“Model Railroading is …

Fun“..er Frustrating!!!  I think a famous magazines tag line, while often accurate, also sometimes hides the frustrations that come from this hobby.  I wrote a post previously about a pair of Labatt’s leased General American Pfaudler Reefers I was working on for my non-existent railway.  Both cars should in fact be done now, and to be fair, one of them is.  The other, has been a victim of the Model Railroading equivalent of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.  If i could find a way to screw up this project and finishing it, I seem to have done so.  It’s times like this I’m glad the only person I build stuff for is myself.  I don’t know how people like Pierre Oliver run a business building kits for other people, I’d lose my mind!! Even to get to the point of one finished car, and one that I’ve run out of supplies to finish without going back to the wallet to buy things over again.  Hence, Model Railroading is Frustrating!!!

So, to go back to the start of this project, it’s seemingly had gremlins from the start.  Even before I managed to screw anything up, someone at the Intermountain Factory did.  I bought two identical kits at the same time, but somewhere in the factory, someone at some point had the injection mold slides messed up, as after I started construction, I discovered that the underframe details on the two kits pointed two different directions.  Effectively, this means that the underside and brake rigging on the two cars points different directions.  I mulled whether i would try to fix it, and decided that i could live with it, and make the necessary fixes so that parts that didn’t have proper mounting points anymore could be attached.

IMGP2203RawConvOne of these cars underbody was molded the wrong way around, the brake platforms are at the same place, but all the details beneath point opposite ways.

The next great failventure was the etched roof walks from the kit.  I had serious issues folding them, and never was truly happy with them, fortunately, the next problem solved that.  The first attempt at painting the cars using a Pullman Green paint, which while probably accurate at 1:1, looked too dark/black to me on the model, and to compound my problems, my coats of paint didn’t go on evenly, and ran all over the place.  I’d never used the brand of paint I was using before, and am not likely to again after this experience.  The upside of this, was once i stripped the car down, when i re-primed it, i managed to clog the etched roof walks so badly, the only recourse was to rip them off and buy new walks.

New walks were ordered, and when received, these ones folded much better, attached nicely, and even managed to be primed without mucking them up.  This was followed up with a coat of Testors Model Master Green Drab.  To my eye, it looks so much more like the dark green colour I would expect of an express/head end car such as a milk/beer reefer, and it went on really nicely.

IMGP2549RawConvTwo painted reefers and two sets of decals from Black Cat Publishing.  After all the earlier problems, decals should be a no brainer…

So, decaling, doing two identical cars, I set up as an assembly line.  I’d do one side of the first car, then the same side of the second car, to make sure i was doing them approximately the same.  Things got off to a bad start before I’d even put on decal one when i managed to drip water onto the uncut sheet of decals.  This, despite my best efforts to scramble and save them wound up costing me one of the “General” wordmarks for one side of a car.  A problem, but one i could hopefully overcome.  After this first misadventure, i switched to just trying to get one car finished, which i did.  I even managed to clear coat with a dullcoate to protect the decals without any further misadventure.  At some future point, I’ll lightly weather the car (that future point being when i finally get comfortable weathering models, need a lot of practice  on that before moving on to good models).  So, moving on to the second car, knowing i was at least a single word short, i checked my sets of individual letters, none of them matched the font from the Black Cat decals, but i was placing an order for some parts, from a company that had Pfaudler Reefer decals, so i bought a set, and hoped.  In the mean time, i started to do the first side of the 2nd car, and i ran into all kinds of problems.  I managed to ruin the 2nd “General” decal for this car, not while applying it, but while putting on Microsol to get it to bed down and into the details of the car.  I knew the film on the decals was thin (which is a good thing), as I’d had some minor problems doing the first car, but this time the second the Microsol touched the decal, it shriveled up and melted into nothing.  Same thing happened with the data panel, though I managed to save most of it.

IMGP2204RawConvSuccessfully decaled GPEX923 in the back, and the cursed GPEX924 in the front.

After this misadventure, the parts order and decal set came in, and the font and size of the “General American Pfaudler Corporation” text is drastically different from that in the Black Cat set.  This means that I can’t just use these decals as I’d hoped i could, as the cars won’t look right.  So that leaves me with what you see above, one finished car that i am quite happy with, and one at a crossroads.  Strip off the decals on it and do a generic Pfaudler car, or set it aside until the next time I’m ordering from Black Cat and get another set of Labatt’s decals.  My gut instinct is to persevere and get another set of Labatt’s and finish the project, though there have been a few moments where finding out how far across the apartment a HO Scale reefer can fly has crossed my mind as well!!

IMGP2200RawConvGPEX 923 as Leased to Labatt’s Breweries.  One car successfully completed.
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