Saturday, April 30, 2011

Railflyer drive prototype

A while back I reported on Railflyer Model Prototypes, and their efforts to develop a new drive mechanism for their upcoming HO locomotive kits, a drive which will be housed inside the truck, leaving the entire shell and hood free for other things (many more details will be possible ).
Here's a picture of the latest test set up, showing the tiny motor along side an axle and wheel, to test the gearing set up. This looks great to me!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A paint disaster

It wasn't my day yesterday. I had masked off both the front and rear of the hood on my CF7, as I wanted to simulate 'warning' stripes on both of them. I had previously painted it white, let dry , masked off the areas to remain white, and then painted on the blue. When I removed the masking tape, there were several areas where the blue paint had leaked under the masking tape, ever so little but enough. I should note that I had forgotten to add another layer of white paint over the mask first, this will seal the edges of the masking tape and any bleed will be in the same colour, so can't be noticed, and after that , follow on with the next paint colour, I won't make that mistake again any time soon...
 I decided to try and touch it up with a brush and some paint, but while doing that the dog came in and 'greeted' me, with the result that my stripes turned into a white blob.....
I now have think on how to rescue this project, I may have to just paint the nose white for now, and use a stripe decal at some point... to be continued...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Athearn Genesis GP9 pre-production model

Here's a picture of the upcoming Athearn Genesis GP9 , it involves a pre-production sample here, but it looks very promising indeed.  Thanks to SP Aussie for providing a picture. I will have to have one of these at some point :-)

Some more info and pictures here!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

C44-9W progress

It's been a while that I did some work on my UP C44-9W. While I've not done much, I've managed to install the ditchlights, and have programmed them accordingly. The UP does not use flashing ditch lights, so mine are only able to switch on/off as per prototype. I need to continue adding some more details and then I can paint the loco and do some weathering.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A few progress pics

As promised here's a few pictures of the shells of my two locomotive projects that I have underway currently.
The SD9E is showing a primer grey base coat, and the CF7 is showing CSX blue.
Obviously these two are still far from ready, but they're a small step closer to that goal. :-)
Again apologies for the picture quality, they were made with my blackberry, under relatively poor lighting conditions. I moved them near the layout to have a better light, but it's not great. The blackberry camera is the biggest culprit though, as it's of very poor quality indeed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

1950's Southern Pacific

My friend Brian has been busy lately, and added several new movies on his layout. Here's one of them for your viewing pleasure.

Loco projects

Today I had time to move two of my current loco projects a step further towards completion.
My CF7 finally received a new coat of paint, after the first two didn't work out well. I've now used a different brand of paint (Testors' Polly Scale ) , and have 'shot' the base coat of what is close to CSX blue. This seems to have covered much better than the previously used Tamiya paints, and tomorrow I'll be able to see if it has set as well as I hope it has, so I can put a second coat on for a smooth coverage. I've resisted the urge to put too much paint on at once.
The other project is the CFNR SD9E, this one had sun shades installed, and has received a primer coat of light grey paint all over. Once this is dry, I will attempt a coat of 'cream white' for the background area on which the 'California Northern' lettering and logos are placed. They will then be masked off, and then the green will be added.
I will try to post pictures of both locos in the next few days, once the second coat of paint has been added.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An operating session at my local club

The video below shows my friends in action at their monthly meeting, showing an operating session using track warrants. We use wireless handheld radio's with headsets to enhance realism, and reducing the need to 'shout' across the layout room.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Exactrail Trinity reefers now available

These highly detailed modern reefer cars are at your dealer starting now.
They feature all usual Exactrail refinements, and then some. They look fantastic, too bad the era they're intended for is a bit too modern for my own layout use. :-)

The promo video is here, in HD.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The latest project

Here's a quick update on my latest project, my SD9E. Below are a few pics of both the front and the rear of the loco, with the new details mounted. The coupler lift bar, MU hoses, plows and light clusters have now been fitted on both rear and front pilots You may also notice grey cirles, they are the old shell mounting holes that hold the shell to the frame, I've filled them in with putty, and plan to attach the shell to the frame with screws on the couplers instead. There's still several things to do before she goes to the paintshop. These are new ladders, sunshades, roof fans, and fuel tank vent lines. Hopefully I can show that in a next installment of this project :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Over 5000 visits!

Just a quick thank you to all visitors to my blog, over 5000 visits within it's first year, so thank you all!
I hope it serves it's purpose, is entertaining and helpful. If there's other things you like to see and read about, please let me know and I'll try to accommodate your requests/questions.


