Sunday, April 2, 2017

Early April Update

My attempt to complete a post at the end of March was a complete bust. However the on-going work on the layout provides no shortage of great content for me to share with you in this post. Great happenings on the Michigan Interstate St. Clair Sub, so lets get started. 

Executive Unit Acqusition
Over the past few months I have been thinking of acquiring motors for Executive / Special service on the Michigan Interstate. Using prototypes of Pan Am, NS, and Maine Eastern I figured EMD F7s would be a solid choice. 

It just happened that a friend to the north had a beautiful EMD F7 A-B-A set looking for a good home. In short order Michigan Interstate's CFO authorized acquisition of the three engines. While 2017 was not planned for fleet growth, the set were too good of a deal to pass by. 

Trio on previous owners pike awaiting final purchase paperwork

In short order the motors routed BNSF-CHGO-NS-FTWAY-MCIS. Beings they were dead in tow like railcars it took some time to get them to "Michigan" with numerous mechanical inspections along the way. Arriving in Fort Wayne the units were delivered on the overnight interchange cut from NS. Once in MCIS inventory they routed via the daily M-FWGR (Manifest - Fort Wayne to Grand Rapids) connecting onto the M-GRBA (Manifest - Grand Rapids to Bay Yard).

A-B-A Trio arriving at Bay Yard behind EMD SD40-2M #4571 and 4059 on M-GRBA-29

 At Bay Yard the units will ride the L-BAMP (Local Turn - Bay City to Mt. Pleasant) to MAC Shops for prep work before heading to Fogelsinger Rail to receive a very classy scheme. The units should be in new paint by end of summer 2017 in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials planned on the network.

GoPro4 Inspection Car
For sometime i have been wanting to capture the St. Clair Sub from the locmotive engineers view, however from a HO scale perspective it has been somewhat limited. The only options for using an iPhone was the iCar from Minutman Scale Models. After talking with them I learned that there would not be one for a iPhone 6 due to the weight imbalance of the phone and if they had built a car it would be outside NMRA clearance specs. Knowing this I turned my attention toward the other  product which was the Laser cut acrylic GoPro4 Camera Stand from Summit USA. For $9.95 it is a really good buy and takes not very long to build. The most expensive part is the $200 GoPro4 "Session" camera.

Components for building my inspection car - 60' flatcar, Camera Stand Kit, and GoPro4 Session.

Directions are clearly labeled with good reference photos. The parts are laser cut ready to test fit and final assemble. 

Within an hour I had the kit together using brush one C.A. After a few hours i test fit the camera on the fixture. 

Definitely recommend this camera fixture for anyone with a GoPro4 Session. The deliverable video and photos provide the view from a modern wide cab locomotive window. Additionally if I want a wide view like from the back of a observation car, I can still use the fixture but just turn the camera around and move towards rear of railcar. Over the next month I will be testing the shots and working up video over the St. Clair Sub that I can share on my YouTube channel. 

If you are interested in how the video looks with this fixture please check out the following link.   Summit Customcuts - Camera Fixture Cab Ride

Grays Lake Scenery Progress
Continuing my 2017 focus on one scene at a time, the scene continues to impress me. The entire area now has a good covering of tan latex paint, various shades of rock, and Heki wildgrass tufts. Here are few photos showcasing the work done in March. 

Tools of the trade - multiple homemade dirt / sand grades and Harley & Sons rock ballast 

Basic rock and ground foams installed from highway overpass back to station foundation (Before) 

 Same view with tuftgrass, textured grass, and SuperTrees added. Everything from background to signals is glued.

 Area around Cooperative Elevator and Crop Production Services developing "Character".

MCIS9019 unloading fertilizer materials at C.P.S. Grays Lake.

If you have been following my posts you can really see how this area has come along way. Over the new few months we will continue to bring it all into a finished product.

Woodland Scenics Just Plug System
We are surronded by innovations in our hobby. One topic that really impressed me was the LED lighting system offered by Woodland Scenics. Up till this system came out Walthers and Atlas had some great product on the market, but the simple plug in / modular system was a win for me. While developing the scene, I figured now was teh time to spend the money and add in the lights whether i lit them now or later. 

Currently i have 3 different sets of lights (modern lights at LPG terminal, Wooden lamp posts for trackside / industry area, and ornamental lights for downtown Grays Lake). So far I have only installed the modern lights and temporarily connected them but the results are fantastic. 

:"Just Plug" light hub - transformer connects into this box which then connects to the LED lights 

Lighting demonstration at LPG terminal - the effect is just enough for nightime ops / photos. 

Be sure to check back as i add more lights, i will touch on where the control boxes ultimately get installed. Hardest part of installing these lights was drilling the hole through 2" thick foam. 

MAC Shops Work

Recently completed install on friends Atlas GP38.
Components Installed:
  • Soundtraxx Tsunami2 EMD Diesel
  • Railmaster Hobbies DS1425-8 speaker,
  • Soundtraxx Currentkeeper
  • Monster LED Rotary Beacon
  • 3mm LEDs for lights

Happened to catch a photo of the motor in transit after releasing from MAC Shops. Who doesn't love a good GP38 in ATSF colors? Ironically the leading motor #4571 (former SD45-2) was originally a Santa Fe before becoming a Michigander.

Returning from MAC Shop behind MCIS 4571 on L-BAMP-25 (Local Turn - Bay City to Mt. Pleasant) 

ATSF 3546 back on customers home rails.

Hope you enjoyed the happenings around the St. Clair Sub. Check back later this month for progress on Grays Lake and hopefully a link to cab rides across the subdivision.


1 comment:

  1. Wow- you've been busy! The new scenery looks great, and I really like the different shades of ballast and ground cover. Nice work all around.