Monday, June 18, 2018

April-May-June Update

Well no doubt I am slightly (3 months) behind on update posts. While life around these parts has been no doubt busy there have been plenty of model railroading, just lacking the time to write about it. This post will however catch you up with all the happenings around the MCIS St. Clair Sub since March. 

MCIS 7052.... Is this a new add to the roster? Read on to find out. 

CASS RIVER SCENE UPDATE
When we left off in March I was chin deep (upper level @ 66" off floor) into creating this scene. This specific setup featured a through truss bridge over the Cass River with deciduous vegetation flanking the banks along the right of way. 

After a few more weeks of work the scene is now 95% complete, the last bit to complete is ballasting the bridge approach. 

On previous layouts I have used Magic Water to create my water features but after seeing alot of good reviews on the Woodland Scenics Deep Pour Water system, I wanted to give it an honest try. Specifically the Cass River from the google street view is pretty murky so the pre-tinted murky water was on point. I ended up using two kits together to get the depth and coverage required. Using the product was as easy as the instructions provide, there are a good videos on the web showing step by step. 

As a base layer I did end up using Quikrete general purpose paver mix screened to get the rock I wanted in the middle of the river with a light blend of Missouri river pebbles provided by a good friend to provide alittle more color along the banks and in shallower water. Of course good scenic cement soaking is key in making this all possible. 

Quick Money Saving Tip: If you have a Hobby Lobby close by, you can get alot of model railroading products there, and even better use their online 40% one item coupon to help bring down the cost of items like the Deep Pour Water, tools, or Just Plug lighting. 

Paver and rock base in place, ready for scenic cement

 Water Pour 24 hours later - great results! 

Google Street View - Cass River 

With the water hard as a rock, it was time to begin adding in foilage on each side of the river. From the photo above, its pretty thick so I really wanted to layer the trees to draw the operator into the scene. 

 West bank of river at UPPE / LACE DTC block boundary

Zooming out a little more from the same shot above

 Canoers gliding town the Cass towards Caro, Michigan

 What is a Michigan river bank without a weeping willow

View west from DTC block boundary looking at the main (left) and east leg of wye (right) 

With Cass River scene just about done, I will be turning my attention towards Upper Huron. This scene encompasses the Michigan Sugar plant, Upper Huron branch wye, and the Town of Upper Huron. From the photos below basic terrain with paint and dirt base layer are in place. The next step before continuing to develop this scene is installation of backdrop. With Sceniking out of business I needed to find another vendor who created scenes to fit Mid-Michigan. After searching I came across Backdrop Junction and in short order working with Dave Burgess a backdrop will be on its way. The mockup looked great, cannot wait to get the finished product installed. 

We will return to Upper Huron later this summer to see how the scene development process is coming along. 

 Bare dirt.... Did I start modeling west Texas?


MAC RAIL UPDATE
If getting work done on Cass River wasn't enough, I decided to jump head first on quite a few backshop projects. Lets take a scroll through each of the projects completed and underway.

Contract Projects
The MAC Rail Sales rep has been busy as April saw the completion of three Soundtraxx Soundcars and a UP EMD SD50 with Tsunami sound and ditchlights under for a contract customer. 

Some say the soundcar is too much, done right it does add another level of immersion.

Paint Shop 
In addition to completing contract work, MAC Rail also opened up a paint shop for Michigan Interstate Railroad. Birthdays are always great when you get a portable spray booth. For the amount and scope of work I do, this is perfect with my Paasche H.


Michigan Interstate recently purchase two SD70ACe's from CSX. As part of opening the new paint booth, one of the units MCIS 7052 received a fresh paint job by the MAC Rail.

Motor was primed with Tamiya Fine White Primer and painted with Scalecoat II Reefer Yellow and Conrail Blue. 

Decals:
  • Rail Graphics (MCIS logo, numbers, and lettering)
  • Microscale (SD70ACe data)
  • Highball Graphics (American Flag, Operation Lifesaver, Smart Start)
  • Shellscale (Numberboards and rear numbers)
  • Smokebox Graphics (Side Sill yellow reflective tape)

 Reefer yellow ends complete

 Conrail Blue applied

 Conductors side markings done (7051 as reference)

 Motor equipped with Tsunami2, Currentkeeper, and two fuel tank speakers

Completed motor in active service - nice work MAC Rail

EMD SD60M / SD70ACe Overhaul Project
With MCIS 7052 in service complete with new Tsunami2 sound/control system, MCIS management decided it was time to continue with the momentum and update the other EMD SD70ACe's (7050, 7051, 7053) for fleet commonality and efficency. While under way the two unit fleet of SD60M's which had been on MAC Rail property since last year awaiting updated electronics also received Econami sound/control. Project is on track to bring the three ACe's online by July 01 in time for the late summer demand coming into the 2018 sugar beet campaign. 

Lined up in Building 3A.

MICHIGAN INTERSTATE FLEET UPDATE
This year marked our 10 year wedding anniversary.  Building on a tradition that we started the year we got married, the CFO purchased this fantastic undecorated Proto 2000 Heritage 2-10-2 with QSI sound from the consignment cabinet at DMT. What an amazing present to commemorate and whole lot of fun to operate. Using gold dry transfers, I was able to do a convincing job marking it up for Michigan Interstate #2018. Maybe a call to Matt Welke at Circus City Decals is in order to setup a gold letter package for the excursion fleet. Don't think doing a ton of dry transfer work is for me. 

This engine will be kept along side MCIS #2008 at their Mount Pleasant base and used for passenger excursions throughout the year


Lastly MCIS 4051 (EMD SD40-2) has made an appearance on the Bay City Division. Since purchased used from the MR&T, this motor was assigned up on the North Division working between Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, and Detour. Using floquil acrylics and makeup applicators from a Model Railroader Cody Grivno weathering article sometime ago I was able to give it a touch of the elements.




Pretty lengthy post, but there you have it three months like that. The summer looks to be pretty busy with the installs, ops session preparation, and of course a few other cool adds to the mix. I plan to get a monthly post out around mid month and expect to stay that course the rest of the year. Thanks for stopping by. 

GM 


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