Friday 24 October 2014

CN Aluminum Covered Hopper

My layout features a feed mill and the Algonquin Railway delivers the grain.  To get the grain there I started collecting and building some freight cars for this online customer.

About a year ago I started to build a Sylvan Scale Models Flat top Cylindrical hopper kit.  I actually found two of them at a train show but have only built one.  This was my first resin kit.  It was PITA to put together.  Nothing against Sylvan (they make some great models) but the ladders in the kit are not usable, they represent a banana more than a ladder.  I tried to straighten them with hot water and some weights, but they just kept going back to their banana shape.

I ended up making them up by modifying Tichy ladders and bits of styrene.  The roof walk was also not usable, do to warpage.  I modified a Plano roof walk designed for a ACF cylindrical hopper model.

Kadee 158's, cut levers, brake hoses and Branchline 70 ton Barber S-2 trucks were also added.

The decals in the kit were old and cracking. A coat of Microscale liquid decal film fixed them right up.  I weathered the car using my airbrush, with paint thinned about 8/1 with thiner.  Artist olils were used for the white streaking.  I used a picture from the excellent Canadian Rail Car Pictorial books for reference.

I think it turned out pretty good.  I really enjoy weathering cars, although I find it easy to over do it.  I tried to practice some restraint on this car.  I think it's my best effort yet, compared to the look of the prototype.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday 14 October 2014


Over the thanksgiving long weekend in Canada I kitbashed an Ontario Northland boxcar.  It's based on a prototype built by National Steel Car in 1948, using an Atlas 1937 AAR 10' high kit.  Here is a link to a picture I used for inspiration.,%2040'%20Single%20Door%20Boxcar,%202542ONT,%20Ontario%20Northland,%2040'%20Single%20Door%20Boxcar,%202542,%20September%2028th,%201988,%20Cochrane,%20Ontario.jpg

The Atlas kit has moulded on details, so I started by shaving them off.  I tried to minimize the paint damage but it happens.

Next up was to add canadian style ladders, 8 rung with attached stirrups. These are from Tichy.  I added a small pc of styrene at the top of the car to support the ladder.  The Tichy ladders have 4 standoffs and I feel they need an extra support right at the top.

I also added Details Associates Bracket Grabs(Not Shown).  While the glue was drying on the ladders I drilled out the roof walk holes and plugged them with styrene rod.  These were sanded flush with the roof support ribs.

The next step was to build the ends.  I used Sylvan Scale Models detail parts for the NSC 2 Ends which have the correct rib shape for the prototype car.  Here is a picture with all the parts on, ready to install on the Atlas Car.  I used Tichy turnbuckles to attach the brake rod to the chain and to the fulcrum at the bottom.  This is something I learned from Pierre Oliver's Blog (Elgin Car Shops).  This is a great idea and much easier than any other method I have tried.

After this I assembled the car, painted the ends, doors and touched up the roof with CNW Green from PolyScale.  I added "no running board decals", COTS and ACI plaques as well as the car end numbers.  This was followed up with a coat of Valleo matt finish.  

I painted the trucks and wheels with Rustoleum Camaflage brown and cleaned up the wheel treads with a wire brush in my Dremel tool.  This was the first time I used the Dremel for this and I was surprised how well and quickly it worked.  Weathering was done with a white wash with a bit of green added in using acrylics.  Next up was rust spots and streaks using artists oils.  I finished off with a coat of dark streaking grime from AK on the roof.  I  put it on as a wash.  I then did some streaks on the side using the AK streaking grime with a fan brush at the top edge and a 5/0 brush for the streaks at the end of the door tracks.  The bottom of the car was given a wash of AK rust streaking effects.  The trucks were given a treatment with powders to rust and dirty them up a bit.  Overall I am happy with how things turned out.

Thursday 9 October 2014

Algonquin RS3 #401

I just finished up the newest addition to the Algonquin Loco fleet.  RS3 #401 started out as a factory decorated Atlas model featuring the companies 40th Anniversary theme.    I picked up the model at the Springfield show.  I am pretty sure the vendor did a happy dance after I left his booth, he couldn't believe someone wanted it, let alone pay for it!.  After a few hours in alcohol the gold paint was gone.  I added and upgraded many detail parts to this model.  Such as:

Single round headlamp castings
Marker lights, with MV lenses
Roof top bell
CPR style High Mount Horn (Nathan M3)
Forward Facing Number Boards
Rubber Brake Lines
MU Hoses
Axle speed recorder
Sanding lines
Brake chain and mounts
Brake wheel
Exhaust stack
Etched radiator grill
Windshield wipers

I also installed a Soundtraxx Tsunami Decoder.  This turned out to be an easy install, as the board just drops in.  I had to mill the two weights above the trucks to acomodate the capacitor and speaker.  More details on the installation can be found here.

I painted the model with Tru-Color paint.  I used weathered black.  This was great paint to spray and went on very smooth.  But is sure smells, as it is solvent based.  I sprayed it in my vented spray booth.  The Algonquin decals were custom made for me by Bill Brillinger who I met on the MRH forum. The numbers are from Microscale sets.

The model is weathered with oils, AK streaking effects, Pan Pastels and Bragdon Chalks.  It was fun making it look old and beet up.  I painted one of the truck bearings yellow to suggest it had been recently replaced.

One thing that gave me trouble on this project was the white frame stripe.  I first used frame stripes from a microscale set but the kept flaking off when working on the running boards.  The running boards are separate from the many body on this Atlas model and are made from a flexible plastic.  Basically they would flex and the decal would start to crack and peel off.  I considered painting them but decided to try some Automotive stripping tape first.  I purchased a role at Canadian Tire.  I applied it and then trimmed it at lower edge of the frame.  This was easy, looks great and really sticks.

 Next is to setup a Consist in Decoder Pro so it can run with AGN RS-10 502.  The dual Alco 244 prime movers should sound great together.  I still also need to install the brake chain.