Monday, May 11, 2015

Track expansion is finally completed!

The new section of structure has had its track added and has been wired! The station still needs to be built and some minor details added, but trains can now run over the new structure!

A view down the tracks. The station, which will be an island type of platform, will
go in the space in between the tracks.
I have also completed an update video for May 2015:

And as a final photo, an odd assortment of cars and eras paid a visit at the Sheridan Road station. The guy waiting for his train doesn't know what to make of this assortment!

Hmmm... that's an odd assortment of options of travel!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

3D printed Baldie in paint

I've pretty much finished painting the 3D printed Baldie model. I still need to work on the interior and add the under body details, but the outside of the car is done.

I used True-Color paints: Reading green and a custom mix of white and yellow for the cream. Black accents are grimy black. The roof is primer grey.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The zombie slowly rises ... or, the 4000 is back in paint

Not a lot of progress, but one coat of "test" paint has been applied to the previously smashed Q-Car 4000 series body.

I call this a "test" paint scheme as I had to custom mix the cream color. So far, under a couple of different lighting conditions, I am happy with the progress. I wasn't sure as to how the cream would turn out, so I figured I could use the zombie car as a test. Worst case, I felt I could always strip the paint from the car.

The cream is Tru-Color white and Tru-Colo L&N Action Yellow (any normal yellow would do, I just had this kind. Eight drops of yellow per half jar of white ... or just until it looks "right" ... its a judgement call. The green is Tru-Color Reading Green and the roof is Rustoleum Dark Grey primer (I just like the grey).

The Q-Car plushie (sans trucks) matches up  well with the 3D printed Baldie. There are some minor differences, but the two car types were not identical.

I am leaning towards painting my entire 4000 series the green and cream paint scheme as I just think its a nicer color than the brown and orange. I will, however, do my two car Northwestern train in brown and orange. And, my one orphan prototype 1.0 Baldie with a plushie roof (a initial test of 3D printing with a few errors) will remain in brown and orange.

In other progress, the retail store for the Sheridan Road curve finally has back and side walls along with a roof.

This, along with my other structures currently in progress, will hopefully be finished in the near future!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Attempting to arise from the ashes ... or a zombie 4000 Plushie is hopefully reborn.

First off, I was able to obtain two new additions to the elevated fleet:

I was able to obtain a Q-Car Northwestern 280 motor and a 4000 series Plushie, both with Wagner power trucks. The Northwestern motor will be paired with the Northwestern trailer that I have while the Plushie will go into a 2 car all-Plushie train.

The other addition to the elevated fleet is what I am calling the 4000 zombie. This was a Q-Car Plushie that was given to me ... but with one small catch. The model had either been dropped (from a significant height) or stepped on / squashed.  When I received the model it was in three pieces: roof, one side, and one piece of the ends still attached to one side. It had been repaired at some point as both ends showed signs of breakage and having been squashed at some point as some pieces were missing or bent. It was also painted in the green and cream paint scheme.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the model in its original disassembled state.

But, I figured a free Plushie can't be turned away, so I figured in the Easter spirit I would try to resurrect the car.

The stripped shell. Lacquer thinner wouldn't touch the paint so Acetone was used.
Fortunately the acetone had no effect on the Q-Car glue joints. 

Evidence of the broken windows seen on the end.

Note the glue marks from the original repair.

The motorman's side window (next to the door) was skewed (evidence suggesting the model was either stepped on or had a large weight dropped on it) so I had to re-break this and attempt to reset it to a more vertical angle.

Once primed, the missing parts are more visible:

Missing window sash, door sash and top sashes to the end windows.
Also note the big crack in the window post. That is where I had to snap off
the post to set straighter.

The other end: more missing window sashes and heavy glue applications.

Using some styrene, I was able to recreate the missing parts and apply to filler to cover the gaps.

Sashes added and some gaps filled. The large crack looks better in person,
but I'll probably do another application of filler.

The other end, missing sashes added.

The rood was tweaked and a door broken.

I was also successful in drilling out the motorman's side window, which was very nerve racking as both sides were cracked and repaired near the bottom of this window. I thought the drilling and filing would re-break the ends, but I got lucky and was able to drill out the windows.

