Monday, July 20, 2009

Faller Concrete Mixing Plant

I spent one full day making this concrete mixing plant kit by Faller in N scale. (kit 222195 Betonmischwerk). I will have to say that it has been a while since making a Faller kit, and I was pleasantly reminded about the precision and straight-forward approach of these kits.

[caption id="attachment_114" align="alignnone" width="581" caption="Parts went together really well"]Parts went together really well[/caption]

The brass sheet was a surprise, and the excellent detail afforded by brass really made this model. The hand rails, ladders and crane boom are all brass. The box illustration  shows the brass unpainted, but I decided to make the handrails and ladders black to better appreciate the detail and to allow the coat of concrete dust to show better. I left the crane boom brass with some dust as it fits in with the pre-colored crane cab pretty well as is.


Blurry photos, ugh. But you can still see that the model turned out pretty well. The kit was pre-colored plastic parts that even had a wash of weathering applied to it. One could get away with simply assembling as it is, but I added a few bits of weathering just to make it pop some more. Mainly a wash of Poly S "Dust" to give the factory a really used, working quality. Perhaps a little heavy-handed, but my experience around gravel and rock operations is that there is always a slight feeling of junk in the back of your throat as you move around places like this from all the dust in the air. Just looking at the model makes me cough a little. :)


The instructions said to tie a knot in the black thread for the bucket cables. I didn't.This is N scale, and I would still be trying to tie the first one... It looks just fine wrapped around with CA holding it in place. There is some gravel in the scoop and the crane is free to rotate. There maybe a mechanish to allow remote control or animation of the crane as there is some sort of holding device under the gravel pits. No mention is made of this in the instructions, though.


I love the ladders and the protective cages. All of the brass is put together with  Zap a Gap CA glue. I could have used some Zip Kicker, as hlding these small parts together for any length of time without moving is difficult, but I had already run to the hobby shop once this weekend, and didn't feel like wasting another 1/2 hour on a trip. I'll get some for the next kit, though!


I love the corrugated siding and the pipes running between silos and building. My guess is that the cement is in the tanks and the gravel is simply scooped into the top of the pit area (there is a small hole right where the building and pits come together), and then the mixing is done inside and loaded onto trucks below the building.  Good industry to have tank cars of cement and gondolas full of gravel delivered with some concrete trucks to haul away the mix. No concrete rail cars, though, as there is no loading mechanism for them.

A fun kit to put together. N scale is sucking me in; I should build something in HO soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A couple of N scale structures for hire

I've got a box full of structures to complete for a client in the next few weeks, and I've finished the first two. Both were very nice kits that were easy and enjoyable to put together.


The first is a British weighbridge hut by Ratio Plastic Models. Everything fit well with almost no fuss or bother. I spent almost 2 hours painting the less than one inch long shack with several different colors. A base coat for the stone walls and concrete for the lintels. Then some individual coloring of the stones to provide a non-patterned multi-chromatic wall. I used a brush with about 4 bristles for that. Then a white/cream wet wash for the mortar and some fun with black and earth for weathering and finally some touches of green moss growing around cracks and corners. The roof has a base dark green slate and heavy black weathering. The brass details for door and window were lightly weathered, but the gutters have standing blackish gunk in them.

The other structure is a laser cut wood icehouse from Branchline Trains. Fantastic kit with tight fits and no sanding and very little clean up of parts after picked out of the wood sheets. The 3M backed details is a brilliant idea - I was skeptical before assembling - but in N scale, it makes attaching the tiny items much easier. The only problem I had was with the ladders because the cut outs were so small, they kept scattering and sticking to everything. Minor annoyance for such a nice kit.


I weathered up the tar paper roof a bunch since it is so large and visible to try and give it the same level of detail as the scribed wood siding. I love how the decking turned out after I applied a little antique oak stain from Hallmark Home Decor (from the craft store in a 2 oz squeeze bottle). I scruffed up the wood siding and dry-brushed the siding and decks to bring out some detail and weather them up a bit.

It was almost a full day of work building the two - mainly because of the painting and making a quick run to the hobby shop for supplies.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Remotored Roundhouse Boxcab breaking in on New Test Track

[caption id="attachment_93" align="alignnone" width="492" caption="A re-motored Roundhouse boxcab"]A re-motored Roundhouse boxcab[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_94" align="alignnone" width="491" caption="A comparison of the out-of-the-box configuration (lower) and remotored and weighted chassis from Ron LaFever (upper)."]A comparison of the out-of-the-box configuration (lower) and remotored and weighted chassis from Ron LaFever (upper).[/caption]

Activity on the New Test Track

Last week I created a test track loop to break-in locomotives. I used some code 83 weathered Micro Engineering flex track on top of a door/worktable. I quickly made a note at how difficult it was to work with the rail joiners straight out of the pouch, so I started to pry the openings up a little with the tip of a file so that they would go on the rail more easily. I then soldered the joints between the four pieces and set my re-motored GE-IR boxcab off in circles. I sent this little guy off to Ron LaFever to be remotored (exchanged, actually, for another rebuilt chassis), and the results were very good. Very nice work. The only problem that remains is the noise of the gearing, which is a result of the design, but hopefully the break-in will help with that. In the meantime, I have the radio turned up pretty high to cover up (some) of the noise.