New Resin News | CNR 1929 boxcar, painted

My friend David Clubine at Ridgehill Scale Models* is very close to releasing the company’s newest S scale kit – a resin model of the CNR 1929 40-foot single sheathed boxcar.

This kit is being produced for Ridgehill by Pierre Oliver and his colleagues at Yarmouth Model Works – and Pierre recently shared the first photo of his test-build subject in full paint and lettering:

CNR 1929 in full paint

I have no further details about availability or pricing – that’s up to David to announce – but I’ll be sure to share the information when I have it. Meantime, I know I’ll be adding a few of these to my layout when they’re released.

(*Ridgehill Scale Models has not produced a new kit in a number of years and as of this writing it does not have a website. There’s a listing on a friend’s website of past models. I’m hoping that once this car is made available I’ll be able to add a new website to my list of S scale suppliers that I frequently use. As always, check the “Links” section on this blog’s home page for the most up-to-date links.)

Decals and Data on TMTV

Recently, I had a question about applying decals. I’m no expert, but my friend Pierre Oliver is – which is why I was more than happy to host him for a segment earlier this year on TrainMasters TV, all about applying decals:

Applying Decals on TMTV
(Click on the image to head directly to the decal segment on TrainMasters TV)

And since you’re already heading to the video chair, why not also check out this companion piece on deciphering all that freight car data that you’re about to apply?

Deciphering freight car data on TMTV
(Click on the image to head directly to the freight car data segment on TrainMasters TV)

I don’t often mention TrainMasters on my site since my work on that show is not what this blog is about. But we have had a lot of positive feedback on these two segments – including from people who are experienced freight car modellers – and I know I learned a lot about decals and data in the process of hosting them. I’m confident you will, too.

TrainMasters is a subscription-based service, but your subscription comes with more than an hour of network TV quality programming each month, for less than the price of a magazine. Becoming a member is easy

New Resin News | NSC-built “AAR 1937” CNR boxcars – now with lettering

My friend Pierre Oliver shared photos of the finished sample models for a new resin kit coming for S scale enthusiasts. Pierre and his colleagues at Yarmouth Model Works* are making their first foray into 1:64 by offering two versions of their first S scale kit, covering some 5,700 boxcars built for the Canadian National Railways by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario.

This is the early version of the car, with a flat roof and the brake reservoir located perpendicular to the sills:

CNR - NSC Boxcar - early - lettered

And here is the later version of the car, with raised panel roof and the brake reservoir located parallel to the sills:

CNR - NSC Boxcar - later - lettered

As I have noted in a previous post about these cars, the kits are coming soon – definitely before the end of the year. Ordering information, including pricing, will be posted on the Yarmouth Model Works website when they’re available. I know I’ll be buying a few of each for my layout!

(Note that unless stated, the kits on the Yarmouth Model Works website are in HO scale)

New resin news | NSC-built “AAR 1937” CNR boxcars

There’s more good news for S scale enthusiasts, in the form of forthcoming resin kits for the “1937 AAR” boxcars built for the Canadian National Railways by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario. And there’s even better news:

These kits come from a well-known manufacturer of high-quality HO scale resin freight car kits that is dipping its toe into the S scale waters for the first time.

Yarmouth Model Works* will actually offer two versions of this 40-foot, 10’0″ inside height all-steel car – featuring different roof styles and brake configurations.

The first version covers two series totalling more than 1,300 cars. These featured flat panel roofs and the brake system’s reservoir mounted perpendicular to the frame:

NSC - early series with flat panel roof

NSC - early series - underframe

The second version covers four series totalling more than 4,400 cars. These featured a Murphy raised panel roof and the brake system’s reservoir mounted parallel to the frame:

NSC - later series with raised panel roof

NSC - later series - underframe

The prototype cars feature the distinctive “NSC-2″ end. National Steel Car used this proprietary end on the 10’0″ and 10’6” inside height boxcars built between 1939 and 1950. The patterns for casting these models incorporated a 3D printed master for this unique end:

NSC-2 end - early series car

The prototype for these models could be found across North America and the Canadian Rail Car Pictorial – Volume 2 shows them running in revenue service into the 1980s.

Pierre Oliver of Yarmouth Model Works visited this week and let me photograph the in-progress models he is building to write the instructions and use as samples. They’re beautifully done, with crisp casting and fine detail, including many photo-etched parts.

