Saturday, July 21, 2018

Weathered Grain Hoppers

The first batch of grain hopper is now officially weathered. Many techniques were used, including oil and acrylic paints, washes, fading, color modulation, chalks, color pencils and weathering powders.

All cars were weathered according to prototype pictures circa 2006-2008 and graffiti were hand drawn using color pencils.

Most cars are a mix of old Athearn Blue Box kits, Accurail and Intermountain. The weathering was intended to blend together the cars, thus narrowing the huge difference in detailing.

Another batch of hoppers is ready to meet its fate. At the end of the day, about 25 cars will have to be weathered. As a starting point, I'm doing the rib-sided cars first, keeping the smooth-sided ones for later.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Refining the Track Plan

Last Friday could be considered a fruitless evening because we didn't permanently attach track, however, it would be a preposterous claim in fact.

It was an occasion to set tracks on the benchwork in their planned location and see if things could be improved from a visual perspective but also for operation. Sometimes you move a track half an inch and get a totally different result.

It was also a good occasion to decide where and how the structures would be. The feedmill will be framed on the layout in such a fashion we will be able to include the very photogenic 1950s store brick facade. A few houses will also be scratchbuilt to better grasp the feeling of a small rural town in Southern Quebec.

The next step will be to fix permanently the tracks and tackle the Central Valley double span truss bridge that is quite a challenge in itself. Bridge piers and abutments will probably be 3D printed according to prototype.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Ready For Track Laying

Since the St-Pie layout is a summer building effort, we have to make decent steps forward to ensure the project move along. One such step was gluing down cork sheet on the plywood to create a suitable roadbed for track laying.

In real life, terrain in St-Pie is extremely flat, so we decided to install the cork all over the place. Small variations in topography will be done later by using some putty or universal mud or anything suitable.

Cork and new light fixtures.

This step is also important because from now, Jérôme can work by himself at his own pace. He's our master track layer on the club layout and I certainly expect he will do a good job.

Interestingly enough, Jérôme wants to nail down the track instead of gluing it. He has often advocated for this in the past. Nailing track is no longer considered "professional" nowadays with everybody gluing the track down. While it is debatable, his opinion is you should never permanently glue your tracks before having operated the layout for a while to trouble shoot your work and see if the planned design is really up to the task. It may be a matter of moving a turnout one inch or two to get better results or simply realign a siding a little bit for clearance. Once everything has been worked out, you can glue and ballast the track... or simply keep the nails there if it doesn't bother you that much.

I'm most admit I'm pretty curious to see how operating such a minimalist layout will turn out. We really went on a limb with this one and I hope it can project long lasting interest for an operator.