Thursday 26 July 2012

CV Accurail Boxcar

A CV Accurail boxcar is first up ready for pick up on the White River Division. The CV boxcar in the rear is a Steam Shack resin kit.

Reworking a Central Vermont Accurail kit

Alan Irwin photo

 Back a few years ago I had an article published in the CVRHS Ambassador covering how I updated a CV Accurail 40' boxcar. A few weeks ago I got a nice thank-you for writing the article from CVRHS member Jack Kelley who used my instructions to complete the same project. He mentioned it was one of the few projects that he did without using an airbrush. I will  included a photo of his model in another post...or  a part two. I ran out of room in this blog once again and still had two more photos to include. I am finding deleting photos as I have done the last month does not add more space anymore, even when using smaller sized photo.

I thought this blog might be a good place to cover this project once again since most of you are not CVRHS members. This project is not too taxing and  can add another interesting car to ones fleet.

A number of years ago Accurail released a HO model of a 40 foot 6 panel wood boxcar with a Central Vermont noodle design.  The CV owned 200 of these cars, numbered 40000-40199 built in 1924-1925.  These cars have an interior height of 8 feet 6 inches with a 6 foot wide door. A few did  survive in service well past 1970. The CV Accurail kit is #7011 and retailed for just over $10.

As mentioned before most of my modelling is during the 1950’s.  I have built a small collection of rolling stock so I can run a 1960’s or early 1970’s consist. The Accurail CV noodle outside brace boxcar is a perfect fit. I had saved an article by John Nehrich (Mainline Modeler Nov. 1984) explaining how one can convert a Train Miniature or Walthers car into a CV boxcar. This article is useful when working on the Accurail car. I was also looking at completing the project without having to re-letter the car.

The hardest part of this makeover was scraping off the side ladders, grabs and car end support posts that were not seen in my photos of the prototype. All these changes are what make the model appear more like the prototype. I used Tichy grab irons as replacements for the ladders. The end bracing is Evergreen 2 by 4 styrene. The end cowl is made of scrap styrene. The cowl's middle width is 6” and is 30” long which widens to 10” at the ends. Score the bends and glue it on. I used Walthers Goo for this job.

I used the trucks included in the kit but added Kadee #58 true scale couplers. I used parts I have on hand including a new brake wheel and housing plus .010 wire rod. Wire operating levers were bent and added. I applied a .010 wire bleed rod and chain to the piston end as my only underbody detailing.This model does not have a fish belly underframe.

The under body, truck and couplers are painted Floquil grimy black. All my new body parts were airbrushed Floquil boxcar red. I could have just brush painted the spots that needed toughing up but I wanted to over sprayed the whole car with a light coat of boxcar red to tone down the bright white lettering. I used chalk weathering while the paint is still tacky to weather the body up.

These changes really added a lot to the final appearance of my boxcar and I am really glad I put the extra effort into the project and not just added the car to my train consist. Last year I finished a Train Miniature conversion for the earlier lettering scheme, such as the one John Nehrich will find it in a later post. 

I will be away sailing up north for most of the next two weeks and hope to figure out how to overcome the photo problem when I return...George Dutka 

The finished model in use.

Monday 23 July 2012

Train order site...including New England Roads

Recently on the B&M yahoo groups Duane Goodman posted a link to a neat site showing copies of various train orders and Clearance/Register cards that can be purchased or viewed. If you go to the home page many other New England Railroads can be found....there are some interesting Central Vermont orders included...enjoy...George Dutka

Sunday 15 July 2012

StJ&LC 70 Tonner's

Bachmann GE 70 Ton Engine
an easy conversion

This past spring I picked up a pair of the Bachmann 70 tonner that are painted but not lettered. They already have DCC on board and run great for the size of the engines. I have always liked the St J&LC so these two units will be an easy conversion since they are already painted properly and can be lettered using CDS dry transfers #196.

