Tuesday 30 December 2014


I recently found this interesting 1950's photo on-line.
Have you got a scale model light pole you don't know what to do with, well this might make an interesting 1950's scene...George Dutka

Sunday 28 December 2014

Signs - Bellows Falls

As one comes off the freeway at Bellows Falls, Vermont this delightful sign is seen on a barn like structure.
I had not been through Bellows Falls for some time now until we visited last fall. I was surprised to see a nice group of vintage looking painted signs along the way. I stopped and took photos of two...George Dutka

I added a copy of this sign to one of my layout structures last year.
This sign is on the end of the Bellows Falls garage on the main road through town.
At the main street garage (don't have your car towed here) not only do they repairs buggies...one can see the local painters sign.

Saturday 27 December 2014

N Scale Vermont Talc Plant - More Views

I added a lot of clutter around the base of this N scale structure. Note the talc sacks I formed from paper inside the loading door. I used some small HO scale signs in the scene which seemed to work well.
I had a few more views that I thought I should show you. I think they give you a good feel of how the complex came together including the junk piles added...George Dutka

I used up all the skids for clutter around the complex. Gary only had one worker on his original scene and here he is track side.
Looking at the shaft from the talc mine. One of the old talc signs can be seen rusting along the base of the plant. The small building is two leftovers halve structures that I cemented together then added a lot of junk piled up all around. The talc stone is actually limestone shavings and fine limestone powders that looked good for this scene.
An overhead view of the whole module.
This end of the plant has 4 loading doors that are used for bagged products.
I added a ramp to get the workers from the track loader over to the loading door. Although I used very fine Highball ballast, N scale gray I don't like how it looks. I went back with some weeds and ground foam to hide and blend the track work a bit. If I was to do it again I would put the ballast down first then attach the track over that. I would then put down a bit of very fine ground foam over the ties and ballast to blend it all together. I personally feel the proportion of N scale flex track ties and rails are not that great for N scale modeling.

Friday 26 December 2014

Vermont Talc Plant in N Scale

This is a trackside view of Gary's N scale talc plant. I added the numerous structures to a piece of Gatorfoam with some basic scenery to finish it off. The roadside view was seen in last weeks Wordless Wednesday.
Earlier this fall my friend Gary Pembleton asked me if I could paint his talc plant white or something close to that which resembles the Gassetts Vt. talc operations. I had the structure for sometime while I looked over photos I had took at Gassetts and others found in Sept. 1976 RMC. I had never done any N scale modeling. I called Gary and asked what colour he wanted on the complex as it appeared to have been viewed differently over the years. I also asked if I could mount the structure which would make it easier to work on. He gave me free reign to do what I want, so here is what I came up with...the captions tell the story...George Dutka

The finished diorama with the photos and RMC article I used as inspiration to complete Gary's talc plant.
This is how the talc mine looked when it arrived. It appeared to have been painted a couple times and the paint was really building up. My plan was to give it a light spray coat of light gray then use powders and chalks to add the colouring.
I did some minor changes to the structures that would give the most bang for the buck. I removed all the loading platforms which looked way out of scale, replacing them with scrap strip wood. On one structure the roof was in poor shape, corners missing and holes drilled in the roofing. It also had very rough and heavy looking paint applied. I made a new one from scrap styrene. I also added a awning over the end loading door, something that it needed to resemble the prototype. The parts are really glued together making it really difficult to remove the few pieces I did. I held back from pulling any more off.
The talc mine is named for Gary's good friend Larry Brinker who had built some of his N scale structures. The original sign had a high gloss finish so I colour copied it, weathered it then glued it on.The chimney was painted Floquil boxcar red, followed by soot and used brick powders.
I added some details and scrap around the base of this structure. I used HO scale 2by4's for the lumber laying around. I also cut some fine wire and coloured it rust resembling steel rods. I made a few sacks from scrap brown paper bags. The steel drum is a small HO scale BEST tin can. All the signs seen around the structure are HO scale. I used the smaller ones found on my sheets. Some are cut and leaned against the building.
The entire structure including the roofing was given a coat of Floquil SP lettering gray. I then coloured the wooden walls using Bragdon green grunge on the bag loading and receiving structure as seen in my photos. The rest of the structure was covered with lime white and ash. A lot of it was used on the roofing. The concrete base is coloured with grimy gray powder. Grimy gray was also applied to some of the windows and doors using a small brush. Others got a dab of green grunge powder.
A look down at the loading area for the Talc plant. I used one length of the old loading dock as a walkway.The loader and cylinder tower was originally painted silver. All I did to these two was mist it with Floquil rail brown, then SP lettering gray. I gave it a good dose of lime white and grimy gray powders.
I stopped by our local hobby shop to see what was available in N scale detail parts...not much...but I got a package of 24 pallets made by Micro Engineering (80-144) for $4 which was a good deal I though. This scene used the package up quickly.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Waiting for a Crew

