Plow Wings

 photo Plow-13_zps265f162c.jpg
(New wings built from photos of CNR wooden plows. These are much more visually interesting than the stock kit wings.)

When I introduced the snow plow project, I noted that I had an article from CN Lines that includes several photos of the railway’s plows, beautifully rendered in HO scale by the late Ron Keith:
CN Lines 60 - Mr Plow photo CNLines60-MrPlow_zps64f7bbe0.jpg
(Click on the image to read my introduction to this project)

The article includes a couple of photographs of similar, wooden plows – and I really liked the looks of the wings on these examples. The Ambroid kit I’m building came with wings shaped from plain wood – presumably to represent steel. But the CNR plows had wings built up from wood with metal caps at the ends. The lower rear corners were also cut on the diagonal, instead of squared off as in the kit’s stock wings.

I realized I could use the kit’s parts as patterns to create new wings, so that’s what I did:
 photo Plow-12_zps4dba9fc5.jpg

The wing at right has been rebuilt, with the parts mounted on 0.010″ thick styrene sheet. The wing at left has just been started. I started with some 1/32″ thick sheet stock from Northeastern Scale Models with appropriately-spaced scribing. (I can’t remember why I had this piece, but it matched the board spacing on the plow body so it was perfect for the job.)

I taped a piece of sheet to the wing and then marked the back, cut it out, and re-taped it to the wing to sand to final shape, as shown at at left in the photo above. I then glued this to my styrene sheet, cut the triangular reinforcement from the wing and glued it against the scribed top section. I repeated the process to create the portion of the wing that fits between the two reinforcements – then added it and the bottom reinforcement to my sheet. With everything set up, I trimmed the styrene to shape.

Using the photos in CN Lines as a guide, I cut some 0.010″ thick styrene sheet to represent the metal cladding at the tip of the wings. This was really a process of cutting, fitting, fettling, and repeat. When I had two shapes that would work, I duplicated each piece for the other wing, taping them together and sanding to shape.

I then glued these in place on the wings with a very slight overhang at the rear, which I filed to match the profile of the wing once the glue had cured. Finally, I cut a long strip of the 0.010″ styrene sheet and wrapped it along the top and rear edge of the plow, trimming it to shape after the glue had cured. A bit of work with some Squadron White putty, and I had my new wings.

As the lead photo suggests, I painted the wings at this point – primarily to see how they looked when all the pieces were tied together with a common colour. Satisfied with the result, I then proceeded with the bracing on the back and other details.

I’ve had to do a bit of sanding on the plow body to ensure the back edges of the wings will clear the body when they’re closed. I’ll touch up the paint when I finish the wings. It’s starting to look like a plow!

3 thoughts on “Plow Wings

  1. I visited Ron Keith, the plow man, a few months before he passed, and he gave me a Grand Trunk plow from his collection; I had given him the photo of the original years before, and he wanted me to have the model.

    He had over three hundred scratchbuilt plows of every description lining the walls of his layout room. You never saw such a collection!

    Thanks for mentioning him. He was a true gentleman and a super modeller.


    • Hi René:
      What a lovely thing to have. Thanks for sharing the story.
      Ron sounds like a really nice guy – and the sort that I would’ve wanted to interview on The Model Railway Show.
      I’m glad CN Lines published the article about him and his models. It’s really helped with my project. And now that I’ve actually started building my plow I’m even more impressed by Ron’s output – plows are not easy things to build!

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