Monday, October 26, 2015

XTRA 471

This post is something of a work in progress. This is one of the set of photos that inspired my "Williams Creek" bridge scene. It's been something of an ongoing project to identify each of the cars in this train with the idea of modeling them.
I've managed to ID most of them - but believe I may have misidentified the boxcar in the second photo partially obscured by the bush. At first look I saw the Roman style "L &" (all that's readable in the photo, though there is clearly another single letter after the "&") and figured this might be an Louisville & Nashville car, perhaps one of the L&N's rebuilt cars with "reverse" Murphy ends. This seemed entirely logical. L&N didn't have a huge boxcar fleet, but it was a fairly substantial one, and entirely likely to show up in a wayfreight in south-central New England.
But closer examination shows the car has a flat end and a pronounced seam at the top of the end creating the appearance of a triangle on the top of the end. I couldn't identify a class of L&N boxcars that looked like the rest of the car with that style end. One group of cars with this end were the 1932 ARA boxcars. But which of those would have "L &" as the reporting marks.
The true freight car experts already have the answer of course. And, after doing a little more digging this weekend I'm now of the opinion this is a much more rare (considering sheer numbers) Louisiana & Arkansas 1932 ARA boxcar. As built these cars had a block, almost Gothic style lettering with the roadname spelled out above the reporting marks.
This one doesn't have the roadname and the lettering is clearly Roman. Which means this is the second scheme these cars wore, with the "L&A" and car number to the left of the door and a Kansas City Southern herald to the right of the door. 
I know Atlas makes a 1932 ARA boxcar - and even made one in this scheme. 
Guess who can't find one of those anywhere??

Friday, October 16, 2015

Progress(?) Report

From this:





To This: 
Amazing how fast a model railroad comes apart! 
In what has become something of a Columbus Day tradition Stic came over yesterday to work on the layout. (We're both off on Columbus Day since it's a Federal holiday - our wives have to work... poor gals. But someone has to do it!)
I gave a few choices for the work session:

1. Get a start on one of the brick mills buildings for Everett
2. Finish up the background scenery in Everett just before the current north staging yard.
3. Fix the turnout that has always had issues at the north end of Waterbury.
4. And....

Well, long and short of it is we really continued the Columbus Day tradition and tore out a section of the layout. (Regular readers of this blog should not be surprised by this - it's been a long time coming!) 
By the time we were done the White River engine terminal was removed from the corner.  The WRJ station scene and south yard ladder are also down to bare plywood.
 We spent a little time "blocking" the various elements of the scene to see what goes where and what might or might not go. I've placed the station in the corner where the turntable had been and have been moving it, the coaling tower, and turntable around from time to time over the week and playing with some flextrack to see how the plan translates to reality.
Not entirely convinced at this point, but I'm coming around. - the building fits fine but the geometry of the track might be a little tricky. Perhaps I need to find a prototype scene for inspiration better suited to the space? 
Some sketches are in place for a smaller "satellite" yard based on Palmer, Mass., or even Bellows Falls or Brattleboro. Time will tell.
In the meantime this is really going to impact operating the layout since there's currently about 15 feet of plywood with no track between the south staging yard and the mainline....

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tree color mixes

From my "Modeling the October Scene" clinic that I presented at the Cocoa Beach RPM meet and again at the NMRA National in Portland, Ore.
Some of the color combinations I use to flock the fall trees. They are arranged by basic color group (green, red, etc…)
Left side shows the basic material I use. Then the color that's added as a "highlight" color. To the right you can see the result when combined. 
Note I do NOT "dunk" the tree armatures in the flocking material. I apply adhesive (usually thinned matte medium, though I've used hairspray in a pinch) and hold the tree upright and sprinkle the material from the top down. I don't try for 100% coverage - I try to let some of the fine branch tips remain bare to create the appearance of a tree that has changed color and shed some, but not all, of its leaves.