Saturday, October 14, 2017


This is a PBL 30' stock car kit that I built years ago and just now got around to finishing. By using brass turnbuckles and brass wire for truss rods, I can replicate the prototype much better than using the fishing line that comes with the kit. I lightly sprayed a wash of dirt along the bottom sill and then sprayed on a flat coat. Then I went over the car with a fiberglass bruss. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

6300 Series Flat Car

The narrow gauge convention is over and now I can get back to modeling? Well sort of...
Putting on a national narrow gauge convention is not just a lot of work before it starts, there's also a lot to do once it's over. I did get the auction paperwork finished and the funds sent off to the Narrow Gauge Preservation Fund. I got the final shirts ordered and I'm in the process of sending those out (we were shorted on our shirt order), etc, etc. So slowly I'm getting back to the workbench.
This morning I put the final touches on an unlettered 6300 series PBL flat car kit that was built by Randy Smith. Randy is an excellent modeler, so finishing this car was a breeze. The car body was painted freight car red and the deck was painted a dark tan color.
The first step was to "grain" the plastic deck with a plumbers wire brush to give it a wooden appearance. After giving it a light sanding I masked off the car and re-painted the deck a lighter color. Then I painted on several washes made from Valejo paint, alternating the boards.
To letter the car I used several older sheets of San Juan and Thinfilm decals that I had in the scrap box, there were enough to finish the car. After the decals were set with Solveset, I let everything dry overnight. This morning I sprayed on a light wash of earth to the car body and the deck, then a coat of flat sealed everything. I painted the wheels with PBL Neolube and now the car is ready for service.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

February 2014 Revisit

Back in February of 2014, I posted an in progress photo of a water tank kit I bought from PBL. However, when I started adding the hoops to the tank, my enthusiasm died and it went into the box to be finished later. Adding the hoops involves soldering every tensioner to a piece of wire. Every hoop has two tensioners. There are 23 hoops plus four holes per hoop get drilled in the tank body for each hoop. So after 3 1/2 years...
I'm not sure what motivated me to finish this, but I'm glad I did. Buying a house from foreclosure means lots of renovating, and while I have had some time to start building the layout, I haven't taken any time to do any modeling. I found that I've really been missing out. One of the biggest reasons I enjoy modeling in Sn3 is just that, modeling. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoy building things.
So here I my version of Monero Water Tank. The point on the roof lines up with the spout, it has a straight ladder that is towards the back, plus it's ladder supports are attached to the tank body not the base.  It has hoops that go up to the right and a ball finial.
I found a photo of this tank in the Durango book by Dorman and one in "The Thunder of the their Passing". There's also a shot in the Colorado water tank book, but it was taken in the 1930's.
I hope someday to build the tank at Durango, however that tank has three tensioners per hoop. That one will take some motivation to start, er, finish.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Clearance Train

With the helix installed I wanted to make sure there was ample clearance for the rotary, so I ran a rotary train. I could have just pushed the rotary around to see if it would rub any of the supports but this was way more fun. Plus the sound of a double header is really cool.
This is a section of the old layout from the other house that was saved. I still need to remove the trees and paint the backdrop.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More Bridge

Here's what it looks like today. The backdrop has been painted and I'm starting to add more details to the scenery. The scene is starting to come together, even though the photo is a bit overexposed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bridge part 1

Same bridge, now with the plaster painted and some dirt added. Later this week I'll add more dirt and start adding ground cover.

Monday, October 17, 2016


When Caboose Hobbies shut it's doors, they were scavenging everything to sell, including this Central Valley bridge. This bridge was on the HO scale layout that was located in the scenery department. By buying it (for cheap), I figured I could retain a bit of Caboose Hobbies history on my layout by rebuilding it for Sn3. Since whoever removed it from the layout wasn't very careful, it needed a bridg-ectomy anyway.
Once I pried off the girder section from the deck, I removed the rails and scraped off the molded on tie plates meant for HO scale. I added new rail gauged for Sn3, gave it a good scrubbing and set it aside. The girder section required more work. One side was missing the rods and stringers so I added new brass wire and styrene to replace the missing parts, scrubbed it down to remove years of dust and set it aside.
The next day I fitted the bridge into place; I changed some of the bench work, added a piece of plywood for the stream bed, added Chooch bridge abutments and added new approach rail. Once I was happy with the fit, I removed it from the layout and airbrushed on a new coat of flat black and let it dry. While it's not built perfectly, I think it's cool that I have part of the old HO scale layout in my basement. Eventually I will add some weathering so it won't look so new.
I have also added an additional 10 feet of plaster using the same method as before, dryer sheets soaked in hydrocal over drywall shims. Once I get the scenery finished along this wall, I can start building the yard.