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!

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Workbench Cleanup and Reorganization

I like to have a fairly tidy and organized workspace. Detail parts and bits and pieces for model trains are pretty tiny, if your workbench is a mess, you’re going to lose something. I’ve seen a few workbenches over the years, and generally, those who I know and whose work I’ve seen have the same thing going, keep it clean and organized.

When I built my custom bench last year after we moved, my friend Ryan suggested including a piece of off-cut pegboard from his workshop, and boy am I glad I listened and did. I’ve never had a bench with pegboard before, but it is so flexible. Last night and today I’ve been reorganizing all my tools and odds and ends that I use, having lived with the bench for over a year, I’ve learned what tools I use often, which I am using less often, and which things are in inconvenient places. The pegboard has made it super easy to reorganize the hanging tools, along with reusing a parts tray to organize many little bits and getting them closer at hand when I’m working so I don’t have to grasp at a distance of go looking for them. I’m not done the reorganization yet, but I’m quite pleased with how its turning out so far.

IMG_0064A organized and cleaned up workbench ready for me to get back at modelling rather than cleaning (once I finish up cleaning my side cabinet on the right!)

This seems awfully modern…

What’s this then, its not from the 1950’s???

Every now and then, much as I build a plastic kit or do something else to work on skills, I work on models that aren’t actually for my layout. This is one that’s been kicking around for a couple of years since I picked up a decal set for the VIA Rail “Canada 150” wraps that ran in 2017. This is a moderate detail up project, using an unpowered Athearn “Blue Box” P42 locomotive that I got cheap at a flea market show. I don’t care if it doesn’t run, this is one for the display case as I really liked what VIA did for Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation by decorating a number of locomotives and coaches with different names of Cities and Towns served by the train.

The project is a fun one, adding some rooftop and underbody details, the new high intensity headlight that isn’t in the old body, and adding some photo etched metal grills on the radiators at the rear. Then it will be a chance to practice on airbrushing and masking for painting. Not a high priority project, but one that as I’ve been cleaning and organizing around the layout room and workbench, I decided this week to make a start on for something to do aside from layout construction.

IMGP9501VIA Rail Canada P42 No.900 leads a train eastbound near Newtonville Ontario on June 26, 2017 showing off the “Canada 150” wrap.

More Peninsula Progress

As with everything I do, slow and steady on we go. After getting the peninsula built and installed, I’ve been making adjustments, fitting final pieces for locking it into place, and starting to look at laying track.

Video showing the Peninsula swinging into the stored position to open up the middle of the layout room when its not in use.

The trackwork on the peninsula is fairly simple, there is only one turnout, and one crossover, but that leads to 4 separate tracks for spotting cars around the Standard Brands mill/elevator and plant, and the International Cooperage Company of Canada dock. There will be lots of action and work in a not very big area, and one that is occupied by the largest complete building on the layout, most buildings being flats and compressed, the mill and elevator are the only buildings that will get to be full sized!

Starting to lay track onto the peninsula. I was luck to be able to obtain a full survey of the Pardee Avenue lands that I printed in HO Scale to get the building locations.

One thing I’ve determined is the crossovers and switches are complicated enough that it’s going to be a multiple person job to successfully get them shaped and glued down, so I will be looking to reconvene my great friends sometime in October/November for another track-laying party to get it done. Lots of other things to work on in the meantime, and I’ve discovered I don’t have enough Micro Engineering Code 70 Flex track to finish the layout, so I need to get more track anyways!! As always, equal steps forward and sideways, but the layout is really starting to look like I’d imagined designing it. It won’t be long now before a train can actually run on it from one end to the other!!

A Peninsula to finish the Benchwork

IMG_0009Another trunk full of lumber, not as much as last time, but enough to finish the job.

I took Friday this week off as a rest/recovery mental health day. I’ve been quite busy at work of late, and put in a bunch of overtime, so wanted to use some of it up and get a lazy day as well. My idea of a lazy day is to be productive on something I really want to do, rather than have to do. So of course, that meant a trip to Home Depot, followed by my off-site woodworking shop to build the last bit of benchwork for my layout, the peninsula that will hold Pardee Avenue. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the final design and form, but it was finally time to just get it done so I could move on with tracklaying.

I didn’t take any pictures of the work in progress. I got into a groove, things were working and coming together as I’d planned, and because working away from home means dragging tools and supplies, I wanted to get done as quick as I could so I could pack up and get back home to see if everything worked. The peninsula is a pretty basic box, as are the legs.

Getting the peninsula in place. These shots show it in the operating position, before I’d finished installing the legs or the hinge.

The peninsula wound up being 40″ long by 22″ wide. There is only a single switch on the peninsula and several buildings/sidings. I needed to get it in place though, as the trackage to get onto the peninsula is complicated with crossovers from switches on the main line along Liberty Street.

More finished and with the hinge in place to start testing the swing.

I managed to damage the small caster wheels from Lee Valley that I’m using while building the legs (i knocked them over and they went over and smashed into the hard concrete floor, sigh). I have replacements now, so will temporarily disassemble the legs and replace them. I also need to get some ballast for the bottom to help keep the casters on the ground. Once that fettling is done, I’ll make sure the surface is level and do the final fastening of everything together. Then I can get on with making sure everything is level at the transition across the joint when I install the foam on the peninsula, and then its back to tracklaying. It was indeed a good day off work!

When all Glues have failed you…

Learning, this is at the end of the day, a hobby about learning. Learning about prototypes, how to build things, how things work, how to get things done. There are so many ways people do things out there. I’ve previously written about a side project of an HO Scale police car I was building with LED lights. I’ve had nothing but problems with this project. I’ve mangled two sets of the fantastic LED lighting units from Evans Design LEDs. So what did I do, I recently ordered a third set!!

Hey, we’re looking like a police car again with flashing lights hidden inside the vehicle.

So, when I got the package on Wednesday this week, the LED set has been modified, instead of being pre connected to a giant hub, each string was separate, and once they were run instead of having a giant nest on the end of the wire, I’d have to wire them up myself. I thought, this would make life easier for maneuvering, and I was right. What was still going wrong, was all my technique for trying to install the LEDs and get them to hold in place. I was using LED wax, trying CA glue, just nothing. Then I thought of a product that was on my to try list for a while after seing how useful it was from friends. A product called Bondic, which, as they are quite clear, is not a glue. What it is, is a Ultraviolet (UV) light cured plastic. It comes in a dispenser with a UV LED, and you put a little bit of the liquid out, and hit it with the LED for 4 seconds, and it becomes solid. It may not be a glue, but it works like one when it comes to affixing LEDs inside a model. Now you only get one shot at it, so you need to be sure, but so long as you take your time, it works well.

The Bondic kit, and the inside of the police car with the wires Bondic’d? into place.

Its a product that takes some learning, as you need to build it up in thin layers if you need to fill a large area, as it only cures where the UV light can hit it, you can’t use it in a place where you can’t get the UV light to shine in, and if the layer is too thick, the top will harden and the interior won’t, but it’s absolutely fantastic to use. Saying all that about needing to learn, this lunkhead blasted ahead at 11pm on a Wednesday night to use it on a project after he got home from his Rec Soccer game as he was so frustraited at the project he either wanted it done, or dumpstered. As the short videos below show, the lighting now qualifies as done!! Some cleanup on the model, paint the bright red interior dark like a Toronto police car, and then decals and install. Hurray for progress!!