Sunday, August 12, 2018

August and it is hot

I have been absent from my blog for a few months. I have just been ignoring this medium for an occasional post on the Southern Pacific Modeling Facebook group pages and I moderate the latter net location for agitated electrons. This misspelling of the freight part of the name was accidental but irreversible as I had over 100 subscribers before I realized the error. 

My old and increasingly decrepit "layout" does not receive any attention. It is used just as a setting for photographing my model building projects. In it's current form it dates from 2009 when, following a family visit to England, I switched my British 4 mm (OO) scale modeling to Southern Railway and in particular the far end of the line from Waterloo station in London at Padstow on the north Cornwall coast. It was built as temporary but has lasted 10 years on two 2' X 8' + 2' X 3' pieces of sheet fiber board with loose 2" X 1" supports on top of wood TV tray tables. The track is Peco code 100 turnouts with Atlas flex mostly buried in Woodland Scenics walnut shell ballast. I have had many plans to replace it with proper modules but never get around to that basic part of model railroading. Building models is much more fun.

This latest picture is just an assembly of my arch roof "Harriman" style passenger car collection as a nameless late 1940's 7 car train.  Possibly a second section of a Cascade or a San Joaquin valley train. 

The first car behind the Athearn MT-4 is my most recent passenger car project. I managed to obtain a pair of MDC "Harriman" baggage cars which resemble SP 60-B-10 baggage cars. (The worst foobie feature is the baggage doors are only 6 feet apart.)  It has a modified underframe to correctly space the trucks. I will write a separate blog about this car and the Harriman utility vents I used. I don't use an airbrush anymore and wound up using a PreVal sprayer with TruColor SP Dark Olive for paint. Works for me.

Next is a total foobie baggage RPO with a scratch built underframe and a pair of Athearn 6 wheel passenger trucks. The roof has been repainted and the round vents re-spaced. The dark olive is the recent original paint from the Athearn/Roundhouse Western Pacific lettered versions of these cars. I just removed the WP lettering and replaced it with now out of production Micro-Scale SP Heavyweight decals, I am not wasting my good Thinfilm SP decals on these foobies. 

The next two coaches are rebuilds of Model Power Round Roof cars into 60-C-1 chair car lookalikes. These are similar to Jason Hill's rebuilds and include interiors using PSC plastic chairs. 

The last 3 cars are best kept in the distance from the camera. They are 2 Sunset/GGD "Harriman" coaches and an All Day Lunch car. The roofs are a well known problem. I have removed the plastic windows from one coach and replaced it with sheet clear plastic which improves the look considerably. I need to do the second coach.  The ADL has been modified with clear windows and changes to the underframe with relocated battery box, new ice boxes, cooking gas tanks and other fittings. 

I will have to do separate blogs about each some day

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More on SP Freight Car Red from a Rattle Spray Can

This is the latest result with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer Oxide Red spray can  which I have decided for me is a good spray can substitute for PBL Star Brand #30 SP/UP Freight Car Red since I no longer wish to use an airbrush.    The Tichy kit has been a test bed for paint and some things I had not gotten right before.  I am working very slowly on  a Westerfield resin B-50-15 and needed some practice

I have just completed decaling the sides. Unfortunately there is not good match in decals for an SP B-50-12 so I had to use a Microscale 87-911 sheet which does not have correct original build dates. The car still needs a bit of work on the virtical brake and underframe before spraying a flat/lusterless coating and then final release to the active fleet. I will consider weathering as my layout setting is 1947-54 and this car would last have been painted in the late 1930's. In 1949 any roadworthy B-50-12's were rebuilt by the SP with steel sides and new ends. I went through at least 4 #79 drills getting all the holes drilled for the Tichy wire drop style grab irons. I also experimented with Grandt Line NBW's to complete the grab irons. The roof walk end supports are bent pieces of brass as the thick plastic Tichy ones didn't look right.

