30 October, 2016

Weathering Shots - Intermountain two-bay covered hopper.

I'm kinda sorry that I haven't posted in quite a while. Blogging is definitely not my strong suit. I've done some weathering of freight cars over the past 10 months, on and off.  It comes like most things in my life... in fits! LOL!  Here's one of my faves. An ex-MKT two-bay covered hopper for cement service, now under Helm Leasing Co. ownership.

I took this one, on a July '16 railfan trip while babysitting my granddaughter. Nap time for her, trains for me!
Really caught my eye, even though it's 20+ years too new for my layout.

Here's one from Railroad Picture Archives . Shows the extensive corrosion
 on the roof and the replaced walkways.
This car really caught my eye (because it's not very plain jane).  So, I had to see if I could find one in HO.  An older Intermountain kit, painted in this scheme was my starting point.

Assembled, Gloss coated and decaling has started.
The car is older, so some of the parts were small, very flexible, and didn't quite fit 100% together. Not my best assembly of a kit. However, once I weather, I think a lot of the excess glue AND mistakes will be covered, or barely noticeable.  Definitely passes the 8' test.
Lettering complete, and now going to add some Graff!

Microscale decals for graf - I'm not brave enough for hand-drawing the actual ones on the prototype.
Thought I did this great, until a friend showed me I should've had the open bottoms of the lettering down at the bottom edge of the car.  Dang it.
Using Oil paints as a base, I stippled in some Pan Pastels.  I love the results!

Other side.  
Top view. 

I called this one complete before the 2016 MARPM and displayed it there.  Many liked it, although it could've been better. But, as Allen McLelland says, "Good Enough" is the standard you should go for and it's my railroad... hope you like it, cuz I surely do!

19 January, 2016

Transition to CSXT - Continued

The MTH Gon is complete and back in revenue service.  Here's my pictoral chain of events.
Before much of anything, I decided to add some BBs, to increase the weight; used Elmer's glue.

Fellow modeler & friend Ralph DeBlasi has recommended using some of the AK Interactive paints, so I gave a few a try.
Love the results, after using a trio of Crusted Rust, Bleeding Rust, Track Wash, and Grime.

Really think these paints are making it look used and crusty, circa the transition from SBD to CSX (about 1989-1990).

The interior was done the same way, but I added another color, Oily grime.

After the paints dried, I added a little too much Bragdon's Ash Wx Powders, but quickly removed some off, using water & a q-tip.

Here she is, at the Dominion Scrap & Salvage, getting put to good use.
My only problem with this car is the fact that I deformed the bay a little too much, so the Motrak Models scrap load no longer fits.  I think I'll modify the load to fit, as I really like how the car came out.

14 January, 2016

From 'Foobie' to CSX Gon - A quick change

Once again, I am doing a lousy job on consistently posting to the blog.  So, I'll binge a bit this weekend.  Here's one quick post, on a couple of night project.

A while back, I bought a couple of MTH Mill Gondolas at a train show. Turns out the WM one was pretty close to prototype, but the N&W was not, so I decided to use a little MicroSol to remove the lettering and make it a CSX gon (based on a proto photo by John Rogers) for my switching layout. Here's a few shots of my progress.

MTH 'as delivered' 70-ton mill gondola.  A good looking paint scheme, but not right for this type (as far as I could find)
Proto photo by Joe Rogers, circa 2006; I think the lettering is normally used on patching locos and are certainly larger than 8" tall. This is an ex-SBD Gon.

Using Microscale MicroSol soaked paper towel, I was able to remove the white lettering, logo, etc.

Took some Gouache (white base, a bit of black and a drop of tan craft paint) and water, I tried to fade.
I also used my wife's embossing/heat gun to warm up the sides, so I can add a few dents & bulges.
I did two coats of Plaid clear spray gloss lacquer.

Using the above proto photo, I tried to letter it for CSX, but I didn't have exact same ones.  This will do,
until I get them, and then do a patch job. Kinda looks like a rush relettering, and will fit for my early 90's era.
Tonite, hopefully two coats of dullcoat and then grunge it up over the weekend!