As I mentioned off the top, this will be the first foray into S scale for Yarmouth Model Works. A successful sales run of these kits will definitely encourage Pierre and his colleagues to bring more top-quality resin kits to market – and he and I have already discussed possibilities.

Meantime, I know I’ll be adding several examples of both versions of these NSC steel boxcars to my layout when they’re released. The release date has not yet been announced but it’s highly likely to be before the end of the year.

NSC car - early version

NSC car - later version

(*Check the “Links” section on this blog’s home page for the most up-to-date links)

New resin news | The CNR “1929” Boxcar

A few days ago, I posted a teaser about some new S scale resin freight car kits that will hit the market soon.

One of these is the CNR “1929” boxcar – a 40-foot, single sheathed model:

CNR 1929 - test build - 01

According to Canadian Rail Car Pictorial – Volume 2, the Canadian National Railways rostered more than 9,600 of these. The CNR contracted three major builders – Canadian Car & Foundry, Eastern Car Company, and National Steel Car to produce these, and all were built in the 1929-1931 time frame. Prototype photos show them with either wood or steel doors.

The Pictorial notes that the majority of this fleet lasted until 1983, moving grain from western Canada. In earlier decades, though, they would’ve been seen all over North America – and the fleet is large enough that any modeller of the steam era in the United States can justify one or two for their layout. Modellers of the CNR working in 1:64 will want considerably more, of course.

The kit is being manufactured by Yarmouth Model Works* on behalf of David Clubine at Ridgehill Scale Models*. This project started life with Ridgehill, working with another manufacturer, but then stalled until Yarmouth Model Works was brought on board. Ridgehill will handle all sales for this one.

CNR 1929 - underframe

Pierre Oliver of Yarmouth Model Works visited this week and let me photograph the in-progress model he is building to write the instructions and provide a sample to Ridgehill. It’s beautifully done, with crisp casting and fine detail, including many photo-etched parts.

I know I’ll be adding several examples of this kit to my layout when it’s released. The release date has not yet been announced but it’s highly likely to be before the end of the year.

CNR 1929 boxcar

(*Check the “Links” section on this blog’s home page for the most up-to-date links)

New S scale resin on the way

Someone I know sent me a few photos of boxcars in-progress on his workbench. Here’s what I can tell you:

– These are the test-builds for soon-to-be-released kits in S scale.
– They’re for prototypes that are being offered for the first time in 1:64.
– As the photos suggest, one is a single-sheathed car, while the other is steel-sided.
– They feature sharply-cast resin with details in resin, wire and other media – including custom-produced photo-etch.
– Modellers of North American prototypes are going to want some of each.

Mystery boxcars - steel

Mystery boxcar - single sheathed

Here are a couple of photos of the frames on the steel cars. Note the variation in placement of appliances:

Mystery boxcar - steel - frame detail 1

Mystery boxcar - steel - frame detail 2

And here’s a view of the frame on the single sheathed car. (The image is a bit fish-eyed – that’s the lens, not the model!)

Mystery boxcar - single sheathed - frame detail

I’ll post more details over the next few days…

Big Sound for a BURRO


(You may also watch this video directly on YouTube, where you may be able to enjoy it in larger formats)

I upgraded my River Raisin Models S scale BURRO Crane with a LokSound decoder and two speakers. I wrote a feature on this, which is the cover story in the September, 2017 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine. Check out that issue for details:

RMC September 2017

In the above video, you can hear the sound. (I’ve cranked the volume on the decoder for the purposes of recording this video. In practice, I run the crane at a lower volume – more suitable to the layout environment.)

The sound is not correct for a BURRO – it’s the EMD 567A six-cylinder diesel that’s found in an SW-1. But it’ll do just fine for now – and when ESU offers a correct BURRO sound file, I can simply reload the decoder (and post a new video, of course). That’s pretty cool…

For more details on the BURRO Crane, follow my BURRO category link.

(If you’ve just found my blog through the Craftsman article, then welcome aboard! Have a look around – perhaps starting with the First Time Here? page – and enjoy your visit!)

CNR 3737 :: Pump for Feedwater Heater

 photo CNR-3737-FWH-04_zpspyjxpg2o.jpg

On Friday, Andy Malette and I held another session at his place to work on our CNR S-3-a class 2-8-2s. Having installed the Elesco Feedwater Heater during our previous session, we moved onto the pump that supplies water to this appliance.

The water pump sits ahead of the compressor, under the running board. But before I could install the water pump, I had to make room for it. This involved cutting away part of the running board on the fireman’s side then fabricating a new section of running board.

 photo CNR-3737L-1957VIII10_zps7usjmm5c.jpg

Using my fireman’s side photo, I planned the running board modification. I measured and marked the running board, then used a pair of tiny metal shears to cut the running board in two places, from edge to boiler. I then used the resistance soldering iron to remove the isolated midsection. More heat and a wire wheel in a Dremel Tool took care of the lumps of solder left behind on the boiler. I also removed the sand lines, which need to be re-routed.

Before installing the new running board and the water pump, it seemed like a good time to fill the holes left by the model’s check valves.

 photo CNR-3737-FWH-02_zpsv6fvlyl8.jpg
(That hole in the boiler, just behind the foremost sand line, is the location of the original check valve. There’s one in the same location on the other side of the boiler, too)

I found a piece of brass rod just larger than the hole, and used an appropriate drill bit to open up the hole to accept the rod. I then tinned the hole and the rod and used plenty of flux and the resistance soldering rig to secure the rod. One it was in place, I used a cut-off disc to carefully cut the rod as close to the boiler as I dared. I then ground down the rod flush with the boiler, and finished up with progressively fine grades of sanding paper.

 photo CNR-3737-FWH-05_zpsozqv9jkz.jpg
(… and the hole is filled. I still need to polish the scratches out of the boiler)

I then fabricated a new running board segment from .020″ brass sheet. I used CA to spot-glue the segment I removed to my piece of brass sheet, with the outside edge flush to a sheet edge. I then used a pin so scribe the inside edge, which needs to follow the shape of the boiler and fit around the boiler bands. I made sure I had extra sheet stock to the left and right of this pattern, then sliced the original running board segment off the brass sheet, sanded off the CA, and cut out the new segment with shears. I then filed the new running board segment to final shape.

The new segment sits above the original running board, with tightly curved ends that meet the running board segments ahead and behind it – hence the need for extra material to each side of the new running board. I located the point at which I needed to make the bends and folded them down using pliers. I then measured the height of each folded down section and used shears to cut off the excess material. There are also various notches along the boiler edge to allow for the passage of piping, so I marked those out and filed away the unneeded material.

With the new section fabricated, I soldered it to the boiler then used photographs to locate the water pump. It’s centred just ahead of the boiler band over the third driver.

I cut and folded an L-shaped bracket for the pump, then soldered the pump to it using the provided mounting post. I trimmed the bracket so it would support the pump in the proper location, then soldered this to the boiler.

I finished up by placing the boiler on the chassis to ensure that the new water pump doesn’t interfere with the valve gear. It barely clears – but it’s sufficient.

Every work session brings this bog-standard USRA Mikado closer to my chosen CNR prototype. Compare the photo above with this photo of the stock model, taken just before we started this project:

 photo OMI-USRA-LtMikado-L_zpsehyo3yfr.jpg

The main reason I’m doing this project with Andy is I did not have the know-how required to tackle it myself. I’m learning more at every session, What’s more, I’m throughly enjoying this project and look forward to what we tackle next!

CNR 3737 :: Feedwater Heater

 photo CNR-3737-FWH-01_zpslzgetxfm.jpg
(Well, that’s looking very different…)

It’s been a while since Andy Malette and I worked on our CNR 2-8-2 brass-bashing projects. It’s just that time of year when other commitments get in the way. But last Friday, we got back at it by installing the Elesco Feedwater Heater on each engine.

The prototype S-3-a class did not come equipped with these. According to Canadian National Steam! – an essential resource for anyone modelling The People’s Railway in the steam era – shop forces in Battle Creek, Michigan added the appliance to CNR 3737 in September of 1940. I’m assuming that this was done as the Grand Trunk Western prepared to sell this locomotive to parent CNR – which occurred on February 18, 1941. CNR 3737 would retain its Grand Trunk Western livery at least until December 1948, when the Canadian government settled the duty, sales tax, and War Exchange Tax.

(As an aside, at the same time as they fitted the feedwater heater the Battle Creek shop forces also swapped in Boxpok main drivers – third driving axle from the front. Thanks for that, guys! I’ll have to retrofit that in a future work session. Andy and I are still discussing how to approach this work.)

A close look at our collection of prototype photos shows that on the engines that Andy and I are modelling, the feedwater heater was installed by cutting into the top of the smokebox and adding a platform. Side-on photos show that daylight can be seen in the lower corners, between the feedwater heater and the smokebox. With the aid of the flashlight on my phone, I’ve tried to capture what that looks like on the model:

 photo CNR-3737-FWH-03_zpsulfymxx7.jpg
(BTW, the boiler is set loosely on the chassis for these photos so there are gaps that will disappear when it’s properly screwed together)

Following Andy’s lead, I measured, marked and then cut the smokebox top to accept the feedwater heater. (I can admit that taking a cut-off disc in a Dremel tool to the top of a brass steam engine was a bit of a brown trouser moment, but I did not slip. There are no nasty gouges to fill.) I finished the hole with some careful filing. I then cut a platform out of a piece of brass sheet and soldered it into the hole. Andy and I considered building arched side walls for this platform but in the end we decided that they would be completely obscured by the feedwater heater, so there was no point.

The feedwater heater itself is a brass casting provided to us by our friend Simon Parent, who created them for his 2-10-2 models. He also provided us with the spoked pilot wheels. (Thanks, Simon!)

For our models, Andy and I had to slightly modify the connections. As provided, they have two small pipe connections on the back, at the edge, that run parallel to the handrail, one above the other. I had to remove the upper connection and relocate it to the front, pointing down. This involved clipping away the unneeded connection, filing the end to shape, then drilling a hole for the new connection, soldering in a piece of brass rod, and then soldering a flange to it.

 photo CNR-3737-FWH-02_zpsv6fvlyl8.jpg

Finally, I tinned the mounting plate and the bottom of the feedwater heater, and Andy hit it with a propane torch – in and out, quickly! – while I held everything in place with pliers. That casting needed a lot of heat…

I need to clean up a bit of solder on the end cap – easy enough to do – and decide whether I want to fill the vertical notch. The prototype had a solid cap, but the mass of this casting will make it difficult to fill without unsoldering the new pipe connection and flange. I might just leave it. It adds character, and the caps could certainly be swapped from engine to engine – or even left off: one of the photos of Andy’s prototype (3702) shows it left bare.

With its new pilot and now a feed water heater, the model is really starting to take on some CNR character. There’s still a lot to do, including reworking the face of the smokebox and adding the water pump ahead of the air pump – a modification that will require us to chop the running board and elevate a portion of it. And of course, there’s that nasty Boxpok driver!

I’m not sure what we’ll tackle next, but we’re returning to Andy’s shop in just over a week. I can hardly wait!

CN 3737 – Cab back and railings

 photo CNR-3737L-1957VIII10_zps7usjmm5c.jpg
(Click on the image to filter this blog for all posts about this project)

Last Friday, Andy Malette and I held another joint work session on our CNR 2-8-2 projects. This time, work continued on the cab.

The first order of business was to finish the cab back. In a previous session, we’d squared off the rear of the roof – something the CNR did to make it easier to hang curtains to protect the crew in cold weather. This time, we added a back wall to the cab roof:

 photo CNR-3737-CabBack-01_zpsjlaxxvva.jpg

The wall is simply a piece of brass sheet, cut to match the curve of the roof and with two windows added according to prototype photos. Some of these cabs had the back wall flush, while others – like CNR 3737 – had a lip. Two small lengths brass were added under the side roof extensions, next to the back wall, and then trimmed and filed to length to complete the major modifications. This work required one to get in and out quickly with the resistance soldering probe, so as to not unsolder the roof extensions. I was really pleased that I was able to do this with no rework required.

As the above photo shows, we also added stanchions and railings to the cab roof. This was a relatively simple operation: mark and drill the holes, tin the stanchions, string them on a wire to keep them all properly aligned, then add lots of flux and hit them with the heat.

 photo CNR-3737-CabRoofRails-02_zpsp5gocpnk.jpg

We left the wires long to the rear of the stanchions, then trimmed them after soldering. At the front, the handrail loops 180 degrees then bends parallel to the front cab wall, so we did that too:

 photo CNR-3737-CabRoofRails-01_zps5avotcjb.jpg

The cab still needs an armrest under each window, but we’ll add that after painting. I think it’s pretty much done, and can be set aside while we start on the next phase. I’m not sure what that is, but I’ll find out at our next work session. I’m looking forward to it!

If you ever get a chance to learn from someone who knows their way around a brass engine… do it! (Thanks for teaching me, Andy…)