Saturday 31 January 2015

Rolling through the Pumpkin Patch

A contemporary Central Vermont freight passes between two pumpkin patches found along the White River Division during my always sunny in fall season. You will never see snow around here.
I recently spent some time finishing my new pumpkin patch between the main line and the spur. To add some  additional interest for this photo shoot I added my old pumpkin and barn scene which was once part of the WRD  at the approach to White River Junction. One never knows were this diorama will turn up...George Dutka

Friday 30 January 2015

CNR Woodchip Cars - Models

A string of CNR woodchip cars are seen along the White River Division.
Guess it is about time I do a follow up to the photo-op Peter and I held with our CNR woodchip cars. It is now 25 years since Peter and I co-authored the woodchip car article. It was published in the July 1990 issue of RMC. Back in those days our weekly work evenings did not happen as regularly as our current work afternoons. We built our woodchip cars assembly style. The article tells the whole story but I thought I could touch on the highlights. The photos tells one the rest of the story.

We began the project with Front Range boxcars which came with separate roofs. We modeled both the welded side and riveted side cars. All had 6' doors or openings. There are three versions of the doors used. Welded panels, 6 foot car doors and hinged welded panels with cross-braces.  Since I worked for the CNR and these cars showing up back then on a regular basis I was able to get all the measurements we needed while at work. The extension heights ranged from 20" to 24". Some had no extension at all. Trap doors are 29" square with 2" trim. The corner pockets are 8" by 24". A set of car plans was included in our article.

Currently one can follow on the Hedley Junction blog a group of CN woodchip cars being built...George Dutka

CN 856811 had a swinging door with braces. It had a lower top extension. CN856034 had a welded panel doorway and a 24" extension. Both cars have riveted sides. We used photos to locate the clean-out trap doors. Not all cars had these. The main lettering was done with CDS dry transfers.
CNR 857494 is a riveted side car with 24" extensions and a welded door with a trap in the door without trim. CN 858297 is a welded side car with no extension added. This cars had steel bracing the length of the car and a welded door with a clean out trap off to the side.
CNR 856352 has riveted sided with a 6' car door. The clean out trap is off to the side of the door. The car has a 24" extension. No corner pockets on this car.
Here we have a better look at CN 858297 with welded sides and no extension. Some cars had corner pockets painted yellow. This car did not have any.
And with this last look we see our woodchip train depart the White River Division with a variety of cars.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Big E - Road Trip

My friend Andy Greenlees standing out front of the Waterbury, Vermont station. Andy is also a CNR engineman who retired about 6 months ago. We have worked together and have been good friends for decades. We got some Green Mountain coffee here and also a view of the Vermonter.
On Monday I got home from a week long road trip to New England with my friend Andy. Originally I was going to meet up with Andy and Gary at the Springfield Train show but as it turned out Gary could not make it and I became the tag along on a trip through Northern Vermont, NH and into Maine including LL Bean. We dropped in to view Jim Dufour's B&M layout and supper with a gang I had not seen in a few years. We spent the day after the show up in East Deerfield, Brattleboro and across to Bennington. We hightailed home on Monday ahead of the storm. A great time away, thanks Andy. Now that I am at home with a new lot of kits in stock I better get building again...Oh forgot I am heading to Florida shorty for a few weeks of heat in the Keys...think the kits may have to wait...more on that later....George Dutka

Gary could not make it to the show this year but Andy did pick up this N scale roundhouse for him.
BEST Models had this interesting poster as handouts.
If you have been to the Big E you probably have run across Scenic Express display conductor that never seems to stop moving.
One of several BarMills displays.
A stop by East Deerfield on a sunny Sunday morning. Nothing happening at the moment but I did get a view of the shop track from the railroad bridge. Note the B&M heritage engine in the background.
I think this home in Bennington Vt. could make a really nice kit.

