The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Casting coal loads for Lionel and S-C hoppers

Back a few months ago I made a mold of a good coal load (made in a more traditional manner, described here), and from that made a number of good copies of the load, which will fit in Scale-Craft or Lionel hoppers as they are very nearly the same size.

This was a good simple project, and actually the only time I have made an open top mold. I just set the part on top of my standard molding clay base with the metal fences around it and poured. The material went down in some holes in the load and broke off, as seen in the original.

I was making some other parts around that time, so what I did was cast a load with each batch of parts. Finally, recently I was painting gloss black and used the final remnants of the spray can to finish up the castings. I think they came out well.

I don’t have any extras now, but the next time I’m casting parts in resin I’ll make more, it is nice to have a casting that comes out well every time!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

On finishing the details

With the finish of the GP20 (here), there were details I added to that unit that were lacking on other engines.

It was not like I never noticed they were not there, but when I got them almost done it seemed good enough. But seeing them on the GP20 was eye opening, motivated also by some other reading that passed through my blog reader. I follow Modeling the SP, and this post, “There should be something there,” resonated with me and my overall level of detailing. I'm not actually looking for super detail, but there are details that you need to see, they should be there. Even if they are slightly wrong, the eye does not notice this as long as something is there.

The key detail I was noticing was the number boards and also the "F" lettering designating the front of the locomotive. On the Schorr RS2, there are number boards that were blank, but I had vintage Walthers decals that would do the job if cut up and applied right. I should have put those numbers on when I built the engine, and with them there now it is such a good look.

In progress today are these modern diesels, "finished" in 2016 (more here). The U23B had no rear number boards, but I used those same decals to make something that totally looks fine to the eye. The big SD's have number boards, but they are to my eye too short and wide. Again, I used the decals to solve the problem.

The cab ends of these models will get a different approach, I have (as I did on the GP20) painted the number boards carefully with black paint and will add the numbers in white.

Other models have had other minor details added and updated, painting issues that were never finished and the like. I've been also working on some big projects, almost done, but these little projects keep me going forward too and are a nice change of pace.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Shapeways GP20 for the MQS

Following up on my post of a month ago, the GP20, a 3D printed model from Shapeways, is done.

When I was originally thinking of this model I was hoping to go big and letter it for the Santa Fe, but looking at the model and my needs, I shifted it toward my 1980s era MQS (Madison-Quincy-Southern) shortline. It was a shortline concept I originally worked on in HO when I was in high school, and adding this engine to the roster gives me a very nice group for the MQS -- two end cab switchers (more here), a SD24 (more here), and a GP20. I had just enough paint (green in honor of the Verdigris River, alongside of which the MQS would run) and decals to complete it as part of the group of engines.

All of the engines got a bit of attention in the decal and paint department, and the SD24 got a bit of extra attention in this process too, as also seen in the photo -- I added the missing rear headlight (from a Tyco GP20 shell) and also rear number boards. They are actually just created with decals (including a black background decal) but the effect is pretty solid, and those same type of number boards are on the rear of the GP20. The front number board area I carefully painted black prior to adding the number decals.

In the prior post I had the GP20 on Kemtron trucks, but I opted to change them out and use Schorr trucks, saving the Kemtrons for another project someday. The Schorr trucks are heavy and large, but the weight was good with this being a dummy locomotive, and the heavy/low detail matches the Shapeways 3D printing.

Which gets at the negative of these models, all of them have a grainy finish and low detail. Painting this model and the FA with Mr. Surfacer as a primer helped somewhat, but not as much as hoped. I got closest to fixing the issue with the Alco FA model that is still in progress, I'll have more on that when it is done.

My original post introducing the Shapeways GP20 is here. I don't know if I'm the only person crazy enough to buy one of these in 1/76, but it did turn out nicely if you can accept the low detail.