Sunday, February 26, 2017

005 The Smart Industry X-Change System (SIXS) - 01 Walthers Cornerstone Tank Car Oil Loading Platform 933-304

I recently purchased Walthers Cornerstone Tank Car Oil Loading Platform 933-304 to be used on the chemical plant.  I'll probably add another one of these, but may make it from scratch.  This one will be in the back, so detail doesn't matter.

First, I have to clean up the desk.  Here I have very little storage room, so I'm constantly moving things.

Here is the kit.  It is perfect for a chemical loading platform, one of several I'm going to need.  I thought it better to build one of these $15.00 kits first to see if it looks good.  If so, I'll get a couple more and knock them out.

Ok, $14.98 plus tax.  Plus hauling it back on Delta to Fort Mill, SC.  Heck, no wonder everyone is mail ordering.

Before I bought the kit I checked the dimensions of the footing.  Walthers adds this wonderful footprint square to the kit.  Five stars!

The kit comes in a HEAVY DUTY box, not the flimsy ones we are used to.  This will make a great storage box and the front label artwork comes off easy!  Finally a kit builder is designing kits.  This kit actually dates back to 1998.

While it is an oil loading platform, it is based on a 1940's prototype.  Most older loading platforms look the same.  The chemical plant that I'm modeling was there when I was born and I've watched it for years, so this will work great.

The parts are in a bag which is helpful if they fall of the sprue.  It comes with instructions and decals, and even a sheet to help you get lost or defective parts replaced.

The parts are cast in a heavy duty plastic, much stronger than most models I've built.  It is hard to cut the parts of the sprue.

The directions cover the back and front of one sheet.  I quickly read them from front to back.  As are most kits the text is a bit lacking.  They are making the parts numbers very large, which helps.

Before I begin modeling I scan the instructions into the computer.  This is an important step for several reasons.  I have destroyed instruction sheets before by spilling paint or glue all over them, so I at least have a back up.  It also serves as a later reference for the model in case you need to repair it.  It also (and most important for me) gives me scratch building plans for making a duplicate model.  That is very likely as the model is simple, and a few higher quality details like an etched gangway come make for a much better foreground model.

I keeped them filed and carefully name the file so I can search for it.  One thing I have been thinking about lately is all the files that model railroaders like me are now keeping.  They can be worth a fortune to someone!  I've got literally MILLIONS of photos, notes, track plans, drawings and research just for me.

Next, I use my computer.  The computer really has become my #1 modeling tool.  What I do is look up photos of other's models of the tank loading facility and see what they have done.  I'll leave these up on my computer for reference.

I put the instructions between two panes of glass.  I'll work on the top pane of glass as it is perfectly level and nothing sticks to it.

Per the instructions (yes, I actually read and go by the instructions...sometimes!) I use a sprue cutter to remove the bases.  There is a lot of flash on these so I scrape it off and sand the bottoms flat.

The uprights are next.  I made a mistake here and cut one of the tiny mounting pins before I realized it wasn't just a long sprue.  Making mistakes is part of making a model.  Correcting them is the real art!

To clean the parts and make them totally flat I sand them with a very fine sanding pad.  3M assortment at Walmart, on sale for about $2.00.

Tenax 7R is my favorite plastic cement, but no one nearby has it and I can't take it on the plane.  So I'm using Plastruct, which is ok.  Usually I make my own blend, but I have no where safe to store a gallon.

I also don't have any of my clamps or braces, so I'm making due by using the fancy box Walthers sold me to hold the parts.  Improvise!  We're going to do a lot of that in the near future until I get moved.

The two problems I've noticed with the kit (and all kits have problems) is that there is no part #14 on any sprue, but there are two #15's.  The instructions are a bit unclear about using parts #14 and #15, so I referred to another modeler's work to figure out what it should look like,  The Walther's kit picture on the front was all black and hard to see the detail.

Next I worked on the piping.  The difficulty of modeling a chemical plant is piping.  Piping must be level, parallel to its neighbor, and not have any mold marks. A close up shot with a digital camera will MAKE YOUR WORK LOOK LIKE CRAP!  The pipes I'm working with here have really bad mold seams, so I spent a lot more time working to try to smooth them out than I would care too.  Here is where I'm starting to think scratchbuilding is better because I can use tubes and rods which are extruded and smooth for pipe.