Monday 26 January 2015

VectorCut - Update

O scale tool kit...I wonder how well those paint brushes work. The also have these in HO scale.
Earlier this month Peter and I discussed VectorCut details. I was not sure if they had O scale details and as it turns out the link in my last post takes you to the O scale portion of their web site. I had not looked at the large scale details but I must say I am impressed....George Dutka

Guess we can now add switch locks to our O scale switchstands...don't forget to give your train crews their keys which are also supplied. It sure would mess up an operating session if they can't get the locks open.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Snapshot - January 2015

A Sunday morning stopover at PanAm's west end interchange location we find a pair of layover power next to the yard office. This is June 1, 2014.
 Rotterdam Junction, NY
On our way home last spring from New England Don Janes and I stopped by Rotterdam Junction for a quick peek. We normally follow the tracks out from there to Amsterdam then back on the freeway. We normally will find something interesting to photograph. This time most of our views would be in Amsterdam but we did take a few photos from the roadway near the old B&M yard and office. On this day we found Norfolk Southern layover power sitting out front. We dare not venture in for a better view. I did find this scraggly tree all alone that helped frame my otherwise dull view...George Dutka

Friday 23 January 2015

What's in the box No. 11

Both sheds are similar but different in windows and door locations...more of a mirror image of each other.
I picked this two in one Bar Mills kit at Collinsville Ct. this spring. I plan to use one shed at the marble quarry and the other near the Westboro roundhouse addition. They appear to be a very simple build...George Dutka

For a small kit there was a nice group of metal details and colour signage's included.
One of my sheds will have B&M colours on it.

Sunday 18 January 2015

CV Cattle Guard Barricade

John's finished model is set on his working drawing made from a photo found in Central Vermont in Color.
Photos by John Hajnosz
John Hajnosz built a really nice looking cattle guard barricade used on the Central Vermont Southern Division. John used a Dave Bartlett photo found in Central Vermont in Color which views a double headed freight approaching Route 63 in Leverett during 1956...the photos tell the story...George Dutka

The model is set on the Leverett, Mass. prototype photo. The overall length end to end including the end overhangs is 4.25". The outside dimensions post to  post is 3.50". The inside barricade spacing post to post is 1".  The height of his barricade is .75" length of posts are 1.50" which can be lengthened to place the guard into a foam base. The posts are 1/8 square and the bracing is.0208 x.0625 Midwest scale lumber.
John has placed his guard at the end of a roadway to give us a good look at his model.
The CV guard has been masked so the black stripes can be added.

Saturday 17 January 2015

Sylvan Kits - Update

I glued and clamped a piece of Gatorfoam to the roofing underside the other day. Will be interesting to see how straight it is in a day or two.
Don Janes has actually built several Sylvan rolling stock kits. A little while back we discussed the rolling stock parts offered by Sylvan which Don did not have an details about. He had actually built some cabooses and rolling stock kits in the past. Don believes the freight car kits were one piece bodied and of not too bad quality when built.  The CNR wood caboose he built was for Lou Sassi and  2 steel cabooses for gifts for retiring UTU officers in Sarnia. These were mounted on wood bases.  He remembers they were a lot of work. When checking out Peters stock this week he did have some one piece kits. One in particular was a CPR plywood caboose which had also warped. Guess what I am trying to pass along to you is if you are to purchase a Sylvan kit, it might be best to look in the box and see what you are getting still can find some good ones...George Dutka 

Sylvan Scale Models - Rolling Stock Kits

If you look at the roof and under body you can see the warps that have to be corrected before proceeding with the assembly.
This post began with an e-mail from CVRHS Ambassador editor Stephen Horsley regarding a Sylvan Scale Model CPR boxcar kit. I am not sure why, but I never looked closely at Clare's rolling stock even though I have built many of his structures. I touched base with both Peter Mumby and Don Janes and surprisingly enough neither have built any Sylvan rolling stock kits either. I was over at Peter's for this weeks work session when we got on the topic of Sylvan kits once again. Peter being in the model railroad hobby business pulled out a box of Sylvan kits he had picked up and set aside over the years at shows. Mostly all CNR and CPR caboose. We opened some of the boxes to see what they looked like. As it turned out most of the boxes had warped under body, car sides and roofing. These kits are from decades ago. Peter gave me a CNR caboose to take home and see what I could come up with. Thinking the two of us might be building our first Sylvan kit shortly....and once again this kit falls into my modern era fleet....will see were this all leads...Oh by the way Sylvan is out of the rolling stock business these days...George Dutka

Unfortunately all main components are badly warped and will need some heavy bracing, gluing and clamping.
The CNR caboose kit includes a lot of really nice casting.

