Friday, 8 December 2017

Railway Post Office Service on the Grand Trunk NEL

The Grand Trunk (NEL) rostered  three Railway Post office Cars #'s 7810-7812.  They were built by ACF in 1929, possibly for subsidiary GTW and transferred at a later date.

The Canadian National Historical Society magazine CN lines Volume 9 Issue 1 has a article pertaining to these cars and similar RPO's used on the Central Vermont and Grand Trunk Western.  Here is a picture found in Morning's Sun Colour Guide to Northern New England Cars.

I am going to kitbash one of these cars using a Branchline Coach as the base model.

I recently discovered Joe Smith's Blog "Signal Station 199" regarding his efforts in building a New Haven themed layout. He has a set of blog entries showing his techniques to kitbash a similar RPO for the New Haven.  Go take a look, but I warn you Joe's modelling and blog are top notch so your  going to be there for a while.  Here's the link...

Now that your back, here's where I'm at with this project. Follow along as I put what I learned from Joe to good use.

First off I enlarged a drawing provided in the CN lines issue and copied the dimensions over from the soft copy, that were blurry when enlarged.

Next I cut the floor and spliced it back together to give an length over the couplers of 66' - 61/2".

The floor is braced with a sheet of styrene and some square stock.

The second photo shows the floor sections I removed.  I also removed the side vestibule doors and walls on either side of the end doors.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

New Workbench

Since attending the Chicagoland RPM(and recovering from an overdose of train stuff), I've not done any modelling - save for Sculptamoulding a section of my friend Pierre Olivers Wabash Layout.

But that's not to say I haven't been busy.

Over the last couple of nights I have built a new workbench for modelling.

My former bench was built over 20 years ago when I was in University and was designed with wood working in mind.  It was deep (36") and had dog holes and a large wood working vise on the left front.  Its heavy and rigid, good qualities to have on a bench designed for holding planks of wood while hand planning etc. 

It did falter as a modelling bench though.  It was to low, had no room for my legs to stretch out and was too deep for me to reach the peg board on the wall without getting out of my chair.  It was time for a new bench.  So I moved it out to the garage with the rest of my wood working tools.

Before work started on the new bench I came up with a wish list for the new one.

Higher off the ground to better match the draftsman style chair I use.

A Pegboard that I can hang tools from.

Narrower so I can reach the tool pegboard when seated.

An overhead shelf to mount a light under and store Plano boxes with parts on top. I also need to be able to reach the shelf without standing up.

Built in Power Bars on both sides of the bench.

A solid top, with a support structure design such that I can clamp stuff to both the front and sides of the top.

A foot rest to put my feet on while seated.

An increase from 5 to 6 feet long.

The ability to store a garbage can underneath.

Somewhere to store scales and rulers. (I am always misplacing them under what ever mess is on my bench.)

A pegboard on the ends of the bench to store less often used tools or other stuff like a dust pan and brush.

Somewhere to clamp reference photos so they are not propped up on the bench surface taking up valuable modelling area..

Easy to construct.

A big wish list but nothing earth shattering.

Here is what I came up with.

A simple bench constructed with 2x3's and a a Bamboo Top 72' long by 25.5" deep.   The cross brace underneath is at the perfect height for me to rest my feet on while seated.

I found a LED strip light for a reasonable cost, which was easy to mount with the included double sided tape.  The light valance also acts as a place to clamp reference photos.

As for disappearing scales?  I solved this with a magnetic tool strip.

Now back to modelling!!!

P.S.  A keen eyed observer can figure out what I'm working on, besides checking out Chris Adams Blog!!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Grand Trunk 25 Ton American Ohio Model E Crane

The Grand Trunk(NEL) had at least one 25 ton locomotive crane that I know of.  It spent most of its time in Island Pond moving coal around.  For my work Train I wanted to include a crane as part of the consist.  So I kit bashed this model using the one and only picture of the crane stationed in Island Pond as reference.  The picture can be found in the John Ames Grand Trunk Trackside book published by Morning Sun.  I believe the prototype to be an American Ohio model E.

The model uses a Walthers 25ton crane for the mechanism and deck.  The rest of the kit is in the trash  bin.  I scratch built the Cab from Sheet styrene.  The Smoke box was made from acrylic turned on my jewellers lathe.  The boom is a brass etching from Custom Finishing Models, and hook is a pewter casting from the same manufacturer.  I made all the pulleys from brass tube and washers.  All the brass parts are soldered.

The big challenge with this project was the windows.  On the prototype they are fine metal bars with glass inserted and have 9 or more panes.   I tried and failed a few times before I came up with a solution I liked.  

I designed the windows in Draftsight and then printed them on overhead transparencies using my laser printer.  This captured the fine look of the mutens on the prototype.

This was a fun project and much different than the endless string of Boxcars I have been working on. Now that the fun is over its back to more Boxcars!!  

Weathered Boxcars

  Here are some pictures of my latest efforts.  I pulled out the weathering supplies and finished off a few projects that have been built, but not weathered.  Other than the Grant Trunk Tool car these cars are projects which I started in the spring but only recently finished.

  They are all weathered with MIG products washes and Pan Pastels, except the BAR car which just got an India ink Alcohol wash and some artists oils (I scratched the paint. So I  added a rust spot to cover it up.)

  In the pictures the cars all look glossier than they appear to the eye.  I need to work on my lighting a bit more to get the dusty look of the models to show up.

