Thursday, May 20, 2010

A few diseasles. . .

It's wheat harvest time again, and 4464 and 4716 stand ready to continue their toil hauling the golden grain of the Northwest.

I know there's a certain segment* of the hobby committed to steam, and I have no problem with that. But I'm a child of the infernal combustion era, and to me, there's nothing better than walking through a loco depot filled with idiling locomotives, taking in their grime, their smell, their sounds. And while I've missed the era when varied 44's, 47's, 48's and occasional 49's all gathered at Narrabri West, it's certainly fun to try to recreate a time and place I never had a chance to visit.

Broadmeadow-based Goninian-Hitachi 4716 rolls by with a rake of RU's to shunt into the elevator siding. From photos on-line I've researched, these things really gunked up quite nicely, especially with oozing oil around the engine-room doors.

Not far behind, classic "world loco" 4464 departs with WHX in tow for the sub-terminal at Werris Creek.

Finally, it's 4914's turn to depart onto the Walgett line with empty open wagons for loading with cotton. The Clyde-GM branchliner, assigned to Parkes loco, is a somewhat unusual visitor this far north of Werris Creek. Where's the 48's? From the looks of things, somewhere in China!

*and you know who you are!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fruits of My Labors. . .

Goodwin-Alco 44203 leads grain train into Narrabri West. . . weathered with diluted acrylic colors, Isocol/ink wash, weathering powders, etc. I replaced the crude cast-on hoses on the pilots with brass castings and replaced the horns, all with Ozzy detail parts.

The weeds in the yard have had a few extra days to grow recently as I've been pretty dedicated to completing a reasonable number of NSWGR freight wagons and locos in time for this upcoming weekend's prototype modeling meet in nearby Keller.

All that's left are single 47, 44 and 49 class locos to weather, and I'll be ready to go.

So, would you like to see what a week's worth of weathering has brought to North of Narrabri? I'm guessing none of my readers will actually make the trip to Keller for the festivities, so feel free to click on the photo for a 1080p wide version.

FWH 32008. . . a PTC blue wagon, at least under the grime. The PTC blue quickly faded to light blue, then grey, but usually by then it was coated in a rusty orangey layer of dust, rust and wheat chaff.

NGBF 28734. . . a recent re-paint and re-code, this one hasn't had time to look like hell yet.

FWH 29009. . . rather restrained in weathering this one. That gunmetal grey sure aged well, far better than the PTC blue or SRA maroon.

WTY 36035. . . you've already probably read about these on the blog. This one was only given a isocol/india ink wash to give it that slightly-used look. . .

WTY 36129. . .this and the other two WTY's were given the isocol/ink wash as well as weathering chalks to bring up the weld seams dusted with "wheat dust."

WTY 35932. . .

WTY 36105. . .

WHX 30515. . .now weathered. Isocol/india ink wash, dry brushing of some rust, weathering chalks for wheat dust, used on all four of the WHX's. If I modeled a few years later, I'd have to add lots of grafitti, too!

WHX 30530. . .

WHX 30664. . .

NVFF 31793. . . the guard vans seemed to all end up with a blotchy, grimy roof, so this was a mix of sprayed-on acrylic washes and the reliable Isocol/ink wash.

Four RU's. . .I've got 17 of these ultimately to weather, so I didn't want to go too deep into it, but the isocol/ink wash, followed by several sprayed washes of grime and rust, followed by thicker brushed on washes of cheap "hobby acrylics" thinned in isocol built up depth in the weathering and was relatively quick and easy to do. . .

. . and while I didn't do this with any of these, yet, I do want to further explore the cool "alcohol white-out" that occurs when you apply a wash of rubbing alcohol over a car given a coat of Testor's spray Dullcoat--also called the Dullcoat Fade. It leaves a blotchy, quite realistic powdery-looking faded paint job.

CHG 9151. . .guess it still needs air lines added. I was tempted to really go hog-wild with aging up this fine Eureka model to more closely match the patched-up-in-plywood version illustrated in the Beckhaus' 1982 book. It's still an option!

FWH 28962. . .one more! This one, a bit more rusty. I should really fade out some of these cars and nearly remove the NSWGR lettering, don't you think?

GLX 29487. . . another case in which it's tough to tell this one's painted in PTC blue. Based on a photo I recieved of a similar dusty, rusty car in Lithgow. The roof was oversprayed in a lighter, faded shade of blue to reflect the effect of Australian sunlight.

GLX 29485. . . same weathering principles as the blue car. These sure seemed to rust up around the doors.

BDX 25395. . . AR Kits build up inspired by a photo supplied by Al Cutmore. I love the Rhombus loco!

K 23415. . . rather half-assed ink-wash and weathering powder attempt. Too red, but that's easy to fix. With a sawed-in-half Chooch gondola load. Hey, $7.95 gives you two castings, enough for 2 K trucks and a couple of S wagons worth of loads. Figure my pastoralists in the NW need lots of fencing wire!

GHG 39092. . .with the "arrows of indecision" logo, cried out of a grimy wash treatment, with a dusting of "earth" on the running gear.

