Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spray Booth

One of the small mini projects I cobbled together over the winter was a small, semi portable paint spray booth for painting structures and rolling stock, and whatever else happened to fit inside.

Again I went searching the net and found one design in particular that appeared would suit my needs and budget. My budget this time around was pretty close to zero (had to save a few dollars for groceries), so with that in mind I went scrounging. With what materials I had on hand in the recycling bin, I came up with this.

Argh, the cats have to get into everything.

Built this with extra stuff on

It's a basic 1/2" plywood box, with approx. measurements of 29" wide, 20" in height, and 32" deep at the bottom and 23" deep at the top. An old sealed glass window pane taped to the top, and for a fan I used a 2 speed downdraft fan motor from an old stove., with suitable galvanized ducting to match. And a furnace filter mounted inside in a slide in frame. That's it, simple as she comes.

I've used it minimally thus far and it seems to function as intended. Not such a big deal with water based and acrylic paints, but the solvent based rattle can odours, kinda get to you after awhile and they hang around forever while the painted part dries. Not to mention it's not too good for your lungs or brain cells as an aside.

2 speed downdraft stove fan.

Top view showing filter (sorry bout the fluorescent lines).

Front view, there is ability to hang parts from the glass top if desired.

There were also a few disclaimers mentioned in most of the articles from the net. One being the volatility of the paint fumes possibly exploding after being drawn out of the box and thru the fan, with brush type motors giving off sparks. Also worth noting the fume volatility levels would need to be extreme for this to happen, and unlikely to in this paint booth apparatus. Just turn the fan on before starting to spray and your good to go. Not even a remote concern for me.

The other main concern was the length or run of exhaust pipe to the great outdoors. Place the fan motor as close to the spray booth as possible. I managed to get the motor fan housing right at the back of the box. I seem to recall there was a figure thrown about, like maximum 15 feet of exhaust pipe from the spray booth and as few turns (elbows) as practical. The amount of galvanized duct work you see in the photo is my full run. It goes out of the building right where you see the pipe supported by the plywood.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Moving on from the "where" to place the layout, I next had to consider scale, time frame and size.

The scale issue was pretty much a no brainer for me. With my challenged senior eyesight  Z and N scale were right off the map. Don't have the room for O or G scale, so by default that lands me at the doorstep of HO scale.  The size is doable. I can still read most of the lettering on the sides of rolling stock, save for the really miniature stuff. With this scale there is probably the most selection out there, be it locomotives. rolling stock, structures, you name it.
Speaking of HO scale locomotives, here are a few of mine that I picked up awhile back, the detail is amazing. The Athern Genesis GP38-2w and Rapido GMD-1, both with DCC/sound. They weren't like that 40 years ago that's for sure. All locos have DCC/sound, there are no other options..period.
I have an RDC and another GMD-1 on order from Rapido.

Athern Genesis GP38-2w #4775.

Rapido GMD-1 # 1121.
I have a real soft spot for switchers.

Intermountain SD-40

 Proto 2000

The time frame chosen will be  mid 70's to late 90's. using the CNR and CEMR. It's what I grew up with and most familiar. So whatever CN and CEMR ran in that time period will be fair game for the Harte Siding. Doesn't matter when it was actually manufactured, so long as it was running in that time period, good enough for me.

As far as DCC w/sound, or DCC or DC.  I like the ability to be able to control 2 or more trains on the same track, and not have to worry about section blocks and all the nightmare of wiring that goes along with DC control. And sound just adds to the atmosphere.
 Advice from many long time master modellers....don't cheap out on locomotives. Buy the best there is at the time, and Athern Genesis and Rapido are right up there, but not cheap.

What size to build the layout?  Most advice I received was to build small to medium size first time around. With a definite caution not to do 4'x8' plywood table affair. Best bang for the buck seemed to be around the perimeter of the room, with a peninsula at most. Build it semi modular benchwork and then it can be expanded at a later date. So.... around the room it is. That was easy. Given my rough dimensions in the hayloft, I have an approx area of 20'x48'.

This looks to be the right location, up against the south wall, (painted light blue of course).

Some of the existing lighting will have to be repositioned and add some  LED track lighting as time and funds permit.

So there we are...the, 'where, scale, time frame and size' answered, for the meantime. 
And like the fine print disclaimer always says, E&OE (errors and omissions excepted)  ;)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Scenery structures, Grain elevators.

Earlier this past winter I headed down to Warehouse Hobbies and picked out a couple of plastic structures to build for my future model railroad layout. As I have a unrelenting fondness for grain elevators, I naturally chose two from an earlier era that I thought would be a good fit for the layout.

The  "Grain Elevators".

Both are Walthers kits; the Valley Growers Association Steel Grain Elevator and the Farmers Cooperative wood sided elevator. Back in the day, like half a century or so ago, when I was building plastic car models, we used Testors plastic glue from a squeeze tube. Now it's Testors  liquid cement that in effect melts the two halves of the plastic and then rebonds when brought together.

The work station and tools of the trade.

I did a primer paint from a rattle can for both structures while the individual parts were still attached to the sprue. I don't own an air brush as yet, so for now, the rattlle cans will have to do. Further to that subject, I talked with Fred from Warehouse Hobbies, and he said he can't remember the last time he used his air brush. Apparently the set up and cleaning of same takes a lot of the fun out of using the air brush. Two minutes of painting and twenty minutes of set up and cleaning. I hear ya.

As of late, the there is a huge push towards using acrylic (read, non smelling, easy cleanup with water) as opposed to the solvent based lacquers of old.  Of further note, when I went looking for paints at Warehouse Hobbies, their paint rack was near empty. I thought that a bit strange, maybe they had a blow out sale recently or something, until Fred clued me in. They don't bring in paints during the cold months due to possible freezing and ruining of same. So if you want specific model railroad type paints/colours, you have to get them in the summer months and stock up for winter building. Good to know. Although again, Fred related that you can do as good a job with a rattle can, once you've practiced up.

Design and planning hotspot.

On the initial assembly some of my joints didn't hold together quite the way they should, so I had to redo. Don't think I was holding it long enough for the bond to take hold. When you watch the Model Railroader videos and that Tenax stuff they use, it looks like it bonds almost instantly. Can't seem to find it here.

The semi-finished  elevators.

On one of my visits to the hobby shop I purchased a pair of Xuron sprue cutters. A little pricey but they sure cut nice and clean and close, almost eliminating the need to sand. Lots of sanding sticks and an Xacto modellers knife with the #11 blade.

A close up view of some weathering applied.

I then tried my hand at some weathering which turned out only so so. But like the master modellers keep saying, it's not so much a technique but an art form unto itself. Practice, practice, and more practice. I used some india washes, lights coats of white spray paint and then dry brushing, and  of course some acrylics. I haven't as yet used any dull cote, I think they want $10 bucks for a small puny can at the hobby shop. Fred says a suitable alternative would be Krlyon clear matte finish from Canadian Tire. Have to look for that.

I'd love to try my hand at kit bashing and scratch building. But that will have to wait for another day. In the meantime I purchased another couple of plastic kits that I want to assemble and maybe a little kit bashing. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Plan.

The layout room will be on the second story of the workshop. For the most part it will be an around the room layout,i.e. following the outside walls around the perimeter of the room with two peninsulas into the centre. Approximate size will be 18' x 46' or about 800 sq.ft.

I will be utilizing open grid framework, primarily using 1x4's, with the exception  of the main peninsula which will be 1x6's. For the sub roadbed there will be 1/2 inch plywood attached to the open grid and screwed down. The height of the roadbed will be 45 inches from the floor.
Width will be 20" to 24" along the mains. A couple small sections will have 36" wide roadbed, where there is access from both sides, and the main large peninsula will be 60" or 5' wide. The large peninsula will no doubt present some challenges for 'reach in', however that's still only 30" from aisle side so will still be doable.

Harte Siding Footprint.
Gray shaded area is benchwork.

On the aisle way side of the benchwork will be a 7" wide fascia screwed to the 1x4's. The benchwork legs are made up of 1x6's ripped in half and then the 4 foot pieces will be glued together to form an 'L', then bolted to the inside of the 1x4's.

At present time this will be constructed as a point to point layout as opposed to continuos or round and round. As point to point best simulates what the prototype railroads operate.

As previously mentioned I will be modelling the CNR Hart siding and Carman Jct trackage as it would have looked from the early to mid 70's thru the early 2000's. I realize this is a huge time span, but this will be a photo freelance or freelance...I don't know what or how to label it precisely.  This represents the time that I was most familiar with the railroad and it's operations.

Locomotive control will be NCE wireless radio controlled DCC (digital command control), using Power Cab and Pro Cab throttles. This will be a 5 amp system, with several isolated blocks or divisions.

NCE Power Cab and Pro Cab 5 amp system.