Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Wandering / Traveling Caboose

From the Wandering / Traveling Caboose thread on n-scale.net, the is my video entry:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Revisiting N-scale Container Magnets

I've created a "how-to" video where I discuss using neodymium magnets (Neo magnets for short) in my n-scale containers. It's useful when they're in the double-stack cars, and keeps them stuck together rather nicely. Yes, I know there are others out there using the 4 magnet method. With my method, I'm using just 2 magnets per container and save about $0.28 per container. It does add up if you have a lot of containers!

Now, I don't have any 20 foot containers at the moment, so I don't know how this method will fare when I do obtain a few. I'm thinking I forgo the paper strip and allow them to be free to rock and roll where ever they want. Since all 20 footers reside in the bottom well only, I can have the container riding on top attach to one of the 20 footers on the bottom.

We'll see!
Stay tuned ...

Monday, November 18, 2013

DI - TERX Construction and Debris cars

Fresh from the factory - I've received the entire run of Deluxe Innovations "C&D" cars in TERX livery.

Southeastern Industrial Enterprises - TERX C&D/Trash Service Deep Rib Cars
The single car has different billboard lettering on each side. Side 1 is pictured "M-R Logistics". Side 2 has "Pondview Recycling".

Here's a link to photos of the real car (TERX 233) on the RR Picture Archive:


Sunday, October 20, 2013

NScale.net 10 Anniversary

Nscale.net is a site devoted to everything n-scale. Earlier in the year, some folks posted about it being the tenth year anniversary, and what should the members do to commemorate it. The idea that took hold was to do a custom decal run to recognize the anniversary. And so it went.
I received my decals, but didn't get around to putting them on a model until last night.

Here's the result.

This is an undecorated Atlas 3950 ACF Centerflow hopper.
I positioned the decals based on models found on the Atlas sight.
The conspicuity decals are from Microscale.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Slow Start to the Model RR Season

So much "stuff" in my life right now that MRR / hobby time is non-existent!
Hoping to get back to it soon with some paint jobs on some new vehicles and decaling a few freights.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Now Arriving On Track 1...

Just received something I ordered last year!  My NYSW SD-60's have arrived!

I'll need to pop them on the test track later, but summer has arrived in NJ and it's too hot for trains!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Slow Progress

Not much happening with model trains at the moment. Spring has sprung here in New Jersey, and that means a lot more time outside, working on house and landscape items. Of course that's if I get out of the day job at a reasonable hour!

Hope to have some time to work on all the incomplete RR projects!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Montvale Train Show - Northern NJ NTRAK

Sunday, March 10th Northern NJ NTRAK set up our travel layout at the Montvale Train Show.
Since we're in a long straight hallway, we set up our 42' linear configuration with two end loops.
Overall, the length was 46 feet as Bill W. brought an additional 4 foot module.

Staging after our load-in.

Ted and Bill discuss the finer points of model railroading...
...While Dirk waits for them to align and level the module, so he can clamp!

Total time to set up this configuration, from unloading the trailer to a running layout is about 2 hours.

Here are some photos of the modules, from far right end to the left end:
Right portion of the layout - return loop

Left end return loop

And finally, a view of my F40-PH and a couple Comet II trailers I've been working on. They are not totally complete yet, but nobody complained!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

NJT F40PH Custom Paint - Decal - Lighting

One thing I've never done, is completely strip and re-paint any model. Be that a freight car, or loco. I've painted parts of cars, and done some weathering with the airbrush, and that's about it.

So, with some trepidation, I stripped a Kato F40-PH, and started to repaint it for NJ Transit. After stripping and cleaning, I used a Floquil rattle-can to prime it.

Here it is, after priming, masked off for painting of the black top.

And now.. After spraying the black.

Next up will be silver for the bottom half.

Masked and ready to paint silver

Silver sprayed
Decals applied for NJ Transit
Micro-Sol still needs to be applied, as well as some additional decals, and a sealing coat of dull-coat but overall, I'm happy with my first attempt!