Friday, April 8, 2011

California Northern SD9 no 203

Sometimes I wish I stayed with my old scale N. I used to have a model railroad in N scale in the past, but the nicer detailing option in HO was one of the reasons to switch about 15 years ago. Today I discovered that Atlas makes a CFNR SD9 in N scale, and exactly the SD9 I'm currently building in HO! It is still available from Atlas direct, and probably from your dealer too. Both DCC and DC versions are available.
It looks pretty good, although I'm not sure about the green, it seems to have a slightly blueish tint. The correct colour is  made by Polyscale, sold as Reading Green. There's a few more things wrong with the model. The original is a SD9E, ex sp, it has the full light show, plows, roof beacon and other details that are very noticable for an SD9E compared to an SD9. Therefore, also this Atlas model would need some work done, but it's not a bad starting point at all. :-)

Photo time

Here's a few pictures taken of the area I recently worked on. Base scenery done, as well as track painted.
The roof on the locoshop has been given a primer coat, so I thought I'd test the results through a camera.
It is always good to take pictures, it will show details you may miss when just looking, and I can see from these pictures that I still have some work to do. :-)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CFNR locoshop progress

Here are some pictures of my locoshop build. I've constructed some basic steel frames with styrene profile, and painted them a matt black colour. They still need a second coat, but I've test fitted them inside the building. They will act as roof supports, which I've placed on top of it in the other picture, to see how it fits.
There's a little bit of trimming and sanding needed to get it all to sit properly, but so far so good.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


As promised, here are two pictures of the base scenery in the same area, after applying a layer of brown latex paint, followed by a sprinkle of a mix of sand and reptile substrate, and some ballast. There are still some small areas to touch up, particularly the ballast along the edge of the roadbed, but I'm showing this so you have a step by step view of how this progresses.

Stripping Paint

For my SD9E project, I've had to strip the paint of the shell. There are various commercial products available that do this , but their effectiveness depends on the kind of paint used, be it acrylic or oil based etc.
Of course, if you painted something yourselves, then you know the brand and type of paint, and in such a case, it's best to use the paint remover that is recommended by the manufacturer of that paint. However sometimes you may want to strip the factory paint of a model, as is the case for me. Many commercial paint strippers don't seem to work with the paint found on older Athearn models, the old 'blue box' series in particular. A bit of research on the net shows that people have varying results with using products like 90% alcohol, or brake-fluid. As I could not find any 90% alcohol , I went for brake-fluid. Brake fluid comes in a few ratings, DOT3 or DOT4, it does not matter which one you use for our paint strip purpose.
Wear gloves when working with it, as if it strips paint, it can also strip your skin/or penetrate it causing health problems in the future. I've submerged my loco shell in the fluid overnight, about 16 hours in total, and then using a toothbrush (use the hardest you can find) scrubbing off the paint. I found it comes off relatively easy.  I used an old cloth to dab off the remaining fluid, and washed the shell in soapy water, while scrubbing some more, and dried it. Below is the result after 5 minutes of scrubbing and washing.
I'm happy with this, and will now proceed to add the details I want to add, before painting it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Layout progress

Here's a few pictures of a small area of my layout, on which I've recently done some work. (only a little).
As you may know from my previous posts, the track is on 5mm thick woodland scenics foam roadbed.
The area around the loco servicing facility has tracks more or less embedded in the ground around it, so I raised the areas next to the tracks by glue-ing down a few strips of cardboard, and I used masking tape to make some smoother transitions. After that, I used plaster (Plaster of Paris or similar) to smooth over the surfaces. (I masked off the tracks too, so that I would not get any accidents with plaster dropping on the track etc) I added a few drops of brown paint to tone it down and make it less white, but I didn't add enough so it is still quite bright. This is not a problem, as the next step will be to coat another layer of earth colour latex emulsion paint, on which I will add the base ground cover (mainly sand in my case) while still wet. I'll take pictures of that process so you can all learn from the things that go well, and the things that go wrong. :-)

I've also added a manual switch mechanism to one of the turnouts here, similar to the mechanism shown in the you tube video of my modeling friend Mike, a few posts below. All I still need to do is add the microswitch for the power to the frog of the turnout.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April fools, disney and others

Well, I managed to steer clear of any pranks etc. I'm back home after being on a short trip with the family to Disneyland Paris. I've seen and been on enough theme-park rides to last me a life time, not to mention had enough of rude people plowing their way forward of a queue (adults and kids alike, marching pretty much over my 7 year old to get a picture with Mickey....) , so time to play with trains again :-)
Needless to say, modeling wise I've not accomplished much, but I've prepared some work. I'll get on it asap so that I can put some new stuff here on the blog. Manufacturers have also been relatively quiet, with the exception of a message from Athearn mentioning they've moved and have a new address. Anyone wishing to contact them or surf their website is advised that there could be a few disruptions in their phone and web services during these days, but it will all get back to normal soon.