Washington Northern Logo

Washington Northern Logo

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Track Down...Feeders installed

Last week I was hit with being sick and had some remnants of that this weekend. Today I was feeling much better and decided to hit the train room. First up was some cleaning and organizing with a deep clean of the area rug that is in the room. After that I decided to organize some containers with my rolling stock. You never realize how much rolling stock you have until you go through it.

I then decided to break down and do my least favorite, but most important, part of model railroading. The wiring. I guess because my soldering iron skills aren't the best is why I shy away from it. But you only get better with practice. I practiced on a couple pieces of track a few years ago and the results weren't bad but nothing like the guys that have been doing this for years. So I decided to solder directly to the rail as opposed to soldering to the rail joiners. I saw in some places that this was frowned upon because you do not have the best electrical connectivity as you would going direct to the rail. Plus this method was mentioned in the book How to Build a Shelf Layout (http://www.amazon.com/Build-Switching-Layout-Lance-Mindheim/dp/1453811346/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1450061846&sr=8-3&keywords=lance+mindheim.)

Got a little too close with the soldering iron and melted some of the foam. 
I will fill it in with foam putty.

I also worked on another industry for the layout. Not sure what it will be. This is a City Classics kit. Its a pretty easy build and one of my favorites. I painted it using rattle can paints from Rustoelum and Valspar. The concrete color is tan camouflage paint and the brick is the brown primer. The door are a light olive type color from Valspar. I tested out the car entrance and I need to lift the building a bit to achieve rolling stock making entry.

Stay tuned. Hoping to have the wiring completed this week!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Moving Along!

Hey Gang! Sorry for not updating as usual. I got hit with sickness truck and was unable to get anything done. I am feeling better so it's back to the train room.

I clear coated the warehouse building of the paper company. I need to just install a roof section and paint it, clear coat the building and that will be ready for some details decals and some weathering. I also added a second story to the food processing/bakery plant. I also reconfigured the silos to go along with the track plan i had in a previous post. I mounted the background building to a piece of 1/2" thick foam board, then I glued some plastruct metal siding to the top to match the original structure . I still need to add some more details and weather the top. I am also working on an unloading area for grain and tank cars. Still in the planning stages with this not exactly sure what I want to do.

(I was taking the picture at a weird angle)

I also go to gluing down my track. I am now about 85% done. After that hoping to start installing feeder wires and have some trains running soon. The sickness put me back a few days.

A view from the paper plant side of the layout.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Weathering some Motive Power

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Holiday. Mine was full of traveling to family and enjoying GREAT food!

Over the holiday I took some time to work on some of my GP35s. With the painting done and just some minor parts being installed, I figured I would begin weathering. I first started with doing a wash of 70% rubbing alcohol mixed with some black India Ink. Results were OK, but noticed some paint beginning to wash away. Then I realized that the clear coat I used was acrylic. So I fixed what I could and blended in the paint. Crisis averted! SO i decided to try out my Valljo black wash. Results were, but after it dried, I realized I went a little too heavy and it was really bad. SO I decided to take sum rubbing alcohol and try and fix what I did. It actually worked and with some patience and some fine tuning, I was able to salvage. So my wheels were turning and decided I would try and make a wash using oils and some Turpinoid. Well let me tell you, results were AWESOME. After everything dried I realized it was heavy in spots. SO i got out the turpinoid and worked on thinning out the heavy spots and blending. I was happy with the results.

The top 3 photos were pre-touch-up work.

A little more touching up.

Posed by the paper plant

Little dark.

This one turned out the best.

As for the photos, you can see in the last set that the track is starting to get put down. I am about 60%-70% done with putting track in place. Next up will be to glue it down in place. After the track is glued, I will be putting in the feeder wires and get all the wiring hooked up. Hopefully I will have some trains running by next week!

I also took some time to work on the paper plant and extended the walls a bit to match the other background building I installed. Once all that is in place, I will begin detailing.

