that will have to wait.

  The trucks also need some attention.  The Gould Caboose trucks from Proto are nicely rendered; but the brake shoes included snap on poorly and they rub the wheel tread.  I need to decide if I'm going to remove them or try and trim them down so they don't rub.

Next up is CN Van 79150.  Its an offering by True Line Trains.  I replaced the plastic running board with one I made from wood.

 I used a technique of Trevor Marshall's, gluing wood strips (scale 1"x 6") onto  a 0.01" styrene base plate.  I then stained the boards with Hunterline stain.  This was followed by panting the entire running board assembly with flat black paint.  I sanded the boards to remove most of the paint, leaving a nice weathered look to the boards, but everything else remains black to blend with the roof.  This is the first time I attempted this technique and will be using it again.

 Weathering was a dirty brown oil wash on the body, with Pan Pastels on the trucks.  Full strength artists oils were dabbed along the bottom of the side with a tooth pick and pulled up the side with a dry brush to simulate dirt and road grime working its way up the tongue and groove siding.

The third car is a kitbash of a GTW Wood Chip Hopper.  I'll write more about the car history in a future post, after I get it painted and decaled.

 It started out life as a 70 Ton Accurail 3 bay offset side open hopper.  I scratch built the extensions from strip wood and styrene. Wire grabs, NBW's and a whole whack of Tichy rivets added hours of enjoyment building it.  I bent up some cut levers from phosphor bronze wire and added tow hook loops to match the prototype.  I even made up strengthening panels along the sill where the tow eye loops are attached.  These are fastened with rivets on the prototype, so more Tichy rivets here.

 Other details include a Kadde brake wheel, DA brake housing, chain and etched Brake Platform cut from a left over chunk of Apex style running board.  I think I'll add a Train line also.

 If anyone knows the function of the 3 pockets on the side of the wood chip extension, I would be interested in learning their purpose.  My best guess is they might be needed to accommodate some type of car unloading system.