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Thursday, 28 November 2019

CNR Ash Pit

I scratch built this from looking at the remains at Big Valley, Alberta and froma a picture I had found on
the Internet. I did find a different photo once it was almost completed which showed that the rail on
the backside would have been on top of the foundation not on a support as I modelled it. Go figure!
The ashes are Woodlands fine cinders. The rail is code 55. The access to the ash pit for locomotives is
on a track between the coaling tower and the turntable. For the ash car, access is off the back of the
lead to the coal dock. The ash car is then sent out to be dumped on the Qu`Appelle sub so it goes to
staging and then returns back to collect more ash. The car was loaded and unloaded by shovel. All the
foundations and the sloped approach to the pit are made from styrene. I drew the slope sides in CAD
and then printed them on card stock and did test fits until I was happy I painted it in place with my
airbrush and weathered it with chalks and some paint.
They only thing that I may go back and change is to either make a recess for the coupler or move the
end wall back scale 6' so the car sits more centered to the pit. The only tough part of the build was
getting the slope on the track right.
Yes I realize I have an oil burner (CN1392 10 Wheeler from Van Hobbies) sitting there. It is about to fill
up with oil from the standpipe behind.
I have not completed the rest of the scenery because I have not really visualized what I want to do.

The little tool rack on the back right was scratch built to hold switch cleaning tools. The oil standpipe is from Tichy.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Tools from the cosmetic department

A walk through the cosmetic department will yield some different tools that work very well for a reasonable price. I am not recommending that you take any of these from your better half's bathroom but you can look and ask some questions :-)
In the picture below is a cuticle cutter. You can use this to remove details from cars or locomotives. I use it mostly when I want to remove molded on ladder rungs and grab irons. What is great about this tool is that it will not dig in and thus is easier to get close to the surface which will not need further touch ups. This is a result of the tapered V shape of the cutter.

On the left is a clipper that will cut just like a sprue cutter which if you build kits like Intermountain this tool is indispensable. This one is smaller than my other sprue cutter.  It works well when you do not have a lot of room or an awkward angle and want a clean cut. It is also incredibly sharp. On the right is a cuticle pusher and is also very sharp and can be used for trimming things off flat surfaces like rivets.

These emery boards work well and they do not cost very much. The type I use has corse on one side and finer on the other.

There is also a whole array of different types of tweezers that have very accurate tips.

I also have a bottle off flat black nail polish that I use on my brass steamers to cover spots where shorts on the frame may be happening. It is thick so it covers better than paint.

The makeup brushes I use for weathering with chalks also come from this department or older ones from my wife. They are soft to firm and work very well with the chalks.

Friday, 25 October 2019

CN Lime Stone Hoppers and Loads

I had a need for another train that didn't interchange cars and is just a through train. This helps to keep the amount of work for the yard crew manageable. I received information from Graham Wood as he was engineer on this particular train that ran between Hudson Bay, Sk and Regina, Sk. The lime stone was used in a cement plant east of Regina.

Here are the Accurail hoppers that I found at Walthers on a sale deal. I had another 3 cars that I had picked up at a swap meet that are not in the picture. I have space to run a 13 car train.

 I used my Badger air eraser to remove the lettering off the cars. I do not have pictures of these cars but I have pictures below of other cars I have done. I use baking soda instead of silica in my eraser. It is not harsh or dangerous to the respiratory system. Charlie and I had built a booth that is sealed that I use with the eraser.  The finish from this process is very smooth so re-painting is not a problem. To do either one of the cars below took about 10 min. 

The picture below shows the cars after they have been painted CN red #11. The Kadee #58 couplers have been re-installed. I  cut off the trip pins on all my cars as I have no need for them. All cars get a pair of Kadee air hoses. I could have painted them with the couplers on if I had wanted to as I have a piece of shrink tube that I cut off and slide over the coupler to keep them safe from paint. I chose not to do some of the modifications that were outlined by Stafford Swain's article on hopper cars.

I had custom decals made for these cars  by William Bellandger from Manitoba. The good part of having the decals made was I could change the size of the CANADIAN NATIONAL, built dates, re-weights, coal and stone levels and car number and data that was unique to each car. This made decaling the cars very easy. Took a little more time to set it up and check that they were correct before they were printed. As a result it only took about 15 min to decal the side and one end of a car because of the work done above. The cars were then weathered inside and out with chalks and then a shot of acrylic dull coat. The trucks were reinstalled with new code 88 metal wheel sets. 

