Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rewind: Modelling Spilled Grain on Hopper Cars

(Another in my new rewind series, bringing old posts back to the top, like this one from 2009.)

I was in Nashville, TN earlier this year. Luckily, my hotel was close to Nashville Union Station, and the CSX mainline. I took some time to explore the area, and caught a few trains heading under the Broadway St. bridge.

As one train traveled beneath me, I noticed spilled grain on a number of covered hoppers. I realized, at that moment, that this was something I had never modelled, or seen modelled, for that matter.

So I "spilled" some grain (Woodland Scenics yellow grass, actually) on a covered hopper or two, as below, using a bit of diluted glue to affix it to the car.

It's just a small effect, but I think it does an OK job of capturing a bit of the prototype.

Spilled grain on a model.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hanging Out at the Yard

There was a time when it was much easier to visit a railway yard. No fences, and no signs warning against trespassing.

Back in the late 1960s, when I was a kid, I remember going to the CN yard in Merritton, Ont. and even getting a ride on the locomotives and caboose with a crew.

(I also hitched a ride up in the operator’s cabin on the lift bridge over the Welland Canal at Glendale Road with the kindly operator. It was a different era back then.)

Those kinds of experiences and invitations are unavailable today, disappeared into concerns about safety and post 9/11 fears.

Which is understandable, but too bad for railfans, who only want to admire things closer up.

Fortunately, I’m close friends with the crew that looks after the locomotive facility on the Manitoba & Minnesota Sub., so I can come and go as I please—as these photos attest. They even let me fly my drone overhead as much as I want!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The "Fallowfield Effect"

The "Fallowfield effect."

That’s the term coined by my friend Eric Gagnon at Trackside Treasure about the unique photographic style of great Canadian modeler Bob Fallowfield.

The effect is easy to see in his photos, but hard to describe—the focus and lighting are soft is the best way I can think of describing it.

How does Bob achieve it? I think it is a combination of his lighting and camera—he used to use an iPad, but now uses an iPhone. (I also used an iPhone for my photos.)

Of course, the effect is helped along by Bob’s fantastic modelling and realistic modelling. 

I think I accidentally achieved a version of the Fallowfield effect on the CP Rail M & M Sub. recently, as seen by the photos on this page.

I’m not sure how I did it, but I’m pleased with the results.

Now, if only my modeling was as good as Bob’s . . . .

For a look at the real "Fallowfield effect," see some of Bob's photos from his great CP Rail Galt Sub. layout below.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Rewind: Model an Industry that Isn’t There

Peace River Northern #6 switches the "paper" mill .

If you do a blog long enough (this blog started in 2009), and post enough entries (over 750 to date), many posts slip way out of sight. Some of them might be worth viewing again, if they weren't so hard to find. Like this one from 2009, and others I will re-post in my new Rewind collection.

Over the past number of years there have been a number of articles in the model railroad press about modeling invisible industries.

These include tracks that run off the edge of the layout to a factory that is “located” in the aisle, or that run behind the scenery to another hidden plant of some kind.

The CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Subdivision utilizes the latter approach. In my case, it is a paper mill that is located off the layout.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t visible, though—it is, just above a ridge in the distance behind the upper level town of Nance.

And when I say paper mill, I mean “paper” mill, as in it is made of paper. It’s a photo of the Walthers’ paper mill, taken from an ad in Model Railroader.

I simply cut it out and glued it to the wall. A photo of a hill was cut out of calendar or magazine (I can't remember which) to complete the scene.

Operationally, locals that ply the line drop off cars in Nance at the interchange with the Peace River Northern, a shortline that serves the mill and other industries off the layout. (The PNR line, which is served by ex-CP Rail GP9 #6, sneaks off the layout, behind a small ridge.)

In reality, nothing happens; cars dropped off in one session or operating sequence become cars ready for pick-up in the next.

This industry that isn’t really there gives me another operational opportunity without actually requiring me to build another mill, or devote space to it.