From the main feed lines (pipes) comes the break out pipes that carry chemical to the uprights.  These are each different and have to be put on by the order of the instructions.  BEFORE you cut these off the sprue, read the directions and only cut the parts you need one at a time. Hey, does this sound like experience?  Shut up and do what I tell you to do!

Once the pipes were assembled with Plastruct, I put them aside to dry overnight.  The solvent will no longer be wet but the attack on the plastic will continue for some time.  A light hand with the cement is best!

Next we'll build the gangway.  This model has great guardrail detail, thus the reason the plastic is so tough.  These parts are still delicate and require an easy hand while remove the sprue tags and flash.  Take a VERY sharp, new hobby knife blade and take your time.  I'm watching a model railroading video while I'm doing this to pass the time.

Spend a few minutes test fitting the parts and figuring out how to make the assembly.  Normally I've got a huge selection of jigs and fixtures to make the parts straight and easy to glue.  No such luck tonight.  So, the "I'm at a hobby show with limited tools and need to fix it" trick is to use ACC, or superglue.  But, I only use enough to tag the parts into place.  Once they "lock" with each other, then I'll go back with the plastic cement and bond the parts.  I wanted the ramps to remain loose (mainly for photos later) so I made sure the ramps moved easily but with enough friction they would stay upright.  See?  I'm thinking about what this model is going to do YEARS down the road, and not just when I'm done with it.

DVD stopped and I'm out of Bourbon.  Time for bed.  I clean up my work area (lots of plastic scrap and fuzz, along with sanding dust) and a check the lids on the adhesives to make sure they are sealed.  I hate waking up to a half empty bottle of Plastic Weld!

Night all!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

004 The Smart Industry X-Change System (SIXS) - Sidekick

A sidekick is a part of the benchwork that attached to a stable base.  Usually it only has two legs and just extends the layout in another direction.  Tonight we get to work on the sidekick.  We'll call him Tonto.

This is an oops.  You won't see this in one of Pelle Soeburg's articles in Model Railroader.  Or anyone else for that matter.  I make mistakes.  This is a planning mistake.  I didn't calculate the leg positions correctly because I never planned the benchwork and didn't draw it.  So'll I'll cut this off and move on.  We are human, aren't we?

The top part of the sidekick is laying there.  The flat plate on the right will bold on to the benchwork on the large piece.

Tonight's snack is in honor of the Girl Scouts of America.  Dosidos are EXCELLENT when dipped in a bourbon and Coke.  Tonight's Bourbon is Maker's Mark.

I measured and put one screw in both the legs.  Still we do not have a level or a speed square so I'm just going to assemble it, and get the tools I need tomorrow.

With the module installed on top, we'll stop here until we get the tools.  Once we level and square it up, we'll add the cross braces and mounting bolts, and we're done!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Delta Contraband

I'm back from Utah!  Did you miss me?  I had great fun finding out that my ex-wife has filled my full model shop with all my other stuff.  There was no where to walk.  Hopefully I'll be moving soon.  My lovely daughters helped me get stuff out and assisted in packing.  They make my life wonderful.

I had to put everything I wanted to carry into this little box.  Wow, can I pack!  My shop is like a hobby shop where I've been collecting cool stuff for half-finished products for centuries.  When you have millions of things to pick from, and you live in an apartment, what do you select?  Follow me...

Components needed for the chemical plant took the highest priority.  I had purchased these small tanks and piping kit many years ago in preparation for this type of project.  How's that for planning ahead?

Here is a priceless classic!  No telling what this kit is worth, but when built it is enough to get me another AP Structure piece.  I've been meaning to build it for years, so we'll work on that this summer.

I have tons of Evergreen styrene.  I took a bunch with me in O and HO scales so I can scratchbuild.

Ok, not everything was sitting around.  I picked up this classic at The Hobby Shoppe from my friend Randy.  I'll use the tanks to make molds so that I can pour and make quite a few more.

This O scale model (seen in prior blog posts) was not finished, so we'll get to work on it and finish the article.

I carried this brand new airbrush set.  We'll need that for sure.  Sadly I couldn't bring the compressor or the paint.  Freakin' air travel rules!