Below are pictures for the loads. I ripped 1/8" hard board through my band saw and then cut them to length and trimmed the corners to fit the hoppers. Each piece was test fitted inside a car to ensure that it would go in and out without sticking. I then glued on 1/4" super magnets in the center. They are only an 1/8" high so they are easy to cover. They are laying on my garage floor in the sun letting the glue set.

I then laid down a garbage bag on the floor and painted all the load boards and magnets black. Just using a can of flat black paint.

Here you can see the lime stone glued to the board. I took real lime stone and put it in a bag and smashed it with a 4 lb hammer  to crush it down to size. The size of the crushed lime stone was up for debate but it looks good at the size it is. I then screened it. I had to pick out some of the larger pieces because I didn't have a screen size that would work. Still on the garage floor I poured the crushed stone on to the boards until I was happy with the load shape. I didn't worry if stone was on the sides of the loads, as I had done a test with my coal loads and found it is easy to break off anything that gets stuck to the side. I then sprayed them with water with a little alcohol in it and then used diluted white glue to glue everything down and left them again in the sun to dry. Once they were dry I broke off the stray pieces from the sides and then sprayed all the loads with a dull coat. To remove the loads from the cars I use one of the extra magnetic wands that I have from Rapido passenger cars. I used the same process to build my coal loads by just substituting stone for real coal.

Here are some pictures of the cars. Normal power for this train for now is 2 GMD1's and 1 GP7. This train leaves from Regina and goes on the Qu'Appelle sub to Melville and then on the Yorkton sub to Yorkton and on to Hudson Bay where it gets loaded and then returns back to Regina and is then interchanged out to the cement plant east of the city.

Below are pictures of the train.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Making molds part 1

I started molding and casting 10 years ago. I did this out of need for parts that I had built or made modifications to so that I only had to build one really well. Then a mold can be made from the master and duplicate parts can be made from that mold with poly resin. I normally use Smooth-on silicone rubber and urethane resins. Here I am going to introduce you to a product that I use if the detail is not critical or intricate and especially if you will only need to use the mold once or twice. This product is called   Composi Mold . The nice thing about this product is that it can be used and then remelted to use again on a different pattern. I used it to create this wall from a Walthers building that I bought at a swap meet and then found the wall missing. I had the wall from a kit I had bought so I thought I would just cast a new one. The thing to ponder here was that this would be a lot of rubber for just one use but I then found Composi Mold at an art supply store in Edmonton. I did some tests and the detail was pretty good. I didn't use mold release on this particular mold as I did not know how it would affect the product when reusing it.  The wall on this building faces to the back of the layout so any small imperfections like those noted in the windows would not be seen anyway. I followed the instructions heating the material in the microwave and gave it a bit of time for some of the very small bubbles to pop out. It has the same consistency as melted honey when you take it out of the microwave.  The pictures below show the master which is brown and the white resin finished cast.  This mold captures the detail that I was hoping for.

Below is the mold and the casting. The mold has since been remelted and reused.

Monday, 19 August 2019

CNR (GTP) E Class Station

I need 4 more stations for my layout and since the trackage is on old GTP lines I have decided to do 3 E class and one B class. My CNR 2nd class is a divergance from this but I am not sure how much I like the design of the station in Melville. This station is built with 6" drop siding and 2.5" vertical siding on the bottom 3'. The next next 2 I do will be stuccoed. I have a copy of the Canadian National Western Depots which has a one page limited drawing in it. This is a cross between actual plans and a general arrangment drawing. From this I drew up the drawings I used in AutoCad and made more than a few changes through the process. Since I now have access to my friend Ray's laser cutter I decided to laser cut this one and thus the next 3. The most interesting part of this process is how you have to change some of the drawings, especially for doors and windows. There are no commercially made doors or windows that were close to the ones I needed. This also gave me the opportunity to have windows in the open or partially open position. In the past I have just used and modified commercial windows and doors. This time I had to plan out doing the drawings with Rays help. This building turned out to be a much  tougher build than I thought it would be at first glance mostly due to the operator bay, the various roofs and the doors and windows. 

Once I had the basic drawing completed I laser cut a cardboard mockup to test how the walls, floor, bay and  roofs would work. It took 3 attempts to get the main roof over the kitchen to be correct. The bay was close and only needed a few tweeks but the roof on the bay took about 6 times to get it right. So I would draw it, cut it out of .04 card stock and then make some tweeks and eventually transferred these new measurements to the drawing and then repeated the process all over again until I got it right. The picture below shows one of the versions of the roof on the building. It also shows the platform which was tapered to fit the track curve on the right end. This is not where the station is going to sit it is just easier to photograph and work with here.

