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I wanted to get a picture of the four BNSF ES44AC engines I worked on two days ago.  I still need to get a truck side frame from Lionel for the #5815. The lead #6425 has the new sound system from another 5815. The #6411 is as originally manufactured. The #6438 was a dummy that I put on my 6425 sound chassis.  And the final 5815 is waiting for a side frame as the video shows.

I need to do revisions on my layout so I am clearing the layout and boxing all the trains after testing them.  The double main line was built with minimum O-72 curves to accommodate a Vision Line Big Boy.

I was happy to see that the four BNSF engines with smoke did not trip a transformer breaker.

Here is a video of their first trip on my "Valley of Bridges" layout.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

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Here is a video of the Alaska GP35 engines #2501 and #2502 pulling freight to the Alaska pipe line.

The #2502 was a dummy that I put on a sound GP35 chassis. I converted eight dummy GP35 to sound engines when Gryzboski Trains had the GN #2519 on sale several years ago.

I am making custom packaging for the bulkhead cars with pipes so I do not have to remove straps and pipes to store the cars.

The Alaska flat cars have hitch stands that I purchased from Atlas O and then painted orange. They are permanently fastened to the flat cars.

I hope you enjoy the brief video.

Sincerely, John Rowlen

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John - thanks for the 2 videos. I hope Brian gets to see the Alaska drag. That was impressive. I’m an Alaska RR fan, even though I sold all my Alaska equipment.  BNSF WAS also impressive.

Dave - I could use that Pullman Van Twiller as is to add to my Pullman inventory, if you decide not to transform it.

One of the benefits of a train club is my fellow members have skills and resources I don't have.  I purchased two LIONEL UP 15" aluminum offset dome cars on eBay for $50 and a modest shipping charge--a heckuva deal.  But they came with channels in the extrusion for the red stripes you see in the photo which made them problematic for my GN Empire Builder with its stripes.

A club member has a machine shop and he generously offered to mill the shells.  He returned them to me Saturday and, after a primer coat, they look great!

Also, I completed my touch-up work on the 4 NP North Coast Limited 15" LIONEL offset dome shells and will begin decaling them.

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@decoynh posted:

Dave - I could use that Pullman Van Twiller as is to add to my Pullman inventory, if you decide not to transform it.

Thanks Matt for the offer but, no thanks!  I have been watching eBay for several months for both items.   The combined came new in the box at a great price.   Everybody needs a canvas and this one will stay with me.   PS: currently there are some available on the Bay!  

Cheers, Dave

Last edited by darlander

I installed Kadee 805's on another 4 cars last night, worked on the uncouplers in the yard.  Managed to remove some of the neodymium magnets under the Kadee magnet so I only get Un-Couple, no delayed coupling as I don't want delayed coupling in the classification yard tracks.   I am pretty close to having a repeatable system for installing the magnets so I can get them to work, either with or without "delayed uncoupling" and do it without having to cut out existing ties and ballast where the trackwork is done and weathered.

It was so warm here this afternoon, I took out some 12 to 14 inch tall pine trees that I had made months ago, and dusted them with Hunter Green spray paint to knock down the yellowish green color of the fine grass fibers that I applied to the branches... see photos below.

Then I took out the K Line Scale Hudson and shot some video of it pulling the Heavyweight Pullmans....  I am going to be shipping it to Harmonyards next week for a complete rebuild....  Figured I'd run it some with the original drive and TMCC Railsounds so I have something to compare it to when it comes back from the over-haul.

Just some random layout shots included, while I had the camera out and all the lights turned on figured I'd shoot some photos.

I'll upload the video later once YouTube is done processing.

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Not exactly “today”, but rather a major project over the last few weeks... I FINALLY came up with a methodology for installing all of the shadow boxes I’ve purchased from @Todds Architectural Models over the last couple of years. In addition, I added LED’s to all but one of the boxes (it came pre-lit), and did the dreaded wiring - there are so many LED’s, I even broke out my backup PW ZW for dedicated power. Doug has these interesting magnetic strips to secure the boxes to the layout, but unfortunately, they are no match for the crappy un-plumb walls in my basement so I had to use a bunch of brass L hooks which I will eventually paint so they blend in better.

