Decals for a VIA Rail P42, and a problem

IMG_0273Paint and Clear Coat have had lots of time to cure, ready for decals, what could possibly go wrong?

Nothing like a Friday night after a busy week where you actually get to go home and relax to make you feel like doing some modelling, at least not for me! Last night I decided I’d start the multi-day process of decalling my VIA Rail “Canada 150” P42 model. Its a multi day process as once each side is decaled, the decals need to be worked on with a pin and decal settling solution to make sure everything is fully adhered and down, before starting to apply decals on the other side so I don’t pull off decals on the done side in the foam cradle.

Everything went well at first, I started with the largest individual piece, the four City Names on one side. If I was going to run into a problem that would trigger the need for me to buy another set of decals, or get creative, I figured the bigest was is, so start there, if it went on, all should be fine.

This was my first chance to try my “Decal Hot Tub” as my friend Ryan whose idea this was calls is.

This was my first time working with my recently acquired coffee cup warmer..aka the “Decal Hot Tub”, an idea I can claim nothing for other than seeing my friend do it, and realizing how much nicer it would be if I could keep my decal water warm, rather than having it cool off and having to go get more from the tap!

End of the nights work, looking mostly good other than a too transparent red box…now to figure out how to fix that.

The last decal I was applying on the side was the large red box over the yellow “VIA” lettering, that then has the “Canada 150” art inserted in it, and as soon as I slid it off the backing onto the locomotive, I saw I have a problem. The decals by Highball Graphics (which are fantastic), are also super thin. Normally, thats a good thing, but when you are trying to cover two bright colours in the yellow and silver, it is less so. There are a few options, buy plain red decal sheet and cut out and add layers until it isn’t translucent, or mask and paint. I am going to go with mask and paint. I think it will look better in the long run, but poses short term challenges. I am going to have to let the decals set and finish getting them fully down, then spray a clear coat. Once that is done and the decals protected, I can use the see through red boxes as a mask to mask the shape and spray a new red box. Once that is done, I should be able to app;ly the final decal inside the box, do a final clear coat of everything, and get on with final assembly and eventually some weathering (mostly on the roof, the roof of VIA’s units are filthy!!). Nothing that can’t be fixed, but an important lesson and a minor setback. All part of the hobby process, so on we go!

How Much Rolling Stock for a small Layout?

While I was working away on my VIA P42 today, I was also doing a bunch of small layout tasks, making adjustments to track and benchwork, and I decided to pull out the rolling stock from my old layout that I hadn’t sold off that is appropriate for my current layout, Liberty Village in the 1950‘s (exact year/season still TBD). I have sold off most of the freight cars that aren’t useful or appropriate for my layout. That left me with 16 cars on the layout after going through the box, and two sacrificial cars I bought cheap at shows that are going to get cut in half to become part of the scenery at the backdrop, and a couple of cars still in boxes in a tub I didn’t dig out. In my project drawer I have seven kits (8 counting a flat that will probably become a Maintenance of Way car that won’t run much), and I have two freight cars on pre-order. On top of that I currently have three cabooses, which aren’t revenue and are mostly to get in the way of crews switching. So all said, I have 28 freight cars at the moment, for a layout where there are 14 potential spaces to spot them at an industry.

IMG_0180.jpgCPR “Parkdale Yard” Staging, looking rather busy with 12 freight cars, a caboose and a single locomotive.

So, the question becomes, how many cars to I actually need, and how many is the realistic maximum I can have on the layout? I don’t necessarily mind switching cars between operating sessions, and at least my current operating session vision would see a handful of cars switched by CN from one end, and CP from the other, at most maybe two runs with 3 cars in/out of the sceniced area each time.

Accounting for some of the cars that I have already in the count being irregulars (coal hoppers, gondolas, a flatcar load of tractors, tank cars, oddball boxcars that don’t actually belong), and wanting to have some variety of cars from different railroads and coming/going to different places, I probably have room for a maximum of 30 regular freight cars, and maybe 10 irregulars that show up from time to time. When I look at what the CPR Parkdale Yard staging looks like with 12 cars on it above, its already looking busy, and It has marginally more room than the CNR Dufferin Yard Staging at the other end!

IMG_0181CNR Dufferin Yard, two cabooses, two locos and a single box car. There are only two single car pocket tracks to the right instead of three two car ones at the other end of the layout.

The longest train I can run is dictated by the staging traversers length, a small locomotive and max 3 freight cars with a caboose, or 4 without. It’s unlikely many trains even this long ran in Liberty Village because of the tight curves and the nature of taking cars into and out of specific industries. This is good for lots of movements in an Ops session, but will make staging tight. The CN Yard which has four less parking spaces for freight cars than the CPR yard will definitely require me to think about how I set things up for an ops session.

Yes, I’m getting way ahead of myself thinking about operations, but it helps me focus on not buying more kits or cars that I don’t need. It was nice to have a bunch of cars out, and start pushing them around trackwork looking for faults (almost all these cars have crap plastic knockoff Kadee Couplers, and metal wheels on plastic axles, some even had nasty plastic wheels), so I was also able to start replacing wheels and couplers to hopefully have reliable operations when I can run trains!

Paint Progress on a Modern project

I wrote about my work to make a display case model of a VIA Rail P42 a couple of weeks ago here. Since then, I’ve gotten into the spray booth in earnest to move it forward to the look it needs before applying decals.

In primer showing the nose modifications to add the extra high-intensity headlight, and with the roof sprayed VIA Teal. Notice the significant difference between the old Athearn run of P42’s for George’s Trains and a more accurate colour reproduction from Rapido’s Proto Paint line.

This is for me, a project to work on building airbrushing skills. Masking, painting multiple layers and colours, are all things in the past I’ve struggled with. I’ve pulled the underlayer of paint off more than once by rushing between coats of paint and different colours and not letting paint cure.

Stages of masking and painting. First go round, mask the teal roof and spray the front half of the locomotive VIA Yellow, then remove the masks to check the paint lines. Then re-mask the roof and mask off the yellow to spray the overall aluminum colour and create the large “VIA” logo on the body.

So, with my home spraybooth, I can now work on a single project, it’s taking me around an hour for setup, paint, cleanup. That is manageable. When I used to have to paint on the balcony and hope for weather conditions, or go to someone elses, I needed to have many projects to paint, it just to become a holdup in my work as I’d wind up with four or five projects that I couldn’t work on as I couldn’t paint!

And main painting of the body is done. The “VIA” on both sides came out looking great. There will be some more little painting on details to do, and then a clear gloss coat for applying decals to.

I’m quite happy with how this project is coming out, and how its progressing. This was a kinda side project anyways. I’ve actually done a good job of getting rid of most of the random non-layout models and projects I had acquired over the years, so doing this one will leave me with just layout things to work on for a while!