 Overall, I'm very happy with how this is turning out. I really thought the model was a lost cause. I didn't think it could be saved but I figured I had to try to make the best of it. This model will win no awards, but it has at least been saved to live another day. I may continue to fine tune the car or just let it be ... maybe it was in a wreck at some point? 

With these additions, I can muster a four car 4000 train ... if in theory only as this train certainly isn't going anywhere ...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Almost ready for the paint shop

I started working on the Balide model again, and have finished the roof vents over the doors and re-applied the door drip guards:

While not 100% prototypical accurate, they get the job done. The vent is made of .010" styrene and the drip guards are .030" square styrene. Also note that the Sterns and Wards couplers have been attached as have the other larger rood vents. I've also filled the gaps in the ends with glazing compound.

Now that this is done, its pretty much ready to be sent off to the paint shop. And as luck has it, the weather has finally started warming up so may be able to paint in the garage soon! This particular car will be painted in the more modern CTA green and cream paint scheme.

In other developments, I've been making steady progress on the new commercial building.

The stone trim has been added to the front of the building. I like to paint and mortar the bricks before addling the trim as it makes for a neater installation.

The back of the building has also been painted and weathered at the same time. I may have overdone the weathering a bit on this side, but I wanted this to be rather grungy. It turned out well.

The windows have been set in the front:

And the stone trim has been added to the back of the building:

I also obtained at the Chicago O Scale March Meet a white/pot metal body of a North Shore coach.

Its currently sitting on shop trucks and I've started filling some of the imperfections with the casting with auto body glazing compound.

I will most likely convert this to a CA&E car as these were later lent (then sold) to the CA&E.

But .. question ... does anyone know who made these bodies? There are no markings so I was rather curious. I forgot to ask when I purchased the body.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

100th Post!

Happy 100th post!

This marks my 100th post in documenting the construction of my CTA themed three rail O scale layout.  

First off, I'd like to give thanks to all those who have not only been inspirational in building the layout but who have also acted as mentors and have become good friends. Without these fine folks none of my work would be possible. 

Starting off, I'd like to thank my uncle Charlie King, who back in the late 1970's, gave me the April 1976 Model Railroader that had Eric Bronsky's (Eric, of course, will be thanked shortly) article "Farewell to the Old El".

How it all started
My uncle's layout ... somebody seems to be lost but not sure who

My uncle Charlie has been a traction modeler as long as I could recall (and way before I was even born) and I often would see his layout of streetcar trackage during family gatherings. His stories of working for the CTA during the late fifties and early sixties were also quite entertaining and now more relevant as he has been able to provide first hand accounts of  being the motorman on a six car train of Baldies!

A true inspiration and mentor has been Ed Halstead. Ed has acted as a mentor as I've attempted to improve my modeling skills and has offered invaluable assistance in the creation of the 4000 series Baldie model. Ed's modeling skills are second to none, and he has been the primary inspiration for me to always work towards improving my modeling skills. He sets an incredibly high standard, and while I am no where near his level of skill and knowledge, it has been a pleasure trying to learn those skills.When I visited Ed's layout for the first time I was absolutely amazed at everything ... the presentation and the models are outstanding.

Ed's re-worked North Shore cars. 

Chicago Aurora and Elgin line car 
And, if you do not already do so, be sure to follow Ed's blog at Modeling Insull's Empire in O Scale (a link is also on the right side of this webpage for the blogs I follow). I learn something from every one of Ed's posts.

I would like to also thank Eric Bronsky who has also acted as an inspiration and has offered extensive modeling advice. Eric's MR article started my life long fascination with Chicago Elevated and all the various lines and cars that ran on the L. 

Eric's trolley bus picks up passengers on my layout,
Eric's scratch build 4000 series Plushe

Not much to say except for absolutely amazing!

I have collected all of Eric's traction articles from Model Railroader and his examples of L structure have been my inspiration to always try and improve my structure. In addition, Eric's column Insull's Smaller Empire in the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society's magazine First and Fastest has been a constant inspiration, especially during those years when I was strictly an arm chair modeler. Eric was especially kind enough to feature my layout in the Winter 2012 issue.

Eric's Insull's Smaller Empire column
A tremendous source of knowledge for all things Chicago transit related has been Bruce Moffat. Bruce has been fantastic in offering assistance and research materials in all of my modeling efforts but especially with the 3D printed 4000 series Baldie. Without Bruce's help, there is no way I would've been able to complete that car.

Bruce's knowledge of all things transit related knows no bounds. I highly recommend both of his Dispatches that have been published by the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, Dispatch No. 5, The Chicago 'L's" Great Steel Fleet - The Baldies and Dispatch No. Cooperation Moves the Public both are a must have.

In addition to his publications, Bruce has been kind enough to let me ride behind his large scale Baldie ... a true treat for a self proclaimed Baldie fan!

Baldie  #4103

CA & E # 10
Another fantastic person I have to thank is Terrell Colson. Terrell has been fantastic in hosting Trolley Night gatherings that have enabled me to meet even more fantastic modelers. Terrell has also been a great source of modeling knowledge and expertise. He has been kind enough to share a tremendous amount of knowledge and material with me that has and will aid my modeling skills for years to come. A brief video of some shots of Terrell's latest Trolley gathering can be seen on my YouTube channel Terrell's 2015 Trolley Night:

Terrell is a fantastic host (and also a great modeler!) and I always greatly enjoy his gatherings.

I would also like to thank everyone that I haven't mentioned specifically by name. Some I've met through this blog and others I've met through the various meets and trolley gatherings. Its been great sharing and gaining knowledge with all.

And lastly I would like to thank all you who take the time to read this blog. I don't post as nearly as often as I should, but it does keep me motivated to attempt to make progress on the layout! Thanks to all for participation in the traction hobby!

I've always been involved in some form of model railroading as long as I can recall. But, it has only been since the last ten or so years that I started seriously modeling traction, specifically Chicago elevated. Previously I either lacked the skills, time, space or funds to actively model Chicago transit.

I dabbled briefly in HO, working on some HO resin kits.Painting at the time was not my strongest skill. And, with bad eyesight, HO was a little too small for me.

This all changed around 2007 with the acquisition of an un-powered set of MTH 3200's and a short stretch of elevated structure built out of balsa wood (definitely NOT the preferred material for construction!).

First effort at O scale elevated structure ... on the floor of the basement

Only one track has a platform ... not sure what I was thinking.
I at least saw the potential of using the MTH 3200's for the basis of a layout and construction started on a shelf style layout.

Gotta start somewhere, I guess. Drywall does not make a good layout surface
A little more substantial benchwork in place
Several versions of elevated structure construction was tried before I came up with a satisfactory version.

Second version, now made out of basswood.

The structure was a little too low.

With paper building mock-ups. I couldn't get the proper CTA tan color for the structure.

After a few more revisions, the final method of construction was finalized:

From November 2010

A corner was finally turned in April 2011

Followed by another in December 2011

In 2012 the residents of the layout had a park added

And in mid 2012 the residential area was progressing nicely:

Hmmm ... no wires or tracks. Must be on a detour.
And work started on the Southport Station:

2013 was a slow year due to home renovations, but some work was done at the Southport Station, if slowly (and still not finished).

I did start learning to cast my own more detailed L structure:

But somethings were finished:

2014 saw the introduction of the fuse box curve:

The apartment building was a victim of urban renewal even before it was finished. Its crime?
Blocking the TV set. 

And the start of the adventure into 3D printing and the creation of the 3D printed Baldie model.

For which a prototype was finished:

North Shore trucks on a CRT 4000? I blame the guys back at the shop.

Some additional rolling stock was acquired mid year: 

A trailer without its motor. He's going nowhere fast
These still haven't left the "shops" They were supposed to have been a winter project

And the Baldie was finally finished (version 2.0):

This time sporting the correct trucks
In review, its been a fun few years!

Thanks again for viewing the blog, and hopefully the 200th post will come quickly and with much more progress.