Next came cutting out the styrene pieces. At the top is the platform which is scribed for 8" planks and the inside floor. On the left is all the wall pieces. The thin parts to the right of that are the vertical 3' siding pieces. The parts in the pile on the right are the interior walls.

This shows the floor with the board tecture glued to it. Also shown are the bay walls in the middle and a window installed on the entrance wall.

T he picture below shows a better view of the floor with the flooring glued to it, this was something that I had tried a few years back on the deck on a flat car but the textures you can find now are so much better. I imported the texture in to Inkscape and then scaled it and copied and attached panels together so it was long and wide enough to cover the floor. I then printed it out. Next I srayed the floor with 3M glue laid down the sheet getting a leading edge straight. Once this was dry I flipped it over and out off the excess. This picture also shows the window sashes on the left. Under those are  the window sills and trim. The green coloured parts on the bottom right are door trim and treads and trim for single pain windows. Up beside my tweezers is the 5 panel door without the panels in place. The brown curved piece in the middle right is the top of the desk that goes around the inside of the bay walls and just above that are the sashes for a single window. The yellow parts at the top are the roof panels before they are glued to the main roof. The main roof has been glued together and the sheet of paper with the shingle lines printed on it is glued to it. The green thing at the top is the top of a glad ziplock bag that holds some of the window and door parts.

Here the main roof is all together and I am shingling. Three sides are done. The lined paper is created in Cad to fit a letter sized page. The lines are the same spacing that Campbell uses on the their card stock roof panels. I then spray the roof with 3M and attach the paper. The eeve roof panels had the paper applied before I glued them to the main roof. I do not normally do shingles at my desk but on this smaller table that is infront of the TV. I finished the whole  roof during the 3rd round of the Masters.

This shows the roof for the kitchen shingled and the ridge cap on. It also shows the shingles on the sheet of wax paper to the left. The wax paper was tapped to a sheet of lined paper and rows of shingles were applied. A book was placed on top to keep them flat. You just cut off a strip about 1/4" wide, remove the wax paper and bend them in the middel with a straight edge and a knife. With this angle they fit the roof nicly. You can also see that the doors and windows have been installed. And the  glass is installed in the doors and windows - which is spread white glue. The trim between the 2 types of sidings has been added.

This shows the conpleted main roof with the ridge caps on.

Next the shingles were painted red, then the chimineys were added and everything was weathered and then dull coated. The train order board has been added to the left of the window. It is taken from a picture I have of a real  CN train order board that has been scaled, printed and glued on. Once all the trim was on the bottom board of the building was weathered and dull coated. Then the roofs were installed and the flashing was added. The chimneys were made by gluing brick texture printed paper to a piece of wood that has been cut and a hole was drilled in the end. Theye were then glued to the roof.

This shows what the interior looks like with a  bed in the bedroom. The agent helping a customer at the counter and some people sitting in the waiting room. The tabs on the front wall hanging over are for the outside lights under the eeves. There is an interior light bracket that extends from the tall wall to just over the heads of the people at the counter. The kitchen is at the back and the living room is to the left of the office. You can also see the desk that is attached to the bay wall.

This picture shows the Ensign flag which was printed from a picture I found and scaled down and  glued to the flag pole.  It is just mounted on the platform for this picture when the building is placed it will be in the ground. You can also see the scratch built semaphore that I built. The blades are movable by hand. It does need a ladder. The other detail in this picture is the power connection through the roof and the meter on the wall below. The paltform has been painted to resemble aged wood using the process . The green is CN #12  Floquil (this is not the same as the green #11 that is used on CN locomotives) and the cream is Cat Whisker Yellow from Poly Scale.

This shows the back side of the structure showing one of the windows in the freight room partly open.

Placing the station on the layout at Waldron will be covered in the next post on scenery at Waldron

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Cool Tricks part 1

In the 2nd week in April I was invited by Rob Badmington to come down to Calgary and he would arrange for me to be able to tour some layouts... four in fact. When I was at Rob's I asked him how he painted the vehicles on the road in the photo above and his response was he had not painted them but used the process he describes below. They look just as good in person as they do in the picture. The one thing he did not point out in his description was that the truck at the front in the picture above and the truck on the right in the picture below, was that he placed an extra piece of this card stock behind them that just moves them off the backdrop and gives them an ever greater 3D effect. I have used printed pictures a lot for signs, window curtains, textures for walls and floors and building interiors but had never thought of using this trick before.

