The Hazards of Second Hand Kits

Sometimes you get a deal on something and it isn’t actually a deal. One of the fleet of freight cars I’ve been working on is a Kaslo Shops Canadian Pacific Railway 36′ Fowler Boxcar. Its actually a better kit than I’ve given it credit for, though the instructions aren’t the best I’ve ever had to work with.

A lot of the problems with the kit, have actually been because a previous owner (I bought the kit at a model railroad flea market, I have no idea if I bought mistakes from them, or passed on mistakes that they bought). As I’ve been working on the kit, I discovered that castings were missing, or damaged. At some point, parts of the car around the roof line that are actually part of the car, but could be mistaken for flash from the resin casting were partially cut away, So I’ve had to rebuild parts of the car, and source new parts. That said, the car is now about 98% ready for paint. I’m just waiting on an order of parts including door stops and supports to replace missing castings, then it will be off to paint.

Shots of the almost finished body of the Kaslo CPR Fowler kit.

The other part of my problem, is I hadn’t been planning on starting the freight car kits anytime soon, wasn’t really at the top of my to do pile, but given the extra amount of spare time with staying home and not commuting to work (gets me almost 3 hours a day to model I didn’t have before), so I didn’t have phosphor bronze wire in the sizes I needed to do brake lines and mechanisms and such. Those arrived last weekend, so all the levers and piping have now been done to provide underbody detail on the car.

IMG_2413Underbody details at pretty much the maximum amount of effort I’m willing to make on piping and such.

This will be one of several Fowler cars on the layout. I have a couple of CPR Accurail kits that while basic, look decent in the background (or will once I weather them), this car, and I have a Speedwitch Media Canadian National 5′ Door version on order. There were thousands of these 36′ boxcars built for CN and CP, and while they were nearing the end in the 1950’s era I model, they were still hard at work and earning their keep.

A gondola box and Finishing a Flatcar

As I’ve decided to build a small auxiliary train, with a crane, boom car and service car, I decided to turn the 40′ Tichy flat car kit I’m building as part of this, as there isn’t really an industry on the layout that used flat cars.

Building a box for the deck of the flatcar. Using the stake pockets in the car to support it.

To build the box, I dove into my strip wood drawer, and found appropriate sized pieces of scale lumber. 4×4’s for the supports, to be inserted into the stake pockets, and 2×6’s for the side panels. The box is a simple rectangle. I built it in place with the stake pocket supports, I wasn’t going for super accuracy, but a home built look as this would have been built by shop staff as needed.

Finished box, then staining and weathering the wood before painting the outside boxcar red to match the flat car.

With the box finished, I wanted it to look beaten up, but not as weathered as the car deck. I figure a box like this in the pictures I’ve seen would have been a later addition, so beaten up, but not as old and beaten up.

IMG_2402Decals for the flat car, using a random number in the series CNR service cars seemed to be in.

I weathered the box with a commercial stain, then a mix of Isopropyl Alcohol and India Ink I keep around for darkening and making things look grungy. I had decals for Canadian National Flat Cars from Black Cat Publishing. The set provides a range of decals for cars in different eras. I don’t have a specific prototype for this car, so I just made up a number in the range of CN Work Train cars from pictures I’ve found.

Finished build on the layout, just need to give it a dullcote then move onto weathering.

I’m quite happy with this car, for an older kit, the Tichy kit is really well designed and engineered. I’m going to weather this car more, but want to do all the cars in the auxiliary train together so they resemble cars that have been working together. For now, its another car down on the pile on the workbench to eventually have enough cars to operate the layout.

Tuesday Train #191

IMGP6427RawConvBritish Railways (Ex-LMS) Black 5 4-6-0 No. 44801 (Actually 44806 renumbered) approaches Carrog on April 21, 2009.

A slightly different Tuesday Train post of sorts. Today is April 22, 2020, on April 22, 2009 at the Llangollen Railway for the 6880 Betton Grange Society‘s fundraising “Steam Steel and Stars 2” Gala, I got both a footplate ride, and a chance to briefly drive a steam locomotive under supervision. This is still, one of the best days of my time visiting or being involved in any railroad events or organizations, and has only made me want to do a full footplate experience day driving and firing a steam locomotive in the UK. In the current 2020 world of basically being in lockdown, looking back 11 years is helping me be hopeful for all the things we’ll be able to do after we get past the Covid crisis and life resumes.

