Tuesday Night Paintshop Whoopise, the camera be harsh on your mistakes

Painting whoopsie, it looked fine before I painted, but after, some damage to the roof walk on the left side of the picture becomes apparent.

A quick trip to the paint booth tonight to get two projects advanced, one a project I am sending to a friend for a DCC install, to do a quick initial weathering on a CPR S-2 locomotive. While I had the paint booth set up, I wanted to get colour onto a Yarmouth Model Works West India Fruit Company ACF 40′ Boxcar. In my setup, I dropped/knocked it over, and it hit the floor. It looked fine after a check, all the detail parts survived and were where they were supposed to be, or so I thought. after hitting it with green paint on the body, it became apparent that the roof walk was both mangled and half separated from the roof. Sigh, nothing that can’t be fixed, but annoying none the less. Important lesson, after something goes wrong, maybe take more time to go back and check everything is ok.

And for those wondering, the green is less bright under normal lighting conditions on the layout, the LED lights in my paint booth are not good for assessing colour tone, they may everything look brighter than it is. Good for seeing where you’ve missed paint, not great for deciding if you are happy with a colour or not.

See Through Layout Edge Buildings

Looking through the foundry building to the layout after spraying the interior black. I can see some light leaks now that its painted on the interior.

My layout has five structures that will be located between the edge of the layout and the tracks. I have built one of them so far. There are a number of ways that this can be tackled by modellers to make them look good. You can put a false back on so the fascia board extends to close it in, you can build full, detailed interiors, or you can make them see through “shadow boxes”. I am going with the shadow box/theatre staging version of making them see-through. I don’t really know what the interiors looked like, and they are all slightly compressed and the widest is about 1 inch deep. That doesn’t make for great model space, and I think, as you can see, it creates a bit of a shadow box effect. I don’t have “glass” in the windows yet, as I still have to paint the window frames on the finished building side, so I can’t glaze them. I think the effect of looking through a shadowbox building will be really interesting and less distracting than made up interiors.

Starting Scenery on Canyon Road Diorama

One of the reasons among the many that I have started on a side project diorama of Canyon Road was that I have learned so much in the nearly two years of building my Liberty Village Layout, that I wanted to re-enforce and build upon the scenery techniques I have either had to learn, or refresh my past experiences and build upon them. Liberty Village is pancake flat urban industrial area, which while the how of creating that can be used elsewhere, there are lots of other skills in scenery that don’t get used on it, so the diorama offers a chance to expand on my scenery skill set, in an achievable sized space.

The start of scenery, plaster sheet on the carved foam landforms, paint, and soil cover.

With the foam carved and to what I thought was the right shape and landing point for the wooden bridge at the left of the diorama, I wanted to experiment with creating the final ground form in a different way. In the past, I have either done nothing on my first layouts, or used sculptamold. For this, I wanted to try something different, so I bought a roll of Woodland Scenics plaster cloth. It comes in different widths, I bought a 3″ wide roll given the narrow areas I am covering. You cut it to length, quickly dip it in water to get it wet and activate the plaster, then apply it and smooth it out. You can create shapes and texture. It hardens to a hard cover, which protects the foam, and provides a good surface for paint and texture.

For the first coat of colour, I used another Woodland Scenics product, but one that I’ve had for nearly 20 years, a bottle of Burnt Umber Pigment. I don’t know why I bought this, I think I was using it and a green product they had to stain wooden baseboards before applying ground foam… I’ve come a long way in doing scenery! This was actually a more correct application for the pigment. I think, being honest I should have applied it while the plaster was still “wet” so it would soak in, but it worked. At the end of the day, this is all going to be hidden beneath soil, grass, shrubs, trees and the like. Its really a backstop against unsightly white poking through the upper levels of scenery.

Once that was dried, as you can see I’ve had the track protected with painters tape as it was already painted and weathered, it will probably need some more, but no point in destroying the work already don. As with the layout, I am using Scenic Express fine soil for the dirt cover to give any open patches of ground some earth like texture. I am really happy with this product and how it looks on the layout, and I was able to be more, delicate with the application here. On the layout it is being used a bit as filler to bring ground level to the level of tracks and curbs and such, here, it is more a fine coating on the hill slopes. To do this, I found that applying a fine sprayed coating of my thinned glue of choice, Weldbond (at least 50/50 with water), then sprinkling on a light coat of the soil gave it some bite to apply a slightly thicker cover to make sure everything was covered with soil and then wet it and spray on a top coat of glue to soak through with the wet having broken the surface tension.

Jumping ahead and around other things since this is about first scenery, getting the track ballasted. Those with sharp eyes will notice the landform on the left has changed. I’ve got another post to write about the bridge where I’ll tackle that.

With the first bit of ground cover down, the next step was to ballast the track so it starts to nicely blend together with ballast over soil. Pretty standard ballasting, lay it down, wet it, and dribble in thinned glue, the water breaks the surface tension and lets the glue work its way in. Then go and add ballast once the first coat has tried for anywhere that there is thin spots showing through and to build it up along the verges and between the two tracks.

With the ballast, I also installed the signals. The two signals are going to be permanently mounted, so I wanted them in and the wiring buried beneath the ballast so they would blend into the ground as the real ones do. I have a signal electrical cabinet to install now that the ballast is down, I just realized I never got around to finishing painting is so I will be getting some aluminum on it in the paint booth this weekend.

Lots to do still, static grasses, long grasses, telegraph/power poles, making trees, finishing the bridge and so forth, but as always with my projects, forward progress is the goal.

New Year, New (& Improved) Canadian Trackside Guide

So one of the most useful tools if you are a railfan in Canada and spend any time out chasing/waiting/watching trains, the Canadian Trackside Guide. This annual publication, now in its 39th year is both an incredible tool, and an incredible record of the changes in the railways of Canada. I use it as a source of information for where I am out looking to know where I should hear automatic radio equipment communicating, for what trains I might expect to come by and what their numbers are, and for “ticking”, or marking which locomotives or other equipment I have seen in any given period. I say period, as ordinarily I have bought one about every 5 years, and for some reason, I got rid of my older ones. I currently have a 2015, 2020 and a brand new 2021. With 2020 bringing a year where about the only thing I could do to get out of the house was go railfanning (nice easy social distancing activity), my 2020 guide got a workout, and so I did buy a 2021 version, and I’m glad I did.

Brand new 2021 Trackside Guide and my 2020 edition. The 2021 hasn’t been flagged yet with stickies to easily find the most frequently used pages.

The format and appearance of the guide hasn’t really changed that much over the years, at least not before the 2021 guide. I opened it up and quite literally went “wow” out loud. This years guide, has had some subtle, but really nice improvements made to it. The font is slightly larger and clearer, and in the roster guide sections, there is shading blocks to help break up listings and make it easier to use. These for me are small, but really nice formatting improvements that will help me see and find things as I am out railfanning in 2021 and into the future. I don’t know if I will buy the guide again in 2022, that’s a future decision,

A couple of samples of the 2020 vs the 2021 guide, the slightly larger clearer font and shading are really appreciated by me.

The Canadian Trackside Guide is published by the Bytown Railway Society in Ottawa. As of the date of my posting this, they still have copies left, but if you are in Canada, your local model railroad store probably has some, and I know a lot of museums do. The Toronto Railway Museum has both 2020 and 2021 versions available through the museum store.