Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mid to Late February Update

Life has been pretty busy around these parts, but in the past two weeks got a nice start on my spring scenery project. Let's take a look at this project and also get a glimpse of new equipment added to MCIS's locomotive fleet.

Spring 2016 Scenery Project
As model railroaders know there is never any shortage of projects to work on. One project on the drawing board has been the corn and soybean fields between Grays Lake and Gerhard. To me this is a signature scene helping set the time and location for the St. Clair Sub. 

Corn field kit in the box - over 1100 stalks

Entire box - 60 rows of corn awaiting paint. The stalks already come molded green but to add realism I sprayed everything with Floquil BN Green and then added a dusting of Modelmaster Zinc Chromate Primer Green and Floquil Dirt to break up the uniformity.

Post airbrushing corn rows. Bluford Shops did a great job molding these stalks.

While the corn dried I turned focus to shaping the terrain where the corn fields would be placed. The base is a 1/2 inch sheet of pink foam from Home Depot. To ensure I cut the foam to fit the curved backdrop and right of way I used sheets of wax paper to trace and properly cut out the foam. After cutting a Stanley Surform rasp was used to contour the embankment.

After a painting the terrain a latex tan, it was time to mount the corn stalks. Prior to mounting take the time to mock up how you want to place the rows. With my scene in a curve trimming the rows was required to get required effect. Each of the rows was mounted to foam using Elmers mounting adhesive glue stick. Bluford does a great job with mounting pins to combine the rows, however the layout I had required the pins to be cutoff. Even without the pins each row mounted very easy - this kit is awesome!

End of corn field meets soybean field with dirt road in between. 

After completing the first section of field it was time to plant the corn. Using my real sifted Michigan dirt and scenic cement began the first layer of base ground cover.

Using a foam brush I applied a generous coat of scenic cement to the embankment, followed by an application of the dirt. What a difference this little bit of ground cover makes.

More of the initial ground cover where dirt  road will preside.

Before / after shot of ground cover. In addition to added the dirt on the embankment, I also sprinkled a very light coating within the corn field to add depth. This dirt will be secured when we go to the wet on wet scenic step this week.

If you are looking to add a corn field to your layout, give the Bluford Shops kit a shot. The stalk detail is great, durable, customizable, and very cost effective. The large box I have with over 1100 stalks was around $50 and provides a lot of coverage, however I still need another box to finish the entire scene.

The next two weeks I plan to get this small scene mostly completed, stay tuned!

New Power
With the current glut of stored power on the maker MCIS purchased two used EMD SD60Ms from BNSF. 

BN 9276 will become MCIS 6085

   Primer'd unit will become MCIS 6086

These 3800hp units will fill the gap between SD40-2s and SD70ACes. Once in service Q3 2016 these units will handle Q trains allowing better utilization of the SD40-2 fleet and less reliance on foreign run through power currently used.

Have a great month, hope to have a late month post out on 2/28 or 2/29.


** Opinions of Bluford Shops Cornfield Kit are my own, no monetary value was recieved**

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Foreign Model RR Equipment - Part 2

Some time ago I had posted part 1 of 2 in my foreign railroad equipment series. The time between each of the posts was longer than originally expected, but none the less here we are. In Part Two we are going to explore MCIS railcars at home on other model railroads.

If you haven't had a chance to review part 1, provided is the link to get caught up before reading part two.
Foreign Model RR Equipment - Part 1

But before we look at MCIS on other freelance railroads, there is one newly added freelance model railroad railcar that I want to showcase.

Chesapeake, Wheeling, and Erie - CWE

Alot of modeling license was used to accelerate Tom Patterson's CWE from the 1970s to 2015. This goes to show that not only have cars been back dated for other railroads that we will see below, but they also have been moved forward into the future.

CWE125379 at Michigan Sugar awaiting unload. An important lifeblood commodity on the St. Clair Sub is the processed products from sugar beets. To extract this product coke is needed to be burned with limestone. Michigan has plenty of limestone locally that is trucked in but the coke is sourced from the Appalachians. The CWE, WLE, and MCIS formed a coke railcar pool transporting product from Mountain State Carbon at Follansbee, West Virginia to Michigan Sugar at Upper Huron, Michigan. 

Now we are going to look at MCIS railcars on two other freelance model railroads. 

Virginia Midland Railroad - VMID

Out east there are quite a few Michigan Interstate cars roaming around on the VMID. Since this railroad is set in the 1990s the equipment seen here is different than what you find on home railcars set in current day.

VMID GP39-2 #274 spots MCIS7282 at Mid-Atlantic Feeds for unloading. This PS 4427 cubic hopper is carrying corn for use in making animal / livestock feeds. These cars date back to the late 1970s and would be off roster around 2008 being replaced by larger capacity cars such as the PS 4750 and Trinity 5161 cubic hoppers. 

VMID GP11 #280 pulls MCIS8347 empty from Klotz Distributors. Wood paneling products from Michigans northern lower peninsula criss-cross the country to distributors or finishers which in this case happens to be Klotz. These ACF 70 ton boxcars while much more weathered are still active on the general fleet in 2015. 

Here we see 9800 series 2 bay covered hoppers in Sand service at Rappahannock Aggregate. The majority of these are in cement service within the great lakes serving numerous cement plants, but a small subfleet of the cars were in service hauling sand from Michigan Dunes to states along the Atlantic and Canadian Maritimes. In 2014 the fleet was beginning to show its age and by October the last of the cars were retired from service. In their place customers opted to obtain their own lease fleets of newer higher capacity cars. 

In reality when these cars were "retired in 2014" they were physically shipped to Shannon's VMID where they "returned to service" in the 1990s era. Provided is a link to a post showcasing this change. 
2 Bay Hopper Attrition

Washington Northern Railroad - WN
With cars in the east there we cars bound to be in the west as well. Kevin Kletkke, owner of the WN snapped two shots of Michigan Interstate equipment out in Washington state. Like the VMID the WN is set in the 1990s era.

Provided is a link to view his published WN Bulletin featuring the MCIS railcars.
Washington Northern Railroad - Bulletin #7

MCIS2930 is in processed aggregate service hauling lime, cement products, or foundry sand to name a few. LDM materials and St. Marys cement have both transitioned to their own lease fleets of Trinity 3281 Cubic hoppers. 

MCIS72829 is apart of a nationwide boxcar pool handling various types of autoparts around the country. These smaller cars were replaced by second hand acquisition of larger 60' Plate F Berwick and new build Gunderson cars. 

There are a three other model railroads that have MCIS equipment in the works or active but unfortunately I do not have any pictures to share at this time. Thank You to all of the layout owners for letting the Michigan Interstate Railroad be apart of your operations.

These two posts not only show another dimension that freelance model railroading provides, but also allows you to develop great friendships in the hobby. You never know what kind of conversations will come up when someone sees that freelance railcar or locomotive for the first time.

- GM

Washington Northern Railroad - WN

Saginaw Valley Model Railroad Club - SRV

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wordless Wednesday #48

Photo courtesy: M. T.