Ok, so not everything was dug out of the basement.  I picked up this kit for the chemical plant from Doug at M.R.S. Hobbies.

Well, every chemical plant needs a water tower, so I brought this along.

I love to listen or watch DVD's when modeling, so I brought more model railroad subjects.

The chemical plant track will be hand laid, so I brought bags full of crossties with flat profiles for the low trackage buried in years of chemical waste.

Randy at the Train Shoppe let me play with a locomotive which he had mounted one of these "sugar cube" speakers.  Wow!  Great sound!  This will be mounted in the chemical plant as well.

All of this was shoved in the box and nothing was damaged by Delta.   Lots of great building in the near future, like....TOMORROW!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

003 The Smart Industry X-Change System (SIXS) - Finish the Legs

I had some time tonight so I finished up the leg assembly.  I added the cross braces on all sides so it is very strong.  I wish I owned a level as it would have been easier.  One day I'll have one and check it carefully.  A switching layout that isn't completely level is a pain with non-braking cars rolling all over the place.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

002 The Smart Industry X-Change System (SIXS) - Benchwork Construction

Let's build the Chemical Products Solutions plant!  I'm in an apartment now as the divorce proceedings drag on. No house in the near future until its done, but no reason to stop building.  While my apartment is small I've always believed that there is always someplace for some trains!

Here is Chemical Products Solutions, from the prototype Chemical Products Corporation located in Cartersville, GA.  Just drive to Emerson and go North until you smell sulfur!  Pew!  I'll post some prototype photos later.  Its a massive complex, almost a half mile long.  This is very compressed, but if you look at the model, and know the prototype, you will get it.

For some reason my tiny apartment has a very large bedroom, so I'm going to build the two section layout here in the corner.

I'm still recovering from the stomach flu, so I didn't want to get too crazy today.  But it is 70 degrees and sunny her in Fort Mill in FEBRUARY.  I just had to get out.  I bought a cheap Ryobi battery powered drill and saw, along with a free battery.  Remember, I have NONE of my tools here other than what I have in a small bag.

Cutting wood in the apartment is a no-no, and I can't do it outside of the apartment because of noise.  So I drove to a local power sub station and used their parking lot.  No one seemed to care.  The battery powered saw worked great!  I am in shock!  I thought I'd get a board or two cut and have to recharge, but I sawed all the lumber at once on the one battery and didn't even use the back up.  Get one of these tools!

I picked up some hardware for the layout.  The dowel pins are for aligning the two sections together.

While on the phone with friends and watching re-runs of Night Court I started the assembly.

Although I miss my powerful DeWalt drill, the Ryobi was $69 (saw was $69 and I got a free battery) so its always good to have a back up drill.   The bits are a $8.99 set that won'd last long.

Using my kitchen sink (I'm having to get VERY creative here with the small space and the need to minimize dust) I drilled some wire holes in the center boards.

The first section is 5 feet by 2 feet, just as long as the wall.  It is called a SECTION because it is not standardized to fit any other section.  MODULES interface with other modules.

More boards!  Let's build a 3 foot by 2 foot section for our tiny L-Shape layout.

See, when you have the flu you should NOT use power tools.  For some reason I measured twice, cut once, and screwed up the board by cutting it too short.  I don't have my board stretcher here as its back in Utah.  Luckily I had a little more board stock.  Using my trusty sink (that gathers the sawdust nicely for washing away!) I measured and cut a new center board and drilled two wire holes.  Clean and easy and I had a Coke Zero from the fridge while working.

Framed and squared, here are the two sections.  All my tools are sitting on a towel.  The towel collects dust and wood particles as well has having a handy way to move all the tools around the tiny space very quickly.  You just drag them around!  In a tight spot, this is critical otherwise you are moving and losing tools all the time.

I used the cheapest lumber I could find for all the boards except the legs.  The legs are kiln dried cabinet grade wood.  These need to be nice and straight, and of high quality so they don't warp later.  With wood and women, always go for the best legs!

The module will interlock with the 2x2 legs up top and rest on the running boards.  This way I can easily pop off the section to work on it at the table, or carry to a show.  The legs still have some more assembly and we'll get to it tomorrow.