Monday, July 15, 2013

Now on Twitter!

  Yes, I'm going to give Twitter a try.  I'll be posting train related stuff, N scale modelling as well as prototype stuff.  Follow me @UPRRGenSub or use the button to the left.  I'm very new to this so it could be interesting.  I will be posting pictures from a very famous N scale layout tomorrow.  Watch for it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kudos to Fox Valley Models for ES44 Gevo Improvements

Over three years ago, I purchased a couple of the first run Fox Valley Models ES44 Gevo locomotives. The models are beautifully done with a great paint job, nice added decals and painted safety handrails and steps.  They are a step above the Kato Gevos in looks and run nearly as smoothly.  There is one major problem with the Fox Valley Models Gevos that stopped me from purchasing more then the initial two.  The ditch lights are way too dim.  The first picture below shows them right out of the box while the second shows them with some fiddling with the aim of the LED and replacing the LED.  Fiddling made them acceptable,but they still were not as good as Kato ditch lights.

   Then last week a friend brought over a Fox Valley Models ES44 Gevo Norfolk Southern "Nickle Plate Road" Heritage unit to run on the layout.  The first thing I noticed was the the ditch lights were as bright as the headlight and the number boards were also lit up nicely; enough to be seen, but not too bright.  The second thing I noticed it that it ran as smoothly if not smoother than my Katos.  I was impressed.  Fox Valley Models had obviously made some improvements since the first run.

  So, I purchased a  couple of Union Pacific units from MB Klien that happened to be on clearance for only $79.99 along with a couple of Digitrax DNZ125IN decoders.  These too are a great improvement over the first run units I have.  Thank you Fox Valley Models for making improvements in an already good model.  I am disappointed that your GP60 and SD70Ace are not being offered in Union Pacific.

Now I off to do some weathering!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Slow Summer Time Progress

Well, here it is the middle of summer and not much has really been accomplished on the railroad.  Summer is usually the most productive for me as its the time of year I have the most free time.  We've been travelling a lot this year plus doing some home improvement projects so progress on the layout has been slower than usual.  Work is proceeding on three projects however.  The Proviso overpass, a wheat field and Proviso yard offices.

I've already posted about the overpass.  Here's an updated photo with the overpass painted Floquil concrete lightened up a bit with reefer white.  I still need to add road lines.  Using a mirror means I will not be able to put any vehicles on the overpass.

I also put a wheat field in an empty are between Rochelle and Global III.  Corn fields are much more prevalent here in northern Illinois than wheat fields, but I find corn fields impossible to do convincingly so I plan to regulate corn fields to photo backdrops.  For the wheat field, I first filled in the area with additional plaster and leveled it off.  I added one more thin layer of plaster and used the teeth of a broken keyhole saw blade to simulate furrows in the soil for about a third of the field.  After painting the plaster with dirt brown latex paint, I added Woodland Scenics harvest gold static grass to simulate the unharvested wheat.  

A new project I just started is the Proviso yard office.  Using pictures of the prototype office, I scratch-built the office using .030 styrene laminated with JTT brick sheet.  The structure also uses Grant Line windows and and doors.  I will be working on the parking lot next and then details.

I did something different for the roof.  As you can see from the satellite photo of the building, the roof uses a white plastic roofing material that has seams.

I tried to simulate this by using a black ball point pen to draw the seam lines and then airbrushed the roof a very, very light grey color so that the seam lines still showed through.  Probably should have used a darker grey, but I think it turned out pretty good.  I may add some weathering to darken it up a bit.

I also added the smaller BLMA yard office next to the yard tower. I'll post later about the building in the background later.