Sunday, September 2, 2018

A section house for Battle Mountain

Before Fox Valley Models became a well known brand of N scale locomotives and rolling stock they had a few laser cut wood kits.  I picked up this section house kit at a train show quite a few years ago now and had never put it together and recently re-discovered it in my stash of stuff.

I have always enjoyed laser cut wood kits.  One thing that was different about this one was they had designed it to use Tichy windows and doors which I was already familiar with from scratch building projects and really like.
Here is the finished structure after assembly and painting.  I did not really like the roof paper that came with the kit and used some that I had printed myself.   Any manner of junk could be placed around this section house but for now I just scattered some pallets there.

For now it is in an area between the Barite facility and the bulk oil dealer but it may move later as it does sometimes happen that railroads move these small maintenance buildings.  The small structure to the left is not an outhouse.  It is a concrete telephone booth used by the Southern Pacific before the days of the 2-way radio.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Building a 1970's era SP MOW boom truck

Working on those drop bottom dump trucks got me to thinking about adding some Maintenance Of Way trucks to the layout.  Then seeing this photo of an old SP boom truck on a truck collectors website inspired me to try to create something like this in N scale.
As a starting point I used one of the Athearn C cab tractors that I had.  The cab was removed and the frame was cut into 3 pieces.  All three pieces were then glued to a .125 square tube with CA.
The back side of the cab was carved out as shown in this photo so it would fit on over the square tube.
This is what the model looked like with all of the pieces finished but before painting.  Scraps of styrene, steel wire, and aluminum tubing were all used to construct the boom, bed, and shelter.
The cab, shelter, bed, and boom were each individually air brushed before  assembly on the chassis.  The smallest SP decals I had were from the Microscale bridge set but I hope to soon have some smaller ones.
Some weathering and a few items thrown into the bed.  The boom cable is some black thread, some small copper wire rolled up and painted rust simulates a coil of cable, and some small chain piled up and held with CA holds down the end of the boom cable.

This was my first MOW vehicle project but I do plan more.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Trucks for the Barite industry

The Barite mines that supply the ore to the crusher in Battle Mountain are located at least 50 miles away.  The ore is brought to the crusher by drop bottom dump trucks and I needed a couple of these to make the scene complete.

I purchased a pair of drop bottom trailer kits from Shapeways designed by an N scale modeler whose blog I have been following for several years, the N Scale Addict.

These are triple axle trailers and the tires come in a strip of 6.  I painted the whole strip first, then cut them off and installed them on .020 steel wire axles, then touched up the paint.
I made mud flaps for each trailer by gluing a small square of styrene to a staple then this assembly was painted grimy black before being installed on the back of the trailer.

Thinking that a 3 axle trailer would need a heavy duty tractor to pull it I choose these 2 from my collection.  The pivot point where the trailers connect was modified on each tractor by gluing a plastic disk with just the right sized hole drilled in it.

Here are both trailers hitched to their tractors after being air brushed painted a light gray and the axle assemblies installed.

There was a small horizontal groove on the back of the trailer that I made a bit larger with file.  The wire support for the mud flaps fit right into this and then the gray paint touched up and the entire trailer got some weathering wash.

One of the trailers got a load of Barite and the other one is empty.  To simulate the load I used the same unstained Woodland Scenics small talus material I had used on the conveyors.

The loaded truck and trailer are shown here at the unloading pit for the crushing facility.

Then it's back to the mine for another load.

These are the first vehicles made specifically for this layout, there will be more.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Making Atlas line side poles taller

This is another post on my use and modification of the Atlas 2801 line side poles.  Previous posts have been Line side poles from March of 2017 and Line side poles round 2 from December of 2017.

Most railroad line side poles didn't have to be very tall if there was enough space and there was nothing that had to pass underneath.   This prototype photo shows an example of this.  Shorter poles would have been cheaper for the railroad and might have made maintenance a little easier.

There were even spots where from track level the wires appear to be close to even with the track because the track is built up on fill.  This photo of the SP line between Golconda and Wesso on the layout shows an example of this.

The stock height of the Atlas line side pole is just right for most applications but I am going to have a few places on this layout where the line poles are going to cross a track and are going to need to be taller than the standard height to look right.

