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


Building the corner of Yonge and Dundonald

For my structure diorama project of 587 Yonge Street, i’ve been making steady progress.  I’ve completed the 3D design on the windows and doors and other details, and they have been ordered from Shapeways and should, all things in production and the postal system being equal, be here by early June.  As such, I’ve used a very relaxing damp Sunday on a long weekend, to really start making progress on the base for the display.  While this project doesn’t have any tracks, its the same technique I use when I’m working on a diorama with tracks and trains, so its applicable to a railway project, and hopefully helpful to others out there.

Phase 1 – Using the printout, tracing the eventual layout onto the 12″x12″ project board.  I cut away sections from the computer printout to line out where different parts of the scenery will go.

From the CAD drawing or whatever base sketch I am using, I take the printout and start to cut away pieces, which I use to line out the parts on the base.  In this case, I have the location of the curb, manholes and drains, changes in the sidewalk/patio material, and the building locations.  I will lose these initial marks as i build up the roads/etc, so I try to make sure i save the key marking pieces.  In this case, the cutout for the sidewalk as that is where all the information on where light poles and other bits of street furniture will go is on the drawing.

Phase 2 – Glueing down different shapes and sizes of Styrene to create the pattern.

For this project, I am using a 0.125″ square styrene rod for the curb.  This was the first thing glued down, as the curve required the most care to get the styrene glued down and curved.  I used CA glue for this, however, there are numerous options if you prefer epoxy.  The trick us using something that will bond different mateirals, and not expand when it dries/cures.  I like CA, i’m familiar with it and its limitations and strenghts, but whatever you are familiar with should work.  For a larger project, i wouldn’t use strip styrene to create my edges, I’d use something cheaper and more cost effective, but its good for small projects.

I’ve used drywall compound for paving on a number of my projects before, often for concrete, but in this case, I am using it for the asphalt road surfaces.  I am going to use styrene for the concrete sidewalks and crosswalk on the street, this way, I get two different surface textures.  The drywall compound is easily applied, and smoothes nicely.  By laying an edge with a styrene L chanel around the road, I have a lip to slide a putty knife over after a rough application of putty to fill the space to get a generally smooth surface (as anyone who drives will tell you, Toronto’s roads are far from smooth).  I may or may not sand the road, I’ll make that decision after i see how it looks when dry, and if there are any shallow spots that need filling.  Unfortunately, working alone means I don’t have any pictures of applying the compound, but if you’ve ever used a putty knife to apply plaster, you should be able to do it.

Phase 3 – Completeing the Styrene concrete crosswalk and paving the road.

Before I could “pave” the road, I needed to get one large section of concrete done, a crosswalk that is concrete on Dundonald Street.  Once I had the styrene sized, I drew the expansion joints, and scribed them with a trianglular file.  You can see the joints in the picutre on the left above.  Once this was all down, it was a liberal application of drywall putty (actually, for this project, I managed a nice thin layer for a change!).  I suspect that I will be adding a second super thin coat to clean up the marks and level the road, but on initial inspection, its pretty good in most places.  Once the asphalt is sorted, I will paint it.  I’m going to base coat it with a grey paint of some sort, and I’ve picked up some Pan Pastels to use to weather and blend the colours to get a more realistic asphalt surface appearance, but that will be the next update on this project.

What Pierre said…(& some thoughts on Judging models)

I hate the entire concept of “Judging” models in a contest to some set scale of how to build or detail a model.  I don’t think I could say it any better than my friend Pierre Oliver did, and since we use different blogging platforms, I will just link to what he posted as I can’t easily re-blog it:

Full disclosure, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA).  Only occasionally has it ever crossed my mind to join, which has quickly been banished back to the darkness the thought came from when I read about or talk with others about their experiences in the NMRA.  That doesn’t mean its not right for some, but it’s clearly not right for me, and many others from what I hear about declining membership in the organization, as I don’t see the hobby declining as much as some seem to think it is.

One of my hangups for years has been self doubting the quality of my modelling when I see what others achieve in magazines or at shows.  I started building models when I was around 10 years old, not because anyone else in my family had an interest, but because I expressed an interest, and my Aunt & Uncle gave me a plastic model of the Titanic (I had a massive interest in the Titanic story as a kid) for Christmas or a Birthday.  I remember spending weeks working carefully to paint the hull, and the decks, and the little details, then running thread for the radio wires, and making it look perfect to me.  My parents had no background in building models (and probably no interest in having their son spend thousands of dollars on trains and models), but they encouraged me and my interest both in setting up a space in the basement where I could make a mess without damaging furniture, and financially in buying kits and paint.  I never had any friends who built models as a kid, or experienced adults to get advice from (my dad certainly did all he could to help me understand how to follow instructions and glue parts together.  I learned how to “properly”/”successfully”? paint, glue, cut materials, etc from making my own mistakes.  I learned techniques that I was never brave enough to try from reading Model Railroader or Fine Scale Modeller at the library or spending my allowance on MR.

It’s only in the past few years where I’ve gotten to know some other modellers in informal social settings that I’ve come out of my shell to display models, or ask others to teach me techniques.  I’ve also learned that some of the stuff I read over the years stuck, as I successfully do things i’ve read about years ago now when building models even if I never have done it before.  I have no illusions that I’ve learned everything, I know there are lots of things I want to and need to learn if I am going to build a layout, but I also know that I am not a bad modeller.  I can build kits, design models for 3D printing, detail and scratchbuild things, all to a more than acceptable level. I’m proud of the models I build, and now I want people to see it when I finish a project, rather than being filled with dread that someone may look at it and start pointing out things I got wrong or that I did wrong etc etc.  I’m also not afraid to admit when I screw something up (which I’ve done at least a couple of times on this blog).

Entering contests does nothing for addressing my hangups, and reading about how NMRA contests works does even less for them.  It took me years to show off my models in public, first at Doors Open for the Toronto Railway Museum, then at an informal monthly model railroaders dinner a friend organizes, then at my first couple of local RPM meets.  I’m only just developing the confidence in my work to want to go further afield to one of the larger RPM meets in the US to show my work with others and see what modellers further afield than my local area are doing.  I certainly won’t be rushing out to enter a contest with judging such as the NMRA uses (full disclosure on duplicity, I did enter models at the recent Ontario Narrow Gauge Show as a way to show off my work, where the awards are a popularity vote of the attendees, which strangely I’m OK with which even to me seems opposite of everything else I’ve just said about judging models, I’m also specifically working on a non-train scale model project to enter at a Transformers (yes, the robot toys) fan convention in the customizing contest, so I dunno anymore).

It turns out, after years of thinking I wanted nothing to do with socializing or joining clubs/associations, and always feeling others were judging my eccentric modelling interests, that I was wrong.  There are lots of great people in this hobby, and getting to know them and make new friends has enhanced my hobby, and my confidence in my abilities.  Turns out, despite some of my friends mocking me as really being a crusty old fart in a 38 year old’s body, I actually am a social person who enjoys talking shop with others (though if we had a lawn, I suspect I would be caught sooner or later shaking my first at some kids to get off it!). Entering competitions where what looks to me are amazing models that don’t even get recognized with a base level award would undo years of work to get me out of my box, and I can’t foresee me joining an organization that runs contests like that anytime soon.

IMGP6256RawConvMy “Railway Village” diorama.  Lots of room for improvement, maybe, but I’m certainly not ashamed to put it out there and show it as my work, and as I try to cover here on the blog, I’m constantly looking for opportunities to try new techniques or improve my knowledge.

Tuesday Train #55

4687427297_cb324572a1_o.jpgA trio of CN GP38-2W‘s sit in Brandon Manitoba on a sunny may day in 2010.  Two are in very weatherbeatten looking zebra stripes paint scheme, and one in dirty but presentable large noodle.  I was in Brandon for the Memorial Cup, the championship tournament of the Canadian Hockey League, which this year starts this Friday in Windsor Ontario.  I won’t be making it to any games in Windsor this year despite it being a lot closer than Brandon, but I always enjoy Memorial Cup week, and being there, especially away from home and as a neutral fan (my Kitchener Rangers didn’t make it in 2010) can be a lot of fun.  Lots of good people getting together for a good time, and if its a trip like this one, railfanning away from home!

Update on Modelling a Tarped Locomotive

As a brief update on my post from last week, the thinned white glue soaked fabric seems to have worked well as a “tarp” cover over the locomotive wire frame 3D print.

IMGP8163RawConvUsing mini clamps and unthinned white glue to get a good hold down on some of the seams.

After a couple of days of ignoring it after putting on the glued fabric, when I finally got back to it to see how it adhered, it had worked about as I’d hoped.  There were some loose edges, however, these were easily sorted with some full strength white glue and little clamps to hold them into place and get the appearance I was looking for.

Side views of the wrapped A4 locomotive load.  Ready for adding tie straps around the tarps.

Next up is to use thin lining tape from the RC car world to represent the loading straps used to hold the tarps tight on the actual load. Once that is done, I have load chains to apply when the locomotive is glued to the deck.  I am still debating if i want to hit the tarps with some dullcote or grime to dirty them up a bit, while they have the shape, there is still something a bit off on the look that I need to tackle.

IMGP8167RawConvWrapped and in position temporarily on the flatcar to see how its looking.

Hopefully I’ll have some time on the upcoming long weekend to finish this project.  It will be nice to see it all together, considering I started the design work for the 3D printed parts in November 2015, having it finally near completion is rewarding.

Shapeways Price Changes

So, this is a bit of an odd post, I’m warning you about price changes, that may or may not be going up or down, because I just don’t know.  I get my 3D printing done by Shapeways, an online company that does 3D printing.  I like them as they also allow you to run a shop and sell your models, but where they handle all the sales, production, shipping and customer service.  I’m not making money per say off my Shapeways endeavors, but every couple of months I get some money in my Paypal account that winds up going right back to Shapeways with my next order.

Today, Shapeways announced they are changing the pricing structure for Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD) and Frosted Extreme Detail (FXD) plastics.  Their blog post is linked below.  The problem is, they can’t give us any indication as to what our models new prices are going to be until the new prices go live, sometime after May 22nd.  This is terrible customer service, and when looking at my models, based on the size of some of my models and the multiple parts in many of them, I expect the prices are going to go up.

Shapeways Announcement post

Because I have no idea what the prices of my items are going to look like now in two weeks time, all I can suggest is that if you are on the fence about something, especially larger items like structures or vehicle bodies, that you order them soon, as I suspect they are the ones most likely to increase in price.  Many of my models are larger, or have multiple parts that I don’t know if they could be reasonably sprued together without making parts that would break when someone tries to build the kits.   Hopefully, they are right and for most things its a reduction or price neutral, but I am not willing to take that on faith given the mess that occurred when Shapeways said the same thing and changed the Strong & Flexible pricing a coupe of years ago.

I really wish I could give a straight answer on what the pricing is going to do on FUD models, which most of the items I sell are.  My store is at the following link if you are interested:

I have Stickied this post until the new pricing takes effect, or Shapeways gives us a way to find out the impacts and be able to assess them.  I will update the post with more info when I have it.

Update 1 (May 11) – Shapeways has offered to do a manual check on stores.  I have submitted this request, but they have not committed to have responses by before the new pricing goes into effect.  They are also saying that their assessment of 70% of products will drop in price is based on things sold in the past 18 months, so fingers crossed that means most things that actually sell will not be negatively impacted.

Update 2 (May 17) – Shapeways has provided a manual spot check on some items.  It looks like it isn’t as bad as i had thought, but if you have any interest at all in the 3D printed Cabin D or Don Station, I would order them before Monday when the price changes could come into effect.  The new price is higher than the current sale price including markup so I make a little something on each of the models.    For reference, the current selling prices on Cabin D are $150/$145 USD for the two versions, the new print costs without markup are in the $170-180USD range.  For Don Station, the current selling price is $160USD, the new pre-markup price is around $160 USD.  For many other models, It looks like I will be able to offer some price decreases.

Update 3 (May 22) – Shapeways has advised that the new pricing is going live on Wednesday May 24th, 2017.  If you have any interest in Cabin D or Don Station in HO Scale, now would be the time before 50% price increases take effect.  As I have mine, I can’t guarantee that I will ever take the time to seek ways to reduce the costs back to something more reasonable: