Wednesday 31 October 2012

White River Divison Blog - Year Two

The White River Division
Modelers Season 11, 2012- 2013

It was Oct 31, 2011 that I began this blog. A year has passed, there are 167 posts available to view and  25,027 visits as of last night. I just want to thank all of you that have been following along through the past year and for your positive thoughts and comments. I guess I should start out this season with a few thoughts about my projects or at least what I plan to tackle this year. I recently purchased at the Fine Scale Expo a few interesting kits that will find a home on the layout...lets just start there.

I purchased two sets of abutments from New England Brownstone. One that will replace an underpass that does look good, but will look great with the new abutments. This scene is similar to that at Rockingham, Vt. with a narrow winding road leading under the Rutland Ry. This underpass has a large stone abutment. similar to the Brownstone model. I also purchased the stonework for the long CV trestle which will be used later on.

This underpass will get a new stone abutment. I originally just glued some cut stone chunks that were cut apart from leftover broken stone wall sections. Beneath the stones is a plywood block as the base.

A new offering from New England Brownstone Co., a pair of small single track bridge abutments.

I decided to turn the area at West Barre into an interchangeable module area using GatorFoam bases. I plan on having three diorama's that can be switched out as needed. Building a smaller layout and having it pretty much finished gives me the ability to tinker with it from time to time. I had though of changing scenes out when I first built the layout which I am finally going to try out.

The station is going to get a face lift this fall with a new NorthEastern Scale Lumber slate roof. The area around the station will be torn up and a interchangeable base area will give me the ability to change out scenes.

 On the first base I plan on redoing my station scene at West Barre with a cobblestone base for the platform on the GatorFoam. The cobblestone I purchased from RailroadKITS. The station I have had since I was a child. I did refurbish it about 30 years ago but I purchased enough gray slate shingles from NorthEastern Scale Lumber to replace the roof. Their product is very good and was not available for sometime.  I was really surprised to see they were producing it once again...they mentioned machine problems. This is the same roofing I used on the Crosby coal model if you go back through my posts.

A new offering by BEST.

The second module base will house a feed mill using the new offering by BEST. It is of a structure located in New Hampshire which is very typical of some I have actually seen in New England and similar to one just north of WRJ on the B&M.

Fisher Fuels by RailroadKITS.
 The third module base is a propane fuel dealer. I actually purchased RailroadKITS Fisher Fuels and found out the tank that was to be included are not currently available, as they are waiting for a re-order. So I am going with a propane tank I have on hand with the thought that in the future the fuel oil tank will be produced and it could be changed out.

Ongoing projects
Currently I am building the diner that stands next to the tracks at White River Jct. and also a large barn that will block the view of trains entering Bellows Falls, Vermont once it is built in the next room. I have a box of Scenic Express trees to play around with also this winter. Although none of these projects are urgent it will be nice to have some changes completed on the layout before next spring.

One structure that I really liked that is also offered by BEST is the NH country store. Both Don and I looked pretty close at this model but could not come up with a location that would work. Marty McGuirk did purchase this kit to be used in place of a larger general store currently being used on his layout...George Dutka

The BEST model of an old style general store found  in New Hampshire. This is a very nice two level structure. The rear slopes back which gives the building character and would really look good in red paint.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

A Narrow Guage Flat Car

The finished flat is at the packaging plant siding. The deck was given a well used look.
 Recycling rolling stock

Last spring while Peter Mumby was sorting out some of his model RR equipment he gave me a HOn3 flat that was well built but in need of some work and cleaning. I was not sure at first what I would do with it as I do have a collection of HOn30" but this car was a little larger in size and would not fit in. When I finished my White River Packaging, a Railway Design Associate kit I used one of my HOn30 flats in the photos. I thought that maybe this HOn3 car would work as a permanent addition to the diorama if I changed out the trucks. When I set the flat in the scene it looked right. So the upgrade began.

The trucks are removed and N scale trucks are ready to be installed. A few side pockets need to be added and stirrups on the other side will be applied before painting.
 My plans were to turn the car into a HOn30 flat. I began by giving the car a good brushing to remove all the dust. N scale couplers are mounted to the body so I just removed the trucks and replaced them with a set of N scale trucks without couplers. The car was missing two stirrups and a couple of side pockets. I had similar pockets in my parts box that I used and two new A-Line stirrups.
The under body was painted Floquil Grimy black and the sides are bush painted Floquil caboose red. On the deck I decided to give it some distressing to get the well worn look. I used my hobby knife scoring each board numerous times. I then went back over the same boards with the back of the blade to spread some of the gouges out more. I gave the deck a coat of Floquil grime followed by some streaks of roof brown while still wet. I added steaks of Floquil Flow-Stain pine. This all blends together as it drys.  I brushed various colours of Bragdon Weathering along the deck to finish it off...George Dutka

The flat is spotted at White River Packaging Co. and fits in nicely. Note the old time truck at the loading dock. A few posts back I covered my truck conversions. This is the truck in the photo not painted at that time. Now finished it was painted grimy black with old silver headlights. The cab roof was just chalk brushed red along with the tire spokes. The interior got a touch of green chalk. This gave an interesting amount of colour to the vehicle.

Monday 29 October 2012

White River Division - Lighting

On the right one of my new Ikea lights is seen above the  Bellows Crossing scene. On the left is an original single halogen spot light.

Lighting the White River Division
Adding Ikea Spot Lights

When my layout began to take shape during construction I realised that florescent lighting was not going to cut it. A lot of the main features needed to be highlighted. I also wanted to be able to photograph the scenes without the use of free standing spot lights hanging around the room.

During construction I could not put a proper ceiling up in my layout room as most of the important piping runs up above. This really became evident this past winter when the hot water heaters piping had to be replace above White River Junction. The ceiling does has heavy plastic sheeting stapled over the entire layout room to keep the dust down. I then added the florescent fixture to the centre of the room and also some single and double spot lights for highlighting. Eight fixtures which have at total of 12 spot light bulbs were used. This was all done about 10 years ago.

During the last two winters I have been changing these spot lights out with a three bulb halogen light from Ikea. These are a great deal at $10 including the 35 watt bulbs. They are Tross fixtures or part number 17999. I have three currently installed and two more on hand for this fall. I eventually will change them all out. My spot lights are separate from my regular room lighting. I have my spot lights hooked up to two dimmers which lets me adjust the intensity of the lighting. I spent an entire day in the layout room cleaning this past week and these light were on most of the time. Although they heat up there was no issues on the was kind of nice to work in just a t-shirt on a cool day. You might want to look into this type of lighting for your own layout...George Dutka

These are two of my Ikea lights that will be installed this fall. These lighting fixtures include the 35 watt bulbs for $10.00.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Strasburg Rolling Stock

New England Rolling stock at Strasburg Ry.

While at the 2012 Expo Don and I had a chance to visit the Strasburg Ry. which operates live steam and has a nice display of vintage railroad rolling stock that is in excellent condition. This rolling stock is occasionally used on mixed steam train operations.

Three of the pieces are of New England origin which I thought you might want to take a look at. Unfortunately two of the three are located in spots that are not great for photography as one is looking into the sun, but we took our photos anyhow. The Rutland door and one half boxcar was in a great spot after the Saturday extra steam train departed. The coaches were hiding the car...enjoy...George Dutka

This car is in immaculate condition. It was totally rebuilt in the late 1990's. Jack Swanberg photographed this car back then and his photos and short  article appeared in the CVRHS Ambassador back then.  It was actually nice to see it first hand.

Modeler's season begins - Cleaning Day

Another modeling season is beginning with the annual layout cleaning.

White River Division 
Summer's hibernation is over 
11th Modeling season begins.

Yesterday I spent the entire day doing my annual cleaning of my work and layout rooms. I finally got the last of my boating gear stored away earlier this week...most of my gear is under the layout till April. Now my "modeling season" can begin, the 11th for the White River Division. After a 5 months hiatus I normally have my work cut out for me. A good reason for keeping the layout smaller.  I can't believe how many cob webs have congregated in these two rooms this past summer. It might have been the worst year for spiders since I have built the layout.

Each fall before I begin adding my rolling stock to staging I give the track area, walls, floors, ceiling and so on a good vacuuming. I then use a large, soft, make-up brush to dust off the structure roofs and my vehicles. About every three years I also add a little ground foam were it looks tired and faded. The ground foam was still OK this fall but for sure will need some refreshing next season. A bright boy is used to shine up the rails and a engine is run over every piece of track to check for electrical problems. This year, so far, no problems. Most years there is some minor electrical issue that is usually a quick fix. Good reason to keep the electrical system simple.

I keep all my engines and rolling stock in sealed boxes and wall cases during the off season to save my models from getting to dusty while not in use. Once all is cleaned I start assembling train consists. A second day will be spent testing engines as some have not been run in a couple of years and of course there always are those rolling stock repair issues that arise each modelling season...George Dutka

One of my wife's old make-up brush is seen on the roof of a farm house. Cleaning the tops of the structures once a year keeps them looking great.

Friday 26 October 2012

B&M Athearn GP-9

A B&M van hop departs Middlesex Centre, Vt. past the CV style ball signal.
 Boston & Maine GP-9
A new Athearn Model with DCC and sound

If you get a chance to see or better yet hear one of the new Athearn GP-9 offerings, listen closely as they sound great. They sound just like the real thing. I have two Life-Like Proto GP-9's with factory sound and they do not compare. I can hardly wait for the CV versions to come out.

