Friday 2 February 2024

Track Cable Hoe My Toughest Build Ever

 This kit is from Woodland Scenics which is not the best made kit. It required a lot of filing and filling to make it fit together. The best part of the kit are the tracks and the bucket. I suppose you get what you pay for. This kit requires alot of adjustments. I invested a great deal of time in this build... there were hours worth of filing and fitting it together and once I started I could not let it go. I did put it away 3 or 4 times and would go back to it. It requires lots of bending and straightening of parts and the body to get it to fit together. You fit bend, file, fit bend file until you get it to fit. You do need to paint the inside of the cabs and motor first. I had to file the seat so you could get the cab on and in the end I put the seat in by  going through the door. I added the operator the same way through the door. I weathered it with chalks after it was painted. I would buy another one but only to acquire the tracks, bucket and motor for other projects. It will be far enough back in the layout you will not be able to see some of the flaws.

Here are some pictures of the final model

IH Model H Tractors

 Here are some variations of the different models of the model H tractor. They all started out from the tractor on the left, I used the wheels from the tractor on the right to give me duals for the center tractor. I think they all look really good. This all took about 2hrs. Just used styrene tubing for the packer wheels. The packer tractor is the only one that is weathered, the other 2 are for sale at the dealership.


Here is a picture of the real steel wheel packer

Here is a picture of the model H with duals only with a wide front wheel spacing

Here is a picture of the real orignial model H narrow front

The next one I will do is this tractor with the wide front wheels

Saturday 21 January 2023

Scratch Built Car models part 2

This is a  models of a  CN Boom Aux. car to go with my crane. 

This picture looks in from one side of the car. That is a bunk bed, pail with real coal and the stove.

This look in from the other side showing cables and chain on the walls. Tools in the corner, a desk with paper work and a pinup poster above the desk. There are safety signs on both doors. The floor of the whole car is done with a wood plank texture scaled and printed on paper. The hardest part of this is finding the right texture and getting scaled to size. All the details on the deck are scratch built. The tool box hides the crew for the coupler. The cable is just coloured thread

This shows the stove and coal pail. The stove has a lever on the door and a lever on the dampener. I made the stove on my lathe and added legs to it. The sides fit into the stake pockets so they can move a bit and may look crooked but they can also be removed.

You can see the caboose truck under the bunk end 

This shows the underside and all the bracking and piping. There is lead between the 2 center siles for weight. The floor on this side is scribed styrene.

This shows the inside of the roof with a plywood texture added to it.

CN Boom Car

1. Construction

The car was built from my own scale CAD drawings and some parts were cut out on a laser. The entire car was scratch built except for the purchased parts. The walls for the cabin, end sill, and bolster were cut on the laser. This car also has an interior. It follows the pictures of prototype cars but not exactly as I took certain features that I liked from different cars.

2. Detail

I used semi scale couplers and wheel sets. air hoses, brake system, fish belly under frame. The interior has tools, bunk bed, desk, stove, pin up girl on the wall, safety warnings signs, notes and instructions on the wall and chains. I have added blocking, spreader bars, cable, tool box, pieces of rail to the deck. The under frame has braking and all the bracing. There is a kick plate on the bottom of the door front door.

3. Conformity

The building of this car closely follow but not exactly the CN type car that was built from a converted flatcar from CN. I did not have diagrams of the under frame or the interior. The car has a fish belly under frame. The sides of the cabin have 3.5 in vertically spaced boards on the walls and ends. The floor is 5in boards on the inside and out. The brake system is AB with a rising stem brake wheel. The exterior colours and lettering are correct for CN car pre 1959. The roof and the top of the end walls are plywood. It has a wood roof walk. The trucks are Bentendorf on one end and caboose truck under the cabinThere are no boards going up to the roof walkway in the pictures I had.