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I’m not happy with the apartment in the corner and will most likely be replacing it with a taller shadow box.

To celebrate finally finishing the back wall, I had to buy some new trains... but that’s a matter for another post. I will probably just run some trains for a day or two since all the work on the back wall has limited what I could run for a while. Then I have to move to the right side of the layout and wire up the wonderful freight station @MELGAR was kind enough to build for me and a couple of additional pieces of my passenger station... I hate wiring!!! While the stations will be easier to wire, they are in an area which is not as accessible as the back wall, so maybe I’ll run trains for a few more days!!!

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@pennsynut posted:

Carl. I enjoy seeing your passenger car projects. I wish I had your painting skills. I am just a rattle can painter and on wood side projects that get weathered to hide whatever happens.

My skills are meager, but I have perseverance in abundance.  Plus plenty of paint and masking tape to redo the failures/not quite right situations.

When I finish these four domes, and they're "good enough" for me, I'll start a thread inviting folks to post their "mistakes and mishaps" along the way to a successful outcome.  I have a bunch of photos and tasks that didn't pan out to get to this stage.  Can't wait to see what decaling, final finishing, lighting, and final assembly have in store for me.

@RSJB18 posted:

@Apples55

I have a solution for access to the back of a layout Paul. 😉

OSHA approved.

20210131_160843

Bob;

In some respects, the back of my layout was better planned - there is an aisle running almost the entire length of the back wall and the back of the layout is only 30” wide, so access was relatively easy. The right side is somewhat more problematic. After the original design, I added a 30” wide yard to the side of the layout (which was already 30” wide), so access to the middle of that area is a little tricky. I did employ a version of your poor man’s creeper for the early work on that area and it was not comfortable!!! In some ways, I am not looking forward to finishing up the right side hookups. The problems we have!!!

Posted an update to Twin Pines Rail Road.

Funny I thought I had bought my last "new" MTH engine a month or so ago. Still have an Illinois Central GP40 on back order, could not help myself and ordered the new premier Big Boy 20-3807-1 and decided at some point for the next layout I could use a switcher and ordered a  Chicago South Shore  SW1. Maybe this time will be the last MTH engines unless of course they manage to be acquired and continue to make engines.  I have all MTH power and am solid DCS operations. Cannot imagine making the switch to DCC.

Morning guys, to start off I would like to say what wonderful layouts and amazing work! I look at everything you all do and am just put at a loss for words! I see what folks are doing and sometimes it makes me want to tare mine down and start over and then I think to myself, self are you crazy! You would have to do all that wiring all over again and I dont think that is going to happen!

To a couple folks, Dave that heavy weight car is going to look amazing when your done! Carl, your cars are also looking great! Just wondering if you bake your paint after spraying?

Chris you have one of the most amazing layouts and thank you for the wonderful video! But one has to ask what are you hiding? When you pan to the right you only go so far and here I am sitting watching the video thinking to myself this time he is going to do a 360 so we all get to see the rest of this amazing layout! Please for god sake show the rest of your layout in your next video! LOL

I hope your all having a great week and are having fun with your trains and layouts!

I pulled the tunnel off the layout (hopefully for the last time), to add the background in the tunnel. Looks pretty good IMHO. Since it's a gravel road with grass surrounding, I added some ground foam to the gravel on either side of the tunnel. I will continue this for part of the road and transition to just gravel since it runs parallel to my main line. I put some plaster cloth down on the board too.

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I saved this piece of ground cover when I pulled up the grade on the other side of the layout. Looked like a perfect spot to use it.

2021-02-17 07.26.27

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@RSJB18 posted:

I pulled the tunnel off the layout (hopefully for the last time), to add the background in the tunnel. Looks pretty good IMHO. Since it's a gravel road with grass surrounding, I added some ground foam to the gravel on either side of the tunnel. I will continue this for part of the road and transition to just gravel since it runs parallel to my main line. I put some plaster cloth down on the board too.

2021-02-17 07.26.58

2021-02-17 07.26.20

I saved this piece of ground cover when I pulled up the grade on the other side of the layout. Looked like a perfect spot to use it.

2021-02-17 07.26.27

Nice work Bob, your extra detail really makes it look like it goes somewhere! I need to do that to some of my tunnels down the road!