Don Janes had purchase two of these units when they first came out. On one of my summer visits to Don's we played around with his B&M geep models. I had not planned on purchasing one but after hearing them operate, I just had to have one. If one can't find one in your area try Credit Valley Railroad Co. near Toronto, Ont. were I found a few on hand.

These engines looks great as is, and do not actually need any model work to enter service. But I always like changing things, so I have just finished commissioning B&M 1724 on the White River Division including a few additions. I changed out the couplers with Kadee #58 true scale metal ones, although the plastic couplers included are the same size as the Kadee's. I added a engine man and fireman to the open windows. These side windows actually open and close. I airbrushed  the whole engine with a coat of Floquil flat finish then added some Bragdon weathering. This was added mostly to the lower area such as side frames, couplers, trucks, fuel tanks and steps. I did add light weathering to the filters but I wanted to keep the engine pretty clean as it would have just arrived in my time frame....George Dutka

Adding a Tsunami to B&M 1706 
photos and story by Don Janes

     As George has mentioned these new Athearn B&M GP-9's look great and run beautifully right out of the box.  One of the two units I purchased was #1706, a non sound version.  After listening to sound equipped #1724 I decided I had to add sound to the 1706 as well.  Since Athearn uses a SoundtraxxTsunami decoder in their factory sound equipped models I purchased a EMD 567 Tsunami decoder (made specifically for Athearn units) to go in the 1706.  Using the 1724 as a guide it was just a matter of replacing the factory light board with the Tsunami and removing the rear hood weight and adding a 16 x 35 mm speaker and enclosure installed where the weight used to be.  While I was at it I soldered all the wires to the decoders on both units to ensure a good electrical connection.
     One other modification I made was to add KaDee #153 scale head short shank couplers in place of the plastic couples that came with the units.  These are stronger and also bring the two units closer together when they are MU'd . 
     These engines definately need some weathering, especially around the trucks and underbody as the fine detail gets lost in a sea of black paint.  I plan to weather the bodies also but not too much as I don't want to cover up the beautiful paint job on these engines.
     Athearn has certainly hit a home run with these B&M GP-9's and bettere still I have heard rumours that they plan to produce Central Vermont GP-9's in 2013.  I can't wait for that official announcement so I can reserve a pair of those engines.  Athearn has sold out of its run of B&M geeps except for ATHG62435, #1706 without sound.
      The 1724 and 1706 look and sound great moving freight along the Green Mountain Division.
The company photographer has climbed onto the roundhouse roof to get a shot of B&M GP-9's 1724 and 1706 taking a spin on the White River Jct. turntable 
The golden glow of the early morning sun is starting to light up the yard as a pair of B&M GP-9's idle on the shop track at White River Jct.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Contest Dioramas and Best in Show- Fine Scale Model Railroad Expo 2012... by Don Janes

One of the prize winners was this "HO" scale Gas Station/Car Dealer diorama... all photos by Don Janes

  As George has mentioned in previous posts, we attended the Fine Scale Model Railroad Expo in Lancaster, PA on Oct. 12 and 13.  It truly was a great show and one of the highlights for me was to see the beautiful structures and dioramas that were entered in the model contest.  There are some excellent modellers out there and as you will see from the following photos their work proves it.  The dioramas were entered in categories based on the size of their base and these ranged from one being built in an eye glass case to a large sawmill scene which was about 3ft by 3 ft.  The winners were announced at the banquet on Saturday night at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum which is located across the road from the Strasburg Railroad complex.

This beautiful "O" scale repair shed diorama was loaded with great detail

These two photos show an "O" scale scrap dealer with a small switcher

Another view of the sawmill complex showing the great detail added to the scene

       As you can see, there were some very impressive models on display this year.  This show is well worth the trip and I know I will be taking it in again.  

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Clinics - Fine Scale Model Railroader Expo 2012

Russ Greene of NE Brownstone gives his clinic on carving stonework. Note the green streaks in the prototype photo.
 Two days of Expo Clinics

Clinics ran from 8am till supper time on Friday and Saturday at this years Fine Scale Expo. Don and I attended eight clinics which was about half. It was hard to squeeze it all in as we wanted time to look at the contest models visit the vendor booths and visit with friends. We picked the ones that we thought would help us the most with our modelling projects. During each clinic we did learn at least one important modelling tip. I have included a few photos.