* * * *

This isn't a finished scene, but it's in keeping with my "quick and dirty mockup" of future photographic scenes on the layout I tend to throw together when I finish a push of construction on the layout. Here we've got the trashed-out and abandoned VW Beetle dumped in the (imagined) Namoi River as a grain load behind a Jumbo departs for Werris Creek.

How do those gum trees look? I didn't build them, and they're not Auscision. The could've been Auscision, I guess, since i'd been hot to shell out big overseas bucks to stock up on their trees since Auscision announced they were in stock on their website. In stock, but no price information for several months. So I waited until the official information was released. . .and in the meantime, stumbled onto a big display of a great variety of trees in my local hobby shop the other day. The gums pictured are from JTT Scenery Products, of Garden Grove, California. I thought they might be manufactured in the US, but apparently these are "imported exclusively in the USA by Model Rectifier Company," according to the box. I'm guessing they're from China (perhaps the same factory Auscision's trees come from?). Their prices (US) are comparable to Auscision; an 8" gum (c.180mm) goes for $16.00 vs. Auscision's 200mm gum from between $18.95 and 21.95. JTT's 6" gum is $12.95; Auscision's medium or small gum trees (100mm) are around $15.95. The Auscision trees appear to have nicer detail on the trunk, and the range of Auscision trees available is truly breathtaking. I don't know what the hell an AM10286 is, but it's a cool tree and I'll probably find a way to get at least one!

While I no doubt will be purchasing several Auscision trees for foreground duty on the railway, I'll be buying the JTT products whenever I see them in the store for medium or distant use.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Here's the WHX's. . .

WHX 30515 sports faded NSWGR initials and a fresh patch with new car data applied.

So, that's done, anyway. The four AR Kits WHX's are now out of the paint and decaling process and have had some detail painting done; last steps are application of road grime and adding truck washers, etc., to get them to coupler height standards.

I'm very happy with how they turned out, despite early trepedation in getting started with this project. I don't think I'm going to want to go back and do the final six on the roster anytime soon, however. . .

The color, I thought, came out pretty good. No written-in-stone formula here, it's all a trial-and-error approach. This is what I mixed:
  • start with a base of Model Master Schwarzgrun RLM 70 Acrylic
  • add a bit of Polly S Grimy Black
  • lighten a bit with Polly S Undercoat Lt. Gray
  • add a dab of Polly S Rust
  • add any of the above to suit your taste
The final color under fluorescent light captures the slightly bronzy grey shade of highly-aged Aluminum metal.

After applying this base coat (which is now in a bottle marked "WHX Grey"), I gave a few very light, diluted wash sprays (highly thinned at low PSI) with the above Rust and Grimy Black. Afterwards, I drybrushed more rust to the car end platforms (where water tended to collect) and to the brake gear on these platforms. This will be toned down a bit with the final weathering.

In my many years of modeling, the finished result and sense of accomplishment in these four models are among my favorites (right up there with a near-scratchbuilt Great Northern outside post 50' boxcars from a few years ago). Doing something like this, while frustrating at time, really was a learning process as well as a motivator to continue further with my models. That in itself made it a great investment in hobby time.

A big tip of the hat to Kieran Ryan, whose etched-brass detail kit makes this car look that much better, and Andreas Keller, whose own WHX project served as a basis and inspiration for this one.

Now, nine days left to get a bunch of weathering of other rolling stock done!

Down-on view of the brake end of the WHX 30515. All that stuff on the car deck, while a real bitch to fabricate, sure looks nice, doesn't it?

And here's the ladder-end of the WHX 30664. I'd thought that Kieran Ryan ladder would be a beast to assemble, but it was one of the easiest parts of constructing this model!

A-end coupled to B-end. These will fit right in with the other high-end detail cars on the layout from Auscision, Train-O-Rama and Austrains.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Next stop, paint booth. . .

Here's the "busy end" of the WHX. Click on image for full-sized version. . .

All I can say is this: I won't complain about Auscision or Austrains charging $50 for an R-T-R car again.

For until you've slaved with optivisor, teensy wire, bits of white plastic forms, tiny drill bits, balky (in comparison) tweezers and used a steady hand with the soldering iron to hit a very small spot of brass instead of the much-larger plastic area next to it--all to add the brake rigging on an AR Kits WHX grain hopper--well, stopping that God Damned oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico seems like kid's play in comparison.

I figure I have around 6 hours per car of detail work invested in these four WHX's, and there's another six on the layout that haven't been so detailed, merely given the "basic" assembly (and that's perhaps 2 hours a car there). So, 8 hours of labour per car, and I haven't even painted, decaled or weathered them yet.

That Ready-To-Run car from China is looking like a pretty damned good deal, now, isn't it?

This was a bit more intense than I had hoped for, but after it was all done, i looked at those brake decks and thought, did I really do all that?

Painting is next, and then I'll upload a few more shots of these cars. They do match up well in detail with the Auscision WTY's, but it was a hard road getting there.