Tag Archives: scratchbuilding

Site Seeing – The scratchbuilding masterclass edition

I enjoy scratchbuilding. It’s a mental as much as engineering or artistic endeavour. I recently found the site highlighted today and just had to share this for those of you unsure how to begin or for those who’ve begun but need along their scratchbuilding journey.


TamiyaBase.com

While this site deals with cars, and car related projects, the series of tutorials provide a great set of skills totally applicable to all modellers.

It includes extensive styrene tutorials in both flat and curved surface projects and there’s another outstanding tutorial on a project in brass. And this guy knows his scratchbuilding business.

There are downloadable templates, lists of tools and supplies to complete the model; in all a very comprehensive site and full of ideas for those of us interested in bettering our scratchbuilding skills. I learned a lot from reading all the tutorials.


Resources

Site seeing – January 18 – the ‘Perfect Storm’ but in a good way edition

I’ve had an idea for a small layout, running around the mouse wheel that I use for a brain, for a while now. What kicked the idea off was a 2013 plan published in the Model Railroader for the Glendale Freight House that Union Pacific built there during what I ‘believe’ was the early 1950s. Bruce Petty has already built a layout based on the real location and using the UP freight house in Glendale. Let’s take a look at that first to see where we start from.

Site 1: The Union Pacific freight station drawings

Step one of this plan is to get a copy of the plans. They are available for logged in users on the MR site by clicking the link above.

Modellers in HO scale will need to enlarge the drawing substantially (which is doable at a local copy store)to be able to build directly off the drawing.

Big thanks to my next site owner for the idea about doing that. He uses the protective sleeves (clear plastic ones) to build on.

The model once completed using liquid polystyrene cement does not stick to these plastic sleeves and Bruce simply lifts the completed side of the model off the sleeve. Plan protected, model free, what’s not to like about that? I just wish I’d thought of that all these many years later. I did mention that I have a mouse driving the wheel that powers the mental machinery, right?

Site 2: Bruce Petty’s LA River Railroads site

Bruce’s website is a trove of information on the railroads of LA. His layout looks fantastic too. Of most interest to me was his article on the Glendale freight house build which you access from the link above. Well worth reading the entire page and taking in the method of building it. Clever, clever man!

This building rests on his Glendale module. When speaking to him via email earlier this week he told me: “… the modules for my layout are 18 inches wide and 5 feet long. If I ever move the layout goes with me easily taken down. All structures
and small detail parts come off the layout. On the Glendale module only the loading dock stays as it is concrete. No big deal to take this module down off the shelf brackets, it’s the end of the UP Glendale Branch.

Essentially the layout is an Inglenook (and exactly as the original). Bruce says that just like the original “… it gets switching crews from Southern Pacific and Union pacific. It’s a fun module to switch on and I can take it to shows.” What more do you need?

In the next post I’ll be taking a look at how I’d like to model this location as a stand alone layout. I’ll be taking a slightly different tack to Bruce’s excellent representation. I’ve been thinking about using an interesting technique to cover off the gaping hole in the wall exit to the fiddle yard that ought to work perfectly for this design; and all in 8 feet.

Additional resources:

Bruce has kindly provided me with images of the layout module. My thanks to Bruce for his kindness in being so willing in talking to a stranger and being willing to take photos of his layout especially for me to share with you.

All included images above are copyright of the creator and author: Bruce Petty. Used with permission on Andrew’s Trains.

Site seeing March 18

So much for catching up! I had promised to catch up on my posts after a long week of the flu; Sun Tzu was right – no plan survives first contact with an adversary (or a past time).

Site 1: BobbyPitts44 build of a flexiflow car

Over on the FreeRails forum (Link Here) there’s a brief discussion on the work done to take what is essentially a 1960s era toy freight car and turn it into a scratchbuilding masterpiece.

While the forum does not have a lot of information on the build, luckily his Flickr site does. Everything is back – to – front, but there is some really amazing work there to be viewed.

