Friday, December 21, 2018

Donohue MLW S2 - Part 3

Another motive power project completed before Christmas. After the SW1200RS fiasco and overcomplicated GP15-1s wiring, it's a nice touch to end the year on a positive note.

The biggest challenge with this locomotive was to make the details pop under the black coat of paint. Pure black is notorious to be one of the worst color for scale models. Smaller details and shapes are buried because shadows and highlights can't contrast enough with the surrounding color. This effect is even worst when trying to photograph the model.

For this reason, the black paint was faded in various ways, using oil washes, diluted acrylics and some powders. But even that wasn't enough to bring details back. A subtle oil pain drybrushing helped to highlight the louvers, rivets, fan and grilles. Then, not yet satisfied, I used my trusty color pencils to make specific details even more visible. At this point, I new I had stepped into the artistic side of the hobby. It was no longer about recreating a specific effect by following a recipe, but to build up effects until they toll the story I wanted.

In the case of the trucks, they were painted significantly a lighter shade than on the prototype, dusted and dry brushed to replicate the dirt streaking effect that happens in real life. It wasn't enough. Once again, using a color pencil, I lightly colored the truck sideframe edges to had some highlight and better define them.

Taking this extra step is generally what makes a model full of life. Surprisingly enough, we rarely venture to that point when creating scenery. Several layers of scenic materials are laid one upon another. Rarely we will use paint, washes, powders and various other tricks in our tool box to add depth and variety in the mix. If I had a single goal for 2019, it would be to approach layout scenery with the same dedication I have for motive power and freight car weathering.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Atlas GP40-2W CN 9423 - Part 2

Fall 2018 has been an extremely frustrating time to build our locomotive fleet. DCC issues and wiring plagued most of our projects. Fortunately, some projects went soother and I glad to announce CN 9423 is now officially completed.

A generous coat of weathering has been added to the Atlas model, making it closer to the real prototype which was a poor mess back in the early 2000s when it ran over Murray Bay Subdivision rails.

I used my habitual weathering techniques such as oil paints and washes, acrylic paints, PanPastel, weathering powder and several other tricks such as fading, shading and dry brushing. While I'm quite satisfied, I'll note that my peeling/rusting paint effects are a little bit too coarse. I'll have to improve on that, using different methods if I ever want to replicate this interesting effect that was a common occurence on Canadian National locomotives.

And while I'm not 100% happy with this effect, I'm still quite happy with the result. What was a generic RTR model is now a real locomotive full of character. It earned it souls and this absolutely counts to my eyes.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Donohue MLW S2 - Part 2

I wasn't active as much as I wish I could be during the last month. We are still struggling to implement DCC, sound and lighting in a few locomotive projects and it took a toll on our motivation to a certain point.

However, the S2 project is going forward. I did had my doubts about some aspects of this project, but fortunately, a kind soul provided a few hints that were sufficient enough to move the road block in front of me.

I was inspired to take a few extra steps, including a reconstruction of the pilots and replacing the truck sideframes with correct ones. I also put my sanity to the test by trying to replicate the Abitibi Consolidated sticker on the cab. The words had to be pieced together from generic locomotive text lifted from a Microscale Set. By example, Abitibi was made by using groups of letters from a word such as "Prohibited". The red logo had to be handpainted. It is less than 2mm in diameter, barely noticeable. But I felt I had to add this little detail to do justice to the model.

The truck sideframes were from an old tooling Atlas S2. They aren't compatible with new Atlas S2 locomotive and I had to drill holes so wheel axles could fit, then added a pin made from a styrene sprue to secure the sideframe into the truck assembly. I've yet to decide how I'll secure the sideframes semi-permanently. Probably some kind of glue.

Now, it's time to weather this little locomotive and do the final reassembly. The rotating beacon will also be functional. A small pico LED should do the job.