Friday, January 24, 2014

Olin-Chlor expansion, part 1

Since Mother Nature decided to give us break today, 54° and sunny, I decided to swing through Malvern and see if anything was new on my way home from work?

As I pulled into town I noticed that the Razorback must be out on the road as the only thing sitting at the house were the new ALCo's, which looked to be untouched since the last time I visited.  So I jumped in the truck and headed out of town to see if I could catch up with it.  As usual, the engine house was deserted, so it was up to the scanner and I to locate the afternoon train by ourselves.

On the way out of town I did see that progress was being made at the Olin-Chlor plant.


After playing with the new building one evening I decided it was a bit too big and was crowding the tracks more than I liked.  I got the lower section cut back about an 1" and refitted with a new front, this gave me enough room where a maintenance truck could fit between the building and the loading tracks.

On the Crushmoore building I used Evergreen Corrugated siding, but this time I wanted to try something different that I've read about elsewhere.  Others have posted on some of their blogs and forums that instead of buying the expensive sheet styrene from Evergreen or Plastruct, they have used the cheap plastic "For Sale" signs.  

While at Menards one day I picked a 16" x 20" "For Sale" sign for $1.69 and another tube of glue to stick it to the building with.

The sign was pretty thin, probably around .020" or so, but it should work since this building would look more like a poured concrete structure when done.


I laid the sign on the workbench, the building on the sign and then traced the sides of the building.  Being so thin I was able to cut the sides out with a good pair of scissors easy enough.  I left the pieces larger than the building so I could trim it to fit with a utility knife after I got them stuck in place.
Within a few minutes I had all the pieces cut to size and they were ready to stick. 

I'm happy to report that cutting, covering and trimming this building only took about 30 minutes!

I still need to go back and fuse some of the corners with the liquid glue and then file them smooth a s well the top edges.

"Hey wait a minute?  Only 30 minutes?  Crushmoore took almost a week to get all the sides covered and glued into place."  What gives?

When I was picking up the glue and sign at Menards, I stumbled across some different type of glue, it was a spray adhesive made by Loctite!

Upon closer inspection of this new wonder glue, I read where it's Re-positionable and Permanent!  You spray on a thin even coat, wait a few seconds for it to flash out, then you have 5-15 minutes to reposition your piece!!!  Just what I was worried about when I was first working on Crushmoore.

After applying the first side of the building, I gently grabbed one corner and pulled, it came right off without disturbing the layer of glue!  COOL!  I pushed and prodded the first piece back into place and applied pressure for a good seat.  I grabbed the next piece and got it stuck into place, on and on I went until I had all the sides covered.  In some cases I had to take my sharp utility knife and trimmed some of the corners flush before applying the adjacent piece. 

The only thing I did different with this building, due to the spray, was to tape off any areas of  newly stuck plastic sides so I could keep them clear of any over spray.  The next night all the pieces were stuck nice and tight.

 The next job is to start adding the trim around the roof and then apply the vertical ribbing.

Edit: Click here to jump to "Olin-Chlor expansion part 2"


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Back to weathering...

Before I get after the new building for Olin-Chlor, I wanted to play with some weathering again.

I have a ton of older cars that I want to thin out and instead of listing them on eBay as stock cars I thought I would try dolling them up a bit and see if I could sell them to scare up some extra cash for the new projects in Malvern as well as get a little bit of practice in.

These were all done using same technique that I used for the other locos that I've done before in this post.  But this time I left a little more of the brown paint on so as to look rustier and more abused.  One thing I'm looking for is a way to weather my fleet with a simple and fairly quick process that has good results.  Like most anything with modeling, it takes time.

In the second batch I did the same thing but this time I wanted to add a few scratches, something I didn't do with the first round.  I also took some side by side, before and after pics since I had duplicate cars to do this with.  This give a real good sense of how much of a change takes place.

The more I work with oils the more I like them.  They are very forgiving in that if you don't like what you've done you can simply wipe it off with a dry "Q" tip and try again.  The only drawback to oils is it takes awhile for the paint layer to dry, but this also is good in that you have plenty of time to work with it.  I normally leave each color coat to dry at least for 24 hours if not 48 hours before sealing each layer with a coat of Dull Coat. 