Brett Gallant of Sierra West Scale Models gave a clinic on realistic detail castings. One tip he gave us was to drill a hole in the bottom of a barrel casting and support it with a wooden or metal rod for easy handling while painting and weathering.
Many of you will remember the name Michael Tylick from MR in past years. Michael presented two clinics, one of which we attended on scenery. We also took in a Michael Duggan clinic on modelling roofing and awnings with tissue, building craftsman structures by Jack Ellis, and improving craftsman structures by Doug Foscale. We also attended both clinics by Brett Gallant as seen in the photos and also one by Russ Greene, NE Brownstone and Dave Myers, Gatorfoam...George Dutka

Brett Gallant clinic, modelling with stripwood included his board weathering solution seen here. One can fine more information at his Sierra West Scale Models web site.
Brett Gallant also gave us a neat tip on making knot holes and knots made from toothpicks. Something I am going to try.
Dave Myers of Gatorfoam gave us a very informative clinic on his product and its uses. I have done a post on his product last winter. Here Don Janes gets a few additional tips at Dave's booth.
In this view one can see how Gatorfoam is used to build a dam for a waterway display module. Don and I came away from the Gatorfoam booth with a good supply of model base material.

Monday 22 October 2012

CV White River Jct. Sand Bin

My CV sand bin is seen with my 1992 RMC article. I have already changed the stack and weathering is about to be applied.
A CV sand bin
at the WRJ coal tower

Many years ago I built a CV sand bin for my small yard which was featured in the Jan. 1992 issue of RMC. I built the sand bin using plans found in the March 1964 MR. It stated that the sand bin was located in St. Albans but for years I could not uncover a photo that showed the structure or a clue to it's location.

At this years Fine Scale Expo while visiting with Marty McGuirk he mentioned the sand bin was actually next to the CV coal tower at White River Junction, Vt. This he had found out while working as an associate editor at MR. When I got home I went through all my views of the coal tower and found one shot that shows it way in the background. I cropped the photo and have included it here. The sand bin is in such a location that when a photo of an engine at the coal tower is taken, it would be blocked from view.

My sand bin built in the early 1980's gets a upgrade before installation in the WRJ staging yard.

It was time for an upgrade since it was built about 30 years ago and I am planning on using it again. I built it as a board on board wooden building and weathered it with Floquil stains available at that time. I changed the stack to a smaller version, sprayed the whole model with flat finish and weathered it up with Bragdon weathering and chalk. Although my coal tower is mostly hidden in my staging yard I decided to add it next to the tower were one can get a peek at it. It will not be located in the exact location but near enough. I am glad to add another prototype element to my WRJ scene...George Dutka

The finished model rests on the MR 1964 plans.
The sand bin can be seen at the CV coal tower.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Contest Diorama's - Fine Scale Model Railroader Expo 2012

One of the one foot square diorama entries.
  2012 Contest Diorama's

At last weekends Expo I had my pocket Canon A590 with me and got some pretty good views. The lighting was not the best for photographs but at least some spot lights could be found over some models for better inspection. These same spotlights made photographing the models tricky. All in all a big improvement over last year. I picked the models that I thought I could get the best shot of and posted these. All registrants had a chance to vote for their favorites, and the prizes were excellent. The winners were announced at the banquet....George Dutka

Here is the smallest diorama I saw. It is in a sun glass case.

This is a O scale structure that won one of the prizes.
This was a interesting diorama with a torn down building in the mix.

Friday 19 October 2012

Dealer's - Fine Scale Model Railroader Expo 2012

This years show kit. This particular display was auctioned off at the Saturday evening banquet. The dinner was served in an open area in the Pennsylvania Ry Museum. Don and I sat right next to a great looking GG1.
 The Vendors Tables
 A great display of craftsman kits and details
Last weekend Don Janes and I attended the Fine Scale Model Railroader Expo in Lancaster, Pa. This is the second show for me and the first for Don. We met up with Marty McGuirk on Friday spending some time together on Friday evening and Saturday. Don and I registered on Thursday evening getting the now traditional yellow bag loaded with flyer's, booklets, a video and free stuff coupons. The coupons found in our bags added up to a lot of interesting modelling parts and kits while visiting the vendors tables. When we finally got our haul of freebies, there was at least $100 worth of goodies. Most of the vendors did attend last years show and I was glad to see them back. We did visit all the tables numerous times over the two days. By the second afternoon we decided to enjoy the afternoon chasing the steam engines at Strasburg. I think if we stayed any longer at the show we both would have had to mortgage our homes. I have included a few general photos from the vendors tables which gives you an idea what one would have seen...George Dutka

Nich and Nora Designs not only offered kits but some nice details. Don and I purchased a 1950's  ice machine.

Sea Port Models Work display shelf had a nice selection of boat kits.

Laser Modeling 3 has a new offering this year based on a coal company in Medina, NY.
An overall of two Bar Mills Models display shelf.

Clare Gilbert of Sylvan Scale Models had a nice selection of car and truck kits on display.We had a nice visit with Clare.

And the BEST for last...all of BEST kits are seen nicely built and well displayed. I purchased the new feed mill kit at about the time Marty McGuirk decided to purchased the NH general store for his layout. Don and I really liked that general store kit but we just could not think of a location that it would fit on either layout...I am thinking I need a bigger layout...all three of us loaded up on more than we needed BEST casting.