… and lumber delivered!

It’s pouring out today, but I’m in a sunny mood because I received my load of proto-benchwork.

It’s stacked in the garage in anticipation of the benchwork-raising party:

Lumber delivered and in the garage.

The finger joint pine was only available in 1″x6″ boards, but we can rip it into the framing and riser sizes we need. As well, the yard was out of 1/2″ poplar ply so I got 3/4″ G1S poplar ply instead. That’s fine – the roadbed will be that much stronger.

Lumber ordered…

I visited New Canadians Lumber today.

My benchwork – finger joint pine dimensional lumber and 1/2″ G1S plywood – arrives tomorrow afternoon. Very exciting.

I also picked up a brad nailer and compressor. I’ve always wanted air-powered tools. Now I’ll have ’em.

The nailer will make benchwork building a lot quicker than using screws. The brads will not hold the benchwork together permanently, but will hold everything in place while the carpenter’s glue dries.

Off to the lumber yard

I’ll be heading out to order my lumber for the new layout – possibly as early as this afternoon. It looks like I’ll have some time in early October to hold my benchwork-raising party.

It’s a little later than I’d hoped – I wanted to have benchwork done by the end of this month – but work comes first to pay for fun. I’m still on track (so to speak) to getting a good start on track by the end of the year.

What goes into a CNR baggage-mail conversion?

CNR 7792 - Portrait.

I’ve had a few people ask me what detail parts I used for my S scale CNR baggage-mail car. Since others may be interested too, here’s a list. I’ll try to be as complete as I can.

The car started as an undecorated heavyweight RPO from American Models*. I added the following details from B.T.S.*:

02401 – Steam Lines (pair)
02409 – Brake Cylinder
02413 – Blow-Down (four to a package – I used two)
02415 – Dual Air Signal Line (pair)
02410 – Distribution Valve
02422 – Battery Box B (I used two packages)
02441 – Marker Lamp Brackets
02442 – Pullman Vent (I used two packages)

I also used 60 NBW castings from Grandt Line* – I used part 101.

Railings were made with .015″ dia phosphor bronze wire from Tichy*, while I formed the stirrups from .010″x.030″ flat brass from Details Associates. Various sizes of wire were used for underbody piping.

The smoke jack came from Andy Malette at MLW Services*.

Beyond this, I used various sheet and strip styrene to fill the clerestory windows, extend the centre sills, replace the floor sections that I cut away to remove the cast-in underbody details, and so on. I also scratch-built some parts, including the underbody air tanks and handbrake take-up mechanism, and the handbrake ratchets at each end.

The Canadian National Railways Historical Association* offers correct paint.

Decals are CNR Passenger Cars (1930-1961) from Black Cat Publishing*.

I used microscope slide cover glass for the windows and Kadee 808 couplers.

Things you can’t see in the finished car photo include my rework of how the roof attaches to the body, which required 2-56 screws and some big pieces of styrene strip on the inside of the car, and the addition of quite a number of self-adhesive tire weights to bring the car up to the NMRA recommended practice for weight (RP20.1*).

I’m also waiting on some replacement wheel sets from Northwest Short Line*.

I’ll post some more photos of the finished car once the replacement wheels are installed and I’ve had a chance to weather it.

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

Tank cars

S Scale America tank car.

I received an order from Des Plaines Hobbies* today: Two tank cars from their S Scale America brand.

These appear at first glance to be quite nice, but I can see a number of things I will have to upgrade on them – including the tank bands, placards, walkways, and brake gear. I’m wondering whether the tanks have enough courses of rivets, too:

S Scale America tank car.

Now that I have the actual models, I can start looking at reference materials to figure out what prototypes they most closely represent and work from there.

I have a feeling this is going to happen a lot with S scale…

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

CNR 7792

I’ve picked a number for my Canadian National Railway baggage-mail car: CNR 7792 is one of eight cars (7790-7794 and 7807-7809) built by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1920 and classified as “ME-73-B” by the railway.

I picked 7792 because the decals had that combination available in the number jumble in two segments (77 and 92). Yes, I can be that practical sometimes. But let’s face it: S scale often requires its adherents to be practical. For example, I modelled the ME-73-B series because that’s the series most closely represented by my donor car from American Models*.

I’m waiting for upgraded wheels from Northwest Short Line*. When those come in, I’ll paint the trucks and give the finished car a light weathering. But in the meantime, the car is painted, lettered and has real glass (microscope slide covers) in the windows. And I think it looks pretty damn good:

CNR 7792.

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

Yet another detail on the baggage-mail car

During my visit to Pierre Oliver‘s place this week, he suggested I add the hand brake mechanism to the underbody of my CNR baggage-mail car. Since I haven’t yet painted the underbody, this was relatively easy to do.

The mechanism allows the manual brake at either end of the car to pull the clevis on the cylinder to set the brakes.

I took some reference photos of a similar, HO scale passenger car in Pierre’s collection and used these as reference material to build my own. It’s a nice detail since it runs across the body – not lengthwise like most things under the floor.

Here’s a photo of the finished mechanism awaiting paint:

Baggage-Mail car: Hand brake mechanism.

Walking through the Lynn Valley

Lynn Valley Rail Trail.

The weather was particularly conducive to saying “bother housework” yesterday, so my wife and I took the two dogs for a walk in the country – specifically, along part of the Lynn Valley Trail.

The trail uses the former roadbed of the Canadian National Railway between Simcoe and Port Dover, Ontario. It was served by the same mixed train that operated to Port Rowan. This train would travel down from Hamilton to Simcoe, continue to Port Rowan, then return to Simcoe and run down to Port Dover before heading back to Hamilton.

While in Simcoe on the run to Port Rowan, it seems that the locomotive would sometimes cut off and head a short distance into the Lynn Valley to the large wooden water tank for a drink before continuing to Port Rowan. (I’m told one can still find the footings for the tank, although I didn’t go looking for them during yesterday’s hike.)

I don’t have room to model both branches out of Simcoe, but I thought the water tank scene and the bridges over the Lynn River were too good to pass up, so I’m moving this segment of the Port Dover branch slightly west to the Port Rowan line. It’ll be a good place to practice tree-building, too, since the river is quite overgrown:

Lynn Valley - Trestle from below.

The trail still uses four original railway bridges to cross the Lynn River and I wanted to see what those looked like. We didn’t walk the whole trail, but did see what are now known as the Pennington and Robinson bridges:

Lynn Valley - Pennington Bridge.

Lynn Valley - Robinson bridge.

From the Pennington bridge, we spotted some cattle cooling off in the Lynn River:

Cows bathing in the Lynn River.

That’ll make a great vignette on the layout.