Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Flat Car Deck Weathering

I was looking at a few of my flat car models recently and found some of the decks to be rather vanilla or monotonous looking, like the one shown above. I decided to try an experiment on a couple to see what I could do to improve things. I took the SP F-70-7 shown above as well as an I-GN 50-ton AAR flat car that I finished a few years back, based upon the stunning Pittsburgh Scale Models kit. 

Using artists' oils thinned with mineral spirits, I highlighted individual boards in various shades of greys, yellows and reddish-oranges (grey, umber, sienna, ochre, etc.) on both decks. Yes, they look starkly different at the point of these photos. The I-GN deck is illustrated above, while the SP is shown directly below. They are laser cut wood and styrene, respectively.

After applying the oils, I sealed those with a coat of Tamiya XF-86 clear flat, thinned and airbrushed. I then blended these various boards through application of PanPastel Raw Umber, Orange Shade, Yellow Ochre, and Yellow Ochre Shade followed by Bragdon's Grimy Grey. Everything was again sealed with the Tamiya clear flat coat.

I think the final results look suitably variable without too much differentiation. I also think that the photos do not convey the overall feel as well I would have liked.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Valley Fruit


I acquired this image of Valley Fruit in Pharr, Texas via ebay a couple years back. I have included a rather large scan here for the consideration of others. Given that I am replicating fruit packing operations, it provides me with lots of context and fodder for modeling. The date appears to be the late 1940s based upon the comments of Bill Badger (see in the comments section -- thank you Bill!) 

There are several details that stand out to me. First, the variety of vehicles, both in terms of types and ages, is interesting and worth noting when selecting vehicles to add to such a scene. I am also interested by the layout of the main packing structure. It appears that the then current loading dock was added after the main structure had already been in use, and was an add-on as operations grew. By main structure, I am referring to the facade with "VALLEY FRUIT CO." emblazoned in red as well as the rest of the structure behind that facade. The even newer addition at far right could be replicated as part of an even larger scale model operation (note that it appears that this business handled tomatoes and possibly other fruits and vegetables, as well.) 

The whole scene is worth consideration as a modeling subject for anyone needing such a facility on their layout. I suspect that the Walthers Valley Citrus Packers would be a good kit to use as a starting point to kitbash this, along with some scratchbuilding or kitbashing with other models. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Something Completely Different

At the beginning of the year, I began a new job with a French company (Back Market) and have had the good fortune to travel to France on a couple of occasions. I recently visited the Musée d'Orsay (wikipedia entry). You might ask why I would share that fact here. Well, the museum is a glorious old train station that was saved from demolition and converted to a museum housing a magnificat collection of works by some of the great masters of the Impressionist and post-Impressionist genres, including many well-known and a large number of lesser-known artists, including Monet, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne, Degas, Seurat, van Gogh, Gauguin, Rodin, and many others.

While I highly recommend visiting for no other reason than that the works are magnificent, seeing a beautiful and significant railroad structure preserved is another impetus. Below, I have also included snapshots of a couple railroad-themed works that caught my eye (FYI- "pont de chemin de fer" translates as "railroad bridge". I was particularly impressed with the work of Pissaro that was on display. If in Paris, I highly urge a visit. The museum is in the same part of the city as many of the other notable attractions. 

Photo through the glass clock in late afternoon

Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil, 1873-1874, Claude Monet

Pont du chemin de fer à Chatou (also Les Marroniers roses), 1881, Pierre Auguste Renoir

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

NERPM 2022

During the weekend of June 10-12, I attended the NERPM, my first in-person RPM in almost two and a half years! I was not alone in this being the first Covid-era event for many. "I haven't seen you in years" was a common conversation bit. I was thrilled to see many close friends again, as well as meet some new ones for the first time in person or for the first time ever. There was a lot of pent-up positive energy and modeling projects to be shared from long periods of isolation!

