Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weathering with Oils

I recently started a few weathering projects again.  I met a fellow N scale enthusiast at the train show in January, and we exchanged weathering techniques as well as other fascinating N scale information.  He had been trying some different techniques as well, and suggested I try using oils.  Up to this point, my limited experience has included using an airbrush for fading and general grime, etc., and dry-brushing acrylics.  I found a couple tubes of oil paint at a local craft store and tried it out.  I had purchased several Fox Valley Models boxcars at the train show for just a few bucks each and was anxious to get them dirty.

This is my first completed boxcar using oils.  I gave it a very heavy fade coat with a technique learned from Gary Hinshaw.  I really like this technique as it is almost impossible to screw up.  I followed the fade with a black wash, then turned to the oils for the rust effects.  I used both burnt sienna and burnt umber to create the rust.

The trucks were airbrushed with a mixture of rust and grimy black Polly S acrylic.  I added 33" metal wheelsets from Fox Valley Models.

I'm pleased with this first attempt, but learned some valuable lessons that I can apply to the next project.  I regret not taking a photo of the original car, but I attached artwork from FVM.  Needless to say, the blue on the finished model turned out quite well for this aged and sun-beaten boxcar.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shiloh Limited Union Pacific #844 - One Last Look

I just couldn't let #844 leave town without watching it one more time.  This morning I took both the 7 year old son, and 4 year old daughter just south of Omaha to watch the Shiloh Limited as it went southbound to its destination.

Here is a video of #844 as it heads southbound through the small town of Mynard, NE which is just south of Plattsmouth, after crossing the Platte River, and the BSNF mainline.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Weathering Projects - Back in the Saddle

After a very mild yet long winter, I cleaned and organized the garage recently and set up my workbench for painting, decaling, and weathering projects.  I forgot just how much I enjoyed weathering individual pieces of rolling stock.  I have collected and am storing a lot of items that were selected specifically for weathering and other enhancements to become a permanent part of my fleet.  I am very close to finishing a pair of ARMN 57' mechanical reefers.  Needless to say, my skills are a bit rusty (pun intended) after several months of focusing on other aspects of this hobby.  Here are the 2 reefers with 1 remaining in original factory paint except for the graffiti decal.  I used a fade coat followed by a black wash to dirty the car, followed by rust drybrushing.  Graffiti was added in the middle of weathering, and yellow reflector stripes were added at the end of the weathering layers.  I think I went a bit heavy on these, however, the prototype version of these cars are showing their age, and a few are pretty dirty.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chasing Union Pacific #844 Shiloh Limited

My son and I jumped in the car this morning with camera, ipad, ipod, and cell phone, and headed west to find Union Pacific #844 as it made its way west across Nebraska.  We couldn't have asked for a better day, especially in March where you never know what you are going to get.  We met up with the train in Duncan, Nebraska, and was able to chase it back towards Blair before I had spent about every ounce of enthusiasm from my 7 year old.  My crazy driving and my son's motivating chants of "come on dad" allowed us to get in front of the train 8 different times in a short afternoon.  It was a day well spent, and I never get tired of seeing real live steam.  Here are some of the highlights including a shot taken from the (moving) car.  (and people think teenagers texting while driving is bad!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Seeking a New Owner for the BNSF Marias Pass

The time has come for me to seek a new owner for the N scale BNSF Marias Pass model railroad.  Like my previous layouts, I am interested in starting a new project, and as a result I need to find a suitable home for this completed project.  I have many photos and videos of the Marias Pass here on my blog and on YouTube, and will be posting more in the future.  And of course my project article series in N Scale Railroading magazine began in late 2011, which illustrates the evolution of the model railroad from a pile of lumber into a portable N scale empire.

While a picture can say a thousand words, it's also necessary to describe some of the specs of the layout in order to get a full understanding and appreciation for what is being offered here.  This is a chance to own a complete, ready to run, museum quality model railroad.  If you are interested in acquiring the N Scale BNSF Marias Pass, please email me at  Serious inquiries only please.  This layout is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Here are a few of the import features:

The bench work is built from quality birch plywood which results in a very sturdy platform for trains and scenery.  The frame is wrapped in a seamless fascia, providing a very professional appearance.  This layout was built with portability in mind and features folding legs, and a self-contained DCC system, wiring, 110 volt outlets, and extension cord.  This is literally a plug and play model railroad.

The overall dimensions are: length = 10', width = 40" tunnel end, 44" double track end, height = 24" bottom of frame to top of backdrop, 52" track level

The track plan is a single loop with a long passing siding and small yard.  Please refer to the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of N Scale Railroading for a track plan.  Track is Atlas and Micro Engineering code 55.

The operating system is an MRC Prodigy 2 wireless digital command control.  A Digitrax DS44 stationary decoder operates 4 Tortoise slow-motion switch machines.

This layout design is simple yet very effective in capturing the Rocky Mountain landscape near Glacier National Park.  There are over 1400 trees on this layout, many of which were hand trimmed, flocked, and painted to vary color and improve appearance.  Every aspect of this model railroad from the design to construction of the bench work to final details is all original and hand crafted.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck?

I know the title is cheesy, but I'm running out of material.  I am toying with the idea of creating a lumber yard or re-load facility perhaps on a small diorama.  I have created some variations of my lumber loads in various sizes to replicate a 4 tier stack of scale 8', 12', 16', and 20' dimensional lumber.  Here are a few photos of some samples taken tonight on the kitchen counter.  There's really no limit to what size and configuration I can make with these.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Lumber Load Inventory is Growing

So I wonder if all of this lumber production qualifies me to be considered for an episode of "Ax Men".  I'm joking of course, but my lumber load versions are growing as well as my completed inventory.  I have updated my Lumber and Gypsum Load Page to reflect the new additions.

Here is a photo of about 75 completed loads in various brand versions.

My latest versions are Idaho Timber, Adams Lake, Clearwater Paper, and Conifex.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lumber Loads - Adding to the Count

A few additions to my N scale lumber load line up:  Bennett Forest Industries, LP Corp, Tolleson Lumber Company, and a 3 Tier/8' stack version of Sun Mountain Lumber.  I am definitely past the point of no return.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Anyone Getting Tired of Lumber Loads Yet?

So I'm still at it, making more lumber loads.  It has been a nice indoor activity while I wait for warmer weather so I can get out to the garage.  I have enough of these now that I am going to build out a dedicated page here on my blog just for my lumber and gypsum loads.  Eventually, when I get some time, I am going to attempt some weathering on my centerbeam cars so they are more suitable for my layout.  I'm still having a lot of fun making these and looking for more prototype examples to replicate.  I'm listing several of these on ebay periodically now, so if you want some for your own centerbeam cars, please check them out.  I do have plans to make a load for the shorter MicroTrains 60' 8" centerbeam version soon.  

I have 3 new versions to share: Abitibi Consolidated, Douglas County, and Tolko.  I added a very subtle variation to one of the Tolko loads by moving one of the tie down cables.