Thursday, February 21, 2013

Painting and Installing Corrugated Roofing

The Berry Machine Shop has been sitting on my modeling desk for several weeks untouched. But, with the layout running it was time to turn my attention to it again.
Perhaps the trickiest model roofing materials to work with are the formed metal sheets such as those offered by Campbell, Model Memories, and Builders in Scale. Out of the package this stuff is almost unusable since it’s too shiny and clean. You can chemically etch it with something like Archer Etchant, but frankly it’s a difficult to control process – and a vat of acid is not really all that welcome in our home.  
While it’s easy enough to paint the material, due to the nature of the material it seems to easily subject to chipping and flaking, leaving shiny silver spots on your otherwise weathered metal.  
Here’s the approach I’ve used with success on the Berry Machine main building roof. I started by painting the corrugated metal with ordinary spray can automotive primer gray. Let this dry completely – a couple of days at least.
Then I colored the panels by brushing on a combination of Raw Umber, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, White, and Black artist’s oil paints. 
A little paint goes a long way. I thinned the paint slightly (just enough to get it to brush evenly) with Odorless Mineral Spirits. I tried to get it to shift from light to dark across the width of the corrugated material, but frankly didn’t worry about getting the colors from one piece to another, or even along one piece, to match. Again, set this aside to dry completely for a couple of days. It looks pretty bad at this stage. 
Before cutting the material into 4-foot widths, I sprayed the pieces with Testor’s Dullcote. This sealed the roofing and also prepared it for the next step.
I cut the pieces into 4-foot wide strips. 

 Installing the corrugated roofing
Installation was pretty straightforward. I drew guidelines on the roof at the approximate location of the top of each row of corrugated panels. Then I applied double-sided tape to the roof. Installation was a simple as lining up the edge of the panel with the edge of the roof and pressing down. After I worked my way up both sides of the roof, I added a ridge cap fashioned from strips cut from the corrugated panels.
Once the panels were installed, I applied a wash of thinned Polly Scale Tarnished Black, Grimy Black, and Railroad Tie Brown to each of the roof panels. Then, as a final touch, I dusted the roof with with powdered pastel chalks. The completed roof, which may get another touch up of chalk once the building is installed on the layout, is shown above. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

First Run - Extra 489 South

After the seemingly endless task of soldering feeders to track, connecting feeders to buss wires, and testing the connections by running a locomotive back and forth after each connection (it may seem unnecessary, but that's the process I use - I find wiring is best done methodically!) I completed all the connections early this afternoon. 
It was time for a test run. The first run was a solo locomotive and was full of peril - lots of dirt spots on the track, the occasional misaligned turnout, and obstructions on the right-of-way in the form of tools and bits of wire. 
With that first run complete, I decided to try running a train - 
So I fired up one of the SNE 2-8-0s (the first one I reached in the display case). The train had no orders, and there were no scheduled trains to meet, (easy to determine, since there's no timetable yet!).  Starting at the north end staging yard, Extra 489 South arrived in White River Junction yard without incident. This was after several nights of "Tweaking" the wiring and trackwork. Was I happy? Even my toes were smiling! 
I couldn't help but take a photo to commemorate the occasion. 
Sister 2-8-0 483 is standing by under the coaling tower to continue south with the train. Canadian National F7 9062 will head north sometime later this evening. 
All in all, a good day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Updated Track Plan

Thanks to Bernie Kempinski's skills with Illustrator we're able to present this first look at the "as built" track plan for my Central Vermont. Obviously, the White River Junction and south staging portions of the drawing are not complete. 
For fun, compare this to the "draft" track plan that was one of the first posts on this blog. Although some things have changed, most notably the addition of White River Junction and moving Essex from one side of the railroad to the other, the basic plan has been unchanged.
Lesson learned - Don't wait until you have the "perfect design" to begin construction. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy...and no model railroad is ever built precisely to the original drawing.