Friday 16 January 2015

Modeling Waterbury, Vermont

John's Waterbury scene is coming along well. The three signature structures that make up the Waterbury scene are all seen here.
The Central Vermont Ry. in Waterbury Vermont - HO Scale
Photos by John Hajnosz
John Hajnosz has shared some of his fine Central Vermont Ry. modeling with me. One of the scenes he is deep into modeling is Waterbury, Vermont. He is doing a great job with this scene. John was at the CVRHS 2008 convention at Waterbury and decided to change out Stafford Springs for Waterbury on his layout with hopes that Bernie of Alkem models would produce a kit of the station. As it turned out that never came to be. For a while John used a Swanton kit station model as a prop till the plans of the Waterbury station became available through the CVRHS Ambassador and also in Model Railroader. An exact model could now be built. Last year John took the plans to a local laser cutter who made him a single kit of the station which turned out to be pricey. When you only need one what can one do. The kit turned out very well. It is now built other than the roofing still needs to be applied.

John has done a great job building the two large structures that once stood across from the Waterbury station. He also completed the creamery found south of the station...George Dutka

The Waterbury station is almost complete made from a one only laser kit.
The roofing still needs to be added to the station.
A close-up view.
Looking south into the Waterbury scene.
John built the Whiting Creamery which once stood at the south end of town. He used a photo found in my Waterbury creameries article found in the CVRHS Ambassador Vol. 10 No 2.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

CNR True Line Trains Reefer - Another Look

After posting the photos of the CNR True Line Trains reefer I thought one could not see the box added to the underneath of our cars. So here is a straight on view. We used Branchline passenger car leftovers for the box and a link of ladder stock as the angle bracing that secures it. Think they look a lot like what was on the prototype...George

Sunday 11 January 2015

Hunterline Queen Post Bridge Kit

These two S scale models will work with our On30" trains. Peters bridge is on the right and mine on the left. We both used different stains.
Peter and I finished our Hunterline bridges a little while back. Thought I would share a few photos of the finished project. I will be post more about installing it on my narrow gauge blog as work progresses...George Dutka

Looking down. On my bridge on the left one can note some ties are darker than others. I modeled these as new ones that had been replaced.
Some powder and chalk weathering was added to the rods and bolt and plate castings.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Scenic Express - Supertrees

Over the last few days I have been adding some better looking foreground trees to the WRD. Here we see my first ever Supertree. My second attempt is seen behind the Petersburg station. It turns out they are a lot easier to make than one would think.
If you follow Marty McGuirk's Central Vermont Railway blog he has been working and posting about his scenery lately. His photos gives one a good look at his really nice looking trees. Marty's work has motivated me to get going on replacing some of my own foreground trees with Supertrees. I do have some nice goldenrod trees up front, but have put off adding better looking realistic trees for years. I purchased a Scenic Express Supertree starter kit a couple of years ago. Not sure why it has taken me this long to get it open and in use. The products included in this kit gives me a cost effective way to get all the stuff I would need over the long run to build some good looking trees. I did purchase some extra leaf flocking to get the colour I wanted. The kit comes with limited limbs. I will have to purchase additional Supertree limbs that come in big bags at some point.

Currently my layout has way too many trees to count. For the amount of trees I needed to build cost-wise Supertrees was not an option. For background one does not need detailed trees, just lots of trees to emulate New England. I have tried to keep the background simple and non-detailed so the foreground details and trains pops out. I began with sky blue on the wall than distant gray hills painted on followed by Masonite mountain flats painted green and covered in ground foam. I then planted thousands of small tree made from goldenrod covered in green paint and Woodland ground foam. In the mix is about 8-9 hundred N scale evergreen trees. Foreground trees are the better and bigger goldenrod trees with a few dollar store Christmas Evergreens painted and covered in ground foam. The background trees took a full modeling season (all winter long) to build. Everything else for that season was put on hold while I got my trees planted. I am sure glad that is over with...guess that's why it took so long to open the Supertrees box...George