Atlas poles are tapered with the bottom being the widest at about .085 inches diameter.  I had some styrene tube that was .095 which gave me an idea of how to extend the height.

After making the bottom of the pole flat with a file, I drilled a .026 hole in the center about 3/8 inch deep.
With a small file I filed away half of the diameter of both bottom of the pole and of a section of the styrene tube.   On both the notch was made about 1/8 inch wide.  A short section of .020 steel wire was placed into the hole on the bottom of the pole and then the tube was attached with CA.

This is what it looks like after some sanding.

I try to keep the two sections straight until the adhesive dries.  If the fit is not perfect any gaps can be filled with CA and then re-sanded.  

Then after painting the extended pole will look like the one on the left in this photo compared to the standard pole on the right.

That .020 steel wire inside gives the extended pole enough strength to endure any minor bumping while on the layout.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Upgrading grade crossing safety

Up to now I had protected some of the grade crossings of unpaved service roads with a few old models of wooden cross buck signs that I had saved from other layouts but did not have enough to do them all.

I recently discovered that Tichy Train Group has a  line of ready made signs and ordered the cross buck set on ebay.  They arrived today and I am very happy with their quality and scale proportions.   These are injection molded, on square poles, and come 18 to a package.

So far I have used 3 pairs of these where service roads or other non paved roads cross the tracks.  Here is the road that leads into the diesel fuel distribution in Battle Mountain where it crosses the siding for the fuel distributor.
The only paved road on the layout so far is this one that leads into the industrial district of Battle Mountain and it already had automatic flashing signals.  I did add the yellow RR crossing ahead signs that were in my stash of stuff from old layouts.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Finishing the Barite crusher / loader

This project started last February with the post The Barite Crushing Facility in Battle Mountain.   The kit referred to here is a Walthers Cornerstone Glacier Gravel Company kit.

The kit bashed crushing building was air brush painted dark ghost gray then the bottom level was hand painted concrete.  The entire structure was given a good weathering using washes and powders.  I made a sign similar to the ones that I have seen in photos of Halliburton's facilities.
I used the conveyors that came with the kit to move the raw Barite ore from the truck unloading pit to the scratch built concrete storage silo and from the silo to the crushing building.  As the photos I found on the Internet of Barite ore indicate it is a light color, I used some unstained Woodland Scenics small talus to represent this on the open conveyors.

The conveyors carrying the processed ore from the crushing building to the rail car loader are covered.  These were made from some parts from the kit and some Plastuct structural shapes.  Using materials left over from the building kit bash I built this tower to connect the two covered conveyors between the crushing building and the loader.
In the original kit the loader structure was intended to be integrated into the building and had different roof parts so I made my own roofs. All the structures except for the crushing building were airbrushed gulf desert sand then weathered.
Here is an overall view of the finished industry.  This will be the largest industry on the layout both in area that it occupies and in the number of rail cars used in it's operation.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Progress on the Barite crusher / loader

This is how the Barite crushing and loading facility in Battle Mountain looked last February.  I had a good start but there was still much left to do.

I had always figured that these structures would need to be removable and they are.  What I have noticed while conducting switching operations on the siding and the industries at the rear of the scene was that I would sometimes bump these taller structures from their locations.  So I needed a way to make them be more firmly in place yet still removable.

To accomplish this I used a similar technique that I did with the Diamond Plastics buildings, small magnets embedded into the bottom of the structures and steel screws in the base.  I am securing all of the structures this way with the conveyors being anchored between the structures.
The loader structure has 6 columns attached to 2 long footings so not much place to put a magnet or a screw.  I added some thickness to the footings and installed a small nails as shown in this photo.  The nails extend through holes in the base .

I made these assemblies to hold the magnets and glued them under the bench work to hold the loader structure. The nails make contact with the magnets and give the loader structure better stability.
Another thing I have been playing around with is to animate the car puller.  There is the same kind of magnet as in the photo above inside this covered hopper car and the black cable (thread) has the head of  a small nail glued to it.

The idea seems to work OK and can pull the entire string of cars through the loader, just not sure if it's worth doing.  Don't have to decide now, it can be added later.

This is what this industry looks like now,  almost ready for the paint booth.  I have also ordered a pair of drop bottom truck trailers for this industry.