Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Boards Turned Gray Behind Yellow Wood

A better title might be "Apologies to Robert Frost", but I couldn't think of another title to sum up the weathering and painting that I did this evening.

Using my trusty India Ink/alcohol solution, I stained the floor and two side walls of the caboose.

I painted the insides of the two walls black, primarily to help minimize warping.  This thin sheet stock will warp badly if only one side is painted.  The black will also help disguise the fact that there is no interior detail.  I also painted the underside of the frame black.

A light coat of yellow (not DM&IR Yellow, but close) was applied to the outside of the walls.  Notice also that one of the window frames is in place, constructed from thin styrene strips.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Box On Wheels

In simplest terms, a caboose is nothing more than a box on wheels.  Sure, there's more to it than that, but essentially it's a box sitting on a frame with wheels underneath.

As the first step in my caboose construction, I started with the frame, using 6"x7" timbers as specified in the plans that I purchased.

Using scribed sheet stock, I cut the side walls and cut out the window openings.  Since this thin material tends to warp when painted, I also added some bracing to the inside of each wall.  I won't be detailing the interior, so this doesn't need to look pretty.

With the floor in place, and the two side walls propped in place, you can see that this is indeed nothing more than a box sitting on a frame.

Train's Best Friend

I like dogs.  I like the way that no matter what, they're always glad to see you come home at the end of the day.  Man's best friend.  They'll greet you at the door, jumping around, slobbering all over you, ears flopping, tail wagging.  That tail - it gives the dog character.  Each one is different and special.

Back in the day, trains had tails too, each one different, each one with a unique character.  I'm talking about the caboose.  Red ones, yellow ones, green ones, brown ones.  They came in all shapes and sizes, and you would find one at the rear of every train.  The train's best friend.  You don't see them anymore.  Pushed out of service by electronics, they now sit in museums, or neglected in some storage facility:

The caboose has always been one of my favorite parts of the train, and for a long time, I've wanted to build one from scratch.  For the October NMRA meeting, the topic of the modeling contest is "Cabooses", making this the perfect time to do just that.

I found plans for this caboose through the Missabe Railroad Historical Society:

Looks easy, right?  Should be fun - construction is underway...  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where Are We Anyway?

A while back, I purchased a map of the DM&N from the Missabe Railway Historical Society, with the intent of adding my fictional subdivision to it, framing it, and displaying it somewhere near the layout.  For lack of anything better to do tonight, I made my changes to that map.  Below is the original, followed by my altered version.

The original map:

My altered version:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Did Someone Say "Let There Be Light"?

My new camera has revealed a deficiency in my workspace - lighting.  The lighting over the layout is fine, and more than adequate for photos.  The light over the work shelf, however, is not.  I decided to remedy that by building myself a light box:

Five pieces of foam core board, a piece of white poster board, two clamp-style work lights, and two 6500K 24W CFL bulbs.  Talk about bright!  This thing is going to work great for magazine photos...

Some sample photos taken in the new light box: