Saturday, February 16, 2019

Riceland was left in the dirt.

In the last post I stated that I had the Haskell ballasting complete, except for the Riceland elevator tracks because I wanted the tracks to look as if they were sunk in the dirt or mud.
Last night I got them finished as well.  I decided to use some John's ballast that was fine brown from an old stash that I ran across.  Leading into these tracks I used up the last of the AR&M Kinzu I had left which just covered the tracks through the turnouts and used the John's ballast to cover the rest of the tracks.  I tried to blend the brown ballast over the Kinzu ballast without the best results.  

Luckily I had just a small amount of the Kinzu left so I started sprinkling it over the brown until I was happy and then with the small amount left, continued to sprinkle trace amounts over the rest of the elevator tracks so it looked like there was a bit of actual ballast showing through the dirt/mud.  

Eventually I'll come back with ground foam and static grass and add it up to and over some of the elevator tracks for a more weedy appearance.  

I did break down and ordered a large supply of ground foam from Scenic Express.  Once it arrives next week my plan is to get the base ground cover of earth and grass/weed glued down and get rid of the solid brown paint that I've been staring at for the past several years.

This afternoon I began to replace some of the buildings and cars that I moved out of the way so I could ballast, not sure why I did that as I'll only have to move everything one more time?  So while things were somewhat back to normal in Haskell, I snapped a few pics, so enjoy.

I can see that I may have to invest in some Photo stacking software in the near future?

Spring IS almost here, so I'm hoping in the next post Haskell will look a little more like spring?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Ballasting complete in Haskell

Last night I finished ballasting the mainline in Haskell.  I still need to finish the elevator tracks at Riceland, but I'm wanting to use something a little different.

While I'm happy with the Arizona Rock & Mineral ballast and the way it goes down, the color is not what I was hoping for.  I used a color called KINZU which when dry was light brown in color, but after it was glued it turned rather dark, much darker than I hoped for.  I did try a sample off layout which wasn't bad, but on the layout turned much darker.

Here's a section that got dark.

Here's the same ballast before glue was applied, quite the difference.

So with this I am planning to go back and use the Woodland Scenics blend that I made and used in Malvern several years ago.  The first picture is a stretch that I just glued down and is made from 2 parts Light Gray, 2 parts Gray Blend and 1 part Buff.   The second picture is the same ballast in Malvern after I added several washes of brown acrylic paint.  This is closer to what I'm looking for.  

For the Riceland elevator tracks I'm shooting for a look as if the tracks are sitting in dirt with very little ballast visible.  I did a couple of sample spreads.  The first image is using John's brown ballast, the second is using Woodland Scenics Earth ground foam.  I sprinkled a bit of blended turf to give me an idea of what it may look like.  

Also I think I'll add some darker soil colored foam or some of the John's brown ballast or maybe some AR&M Yard Mix ballast for a bit of variety in color.  I also plan to come back later with some lighter colors of foam for a better mixture of weeds as well as some static grass.  So far it looks promising.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

More ballast and some green at Gavilon

I just about have all the ballast down on the Gavilon tracks.
This was the last section to get glued tonight.  This is the turnout for the hopper unloading spur.

A little further up the line past the grade crossing is the tank car siding, I added a smidgen of Yard Mix ballast to give it a dirtier look.

Further up the line still is where The Rock cut the abandoned line to add their connection. The grayish peppered ballast is the Kinzu colored ballast that I'll use on the rest of the mainline.  Hopefully when I get some grass down the colors will stand out better?

Finally I got some earth colored foam down on the grade crossing and then added some blended turf to see what a little color will look like.

The splotches on the road is from the alcohol that I sprayed on the ballast before applying the glue mixture.  I still plan to add more grass and weeds to the grade crossing once I get to that stage, but for now I want to finish applying the ballast to all the tracks in Haskell.

It feels good to be working with some scenery for a change.  I forgot how much I enjoy ballasting.  It's a little tedious yes, but get some good tunes on and it seems to fly by. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The first bit of ballast at Gavilon

I finally got a chance to play around with some ballast at the Gavilon grade crossing.   This has only been tamped and not glued yet.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Gavilon's grade crossing.

Well after a year of getting started on this scene, siiiiigh, I'm finally making some progress.

I finally got the grade crossing installed.  The reason for the delay was I wanted to get some ballasting done but it dawned on me the issue I had when I installed the grade crossing at Crushmoore Ind.  I ballasted first, then installed the crossing but I had to scrape and remove a lot of ballast before hand.  It turned out OK, but was more work.

So this time I was going to install it first and ballast afterwards.  But the question was: Where did I want it?  Before I could place it I had to figure out where the buildings would go and how they would layout.  So I spent basically the last year getting the buildings built and laid out so I wouldn't have to relocate the crossing later.

Once the main structure for Gavilon was roughed together, I grabbed the crossing and started playing with the best location.  First I wanted to color it so I started with a wash of Alcohol and India Ink, that wasn't dark enough so I tried a brown oil wash, still wasn't dark enough.

So grabbed some Pan Pastels, a light brown and a light gray.  This worked.  Next I used some sheet styrene the same thickness as the spike heads so the center portion of the crossing would sit level and just below the rail heads.  For the outer crossing planks I snipped off the spike heads and then glued more sections of sheet styrene to the ties.

I wanted to water proof the grade crossing as much as possible so I sealed them with Dullcoat to protect them from the ballast glue and when dried I glued them into place.

Using more of the sheet styrene I made a couple of pieces that would be the asphalt road, painted them gray and glued down some thick styrene strips to support the road at the same level as the crossing planks.  When those were dried in place I glued down the styrene road.

Then I had to ponder how I was going to fill in around the road to make the shoulders.  I thought of using plaster, Ground Goop, rolled up tissue soaked in glue and a couple of other ideas.  A friend told me to use strip cork and build it up.  Then the light came on, I'd make the shoulders by using Floral Foam.  This is the soft green foam that they use to make flower arrangements.  Years ago I used some to make coal loads in some MDC Thrall hoppers, I cut it to a rough size and wedged them into the hoppers and because it's so soft I was able to shape it with my fingertips and paint it.

I couldn't find any left over so I made a quick trip to Wally World and picked up a pack and started in.  It's been awhile since I had bought any and didn't realize there were different types.  I picked up what they called Wet Foam which was meant for live flowers.  I should have gotten some Dry Foam for fake flowers, which I did grab some from Michael's the next day.  The Wet Foam worked but was a lot softer and I would suggest using the Dry Foam.

Once the paint dries, I should be able to commence with the ballasting.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Progress at Gavilon Fertilizer

I found a little bit of time this weekend to get the main structures assembled for Gavilon.

The actual M.A.C. kit called for 4 sections between the two end caps on the larger building, but I opted for only three which gave me a bit more space for the small elevator shed in front.  This will be used for bulk loading of fertilizer trailers or trucks.

For now I used some "I" beams to support the downspout..... they look a little big but I need to add some more details and adjust the length of the downspout.

The next step is to paint the structure to match the unloading shed in the 2 tone gray scheme and add the roof, doors, windows and the other details.  Then I'm going to try and get some scenery down in this area, starting with the wood crossing planks into this facility so I can finally do some long awaited ballasting.  I've held off on ballasting as I wasn't sure exactly how the buildings were going to fit or where and I wanted to install the wood crossing first.  

The Riceland elevator and mill buildings that I have here now are just stand-ins, once I get the new kits built and situated I can ballast pretty much all of the tracks in Haskell. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Friday, December 28, 2018

Gavilon Fertilizer Dist.

So long 2018!
This past year was not a good year and I for one am glad it's over.  It's been a trying year with my knee injury lasting until March and the rest of the year was filled with a lot of personal work.  We finally convinced my mother to move to a retirement community and the rest of my summer was filled getting her house and property ready to sell, by the end of the summer we wrapped that up.  

I still need to get my garage organized as it's full of stuff from Mom and Dads garage that I inherited.   That will take some time yet, but little by little I hope to have that wrapped up by Spring or Summer.

The Fall and Winter months of this year I worked in the basement trying to organize that mess as well.  So I'm hoping that 2019 will be a little bit more relaxed.

After wrapping up some more of the Bench Projects I've been working on like the pulpwood flats and some tank cars, I want to get started on the layout once again.

Here's where I left off in March. 
In Haskell I was working on Gavilon Fertilizer.  I had planned that Gavilon was to be a fertilizer plant that made both granular and liquid fertilizer.  After discussing the idea with some friends, it was decided that a manufacturing complex may be too large for the real estate I had available.  What they suggested was to create a smaller fertilizer distributor.  So be it.

This distributor was actually served by another shortline railroad that had recently shut down and had abandoned the line which left Gavilon without rail service.  Rock Island had decided to add a shoe fly from their tracks in Haskell so they could restore rail service to Gavilon. 

Recently, I've been itching to get some ballast down in Haskell with the backdrop done and the tracks painted, but I first wanted to get the grade crossing installed before hand.  When I installed the grade crossing for Crushmoore Ind a few years ago, I did after I ballasted and found it was kind of a pain to get them installed properly.  I had to scrape a lot of the ballast out of the way first.  This time I was going to install the crossing first then ballast up to it.

But this meant I had to figure out where I wanted it first and in order to do that I needed to know where the buildings would sit so as to make things line up.  So I dug out a few kits that I had on hand and ordered a few more.  I got started on some of the buildings before March.  

First were the tank car loading platforms.  These are the Tomytec version I had picked up, but later I decided to try some platforms that I found on Shapeways.  They are still in the box and I need to dig them out and get them ready to paint.  They should be a little more to scale and a bit more prototypical looking, although these platforms aren't too bad.

I had at first planned to use several of the Tomytec Spherical tanks but decided to use a more traditional design since this would be a distributor rather than a manufacturer.

These two small corrugated buildings are made by Deluxe and will be the pump houses from the platforms to the tanks and from the tanks to the truck filling station.

I wanted a shed to cover the hoppers that unload the dry granules to keep them out of the weather while unloading.  So I picked up another Pike Stuff kit like I used for the chip loader at Crushmoore Ind.  These are great modular kits that can resized in several ways.  I made this one with only two wall sections unlike the one I used for Crushmoore where I used three sections.

Here it is sitting over the tracks on a platform made from MDF and covered with styrene for a concrete pad next to some PVC silos.  The tubes were scraps from model sprues and conical sections are LEGO parts.  The elevator is a Rix kit.

I plan to use the M.A.C. building from Pike Stuff for the main building.  This will be the next project, getting it assembled and painted.  I'll paint it to match the smaller pump houses and unloading sheds.  Once I get that far I can then get the buildings placed so I can know where the crossing will go and I can start ballasting.

I'm hoping that 2019 allows me a little more time with the layout so I can make further leaps and bounds on scenery, I'm getting tired of seeing the ceiling tile...