Monday, 12 October 2015

Rock Island Geep - Weathering

I managed to put in another evening at the workbench and the Rock Island geep project is another step closer to being completed.

I weathered the shell and chassis, using drybrushing techniques to give it a suitably grungy style for that true Rock Island feel.

The effect turned out pretty well, although I probably went a bit heavier than I was intending to - although that is pretty much true to the protorype for a Rock unit!

Next step will be the final detailing, mu hoses etc, and then final assembly.  Should be done this week.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Rock Island Geep Decaling

The Rock Island geep project continued today as I finished applying the decals and tidied up a few loose ends on the main shell.

I always find the numberboards tricky to decal as each of them needs four individual numbers and the decals are so small it can be a real challenge to get them straight and even.

For this model I decided to try printing my own numberboard decals, I had already fitted a set of Microscale EMD blank decals so all I needed were the numbers.

I found a windows compatible truetype font on the B&O historical society website and downloaded & installed it.  The numbers themselves were typeset in Photoshop and printed on laser printer compatible waterslide paper.  

They went on really easily and were certiainly a breeze compared to lining up tiny individual numbers.

I'd forgotten the chassis and sideframes were in primer so I needed to break out the airbrush to shoot them with Revell 'Tar Black' as I don't have any grimy black in stock.

As I had the airbrush out, I gave the roof a quick blast of black to get the weathering started.  I will do the rest of the weathering with a regular brush.

Next stage will be the detail weathering and reassembly of the model.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Rock Island Geep Update

With only a couple of weeks before the NMRA convention in Derby I have finally got back to the workbench to continue work on the Rock Island GP project.  This has been on the shelf for almost two years but I finally got around to digging out all the bits and bobs for it.

The shell was already airbrushed in Polly Scale Rock Island maroon and the next step was the yellow warning panel for each end.  I opted to brush paint the ends rather than set up the airbrush for such a small job.

I masked off the ends with Tamiya masking tape and used light coats (almost drybrushing) to add several thin coats of custom mixed yellow to the model.  I used Revell yellow with a few drops of red to create a suitably orange tint to the paint.

The Microscale decals went on fairly easily, the stripes are a bit of a job to straighten and I realised too late that the nose heralds needed to be cut to fit around the grab irons.

I also realised too late that the nose shouldn't have upper grab-irons on the right side.   Not sure how I missed that one!  I must have been having one of those days when I applied them.

Still plenty of work to do on the model, but I feel pretty confident about getting it done before the deadline.  Next step will be the rest of the decals and then comes the weathering.

Rocking it with Athearn

I picked up this neat little 1950's Ford F100 truck on ebay fairly cheap.  Manufactured by Athearn, it comes factory decorated for Rock Island and fits in nicely on Godinez as part of the rural station detailing.

These vehicles are very nicely detailed and feature crisp panel lines and fine printing, the moulded plastic parts aren't as fine as the etched details on my Neo resin models but for the price you cant complain!

Here it is parked on the layout, a little on the fresh side for a Rock Island truck, I think I will need to give it a heavy weathering to make it more authentic.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Rocking it on Godinez - The first Rock Island train hits the rails

After a busy weekend sent shifting boxes, unpacking boxes, repacking boxes and taking boxes to the charity shop... I finally cleared enough space in the man cave to start sorting out the rolling stock which has been accumulating over the years.  

First order of business was to get Godinez up and running again, this time with some Rock Island rolling stock instead of the random roadnames I usually run with.

I found I had put together a pretty respectable stack of Kadee rolling stock  from various second-hand purchases and ebay auctions, these gave me enough to run a pretty decent branchline train.  


The short Kadee hoppers are more suited to cement duty but a full-size grain car would dwarf the short spur track on the layout.

Once I was able to find my Proto GP9's one of them spent a good few hours testing the layout this evening.  The layout runs pretty well, aside from a slight connection problem that seems to affect the GP9 on one section of track. 

A GP30 handles the same section without any trouble, so I suspect the scenery is fouling the GP9 and causing it to lose pickup.

The good news is that the various accessories and crossing signal lights and audio still work, as do all the points.  The barrier gate and searchlight signal have given up the ghost and will need to be repaired.

I will strip and repaint the backdrop this summer while the weather is still dry.  It was originally covered in paper and the surface has bubbled over the years, a few coats of paint and some fine sandpaper should get the backdrop looking good as new. 

I will also need to refresh the trees and groundcover as some of it has seen better days.  I have plenty of woodland scenics in appropriate shades so I will be able to spruce things up without spending any extra cash.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Magazines on Doovd?

I recycled my collection of Model Railroader magazines as they were taking up too much space, I had a dozen years bound in official binders.  Turned out they had zero resale value as four listings on eBay didn't get any nibbles.

So of course, as soon as I dumped them I needed an article on the SD50, and I figured I would just go online and buy the 75 year DVD collection right?  Wrong.  Out of print and none in stock anywhere.  Turns out Kalmbach have replaced the DVD collection with a subscription service that runs alongside their regular subscription for an extra $3 per month.  Naturally there is no way to subscribe just the the archive, so the only way to read old back issues is either pay $36 per annum on top of a $60 subscription, or purchase back issues on eBay.

Good job Kalmbach.  Good.  Job.   Why not allow us to download individual issues for a small fee? Or give the option for a standalone archive subscription?

So I've been looking on eBay for a second hand copy of the DVD set for over a year and they just never seem to be listed, until finally this week someone put on up for sale.  £30 later and I have almost 900 issues of MR at my fingertips, including all the issues I missed in the 2000's while I wasn't active in the hobby.

The set comes on three DVDs housed in a regular plastic DVD case, with a single sheet of installation instructions.  The software is on the first DVD and the other two contain the actual magazines as individual locked PDF files.  Compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7, the set is slightly cumbersome to use, and very slow to install, but as long as you know the issue you want (the Kalmbach website index comes in useful here as the DVD set search function is not much use) then it does work fairly well.

The magazine scans are a little low resolution and fuzzy, but perfectly readable - on a par with the Trainlife scans of Prototype Modeler, and apart from the plan drawing being a bit soft, they are mostly pretty good.  It definitely beats having a massive stack of heavy paper issues cluttering up the garage.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

GP60 Build - Back on the bench at last.

I finally dug out the GP60's and got them on the workbench. Now I've got a proper modelling cave in the garage I can work on a build without taking over the kitchen table.

In the meantime I've acquired a Proto 2000 GP60 shell which I was able to use as a comparison.

First thing I noticed was that the models weren't as correct as I remembered, the horn looks too low on one of them and the cannon sub-base was definitely sitting on a warped walkway.

So, a bit of jimmying with a scalpel and the nose and sub base are off the model and ready to be re-fitted.  A small piece broke off the edge of one sub-base but it will easily glue back on.

I realised that I had glued them in place with the shell sitting flat, but due to the low pilot face that resulted in an upward bend on the walkway - the solution is to let the pilot face overhang the edge of the workbench when fitting the nose.

Second thing is that the horn looks too low down on the hood.  It came with a really tall looking horn stand that I thought was too big, so I just glued the horn directly onto the top of the hood.  Looking at it now I'm thinking the horn should be up a bit higher.