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…
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.
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
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.
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.