CNR 9403 is on the lead of a CV train that is destined for White River Junction on the White River Division.
The headlight is turned off on a Central Vermont train powered by a pair of CNR units. It is being held out of Bellows Crossing just short of the diamond. I recently spent some time on the scenery in this location. The foreground got some long static grass while the field to the left is refreshed with Woodland Scenery ground foam. The roadbed has been re-ballasted with Highball cinder ballast. The original ballast was Woodland's gray ballast...I never really liked the looks of that ballast...George Dutka

Sunday 21 December 2014

Snapshot - December 2014

The southbound Vermonter crosses the Duxbury trestle just north of Waterbury, Vt. on Oct. 5, 1998.
This weekend I seem to have picked up a flu bug of some sort, so I have stayed in sneezing and coughing while getting caught up on some print scanning that had been requested. I did not realize how many I have stacked up to copy and some I really wanted to do I can't find. Anyhow I thought I should share a couple that I really like of the Vermonter and Montrealer for this months Snapshot.

Photo Above
I was on my way home from a trip though Vermont in 1998 when I decided to do something different in regards to catching the Vermonter. I was at the Waterbury station earlier then the scheduled train time thinking it would be nice to catch the train somewhere different. I had seen photos taken on the Duxbury trestle a sort distance north of town but had never visited the site. I did have a detailed  Vermont atlas with me...so off I went. I found the trestle with time to find a good spot for a photo without too many trees in the way. I am guessing today one could not get much of a shot if all this greenery has growen up. As it turned out the roadway was on the wrong side for morning lighting of my shot, but I think my photo came out well enough. I need to make a trip back to this spot some day.

Photo Below
In 1994 I was in St. Albans taking photos of the yard, shop and station as the early morning Montrealer arrived. The train spends a bit of time in town as a crew change is made and the engine is fueled before leaving. I had enough time to get my shots and head out of town catching the Montrealer once again at another location. On this occasion I decided to try the East Alburgh trestle, the south end. There is a side road near the spot I was standing when I took this photo. This turned out to be a great place to leave my car well out of the way. I have returned to this location through the years...it maybe my favorite location in Northern Vermont....George Dutka

The northbound Montrealer heads out onto the trestle at East Alburgh, Vermont on June 10, 1994.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Hawker-Siddeley - CN Vans

This shot taken in the yard at White River Junction displays the opposite sides of these cabooses. CN 79249 on the left is the one I painted back in my younger days; CN 79257 on the right is a painted model I picked up at a train show.  This comparison shot really shows that I need to do some highlight work on the aluminum cupola window frames on the 79257! Peter Mumby.

Friday 19 December 2014

Woodchip Train 25th Anniversary

CN 78556 represents a wood van built by Pointe St. Charles shop forces in 1943.  The 1/87 version was built from a kit produced by Custom Trains of Dartmouth Nova Scotia.
Words by Peter Mumby...........Photos by George Dutka

With both of us fully retired now, George and I have been able to get together most weeks during the winter season to do a little collaborative model building.  This, however, is not an entirely new process - over the years we have been able to build rolling stock, write articles, and engage in railfan photography together on an irregular basis.