Bob, Tunnel looks great,  I have 2 tunnels to "nowhere"... Don't know why it took me over 40 years to realize that was a great modelling idea ! 

Mike G:  Thanks as always for the kind words !  That's hilarious about "hiding something"   I wish I the layout went 360 degrees around the room, but "not yet".  To the far right is the unfinished long 1.5% grade that I need to get down there and start planning and building the scenery for.  That last section, module(s) of the layout is about 9 feet wide x 15 feet long.

Plans are for a kitbashed Union Station out of 4 MTH banks, a small engine service area for passenger train steamers, a decent sized city scene, and an industrial district with the last few sidings for switching destinations for cars.   I am really thinking about a "small waterfront" industrial district, just haven't got the "vision" for it quite yet.   I need to quit messing with the Kadee coupler project, and start working down on the far right. 

Here's 2 (not so great) photos of my road tunnels to no where !  The one to the right of the gas station is somewhat hidden by trees and vegetation on purpose as the layout extends beyond that point, and it "doesn't make" any sense based on the scenery that will be added beyond the road tunnel entrance...  ie. There's no room for the road to continue!!!

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Chris a - you do really nice modeling and I have enjoyed your posts.  Bunch of questions.

In your video there is a 2 story building (hotel or station) with 2nd story arched windows and the 1st floor awning - scratch built or a kit and if a kit who's? 

What are you using to weather your rails? I am playing with painting acrylics on the rails but haven't found a color I like yet. But I am also seeing shine coming through my coating - yours don't - multiple coats?

There is a round black oil storage tank in the background - is it a Plastruct model or scratch built?

Last - your trees look great, for the deciduous trees, I assume you found a real branch you liked and added leaf material ?

Thanks  ... Jeff

Jeff Thanks for the compliments: 

I think you are referring to the station on the lower level, It's an MTH ,  read many posts on this forum about taking them apart painting the window and door frames, weathering the brick then putting it back together.   Keystone Ed did a great write up some years ago, which is who I copied in terms of removing the plastic base and making my own platform out of MDF, medium density fiberboard.  There is also a great video segment on doing this on the Black Diamond Railway videos available through  TOYTRAINSONTRACKS.COM

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I spray paint all my track with Rustoleum Camou Brown.   There may be some sections that were done year's earlier with a red oxide primer, but I much prefer the Camouflage Brown.  It's dead flat.  I really try to shoot it all outside or in my garage before installing it.   I always use the blue shop towels wrapped around a small block of wood to wipe the tops of the rails, dry first pass, then a second pass with Acetone  or Lacquer thinner.. I usually cut the towels up before I start and have small sized wipes ready to wrap around the block of wood.   Purpose of the wood block is so I only wipe the wet paint off the top of the rail surface.   As I finish ballasting sections, I have started to go back with my airbrush and blend everything together with light overspray of acrylics... It blends the harsh blue gray granite ballast with the dark ties and rails.  I do add india ink to my diluted white glue when I finally set the ballast to darken it some.

Water tank in the Engine Service Yard is made my Walther's CornerStone  833-3311 I think is the part #...   You have to keep an eye out on eBay and on the forum as they don't come up for sale that often.  I assume you're asking about the tank in the next photo ?  There's a smaller cylindrical tank up by the Coal Mine, but I picked it up from a forum member assembled and have no idea who made it.

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Trees:  I purchased the Scenic Express Super Trees large bulk pack kit plus numerous bags of their Leaf materials.  They do look good, problem for me, is or should I say was, that I watched more than a few videos and thought I would be getting super trees branches that were over 7 inches tall, with decent sized trunks... That turned out NOT TO BE THE CASE..... I complained, they sent me a few more armatures.  I also ordered one of their "Sage" Branch tree kits.  and followed the directions to glue the super tree branches onto the woody Sage Trunks.   I like the product, it's tedious gluing the branches and then the leaves but the results are hard to argue with.  My other opinion is that they charge way too much for these branches, but I haven't found any good substitute. 