Anyway, I was really pleased with the Tamiya Fine Surface Primer Oxide Red but worried about a touch up color until today when I matched Vallejo Model Color 70.982 Cavalry Brown as an excellent brush paint touch up match within a few angstrom wavelengths of the Tamiya Red Oxide primer. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

More on SP Rattle Can Box Car/Freight Car Red

I still have one more Box Car Red rattle can to try. Unfortunately the Scalecoat II Oxide Red Primer can I have on special order has not yet arrived at my local hobby shop.  It probably has to come ground freight from the east coast to California so it may take a while.
In the meantime I have what I think may be the winner already.  The color I am aiming for is the SP Freight Car Red used by both PFE and SP. There are two measures of "closeness" to this color I am using. The first sample is a comparison with on page 419 of Tony Thompson's massive PFE book (2nd Ed.) where there is a drift sample reproduced as accurately as possible for printing.   The other is PBL' s Star Brand SP/UP Freight Car Red which I have airbrushed in the past on a model I use for comparison.  There is a long discussion of SP paint colors at 
And the winner is Tamiya Fine Surface Primer Oxide Red, Item # 87160-800. Again it is not quite an exact match but given all the variables it is close enough for my personal Rule 1. (This was not a scientific method study.)
PFE Book Drift and Tamiya Oxide Red Primer
PBL Star Brand SP/UP Freight Car Red and Tamiya Oxide Red Primer (the B-50-25 from an Andy Carlson/IM kit was air brushed with the SB paint when I could still use an airbrush)
And the Tamiya Surface Primer can go on in one coat. It is fine enough that I think a second would still not obscure details
Again your rattle can painting results may not be the same as mine. But I think I may have solved my rattle can source to replace an air brush problem. For the one or two cars a month I might paint FCR it will do even on expensive resin kits. And I only have to clean the spray cap in a very small bottle of Tamiya thinner after spraying.
I plan to show the full comparison of colors I tried when the Scalecoat II primer arrives. I still haven't tried the Preval sprayer. I may try it with some Vallejo Air acrylic "rust" sold as BCR by Micro Mark that I bought a couple of years ago.
I plan to try the Tamiya primer on a less expensive kit than the Westerfield B-50-15 I am building. 
I will also have to search for a rattle can solution for "daylight" orange used on PFE car sides and the SP dark olive for arch roof and heavyweight passenger equipment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Search for the Elusive Rattle Can Box Car Red

I have been searching for a "rattle can" box car red (BCR) that closely matches Star Brand STR-30 SP/UP Freight Car Red. This past week I came across a color that was new to me Tamiya TS-33 Dull Red and thought I would try it out.

(Note that for many reasons, I can no longer use my garage even on a nice day for setting up my airbrush. I can use my deck when it is not raining or too windy but I live on a hillside and the gusty wind can be constant for days.  Besides I am tired of all the setup and cleanup required for using the airbrush. Painting is always a necessary step but not really an enjoyable part of my model building.)

Alas the TS-33 is a little too pink and not enough brown. I had hoped to use a Tamiya Rattle Can color as they are a finer grade of paint and nozzle than the hardware store Mineral Red spray cans. 

This is the result:

The photo shows a comparison to SP B-50-25 (Andy Carlson IM parts kitbash) and SP F-70-10 (SPH&TS kit) both painted with Star Brand STR-30 SP/UP Freight Car Red.

I will find a use for the TS-33 Dull Red. BCR weathers almost immediately a car leaves the paint shop. As a base for a car that will be weathered it might do well. 

And the search goes on. 

For those of you who might wonder at the few posts on this media, I am the owner and moderator of on the platform where many former Yahoo Groups have fled. At the moment I am, however, building a Westerfield resin kit for an SP B-50-15. There is a another lively group at Most of my recent kit building has been with injection molded plastic kits or modifications to RTR or Blue Box kits.

Suggestions for other fine rattle can solutions are always welcome.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

SC-44 Charger time.

Somehow I have become a bit enamored of these ultra modern beasts. Yesterday I was helping the Redwood Empire provision the car (ex Santa Fe Business car #33) when I observed a lot of SC-44 activity as they are now in operational service.

Standing on the observation platform of the Redwood Empire I snapped a few pix of the SC-44's moving in and out of the maintenance area where they are serviced between runs on Capitols and San Joaquin trains. Note that the whole train is serviced together

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A little flat note

My two Owl Mountain F-50-10/12 kits are now in the projects drawer for 2018 builds. Unfortunately I tripped on a parking lot berm and fell breaking bones in my left wrist and hand and they are now in a cast for the next few weeks. The week prior to my accident I had undertaken the rebuild of an IM foobie of an SP F-50-16 that arrived from IM at my LHS on a 4-5 year backorder that I and the LHS had long forgotten. 

1. New deck from thin scribbed plastic as I could not get IM deck off without damaging rest of car. This required small strips of the scribbed plastic sheet be cut and glued to the underside along the edges to 
simulate thick deck planks. The stake pockets were respaced to closer match an F-50-16. The deck was painted with a variety of Vallejo Model Color greys to represent treated but not creosoted wood exposed to the steam era environment for several years but not heavily deteriorated.

2. Removed the tiny IM stake pockets which were not strongly attached and replaced with slightly larger Tichy stake pockets spaced to match the new deck.

3. Replaced IM virtical brake gear and wheel with larger Tichy parts. Brake wheel needed longer shaft cut from brass wire to match F-50-16 photos. Still looking for larger brake wheel. I have not replaced the incorrect K type brake layout as not visible from normal viewing angle. I don't model for contests 

4. Replaced stirrup steps with Tichy plastic angled inside steps to closer match an F-50-16. These appear to be larger than I would like but I did not have enough A Line stirrup steps in my parts stock at home,  late on a Sunday night. 

5. The IM car was painted in a shade of purple brown I would use for UK Southern Railway goods wagons but not any of my SP equipment. But the IM lettering appeared close to correct for a late 1949 F-50-16. I brush painted Vallejo 70.846 Mahogany Brown thinned with 71.061 Airbrush Thinner over the fish-belly car sides and ends. Before the paint dried I used a small micro brush whetted with the thinner to almost completely  remove as much of the brown paint as possible. It took two applications of the brown with at least an hour of drying time to adequately give the sides and ends a reddish brown tint. 

A little later note:

The first of the F-50-12's have been completed:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

OAK-BUR on the Redwood Empire 8-5-2-17

In my April 01, 2017 blog post I recounted my first trip on the Redwood Empire from Oakland to LA Union Station and beyond. Well I've done it again.

This time my friend Richard Spotswood asked me along with a few others to join him on another trip south along with some of the other owners. The Redwood Empire is due for it's every 4 year certification and some maintenance which will be performed by the Amtrak maintenance facility in Los Angeles. It has been in the Northwest, Washington, Idaho and Montana for the early summer.

There were 12 of us aboard but no chef and steward this time. We still had brunch, lunch and dinner mostly provided by Dick and ably helped by others.
Dick and I only went as far as Burbank and flew home the next day. 5 stayed on the train to LA Union Passenger Terminal.  I didn't register all the names in my long term memory so please forgive the lack of names of my fellow travelers.

This time Amtrak pushed the Redwood Empire about two miles from the private car siding in the Oakland Amtrak yard down to Oakland Jack London Square station. We waited about 20 minutes after the southbound Coast Starliner, Amtrak #11 arrived at Jack London Square for the Redwood Empire to arrive.

The Redwood Empire  approaching the Amtrak Station

After a lot of futzing about by the Amtrak Switching crew hooking up the head end power connection and brake line to the Coast Starlight we were about to get underway.  The weather was much nicer than in April but I did not take any usable pictures until after King City when lunch was set out.

Again I am not taking pictures like I did the first time. This next shot is coming down Cuesta grade north of San Luis Obispo. The railroad crests the grade at 1380 feet in a tunnel and in the next few miles curves in several horseshoe turns and tunnels to drop to 240 feet in elevation at San Luis Obisbo station.
This is from the inside of the lounge area which looks like the following pic seen going through one of the tunnels
We arrived about 1 hour behind schedule at San Luis Obispo.

South of San Luis Obispo we went through Pismo Beach, the beet country around Betteravia and Guadalupe, the station for Santa Maria. The line then goes where there are few roads out to the coast and skirts the Pacific on bluffs above the ocean with Vandenberg Air Force Base on the left. It was foggy in this section so we could not see much but I did spot a tall launch preparation building with a large SpaceX logo but to late to get a picture. 
Along the hidden coast south of Surf it is a wild country still bordering Vandenberg AFB. 
If you click on this and enlarge it you can see a large storage tank facility that has a SpaceX logo. Rocket Fuel? 
Finally the fog cleared.

After many miles we crossed Gaviota trestle where Highway 101 comes out to the coast finally. 

From here the route parallels 101 until Oxnard

In Ventura we were right by the Ventura County fair. Lots of people wave to you when you are on the back observation platform. It is cool to acknowledge them and wave back.

Finally it was dinner time as we sped through Oxnard
 After dinner we hastily prepared to get off the Redwood Empire at Burbank
This shows the train leaving Burbank with the folks who were riding on to LA Union Station. A couple of the owners will be staying with the car through the inspection and maintenance.

As Porky Pig used to end all Warner Bros. Cartoons: