It’s officially Australia Day so I thought I’d share more work done weathering the Southern Boxcar underframe and sides. It’s interesting to see how the added brake gear (see more about that here) has become just another part of the model, and no longer seems to dominate the underframe, just as I had hoped it would.
Southern Boxcar 36188
I’m relatively happy with the work so far. There is work to be done on the patches to tone them down “just” a touch.
Beyond that though the underframe weathering is what I now consider to be just right (considering that it will be hard to see). I had to add a bright white background behind the model for it to show up. Very pleased with how this work has come out. It looks perfectly functional, and most importantly, looks the business.
I’ve weighted the model appropriate to my needs (that’s roughly the cube root of the on rail weight). This is heavy by the ‘normal’ standards, but with the Kadee sprung and equalised trucks under them my cars run like dream.
- Rust spots need adding on the side, especially on the sliding door (right) side of the car as this area takes a real beating in service. There’ll be less on the left side. I’ll be using Ken Patterson’s oil weathering process, as outlined in the video in the resources section below. I’ve not used this particular method before so it will be interesting to see how it works for me. I’ve weathered in oils before and enjoy them very much, this will be one new technique for quick and dirty rust weathering.
- The roof needs to be attached to the car and I’ll be weathering it to match the side weathering. I always do the sides before I do the roof because much of the run off ends up on the car sides.
Ken Patterson’s Oil Weathering method:
Work has been busy and I’ve not had much time to model, however I did get time yesterday to begin the weathering process on a couple of car underframes that have come through the brake rod upgrade program. Pictures below…
An E&C Shops kit this PS-1 50′ single door boxcar has been in the shops recently for brake rodding updates. With the deeper side sills it provides a good view of what I’m trying to achieve through the upgrade program – adding ‘something‘ between the bottom of the car and rails.
From a lower point of view the rodding detail on this car disappears into the background clutter of hard angles and shadow (image taken in reflected sunlight on my workbench – late afternoon – with nice and flat tones)
Taken at normal railfan height the rodding is there and fools the eye, at least my eye, into believing that this is a super detailed car. Rolling by you’d never guess anything otherwise.
XAF10 class prototype car
Work continues on the XAF prototype car, an Athearn Blue Box kit. I’ve had my concerns throughout the upgrade that things would stick out like a sore thumb. I needn’t have worried. I like what’s emerging.
This is the car with all brake rodding work completed. I was worried that the brake rodding would be too obvious using the 20 thou brass.
After applying the base of the undercar weathering the experiment has borne sweet fruit. This looks much more like I wanted it to look. Same lighting and location showing the hard angles and shadows. Once on its wheels and with further weathering applied the rodding will disappear into the background, yet have that wow factor as it goes past.
Thanks for stopping by. Comments? Questions? Let me know.
Danny Harmon spends a day out following a railfan friendly switch crew of the Florida Central as they switch customers around Orlando, Florida.
First Mile / Last Mile
This is where I believe that real railroading happens. It is where the customer meets the railroad. It’s also where modellers with small spaces, budgets and time allocation get the most bang for the buck when designing and building a layout. There’s a lot of great locations and close up detail shots of the crew working and the locations for inspiration.
Sit back, put on your headphones and enjoy the sights and sounds of a couple of vintage locomotives as the train crew prepare their train, run out to, and then switch, the customers spurs. (Clickable video below)
Make sure to like and subscribe to Danny’s channel. Recently he’s been doing a lot of switching videos. I hope he does a lot more to come. Supporting him might just get him to do more too.
Imagine an industrial 7mm narrow and standard gauge model railway with radio controlled crane and lorries. Then look at a great video and see it in action.
Built by a group of four during a three-month period for a club exhibition. This layout is in 7mm scale and uses both 16.5mm (3.5mm HO standard gauge) and 32mm (7mm O scale gauge) track. Scenic area is only 2’2” x 6’, with an overall size of 2’2” x 9’ including fiddle yard.
Of particular note are the working features of the layout including:
- standard and narrow gauge trains
- working gantry crane, and
- radio controlled lorries
The gantry crane had apparently been on another layout and manually controlled. When moved to the yard it was converted to radio control. The lorries, which I believe are the work of Mr Giles Favell, (see the resources section below for more) were in use on other layouts. The rolling stock came from other layouts also.
Control of trains is by DCC, while point control uses MERG canbus.
See more about the wonders of Giles Favell’s radio control 7mm scale lorries and his layouts at:
We moved back to Australia in 2006. So, I have to live through others when they visit David Barrow in Austin Texas, my wife’s hometown, and where we spent 10 years from 1997. Trevor Marshall visited recently and came away with a great post on the man and his layouts – including his new small (comparatively speaking) O scale layout which really piqued my interest.
David Barrow’s layouts
Hi – my name is Andrew – and I’m a David Barrow fan boy tragic…
I first remember reading about David Barrow’s Cat Mountain and Santa Fé layout in the 1980s in Model Railroader magazine. As a young man, dreaming about my large future model railway plans, David’s layouts (there were at my last count about 17 versions of the Cat Mountain) were my ideal. While I dream of those massive layouts still I took another path to small layout designs.
Recently David Barrow has followed down that rabbit hole, this time in O scale, with a new layout. You can read more about that in the second link below by Trevor Marshall.
David’s layout design and presentation skills are unique in the hobby. Not to everyone’s taste I’ll grant, yet having seen and operated on the layout once in 2005, I did not notice its minimal scenic treatment. I was too interested in the operational side of things.
Image 1: Davids Barrow’s entire O Scale layout – battery-powered and operated by radio
Once again the layout design is the centre of attention and the scenic treatment is classic David Barrow – minimalist. However, you can use the design and then scenic it to your heart’s content. Hmmm – now let me see – I have 3 boards in the garage on which that layout design would fit perfectly…
You can out more on this layout in the Model Railroad Planning 2018 publication from Kalmbach.
I admire modellers who can get to the meat of a project, quickly and with vigour. Gazmanjack (Gary) on RMWeb used second-hand track, wood and other parts from his modelling left-overs to create a stunningly good small layout for operations. Read on for more.
Linden Ford – the second-hand layout
Gazmanjack (his handle on RMWeb) back in 2014 built an outstanding layout from left over bits and pieces, as an adjunct to his current layout, to give himself something to operate on during the other layout’s longer build. I’ve only just found it and wanted to share the forum post with you.
And what a cracker this layout is. I won’t go into too much detail here, as I think the adage of a picture telling a thousand words is true on this occasion. There is plenty of information in the post too on the build including scenery, tree armatures, and so on.
Image 1: Linden Ford – an outstanding small Inglenook layout
I hope that you find inspiration in the post. So much with so little that turned out so well. Well done Gary!
Using Sunset Valley Railroad switch stands on the layout
Operating realism is very important to me. It ensures that those working my layouts move at a realistic pace and in a realistic way. Switch operation is a big part of that goal for me.
The source of inspiration – Port Rowan in 1:64
Originally inspired by a post on Trevor Marshall’s Port Rowan blog, I want to include these switch stands as a part of my operating realism approach.
I particularly like the fact that Trevor uses a single style of padlock to lock the switches along with a length of chain. This ensures that all switches must be unlocked before use, and relocked after use as happens on the 1:1 railroad.
As Trevor says in the blog post, they are more expensive than other simpler options. However, I think that if you have a small layout, and realistic operation is your thing, then the cost is worth it. And they’ll last forever.
I’ve wanted to share this post for a long time, but only recently found all the links again after long searching. I hope you enjoy reading about this and get inspired.
In my August 18 post we looked at modelling and using Blue Flags for your operating sessions. Thanks to Charles Malinowski’s timely reminder, there’s an additional video for context.
MRR Video Series – Taking Care of Business
Model Railroader magazine has a series of videos (most are pay to play). However some of the best of them are free for you to watch. One of these focuses on the SMS Rail Lines industrial park in New Jersey.
I did try to embed their video (as they offer this as an option – like YouTube) however, it didn’t work. Instead you’ll find below the link for the video. THis will take you straight to the page and then play away.
The video is narrated and professionally shot and edited. It is really well done and shows the operations in the Industrial Park and the blue flag in action. Thanks to Charles for reminding me of the video. I hope that you all enjoy watching and learning.
Don’t forget to comment on and share this post with your friends.
Taking Care of Business: SMS Rail Lines
Locomotive dead lines make fascinating modelling subjects. One layout idea that has percolated along for the last couple of years relates to a locomotive rebuilder. A recent post by one of my favourite modellers, Mike Confalone, over on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forums, provides a great starting point.
Modelling a deadline
One layout idea that’s been percolating along for the last couple of years relates to a locomotive rebuilder. One aspect of that design is the deadline, that is, the line of locomotives waiting for work to begin on their rebirth, parts removal for donation to other units, and for some the final indignity – the cutters torch and a change of state to scrap metal. Fortuitously, a small project by Mike Confalone over on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forums has been focused on a deadline too. Mike writes in the post that:
“On the proto-freelanced Allagash, we have a caboose track at Madrid. With the move to 1984 a few years back, the caboose track is used less and less as cabooses begin to become less common. We still run them on most of the road jobs, but most of the locals go without, per the prototype in that era. So, I’ve converted the caboose track to a diesel deadline. Its a bit tight but it’s the only available real estate in the yard and I didn’t want to put them on a remote siding. I wanted the deadline near the engine house. Seemed to make sense.”
Click the photo above to go straight to the MRH forum post
There’s five pages of comments and information there as of my writing this post. Being a fan of Mike’s work I may be biased. However, I find his work to be of the highest quality and well worth the time to review. I hope that you feel the same way after you’ve read through the thread.
- There is a Megastructures documentary (Mega Breakdown – train overhaul) that is worth watching for an overview if you haven’t seen this type of operation before:
In this post we’ll be looking at blue flags; what they are, what they do and how to model them.
What blue flags are, and what they do
Blue Flags are used in the North American railroading industry to show that railroad or other personnel are working, on, about, under or between railroad equipment and that the railroad equipment may not be connected to. These signs may be posted at the entry to the track upon which the vehicle sits or may be at, or close to, the railroad equipment itself.
Whoever places the flag is generally the only person that may remove said flag. However anyone from that same ‘craft’ may remove the flag. While this generally applies to railroad mechanical departments many customers have also begun to use the blue flag to ensure that cars loading or unloading have the same level of protection. Railroad crews are so used to dealing with these safety items that ‘everyone’ in the industry understands what their placement on a siding or spur means.
Canadian Pacific’s safety regulations state the following:
12.3.7 Blue flag protection is used to indicate that CP or Contractor Personnel are working on, under or between Railway Equipment and movement of trains or other Railway Equipment is prohibited. Blue flags must not be tampered with or obstructed. Blue flags can only be removed by the person or group of persons who originally applied it. Application, use, and removal of blue flags, when appropriate, may only be done under the authorization and guidance of the Manager in Charge.
Modelling blue flags
Have you considered adding ‘blue flag’ operations on your layout? Adding prototype processes to an operating session provides two important benefits:
- It makes the time you spend on the layout more meaningful through the application of, and adherence to the rules, and
- It slows down the session and forces you to work in real-time.
Over on the Model Railroad Hobbyist blog of Craig Thomasson he recently described how he builds HO scale blue flags for operations and how they are used on his layout. I found his blog post interesting and think that you might find as interesting and useful as I did.
If you’ve not met Blue Flags in the operations sense before here are some resources that you might find useful: