Equipment Portraits :: 7

Here’s the seventh in a series of posts featuring portraits of the equipment that runs on my S scale model railway, with notes about each model. The equipment is presented in no particular order. Click on each image for a larger view…

CNR 4204

CNR 4204 - portrait

CNR 4204 - Portrait

This stunning example of the scratch-builder’s art was built for me by my friend Simon Parent, who also did my 2-6-0s and 4-6-0s. If I recall, it is the 3rd of 10 of these locomotives he plans to build – although the number may be less. The model combines brass castings and photo-etched nickel silver. Simon designs his own patterns and makes masters for his own castings: It’s an almost-lost art. Like all of Simon’s work, the 4204 is finished with details specific to the road number and the era. I obviously didn’t need this one – it’s way too big to ever have appeared at Port Rowan – but I love Simon’s work and wanted to support it. This locomotive gets regular workouts as part of the S Scale Workshop Free-mo style exhibition layout.

CNR 7184

CNR 7184 - Portrait

CNR 7184 - Portrait

This is an essential car on my layout – a combine in the solid green CNR scheme, to fill out the mixed train to Port Rowan. The model is a mixed media (brass and wood) kit designed by Andy Malette and sold through his MLW Services company. My friend Pierre Oliver at Elgin Car Shops built the kit for me. I then added finishing details – including the window glass and shades and the diaphragms (which need to be cleaned up and coated with a clear coat so they don’t rust). I also added the conductor in the vestibule and a spare DCC sound decoder with speaker in the baggage section so I can emulate train line signals from the conductor to the engineer. The trucks are American Models six-wheel trucks, which look nice but do not track well, so I enhanced these with special rigid beam compensation subframes designed and laser cut for me by Tim Warris at Fast Tracks, based on a solution sometimes employed by UK modellers. This working suspension made the world of difference.

BAOX 378

BAOX 378 - Portrait

This is a brass model (as evidenced by the bare brass peeking out around two of the domes), which I painted for a Canadian petroleum company. The lettering – the most important part of this project – came from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing: He offers this set in HO scale, and kindly did a custom run for me in S. This is a great resource for Canadian modellers. Reasonably, he charges twice the price of the HO decals, since it’s a custom run. Also reasonably, this is a lot less than the set-up fee one would expect. Thanks, Al!

CNR 470015

CNR 470015 - Portrait

I did five of these cars about a year ago. They started as ready to run models by S Helper Service. I replaced the plastic roof walks with real wood, and updated the provided K brakes to AB brake sets using brass kits sold by BTS. I then painted this car (and its four mates) with CNR mineral red #11 from the CNR Historical Association, and lettered them with decals sets from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing.

CNR 52247 and CNR 52274

CNR 52247 and CNR 52274 - Portrait

CNR 52247 and CNR 52274 - Portrait

These two scale test cars are certainly conversation pieces. They are brass imports from Southwind Models, which I painted, lettered and finished as CNR prototypes. The decals are a mix: The road name came from HO scale van (caboose) sets from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing, while the balance of the lettering is from HO scale CNR scale test car sets from Andy W Scale Models. Scale test cars are kept relatively clean since dirt can change their weight, so I was very careful with the weathering. They also typically are used in pairs, so I was fortunate to find two models. Despite being so small and having a two-axle stance, these cars are heavy, being almost solid brass, and the springing is well done in the journals so they track very well. They’ve become my go-to cars for testing track work, appropriately enough…

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.

Equipment Portraits :: 6

Here’s the sixth in a series of posts featuring portraits of the equipment that runs on my S scale model railway, with notes about each model. The equipment is presented in no particular order. Click on each image for a larger view…

CNR 1

CNR 1 - Portrait

CNR 1 - Portrait

I’m tickled that even a continent-spanning operation like the Canadian National Railway system had a “Number 1” locomotive – and this is it. Dan Navarre at River Raising Models imported 180 of these GE 44 Ton diesels in December 1993. They’re a well-designed model with a nice drive. To create CNR 1, I added marker lamps on the four hood corners, removed the stock single-chime horn and added an (oversized) HO scale Miniatures by Eric horn on a custom bracket on the front exhaust stack, and built the cab roof-mounted number board from a pair of steam engine style number board kits from my friend Andy Malette at MLW Services. I added a crew to the cab, real glass in the windows, LEDs in the headlights at each end, and a Loksound sound decoder hooked to a TCS Keep Alive module under the hoods. A speaker shoots sound up through one of the open hood hatches. I painted the engine with Warm Black from the CNR Historical Association and I worked with Bill Brillinger at Precision Design Company to develop custom decals. At some point, I may re-visit this locomotive to add the protoype’s boiler-tube pilot. But for now, I’m really pleased with this project.

CNR 3640

CNR 3640 - Portrait

CNR 3640 - Portrait

This was a real beast of a project. The model started as an Overland brass import from 1989. (Yes: Overland used to offer S scale brass!) I found a few errors on the model that needed to be corrected to more accurately represent a CNR locomotive. I did not fix most of them because they were, to me, minor. But the one I did address was turning the cab interior 180 degrees so that the crew would face the long hood, which was “forward” on these models. The mechanism also needed attention to remove binds, isolate the (two!) motors, and adjust the ride height of the trucks side frames so they wouldn’t foul on road crossings and turnouts. In S scale, there’s a lot of space inside an RS18 and I packed it with electronics, including a Tsunami decoder and current keeper module, a large speaker, a second decoder to give me additional lighting effects, and a fistful of small LEDs for headlights, class lamps, number boards, truck lights and a cab interior light, all run off separate functions. (At some point, I will revisit this model to upgrade the decoder to a LokSound with “Full Throttle” features. I have the decoder, and an expansion board that will give me enough function outputs to control all of the lighting. I just need to sit down and do it.) The next challenge with this model was painting: There are no decals for this unit in S scale, and while CDS offered dry transfers at one time, they are wrong. So, I painted the whole unit yellow and then, based on photos, carefully masked it and sprayed the green. The yellow bands were then trimmed in black by hand, using a fine tip marker. The lettering – cab numbers, road name, heralds and so on – came from a set produced for S scale F-units and available from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing.

CPR 191200 and CPR 403726

CPR 191220 - Portrait

CPR 403726 - Portrait

My friend Pierre Oliver at Elgin Car Shops built, painted and lettered these these two Fowler patent boxcars for me from Ridgehill Scale Models resin kits. I did final finishing – such as adding real wood roof walks – and the weathering. I like that the two models show different styles of Fowler car: One has a wood roof and door, while the other is rebuilt with a steel roof and door. The roof walks are different, too. It’s the little details like this that attract people to prototype modelling.

PRR 503798

PRR 503798 - Portrait

This is a rarity in S scale – a modern, injection molded plastic kit. This PRR X29 was introduced by Des Plaines Hobbies at the 2013 NASG Convention, and since the prototype was ubiquitous it was easy to justify one for my layout. My friend Pierre Oliver actually asked if he could build this one for me, and I was happy to let him play with it. I did the weathering. Many manufacturers have abandoned kits in favour of ready-to-run models – while others have abandoned S scale altogether. So it’s great whenever a company like Des Plaines Hobbies bucks that trend. Thanks for that!

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.

Equipment Portraits :: 5

Here’s the fifth in a series of posts featuring portraits of the equipment that runs on my S scale model railway, with notes about each model. The equipment is presented in no particular order. Click on each image for a larger view…

CNR 1532

CNR 1532 - Portrait

CNR 1532 - Portrait

CNR 1532 - Portrait

CNR 1532 - Portrait

This model, and CNR 1560 (below) are the two models that encouraged me to try S scale – and, eventually, to model the Port Rowan branch. These two CNR 10-wheelers were designed and built by my friend Simon Parent, in collaboration with Fred Rouse at The S Scale Locomotive and Supply Company. Simon and Fred offered these as kits, and Simon built some of his kits for his friends. As I noted earlier this week, I would not be modelling the Port Rowan branch – or, indeed, in S scale – without Simon’s locomotives. They were my introduction to S scale and what could be done with it.

CNR 1560

CNR 1560 - Portrait

CNR 1560 - Portrait

CNR 1560 - Portrait

CNR 1560 - Portrait

Since these two 10-wheelers (and Simon’s moguls, previously profiled in this series) started as kits, Simon was able to modify the models as he built them to represent specific prototypes. We worked together to find adequate photos of real locomotives from which he could work, and picked 1532 and 1560 for two reasons. First, they’re both well documented in photographs. Second, they have different details – notably (but not limited to) a different coal bunker on the tender and a different location for the rear light. It’s a testament to Simon’s abilities that these steam locomotives run better than many diesels I’ve owned – in several scales.

CNR 15815

CNR 15815 - Portrait

CNR 15815 - Portrait

CNR 15815 - Portrait

At one time, the CNR had an extensive fleet of self-propelled equipment – so many, that there’s an excellent book dedicated to the subject by Anthony Clegg. I really enjoyed creating this model, even though it’s not prototypically correct for the CNR. It started as a brass import of a Northern Pacific prototype, produced by Samhongsa in 1989 for “S”cenery Unlimited. I acquired my model in October, 2014 from the estate of Oliver Clubine – one of the great gentlemen in S scale, and in the hobby. I’ve written extensively about this model on this blog – including notes on adding DCC, sound and an LED headlight, as well as painting and finishing it. Those wishing to know more should review the Gas Electric category for the full story.

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.

Equipment Portraits :: 4

Here’s the fourth in a series of posts featuring portraits of the equipment that runs on my S scale model railway, with notes about each model. The equipment is presented in no particular order. Click on each image for a larger view…

CNR 481536

CNR 481136 - Portrait

This is a Pacific Rail Shops plastic kit, with several aftermarket modifications and detail upgrades. It’s one of the first rolling stock kits that I built in S scale and it helped me get a real feel for the size of equipment in 1:64. I added a real wood roof walk, Canadian-prototype ladders from Des Planes Hobbies, and a detail upgrade kit from Andy Malette at MLW Services. I replaced plastic brake rigging with wire. I have several of these on the layout. This example features the CNR “Serves All Canada” all-white herald.

CNJ 65414

CNJ 65414 - Portrait

This is an S Helper Service car, factory-painted for the CNJ and weathered by me. While that may seem like an odd choice of road name to find in Port Rowan, one of the few prototype photos I have of the line shows a CNJ hopper being positioned on the elevated unloading track in the port. Lots of coal would’ve been shipped from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and environs for heating southern Ontario homes in the winter.

PRR 220133

PRR 220133 - Portrait

Here’s another example of a factory-painted S Helper Service two-bay hopper – this time, a wood/steel composite model. As with the CNJ hopper, I did the weathering. I also replaced the wheel sets and added train line air hoses from BTS. This car has Sergent EC64 couplers on it: I experimented with these couplers, but in the end decided that I preferred the operational reliability of Kadee 808s. (That wasn’t a problem with the Sergent coupler so much as with my ability to assemble them.) With its “Buy War Bonds” slogan, this car is a bit early for my line but I can live with that: Maybe I’ll obliterate more of the slogan so it appears to be falling to the effects of weather and time. With their open ends, hopper cars really show off the finescale wheel sets I use to good effect.

WAB 181

WAB 181 - Portrait

Port Rowan was home to Potter Motors – and my understanding is that this business also dealt in farm equipment. (If it did not, well – it does on my layout!) This car is a factory-painted flat from S Helper Service, which I weathered and loaded with six tractors by Ertl.

This is a favourite car of mine for several reasons. First, I really enjoyed researching and building all the blocking and tie-downs for the tractor load. Second, I’m really pleased with how the deck weathering turned out. It makes a great contrast to the brand new, shiny Farmall tractors. Third, my friend Pierre Oliver models the Wabash across southern Ontario (in HO), and his line crossed mine in nearby Simcoe – so this car is a nice reminder of that. And finally, this car is good for the biceps: It’s a die cast flatcar with six die cast tractors mounted on it, so it weights more than 17 ounces.

CGTX 1038

CGTX 1038 - Portrait

This tank car is a ready-to-run model from S Scale America (a brand owned by Des Plaines Hobbies). I was pleasantly surprised to find a few offerings lettered for Canadian prototypes. This car has a number of minor issues in terms of accuracy, but fellow S scale enthusiast Pieter Roos has done a great job on making these cars more prototypical and I have notes on his upgrades in my files – somewhere. Meanwhile, “S” is for “Stand-in Model”. As with the hopper cars, the finescale wheels really look nice under this tank…

CNR 209503

CNR 209503 - Portrait

CNR 209503 - Portrait

This resin kit – from Andy Malette at MLW Services – builds up into the CNR’s distinctive eight-hatch refrigerator cars. In a previous instalment of this series, I included a car with a red-and-green maple leaf, whereas this car has the all-red logo. Pierre Oliver built the kit for me, while I added CN’s distinctive segmented wooden running board, finer hatch rests, and a few other details. I also weathered the car. I need to hit the train line air hoses with a brush – I somehow missed the valves and glad-hands so they’re still in bare brass.

