Thursday, April 28, 2016

ICG woodchip hopper project

Earlier this winter I was browsing eBay for deals when I stumbled across a seller who was listing a slug of the Bluford 70 ton woodchip hoppers.  Most were going for a relatively low price so it caught my attention.

Up to this point I had used mostly the Deluxe Woodchip hoppers for loading at Crushmoore, but these little guys kind of caught my.  They were a little bit older than my era I suppose, but damn they really started to look good.

Bottom line I picked a few..........then a few more.  Before long I had acquired a decent fleet of these little beauties.  The seller would list a good batch each week and I just couldn't help myself and then one week he listed a pair of the Illinois Central black cars that I was able to win.  Upon getting them home. the gears started turning.  "I wonder if I could come up with decals so I could paint a couple in the Orange ICG scheme?"

I did a little searching on Google for pics of them, but came up empty handed.  But by this time I found myself fixated on seeing a couple of these orange hoppers sitting at Crushmoore.   So I started rounding up the supplies.  I found a couple of Undecs, ICG Orange TCP paint and a few decals. Microscale didn't have a whole lot of ICG decals but they did have the round Split Rail logo used on the locos. This meant I didn't have to print white decals and could print the decals on my inkjet printer which made this project a whole lot easier.

Once the supplies had arrived I set about stripping the cars of the details and got them painted.

Next I scanned one of the cars so I could import it into CorelDraw and I could start working on the lettering for the decals I couldn't buy.  But first I returned to Google and searched for a font similar to what the ICG used.  Jackpot! I found a TrueType font that someone had made for the Railroad Sim game.  This just got easier.

After copying the font into windows I could now select it in CorelDraw and start overlaying the lettering.  Even though I could find decals for the ACI label, COTS labels and the Wheel inspection DOT I still created them so I could position everything on the image to see how things would fit.

Now that the sizing was done I copied the images and compressed them into groups to fit on the paper.

Next I ran a couple of test prints on plain paper to see how legible the printing would be.  Satisfied, I grabbed a sheet and made a print and sealed them with a couple of thin coats of Model Masters semi gloss clear. 

The decals laid down really good over a coat of Dull Coat. They were a little bit thicker than Microscale decals, but several coats of Solvaset made them snuggle right down over the details.

The last thing I did to them after getting the decals sealed and rail ready was to tone down the load that Bluford provided with the cars.  I mixed up a little bit of cheap acrylic paint for a wash coat.  I used an Umber, Orange and bit of Antique White and thinned it a bit so it settled down into the chips to bring out the details a bit more and tone down the bright molded color.  I need to experiment with the color a bit more as this might be a little too dark?

Another small project done...