Built for a client, the Monaco Lounge is everybody’s favorite gin joint in town. Make sure to order some top-shelf cocktails when you’re there.
The building was built from the front wall of DPM’s “Pam’s Pet Shop” the side wall being from another DPM kit for more depth. The storefront was scratchbuilt from various Plastruct styrene thicknesses and finished off in a period “Moss Green” vitrolite with a smoky gray trim. Add some nice stainless steel trim pieces and it’s straight out of any downtown in the 1930′s.
While railfanning in Escanaba, MI this summer, I visited the Ore Docks. With permission, we took a few photos around the yard and saw this unique looking caboose. Obviously ex-WC heritage, this caboose had been modernized for pushing long cuts of taconite ore cars to the docks for loading and unloading. It’s fully equipped with locomotive twin-sealed beam headlights on either end, two single note horns, a bell and other details that would make this one great project for a modeler. I wonder who, if anybody makes this design of caboose in scale? Who built the original caboose? The closest model I can find would be Rapido’s new Angus car shops model, but that’s a Canadian prototype.
Sometimes a teaser is more for the builder than the audience. Last week’s photo of the module with pancake-flat streets left me unconvinced. So I went in and gave the street some subtle texture and character, of course between this lies about 5-6 hours of work shaping and sanding the road to the right look and subtle crown. The gutters are cobblestone, as seen in more than one prototype city, and add some character, especially after I’ll be painting and weathering them.
This time it’s a bunch of Walther’s Kits and some central valley steps and ladders starring in Jud Turner’s “Oblivion Factory”
See more of his work here:
Inland Terminal Railway’s VO1000 trundles up the middle of Union Ave. More photos to come as the street scene takes shape.
It started as a pile of extra shells from making some of my Boxcab locomotive conversions. I didn’t really want a fleet of homely 70Tonners either, but I was always a fan of the larger centercabs. The US Army, Airforce and Navy all rostered plenty of these types of units and many found their way into shortline or tourist lines after their lives in the military. Some were even built new for Steel Mills and the occasional railroad.
I try to make my kitbashes as self-contained as possible, using as few outside detail parts as possible, so feel free to go farther and more ornate then I did. I wanted to make this an easy, relatively inexpensive project for someone who has a razor saw and a few hours time. Things you’ll need for this project are:
-2 Bachmann 70 Tonner Diesel Shells
-1 70 Tonner Drive (the new one is preferrable as it has DCC)
-Styrene Tubing for the exhaust stacks or the spark arrestor detail part seen on the model
-an Airhorn casting. (either single note mounted on each hood or a 3-chime atop the cab)
-A thin .010″ piece of styrene
Since this model was perhaps the first of many, I was experimenting on how best to build the long hoods. The best method is cutting each shell behind the 5th door from the front of the hood. This should produce the desired length of hood to make it equal length and make it snugly onto both end platforms. Secondly, along the mold parting lines on the cab, you have to remove the front of one cab and the rear of the other, so you have side-door access for the centercab on both ends. I used a LONG and rather deep ZONA razor saw to make the clean cuts along the hood. The plastic is thankfully pretty soft and cuts easily. Apply constant pressure to ensure the blade cuts flush with the walkways.
Another note: Make sure you save the handrails from both shells by taking an exacto-knife and carefully cutting off the bottom of each upright handrail stanchion. You can also just use old Athearn handrails for more sturdyness or use finer-scale stanchions with brass wire for that extra detail.
Be sure to lightly sand the bottom of the hoods you just cut to ensure they’re perfectly flat and ready for mounting on the shell. Also sand the half of the shell with the walkway so that there’s no leftover cutaways or flash. Once you have all the parts cut out, time to glue them together with typical model glue. I use the Model Master cement with the needle applicator. DO NOT GLUE THE HOODS TO THE WALKWAY, just glue the hoods to the cab and test-fit them on the walkway. Once you’re satisfied that the hoods are down flush with the walkway, set the hood/cab part aside and then go in with a piece of acetate or thin styrene. Lay the Styrene onto the flushly-sanded walkway, and cut to fit. for additional detail, look to see if manufacturers like Plano make treaded walkway. Attach the exhaust stacks, horn and any other details prior to painting.
You can use the stock fuel tank, but to conform to the 80 tonner look, I removed it and just put two pieces of .040″ styrene against the metal weight to model the smaller rectangular tank found on these units.
I then primed it with some Rustoleum clean metal primer (it shoots on quite thin and provides a nice primer layer for the slippery plastic bachmann uses)
Next, Paint! I just used weathered black . After the paint dries gloss it, decal it, weather it and then seal it with dullcote. I used some leftover Microscale ATSF Caboose decals for the stenciled numbers. Stick the glass back in the cab, and then glue or attach the hood/cab assembly to the frame assembly, and you’re ready to run.
For fun, using the leftover parts I kitbashed a little “modern” Electric flat motor, so no parts go to waste. It also shows the removed rear of the other cab attached to this model.
Hidden south of downtown San Francisco, at the Corners of 3rd Street and the aptly named Cargo Way runs the “mainline” of the diminutive San Francisco Belt Railroad. The road is 100% ALCo powered, sporting a pair of ALCo S-2′s riding on Blunt trucks. The attractive striped scheme really makes it feel appropriate for an industrial switching operation, and is a nod to the original State Belt Railway that operated along the SF waterfront for more than a century until the early 1980′s. Unique among ALCo owners, both locomotives have been professionally modified to run off of Biodiesel and cooking oil. As with many small railroads operating ALCo’s, parts are scarce and the day we visited #23 was operating despite a damaged tire on the wheel. (Yes, ALCo built their early diesels like steam locomotives in the fact that each driver has a removable flanged tire versus most other diesels which have one solid casting which is then machined down.) Other classic touches like a Wooden cab with hand-painted “Danger” signs round out the old fashioned feel of these locomotives.
Their line connects a “dirty dirt” (contaminated soil) export operation with a couple of other customers to the nearby Union Pacific/ Caltrain mainline at Quint Street. A portion of this short mainline runs down the middle of Quint and Rankin streets on their way to the interchange. An unusual feature of the railroad is that it crosses the MUNI T 3rd street light rail line at grade, necessitating a pair of diamonds at the site, buried in the middle of the street! Also of note is the operable drawbridge on Illinois street, about block from the diamonds at 3rd and Cargo Way.
I was there for a film shoot of a local variety TV show called “Eye on the Bay” with some friends involved with them and the Bayshore Roundhouse restoration project
. It was quite fun getting to see behind the scenes of a local TV show, and everybody was incredibly nice, from the Host to the producer to the Cameraman.