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.

Equipment Portraits :: 3

Here’s the third in a series of posts featuring portraits of the equipment that runs on my S scale model railway, with notes about each model. This instalment focuses on the 2-6-0s that are the backbone of my locomotive roster. Click on each image for a larger view…

CNR 86

CNR 86 - Portrait

CNR 86 - Portrait

This locomotive is the result of a brilliant collaboration between fellow S scale enthusiast Simon Parent and Fred Rouse from The S Scale Locomotive and Supply Company. Simon wanted accurate steam locomotives and in the best tradition of those working in 1:64, he created them. He then worked with Fred to offer these as limited edition kits, so others could enjoy them too. The mogul was Simon’s first locomotive project and it’s beautiful, as I hope these pictures attest.

I commissioned Simon to build this example (and my other 2-6-0s) – it’s something he occasionally does for members and friends of the S Scale Workshop. Simon added 14-wheel pick-up (six drivers + eight wheels on the tender), so it never stalls. He also installed DCC+sound, with two speakers: One in the tender, and the other in the smokebox.

Number 86 – the prototype for this kit – is on display in London, Ontario. And if you haven’t seen the real thing in operation, here’s a video of sister locomotive – CNR Mogul 89 – working at Strasburg.

CNR 80

CNR 80 - Portrait

CNR 80 - Portrait

I ordered two moguls from Simon. This is the other one. It’s built from the same kit, but includes several modifications specific to the prototype. Note the different headlight, backup light and coal bunker.

I added brackets to all of my CNR steam locomotives to hold removable classification flags. Mogul 80’s white flags denote it’s running as an extra, and this locomotive tends to get a lot of running on the layout.

CNR 908

CNR 908 - Portrait

CNR 908 - Portrait

This is actually the same locomotive as CNR 86 – just in an earlier numbering scheme. When Simon started work on my two moguls (and a third for a friend), he realized he had enough parts to do a fourth. He asked if I would be interested in it. I decided I’d regret not having the third at some point so of course I said yes.

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.

Equipment Portraits :: 2

Since the first post on this subject was well received, here are a few more portraits of the equipment that runs on my railway, in no particular order. Once again, I’ve added some notes about each model. Click on each image for a larger view…

CNR 462085

CNR 462805 - Portrait

This boxcar started life as a ready-to-run plastic model from S Helper Service. It was factory-lettered for an American railroad but at some point, I realized it would make a decent stand-in model for a class of CNR single-sheathed boxcars in the 461000-463999 series. So I reworked this model (and two others), adding a fish-belly under frame, retailing the roof, and substituting brass stirrup steps. I wrote about these changes in more detail in a previous posting – have a look here for more information.

B&O 530382

BO 530382 - Portrait

This distinctive “wagon-top” covered hopper is a brass import from River Raisin Models, which brought in 158 examples in 1993. I found my model online. It was factory painted but the lettering had not yet been applied. It was, however, in the box. I decided to experiment with heavy weathering techniques to represent a car that had spent many years in cement service. The lettering has been almost obliterated under spills and streaks, although the car number has been periodically cleaned to remain legible. I’m pleased with the effect. This car rarely appears in operating sessions as it’s just an oddball, but on occasion I invoke Rule 1 (“It’s my railway”) to add some variety to a train.

MILW 21189

MILW 21189 - Portrait

Here’s another lovely import from River Raisin Models – a 40-foot boxcar with horizontal ribs. River Raisin brought in 68 of these (along with 128 50-foot versions) in 1991. I bought my example from Don Thompson (founder of S Helper Service) after posting a note to various newsgroups looking for one. As with all my models, regardless of origin, it has received flexible train line air hoses from BTS.

CNR 7792

CNR 7792 - Portrait

I have written a lot about this car on this blog. It was one of my first projects for the Port Rowan layout – an extensive re-detailing effort to create an essential piece of equipment for my rendition of the Mogul-era mixed train. The car started as an undecorated RPO from American Models. I added details from several sources as well as a few that I built from scratch. I also added numerous grab irons, brake rigging, real glass in the windows, and so on. Like all of my six-axle passenger cars, this one benefits from Tim Trucks. It remains a favourite project of mine.

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.

Equipment portraits :: 1

Today, I was asked by my friend Jim Martin for a couple of photos of S scale equipment for an article he’s writing. I was happy to oblige and decided I’d shoot them in a photo box – a big translucent cube that does a great job of diffusing photo lights.

The only place I can set up the box is on the dining room table so since I had everything set up anyway, I decided to shoot portraits of several pieces of equipment that run on my railway.

Here are some of my pieces, presented in no particular order. I’ve added some notes on each. Click on each image for a larger view…

CNR 79431

CNR 79431 - Portrait

This is a Ridgehill Scale Models resin kit for the CNR’s wooden vans (cabooses). The kits were actually offered in a few variations but I can never keep track of the details. I bought this kit and a resin kit for a CNR boxcar (shown below) in case I ever built a module for the S Scale Workshop. The kits sat on the shelf for a few years because I was busy in other scales. Then one day I realized I was never going to get around to building them so I handed them off to my friend Pierre Oliver, who does this sort of thing for a living. The finished models helped me decide to take the plunge into S scale. Despite this, Pierre and I are still good friends… 😉

CNR 408756

CNR 408756 - Portrait

This is a Ridgehill Scale Models resin kit for the CNR’s Dominion (Fowler Patent) boxcars. These also came in a couple of variants, and were offered in CPR versions as well. Like the van (shown above), Pierre Oliver built this one for me. He’s built a lot of rolling stock for me – including several indicated in this blog posting – because I’ve been just to darned busy building my layout and I wanted equipment to run on it.

CNR 487747

CNR 487747 - Portrait

This is a Pacific Rail Shops plastic kit, with several aftermarket modifications and detail upgrades. It’s one of the first rolling stock kits that I built in S scale and it helped me get a real feel for the size of equipment in 1:64. I added a real wood roof walk, Canadian-prototype ladders from Des Planes Hobbies, and a detail upgrade kit from Andy Malette at MLW Services. I replaced plastic brake rigging with wire. This particular kit had been started by the previous owner – who only got as far as adding a ton of weight inside the body, using birdshot and caulk. I was not able to get the lead out (so to speak) so this car really tips the scales. I tend to run it a lot as an LCL car on the Mixed Train.

CNR 55303

CNR 55303 - Portrait

CNR 55303 - Portrait

This wooden plow has become one of my favourite models on the railway, even though it rarely sees service (what with it being August and all). I built this from an Ambroid kit that I picked up from Andy Malette. The kit must’ve been 50 or 60 years old, but the wood was in terrific shape and was a joy to work with. I’ve written a fair bit about this plow already, but I made several changes to the kit – based on a Boston and Maine prototype – to make it more closely resemble a CNR plow. I was fortunate to have a copy of an article about Ron Keith, who modelled several CNR plows in HO scale, to help me create my version. As a box of mostly wood plus a bit of tin and some pretty rudimentary instructions (“Make and add details per the diagram”) the kit was pretty intimidating, so it sat for a few months while I worked up the nerve to start it. Once I got going, though, I found it a very enjoyable experience and was surprised at how well some of the decades-old parts went together. I was also pleasantly surprised by my ability to perform real construction operations, like sanding bevels into the parts that make up the plow bracing.

CNR 209540

CNR 209540 - Portrait

This resin kit – from Andy Malette at MLW Services – builds up into the CNR’s distinctive eight-hatch refrigerator cars. Actually, “refrigerator” is a misnomer, even though it’s spelled out on the side. This is really a “controlled temperature” car – equally at home keeping things warm as it is keeping things cool. I was surprised at the great variety of freight that these carried – everything from produce to live bees. Pierre Oliver built the kit for me, while I added the wooden roof walk, finer hatch rests, and a few other details. I also weathered the car. I really like how the grey sides with red lettering and green leaf pop out in a consist of mineral red boxcars.

NYC 399574

NYC 399574 - Portrait

This is a resin kit from Funaro and Camerlengo – better known for its HO scale resin kits, particularly of New England prototypes. But the company offers a couple of cars in 1:64 as well. I wish it would do more, as there are some interesting prototypes in the company’s catalogue. Pierre Oliver built this kit for me, while I did the weathering. I’m really pleased with the rusty interior, achieved with weathering powders.

CNR 7176

CNR 7176 - Portrait

This is a mixed media kit – etched brass sides and floor, wood roof, and cast details – produced by Andy Malette at MLW Services. (Without guys like Andy, I wouldn’t be modelling the CNR in S scale!) This combine – in its green over black scheme – is essential to running the mixed train in late 1950s sessions on my railway, when CNR 4-6-0s took over duties on the branch. Pierre Oliver built the kit for me, while I did a lot of the finishing work. My contributions included adding the train air and signal lines, the conductor and gate in the vestibule, the window glass (from microscope slide covers) and shades, the opaque toilet window glass, and the weathering. Not visible, but very important to operation, are the retrofits I did to the trucks. I’ve added rigid beam compensation to create Tim Trucks – named for my friend Tim Warris, who designed and laser cut the frames for me. The car tracks a whole lot more reliably than it did with the American Models rigid-frame trucks, which are one of the very few options for a six-wheel truck in S scale. This combine is also fitted with a DCC-enabled back-up whistle.

CofG 56309

CofG 56309 - Portrait

This is a resin kit from Jim King at Smoky Mountain Model Works, built by Pierre Oliver. It’s an unusual model to find on a lightly-trafficked branch line in southern Ontario, but these cars did come to Canada. The reality is, S scale doesn’t have the variety of rolling stock available in O scale – and barely registers compared to the variety that’s on offer in HO. So when a manufacturer takes the trouble to create a resin kit, scale modellers in 1:64 tend to buy one just to support the effort and then we figure out what to do with it. Fortunately, I’m modelling August so I assume the American owners of a huge chunk of land on Long Point are having a summer beach party and have ordered a carload of melons from back home for the festivities. Rich people with summer houses in other countries can afford to do that type of thing…

CML 1952

CML 1952 - Portrait

This is a Pacific Rail Shops plastic kit that was custom-decorated for the NMRA as part of its Legends Of The Hobby line. As I’ve mentioned before, Bob Hegge and his Crooked Mountain Lines were a huge inspiration for me back in the 1970s and 1980s, and when I found one of these custom-decorated kits for sale I just had to grab it. I’m really glad I did. This car features an unusual brake-rigging system, with the main rod from the B-end running outside the truck instead of between the side frames. This allows the car to more easily negotiate traction-radius curves. I modelled this following photos and data from an HO scale Westerfield kit for a Pacific Electric boxcar. Other upgrades include a wood running board and plastic brake rods replaced with wire. I get a kick out of running this car every time…

GATX 480

GATX 480 - Portrait

This is a WA Drake and Company brass import of an 8,000 gallon Type 103 double-dome tank car. It came factory-painted. I like the double domes. And I’m really pleased with the weathering job I did on it. As with all of my freight cars, I added flexible train line air hoses from BTS to this car: They look better than the cast hoses that come on most brass cars and because they’re flexible, they don’t break off.

Burro Model 40

Burro Model 40 Crane - Portrait

Dan Navarre at River Raisin Models imported 150 brass models of these popular MoW cranes in 1992. I found this model – unpainted – after posting a note to several newsgroups. I airbrushed the model with a warm black and weathered it with airbrush and powders. To do this, I had to unstring the rigging – making careful notes of the path of the cable so I could re-string it later. I added the operator to the cab. I also added DCC to this very small model, complete with an electronic flywheel to minimize stalling. (And in 2017, I enhanced the model with sound – a real ship-in-a-bottle experience!) Unfortunately, these models do not run well: The motor is mounted vertically and makes a terrific thrashing sound. However, I’m sure at some point someone will come up with a better gear train – probably me, if I want it to happen. Perhaps an under-floor power truck would work, or a drive train that only turns one axle instead of trying to do both. It’s not like the crane has to pull a train – just itself, and possibly a gondola of ballast. Regardless of its dubious running qualities, it’s a great looking model that is a joy to photograph on the railway, so I’m really glad I have it.

Eventually, I hope to document all of my S scale equipment in this fashion. We’ll see how that goes. Meantime, see the Portraits category to find all posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment portraits and notes.