The venue was the La Quinta in downtown Springfield. This was especially easy for me as I was able to make it to and from Brooklyn via the subway, Metro North and CTRail, with no car power needed! The venue had a large ball room plus a vendor room on the 12th floor, with clinic rooms on floors 2 and 11. There was a mix of vendors including Bob's Photo, Steve from the Hobby Gallery, BEST Trains, Funaro & Camerlengo, and Ron's Books (I hope I didn't miss anyone!) The facility had a gathering area on the first floor supported by a bar and several seating areas.

What does "Duryea Way" have to do with anything? Well, beyond the reference to the Duryea underframe, Duryea Way was a nearby pedestrian way in the city featuring many restaurants with outdoor seating. I spent an enjoyable evening there with friends. For information about why this pedestrian way is called "Duryea" please visit this wikipedia page.

On to some of the models that I photographed...

This beauty by Jim Dufour was one I couldn't pass up. It was one of the first prototypes I knew I wanted to produce as a kit under Speedwitch (truth be told my interest pre-dated Speedwitch.) Jim did a great job, as he always does.

Mal Houck brought a fleet of O&W steamers that he had meticulously restored, regeared, redetailed, re-everythinged. I thought it only fitting to shed a little light on the milk car fleet

In keeping with the "Duryea Way" theme, Ryan Mendell brought one of his amazing B&O M-55 models that incorporates his excellent Duryea underframe parts

Will Jamison busted out of Covid captivity to share this amazing build using Atlas sides and end with a scratchbuilt side to produce a remarkable DT&I prototype 

Bill Chapin has been hard at work replicating New Haven head end equipment

I think that Larry Lawler's model of an NP PS-1 combination door car is from Tangent, although Larry could have kitbashed it as well. His secret is safe with us

Mark Kerlick has been working on this beautiful model of a PRR F5 using an Athearn Genesis model as the basis. He has added numerous detail

Mark also displayed this yet-to-be-weathered model of a Q car from a Modelers Choice kit

Jim Lincoln displayed some of his usual O scale perfection

This Bowser flat with Life-Like tractors is the effort of Steve Ross, including exhaust and air intake details modified on the tractors

The New York Central had many of these unusual offset-side hoppers. Brian Carlson used a Accurail kit with Sunshine sides on this in-progress replica

This amazing Conrail gon with very good looking load is the work of Cheryl Dunbar

Mike Evans modified the right hand door on a Rocket Express to produce this unique (as far as we know) model of a Rock Island single sheathed auto car

Bill Badger displayed this amazing replica of a Rutland H-6a USRA Light Mikado... you can save yourself the hard work and see his article in the Spring 2021 Newsliner from the Rutland RR Hist Soc

Bill also presented a clinic on late Mack AC prototypes and models... his work speaks for itself

Dave Bachand was on the scene with many excellent finished models, like this CV box car

Steve Solombrino took a break from flat cars with amazing loads to model this MP box car with Union Duplex fixtures using the parts from National Scale Car

As usual, Hunter Hughson (who is that masked man?) swooped in with several impeccably weathered freight cars, like CP 252769

Hunter didn't stop at freight cars as this amazing Penn Central truck illustrates

Chris Adams completed his low-profile cab model of New Haven switcher 0604. More details at this link: start here and work backwards on the blog

Dale Kritzky brought this in progress Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri kitbash

Andy Clermont shared a few of these ERDX kitbashed from Intermountain R-40-23 kits. They must be seen to be appreciated

CP 282201 was also Andy's handiwork

Randy Hammill has been busy kitbashing a fleet of New Haven flat cars using Tichy kits as fodder

As usual, Jeff English proudly carried the torch for S scale, including this WFEX truss rod based upon gift parts from "Naperville" several years ago

Irv Thomae has been at work scratchbuilding and molding bridge abutments to replicate the Montpelier & Wells River's at South Ryegate , Vermont

Adam Twombly had numerous fine models on display

Rapido displayed test shots of their highly anticipated UTLX X-3 tank car...