A Supertree is added to the front edge of the layout, replacing one made from goldenrod. I will be adding a second one here but with much more green in the mix.
Here we see almost everything that is included in the Supertrees starter kit. The four tweezers are actually being put to work at the time the photo was taken. If one was to purchase all the items needed to get going building trees it would cost twice the price of the kit. The Supertrees included was enough to plant about 12 really nice large trees and over a dozen smaller ones. There are lots of leftovers for shrubs. I barely put a dent into the flocking included and I have enough matte medium for hundreds of future trees.
I have been using two tones of Noch leaf flocking from Scenic Express for fall foliage. Don Janes and I actually split on two shakers so that is why one colour is in a baggy. The two colours we are using for our brighter fall foliage trees are those suggested by Marty McGuirk,  NH07156 Autumn Orange and NH07157 Harvest Red. I can't see myself having to buy any more flocking for years with these two packages and what was included in the starter kit.
I added this good looking Supertree out back of the Westboro sandhouse. It is in full foliage colour using two shades of Noch flocking.

Friday 9 January 2015

CNR Reefers - True Line Trains

 Modelling with Cast-offs
Words by Peter Mumby...........Images by George Dutka

True Line Trains has produced some beautiful 1:87 models of Canadian prototype rolling stock - witness their CN/CP wood cabooses, slab side covered hoppers, 40' box cars with proper Canadian ladders and NSC ends, and CN/CP 8-hatch steel-sided refrigerator cars.  Quality control, however, has periodically been an issue for the company.  The CN Northerns looked great, but arrived in barely-operable condition.  Some cars have been shipped without couplers.  The CN reefers in the "noodle" scheme arrived in a grey colour instead of the correct aluminum finish.  I guess quality control is difficult when the factory is half a world away from head office.

The focus of this post is the CN refrigerator cars.  True Scale recognized the colour problem and offered supplementary shells in the proper aluminum finish, leaving early purchasers with one complete car and one off-colour shell.  I ended up with four of the shells and George and I decided they were too nicely detailed to discard.  They represented a unique Canadian prototype (built 1945-1958).  Because the brine solution carried in overhead bunkers was hard on the finish of these cars, they developed interesting weathering patterns.  Many of them were repainted by the early 1960's, making them some of the earliest cars completed in the bilingual CN (as opposed to the unilingual CNR) scheme.  We found fine reference photos in two books; Canadian Rail Car Pictorial, Volume Six, by Richard Yaremko and Canadian National Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, Volume Two, by John Riddell.  Since the weathered cars were close to grey in appearance, we decided we could turn these "cast-off" shells into cars that would look decent on the layout or display shelf.  We'll list the steps we followed in this project and show you a few reference photos.

This photo shows the complete (corrected) True Line model at the top and the grey "cast-off" shell at the bottom.
Here you can see the exquisitely detailed True Line underbody.  Our home made versions are functional, but definitely fit in the "good enough" category.

1.  New floors were cut from styrene stock.  This thin material was reinforced at the spots where trucks and couplers would be mounted. We also added stick on weights near the trucks supports.
2.  Floor supports were cut from heavier styrene stock and cemented to the interior of the car sides.
3.  Under frames from old Athearn boxcars (with coupler boxes removed) provided minimal detail for the underside of the car, and provided bolsters for truck mounting.
4.  Kadee couplers were mounted in their proper boxes.
5.  Holes were drilled and tapped for truck and coupler fastening.
6.  Under slung charcoal heaters were represented by styrene boxes designed for passenger car under bodies.
7.  Pieces of ladder stock were modified to represent the mounting brackets for the aforementioned heaters.
8.  The shells were applied to these new floors.
9.  Out came the weathering powders, and before you knew it, we had four "good enough" models of CN 8-hatch refrigerator cars.

The styrene floor has been cut and the mounting blocks have been applied to the shell's interior.
Weathering powders are now being applied to one of the cars.  George assures me that was only apple juice in those glasses.  So why did I end up with more weathering powder on my pants than on my car?
These photos show our cars against the backdrop of our Richard Yaremko reference book.
Here the cars are on the layout, rolling towards connections at White River Junction.