Saturday, December 31, 2011

CN 2131

For my last post of 2011 I wanted to show you CN 2131. This C40-8 was forced over to the Skally when track work on the CN caused some over sized delays. This ex-CNW unit chugged hard as she moved onto the line in Carlton. Normally we would have added one of our own units to the train to make sure they had a proper HP to tonnage ratio, but we wanted to see how the old CN unit would do. With not a horsepower to spare she made it off the line in St. Paul under her own power.This unit was an Atlas. They come with a nice amount of separately applied details, so I upgraded the Sinclair Antenna to a Miniatures by Eric piece, I added BLMA grab irons and replaced the oversized Atlas cab shades with BLMA units. One mirror is BLMA and the other is Trainworx. The cut levers, bell and speed recorder are Atlas pieces. The paint is Steam Power Black and SP Scarlett. The decals were Microscale. The rear numberboards were the narrowest I have ever done.With only 5 engines to go in my personal challenge I feel a little like Forrest Gump after running back and forth across the country. "I'm tired, I think I'll go home now." Getting these engines done has been satisfying, but tiring. Before I attack the final 5 I'm going to take a break and work on some rolling stock and layout projects. On that note, good luck in all your endeavors and may 2012 be a great year for you all!

ILSX 1384

It seems Dec 31st is a good rail fanning day on the Skally. Another new arrival is pulling loads across the line today. ILSX SD9 1384 had been mated to ILSX SD9 1374. Hopefully we see another SD9 on the line withing the month to fill out our horsepower needs.ILSX 1384 is an Atlas SD9 I chopped the nose on, adding an SD26 cab. Up top it got a Miniatures by Eric Winter Hatch. I decided to try some new parts on this engine. I used Trainworx Lift Rings (they have the proper SD9 side lift rings), wipers, mirror, cut levers and MU hoses. I used a few BLMA grab irons to match the prototype. The All Weather Window is a Gold Medal Model piece. The paint was Mineral Red with PRR Buff for the yellow. The decals were from Solidesign and I installed a Digitrax DN163A0 decoder. I still need to add the safety striping on the frame sills, but I'm marking this one up as done (for now).

ILSX 201

I caught 2 of the three "Blue Brothers" running a mixed freight down the Skally. ILSX SD40-2 201 was leading the way for the first time so I thought I would grab a couple pics. This is another EX-SLRG (ex-SP) unit. The Mars light was removed from the cab before ILSX took possession. I bet that would have gotten the deer jumping!This is a Kato Mid-Production SD40-2 I added Sunrise SP Lights to front and rear, I gave it BLMA cut levers, grab irons, lift rings and fans (I love see through fans). I painted the body Conrail Blue to match ILSX 1344 and 203. The trucks got a shot of silver and the rest was Engine Black. I equipped this one with a DN163K1C decoder to get the full brightness from the lights. A light weathering was done with chalks.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Dynamic Duo

The UP was utilizing its trackage rights over the Skally to run an southbound manifest to Hoffman Yard in St.Paul. What made this one interesting was the power lash-up. The UP had some NS power on the point. A pair of high hood SD40-2s were running long hood forward down the line.NS 3210 is an ex-SOU unit. I built this using a Mark 4 Design hood, MbE Sinclair antennas and bell, BLMA horns, lift rings, cut levers, mu hoses and grab irons. You'll notice the bell is on the long hood as this was forward on this unit. This SD40-2 has the earlier NS logos on the long hood.NS 1634 is an ex NW unit. This unit has already been updated into the newer "Horsehead" NS logo. This unit also uses a M4D short hood (he uses a 3D printer and prints the bell right with the nose). BLMA air horns, cut levers, mu hoses, lift rings, grab irons, cab shades and a MbE Sinclair round out the details on this unit.These units will be heading off to auction soon and hopefully be off to a good home right after new years. With these two done, I have 8 engines left to finish in my personal challenge!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rush City Redo part 4

Progress on the line has been slow. My engine building has kept me from getting too much done. I decided to make some strides this weekend in the track laying department. Here is the view from Federated Co-op toward W 4th St. then the Horizon Mill. The front of the mill is at the joint in the modules (so the building would coer part of the seam). Track is now laid through this half of the scene. I also started work on the new SCXY Corp. HQ (not pictured). Here you can see the layout of the track in Rush City. W 4th St. will cross the tracks to the left. I plan on making the crossing signals work. On the right from top to bottom are:
1) Passing siding
2) Main Line
3) Wheat unloading track
4) Flour Load Out track
5) Flour Load Out track Here is a closer look at the Mill trackage. One I get the rails flush with the end of the module I will start laying the track on the Northern module.

