At a recent meeting of NMRA's Division 7 here in Cincinnati, well known author and modeler Matt Snell made a presentation on constructing MOW equipment and including it in operations. His presentation gave me the idea of routing a gondola full of ties to the team track at Big Chimney, WV. Sometime later, I saw a CR gondola that Gary Christensen did over on The Rustbucket forum. Here's a link: http://tws-rustbucket.com/thread/5281/conrail-587094-thrall-gondola-load?page=1. You need to join the forum, but membership is free and the site is full of incredible work and absolutely beautiful modeling. Gary's gondola is incredible in and of itself, but what really caught my eye was the tie load. The colors were perfect, and he had really captured the look of recently creosoted wood. In response to a question on the forum, he explained how he did it. That was all I needed to get started on my project.
Following Gary's lead, I cut several pieces of balsa wood to fit into the bottom of one of my gondolas. If I had paid a little more attention, I would have made the base for the load a little thinner so that I could have added a more random layer of ties at the top. I used a spray bomb to paint the base flat black. After that, I cut a bunch of kitchen matches to size and painted them with a mix of black and white craft paint. Once all the ties were painted, I added some more white to the mix and went back over some of the ties to get some variation in color. When the paint dried, I glued them to the base.
The photos above show the gondola spotted on the team track at Big Chimney, WV awaiting the MOW crew. This was a quick and easy project, and I'm anxious to get started on some more loads for some of the other flat cars and gondolas in the fleet.