18 November, 2015

Operation 'Kitty Overhaul' Part 2

So, in Part 2 of Operation "Kitty Overhaul", I started to take things down to 'parade rest', and first thing I found was the trucks and the notoriously over-lubricated condition.
The darned things were just covered in oil and grease.  So, following Mr. Garber's methods, everything was completely disassembled, dunked in a small bowl of 70% isopropyl alcohol, and sloshed around for about 30 minutes.  Then, one by one, I pulled each part out and scrubbed with an old toothbrush, checked for any debris or imperfections on truck side insides, bearing posts, and gears, dunked again in the alcohol, and then dried off, and left out on a paper towel, to let any residuals evaporate. After that, it was making the mods to the electrical connections for the trucks.

Comments added by Mike Garber, to show me what to do.

After doing this, I noticed the frame was too close quarters for trucks to swivel correctly with the soldered leads, so (not having a dremel or milling machine myself), I sent the truck sideframes and loco frame to Mike to make 'proper' clearances.  Took about a week to mail to him, the work completed, and send back to me.  Part 3 will cover my decaling on the shell, to give 'Kitty' a new lease on life.

17 November, 2015

A Terrible Blogger & Another Project: Operation 'Kitty Overhaul' (Part 1)

I must admit that I'm a terrible Blogger, if for no other reason than I read many of them, and comment on them, but never seem to make the time to post on my own.  One big reason is, I feel I'm not a very creative writer and presenter, even when it's about my favorite addiction, TRAINS!  In any case, I'll apologize to followers and readers, and try to repent, now that I'm done with MARPM and a new grandbaby arrival.
So, recently I've been learning (by reading, pleading for help and comment from Mike Garber and Shannon Crabtree, as well as by making my own mistakes) more about overhauling poor performing locos, as well as installing DCC and Sound into them.  And, I since I had a couple of older 'dust collector' locos, as well as a couple of new units, I decided to take one off the shelf and get into the guts and see what I can do to make it function better.  Operation 'Kitty Overhaul' is just that.  It is an Athearn RTR GP35 in the Chessie paint scheme (C&O #3524) is going to become CSXT #4364, circa early 90's. I originally wanted it for a nice 2-3 loco consist on the RF&P, so I had to have it.  Not even remotely tempted to open it, I sent it straight away to a DCC installer, who seemed to have just slapped a Tsunami in, w/o doing any kind of maintenance on the loco (probably at my ignorant request).  He was happy it ran on his layout and sent it back after I paid a hefty fee to have a decoder & speaker installed.  To me, it never really ran well, quiet, or was a good performer for me, so it was relegated to still pix status and eventually went back in the box.  I decided today was the day to peek inside, if I was going to keep it or, as much as I still liked it, sell it.  So, I opened it up.  Here's what I saw first.

Boy, I was not too happy to see that: A) the darned thing was basically an old "Blue Box" with a clunky (and very heavy) metal frame and OLD/poor connections for power - I guess that's how Athearn started doing their RTRs; B) the speaker and decoder were secured to the frame & motor with masking tape - that's just not professional in my opinion, but again it was early in this person's delving into professional decoder installs and for all I know it was farmed out to someone, or he asked for help and trusted someone that isn't too trustworthy; C) the front truck lead was broken off the silver clip. Not a big deal on that one, as I'm sure it happens; and D) the motor looks like (as my youngest daughter says) "Shiz!"
So, after consulting with several folks, I decided a complete teardown, a la Mike Garber's 'down to the bare bones' methods. My next post will show you what I did and where I'm at now.

24 August, 2015

The 3rd Annual Mid-Atlantic RPM Meet is Almost Here!

We're just 30 days away from our 3rd Mid-Atlantic RPM Meet right here in Fredericksburg, VA! Don't miss out on two days of great clinics and awesome vendors! And, what would our show be without YOUR display models??? Take some time and get those amazing products, both finished AND in-progress ready to bring and show! We'll have plenty of tables for you to show your stuff, so bring it on! For more info, along with pixes of the last two shows, and to register if you haven't already (early-bird reg deadline is 31 August!), check out www.marpm.org today!