The top of the floor, and interior of the roof are finished with scaled and printed wood textures on paper. The inside of the roof is plywood texture. The floor is 6" boards. These textures are scaled then cut out and glued to the styrene roof and floor. The interior of the car is then weathered. The exterior and underside of the floor is scribed styrene. The car was air brushed a CN red #11 and weather with chalks. The lettering is a custom decal set I had made.

5.Scratch Building

The car is scratch built from my own CAD drawings with the exception of brake parts, trucks, wheels, coupler and box. The walls, roof, frame, bolsters were built from plain or scribed styrene. There is lead added between the fish belly sills to give weight. The spreader bars, deck boxes, stove, doors are also scratch built. The low sides are built using board by board.

Commercial Parts

-Tichy AB brake parts, grab irons and stake pockets

-Tichy grab irons

-Kadee air hoses, semi scale couplers, coupler pockets and 088 wheel sets

-Accurail Andrews trucks

-Trueline CN #11 red paint

-Custom made decals

-scale chain

-weathering chalks

Building Materials

-.04 scribed and plain styrene sheet

-.06 plain styrene sheet

-.005 clear sheet

-styrene 1x2, 1x4, 1x6, 2x2, 2x4,2x6, 2x8, 4x4, 4x6

-styrene round rod

-lead sheet .02

-cut wood for blocking

CN/GTP Horse Car

 CN168108 Horse Car

It is the oldest built car I have on my layout it was GTP in 5/1889

1. Construction

This car was built from Cad drawings that I made from some pictures I have of this car and data from Ian Cranston's Canadian Freight Cars site. Styrene was used for just about all the construction. My main concern during this build was that this car would run properly as it will be a working car on my layout. Some parts were cut on the laser and lathe.

2. Detail

All the brake piping and parts have been added. The roof vents. The top boards on the wall. Trim around the small vents. Roof grabs. Custom decals. Cut levers. Queen posts are made from stick pins and .015 wire for the tension rods. I had queen posts but could not find them until I was done!!! Water tanks. Air hoses. Screen on doors, end doors and vents. Supports for roof walk, stalls, straw, feed and feed containers for the horses I know the cross brasses are not like the ones pictured because I could not make them work and have dependable support for the car due to the delicate nature of the parts that would have been required. So the design was changed. All the doors are glued on with tacky glue so the doors can be positioned open or closed.

3. Conformity

The building of this car closely follows the pictures of the proto type but not exactly. Some data was used from other types of horse cars. The car was built for GTP in 5/1889The car was rebuilt 1930 then renumbered in the series 168100-168122. These cars were retired between 1961 and 1966. It received an all steel under frame in 1930I did not have diagrams of the under frame or the interior. This car is IL 48’, IW 9’, IH 7’8”. The car has a fish belly under frame. The sides have 3.5 in vertically spaced boards on the walls and ends. The floor is 5in boards on the inside and out. The brake system is AB with a rising stem brake wheel. The exterior colours and lettering are correct for CN freight car per 1959The roof and the top of the end walls are plywood. It has a wood roof walk. The trucks are BentendorfThere is 1x4 strip added on the top of the sides and ends and metal on the corners where the ends and sides meet. It has 18”grabs, cut levers and roof vents. This car has no boards from car edge to walkway, when this car was built plywood was not yet standardized to 4’x 8’ sheets. The stalls are built to a common design that could be folded up on the inside of the car.


The floor, is finished with scaled and printed wood texture. These texture is cut out and glued to the styrene floor. The interior of the car is then weathered. The car was air brushed a CN red #11 and weather with chalks. The decals for this car were custom made. Straw has been add to the floor and a pile of feed for horses. Screen was added to the small vents, doors and end door opening using used plastic tea bag material.