Some lessons learned:
  • One of the guys in my train club suggested I should have sprayed the silver first, then masked for the black. This would have saved time (only need to mask once), and produced better results. I'll try that on the next one.
  • "Float" the larger decals better with water on the model for better positioning, then blot with paper towel. 
  • Use the micro-sol right away, while decal is still wet. I didn't have any on hand when I did the decals. I think it would have helped it settle down better across the uneven doors, etc. I'm applying micro-sol now, a week later, and it is helping. 
  • Remove the "strobes" before painting the shell. I painted mine black by mistake.
  • Be careful with the strobe lights, they get lost easily. 
  • After finding the strobes on the floor, be careful reinstalling them. They will break. (Mine did!)
  • Plastic fiber-optic cable can be sanded to make it opaque enough to create a passable replacement strobe light. 
2013-02-13 Update:

I installed a Digitrax decoder and added white SMD LEDs to enable the strobes to function.
Next, I will attempt to replicate NJ Transit practice of having red end-of-train markers. These are located next to the number boards, and are cast in the shell. They are lit when the engine is in push mode. I will drill them out with a #80 and use plastic fiber optic cable, and perhaps a drop of gallery glass to enable them to glow red from the decoders "reverse" light. The end-goal is to have everything on the chassis and make the shell removable without attaching any of the lighting to the shell. Very challenging indeed.

Quick video of progress so far:

Next up: New number boards!
Instead of decals, I printed my new "number boards" on regular paper on a black and white laser printer. Next, I put clear scotch tape over the number. Don't use the matte or satin finish tapes, it needs to be the clear. Clear tape does an excellent job of simulating glass, plus the added benefit of keeping your numbers from tearing when you cut them out.

Cut out the numbers from your sheet with a new hobby blade, or use decal scissors. Personally, I use the decal scissors.

I used micro crystal clear (and sharp-point tweezers!) to glue the numbers to the Kato number board "plugs", then popped them in the shell.

This is my first attempt, but I can see already that the kato plugs need to be sanded down a bit, so the boards recess better. So, I'll soak the plugs in a cap full of water to remove the numbers, lightly sand the plugs, and re-apply.
First attempt at number boards.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

C&D Car "Conversion"

What follows is documentation to show the conversion of a Deluxe Innovations Woodchip car into a construction and debris car. I use the word conversion loosely! Eventually want to body mount couplers here, so I've cut one coupler off the truck on the right.

Started with a new car. I've previously done some work on the trucks.

The paint marker is an Elmer's product, purchased at Wal-Mart. Comes in a box of different colors.

Here I've painted out the NP and car number, and started on the "N" in Northern.

A completed, painted side.

Next, I've used the corner piece of paper towel to remove a bit of still wet paint. I blotted it here, but you could just as easily "pull" it down.

Optionally, while the paint is still wet, you could apply (blow on) some power to the lettering to give it that rusted out appearance.

The next steps will be to change the car's reporting marks / numbering.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Epic Fail! (Number 2) aka-The Melting...

I have yet another epic fail to deal with. This one being with my Island Model Works Comet II resin cars. I wasn't happy with the paint job, and decided to strip the paint using the isopropyl alcohol method. The same way I stripped the factory paint off the F40-PH engine.

Initially, all went well. The first layer came right off. The second layer was Floquil primer gray, and was a bit stubborn. No problem, I thought. Just leave it in the bath for a little longer.

Then the flu hit, and I sort of forgot about the cars for a few days (total soak time was probably about a week).

When I returned to clean the cars, here is what I found:

...and warped!!

The white resin actually expanded!

So, the total price tag, not including my time (HOURS cleaning up flash / filing / sanding, etc) and paint supply? $75! Lesson Learned - Again...

Currently "drying out" these cars and I'll see if they harden-up and revert back to their cast shapes. In the mean time, I've ordered 8 more from Island Model Works, after speaking with Joe at the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show in January.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Epic Fail! (A Learning Experience)

Well.. I did it. I took a nice, high priced locomotive and decided to mess with it. In this case, it is a Kato F40PH in Amtrak livery. Specifically,"Phase III #376". It was a nice looking engine.

I wanted to repaint it silver and black, then decal it for NJ Transit. See, I'm also working on a few Island Modelworks cast resin car kits of the Comet II trailers and cab car.

Let's just say that the loco turned out poorly. Currently, it's soaking in 92% isopropyl alcohol to strip the paint back down to the bare shell.

Update: the soak worked great! The only thing remaining is the black, but I don't mind since its going to be the same color anyway.

Lesson learned. Be patient, and don't skip steps!