Saturday, March 18, 2023

Greetings from Morocco

1909, untitled, location not recorded, Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940)

Way back last autumn, I agreed to travel to Morocco with my partner, Laura, to attend a yoga retreat outside Marrakech. We made plans to stay a couple days in Madrid en route and wouldn't you know it, while attending the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, primarily to view Picasso's masterpiece Guernica plus other works by acclaimed (and not so) Spanish artists, I stumbled upon this photograph. Not only was it American and railroad-related, but it perfectly illustrated one of the problems with shifting loads and box cars with wood ends. The prototype is from the SP family of roads, although I don't have my references here with me in Morocco (!) to add more info. As you can see in the image, the end of the right hand car had been breached recently and no doubt would have required repair very soon. 

Below is an image of me and a group of Moroccan boys from a tiny village we hiked to, after I played a little goalie for them on their soccer pitch in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Flat Car Friday - Santa Fe Ft-7 95057


This week's image is from Epping, New Hampshire, ca. the late 1960s and contains a nice load. The car is Santa Fe FT-7 no. 95057. The FT-7 class continued the Santa Fe's use of GSC cast steel underframes, begun with class FT-W in 1951. The FT-7 class was different in that the 100 cars were 70-ton capacity and 60 feet long. The underframes supplied by GSC were finished by the Santa Fe (addition of brake equipment, trucks, decking, etc.) in 1956 and assigned to series 90900-90999. The car shown above is loaded with International tractors. The adjacent car looks to be a Northern Pacific or Burlington car (although I can't make out the lettering to make a definitive determination.) The machines loaded on it are International-Harvester. Both were part of International-Harvester (Farmall tractors were part of I-H, too.)

There will not be a Flat Car Friday post next week

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Update on Etchings from Presentation

 During my presentation at the latest Hindsight 20/20, I alluded to the fact that due to the shipping delays in receiving my test etchings due to the Royal Mail hack from late December, I could not inspect and assess what I had received. I spent a few more hours looking at some of the parts, and have a few photos to share.

The first photos are of the ladders for PFE R-40-25/-26 reefers. The primary difference between the two is the -25 class used traditional ladders with treads (rungs) riveted to the ladders stiles while the -26 used Wine-style ladders where the rungs had bends that fit into holes in the stiles, that once attached to the car held the rungs in place. What is displayed here is the -25 riveted style. Compare the prototype photo, above, to the etchings shown below. The sill steps were attached to a bracket that was also integral to the bottom of the ladder stiles, with the entire assembly attached to the bottom face of the side sill in two locations.

The next group of photos are of etchings for a Chicago and North Western PS-1 auto car. Common to all but the earliest PS-1s, that arrangement featured an integral ladder stile, sill step, and bracket attached to the bottom of the side sills, similar to the R-40-25 shown above. [the prototype photo below illustrates this arrangement on a Maine Central PS-1 box car]

There was an interim style of end ladder on PS-1s, with a "jog" in the lower portion of the right stile. Early PS-1s had straight stiles, while later ones had the same "jog," but with two wider bottom rungs, as opposed to one. [note: I could've done a better job bending the little jog to make it straight!]

The last parts I will highlight are two types if zee bars. Most PS-1s had crossmembers that were 4" zee bars. An etching to replicate that is shown in two views. The other simulates a 3" zee bar that will be used to replicate the stringers between the body bolsters and end sills. The photo illustrates the cross section. Etchings such as these have many applications as zee bars were quite common. Until I have more to report...

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Larger Etching Bending Tool - RP Toolz Piranha

In my presentation about etchings, I mentioned that I was in the market for an etching bending tool with a longer bending edge. In the past, I have used a small "Hold and Fold" from the Small Shop. I first visited their site looking for a larger version of their tool, but found that it has been discontinued. My next stop was UMM-USA where I found just the thing, the RP Toolz "Piranha" 195mm photo etch bending tool. I ordered it ($60.99) and it arrived within a few days. Not only do I love its longer working edge, but I have also found it to have stronger clamping than the Hold and Fold, making it easier to bend some of my recent creations that have long edges, but relatively narrow bits to grab to facilitate bending. The top piece can be unscrewed and rotated 180 degrees, as well, providing some flexibility. I am 100% satisfied with the Piranha. I highly recommend it. If this is too large for your needs, UMM-USA does have other options. Just use the search tool at their site.

