Doors Open Toronto @ The Roundhouse This Weekend (May 27-28, 2017

My apologies on the late notice, but it kept slipping through the cracks.  If you are in the Toronto area, this weekend is the 18th Annual Doors Open Toronto.  I’ve been going to it or participating in it since year 1, though year 1 back in 2000 was an accident!  I was on a co-op work term from the University of Waterloo, working in Richmond Hill and living in North York, I had met up with some friends for a lunch downtown, and was giving one of them a ride home to Mississauga, we got on the ramp at York Street onto the Gardiner Expressway, and saw a sign on the roof of the roundhouse “Brewery Now Open”, we looked at each other, and got right back off the highway and went into Steam Whistle Brewery’s first weekend of operation, it was the first time I’d ever been in the John Street Roundhouse, years before I became an active volunteer with the Toronto Railway Historical Association in building the Toronto Railway Museum there!!


But, that’s not the point of this post, the point is, I will be at the museum with some of my models, inside Stall 15 at our Train Show all weekend.  If you are around, I’d love to talk shop with you, about either models on display, something i’ve written about, or generally applying 3D printing to your projects.  Please say hi if you are by the museum.  The museum is open 10-5 both days, and there is free admission into our restoration stalls where the Train Show will be, and our Museum Display in Stall 17.  We will also have as many of the locomotives and passenger cars open to the public as we can (always based on having enough volunteers to do so!)

27363483896_932e7f596d_oLast years booth, look for me at a similar looking display this weekend.

Also, this weekend will be the first public open weekend for recently restored GO Transit Cab Car 104.  Come by and relive memories of the early years of GO Transit 50 years ago, or make new ones if you don’t remember the days before the ubiquitous GO Bi-Level cars!

Restored GO Cab Car 104 will be open to the public.
Doors Open 2017 pictures.

Paving Roads with Pan Pastels

As I had suggested back in April, after attending the Ontario Narrow Gauge Show and taking part in a hands on clinic with Pan Pastels, I was looking for opportunities to experiment with them and add them to my painting and weathering toolkit.

My first Pan Pastel attempt, a strip of brick for the sidewalk.  I started trying to get grey into the lines, then covering with a red tone.  It didn’t quite work as I’d wanted, but i was able to go back and get the grey into the grooves and for some texture after.

As part of the diorama I am building, I have three different types of payment tone and colour to create, Asphalt, Concrete and Brick.  There are even variations in colour and type within these.  When I was out last weekend I made a stop at Curry’s Artists’ Materials, a southern Ontario chain of art supply stores, and picked up four Pan Pastel colours and some different applicator brushes.  I didn’t want to go crazy on my first purchase until I’ve been able to play around and see how they work.  I picked up a Red Iron Oxide Shade; Neutral Grey, Paynes Grey Tint; and Black.  These should give me enough tones to do most of the pavement.  Pan Pastels come in four levels for most colours, Dark, Shade, Pure colour and Tint.  The Tint is pre mixed with white to lighten the colour to be more of an accent.  The Shade is the colour mixed with black to darken it, and the Dark is the colour with more black than the Shade to really darken it.  Pan Pastels website explains this with colour samples far better than I can. If this works, my intention is to use the Pan Pastels on the brickwork of the building for the diorama as well, but starting with the pavement was a good place for me.

First coat of colour on the roads, taking the blank slate of the drywall compound asphalt and styrene concrete to a dark grey, using an old jar of Trueline Trains CPR Steam Locomotive Grey to get a pavementy dark surface.

For the base, I am starting with what I know, and applying a base coat of paint to the surfaces.  This gives me a starting point, and lets me then work with the Pan Pastels to add tone and highlights, rather than relying on a product I’m not familiar with for all the colour.  For the brick areas (a strip of square bricks along one street, and an interlocking patio area), I am going to try to use Pan Pastels only, but for the asphalt and concrete, it just feels safer to start with what I know.

Using a Sofft sponge brush to add different colours of Pan Pastel pigment to lighten the road from the dark base coat.

The Pan Pastels can be used as solo colours, or blended, I chose to work with the colours individually, which meant they blended as I worked them onto the surface.  If you’ve ever looked at a road, the pavement is a lot of different colours as it wears differently with use by vehicles, water, freeze/thaw, and any number of other factors.  I was trying to capture this by blending the two grey tones onto the dark grey surface from the paint for the asphalt.

Creating dark lines along the expansion joints in a concrete cross walk by using black Pan Pastel then wiping away the excess.

For the cross walk, the concrete paint was blended with the greys, but also with black for the expansion joints in the concrete.  Using a moldable eraser, and by carefully wiping with a paper towel, excess pigment from the surface can be removed while leaving it in the grooves I’d carved in the pavement.

After I stepped back and looked at my first go round, I decided the pavement had gotten too light (in the photos above).  To combat this, I applied a heavier coat of the darker grey Pan Pastel to bring the tone back, once I had reached a happier stage, I overcoated the road with dullcote to seal the pigment down and create the road surface.  The finished roadway can be seen below.

Finished Pan Pastel asphalt, concrete sidewalk and brick insert.  The road surface has a really nice texture and varying tonality, just like a real road.  I’m quite pleased with how my first use of Pan Pastels has gone so far.

Next up is the rest of the sidewalk and patio paving.  I am using sheet styrene for the concrete sidewalk, and interlocking brick sheet for the patio areas.  Once the styrene is cut, I have to lay out and scribe the expansion lines in it, then paint and weather it with the Pan Pastels.  My Shapeways order with the windows and doors for the building has shipped, so I am very much working towards having the base ready to at least start mocking up the building in for when my order arrives.

Shapeways Pricing Update – Good & Bad News

New Pricing, reductions on small items like propane tanks, increases on big ones like HO Scale buildings.

So the news is in, and its not all bad, but its also not good for my larger models.  Despite my reservations when Shapeways initially announced the pricing changes, I would say at least 3/4 of my models that are for sale have gone down in price, and I am working on updating pricing to reflect that and pass on some of the savings to customers.  Even some of the models which are more expensive to print I am adjusting the markup where possible so I make a bit less but can hold the prices.  No crazy big price changes, most are a $1-2 reduction, though some things like the body shells for D-1 in HO at least is getting a nice $15 price drop.

The bad news, is that large items like structures which were already at the edge of affordability are now in the not-affordable range.  One major personal project I have been working on has gone from $175 to $600, so I will be going back to the drawing board as it were to look for ways to reduce the amount of the structure that is 3D printed vs. traditional techniques.  Its a bit frustrating.  The good news is, some things that hadn’t necessarily been affordable before that are not yet for sale are coming down in price, making them hopefully more attractive to people shopping my store when they are released.

My Shapeways Store is linked on the side bar and here:

Tuesday Train #56 GOing on 50

IMGP8489RawConv50 Years ago today on March 23, 1967 the Province of Ontario’s new commuter rail service between Oakville and Pickering, centred on Toronto’s Union Station commenced operations.  To celebrate their 50th Anniversary, Metrolinx, the Provincial Agency that now operates GO Transit has re-acquired one of their original cab-car coaches that was sold in the 1990’s and restored it to an in-service GO Transit appearance.  This car has been donated to the Toronto Railway Museum as part of an exhibit on 50 years of GO Transit and is now on display in Roundhouse Park.

Dominion of Canada Shipping Out

There is nothing quite so satisfying as looking at a project, and saying, it’s done!  I am happy with the finished product, I don’t see any more big glaring issues that I need or want to resolve, its ready to hopefully go on display somewhere in the apartment (conversely, it’s very frustrating when I finish a project I’ve spent months working on, and realize I have no where for it to go on display and have to carefully pack it away).

I have reached the finish line on my model of former British Railways locomotive 60010 “Dominion of Canada” being shipped from Exporail in Montreal back to the UK in 2012 for a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the world speed record for steam set by Dominion of Canada’s sister locomotive Mallard.  Past postings on this project are here, here, here, here and here.

IMGP8542RawConv.jpgFinal touches on the flatcar deck, a coat of dullcote to seal the weathering and decals up before installing the locomotive.  Sadly, the locomotive hides half the pretty good-looking rust job on the deck, oh well, I know it’s there at least!

With all the major work done, what was left was painting and detailing and a bit of weathering.  I used Bragdon powders for the rust effects on the main deck.  I like this material as it comes in different shades, and has a fine adhesive worked into it, so you don’t necessarily have to seal it with dullcote.  I did in this case to be sure as the deck ends can get a bit of handling when moving the car and inserting/removing the span bolsters for the trucks, so it saves the weathering getting worn away.  I used an oil effect stain on the end decks on the span bolsters.  Based on the pictures i had, the main deck was a steel sheet, and rusted, where the end decks were more permanent and had a black/oily appearance on the diamondplate deck.

For the locomotive, I used 1/16″ lining tape to create the look of the fabric load straps being used to help hold the tarps on.  It remains a bit brighter than I’d like, even after dullcoting, but at the moment I’m out of options as any kind of wash would also stain the fabric “tarps” which I don’t want to have happen.

All tarped over with load straps made out of lining tape and ready to attach to the flatcar for shipping.

With the steel deck of the 3D printed flatcar weathered and sealed, and the locomotive tarped over, the major sub components were ready for final assembly.  Because I wanted to have the option down the road of removing the locomotive from the flatcar, I choose to use Woodland Scenics accent glue to attach the locomotive and chains to the deck.  Its designed for placing figures in a scene so you can move them later.  It dries clear and holds well, but it can be gentle prized away to remove glued down items.  This means the hold isn’t maybe as tight as it could be, but this is a display model, as I don’t have anywhere to run it, so this wasn’t my biggest concern.  For load chains, I used an injection molded chain from Lone Star Models, it has a representation of a load tightening unit on one end, and some chain that you can cut to length.  These were then touched with some paint and rust powders once installed to blend them in and take away the plasticy look.

The image galleries below shows the finished cars.  Sometime when I next beg an invite to someones house with a layout I will try to take some pictures of them running in scenery, but that could be some time, so for now, please enjoy the image below shot in the high tech bristleboard photo booth on top of our chest freezer!

QTTX 131344 & Dominion of Canada Locomotive

QTTX 131207 & Dominion of Canada Tender

Combined Shipment