First up the Grand Trunk Tool Car. 

Next is a P&LE Steel Side Rebuilt Boxcar based on the Tichy kit, with many upgrades including but not limited to doors and decals from Speedwitch media.  I went heavy with the weathering on this car as it would be nearing the end of its life for my future Grand Trunk(NEL) layout time frame.

Third is a EJ&E car.  This is a Branchline Car kit bash.  It's based on an Article from the August 2013 issue of RMC.  Decals are from Tichy.

Finally a BAR PS-1 using the Intermountain kit and Highball Graphics Decals. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Grand Trunk Tool Car part 2

I made good progress on the Grand Trunk Tool car this week.  Its now painted and the decals are done.  I used True Colour CN Freight Car Red.  The decals are pieced together from and old Steam Shack Kit for a Central Vermont Single Sheathed Boxcar, which also had GTW decals included - the rest are cobbled together from a Microscale lettering set.  In my previous post I forgot to mention I removed the sill from the window to the right of the door to better simulate the flush frame as on the prototype.  The car needs weathering and brake line hoses, but I will hold off on the weathering until I get the MoW train complete as I plan to weather them all at the same time.

The Picture was taken in my new Photo Box.  My son and I put this together last weekend.   Its based on an article found in the April 2017 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman Magazine.  Basically it's a cardboard box with cut outs and tissue paper applied. The light fixtures are clamp on units from the hardware section at Lowes.  For bulbs I used LED's.  I can't remember what Kelvin, but I purchased them to match a White Balance setting available in my Camera.  Total cost was around $50.  I took these blog pictures with my iphone.  I've taken a bunch with my camera but couldn't remember where the cord was last night to download them to my computer.  The photo box really helps in taking higher quality photos.  My son loves taking photos and he spent a hour or two doing just that on the weekend.  I'll share some of his work in a future post, when I track down that cord..........

Monday, 11 September 2017

Grand Trunk Tool Car

My current project is another piece of rolling stock for a typical Grand Trunk (NEL) work Train.  Inspiration came from a picture I purchased from Bob's Photos at the New England RPM in Enfield a couple of years ago.  It's from 1971 and is taken at St.Albans Vermont. 

My friend and fellow modeller Pierre Oliver suggested scratch building the sides and ends from styrene car siding, and using Accurail's fish belly under frame.  Tichy Train Group work train doors, windows, and  wood boxcar doors make up the basic assembly.

Just need a roof then.  I could not find a suitable roof in my stash or on the internet.  I could substitute a different roof, but roof's are so visible on the layout, so I wanted to get it right.

 I put the project back in my stash and then about a year later by surprise Pierre presented me with a resin casting of the correct Murphy flat panel roof.  He had just purchased the masters for the line of Canadian prototype resin detail parts formally marketed by Sylvan scale models and this roof is one of the offerings.  Pierre's Yarmouth Model Works doesn't yet have these parts ready for market but I'm sure it wont be to long.

After a evening and an afternoon of modelling here is where I'm at.

It has my usual level of detail, K-brake and all associated rigging/plumbing, wire grabs, nbw's, laser cut running board and some rivets for the bolster connections to the side frames. The vents are from Grant Line and City Classics.

I painted the window frames and surrounding areas, before adding the window glazing and gluing on the roof.  I will now just mask off the window frames and paint the rest of the car.  I don't like just masking the glazing as pushing to hard can send it into the car while masking.  I learned that lesson on a previous project......

I'm not sure what the car actually was used for though.  Is it a tool car or something else?  The three roof vent stacks sure are interesting.  The label on the door in the prototype photo says "Flamable"  -  "keep lights and flames away".  Hopefully one the blog's reader will know?

Friday, 31 March 2017

GTW Woodchip Hopper and Southern Flat

  I finally finished up the GTW wood chip hopper project.  These cars were loaded at Wilner Wood products of Norway Maine and billed to the Brown company in Berlin, NH, a pulp and paper plant.  I painted it with True Colour CN red #11.  I had the decals custom designed and printed by Precision Design Company.  As usual their service and decals are top notch.

  There were 21 cars in the series consisting of  #'s 454001 - 454021.  The first 14 were constructed during 1964-66, with the remaining cars built in 1971.  They were originally American Car and Fundry built 70 Ton offset side triple hoppers.  Wood extensions were added to increase the capacity.  My son made the load for it using foam and saw dust from our table saw.

    The Southern flat car is a resin kit available from Mask Island decals.

   It came with a laser cut wood deck, unfortunately the pocket holes didn't line up very well with those on the body, so I made a new deck from 0.060" V-Groove Styrene sheet. I scribed individual board lines on the edges to make them look like separate boards.

  The load simulates hydro poles made from Southern Yellow Pine logs.  They are 3/16" Poplar dowels stained with Minwax Dark Walnut stain. I also dusted them with some Bragdon powders.   The stakes are brass rod, turned down to fit in the stake pockets on one end and drilled on the other so they look to be made from steel tubes.  The Brass stakes and poles add much needed mass to this car.  The poles are glued together by flowing some thin CA on the end of the pile and are secured to the deck with metal strapping made from black construction paper.

  I gave the under body a full set of brake rigging, you can't see it but I know its there.

  The car  is painted with Scale Coat Oxide Red and decalled with the fine Mask Island Decals supplied in the kit.

  Both cars are fitted with Rapido's 70 Ton Barber S2A trucks.