April 2020: Winter/Spring Layout and Modeling Update, PART 2

OK FOLKS, here is Part deux of my update on what’s new in with my model RR progress, and more! Who else is finding lots of spare time to work on your layout and hobbies?

Being socially distant in the layout room.

C&O Canal Bridges

I scaled and printed some blueprints of the three bridges across the C&O Canal on the Georgetown Branch. These were printed and had been laying around for the last couple years. I finally got some time and made mock ups using foam core and 3M spray adhesive. The goal is to get as prototypically accurate as possible when recreating the bridges, but I know some selective compression will be necessary, as I simply do not have the space. I have already done a virtual mock-up, and in the near future I hope to do a physical one.

Scale mockups of the 3 C&O Canal bridges.

Bethesda Update

A lot going on in this area of the layout as I completed the backdrop, painted it and removed tracks to do mock-ups.

This was the state of the Bethesda area prior to the latest work.
I cut a piece of Masonite to fit the gap. I mounted the short pieces of lath wood to the wall to match the other panel, which sits about 1/4″ proud due to the shelf brackets.
New sheet installed, spackling done.
Overall view.
Covered the remaining two tracks with painters tape (the only ones left that were spiked down, and funny enough, would be ripped out later that day.) and painted the wall with ceiling flat and wall flat paint. (using what I had laying around.) In the future I will paint the sky color and clouds on.
As you will recall, I built four custom curved turnouts to facilitate the East end of Bethesda. I had never finished these so I set about cutting the gaps and cleaning the turnouts of the oxidation with a wire brush. This was tricky and eventually I used a cut-off disk in a Dremel tool, as it worked a treat. Next, I will solder feeder wires for the frog and other rails.

The three turnouts are sized as follows from right to left: #8 40″ outside radius, 30″ inside radius, #8 50″/35″, #8 60″/40″, and #10 60″/46″.

Now that the backdrop is in, I can get back to mocking up the track arrangement. Overall I am pleased with how it’s looking but I will need to tweak a few things. Feedback is welcome.
East end of Bethesda. The bridge on the right is Wisconsin Ave. The Griffith Coal Co. trestle is in the center.
I think I am going to build a small bump-out for the Bethesda Freight station. I want this to be a centerpiece of the scene and without the extension it will be stuffed in an awkward spot. I really want to give it a bit more space, so a small shelf will be in order here. There is plenty of space.
A higher perspective view of the three turnouts all lined up. The templates will be glued down allowing me to glue ties in place which I can then spike the turnouts to.

Modeling Update

I have also been busy with various modeling tasks. A couple years ago I bought a large lot of HO scale vehicles, mostly die cast, some resin. In retrospect, I think I bit off more than I can chew and what I purchased are models that are going to take a lot of work to get where I want them for the layout. I’ve been prototype research on the vehicles in the hopes I can do some better paint jobs than the previous owner did. Here is one example:

The paint is all wrong, details are a bit coarse. It could be better. I set out to make this happen.

After consulting with my model RR Club, the consensus is they are Wiseman Model Services (ex Walker Motor Works) International KB-11 trucks. These models were made back in the 70s, I believe, and have gone through various iterations over the years. They are made up of several parts, are really fragile and don’t have a ton of detail. I did some research and decided to try some Super Clean for stripping these metal frames. The results were fantastic. Not only did the cleaner strip the paint, it also dissolves the glue after a few days, which allows me to get the models back into their parts form for reassembly and detailing.

For reassembly, I’ve been using the ZAP PT-36 Z-Poxy Quick-Shot 5-Minute Epoxy. This stuff is fantastic, old-school epoxy. Squirt out a bit from both tubes, mix and apply. The VERY nice thing, for this application, is that being 5-min epoxy means that it’s just enough and it gets just tacky enough to allow for me to put the truck cab parts together and rearrange them carefully as I go, until I’m satisfied, at which point it hardens. Once set, it’s rock-hard. I find that with CA, you kind of set it and forget it, with little room for adjustment as you fit things together. I ordered some BSI Insta-Set to help with getting the CA to cure quicker where I need it to.

Here is one of the chassis being reassembled. Here I’m mounting the rear axle/wheels and driveshaft. FIDDLY BITS.
Parts bins. You can see just how many pieces are in each kit.
That truck does not go with this bed, but both are in process of reassembly. The shorter bed truck will hold a small tank. The wooden bed was originally painted brown. I primed it with the intention of painting it. But, when I drew a file across it, the weathering effect was fantastic! I decided to use coarse sandpaper and a file to scrape and scratch the paint away. A bit of dust and grime will finish it. I think I will use it as a barrel-hauling rig for the Waring Barrel House in Georgetown!
This is a long flatbed trailer. I sanded it down and repaired the side rails by replacing the styrene strips. I am masking it so I can paint the metal and then weather the nice wood deck. Unfortunately the model is missing its axles so I will need to figure out a replacement.

Airbrush Tune-Up – About a year ago I did an overhaul on my old Badger airbrush. I took it apart and checked all of the parts. Cleaned everything carefully and reassembled it. I decided to add a regulator to the compressor. I noticed a bit of a clunk when operating the compressor under load, so I took it apart. Inspected all of the gaskets and parts and found no issues. I reassembled it and adjusted the bleed valve. A friend from my model RR club, Greg (who you have seen here before) gave me his old air tank which I will press into service soon. I need to figure out what piping/tubing I will need. I have also been upgrading my paint supply with some proper thinners, new paint and other goodies.

Testors 1:72 Stuka Model Wrap-Up – Another interest I have is military aircraft and armor modeling. I have many unfinished projects, but this one has been floating around my workbench for about 12 years. I decided it was time to wrap it up.

Masking complete, gloss coat on, now it’s time for decals.
But first, let’s airbrush that yellow stripe that you forgot to paint! The airbrush worked well, but I noticed the brush “dried up” rather quickly, that is to say the paint stopped spraying after a short while. This may be [VERY]old paint (Tamiya) or improper mixing/technique. Probably all three! HA
The 20-some year old decals did not play nice. I had to be very careful with them to not break them, and they were extremely cloudy. I picked up some Micro-SET and Micro-SOL recently and gave that a go. Not only did it get the decals to lay flat, but after a few applications of the SOL solution, the cloudiness disappeared. REALLY amazing results.
Sealed with dullcote and a tiny bit of chipping. I am waiting for some panel wash to arrive and I will then do some light weathering and finish this out!
You can see just how well the decals laid flat. Really pleased. Also, the flat coat did a great job as well. I used Tamiya flat clear out of a rattle can.
Next up! Dad got me an incredible birthday gift last month. WOAH. I just got paint delivered today. This is going to be a project with my son and I and I really can’t wait!

Hope you enjoyed these updates. I know it’s just a lot of rambling, but it feels great to make some progress on all these things. There are so many other items I’ve checked off lately, and really the layout room is coming back alive after being dormant for about a year. I am reinvigorated to get moving and hope to have more updates later this month. Anyone else out there getting stuff done these days? Sound off in the comments.

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