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@chris a posted:

Jeff Thanks for the compliments:

I think you are referring to the station on the lower level, It's an MTH ,  read many posts on this forum about taking them apart painting the window and door frames, weathering the brick then putting it back together.   Keystone Ed did a great write up some years ago, which is who I copied in terms of removing the plastic base and making my own platform out of MDF, medium density fiberboard.  There is also a great video segment on doing this on the Black Diamond Railway videos available through  TOYTRAINSONTRACKS.COM

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I spray paint all my track with Rustoleum Camou Brown.   There may be some sections that were done year's earlier with a red oxide primer, but I much prefer the Camouflage Brown.  It's dead flat.  I really try to shoot it all outside or in my garage before installing it.   I always use the blue shop towels wrapped around a small block of wood to wipe the tops of the rails, dry first pass, then a second pass with Acetone  or Lacquer thinner.. I usually cut the towels up before I start and have small sized wipes ready to wrap around the block of wood.   Purpose of the wood block is so I only wipe the wet paint off the top of the rail surface.   As I finish ballasting sections, I have started to go back with my airbrush and blend everything together with light overspray of acrylics... It blends the harsh blue gray granite ballast with the dark ties and rails.  I do add india ink to my diluted white glue when I finally set the ballast to darken it some.

Water tank in the Engine Service Yard is made my Walther's CornerStone  833-3311 I think is the part #...   You have to keep an eye out on eBay and on the forum as they don't come up for sale that often.  I assume you're asking about the tank in the next photo ?  There's a smaller cylindrical tank up by the Coal Mine, but I picked it up from a forum member assembled and have no idea who made it.

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Trees:  I purchased the Scenic Express Super Trees large bulk pack kit plus numerous bags of their Leaf materials.  They do look good, problem for me, is or should I say was, that I watched more than a few videos and thought I would be getting super trees branches that were over 7 inches tall, with decent sized trunks... That turned out NOT TO BE THE CASE..... I complained, they sent me a few more armatures.  I also ordered one of their "Sage" Branch tree kits.  and followed the directions to glue the super tree branches onto the woody Sage Trunks.   I like the product, it's tedious gluing the branches and then the leaves but the results are hard to argue with.  My other opinion is that they charge way too much for these branches, but I haven't found any good substitute.

Chris,  What color did you use for the brick on that MTH station? It's perfect for brick.

I use Krylon Red Oxide Primer as the base coat, it's extremely "flat", then I went in with a couple of felt tip enamel paint pens from the Testors ( I think) set for weathering track.  You have to seal it with dull coat before doing the mortar.  For mortar I use the Lightweight Fast Drying Spackling and force it into the mortar lines with a cut up credit card as a squeegee.  I mix a small batch of spackling with some india ink to turn it gray, so that not all the mortar is uniform.  Then of course wipe it down with a cloth, no water or you'll pull the spackling up, then it has to be Dull Coated again.  For buildings I buy the less expensive Krylon or Rustoleum flat clear and save the expensive Testor's Dull Coat for freight cars.  It's harder to find the Krylon Red Oxide Primer here where I live, when the local hardware store has it, I usually buy 2 cans.

Hi Randy,  Cool,  Rich Battista who is also a forum member, did a great job on those videos, step by step, clear explanations of "how to do it"...  and just all around well presented video.  And of course alot of fun to watch while your learning.   

Jeff you can do what you choose with the windows,  I sprayed them with a color called Espresso, very dark brown, then went around the high spots with a mortar color like Khaki or Sandstone with a flat artist brush that I could control and only apply the paint to the "high spots".

Thanks Chris a for the info.

In case anyone is interested.  The building is an MTH station either 30-9050 or 30-9014 or 30-9005 Amazing how an MTH building can be upgraded to be something special.

Keystoned Ed's post refers to his Tyrone station build.  Tyrone Station Link

BTW - I have the Walther's water tower, but have not built it yet. I have been looking at the Plastruct Bulk Oil Storage tank to go along with a near-completed Walther's Phoenix Fuel depot and have a spot for on the layout. I have lots of tanker cars and needed a place to park a few.

Edit 2/18/2021 - found another forum topic regarding modifying the MTH station  Enhancing MTH Passenger Station  There is so much info on this Forum - its really hard to find unless you know exactly what you are looking for and pick just the right search terms.

Last edited by ScoutingDad

This is why I love this place. Every time I come here, I pick up  new ideas .  Bob’s use of card stock printouts to achieve such realistic results is eye opening as well as the use of tunnel photos.   Simple and so very effective. Chris’ mortaring techniques seem a lot easier than the paint method I’ve been using and his results are outstanding.   This is all very relevant and timely for me with my current projects.  Thanks guys. Great stuff.

This is why I love this place. Every time I come here, I pick up  new ideas .  Bob’s use of card stock printouts to achieve such realistic results is eye opening as well as the use of tunnel photos.   Simple and so very effective. Chris’ mortaring techniques seem a lot easier than the paint method I’ve been using and his results are outstanding.   This is all very relevant and timely for me with my current projects.  Thanks guys. Great stuff.

Now I'm truly humbled.

Thank you!

Bob

Excellent projects everyone!

Chris you did a great job on that MTH station!

Bob, The 'light at the end of the tunnel' really makes that scene even better.

I posted yesterday on my Blackwater Canyon Line topic about my lift up bridge project following the design by Mike g.  Here are photographs of the lower bridge up and down along with the upper bridge just set in place to check the height of the piers I'm working on for each side.  There is still a lot more to do, but there is defiantly progress, that with all my trial and error, it might just work.

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Mark,  Thanks very much.   The lift gate, the layout and the back drops are looking great !!!!  I haven't been following your layout thread, so thanks for sharing that here.  You have come a long way in a short period of time. 

Strap Hanger:  Thanks, but the Lightweight Spackling Putty isn't my original idea,  I am pretty sure I read about it here, as well as seeing it on the Black Diamond Railway videos.   I did the white/gray latex paint brick mortar for years.  The spackling is much easier to control, not nearly as messy...  I can remember going through tons of rags and paper towels trying to get the paint off the face of the bricks, but leave enough in the mortar lines.   Note: Don't skip the step of sealing the brick with flat clear coat before doing the mortar...  Don't ask how I know how important that step is !!

I took out my notes on how I weathered my Atlas H21a PRR Red Oxide Hoppers.   Boy am I glad I finally started writing detailed notes for weathering cars/buildings wiring diagrams for relays etc.  .   I was dying to see if I could duplicate the weathering effect, or at least get close,  I am pretty pleased so far.   So just did 6 more hoppers, the hoppers in the photos below with the wood blocks are from the original batch done 2 to 3 years ago.

I would have been totally starting from scratch if I hadn't documented the colors, the amount of acrylic paint to water in the wash. 



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Great projects everyone! I just love coming here and reading what everyone is doing! Chris after fallowing you for along time I would have to say you could give Rich Battista a run for his money on your methods you use on your layout!

I hope everyone has a great day and finds time for there layout (Something I have been missing) But most of all I hope your all having fun!

My first Covid/post-retirement train project was to add "girders" to my elevated track which had been "suspended in mid-air by magic" for 18 years.  Recently, inspired by all the great work I see on the forum, as well as by learning some new painting techniques on YouTube, I decided it needed upgrading already in less than a year.

Here is the first attempt, which I consider now to be rather amateurish and a bit cartoonish:

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Here is the "new and improved" version:

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It was also quite simple and inexpensive.  It is strips of cardboard cut from tablet backers.  The verticals are just narrow craft sticks cut and glued on with PVA glue at a consistent distance via a jig (a piece of scrap wood).  Then, all was painted with 2 coats of gray craft paint, then dry brushed with a burnt umber/red mix of craft paint, and finally washed with a black wash.  Glued onto the ties with Gorilla Clear Grip Glue (my new favorite glue!).

I toyed with adding horizontal sticks top and bottom between the verticals to be more prototypical, but 90% of the track is curved, so bending to fit and holding in place for gluing with those on there seemed to be far more trouble than it was worth.  Not to mention how much longer the cutting/gluing of sticks would have taken.

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Nice work and great idea Brad.  The cardboard easily conforms to the curve. The height of the girder bridges faces in real life are massive and add a nice dimensional element to a model rr.

Edit: Just finished watching your layout video. Cool tidy layout with lots of color and interesting elements. The commuter train under a part of the layout is well done. Cheers

Last edited by pennsynut

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