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**

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