Pictures after the best £10 I’ve spent, a chance to drive a locomotive back out of Carrog Station for about 1/4 mile onto the line, then bring it back into the station.
Photos from an all too brief cab ride on London & North Eastern Railway 246 “Morayshire”, from Platform 2 to Platform 1 at Carrog.
IMGP6423Morayshire at the end of platform 1 on the right after my Cab Ride as Mayflower awaits departure for Llangollen on Platform 1.

Sometimes you buy the wrong supplies

Sometimes, you buy the wrong thing. I’ve started doing scenery, and one of the products I’ve bought and really like is a crushed natural stone from Scenic Express for creating dirt areas. What I didn’t like, was the fact that in a feat of not paying attention in the hobby store, was that I bought “Coarse” grade material, instead of “Fine”. This means, that even though the shaker tub looked like it was all fine material, when I started using it, there were some pretty big boulders coming out. Not at all useful for modelling yards in industrial areas, especially in HO scale!

So, what to do, my best guess was that about 80-90% of what was in the container was fine material, and before spending another $18 on a shaker of fine, plus shipping and waiting, I wanted to see if I could filter out the stone myself. Putting my thinking cap on, I realized I still have a huge supply of tulle from chain link fence making experiments and for future fence construction. The tulle material is not super fine, but I thought it might be fine enough to catch the boulder sized material in HO scale and let the useful material through.

Sifting the boulders out of my soil with tulle fabric into a spare container.

And what do you know, the tulle was actually the perfect size to sift what I needed out of it. In about 20 minutes of sifting and separating, I was able to do a couple of passes, and separate out the big stones that were causing me grief in the staging area (I’d been picking the worst ones out by hand!), and now I have effectively fine material. I will need more to do the whole layout, but now I can advance a bunch of scenery where there shouldn’t be giant boulders around but where there should be dirt!

Success! About an 80% full shaker of now fine material (I’d already been using it before sifting), and a corn starch tub of larger rubble.

I’ll hang onto the larger rubble, you never know if someone else I know will want it, or if I ever do a future scene it would be perfect river rock. The moral of the story, read the labels of what you are buying!! I knew I wanted the Scenic Express Stone, I didn’t pay any attention to the grade. At the end of the day, this “mistake” didn’t really cost me anything, but it taught me an important lesson, to remember to pay attention when buying supplies!

Painting a Flatcar

In the paint booth spraying boxcar red and light grey on the flatcar.

I wrote last week about the many freight car kits I am building. The first of these has made it to the paint booth, the 40′ Tichy Flat Car. This is a gorgeous little kit, it goes together well, and looks fantastic, and a coat of paint helps to bring out the details. Its nice and simple to paint too, Boxcar red overall, and then spray the deck light grey to be a base for a weathered wood deck surface.

Weathering the wooden deck. Thinned Vallejo greys and browns, with each board individually painted.

I’ve painted wood decks before, to varying degrees of success. I recalled seeing my friend Ryan’s comment’s on his build of this Tichy kit, and thinking that it sounded like a more successful technique than my past efforts. In short, a number of different shades of grey and brown are thinned, and each board on the deck is painted individually with a microbrush.

Finished deck, and on the layout on a test run. The car is super light and needs more weight.

Once the boards had dried, I did multiple washes. A couple with a Vallejo war gaming grey wash (which I added some more water to to thin further), and then a mix of Isopropyl Alcohol and India Ink that I made years ago and have around for general weathering. I am ecstatic with how the deck came out. I am going to use this car in a model of an Auxiliary Train with a rail crane, not really for the layout, just something I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m going to work up a wood gondola box as I’ve seen in some pictures of cars like this. That will hopefully let me add some weight, but I don’t want to put so much junk in it that you can’t see the deck! That will be a post for another day. I need to get some decals on the car, and give it a coat of flat finish, but that will be a weekend project.