In the next couple days, I will share a few updates to etched parts I referenced during the presentation

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Scratch that Etch presentation

The link to the presentation about creating etchings, "Scratch that Etch," can be found here. I have also uploaded the video of the presentation to youtube at the following link. Enjoy!

Friday, March 3, 2023

Flat Car Friday - New York Central 70-ton AAR Flat Car


While this image is far from great, it does display two things that I'd like to see more: loads of crates and NYC 70-ton AAR flats. Crates are a fairly simple load to create from styrene stock or the old Sunshine export crates load, if you have one. They are easy to customize by creating your own lettering and printing decals in black stenciling or having them printed by a third party, such as PDC. They are also simple to secure using Chartpack or similar tape to simulate the banding.

I also rarely see models of the NYC 70-ton AAR flat cars in HO. It cannot be a lack of offerings since Intermountain has produced quite nice replicas and Sunshine also offered kits that still appear on the secondary market and do not fetch exorbitant Sunshine prices since there is a good styrene alternative. Protowest also briefly offered resin kits for the 70-ton AAR flats, although they are a bit crude, in my opinion. Fine decals are also available from National Scale Car. With a fleet of 1,000 cars, they are significant flat car prototypes that warrant inclusion in just about any model fleet.

I plan to take my own musings to heart and complete one in the near future.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Pennsylvania GRa Gondola Finished

I recently completed a Westerfield Pennsy class GRA gondola. You can find the previous posts via these links: Part 1 and Part 2. When I left off, the model was painted and awaiting lettering. I created my own lettering and had the decals printed by PDC.

The photo above illustrates the model after the decals were applied, excepting the repack stencils and some of the chalk marks. I also applied a wash on the interior boards using AK Interactive's Streaking Grime. I followed that by some light blending with a fiberglass scratch brush. I sealed the lettering with a coat of Future applied with an airbrush followed by a coat of Tamiya flat, also airbrushed.

Next, I applied some streaks to the sides below the floor boards. I have a prototype photo that displays a similar type of weathering. I dabbed on a mix of white and Payne's grey artist's oils that were then drawn upwards using mineral spirits, so that the greatest paint concentration was where the floor boards are exposed on the sides and also to create simulated streaks.

The photo above illustrates the model after a light weathering. I sealed the oils referenced above with a coat of clear flat first. I then added light amounts of PanPastels Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber. This toned down both the white of the lettering as well as the harshness of the light-colored streaks. I sealed these with a coat of Future, followed by the addition of more chalk marks. I sealed the chalk marks with a coat of Future followed by clear flat. 

The last steps to create the finished model, excepting the load, are shown here. I masked small areas for the repack stencils and painted them gloss black using an airbrush. I applied the repack stencils, using spares for Missouri Pacific from my decal bin. After they had dried, I sealed them with clear flat. Lastly, I added bits of white paper to simulate routing instructions, secured with Loctite Stik'n Seal. I added the couplers and trucks to complete the car.

The load is something I have been passively working on for years. I have a ziplock bag that I add bits of this and that too, knowing that they will end up as part of a scrap load. While loose on a piece of newsprint, I sprayed most of the junk with silver and grey paints from a rattle can. Once everything was ready, I placed the pieces inside the car body. I masked around the top edges of the car sides and then applied a very liberal stream of clear flat using a rattle can. This served as a quasi adhesive to secure much of the matter in place. I then added diluted white glue using an eye dropper to help secure things even more, especially the material at the bottom of the load. Finally, some of the larger pieces were secured using Loctite Stik'n Seal. While nothing is 100% securely in place, everything is nonetheless in place sufficiently that when turned upside down, nothing falls out! The final step involved several applications of drybrushed grey and black paints along with the addition of various rust shades of Pan Pastels and Tamiya brown wash. If one looks intently at individual pieces of the load, they may not stand up to scrutiny, but as a whole, I find the load highly convincing to simulate scrap from machining waste and various pieces of junk. In a moving train, it definitely does the job. On to the next project...