Sunday, January 31, 2021

A sand tower for the Biddle facility Pt2

I think I can stick a fork in the sand tower for now.

I picked up some K&S brass rod for the sand delivery pipes and used CorelDraw to sketch out a template for a pattern of how to bend and cut the pipes.  I was able to use the drawings to tape the pipes in place so I could solder them together as well.

Once assembled I secured them to the tower via a hole and epoxied them in place.  I also decided to make some outrigger supports to help keep them in place once installed on the layout with more Evergreen "H" beams. I also glued some thicker styrene blocks to the bottom for concrete pads.

Had to do some head scratching to figure out how to make the flexible hoses off the piping.  I wound up using two resistors and the cut the wire ends off and soldered them to the lower ends of the piping.

Once that was done I dug out one of the Gold Metal Model safety cage ladder kits and decided to see how badly I could I screw one of these up.  Getting the first couple of cage pins secured to the ladder was like an exercise in frustration.   I chose to solder the cage to the ladder rather than use glue because it was faster.  I was able to get several pins in place after the first one and got them soldered, then a few more.  Pretty soon I was working on the last one.

It didn't turn out perfect but it will pass the 3' rule I think.  The last thing I did before turning out the lights was to epoxy the ladder to the "I" beam on the tower so it could set up overnight.

The next morning after a quick inspection I fired up the airbrush and sprayed it with a primer, then sprayed some TCP Galvanized Metal paint for the entire tower.  Once dry I came back with a small brush and painted the flexible hoses with black paint and touched up the pads with some acrylic concrete paint.

For my first major scratch build without much of any plans others pictures, I'm quite happy with it.

I sat it in place after getting it painted  to see how it looked.
I think I'm going to install a couple of locator pins so I can remove and replace it easier when I clean the tracks or work around the facility.

Next up comes the fueling pad and a set of power poles with step down transformers, those should be a much easier project.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A sand tower for the Biddle facility

After getting the engine shed far enough along, I started looking at adding some of the other necessities to the scene, one of which is a sand tower.  I found a couple of kits, one being the Stewart kit, which was in my opinion too small.  So I started looking around Google to see what I could find to mimic with a scratch build.

I found this one from the CWE layout

I kept snooping and I found this prototype from somewhere in New Mexico on the Santa Fe.

So I decided to try and make a close copy of the Santa Fe version but with different piping and hoses.  For the main tank I cabbaged a part from an unused kit, the uprights were Evergreen "I" beams and the rest was made from misc Evergreen strip stock.   The top railing is from an old Walthers "HO" ladder stock that I bent to fit a square of styrene. 

I still need to make the "X" bracing and then work on the piping, hoses and ladder.  I think it's a good start? 

I may have to move the fueling track away from the building a bit, but that wouldn't be a bad thing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

"Can a I get a little help?"

 A buddy stopped by the other day to chew the fat and run some trains.

Matt brought his BN equipment over to stretch their legs a bit.  He ran my FPPX coal drag (37 cars) and his two Deuces could barely pull it so we tacked one my U30C's on the rear to help shove it.

His units were consisted but my U30c wasn't. So we ran it old school, each were on a separate throttle.  Not once did we stringline the cars.  I don't have grades on the layout which probably helped.  But it was still a fun time.  

He captured it on video.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Biddle's new engine facility and shed

After the new turnout arrived I got it cut in for the caboose track and shortened the pocket track to allow space for the shed and got the tracks repainted.  The industrial lead is still just tacked in place and will be for the foreseeable future until I decide what to do with the industrial area.


After deciding on using the Walthers Machine Shop for the engine shed, I figured I'd take my time and see how bad I could screw it and how fast it'd wind up in the trash?  Just the name Machine Shop conjures up a filthy place, and being used for a engine shed, an oil and grease covered floor would be a given. So some heavy weathering would be called for.


As for the roof, on the last building I printed the roof from Google Maps and stuck it to the plastic roof, this time I wanted to try painting one.  Although the texture detail isn't very visible in this image, I painted the roof with a grey acrylic and laid down a Kleenex, let it dry then painted over it again with a medium gray.

Once dry I used a fine black Sharpie marker for the tar lines, then applies a couple different colors of gray for varying aged roofing effects.  Finally I came back with some Pan Pastels to vary the overall color, eventually I may come back with some Ochre and browns to lighten things up a bit more and add some dirt and rust stains.


The sad part of all this is that the roof will be locked in place and will not be removable, so much for the dirty floor.  Oh well, it was good practice for some exterior concrete pads that will be needed.