Several weeks ago we were reminiscing about a project that resulted in the construction of six woodchip cars.  These were based on cars converted by CN workers at Moncton from obsolete forty foot boxcars.
Roofs were removed and doors were welded shut to create a high-sided gondola suitable for carrying woodchips along the branch lines of New Brunswick and Northeastern Ontario.  Although we never witnessed these cars on their home turf, we were able to photograph them at home in London Ontario as they made their final trip to the local reclamation yard.

George and I decided it would be fun to reunite these six cars (plus three others I had acquired at a swap meet) for a photo session on his current layout.  Upon digging out our original slides of these models, we realized this would actually be a 25th anniversary woodchip train - so here's to models (and modellers) that have stood the test of time!

The following photos and captions will tell you more about this special train.  George will provide a separate post later dealing with the construction of the cars themselves.

The headend brakeman on Extra CN 9526 North takes advantage of a long inside curve to check back over his train of woodchip cars.  This GP40-2L was modelled after a unit constructed at London's General Motors Diesel Division plant in 1974.  The model consists of a Canadian Prototype Replicas cab grafted on to an early Atlas (Roco) GP40 body.  Today's modellers might scoff at the oversized handrails and the bizarre shape of the fuel tank, but in its day this was considered to be a top quality product.  This unit was built "back in the day" in conjunction with our mutual friend, Bob Hannah.
The 25th anniversary woodchip train has just crossed the White River bridge on its way to Bellows Falls. The second unit is an Athearn GR17 which is loaded with Juneco casting to emulate the CNR prototype.
On the tail end of 9526 North rides Hawker-Siddeley van 79249 (NE series 79200-79349) built in 1967 at Trenton Nova Scotia and Fort William Ontario.  These cars pre-dated the more numerous (and better-known) Pointe St. Charles cabooses built in the early 1970's.  This is a brass model that I painted about thirty years ago.
E-units in passenger service often tread these rails, but a six-axle freight locomotive is a rare visitor to the White River Division.  CN 5354 (a GF-30u SD40-2 of 1980) was based on an Athearn blue-box model detailed according to its as-built appearance.  Note the horn mounted on the bell hanger - and check out the lack of ditch lights!

Thursday 18 December 2014

Christmas Get-together

Peter's PanPastel display included a group of his recent weathered rolling stock. Peter Mumby photo.
On Tuesday Peter Mumby had his annual Christmas get-together. The gang that showed up was made up of a model RR group ( Peter belongs to two groups) and some RR friends. One of Peter's friend Don McQueen was able to make it this year. Unfortunately I could not attend, but Peter sent me a photo of a display he had set up for the guys to checkout, Pan Pastel tubs and his finished models. Some of these models we have covered last winter in this blog. Peter also does a great slide show using two slide projectors. It is always a treat to see what he has arranged. Peter is one of only a few in our area that still shoots a few slides...George Dutka

Tuesday 16 December 2014

WRD in Current Ambassador

CV 4547 heads a local including a CV milk car. The engine is a Front Range model I painted, lettered and detailed in the 1990's. The milk car is a newer Roundhouse product I reworked the ends to better follow the prototype. The covered bridge is scratch built emulating the Northfield Falls prototype. I also added the old station sign to my version just as it was decades ago. The farmhouse is slated for replacement with a more New England version. Have yet to decide if I will scratch build the house found at Northfield Falls or use a kit-bash.
The current issue of the Central Vermont Railway Historical Society, the Ambassador has a feature of my CV trains on the WRD. If you have seen the article and follow this blog you realize a lot has changed (almost everything) since I wrote this article. I actually sent that article into the Ambassador in 2010 and to the past editor. The article has finally surfaced and Stephen Horsley has done a really nice job presenting this material to the CVRHS membership. The reason I wrote the article was to comment on the WRD article found in the March 2009 MR. Lou Sassi back in 2007 took equal views of all the roads I model, but for some unknown reason the CV photos never made it into print. One CV photo Lou was extremely happy with and mentioned could make the MR cover. This photo I thought looked fantastic also and I wish I had a copy. As it turned out none of the CV photos made it into the feature. I think they just may have if Marty was still at MR. I am glad to see my CV photos from that 2009 era of the WRD in the current Ambassador...George Dutka

