Sunday, February 3, 2013

Steel Mill Module 3 redesign - Part 6

Hey sports fans, you'd think I'd have something better to do than this before the Super Bowl. Well I got everything caught up but this, so here goes. You may have noticed that "grayish" colored blob in the back ground of my recent post pics showing the track painting. That is going to be a pile of rubble (cinder blocks and red bricks alike), most mills have these in aboundence around the works. They typically are from demolishion of older building structures deamed obsolete, and lets face it there been a lot of that over the years in the states. More often than not they seem to hang around for a while. Well since I haven't seen much modeled I figured I give it whirl.

Right off the bat it's a little challenging just to get the basic shape, in this case the building material was placed there rather than just left where it was demolished. I started off by using the green floural styrefoam blocks that you can get almost anywhere that sells artifical flowers. I glued the blocks in-place using adhesive caulk, once dried a used and old steak knife to give the pile it's basic shape. Next using my fingers I pressed in on the foam to give the seperately placed pile look. This is the nice thing about using the floural foam, when you press in on it, it stays.

Next, I painted the pile with black latex paint, while the paint was still very wet I sprinkeled in the metia material that I wanted to used to simulate broken blocks. To this point everything was going well. Now came coloring the blocks, initially I decided to heavily dry brush the piles using the colors to represent blocks, red oxide for red brick and light gray for cinder blocks. The dabbling of yellow you see in the pictures was to resimble pianted cinder block walls. Well It just didn't look quite right, when my buddy Mark Gugliotta came over I asked him for his opinion. He said try and repaint the piles the solid colors first, then due a black wash. Well as you can see by the photos I'm just now starting to do that. I'll follow-up in the next post how that turns out, hey lets face it, it never hurts to someone elses opinion on something.

The reason I haven't got around yet to repaint the piles of broken up blocks is beacuse I've been working on another project. Creating a new sign for one of buildings. I wanted to put a sign the building that I downloaded from the internet some time back. Most of you probably saw it. It was a website that you could a "Pennsy" style sign for whatever you wanted. In this case the sign fits my mills name perfectly "Keystone Speciality Metals". I think the sign came out pretty well, what do you think? Here's how I did it.

Once I settled on the proper sized sign I printed it out. In this case I didn't print it out on any special paper. Using semi-gloss paint in a pray can, sprayed over the sign lightly and let dry, you don't want the ink to start flowing (smugging). I repeated this step two more times until I felt I had a good finish. By the way, this is still on the 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper, you do not want to cut it out at this point.

Once thoroughly dry, you are going to turn the paper over, using a water and detergent mixture you are going to wet the paper down all around the printed sign. Let it soak for about 30 seconds and begin sanding off the paper, I use 320 grit sand paper. You want to remove as much material as possible to make it very thin. In a since you are making a decal, the clear coat is protecting your image. once you feel you've achieved the look you want set the sign aside and let thoroughly dry.

Once your sign is dry go ahead and cut it out. Now comes the tricky part, putting on the adhesive to make it stick. Because I'm placing the sign on plastic I used a spray adhesive like 3M's spray adhesive 77. You need to spray your adhesive on very sparingly, beacuse if you want it to conform to the base material you are going to have to press in on it. Yes, it will start spreading from behind the film so be careful. The spray adhesive I use takes time for it to completely dry. So, after and hour or so I went back over the sign pressing it into the metal siding. In the picture you can see the verticul lines, and "yes" you can see where I put a couple of holes in the sign. In my case, I'm OK with that. This takes a little practice so you might want to try it on some scrap siding before you place it on one of your showcase model. If you have any questions or suggestions I'm all ears, good luck. Oh and by the way sorry for any mis-spelling, I didn't have time to do a spell check.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Steel Mill Module 3 redesign - Part 5

Once the track has been painted and dried, I began ballasting the track. When I start my scenery I always start with the track ballast. I prefer using "Highball" ballast material, it is made from real crushed stone. There are other manufactures that us real stone as well which should work the same. Woodland Scenics uses crushed walnut shells (or a different nut) for their ballast which tends to float if you put down a healthy amount of glue. With the amount of time you spend spreading the ballast around you don't want it to move. You'll notice that I used lime stone colored ballast for the mainlines and blended them into the original colored ballast. If you have any books on your favorite railroad look at the ballast in the pictures. I used cinder colored ballast for the rest of the track along with real dirt. Next I put down a small line of real dirt next to the ballast. Once that is done, then I begin my gluing process (see note).

Note: I uses a 50/50 mix of white glue and water for gluing down the ballast. I first soak the area with a water/detergent mixture (3 drops of dishsoap/1 pint of water, this acts as a wetting agent), using a spray bottle. I usually do this twice before adding my glue which is applied using a small plastic bottle with a dropper attachment. Those of you who's wifes color their own hair, that little bottle that has the hair color in it is perfect, that's what use.

While the area is still wet I start putting down the scenery material. I use Woodland Scenics "Fine" green or earth blends for the base colors. Again while the area is still wet I'll put down any other basic scenery stuff that I want in that location. While your adding this material you are going the have to keep the area wet with water and glue mixtures. This assures that you will get a good foundation to start with.

In the pictures you can see where I added ballast in random areas along with small pieces of wrapping paper to represent paper trash along the rightaway. My technique allowed me to complete the basic scenery in this whole area in less than an hour and a half. It takes practice, don't get discouraged. In my next post I will begin putting in detail parts along with more scenery.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Steel Mill Module 3 Redesign - Part 4

Hello all. I know it's been awhile but I got off on a new tangent with passenger trains. Looking at building a few modules with that theme in mind.

I finely got around to a finalized track arrangement. Once the track was installed and new power leads soldered on I began preparing to paint the track. I've learned a couple of new techniques for painting track, but decided to keep with what I already had.

It's pretty simple, I used Floquil "Rail Brown" for the base coat. When I'm airbrushing I aim at the sides of the rail not worrying about the over-spray. That tends to get on the ties to a degree which is OK for me at this point. Then I will paint random ties with either Floquil "Concrete or SP Lettering Gray". I airbrush these as well for the sake of time, then I go back with a brush to touch up the rails from the over-spray. This is usually just a small area around the single ties. I paint the single ties to simulate ties that have been around for a long time and that didn't get as much creasote absorption as others. Make sure that you get the ends of the ties as well, you never know if your going to completely get the ballast around the ties even.

One of the last things I do is lightly over spray all of the track using Floquil "Mud", this tends to bring the detail out and blends everything together. The last thing I do is then spray all of the track again with an enexpensive flat (spray can) paint, this is to take the shine off of the plastic ties.

One other thing that I do from time to time is to go back and paint a single tie here and there "Black" to represent a brand new tie. I also will put down fresh ballast around those ties to help pull-off the look of a recently replaced tie. I plan to do that inone or two spots in this track work. Look for the next posts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Steel Mill Module 3 Redesign - Part 3

Last night I started lining up the rails on the end-plate template. I soldered the rails at template height and aligned the gap between the rails. Next, with the template still in place I began boring the new frontier alignment pin holes. The new holes did not interfer with the old pin system so I didn't waste anytime filling in the old alignment holes. Drilling the new holes straight is a very import step in the alignment system. I used a speed square and a line level taped to the top of my drill to help ensure that the holes are drilled as straight as possible. Next, I removed the template and sanded the end plate flush to remove any over-hang of wood and rail. Then I used my Dremel to scribe a line between the rails and between the two (2) tracks on the mainline to isolate track current. As you can see in the photo, I'm just cutting through the copper plating on the circuit board.

As you can tell by the last photo, I began messing around with aligning the new track to the existing track. As you can tell by the photo, the two (2) siding tracks will have to be shortened to accommadate the curve off the 21" branch line. The two (2) main's have the gradual sweapping curves we like on the main's. It appears there will be a little room between the main's and the branch, if you noticed there's a stub of a track in the photo that could lead to a unloading site for covered hoppers maybe? H'mmmm.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Steel Mill Module 3 Redesign - Part 2

Well summer time yard work has been cutting into the modeling time. No suprise! I cut and placed a new luan roadbed piece to re-route the mainlines back to 8 and 10" inches. I used my template to get this dimension. Once I glued and stapled the piece in place, I aligned the template to the front edge of the module. I cut a couple of pieces of circuit board that the rail will be soldered to (it will replace the rail ties at the frontier. I drilled holes and counter bored the the circuit board, then I used "Walthers Goo" to hold the board in place and screwed down. Once everything dry's I'll solder the rail to the circuit board. I will have to used my Dremel to scribe a line between the rails and between the two (2) mainline tracks to isolate the current. Once the rail has been soldered down, I can make the final alignments to my template in order to drill the in-plate alignment holes.

Now that the frontier is pretty much lined up I can start to figure out how to arrange the track. The 21" branch-line ended up being further back than I would have liked. The two (2) sidings that I planned on storing scrap gondola's is going to be getting shorter. I had to pull up more track on the 8 and 10" inch mains to allow for a gentle curve, this resulted in cutting the feeder wires to the rail. If you'll notice I cut them leaving about two (2) inches of wire on the rail. This will make it easier to re-connect the wire.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Steel Mill Module 3 Redesign - Part 1

My Keystone Specialty Metals (KSM) steel mill modules have been broken up. The over-all scene consisted of 5, 8 foot modules in which I am cutting 2 modules out. Modules 1 and 2 had the coal pulverizer and blast furnaces on them, they are being retired. The blaster furnaces I will be reusing at a later date to create a new mill scene. Both of the frames are going to be scrapped clean to be used for future projects, at this point I'm not sure what they'll be. Models 3, 4 and 5 will be used as a mini mill for now. I will have to re-configure the mainlines back to 8" and 10" on module #3 in order for it to be used as mainline modules for our group. The 21" run through will also have to be aligned at the frontier as well. The photo's reference of the area to be reconfigured, as you can see I have already cleared the previous building off, and have removed some of the track to prepare for the transition back to the 8 and 10's for the mainlines. The next posts will show how I re-configured the track work.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Union Railroad Cabooses

Several Weeks ago I stumbled across some Union Railroad decals for sale on ebay again. I bought the the caboose decals in yellow font, last year the same dealer was selling decals for twin bay hoppers in white fonts. I used them to make the 70 ton triple bay hoppers that the "Union" got from the B&LE in the early '70s. The hoppers came out nice, I'll post a pic of them sometime in the future.

Back to the cabooses, there is no good kit that represents the union early center cupola "shorty" cabooses. Here's what I have tried that looks some what respectable. 1st Caboose: I used an in expensive "Round House" (MDC)center cupola kit 26' two window caboose. I changed the trucks that came with the kit to Athearn caboose trucks with metal wheel sets. I had to add roof walk on the ends to allow for a slightly bigger platform where the ladder is located. I used window glazing for the large window on the car sides and used Krystal Klear (Microscale) for the cupola windows.

The 2nd Caboose: I used a Atlas center cupola caboose as is. I just removed the initial letter on the side (Erie & Lackawanna), repainted the side. Adding the decals, in both cases after I painted the cabooses the color I wanted, I sprayed Testors gloss coat over the sides where the decals were going to be installed. The decals need a smooth surface to properly adhere to the area. You don't want any "silvering" behind the decal. Its hard to remove on a flat painted surface. Decals are cut and place in water until they float off decal film. With a pair of fine tip tweezers place the decal in the desired location, using a warn number 11 x-acto blade knife align the decal where desired. Move on to the next decal until you finish the one side. When that side is dry flip over and repeat on the other side.

To set the decals, when both sides are dry, use Walther decal setting solution (Solvaset)and apply to the decals with a moderate amount. Don't over due it, and don't touch the decal until dry. If there are any bulbs that appear, take a brand new #11 x-acto blade and pop the bulbs. Apply another dose of Solvaset, you may have to repeat this one or two more times. Just us small doses with further applications. Once this step is compete and dried, I paint the whole area with Testors Gloss coat again. When this coat drys, I then go over the whole model with Testors Dulcoat to blind everything together. then I begin my weathering process. Any way here are the results.