Wednesday, December 23, 2020

C&O #78133

Another Chesapeake and Ohio hopper, this time #78133. Although this started as a pre-decorated kit, I added cut levers, I blacked out the build date and old lube plates and added new lube plates from Microscale. To get the effect of new capacity data and shop dates, I simply covered them over with masking tape and weathered the car, then I pealed the tape off. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

C&O #69415 and B&O #66393

Here are two of the latest hoppers to make it to the layout. C&O #69415 was built from an undecorated Bowser 100 ton 3 bay kit using a combination of Steel Valley Models decals plus a Microscale ACI decal. B&O #66393 was built using the same kit, with decals from Steel Valley Models and K4 decals. 

In 1971, the B&O bought 2,500 100 ton 3 bay hoppers from the C&O. These were numbered 66000-66999 and 82500-83999. A photo I found on shows another hopper from this same class that still has the "For Progress" logo on the side. I don't know if other cars in this class got the same treatment, but I thought it looked really cool to have a B&O hopper with a "For Progress" and Chessie System logos. 

All of the freight cars on my last HO layout had the trip pins removed on the Kadee couplers, cut levers and air hoses. I've now started adding cut levers to my rolling stock, however I've been reluctant to add air hoses as I was constantly replacing them after operating sessions. Since I don't have any levers such as the ones from Detail Associates, I simply made my own from .12 wire. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

C&O #82731

This was my first attempt at using decals from K4. They sell these on Ebay and they are very inexpensive so I thought I'd give them a try. Using another undecorated Bowser 100 ton 3 bay hopper, this car has a combination of decals from K4 and Microscale. The shop dates are from Steel Valley Models.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

WM #63802

As Bob Ross would say, everyone needs a friend. I bought two of these Bowser Western Maryland hoppers when they came out. I had thought about doing a full CSX patch job on this but decided not to. Since I'm trying to stick with a 1987-1988 time frame I want to have enough hoppers that still carry their original paint. Instead, after weathering the car, I added new capacity data and shop dates from Steel Valley Models decals. The lube plates are from Microscale.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Solveset knocker over stopper

My big woodworking project for the day. I made this not because I knocked over the bottle of Solveset, I made this because I know I will knock over the bottle of Solveset. It's just a piece of 3/4 pine with a 1 5/8 hole cut in it. I have an adjustable hole saw, so it was just a matter of getting the radius set correctly and adjusting the belts on the drill press to go reeeeeeaaaallly slow. I also drilled a 1/8th hole for the brush that I use. I've made these before for friends, I'm not sure why it took so long to make one for myself. It took all of about 5 minutes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Hoppers 11/11/20

Here are four more hoppers I've been working on. The HLMX #5038 was built from an undecorated Bowser 100 ton 3 bay hopper kit. CSX in the late 1980's-early 1990's was leasing just about any hopper they could find so I'll be building a few. This car has 44 individual decals using a Microscale Gothic number and letter sheet, plus a data sheet. CSX #815662, one of 1500 built between 1975-1976, was modeled using the same Bowser undecorated kit and I used the decals from a Microscale CSX hopper sheet. Unfortunately the Microscale sheet doesn't have all the necessary decals to finish the car correctly, so at some point I'll go back and add a shop date and the car classification (I just wanted the thing off my workbench). I am also excited with the news that Steel Valley Models is apparently going to produce hopper decals for CSX in the next couple of months. That gives me a reason to get several hoppers painted and ready.

The L&N and B&O hoppers were decorated kits but I've added a few extra decals such as new consolidated lube plates, ACI plates and data. I even got photo-bombed by a cow. This phone pic. was taken on a section of the upper level of the layout and as you can see the scenery and backdrop is minimal.

Friday, October 30, 2020

WM #63799

Here is my version of Western Maryland 100 ton 3 bay hopper #63799. Since I couldn't find a photo of this exact car number, I used a photo of a similar hopper from 1988 as a guide. To weather this, I used a combination of pan pastels and acrylic washes. The interior was spray painted with the Rustoleum Camoflage. I used Microscale trim film and decals to black out the old data and add new re-weigh data and lube plates. The new shop date information was made by using individual letters and numbers from a Gothic number and letter sheet, lots of fun as my eyes get older!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

SBD #305384

Seaboard System 70 ton hopper #305384. This model was built from a photo of the car in Cumberland, MD in 1986. While I have more than enough 70 ton hoppers for the layout, I though this one was cool. It was built from a Stewart 12 panel Southern hopper. Painted with acrylics, Microscale decals and weathered with Pan Pastels. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

CSXT 341391

This was a fun project. After seeing a similar model built by my friend Anthony Hardy, I knew I wanted to build one for myself. This started as a Bowser pre-weathered model of an L&N 3 bay 100 ton hopper. While I'm not a fan of pre-weathered models, this one was cheap so I made it work. Since I was going to patch this for CSX, I started by weathering the model with Pan Pastels to a well worn look. Observing photos in the early CSX era, many of these orange hoppers were mostly black from coal dust, grime, etc. The inside was painted with Rust-oleum Camouflage, the couplers were touched up with Vallejo flat earth. To paint the trucks, I used Vallejo gray, the wheels were painted with a combination of gray and earth. Once dry, I dusted on dark brown Pan Pastels to blend everything.

To make the patch I masked off the panels to be painted black. In hindsight, this was not the best way to do this as it took quite a while to mask everything off. After speaking with Anthony, he told me he used Microscale Black Trim Film. Well Duh...I wished I had thought of that. 

Once the patch was painted, I sprayed on a gloss coat of Pledge Floor Gloss. While I've never tried this approach, I must say I'm pleased with the results. You can spray without thinning, although it can be thinned with distilled water and it's a lifetime supply from one bottle. Once dry, I added decals from a Microscale set, brushed on Solve set, then I sealed everything with a spray can of Tamiya Flat Clear.  

Saturday, October 3, 2020

70 Ton Hoppers

Here are a few of the latest hopper cars I've been working on. Since these are just layout models, I haven't added any extra details such as cut levers, air hoses or brake lines. The Seaboard hopper is a former woodchip car, but now it's been pressed into coal service. I've also been making lots of coal loads. The problem I have is that I only have access to western coal, so please don't judge me too much for using crushed coal from the powder river basin instead of eastern Kentucky. Maybe someone could send me some...



Monday, September 21, 2020

Monday Evening Project

Here is a little hopper project I did tonight. This is a Bowser 3 Bay 100 ton hopper lettered for C&O. These could still be found running around the coal fields during the early CSX years. For weathering, the inside of the car was lightly painted with Krylon Camouflage, for the car sides, ends and underframe I airbrushed a wash of Vallejo Earth along with some pan pastels. The trucks were done with the same brush painting and chalks I've used before. With the addition of a few decals I think it will work fine for the layout. While it's no contest model, I think it will look great in a long string of hoppers. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

B&O #835060

This little project was a relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. This is an Atlas cylindrical hopper and while there weren't many of these on the railroad, I though it was a neat car, although the tooling can't compare to the Intermountain version. 

First is a photo of B&O #601025 taken by Bruce Gage in 1988:

Here is my version:

Sunday, August 23, 2020

CSX #6022 Finished Model

Here are two photos of the finished model. I've come to realize that without a proper photo booth and camera setup, it's tough to get decent shots of Chessie power as most of the weathering is washed out. Oh well, maybe when I get around to setting something up I'll take more photos.

Here's a shot of the real one taken by Mike Berka in 1987.

Friday, August 21, 2020

CSX #6022 Part III

 After 26 Microscale decals , here is the model ready for weathering.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

CSX #6022 part II

Like many in hobby, I was crushed when Floquil went away years ago. At the time I had a good supply of most of the colors I used, however I knew the day would come when I would need to change to a different paint. No problem, Model Master enamels were a good substitute and I learned to use them to my satisfaction. That is until Rustoleum made the decision to cancel the Model Master line of paints. So with regulations getting more strict and the future of enamels becoming questionable, I decided that maybe it was a good time to finally learn how to spray acrylics. I had become familiar over the years working with Vallejo paints, mostly for weathering with washes, etc. but I had never really tried to airbrush them. With that said I figured that this project would be as good as any to "get my feet wet."

Vallejo makes several lines of model paint, the two that I'm most familiar with are the Model Color and the Model Air, the latter is ready to spray right out of the bottle (however it's still best to add a drop of thinner). The only color of light yellow that I was happy with for the patch was in the Model Color line. To spray it, I use their airbrush thinner, cut it 50/50 and add a drop of their airbrush flow improver. 

The addition of the Airbrush Flow Improver made all the difference in the world for me. Before that I had a tough time keeping the paint from drying out too quickly. By making light passes I was able to build up the color without it getting too thick. So my initial reaction to spraying acrylics is a positive one, especially for a color such a yellow. I also like the fact that Vallejo, with the way the bottle is designed, makes it super easy to mix up the paint right in the color cup. Here is a photo of the patched locomotive.

CSX GP40-2 #6022

I used to love to see the Chessie System locomotives as a kid in Northern Kentucky, usually on the C&O bridge going over the Ohio River into Cincinnati. The "disco" paint scheme was quite a change from the old standard blue with either a Capitol Dome or C&O for progress on the nose. The Chessie had tons of GP40-2s, so when I found one of the Athearn Genesis models with DCC and sound for a great price I grabbed it.

#9120 (originally #4120) was re-numbered while on short term lease to the Santa Fe. Since I was going to re-number it anyway I didn't care what the number was. However, since #4120 had the larger, bolder B&O on the cab side, and since I wanted to keep the B&O, I was limited on which number I could use. I decided on #6022 because it had the bold lettering on the cab plus it had the small CSXT insignia underneath it.  Most of this class were simply patched before they were re-painted by painting over the old numbers and applying new ones. The paint was rarely the same color, usually a lighter shade of yellow. 

Here is a photo of the original model from Athearn:

Since there are door latches and such under the numbers, I couldn't just sand the old numbers off. To remove the numbers, I carefully applied 91% alcohol with a small brush. After 5-6 applications, I used a Q-tip to gently start rubbing the numbers off. 

Once the majority of the numbers were rubbed off, I made one more application of the alcohol and cleaned it up with a paper towel.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

New Cover Photo

It seemed only fitting that I change the background photo for the blog. My good friend Stu Thayer took this photo of former Seaboard System SD40-2 #8118 in Corbin, KY.  She started life in 1980 as L&N #8118, then Seaboard #8118 and finally CSX #8118. She's now been rebuilt as SD40-3 #4018 and still going strong. Unfortunately now she looks like "Sponge Bob Square Cab".

New Direction

 For the very few that view this blog, much less follow, you may be interested to know that I've decided to take a new direction with my modeling. Since the move to the new house several years ago, I've actually built two different versions of an Sn3 layout, chaired a national convention, built dozens of freight cars  (many for customers) and I've worked on and repaired several brass locomotives. However about 2-3 years ago, I decided that I could enjoy the hobby just as much going back to HO scale. While the models are certainly nowhere near the quality level as PBL (nothing compares to PBL), I realized it's just a hobby and not a museum.

I will admit that I've had a tough time deciding just what to model in HO. It's easy for the most part, so much is available for just about any railroad. Most narrow gauge layouts fall into one of two categories, D&RGW or RGS. Although there are a small few that would venture into SP narrow gauge, my friend Derrell Poole would remind me that only the purest and truest of narrow gauge fans model the C&S. So after a few small adventures with the Rio Grande, UP and Norfolk Southern, I've decided that I'm really happiest going back to my roots. Several years before I was bit by the narrow gauge bug, I had a somewhat respectable 40x22 layout modeling the L&N in the later 1970's with all the CTC signals, operating sessions, etc. While I don't want revisit that era, I have decided to do something similar, only moving the time frame up about 10 years. Like most modelers, modeling what I grew up with gives a sense of connection I guess, sort of a time machine.  My hope is that the few of you that do view my rare postings will not cast me out and will continue to check in from time to time.  I do have trains running and I can do a bit of switching, however I don't quite have a finalized track plan. Once I do, I'll try and post it.  In the meantime I'm re-stenciling freight cars and locomotives to fit into a 1988-1991 time period for CSX. 

Next project is to update a Chessie GP40-2.

Finshed model of CSX #6367

 Here are two photos of CSX #6367, one from 1986 and one from 1989: 

Here is my finished model. While I didn't try to match the weathering to one particular year, I went for a general grunge approach. Although I did want to include the big oil leak on the long hood. 

I used a combination of airbrushed inks, dry brushed Vallejo acrylics, chalks on the roof and some rust pastels. I haven't done this type of modeling in probably 12 years and I must say I have really missed it, and I'm having a blast!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

#6367 Part 2

Here are shots of CSX #6367 with the decals. I used the numbers for the number boards from the Microscale CSX 1989-2002 set, the cab side numbers came from a Microscale Family Lines diesel set and the small CSXT insignias came from a company called Steel Valley Models. Here's a link to their Facebook Page: ( Thanks to modeler Anthony Hardy, he pointed me in their direction saving me tons of time not piecing together tiny little decals.

Once the decals are dry I'll have fun weathering the crud out of this!

CSX GP40-2 #6367

The L&N Railroad, later Seaboard System and finally CSX, ran right past the University of Louisville where I did my undergraduate degree. In the later 1980's, I used to see lots of Family Lines power whos paint had seen better days. Most of those locomotives hadn't been re-painted yet into the CSX current version of stealth gray, they were simply re-numbered and many times had a small CSXT located either above or below the new numbers on the cab side. 

I happened to come across this Athearn Genesis GP40-2 decorated for the L&N in Family Lines livery. While the L&N only had 10 of these, I though it would be a fun project to model it around 1989. I started by wet sanding the L&N, road number and striping on the cab sides with 1000 grit paper. Then I sprayed a mixture of light gray, refer gray and black to paint the patches. I wasn't concerned with making it perfect, in fact I wanted the paint to be slightly lighter. Once dry I sprayed the patch with glosscote for the new decals. I found this crazy looking tape at an office supply store made by Scotch. It's not meant for painting as it has very little adhesion. However, for airbrushing it's perfect, especially with delicate parts. 

Since CSX only used the nose light and not the one located between the numberboards, I went ahead and removed it (headlight lobotomy) first with some nippers and then with files. Using some Evergreen styrene, I made a steel plate to cover it. I just "eyeballed" it until it looked right and painted it the same color as before.

The number boards were lightly sanded and re-painted white, I also added Microgloss in preparation for the new numbers. 

Here is the current state of the model, I'll post more photos when the decals and weathering are finished.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

New roof for NS #2767

Norfolk Southern SD70M-2 got a new roof with PTC today. This was an added part from Athearn that was un-painted. After a coat of Floquil black and some hand painted silver antennas, she's off to the paint booth for some weathering.