View the Flickr site (Link here)

It’s great work and well worth a view.

Updating Athearn Blue Box Railbox XAF 10 cars

 Part 1 – No plan survives first contact with the enemyThe basic blue box car

It has been some time since I’ve had the funds or the time really to do much of anything in the modelling realm.

I’ve simply not had the funds to bring a lot of the work I’ve had underway forward to completion. Thanks to the Taxman and a payout due to being laid off, I’ve been able to order some extra parts to complete most of my Railbox cars.

The most important of all the parts has been a set of Microscale decals.

I ordered these from Microscale in the US and very quickly in the post I received 3 packets of Microscale (87-1291) HO scale RBOX & ABOX decals. Microscale’s service was fast and excellent after ordering directly from their website. They decal two cars of each type and come with all the car data you need for the cars.

RBOX_Microscale_Decals

I have a lot of these cars to re-work; at last count I believe about there were 10 in total. I have enough to cover 6 cars for now. With my layout that I’m building (currently set in 1978) there’s latitude for the Hunter Valley to have bought some similar per diem boxcars. These cars I’ll complete last as I have to produce or manufacture my own decals for them.

Updating the Athearn Blue Box model

The Athearn model is, except for the roof pattern used, correct for the XAF10 series cars. The kit does not have the detail that modern-day kits come with as standard, but they were only $7.50 when I bought them and even after the upgrade process will top out in real dollar terms at less than I can buy the newer models for now. To keep the costs down I’m making most of the add-on parts. To be fair I love scratch building. It has always been my favourite part of the hobby.

Let me say this before the rivet counters jump in: I know that the roof panels on these cars are wrong, I can live with that. At the height above the floor the new layout will be, they really won’t be all that obvious,even if they may be easy to see.

When money is tight these simple upgrades make all the difference. What other issues remain I can live with. There are some issues though that I just cannot live with. In order of descending importance they are:

  • Trucks – I replace these on all of my Blue-Box cars. In this case they’ll be the 70 ton roller bearing trucks (fully equalised) by Kadee. I love these trucks, and with proper weighting they run like a dream floating along and bending to the poor track of the HVL (we are a ribbon in the weeds kind of Shortline you know). At around A$15.00 per pair they are not cheap, but they work so well I’ll eventually fit them on my entire fleet as I can afford to.
  • The body side the grab irons just irk the hell out of me; moulded onto the body side and just begging to be milled and replaced with brass wire – the image below shows the experimental car with these.modifications. While the grab-irons on this model look over sized I am certain that once they’re painted they’ll stand out a lot less. If they don’t then I’ve since sourced some really fine brass, and if they aren’t fine enough I can always get some fine copper wire, tin it and then fit them for prototypical accuracy

Modified_Bluebox_Boxcar

  • The stirrups on the car ends are OK, but I can do better using brass wire, brass strip or as shown in the image above good old-fashioned staples (which have proven to look great but will need to be drilled, glued and then have NBW castings glued through them and into the body to stay on – every one of them has been knocked off  – even with careful handling and using the best super glue)
  • Updated Kadee knuckle couplers (I prefer the #58 which have a much finer head casting). From these I’ll  be removing the magnetic glad hand as I do all of my uncoupling with a skewer, and because I’ll be adding air hoses and glad hands (these magnetic units which look really great as you can see in the YouTube video below. They are now available from P.W.R.S. at: http://www.pacific-western-rail.com)

Remember how I said no plan survives first contact?

If I were a purist, or a glutton for punishment, I could rework the car ends. There is much that could be done by milling the ends and cleaning everything up and starting again. I just can’t be bothered. The ends are good enough, and because they’ll be in between other cars, and generally not focused on I’m not going to worry.

The coupler box used on the model is wider that the real one used on the real car, but again, this is between the cars during normal operation and really, I just don’t think it matters. I’ll live with it.

In part 2 I’ll provide a historical context to the build, and then in part 3 I’ll move on to reworking the basic car into something better for your railroad, and mine.