Once I got the shed assembled far enough along I was able to set it in place to test fit it to make sure things would work as planned.  I also added some back ground images to hide all the layout clutter in the background. 

I've still got a lot to do the shed before sticking a fork in it, but I think it's going to work as intended?  

Next I'm going to have to decide where the concrete pads  will be placed.  I've got a couple of sanding towers to play around with and will have to make some simple fueling racks.  I think what I've got for the vertical fuel tanks will work just fine.  I'm gonna have to jostle things around and see if I can find a place for everything.

The amount of detail that I'll be able to add to this place alone should keep me busy for a long time:  A couple of sheds and an office extension, parts on pallets (brake shoes and stuff) and general junk,  fuel pumps, sanding tower, 55 gallon drums, spare wheel sets, a few spare trucks.  

Then there are ground level power poles with transformer and then perhaps crew vehicles and a couple of heavy breakdown vehicles could round things out.  The building would likely only do general light repairs & trip inspections but no major overhauls or heavy work.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

The new engine facility in Biddle

Work is still continuing on the new yard.
To recap, this is the stage where I'm at to date.

The other night I started playing around with the facility, laying in some styrene sections for concrete pads. No matter how I laid them out I always felt that it looked too modern for what I was trying to portray.

My first thought was to have just the pads and no shed or buildings around, but again, it always looked too modern whenever I'd stepped back to get an overall view. So the other night after feeling stumped, I decided to go to Google and see if I could find something that had the right flavor for me.

Keep in mind this nothing but an open staging yard. But I've decided to smear a little lipstick on the pig to see if I could make it a bit more presentable.

As far as operations go, there won't be much happening in the yard. Everything will be pre-staged before a session begins and the crew will grab a consist and attach them
to the staged trains on one of the first two tracks. The closest thing to yard work might be having the crew or a switch crew grab a caboose and tack it on the end of the train before it leaves the yard.

Simple and basic.
Just enough yard work to give it the feel of something railroady.

The same goes for the engine facility as well, simple and basic, you might even say that it's only purpose is for esthetics. So after looking on Google images for engine facilities, I came across images of Mike Confalone's Madrid yard facility and it really caught my eye.

It was simple, basic and practical. The first thing I noticed was the lack of concrete pads other than what the fuel racks and sand tower were mounted on. All of the track was right on the ground and not surrounded by concrete. The only thing I didn't favor was the two track engine shed as it was just a little more than what I wanted.

So I started looking around for a small shed, something in brick. Pike Stuff makes some awesome kits, but I've already used a lot of their stuff and didn't want to that look everywhere.

So I started chatting with a few friends about this, one said a small single stall shed, the other said an open air shed?
I kind of wanted something in brick since a lot of the old buildings in Biddle yard were brick.

While looking for what they suggested, I stumbled across a kit that I thought might fit the bill. The Walthers Northern Light & Power kit, it was brick and older, but I didn't like the Art Deco era look, then I found this kit which I happened
to have one in my stash.

It was brick, not too old and not too modern and it looked like it would fit the area nicely without dominating the scene.
So I started playing around with it and started throwing the idea back at my friends to see what they had to say.

This is what I came up with. Note I removed some of the tracks with my image editor to get a better feel of what it would look like.
Left to Right: Fuel/Ready track, switcher pocket, house/service track and finally a caboose track.
The industrial lead is still up in the air, but I will probably give it another bend so it kind of parallels the facility area more or less.

The backstory on this area (I always like to have plausibility or is it OCD) is this is all that's left of a once larger shop.

The industrial lead used to lead into a roundhouse and more loco facilities and car repair shops, but that has all since been removed (in reality all the buildings survived until shutdown)
I'm modeling in the last few years of The Rock, so this place isn't as bustling as it once was. I can't say for certain that this will be the final rendition, but I'm thinking it will be close.

Once the turnout arrives I'll get the house track re-laid and add the caboose track.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Color change

Nothing too much exciting, I just got the tracks sprayed with Krylon Camouflage Brown.

I had originally planned to brush the track with a latex version of this color, but I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to spray it.  The Krylon covered the old Fleckstone paint that I used for a Faux ballast (when I first built the yard) much easier and in one coat.

Up next, the ballast.  I want to try to make this yard looked well used and non maintained.  Basically I want it to look like the track has sunk into the dirt and overgrown with weeds.  I also want the ties to look dry and sun bleached but don't want to go to the hassle of painting them individually. 

I'm thinking some sort of a wash or highlight after the ballast is done and before I apply the weeds?