Sunday, March 30, 2014
I used Woodland Scenics trees on my last layout and I was happy enough with them. But they're also very time-consuming and messy to make. Plus they are made out of plastic and I wanted something a bit more realistic for this layout.
In need of some arboreal inspiration, I headed off to the local hobby shop. And that's where I discovered Woodland Scenic Fine Leafed Foliage. This stuff is basically plant material that's been died various shades of green. It can be removed from the stem and used with WS tree armatures or simply broken apart to make individual trees. It's a time-consuming and messy process, but it yields phenomenal results.
While I was at it, I also added some line poles to the right-of-way. The poles are cheapie Model Power stuff that came with some other MP buildings I've. Now, this cheap stuff requires some work before it gets anywhere near my layout.
First thing I did was paint the poles Floquil "Roof Brown" and then sprayed them with Dulcote to kill the plasticy shine. After that, I loped off the bases, opting instead to simply make a hole in the plaster and coat the end of the pole with some CA. Eventually, they'll be wired up.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
The problem is not all of it sticks. I fund that out the hard way after the glue dried and I went to vacuum up what didn't stick and large chunks stared coming up. So I ended up have to touch up several spots.
I opted for Woodland Scenics fine gray ballast. It's a very close match for what is used on the former PRR main line. Now, you may be wondering about the black ballast along either side of the right-of-way. Well, during steam days railroad main lines looked quite different than they do today. On a busy main line such as the Pennsylvania, the passage of hundreds of steam locomotives each day would leave a layer of cinders that grass simply wouldn't grow on.
As you can see, I also started with the blended turf.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Each of these kits comes with two arches, which are to be placed back to back. This creates a single-track bridge. However. since I have four tracks, I needed to do things differently. First and foremost, only the front of the bridge would be visible, I only used one of the two arches and one set of wing walls. I painted the arch wing walls Tamiya "Red Brown." Next I took some Plastuct styrene strips in the shape of a squared-off letter "C" (Basically an I-beam cut in half), painted it Floquil "Rail Brown" and used it to fashion steel reinforcement beams. The PRR added such beams to most of its stone bridges after World War II.
For the portion of the bridge actually under the track, I bought a 2" PVC pipe coupling from Home Depot, cut it in half and painted the pieces flat black. After the pieces dried. I traced their shape on the riser and used my hot knife to cut out a tunnel under the track and the stream bed. I places the PVC arches under the tracks, and then I glued the arch and wing walls in front of the riser.I filled the gaps behind the wing walls with Woodland Scenics "Flex Paste."
Unfortunately the stream bed ended up a bit too deep in spots. My brilliant solution was to use joint compound to fill in the really deep spots. After this, it's back to the engine yard.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
After The building was painted and assembled, I brushed on a coat of weather wash. Once that dried, I took some left over Microscale PRR Keystone logo decals and applied them to the top of the tower. After that I sprayed on a coat of Matte Finish (a cheaper, stinkier version of Testors Dulcote). When that was done I added a heaping helping of black and gray chalks to get that soot and cinder-covered look I was after. I topped it off with another coat of matte finish.
So anyway, that's two buildings down but still quite a few more to go.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Well, the L1 one is painted, decaled and ready to roll. I started by painting the pewter locomotive shell with cheap automotive primer. Next, I painted the boiler, tender shell, cab and pilot Floquil "Brunswick Green." I used Floquil "Graphite" on the smoke box and ash pans and Pollyscale "PRR Tuscan" on the tender deck and cab roof. When that was don I added decals and sprayed on some inexpensive Dulcote knockoff.
For the coal load in the tender, I took one of the foam inserts that came with the kit and trimmed it to the right shape. Next I coated it with Matte Medium and poured some Creatology black sand (available at Michael's).
After the L1 project, this kit was an absolute breeze. Although it's big, it's relativly simple and has few part. I also got lucky and was able to go with the stock colors on all but the roof, chimneys and wall caps, which I painted Floquil "Grimey Black," Testors "Metalic Silver," and Floquil "concrete" respectively. I did go ahead and use gray poster paint to fill in the mortar lines on the brick walls
Where I really went nuts on this building was weathering. First, I coated the whole thing with weather wash. After that, I hit it with some Dulcote. After that dried, I went to town with the chalks. Since this was a busy steam servicing facility, it would have been covered with soot, cinders and ash. With that in mind, I limited the chalk colors to black, gray and white. The exception were the chimneys, which I hit with some brown to simulate rust.