This  is Rob's description of how he did it.  He begins the process with photos.  " I painted a road on the backdrop to blend with a 3D road on the layout - see the picture above and the picture below. For the record, I used Google Street View to provide an image of what I wanted on the backdrop and painted it myself. From the ( third picture) I used various vehicles captured by Street View and printed them out in a appropriate size, cut them out and then glued them on the backdrop. In the other picture, I used a Street View image from the South Fraser Perimeter Road (4th picture) to give me an idea of what to paint, and again used cut out vehicles to fill the road."
So give it a try... play with it a bit and see what you can make happen. If you use a program like Inkscape which is free, the scaling is really very easy with just a small leaning curve. For era's before Google Street there are main street pictures that you can find and do the same trick with. To stick them to the  backdrop just use a kids glue stick and if you do not like it you can just wet it and remove it with out hurting your paint.
Rob has another cool device he created that I will cover in another post.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Sask Pool Livestock Pens

I just finished this structure. It was built from styrene and my own drwings from memory. There is about 80-90 hrs in to it from the start of the drawing process. The loading can accommodate 2 36' stock cars at the same time. As a Sask Pool facility it would have normally been on the same track as the elevator but because of space I placed it at the east end of the yard opposite the loading platform.

The picture below shows part of the drawing showing spacing and position of the posts.

This shows the whole drawing. I had to punch in all the post holes for the front fence and loading platform into this piece of foam on my bench because the loading platforms had to be built in the standing position. I then used the same drawing to punch the post holes in the layout. OH... to make the holes in that nasty foam!! I first punch them with a compass that I have because it has a sharp point and then with a piece of pointed dowelling to make the hole big enough to get the post in without too much fighting. All the posts are 6" except for the ones on the front to the loading platform which are 8" so the 4x4" stringers to sit on.

This is the pattern I used to make the sides of the chutes and the associated fence going back. I also used the pattern on the right to make all the gates from. You also get to see one view of how the loading platform goes together. The picture is shinny in the middle because I put glue from a kids glue stick on the paper to hold the posts in place while I attach the the 2x10" boards. The hole in the top is where the pattern for the loading chute floor was.

This is the pattern I used to make most of the fences as the post spacing is the same for just about all of them. Again it is shinny from the glue. I just add a little more glue each time I make a different fence and when it is done you can peal it off without tearing the paper. I go through a lot of paper for any build I am doing.

You can see the completed platform on the left and the one in progress on the right. You can also see the marks on the front 4 posts that shows ground level.

Here I have added the stringers from the sides of the back posts to the top of the front posts forming a V. Then the joists are placed on top of the stringers. Once that is complete the top boards were added. Once this was done it was painted and weathered and moved to the layout. Each section of fence was built at the bench and moved to the layout and then glued together in the corners on the layout. This type of build had it's challenges.

All the gates are movable and the slides in the loading gates also slide back and forth. For the gate hindges I used eye bolts and a bent piece of wire for the eye to slide on to. The piece leaning up against the gate is the spacer that goes between the platform and the car.

Each board (2x10") was cut and then glued on. Once glued, nail marks were added in the board against each post. Even the gates have all the nail marks. They were then airbrushed white, weathered with either paints of chalks. This facility only has maybe 4 years of life left.

Here you can see the portable truck unloading chute that can be moved into place if a larger truck needs to be unloaded. Next to the chute there is a hydrant and hose for watering animals.

The feed troughs were made by cutting styrene 1/2" tubing in half. Ends were added to these pieces and then angle iron legs were added. The water troughs are made from 1/4" styrene tubing, painted , weathered and then had water added to them using white glue. Because this was a local facility it was the farmers responcibility to feed and water his own animals.

A 36' stockcar was able to hold 10 cows. The first pen on the left will hold 20 cows, the middle pen will hold 13 and the last pen will hold about 8 but is really for small stock like sheep and pigs. As I was adding the scenic material to the pens I used a horse and a cow to stomp them around to make the marks in the dirt before it dried.

CNR Ash Pit

I scratch built this from looking at the remains at Big Valley, Alberta and froma a picture I had found on the Internet. I did f...