AVCT RR Caboose

I was driving to a friends house for an Ops Session and I happened upon this caboose. Now I don't normally think to much about the cabooses I see around, but this one was different. This is a Bay Window/Cupola Caboose Lettered for AVC&T Railroad with North Shore Mining written on the side as well. The couplers are gone so I don't think it's doing any traveling anytime soon, but I thought I would share.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

IAIS 602

Iowa Interstate 602 ran light across the Skally this week. I did catch it on a return trip pulling a small manifest. This ex-MP GP38 sure has put on a lot of miles since it was built in October of 1966.This unit got the full detail experience. I used BLMA lift rings, fans and grills, grad irons, cut levers, wipers, fan grab iron, mu lines, an Atlas MU cable, strobe light and a MbE Sinclair antenna. The paint are Pollyscale Engine Black and TTX yellow and the decals were Microscale. With this engine done that leaves me 10 to go by the end of January in my personal challenge.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ILSX 1341

The need for more power on the Skally keeps going up. We brought ILSX 1341 over from its elevator duty in Ulen, MN via the ILS shops in Holt MN, where they added a winter hatch to make this the ultimate snow machine on the Skally. This engine is a showcase of a lot of MbE parts. I used an MbE bell, snow shields, winter hatch, airhorn, front and rear headlights, BLMA lift rings, fans, cab shades, grab irons, cut levers, mu hoses, airhose, a Sandro Sinclair antenna and an Atlas plow.I'll try to get better pics later this week, but the shadows grow long on the frozen tundra...

CP 5485

I love the Skally Line, the motive power that comes through can be awesome some days. Today I happened to catch the run through of CP 5485. This ex-NS high hood SD40-2 is truly one of the best looking engines I have seen in a while. The sun was out today so I took some better shots.
I used a Kato SD40-2, added a M4D tall short hood, GMM lift rings, BLMA horns, wipers, cut levers, plows and mu hoses. This one turned out so nice I'm almost temped to keep it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dirty, dirty hoppers

As my roster of hoppers grows I decided I had better get cracking on weathering. I have been experimenting with different techniques. I read a great tutorial by Tom Mann and here is what happened when I mixed some of his ideas with some of mine...Not all my hoppers will end up in this condition, but you need to have some that show the wear and tear of time. This hopper I received from my friend HK, I put MT trucks and BLMA wheels on it. The car and trucks got a diluted spray of Roof Brown and a light application of burnt sienna for the rust. On the wheels I used a micro brush to paint the sides roof brown.

ILSX 1418

ILSX GP10 1418 is out of the shop! After suffering a catastrophic prime mover failure while working on the TCWR, we brought it back to the Bethel shops and got her running again. Today the one of the Skally crews stretched the legs of the 1418 by running a fertilizer load from Hinckley down to the Peterson Mill in North Branch.The 1418 is a chopped nose shell I cast myself in resin. I made my own winter hatch to match the prototype. It has a MbE firecracker antenna and sand hatches, BLMA cut levers, wipers air horn, grab irons, lift rings, mirrors, mu hoses and air lines. The fuel tank will be swapped out for a full tank (per the prototype) when the parts arrive, but that is an easy 'after the fact' fix. 1 engine down, 13 more to go by Feb. 1st.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

So many projects...

As I was finishing up ILSX 1374 and as I get ready to finish ILSX 1418 I took inventory of the workbench. Currently there are 14 engines to be completed. I figured if I let everyone know that, I would motivate myself to complete them in a timely manner. ILSX GP10 1418 will debut by the end of this week, so that will take care of one unit. Here are the next 6 (in no particular order)...ILSX SD38AC 1211, NS High hood SD40-2, CN 8-40C, MILW U30C, ex-SLRG ILSX SD40-2 1201 and ex-CN ILSX SD40-3 1341.

As I progress on the pictured 6 I also hope to peg away at a few of my long term projects...
SCXY GP8 1352, SCXY GP9 1363 and ILSX SD9 1384

I also have CN RDC-1 1501 another pair of high nose SD40-2s and an IAIS GP38. Can I get them all done by the end of January and still finish Rush City Redo by January 1? Oh boy...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rush City Redo part 3

Track work has started. I finished the roadbed work (cork and wood portions) and I got the PCB ties epoxied into place. and got the first section of rail soldered down. Hopefully I can get enough track to get the majority of Rush City laid this week. It's not much, but it is progress.

ILSX 1374

I caught ILSX 1374 taking a cut of empty hoppers up to Hinckley to interchange with the BNSF. We brought this engine in to help out with the expanding traffic at Horizon Milling and Petersons Mill. The venerable SD9 was brought back from the Dakota Quality Grain Co-op in Ross, ND to assist in operations on the Skally Line.This is the first unit on the Skally that wears the "official" ILSX paint scheme. It is a Soo Line inspired scheme. 1374 has been outfitted with an Atlas air horn, strobe, MbE antenna, fans, BLMA grab irons, lift rings, cut levers, air hoses and mu cables as well as GMM All-weather window and rear ladders. The decals were custom made for me by Scott Wright at Solidesign. Hopefully I'll have time to get the matching ILSX 1384 done before the end of the year.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

N Scale Railroading

I want to thank the staff at NSR for publishing my article on building a GP39E in the Nov/Dec issue. I'm pretty proud to have been published. It also includes John Leaders' great Marias Pass Layout (N Scale Addiction) and more of Bill Denton's amazing work (Model 160). Check out the magazine, I hope you all enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Tunnel Crew

The SCXY car shops finished work on a Clinchfield Tunnel Ice Breaker Car. The shop boys were so excited to have it done they hooked it to ILSX 203 (one of the ILS tunnel motors) and ran the line to test it out. They came back to the shop a little depressed after they realized there are no tunnels on the Skally Line. I caught a few shots at sunset as they rolled it back to the shops. The car should be off to Clinchfield country by the end of the week.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rush City Redo part 2

Work is progressing on Rush City. I worked on the track layout tonight. It helps that I have the main part of the Horizon Mill complete. I used a stand in building for the SCXY HQ. The track will all be code 55 on the main and passing siding and I want to use code 40 to the mill. I got some of the cork started but I will use a sheet of 3/16" cork around the mill to keep the ground as flat as it is in reality. Switches between the Main Line and Passing Siding will be #10s, all the others will be #7s.
The flour loadouts on the south end of the building curve just after coming out of the building, I will try to match that in my model.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rush City Redo part 1

Some of you may remember my first attempt at modelling Rush City. The largest industry on the Skally as well as the Corporate HQ and I had the whole scene fit into 4 square feet of layout. It was time to remedy the situation. I have started building Rush City V2.0. The new scene will include the Horizon Mill, Corporate HQ (scratchbuilt new) the Masonic Temple, Federated Co-op and 2 working grade crossings. I've decided to strech the scene out so it will initially be 18" Wide and 12'-6" long with the ability to stretch the length of the passing siding to the North if needed (and it will be needed). The benchwork has already started. I will be building the Scene to FreemoN standards so I can show it publicly until I finalize the home layout design.I used 3/4" birch plywood for the frame with a 1/4" birch plywood and 1" foam top. I need to make some legs this weekend, but I hope to start laying out for the trackage and getting some cork down tonight.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MILW 5657

Another fine day of vintage MN photos. To catch some MILW power running the Skally line in the day... what a blast!
I just finished a little side bar project I've been working on. I decided to try building a Milwaukee Road U30-C. I started with a Kato unit, added BLMA grab irons, plow, cut levers, mu hoses, wind deflector, a Sandro Sinclair antenna, Gold Medal All-Weather window and wipers and an Atlas strobe light. The rest is all painting and a light weathering with chalks.

Monday, August 29, 2011

ILSX 1343

ILSX SD40T-2 1343 made a solo run down the Skally today. The engine has been working on the MNN out of Holt MN, but it has moved over to the Skally to get partnered up with ILSX SD40T-2. The duo will be working grain and flour service to the Horizon Mill in Rush City.
After turning at M&D Jct. the 1343 ran back to Rush City light.The engine started life as an Intermountain Tunnel Motor. I stripped it down, changed the lights to match the prototype, added BLMA grab irons, cab shades, AC unit, antenna stand, fans, cut levers, mu and air hoses, mirrors and wipers. I used a MbE Air Horn and a Sunrise rear light.A nice shot by Brian Kays for reference. I really appreciate him posting some nice shots of the 1343.