Next up on my to do list are Cornerstones "Modern Coaling Tower" and "Cinder Conveyer and Ash Pit."
Monday, March 17, 2014
I know, I have absolutely been beating the lack of PRR steam topic to death lately. I promise, this is the last time I'm going to kick this particular dead iron horse. The situation is definitely improving. Broadway Limited is releasing their long-anticipated M1 4-8-2 this December. And guess who per-ordered one. But it turns out there's another option for us. GHQ makes a nifty little kit to convert Kato's USRA Mikado into a PRR L1 2-8-2. A nice looking shell on top of Kato's legendary, rock-solid, bullet-proof Mikado mechanism? Who could ask for more.
Now, this kit is not for the faint of heart. It contains a lot of tiny detail parts, most of which require drilling to fit. Also, the mechanism and tender chasiss both require a good bit of modification for the shells to fit. CA glue is needed to fix all the parts together. I opted for Loctite gel super glue, which worked perfectly for this project. Normally I loath working with any type of CA, but this stuff seemed to get the job done.
The shell itself is made out of pewter and adds quite a bit of heft to the locomotive. This may significantly improve the locomotive's pulling power as a bonus.
The next step is to spray the locomotive with automotive primer before the final coat of paint. Then decals and weathering.
This was another quick project I took on today. I've accidentally left the layout power on a few times. So I decided to give myself a little reminder to turn it off before I leave the room. I bought this cheapie light fixture, mounted it to a cheapie junction box and ran some 12-guage lamp cord over to the master switch. I put a plug on the cord and plugged it into the main power strip. Now when the layout power is on, so is this light. Since I turn off all the other lights before leaving the room, this will be very noticeable.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Monday, March 10, 2014
I've been making some steady progress on the scenery. I decided that the steepest part of the mountain would make a great rock outcrop. I made the rocks by smearing join compound on the mountain, then taking some aluminum foil, wadding it up and opening it back up. I then stuck the foil into the joint compound and allowed it to dry.
While the rock formation was drying, I glued lichen of varying shades of green to the top of the mountain to simulate distant trees. Personally, I like the look of lichen over the more traditional polly fiber "puff ball" trees used for this purpose.
After the rocks dried, I attempted to use several colors of diluted Apple Barrel acrylic paints to stain them. I think I diluted them too much because the rocks are still far to white. I'll take another stab at it soon.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
|The Broadway Limited Imports M1a 4-8-2 (HO Version)|
Today, I found myself with a free moment and decided to peruse BLI's web site just to see if the M1 was listed on the delivery schedule. Guess what? These engines are slated for delivery in December of 2014 and, they were still taking orders! So needless to say, I went Brooklyn Locomotive Works' website and preordered one.
The HO scale version of the loco looks like a work of art. If the N version looks half as good, I'll be very happy. The model also comes with some really nice features like a dual-mode DC/DCC decoder and sound.
I'm excited about this not only because it's a really awesome-looking model, but also because I hope it will open up the door to more Pennsy steam being produced.
Monday, March 3, 2014
|The Minitrix K4 Pacific is one of only a handful of Pennsylvania steam locomotives to be produced in N Scale.|
The lack of PRR steam has always been baffling to me. There are tons of models PRR steamers available in HO and O scales and they sell well. Even the above-mentioned Minitrix models command premium prices on eBay!
Some will tell you that K4s and other Pennsy locomotives are unique one railroad and the wouldn't appeal to enough customers to mass produce. Well guess what, the same can be said for Union Pacific "Big Boys" and "Challengers," Norfolk and Western J 4-8-4s and the Southern Pacific "Daylight." They were all mass produced in N Scale and sold well.
Okay, maybe this was a longer rant than it needed to be. But I do believe that any manufacturer who makes a K4 in N scale will have a smash hit.