Friday, October 18, 2013

The first one in...

... a long, long time. The first two, actually. I just finished two Details West 50' double plug door boxcars lettered for the home road and it occurred to me that I hadn't done a CWE boxcar in a long time. In fact, I believe the last one I did was a 60' auto parts car that I finished while we still lived in Dayton, Ohio. And we moved from Dayton to Cincinnati in 1992. Once I started on the layout here in Cincinnati, there were too many other priorities. But now that the layout is operating, I finally got around to building these cars.

The first step with these kits was to remove the top of the coupler box from the bottom of the car. For whatever reason, Details West cast this onto the end of the bottom which would make it impossible to replace the coupler once the frame, which includes the coupler box, was glued to the bottom piece. I held the top of the coupler box in place over the coupler box and tapped it for a 2-56 screw. I then added Kadee #5's and screwed the top to the coupler box. I also tapped the truck bolsters for 2-56 screws.

Added details include A-Line stirrup steps, Details West etched brass cut levers, and Kadee metal wheel sets. I also added some additional weight to each car. The cars were painted Floquil Pullman Green which is the same color as the diesels on the CWE. The underbody of the car and the trucks were painted with Rust-Oleums' camouflage brown which is plastic compatible and dries completely flat. 

Once the  cars were painted, I weathered them with washes of artist's tube acrylics thinned with Windex. These cars went into service in 1971, so I gave them a moderate amount of weathering.

Number 22160 is headed to the K&LE this coming Monday where it will begin regular revenue service. However, something is apparently wrong with this scenario. Freight cars are supposed to leave John Miller's layout and re-appear on mine- not vice versa...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some Covered Hopper Cars

After staring at some of the beautiful covered hopper cars that Tom Johnson posted on the MRH forum (, I thought I would try my hand at a few of them. And once he posted a tutorial on his weathering techniques, the die was cast- I had to give it a try.

The two TGCX cars were weathered using water soluble oil paints and Micro Scale's Microsol as a thinner. I picked up this technique from Rich Divisio on the old Model Trains Weathered website, which is no longer available. The technique involves thinning some of the oil paint on a pallet, applying it to the model, and then removing it with gentle dabs of a brush that's clean. It's a great technique for adding the typical accumulations of dirt and crude that build up on the ends, bottoms, and tops of cars, but I didn't have much success initially in getting the streaks on the sides that I was after. The paint wouldn't come off as it had previously- perhaps I let it dry too much or put too much on. In any event, I went back over the sides using a brush that had been dipped in 70% isopropyl alcohol and then wiped almost dry on a paper towel. The streak effect worked OK, but I didn't get the fine lines that Tom J. has been able to capture on his cars.

Next up is a covered hopper that I weathered for John Miller after he painted the car and added the decals. The first step was to spray the sides and ribs using a custom dirty brown mix of Floquil paint. I then wiped the ribs with a Q-Tip soaked in Turpenoid to remove the spray. Next, I used Windsor & Newton oil paints thinned with odorless Turpenoid to add the streaks to the sides. Tom J.'s tutorial was instrumental in helping me learn the techniques for the streaks. I use a small block of wood held parallel to the ribs to guide the brush as I pull it down the sides. This helps insure that the streaks are straight. The trucks were painted with Rust-Oleum's camouflage brown and then given a light coating of weathering powder. The bottom and ends were weathered using the techniques outlines in Tom J.'s tutorial.

For the CWE covered hopper, I used the same techniques that I used on the K&LE car. The primary color used for the streaks was Van Dyke Brown. As these cars haven't been in service all that long, I kept the rust marks and steaks to a minimum.

This is my first foray into oil paints in many, many years, and the first time I have used them for weathering the entire surface of a car. While I need a lot of practice, I'm reasonably pleased with the way these cars turned out. It's been fun to explore some new mediums and to see the effects that can be created.