Monday, June 13, 2022

Kadee Lake Superior & Ishpeming PS-1 Box Car Completed

I recently completed my model of a LS&I PS-1 that I started a couple years back. The prototype info can be found via this link and the original modeling info can be accessed via this link. This post highlights the finishing of that model, most notably the painting and weathering. The task was to blend the "bare" areas of the doors, lower doors tracks, and other details in with the decorated portions of the model and to also create the sharp transition between oxide and black at the corners that was rather sloppy on the model as it came from Kadee.

For the oxide color, I experimented with an acrylic ink product that I anticipate using again in the future, as it airbrushed beautifully. It comes in a rainbow of colors and is incredibly convenient for me since I can buy it at my local Blick's, about three blocks away in Brooklyn (Blick's also carriers my preferred super glue, airbrushes, PanPastels, and kabuki masking tape, making it a go-to stop for many of my hobby needs!) The inks are called abstract acrylic ink by Sennelier. The color I used was 645 - Chinese Orange. The color is not a 100% match, but I was able to get it closer by using some Pan Pastels to lighten it enough to be passable. I sealed everything with a coat of Future and added a few chalk marks. These were sealed with a flat coat.

For the weathering I used Bragdon's grimy grey powder. I applied it in vertical streaks to simulate light streaking. I sealed that with a flat coat and then applied another coat of Future. I added several more chalk marks. I also masked around the existing repack stencil and applied a thin coat of oxide red for a newer repack. I added the new repack stencils from a set of New York Central decals. I sealed everything with a final flat coat.

A couple other notes of mention: I used Kadee's ASF A-3 trucks, but replaced the wheelsets with Kadee ribbed back 0.088" tread width wheelsets. I also used Kadee screw mounted draft gear ("coupler boxes") in place of the kit's original boxes. A keen observer will also note that I need to add the angle cock/air hose parts (from Hi-Tech) to the brackets to actually complete the model!

Now I have another mostly ready-to-run Kadee PS-1 for the fleet. I plan to replicate this model exactly, but letter it for New York Central (if you read the prior posts on the LS&I prototypes, you will find that the LS&I cars were piggybacked on a NYC order.) I will blog about that model when I get around to building it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Pacific Fruit Express Plywood-sheathed R-30-9


Continuing my effort to push several models into the "finished" camp, I recently completed a PFE plywood-sheathed class R-30-9 refrigerator car. The first part was presented in a clinic (original post and link to files in this post.) The resin parts and decals are offered by National Scale Car.

Finishing the model had a few fits and starts. I elected to finish the car as it would have been painted following its reconditioning at PFE's Los Angeles shops in November, 1949 in the '1948' painting and lettering standard (the only known photo of this car is after it had been repainted in November, 1953 at PFE's Tucson shops.) That car had additional bracing at the body bolsters. I elected to leave those off, but in hindsight, those were likely added in 1949 and not later... my mistake! The main issue in completing the model was the SP Daylight Orange for the sides. I used Scalecoat II Daylight Orange and it proved to be a horrible match, looking rather drab with no orange "punch" to be seen. I repainted the sides with a close approximation created from Tamiya orange, yellow, and touch of red that seems to be a good match. I painted the roof and ends with Scalecoat II Oxide Red and the underframe and trucks with Tamiya Black. There was quite a bit of masking involved!

In preparation for decaling I added a coat of Future floor wax applied with an airbrush. This created a glossy surface conducive to decaling. I applied all the decals, save the repack stencil. I also added a few chalk marks at this time, too. I sealed everything with a coat of Tamiya clear flat. I masked the upper rectangle in the repack stencil blocks (the two blocks at the lower right of the side that have "chevrons" at the left and right edges). I followed that with an application of PanPastels Raw Umber, a good approximation of brownish grime, to all surfaces, trucks included. I removed the masking tape on the repack block and applied another coat of Future followed by a repack stencil on each side as well as numerous chalk marks. I sealed everything again with a coat of clear flat. With the exception of missing paper to simulate route cards, the model is finished.

This has proven to be another extremely satisfying project, from the construction of the side pattern to the completion of the model. For at least the next few weeks (maybe a little more or less) I can rest in the knowledge that I likely have the only completed model of the a PFE plywood-sheathed -9 reefer!