MODELING: General Electric Malfunctions

I had a General Electric dishwasher that gave up the ghost recently.  It didn’t belch flames but it did spread water on the floor.  I recalled this event when I was reading an email from Lee Turner regarding a certain GE C-39-8 and it’s malfunction.  Lee went on in his email to describe his dad’s dislike of GE transportation products. He was a senior motive power executive with the Lehigh Valley. At the time the Valley had GE electrical in their diesels.  They didn’t measure up to the road’s demands.  Moving on to this posting, Lee will show you the antics of a big six-axle C-39-8  and how it displayed its temper.

The beast is shown above. Lee started with a couple of Overland brass C-39-8 imports.  He added paint, lettering and his touch of weathering.  The bright Conrail blue was toned down considerable with the washes of acrylic.   The upper portion of the carbody looks “oily” from the engine exhaust.

The engineer notched the throttle and the big power plant belched up some carbon and unburnt diesel fuel.

Lee created the theatrical effect with cotton with dabs of orange and red paint at the base.  I think he has managed to create a little drama with the model pictures.

I like the overall job Lee did on the diesels and the added effort of creating the special effect.

I found this photo online and shared it with Norm Buckhart a former Pan Am Captain and Navy aviator. The picture was taken of an aircraft on short final for 13L at Boeing Field.  That is one majestic view of Mt. Rainer.   He shared that views like this made him wish that he was still a pilot.

Boeing Field is an interesting place to visit to see lots of new airliners being readied for delivery to their owners.  There is an air and space museum that is worth the time.

Thanks for stopping by,



OPINION: Six years and it keeps on ticking

Blogging has grown in popularity in the world of electronic communications.   It has replaced the printed newsletter and other forms of traditional sharing.   In the small world of model railroading, one blog stands out above all.  It is Trevor Marshall’s Port Rowan in 1:64.  Trevor just passed a milestone this week of blogging for six years on the subject of his adventure in S scale modeling.


If you haven’t visited his blog you should.  You don’t have to be interested in S scale to enjoy his stories and experiences.  The most important point I have taken away from his musings is that “Less is More”.  Like many of us Trevor has worked in a number of scales including an interest in Proto48.  He managed to select a path of change that allowed for the space available and the prototype of he liked.   Rather than retell his story, I suggest you pay a visit to his very first blog titled “Breaking Marley’s Chains”.   

The blog is well crafted with lots of photos and stories that don’t get bogged down in the step-by-step grind.  Trevor’s professional writing background clearly shines in each posting.

After six years of modeling in 1:64 scale, Trevor still seems to be enjoying the journey.



MODELING: Weathering Steam Power

Weathering has been a frequent topic of my blog.  It is part of the realism we are all trying to create in our models.

This time around we are going to show the work of Jimmy Booth.  As most of you know, Jimmy is part of P-B-L and owner of Glacier Park Models.   Over the years, he has painted thousands of models for customers and himself.   Jimmy just sent me a few shots of his most recent completion.  It is a P-B-L Sn3 K-36 import.

Jimmy used Tamiya acrylic XF- flat finish to do the weathering the paints are diluted using their Tamiya thinner.  The colors are earth tones with grays and a touch of yellow.  Jimmy uses a Paasche VL double action airbrush to create the effects.  The paint is applied in layers to build up density and effect.

I found the treatment of the tender deck interesting to show the road dust and the effects of water spilling.   All this was done with the air brush.

Using the airbrush and a few colors, the tender sides are streaked.

Here is a detail often overlooked when finishing a coal burning steam locomotive.  Cinders collect in all sorts of place on the locomotives.  Jimmy used N scale black ballast and clear lacquer to fix it to the loco surfaces. It is a very interesting touch.

The overall effect is very impressive.  Jimmy has managed to create the “look”.  He had lots of time living in Chama for years to soak in the atmosphere of these impressive narrow gauge locomotives.

Thank you Jimmy for sharing your work with the blog.

Thanks for stopping by,


MODELING: Heavy Load by Lee Turner

When you have a model of heavy duty flat car like the Pennsylvania Railroad F33 class, you need to come up with a load commensurate with the capability of the car.   Well, Lee Turner had a client who want an old Alco Models brass import done up with paint, lettering, weathering and an appropriate load.

The load suggests a steel casting or fabrication that would tax the capacity of this flat car.  I was curious what Lee used to create this impressive cargo.   As it turns out, He heavily modified a fishing reel to create the basic shape. It was augmented with styrene to disguise the original purpose.

The finishing helps create the illusion of a heavy steel part.  Lee used Vallejo and MIG products.  He spray on a rusty coat as a base then applied chipping fluid and a top coat of blue-gray to simulate the scale found on steel recently fabricated.  At this point, the light top coat was chipped off using water or old tooth brush.

A load this heavy needs an appropriate cradle to keep the assembly from moving or being damaged.  This cradle was made from Evergreen styrene “I” beams.  They were rusted up and a special technique was used for creating the assembly welds.  Lee sprayed a very thin line of black to create the soot marks that occur during welding.

Thank you Lee for the photos of your flat car project.  It is an impressive model.

Next time, I will show you the decaled Rio Grande Automobile Car.  Weathering will be in a subsequent posting.

Thanks for looking in,


MODELING: Rio Grande Auto Car Build 12.0

The construction part of the build is done.  I added the last few pieces  last night. Today I got the airbrush out and shot a primer/sealer.  The gray color is an important step in finishing the model.  The primer provides what painters refer to as the witness coat.  It shows off all of the mistakes.  And I found a few problems that will get some attention prior to the color application. With any complicated scratchbuilding project, it ends up taking much longer than planned. Late in the build I struggle with finishing the last details. In the past, I would rush the completion and cut corners.  Sadly, I would not be happy with the end results.

There are a few details that I want to point out to you.  The first is the running board supports.  I made my from a strip of .020″ x .040″ and two short pieces of .015″ x .020″. The support is 18″ long with two short pieces on the end.  This will straddle the curved surface of the radial roof.   The running board is a lamination of HO 2″ x 10″ strip and .005″ material.  The prototype running board is 1.25″ thick so the lamination creates the proper thickness.   I drill and insert Tichy .020″ rivets to simulate carriage bolts used to attach the running boards.

You will notice the running board is attached to the roof side with a tab that features a bolt detail.

The picture below is of the primed underframe.

If you look closely you will see a few dings that need some filler before finishing.

I decided to add some dunnage to the car interior just to provide some interest.

Back to do some touchup and the final color.  Next time I will show the car with some color.

Thanks for stopping by.




OPINION: Year Four Is in the Books

Please stand by for Year Five!

This past year had a total of 10,016 visitors to my blog.  The visitors clicked over 47,000 pages during their visits.  That is down from the prior year by roughly 50 %.  I keep this trend up I will loose my sponsors (LOL).   In year three, there were a couple postings on Lee Turner’s weathering techniques that scored some huge numbers for you blog.  Finished models and layouts score the best for visitors.  Lee always has nice stuff to share with us.

Thanks for your support during the past year.