I also scored an Atlas Gold Series MP15DC w/sound off eBay. It was a undecorated unit. I plan on working on putting it together and preparing it for paint. I noticed some of the extra spots for the number board and marker lights. I am going to tape those areas off to prevent any paint from getting on them. My plans for the marker lights are to paint them with some clear red paint. I was always a fan of marker lights and I wanted to keep some nostalgic symbols on the locomotive. I also have some Kato SD 40-2s that will need to be prepped for painting as well. I also have an old GP unit that will be getting a makeover. It was from my old freelanced layout. I plan on repainting and redoing that loco as well.

Lastly I also won a Atlas Master Series GP 38-2 on eBay as well. This too is an undecorated unit and will be painted up as well. LOTS OF WORK AHEAD!

Atlas Gold Series MP15DC

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Recommended Reading

From time to time I will be sharing what I have used to help me along this process of model railroading. I will post some reference books, how-to books and publications which I feel are of great value. I will also try to include articles from magazines which I find useful as well. One thing I should have done was research things before jumping into them. That is one piece of advice I'd like to pass on. In today's age books, coupled with the internet and other online references, have launched our hobby into a new arena!

A few weeks ago I placed an order for a magazine from Model Railroader. I know some people I know have let their subscriptions run out because it seems all they (Model Railroader) cater to is the Steam Era folks. Nothing against those guys because everyone is entitled to do their own thing for modeling, but sometimes it'd be nice for us modern era folks to get some spotlight. Well now insert this special publication.

IF you are just starting out with the modern era, or you want to spruce up what you have, I would suggest getting this. It highlights articles from past Model Railroader editions. Some of the articles are also included in some of the book I have purchased as well. 

This covers the article done about Lance Mindheim's Downtown Miami layout (track plan included). There is an article about the Utah Belt. (A layout which I just love, but the motive power paint scheme looks fantastic).

One of the best articles, in my opinion, covers how you can take a basic Atlas Trainman GP 38-2 and turn it into a nice model with just using some basic paint and detail parts.

In the freight cars section, they cover how adding some Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) placards to your tank cars adds some realism to them. The decal sets can be picked up from Microscale Industries. Another article covers how to re-letter without repainting. Some other articles are adding custom graffiti and weathering a box car.  

There is an awesome article about adding a modern Corn Syrup terminal to your layout. The photos were great, as was the information. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

End of November Update

So today I decided to tackle building another one of my kits I bought. The Walther's Commissary Background Building Kit. I painted the brick with just a coat of Rustoelum Primer Brown. This is the came color as Boxcar Red from the old Floquil line of paints. After the paint dried I painted the doors and windows with Rustoelum satin green from the rattle can. It almost matched the color of the plastic, but I decided to keep it because after a little weathering, I'm sure it will com out quite nice. I also painted the cement highlights with Model Master Concrete, I picked that up at my local hobby shop.

This is prior to me installing the overhang roof and adding some roof details.

As you can see I still need to do some detailing to the metal piece where the loading dock is and. I touched up the over painted areas with some boxcar read which, when dried, matched the brown primer perfectly. 

I then added some roof details from my parts bin after spraying them with some light green from my paint collection. The details that came with this kit were very small, and in my opinion, unrealistic. I will weather these a bit to give it an older look.

My goal with this project was to make it look like the building was an old Railroad Express Agency building that was abandoned, then bought and re-purposed for a warehouse. I was stoked for that, well then another thought popped into my mind. I was looking on my top shelf and noticed part of the Superior Paper Plant kit I had cut down was up there. I then added it to this kit and came up with this....

I liked the way it looked. Plus I figured I now had an opportunity to bring back the paper plant I wanted. With some preliminary track layouts and such, I realized I couldn't achieve what I was hoping, but not to be discouraged, I did a little looking and figured out I could make this a paper printing facility. Lance is always talking about that it is not the number of industries on the layout, but the number of car spots, and couple that with some variety of cars. So I figured this industry could take come box cars with paper in them, and some tank cars for chemicals for ink. Or even make it a paper plant but only part of the industry being modeled. I will need to do a little more research. 

I also am working on finishing up the unloading racks as well as the final detaisl for the silos for the food plant. 


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mock-ups and paint

Today I took some time to paint the 1" foam pieces that I cut for the layout. I picked up a can of Latex paint at Lowe's. The color was Satin Java Brown. Went on no problem with a brush. Once it dried I added it to the layout. Because of the paint, the foam board slightly warped (nothing major). I still need to glue the foam board down and when I do I will just add weight on the top to ensure a level surface in the end. Some of the board had some divots in it from transport. This will be no issue as they will have scenery or road put over them. I also took the time to rough in some structures and track, and spotted some cars just to see what I am dealing with. It didn't turn out to bad and I think things will turn out great. I may touch up the sky prior to gluing down the foam so i can ensure that it will be blue sky's looking at me (my attempt a musical humor).

I still am going to add one more track in as a sorting/storage track for this industry.

The next addition for this industry will be a Rix Product storage tank I picked up off of eBay a few months ago. I took this tip from Lance Mindheim's book about shelf layouts. He built a food processing plant and had a tank there for vegetable oil. That is the game plan for this structure. As for other liquid ingredients, I am going to build a building next to it for those items. I'm not sure if it will be an addition off of the brick structure next to the silos or not. 

Work on this is a bit slow, but it is coming along. Stay tuned for more updates as I hope to have track down, and wired with in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Food Processing Plant Update Pt. 2

First off, thank you to the veterans out there. Happy Veterans Day!

Tonight I worked on my food processing plant warehouse some more. I added the top wall pieces and assembled two of the weather bellows. I need to assemble the last one but was waiting for the paint to dry.

Since I decided to only have 3 bays for the warehouse instead of 4, I made a smaller warehouse out of the extra piece. I decided to paint it read and just add some of the frame and a small lift gate to the bottom. I opted against putting the weather bellow in. I think it turned out rather nicely.

I'll add a few more details to the new red warehouse. Some light weathering, industrial decals and a few roof details should do the trick. Everything is coming together nicely. Still hoping to get the foam painted and some trackwork put in over the weekend. Once the trackwork is down, I can work on installing the feeder lines and tying everything together. My goal is to have trains running by Thanksgiving!

Stay tuned. Subscribe, comment and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Food Processing Plant

Well today I had a little bit of time in the evening to work on the layout. I put together the rest of the warehouse kits and put them in a series. I decided on three instead of four. I feel it is a little more appealing. I also was able to finish the silos and the pump house building for the plant. I will need to work on the stairs, ladders and other smaller details to finish that up.

As for the spare section of the warehouse. I'm going to tape it off and repaint it a different color and use it as another small warehouse that will receive a boxcar.

As for the main warehouse. I need to add the roof caps and the details around the doors. After that I will add some downspouts to hide the seems. Once everything is on, I will spray it down with clear coat and add the door numbers and other industrial decals. After that some roof details will be added and some light weathering will be added.

I then started working on the unloading rack for the tank cars. I am still debating whether to build a smaller building for that liquid items or just put some tanks on the other side of the pump house structure. This kit is a bit challenging with the small parts but I figure once everything is together, its detailed and weathered, it'll look awesome.

Other than that, the progress is moving along nicely. Stay tuned for some more updates!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Funday

Today I took some time to work on some of the structures for the layout.

First up was the bakery/food processing plant. I put on the painted sections for the warehouse portion and glued them in place. I need to prime and paint the masonry that goes at the bottom.

 I then installed the base for the silos and the building next to them. Once the glue dries, I will install the tops of the silos and then add the detail parts (rails, ladders etc.)

Some other plans I have for the plant and some unloading rack/area for the vegetable oil, corn syrup and liquid sugar. And a place for grain and flour unloading. This will be a nice build and I will be kitbashing and scratch building some of the structures. Can't wait to detail and weather them. I need to purchase some industrial tanks and the food processing plant should be good to go.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Well layout progress has been a little slow lately since I was at training for work the past few days, and with being away from work leaves the issue of having to come back to things that were put on hold.

The bench-work was completed, and I added the background today. The background is Masonite (1/8") cut into two 4' lengths. I have one small 2' section that needs to be cut. The Masonite was secured with 3/4" lath screws. I then painted the Masonite with primer and followed it up with sky blue spray paint when the primer dried. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the results but when I hit it was the sky blue it came to shape nicely. But i saw I was missing spots, but this gave me a nice effect of light, thin gray clouds. To me it seems to give it a little depth.

( The picture looks a bit dark. I will try to get better ones)

I also cut some 1' foam today to fit the layout. I tired using a utility knife, but could never achieve a nice clean cut. I did a little research on YouTube and found that there were some blades out there used to cut foam. I took a trip to my local hardware stores with no luck. So I checked out Amazon, as one of the videos suggested. I picked up Festool blade, model S155/W. This blade is specific for soft materials (cardboard, foam, etc.) This fits most model jig saws. It worked out great, I got a nice clean, smooth edge. I cut four 18" x 4' pieces for the layout. Tomorrow I will paint the bases brown and glue them into place.

I also did some work for my main industry on this layout, a food processing/bakery industry. I am basing it off some photos and overhead shots of these types of industries in my area. The facility will be a kitbash between the Magic Pan Bakery and Buds Trucking Company. Both are Walther's kits. I paints the metal part of the warehouse area today. The colors for this are Almond for the bakery and ingredient unloading building. Silos will be painted white.

Once the foam is secured down, I will then make the decision whether to go with Atlas track, or make the leap and put in hand laid track, but I still may put in a mix of Atlas and some Micro-Engineering. Turnouts for this will be Peco.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Well today I made a trip to Lowes and purchased some lumber and a sheet of plywood. While at Lowes, I took advantage of having the plywood cut into two (2) 18" x 8' lengths. I also purchased some 1"x 2" x 8' pieces of lumber. I used the lumber and made a box and girder type bench work is a piece of 1/4" project pine board on the top.

The bench work was 8 feet long and 18 inches wide. This replaced my 80 inch by 24 inch hollow core door bench work that was on shelving brackets. I kept the brackets up and blacked the box/girder bench work on top. It's amazing with what 6 inches of width will do! With the 24 inch hollow core doors, it felt like there was too much space. I contemplated taking it down to 16 inches but felt 18 would be enough for some of the industries I had in mind. I also gained 2 feet on each end so now things do not look so cramped.

I also picked up an eBay score, an Intermountain BN P-S 5277 Cu. Ft Box car. I plan on weathering it in the coming weeks after the layout is all set up. This from Intermountain's Pinnacle Series. Very nice car.

Next weekend I hopefully can get a foam cutting blade for a jig saw so I can have nice crisp edges for the foam that I'd like to install. After that I hope to paint the foam and get everything ready for track installation and wiring.

Track planning is coming along and I am hoping to get that mapped out this evening so that way when its time to install on the foam, it will go smoothly.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Hello everyone! I apologize for the absence but work has been keeping me very busy and not helping with hobby time!

Since my last post I have installed some lighting and put down foam on the hollow core doors. I have been tooling around with track plans and it has been the most time consuming, an frustrating, thing. I have seeked help for at least two people for ideas and nothing seems to strike my fancy. My issue is that I want to have minimal amount of industries but maximize number of cars and car spots. HOWEVER, I do not have the space I really want for what I want to do. SO it as back to the drawing board.

I narrowed it down to about 2-3 industries. I wanted something unique but fun. First I drew up an idea for a paper plant. Things were looking great. I was doing research, Google Earth, Bing Maps and even some of the Trackside Industries books. IN the one book I found a plan for a paper plant. I was pumped, until I got the measuring tape out. I couldn't do it for the space I had. SO back to the drawing board.

A few weeks passed and I got the urge to try and get something figured out. So I started hunting again. This time I saw a cement plant. I had a number of cement hoppers and I started looking again. I figured the cement plant would be the center focus, with some smaller industries to keep it fun. Issue was that I couldn't achieve what I wanted. This time the space was too big for what I wanted to model.

This brings me to my other friend Google Search. I just started typing keywords for small HO switching layouts. I dug around and found some of Lance Mindheim's blogs. I have read them before but haven't really kept up to date. Well I poked around and did some reading and I found something that fit the mold. It was a simple "L" Shaped layout that had one siding and a major industry that took 3 different car types. (Boxcars, Grain hoppers and tank cars). I read the article some more and it made sense! Keep it short and simple. Easy track plan with Atlas track that can be upgraded to Micro Engineering (OR Hand-laid track). So I went and dug through the cache of rolling stock to see if I had the necessary items at hand, which I did. ( I had been building for a paper plant prior.) So next step was to start looking for a building kit. I knew I would either need to kitbash or scratchbuild. While looking through the collection of building kits, I found a Magic Pan Bakery Kit. With that I started thinking, maybe I need to make a low relief building of this and go from there.  So looks like a little more research will be in the works for me.

While looking at the picturs some more, I really wanted to have a cement and aggregate facility as well. (I just recently purchased some Blue Star Ready Mix tractor trailers for gravel hauling) SO I will be modifying the plan I saw, but who knows, I may just keep it short and simple.

Photo from Lance Mindheim's Blog
If anyone has feed back they wish to provide please let me know. I have been trying to have a functioning layout for over 3 years and I just keep getting frustrated over track work and a plan. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Reference Photos Part 2

I wanted this blog not only to include my construction of my layout, but I wanted to include some photos to help modelers build industries on their layouts.

Below are some photos that I took at a rail served industry. The company makes wood trusses that are shipped out by truck. They receive center-beam flats of lumber via the Norfolk Southern Local that services the area from the Reading Yard.

Loading/unloading dock area. This could be achieved using the Pikestuff Kit.

Team track area w/ cement pad.

The small grade crossing is made of wood. To replicate this you could use the Woodland Scenics kit or I think Blair Line makes a laser kit you could install and stain.

Picture of the switch with the derail.

This is a picture of the area used to fill trailers with woodchips/saw dust from the manufacturing process. This has a spot for 2 trailers.

Shot of the sawdust/woodchip bin.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tech Tip. Tuesday

Hello Modelers!

I am going to begin a series of posts on Tuesday of hopefully every week showing something I use to help with model railroading.

This week is something I just picked up for helping with painting. I picked up an inexpensive "Lazy Susan" at my local Bed Bath and Beyond.

I think this was $7.99. It has a rubber area and it spins pretty nice. Would be a great addition to you spray booth.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mail Call Monday

Here is a few items I received in the mail from various sources. Most of the items were from eBay but one items is from Modeltrainstuff.com and the other was a sale off Facebook.

I picked this beauty up from Shaun Toman's Custom Weathering. Model is a Tangent PS4750 Covered Hopper. Pictures do not do it justice but this will look great at my trans-loading area on the layout.

Picked this up off of eBay. Custom weathered Liquid Sugars tank car

This was another eBay purchase. I think I have a covered hopper in my collection from the same company Specialty Minerals.
Yet another eBay purchase. I actually bought 3 of these. In the picture are the two I got in one auction.

The item I bought from Modeltrainstuff.com was the Walther's Cornerstone Series Medusa Cement.
I also picked up a clay slurry tank car which I cant find a decent picture of at the moment. Things are coming along but I think I will need to start inventorying and cataloging my cars so I know exactly what I have.
Thanks for keep up with the updates. Stay tuned for more, and maybe even a YouTube video in the future!