Wednesday, May 30, 2012

213 on Deck

I usually wait until I finish a project to post all about it, but I do have an interesting one that I've begun. Most of my ILS units are based on prototype engine, even ILSX 201 and 203 were based on SLRG engines that ILS owned, even if they never put their reporting marks on them before selling them. But one of my upcoming engines will be a little more freelanced. ILSX 213 will be my first SD38-2. I am using a Mark4Design long hood and a Kato Early SD40-2 nose to get the look right on a Kato Mid-Production chassis. I have already attached the Miniatures by Eric bell to the long hood. I'm getting excited already!
The prototype for this engine is an ex-DMIR engine that has been residing at Larry's Truck and Electric in McDonald Ohio for the last few years. When done the engine will be painted in DMIR colors and wear mostly DMIR decalling, patched out for ILSX. The SD38-2 will fit right into the roster that is rapidly filling with SD40-2s. This ex-DMIR unit will be a great puller on the Skally line and will help with the all-rail ore trains we are negotiating to get.

Monday, May 28, 2012

FBOX Weathering

I've been picking up some of Exactrail's new FBOX Hy_Cubes. These are great cars all the way around, the molding, lettering, body mounted coupler, metal wheels... they are some of my favorite rolling stick. But there is always room for improvement. For my newer cars I like to hit them with a dusting of a diluted L&N Grey, 8 parts isopropyl alcohol to 1 part paint. I also take a micro brush and apply roof brown to the sides of the wheels. This tones the car down and gets rid of that "new out of the box" look.
The other area that I've been upgrading on my cars are the crossover platforms. FVM and Athearn have been including these on many of their new cars. I like them for a few reasons: 1) They look more prototypical. 2) They close the visual distance between cars, making our oversized N Scale couplers look a little smaller. and 3) If I take my cars to a FreemoN ops session, I can more easily distinguish my cars from everyone elses.
This upgrade is so easy it is crazy. I use BLMA 403 platforms. You get enough for 10 cars in each pack. I drill a #80 hole directly on top of the center of the molded on platform, put a little CA on top of the molded platform and on the stem of the etched platform and stick the two together. No painting is needed as most platforms are bare metal. Make sure to put the platforms with the notch on the end with the brake wheel.
Between the weathering an the platforms the cars appearance improves and an otherwise great car gets a little better.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Another "restoration" project has been finished up by the Skally Shops. Milwaukee Road SD45 #7 has been completed. This engine is pretty unique in that the dynamic brake fans had been removed by the MILW shops, but the dynamic grills were left in place.

This engine started out as a new Kato unit (another DRGW unit bites the dust).  I removed the dynamic fans, added a T-Vent, added grab irons, lift rings, a MILW side bell, cut levers, wipers, a firecracker antenna, rear mu hoses (I used the Kato molded on on the front) and a non-working strobe light. I also removed the front drop step. I upgraded the couplers to MT-1015's. The paint is MILW Orange and Engine Black. The mu hoses and class lights are dressed up with a little silver. The handrails at the ladders are white. The decals are Micro-Scale and the weathering is chalks.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

SOU 2597

The Skally shops have finished another custom job. SOU GP30 has finished its restoration and after it finishes it's final inspection by the CEO of the CRR Blue Ridge Division it will be shipped to that line to be ushered into service.
This Southern GP30 was an Atlas GP30 that received extensive work. The short hood was raised, BLMA fans were installed. The raised roof over the cab was cut back to match the prototype. It also recieved custom cab shades as well as a high hood bell, firecracker antenna, airhorns, lift rings, grab irons, mu hoses, air hoses, mirrors, wipers, walkway lights, an Atlas sand hatch on one end and a custom sand hatch (in front of the conductors cab window). Did I miss anything? I also used a pair of MT 905 Z Scale Couplers for the photo shoot.
This engine is off to work the Southern Interchange in Marion, NC on Ken Borowski's Blue Ridge Division Clinchfield Layout. This layout is fantastic and deserves a look if you haven't check his site out before.