The units are painted in the Salzburg orange and cream from that era. Then engines were repainted in 1960 when Salzburg had full control of the St J&LC. So they would fall into the early 1960's era. St J&LC  No.'s 51, 53 and 54 all had dual headlights and best reflect this model. Other changes that could be done are the placement of the horn on the cab, marker lights, and end hand rails adjustments. The top of the car body should also be painted black. I will cover my conversions once I am done...George Dutka

Saturday 14 July 2012

Barn on the Move

How would you go about moving a prototype barn?
Last week while I was picking up a twig arbour for our family wedding, I had to do a double take. Just west  of Strathroy, Ont. there is a nursery along the CNR tracks...they actually have a private crossing over the tracks. Well they had loaded up a barn and had moved it near the company greenhouses. This type of scene I had not seen before and could be an interesting ROW detail as it actually does exist along the CNR..would be really interesting if it had crossed the tracks at the crossing...George

Monday 9 July 2012

Wells River, Vt,- Station Model

The finished model of the Wells River, Vt. station as seen on the Green Mountain Division was built from a laser cut wood kit offered by Heartland Railway. All photos by Don Janes.

A Kit from Heartland Railway
by Don Janes
         Back in May 2011 when the B&MRRHS put out a call for a member to build and write a review about an upcoming kit of the Wells River station produced by Heartland Railway, I replied to the e-mail right away. Wells River has always been one of my favourite stations.   It is a perfect example of a small town station but is large enough to be the focal point of a model railroad scene.   It has great lines with a lower roof covering the platform all around the building and gables on the front, back and each end of the station with some very attractive decorative trim in the gables. The prototype sat in a wye, with the mainline from White River Junction to Newport, Vt. at the front and the line to Woodsville and beyond at the end of the wye behind the station.    The station served both the Boston and Maine and the Canadian Pacific Railway and featured two order boards and a ball signal.  The station was built around the turn of the century and was burned down by vandals in the summer of 1974.  It was privately owned at that time and not in use by the railway.  Heartland has done a very good job of reproducing the Wells River station.
     In June 2011 I received word that I had been chosen to build the kit.   The pilot model would be on display at the NMRA convention in Sacramento, CA then shipped to me along with a kit to be built for this construction article/ kit review for B&M Modeler's Notes.   When I opened the large box containing the finished model I was a bit surprised as the kit was painted a two tone gray colour with brown cedar shake roofing.  Not exactly the colours for a B&M station but otherwise a very nice replica of the station.  I checked it against photos I had and was impressed.  There were a few differences between the model and the prototype but overall it was very close.  I was informed by the manufacturer that the station was reduced by about 20% of the actual size to make it more manageable to fit on most layouts.  I think this was a good choice since it is still a rather large structure, even after being reduced. It has a footprint of 3 ½” x 9 ½” around the foundation.  After looking at the photos of the finished model I think you will agree that it builds into a fine looking structure. 

The photo on the box shows the pilot model which was not painted in B&M colours.  It also shows a cedar shake roof which is incorrect.  The prototype had a shingle roof.  Heartland Railway's web site is listed on the box but the model is not listed on the site.  Kits must be ordered directly from Heartland Railway.

The kit is entirely made of laser cut wood,  The walls are tab and slot construction and are quite precise.  All the windows and doors are peel and stick laser cut wood and are made up of several layers including window glazing.  Once I had the basic shell constructed I pre-painted all the windows, doors and various sections of siding their proper colours before continuing with construction,  This resulted in a much neater job.


This is a photo of the basic structure shell.  I added all the interior bracing to help prevent the thin plywood from warping.  The kit did not include any bracing but after talking to Jerry Ford, the owner of Heartland, he agreed to include lots of 1/8" bracing.

The lower pre-painted siding and windows and doors have been added at this point.  I found that labelling all the pieces on the plan and on the wood helped keep construction organised.

There is a thin plywood roof that runs around the entire structure and to make sure it was straight I added the roof brackets then clamped the plywood roof sections in place with alligator clips until the glue dried.  This method resulted in a nice straight roof  as can be seen in the photo below.

I followed the instruction just about to the letter and completed the structure as seen above.  I used black paper for the platform roof and peel and stick shingles for the main roof and gable roofs.  The real station didn't have the small gable roof sections and I mentioned this to Jerry.  He has since redesigned the ends to match the prototype. Also, peel and stick shingles and Tichy chimneys will be included in the kit as well as brick material for the foundation and basement windows.

Thanks to information from B&M modeller Paul Dolkos I was able to find a source for the "Gingerbread" iron roof trim.  Paul scratch built a model of the Wells River station for his B&M layout.  This etched brass roof trim will be included in the kit.

A southbound B&M RDC is about to make a station stop at the Wells River station.  With so few passengers taking the train now days it won't be long until this train is history.

The kit of the Wells River station by Heartland Railway builds into a very nice model.  It is not a shake the box kit and will require time and patience but the results will be rewarding.  Jerry was very good to take suggestions and I believe the production model will be a very close replica of the prototype.  My next step is to build the two train order signals and the ball signal that were prominent fixtures at the station.

     A full review and lots of construction photos can be found in the B&MRHS's "Modeller's Notes" issue #135, November-December 2011...Don Janes.

Friday 6 July 2012

BAR 40' Reefer - Model

The two updated BAR reefers are seen on the White River Division. My car is 8409 with open hatch doors and Peter Mumby's model is 8405. Peter decided to leave his hatches closed.
BAR 8409
Upgrading a 30 year old Athearn kit

My old BAR reefer sat for at least two decades on my photo box in my bookcase along with a CPR boxcar covered in a past blog. This past winter I finally decided to update the model and renumber the car with the proper number. When I was originally decaling my model in the early 1980's I had very basic information and for this BAR reefer I just worked from the decal sheet instructions. Today there is many options to find the correct numbering and history of any piece of rolling stock. This particular reefer was included in a group of  leased BAR cars. 100 MDT reefers #8400-8499 were leased in the early 1960's which had been built in 1946.

My model as it looked before updating is seen along with the photo I used to properly letter and detail a BAR reefer. The photo was taken by Stephen B.  Horsley in Palmer, Mass. in the early 1960's.  Prototype photo used with permission.

Stephen Horsley took a nice photo of BAR #8417 at Palmer Mass. which I used to re-detail my model. This photo can be found in Northern New England Colour Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, by David Sweetland with Stephen Horsley. If you are a member of the CVRHS you will see other nice photos and features by Stephen. I have touched base on numerous topics with Stephen and he is always been a great help.

When I began the project I showed the model and prototype photo to Peter Mumby who also had build the same model and as it turned out with the wrong number such as mine. This became a project we worked on together. We planned to change the numbering, add new etched roof walks and whatever other details we could without doing much damage to the original paint and lettering. This was to be a one day upgrade not a rebuild.

The etched roof walk and brake stand has been added along with a new Kadee brake wheel, cut levers and stirrups.

The two finished reefers are ready for some reefer orange paint and chalk weathering. Peter's car is in the foreground.

I decided to use Solvaset to remove my numbers with limited success. Peter decided to use Microscale Micro Set which worked much better. Since my car had Dulcoat and Floquil dust weathering over the entire car I had a smear mark that I had to over coat. Peter's car had no sealers or weathering and turned out to be an easy number change.

Additions to the my car was Kadee brake wheel #2022, wire bleed rod, Detail Ass. # 6215 cut levers,  Walthers trucks which I removed from a boxed kit, Plano #206 steel etched walkway and brake wheel platform. I also used Details Ass. RD-215 Refrigerator car details for door latch hooks and commodity card boards. Since the car would only run on trains beyond my main modelling era I left the Kadee #5 coupler on. This reefer will probably not see a ton of action. During the original construction I changed out the grab irons with wire ones of the day. I also had left the stirrups as is. Peter and I decided to cut off the stirrups and use leftovers from our parts box collection. It has worked well for us as we have been sharing what we have, so no parts ordering is normally involved with this type of project, plus we are both slowly cleaning out our store piles.

I still had the original decal set and the decals still came off the sheet well. I changed the 0 to a 4 and also added the word "refrigerator" across the door. The decal set used is Accu-Cals, BAR, H2-RO1a. Peter did the same changes with his lettering.

I over sprayed both cars with Floquil orange to blend in the new lettering and cover up the new parts added. I also gave the under body and trucks a light coat of grimy black. This was followed by chalk weathering to blend in the areas that needed it.

Another successful upgrade completed with a model saved from my flea market sales box...George Dutka

Thursday 5 July 2012


Blackberry Playbook Apps

For Father's Day my kids got me a Blackberry Playbook. It took me till yesterday to get it working correctly, seems I still need help with this type of technology. I currently even live life without a cell phone. I decided to try out the camera portion of the Playbook and took a few photos of my layout. The photos actually turned out better than I thought they would. I also added a few apps to my Playbook, one being Gee-card an app that one can make up greeting cards and photo cards. The app has some retro applications. This is how mine turned out...George Dutka

Sunday 1 July 2012

RPM Meet - Collinsville, Ct. - 2012 photo update

Jim Dufour passed along a link to Tom Murray's photos from the recent 2012 Collinsville RPM meet. These photos are now available for viewing on his pbase page. Check out the link below...Thanks Jim...George Dutka