Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Prototype Pic of the Day #16

MHWA Alco C425 #805 | Image courtesy of Tim Stockwell via RailPictures.net
Continuing with the Alco theme, today's picture features another C425. This one is from Rome, NY and features Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern (MHWA) #805 on a very interesting bridge. I have not seen anything like this before. I've seen plenty of tracks share the street or run right alongside it, but never sharing the same bridge. Looks like there is just enough room on there to fit one car next to the train.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Prototype Pic of the Day #15

Morristown & Erie Alco C424 #19 | Image courtesy of Steve Zachowski via RailPictures.net
While the Detroit & Mackinac Alco C425's are probably my favorite locomotives, I've been looking on RailPictures.net a lot lately and have to say there are some other great looking Alco's out there. Today's picture has one of these along with a unique type of location that you don't see all that often. This Morristown & Erie train is shown running between buildings in New Jersey. That would be a great place to get an up close look at one of these awesome machines.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Track and Scenery Mock-Up for the Office Shelf Layout

Mock-ups are something that has become pretty common with my office shelf layout project. I've already done three for various structures and now I have one more to add to the list. This time I decided to mock up a section of track that would allow me to practice some techniques for a few things to be included on the layout.

The main goal for this mini project is to mock up the interface between the track and the paved areas. I've been tinkering with a few ideas and I think I've settled on leaving the track at a lower level and raising the paved areas to meet the top of the rails. I plan on modeling the paved areas with sheet styrene, so all I needed to do was find a proper material to raise the styrene off the surface just enough. That turned out to be N-scale cork. The other goal for this mini project is to try out some scenery techniques like applying fine turf in place of a grass sheet, track painting, and more ballasting. Below is a look at what I mocked up to get the height of the paved areas, loading dock, and track all correct relative to one another.

Mocking up the elevation of paved areas for the layout
Once I had that determined the next step was finding a small scrap piece of wood to use as a base for the mockup. That was pretty easy since I have a bunch of scrap boards laying around in the basement right now. I then took a couple of pieces of snap track that I already had painted and laid them in place. 

Starting to lay the track down.
Rather than waste perfectly good pieces of cork and styrene, I turned to old cereal boxes again and mocked up both by gluing layers together until reaching the proper thicknesses. I ended up gluing together five layers of cardboard to match the total combined thickness. 

Mocked up paved areas using old cereal boxes.
The next thing I did was attempt to lay down some fine turf in front of the tracks. I tried this with some Loctite spray adhesive and it seemed to work ok. I'll probably still have to seal it all in with a final spray of scenic cement just to be safe though. It just feels like some of the turf might come off easily right now. 

Starting to apply fine turf in the grassy areas.
After doing some more towards where the road would be, I decided I needed to get the cardboard pieces down and glued in place. Before that though, I went ahead and hit them with a coat of my Rust-Oleum grey primer to make it look more like actual concrete. Not perfect, but close enough.

A look at the painted cardboard piece just before being glued in place.
One other thing I wanted to do was blend the roadway into the surrounding ground level. To do that, I took some Drydex spackle I had laying around and applied some to each side of the roadway. I used the side of a piece of cardboard to level it off and blend everything out.

Applying spackle to blend the road into the surrounding area.
Once the spackle was dry, I went ahead and painted it the same brown color as the rest of the cork. This is the same color that I used in previous track and ballast mockups. Once that was done, I went ahead and repainted the paved areas with Model Master concrete color. It definitely came out looking better than the grey primer.

A look at the mockup with some more paint added. 
The next step after the concrete color paint dried was ballasting. I did this they same way I used on the other pieces of track I mocked up recently. I used the medium grey blend ballast and I think it looks pretty good.

A look at the ballast added to the mockup.
One other thing I did at this point was paint the rails with Model Master railroad tie brown. It was the closest I could find at the hobby shop to what I wanted so I just went with it. It doesn't look too bad, but definitely could use a little more rust color. I'll have to find something new for the actual layout or try to mix it with a rust color to get it just right.

A closeup look at the painted track with ballast added. 
Now all I need to do is add some earth color along the edge of the road that crosses the tracks then glue everything in place. I definitely like how this is turning out and plan to do the same for the actual layout. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Prototype Pic of the Day #14

Norfolk Southern SD70ACe #1069 | Image courtesy of Ron Flanary via RailPictures.net
Well, 2014 went by pretty quick. I can't believe we're already into the new year. Anyway, I thought I would get things started here with another prototype pic of the day. This one comes from one of my favorite sites, RailPictures.net, and shows what is becoming one of my favorite Norfolk Southern heritage units. For whatever reason, I really like the look of this one. It's right up there with the Nickel Plate Road, Lehigh Valley, and Conrail.