Monday, April 4, 2016

Bulkhead flats anyone? Let's load'em up! pt3

The other day while shooting some action shots of W&OV's S2,  I noticed they had several bulkhead flats loaded with plate steel.  I've seen a lot of the coil cars delivered, but not many bulkheads.  So I setup the tripod and got a few shots of them being spotted. 


With the bulkheads on and the decks weathered, I wanted to get the actual cars weathered but found myself heading off on another tangent, loads!

Again this is something I've been wanting to do for a long time but never really had the need to do so until now.  Since we're operating now, one of my crew suggested that we need loads for two reasons, one for aesthetics and the other for operations.  Quin mentioned that with loads the cars would be easier for the El Dorado yard crew to tell where they are going; To the industry or from the industry.  Makes sense.

Heavy Metal Ind takes raw steel in and manufactures a lot of different items, mainly pipe and tubing. I have a lot of the coil steel loads but also wanted a variety of raw material.  So I decided my first load would be steel plate loads.   

I started out with .030" styrene sheets and cut out strips measuring a scale 8' x 20', 30', 40' and 45'.
I then glued and stacked them together in piles of no more than 4 high.  between each pile I wanted cribbing or stickers to separate them a bit.  First I grabbed some 1/16" x 1/16" basswood strips but they looked a little too big.

I found some .030" x .030" strip styrene strips and tried them.

These looked to be a bit more proportional.  With the wood stickers I was going to toss them in a jar of old paint thinner to give them more of a look of wood, but I couldn't do this with the styrene.  I didn't want to dig out the airbrush for a couple strips, then the light came on!  What a brown marker? Didn't have one but I found this, an old Floquil Paint Pen!  I think it was Rail Brown?  This worked pretty slick!

When they were dry I used my Chopper II to cut them to length.  I used a Touch -N-flo applicator to glue them to the bottom of each pile with MEK.  I'm really starting to like the this applicator for small pieces like this.  Just a small drop to spot weld them into place and then I can come back with small brush to really lay on the glue.

After getting them painted and the stickers glued in place, I gave them a quick test fit.  I used a mixture of old Polly Scale paints I had laying around and brushed it on.  I used a gray, a black and some beige and mixed until I had a good color that resembled fresh steel. 

Now I needed some strapping to keep the sheets from sliding around.  I grabbed some black thread and glued one end to the bottom with CA glue, let it dry and wrapped the thread around the piles and glued the other end and trimmed them.

Once the strapping was good and dry I used some weathering powders, Old Rust and Soot and gave the tops and edges a light coat and then sealed everything with a good coat of Dull Coat to lock everything in place.

It took me about two nights to get 8 stacks done, which should be enough once I get some other types of steel loads made.

For the next type of loads I'm gonna make some square rod and "I" and "H" beams...


  1. And very well done indeed. Another good paint for steel is Humbrol Metal Cote. It dries to a nice steel colour and can be buffed to make it look new if needed.
    Just another little tip from down under LOL.
    Regards Allen.

    1. That sounds like a neat paint to play with, thanks Rod.

  2. Great work on those loads Allen

  3. The loads look great! And thank you for the how-to!

  4. I found that Pop Tart wrappers can be cut into thin strips, colored with a Sharpie, and glued to the underside. The Mylar(?) is very thin yet strong and stretches a bit,allowing it to hug the load. it represents the steel banding pretty well.

    1. Rick that's a great idea!!!
      I'll have to give that a try on my next round of loads.
      Thanks for the tip!