Sunday 14 December 2014

Hunterline - 50' Queen Post Bridge

The bridge displays ranged from N to O scale.
WOD Make and Take Workshop
Yesterday Don Janes, Peter Mumby and I attended the WOD (NMRA sub.) Make and Take workshop in Ingersoll, Ont. For Peter and I it was our second such workshop. This time we spent the day building a 50' Queen Post bridge supplied by Hunterline. Peter and I built the S scale version for use on our On30" modules while Don went for the HO scale model. Don built the 12' wide bridge to use as a car and tractor overpass. Peter and I built the 16' wide versions for our trains to cross over.

Rick Hunter and his wife Maureen talked us through the process saving us from reading much of the instructions. We also picked up a few tips along the way. All went well and by mid afternoon we had a 90% finished bridge. We all had some rod supports to add and more nut and bolt castings...a great day of modeling and catching up...George Dutka

The day began by distressing the wood and staining it our desired colours. They gave us each two bottles of stain for that purpose.
Peter is working on his side supports. Using wax paper over the drawings helped out with this.
Don is well underway on his HO scale bridge.
Here is mine prior to adding the metal supports. We all used different finishes on our models. Mine is mostly Hunterline Creosote black. The bridge ties did have a few darker ones added to resemble replaced ties.
Don, Peter and my bridges are seen at the end of the work day. There are still a few details to be added before they can be installed on the layout. We will show you them once completed.

Saturday 13 December 2014

Along the New Haven

Here's a little tid-bit that was passed along. This interesting little structure is next to the New Haven main at Devon, Ct. at the wye. What I found interesting about it is the scalloped metal siding. The structure measures 9 x 12....enjoy....George Dutka

Friday 12 December 2014

Modeling New Haven Boxcars

My two NH boxcars are seen heading through Bellows Crossing on the White River Division.
Peter Mumby and I are currently working on a NH 40' PS-1 boxcar. The motivation to begin such a project came from a photo Peter had of a similar car. We both liked the boxcar red colouring and neither of us had done a NH car with this great style of lettering, so why not duplicate one. We both found a CDS dry transfer that will work for this project. Since I had NH on the mind I decided to pull out my only two NH cars to date. Both are Branchline Yardmaster Series offerings from a few years ago. When assembled these cars look really good. I did as usual add a few extra details to both cars plus a good dose of powder and chalk weathering.

NH 36484
I assembled this kit in 2009 adding a few extra details. The main assembly is very easy with just the couplers being changed out with Kadee #58 true scale couplers. I carved off the grabs and used finer versions from my parts box. Cut levers are also added. The stirrups are thin so I left them alone. The car got a heavy coating of powders.

This boxcar I purchased and assembled in 2012. I used Kadee #58 true scale couplers. I added a wire bleed rod and bent wire uncoupling levers. The stirrups are also thin on this model so are left as is. The grab irons are shaved off and new ones I had on hand at the time are added. This car really stands out on the layout without weathering so a good dose of white and gray powders are added to dull it down a bit. 

These are two really sharp lookers for my era which find their way into my trains on regular basis...George Dutka

This photo is what motivated Peter and I to construct a model of a NH 40' PS-1.
I added a good dose of chalk and powder once I finished adding a few extra details to this Branchline model.
This is my other Branchline Yardmaster Series model. I really like the distinctive colouring on this model. It too got a wash of powders and chalk.

Sunday 7 December 2014

D&H Freight House

The old Whitehall, NY freight house as it looked in Oct. 2014. The rain had just stopped.
On our way home from Vermont my wife and I passed through Whitehall, NY on our way to Albany. Whitehall was a good size terminal of the D&H. Although the weather was not that great for photos I did take three. We needed a doggy time out anyhow. She had been sitting for a good amount of time by then. It is kind of neat to see the freight house in good shape still...George Dutka

As you can see by the sign today this is a tire shop.
This building is still in great shape thanks to Warren Tires.