While this may not be the best or fastest way to weather, it's definitely easy.  Each color is wiped on and then wiped off, each time leaving a little bit more of each color so that it builds up layers giving it a deeper, richer color.  

I can get 5-7 cars done in about week.  Even with a large fleet, doing a few at a time will still take awhile.  But as they say, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Olin Chlor Alkali Products to expand plant in Malvern, AR

Happy New Year everyone!

The last time I made a trip to Malvern was to see the new ALCo's.  More chatter last week on the squawk box sounded like a few more ALCo's might be en-route.   So I grabbed the camera and headed out.
Unfortunately, there wasn't a sole around the engine house to squeeze any more info out of.  The same power that I seen last time was still tucked away and looked ready for the next assignment.  But there was something new on the tracks behind them!  It looked like a couple more RS11's and another unit which was just peeking out of the house.
Don't know if these are for more power or if they will be donors for the original three?

With nothing happening at the house I decided to drive into town and grab some foamer snacks [that would be some Nuclear Burritos and Chocolate milk] from the local Kwiky Mart a few blocks away. 

As I rounded the corner I noticed that Olin-Chlor looked rather torn up.  Upon closer inspection I could see they were breaking new ground for what looked like some kind of expansion!


The last time I actually worked on the layout was the first of November.  During the holidays I pretty much suspended all work on the layout and at Malvern.  I got kind of sidetracked with a weathering project for a friend and while I had the stuff out I decided to weather up a few cars and see if I could sell them on eBay before Christmas.

Having some good luck with the first round, I opted to get a few more done while everything was still on the bench.  During this process I remembered the announcement of the KATO Rock Island F2's! Damn!  Sure am glad I was able to sell some of those weathered cars, might have to do a few more to keep Mr. Wallet safe?

Upon hearing this my thoughts began to drift back to my earlier modeling days when I first fell in love with The Rock!  One of the first posters I got was a Howard Fogg poster that had a trio of Rock Island FA's splitting a pair of signals.

This got me thinking again about back dating the motive power from time to time or to just run a good mix of units.  The biggest obstacle that I would need to cross would be getting the LifeLike FA's chipped.  These are the newer LifeLike units with a split frame chassis, the FA1 & FB1.

After talking to several folks about getting this project underway.  Two guys, one of which was Brad Meyers of N scale DCC Decoder Installs suggested looking into using one of Aztec pre-milled frames.
Long story short, this was the road that I took.  I stripped one of my units down as per instructions and sent it to Aztec who promptly returned a milled frame within a few days.  A couple of days later a Digitrax DZ125 arrived and was promptly installed.  Success!   Now with that done I only need to see if I can get them to run halfway close to the same speeds as the rest of my fleet, otherwise I will have to segregate them and they'll have to run by themselves.

So, with all that out of the way and my itch having been scratched, it was time to return to Malvern.  Then next biggest job was going to get the buildings designed and built for Olin-Chlor Alkali Products. Knowing that any type of complex that deals with liquids would require a fair amount piping in order to look halfway respectable I knew I was going to come up against another challenge; All that Piping!  

After finding an Olin-Chlor plant located near Charleston, TN on Bing maps, I noticed that they had a fairly simple square building right next to some loading platforms.  Perfect!  

With the method that I used for the Crushmoore building still fresh in my head, it looked like I should be able to use the same process for this building.  Now after having some idea of what I could use for the main building and some old Walthers petroleum storage tanks from the old modules, I started playing musical buildings to see if I could come up with something that would fit the space and my needs.

Let the fun begin.

After lunch today I turned the saws on and grabbed my pin nailer and bottle of glue.

The tall section is 9"w x 3.75"t x 2.25"d and the shorter section is 
7"w x 2.5"t x 4"d.
I think this time I will try and make a Concrete prefabbed building with ribs similar to this one.

I hear the sounds of construction again...