5.Scratch Building

The entire car is scratch built with the exception of brake parts, trucks, wheels, coupler and box. The walls, roof, frame, bolsters and stalls were built from styrene. I drew the car in CAD. There is lead added between the sides of the fish belly frame to give weight. The walls, doors, centre sill, bolsters and braces are laser cut. The water tanks under the floor and the roof vents I made on my lathe. The wall and door board lines were rastered on both sides of plain styrene sheet, then the parts were cutout. The centre sill is laminated together with a layer of styrene on the outside and pieces of lead sheet in between to add weight to the car, then a trim was added to the bottom. The slots and holes for the brake lines were drilled and then used my Dremel to mill the slots. The bolsters were laminated together and drilled and tapped. The coupler boxes were placed and the floor was drilled and tapped for a 2-56 screw. This way they can be removed to replace springs if needed. The roof interior braces were laser cut. The roof was built and the braces in stalled. I manged to cut the walkway supports with the lathe, they are so tiny. These were glued on to the roof then 1x6 boards were glued to them. Due to the delicate nature nail holes were not applied. The trim around the small top vents was also laser cut. Door tracks, handles, supports, and small parts were added.

The 2 larger vessels are the water tanks

This shows the inside of the roof and the roof brackets that hold the roof panels and slides in against the walls

        Here is a picture with it loaded with horses. The stalls are made from styrene strip

The doors are held on with tacky clue so they can be put in the open position if I want. The window screen on the doors is from nylon tea bags. It is an old car at this point and is weather acordingly. The decals are custom made, it has a pylwood roof and was built before plywood came in 4x8ft sheets.

Materials Used


-.06 plain sheet

-.04 styrene .03 grooved

-.04 plain styrene sheet

-.02 plain styrene sheet

-.01 plain styrene sheet

-.005 clear styrene sheet

-.02, .04 styrene rod

-.06 styrene tube

-.04 half round styrene

-1x2,1x3, 1x4, 1x6, 1x8, 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, 2x10, 2x12, 4x4, 4x6 6x8, 8x10 styrene

-.02 lead sheet

-.012 music wire

-.016 music wire

-straight pins

-1/8”, 1/4” wood dowel

-printed wood texture

-used tea bags for screen

Purchased Parts

-Accurail trucks

-Tichy AB brake parts

-Tichy 18” grabs

-Tichy stirrups

-Kadee air hoses

-Kadee semi scale couplers and boxes

-Kadee semi scale wheels

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Farm Details slab fence


Slab Fences

I needed some slab fences. Some for corrals and some for railway right of way snow fence. I thought I would use wood to start with but I didn't have enough 1x4's and ordering during covid was going to take a long time. I decided to use styrene which is easy to find. For the rails for the slabs to attach to is 3x6 partially because all this lumber is ruff cut. I drew it out in CAD where the rails and post would go. I then printed this on paper. I then used a glue stick  to glue the rails to the paper. I cut up a bunch of slabs with my chopper 8' long. I used a piece of .02 brass to space out the slabs and glued them to the rails. I distressed some as I put them on. Once this was done I popped it off the paper flipped is over and glued on the post. I then painted it by using black ink and white paint to get the grey wood colour that has darker and lighter spots. I have link to this process in links. I does take a lot of 1x4's. The cutting and gluing can be done in front of the TV if that works for you. 

D7 Cat with loader

 This kit is from Woodland Scenics - it was challenging to build. Individual pieces require  filing and some fiddling to get them to fit together nicely. The best parts of the kit are the tracks and the bucket. You get what you pay forbut at this price point it is ok. Now having said that a really nice one that is prebuilt will cost you a lot more.  I have chosen not to have the hydraulic cylinders moveable. The loader itself moves up and down. I glued it together with gel CA as I could hold it and use accelerator on the glue - five minute epoxy would have been too hard to hold  together while it cured. This is not going to be moved much and it is sturdy enough with the CA. There are only 9 parts to the machine. This picture is taken in the paint booth just before painting

Here it is painted  and weathered. I mixed my own custom colour for this.

I have to add decals and an umbrella for good looks. I will add a picture when these are done.

Here is what a real one looks like. This is a 977D with a Traxcavator Shovel not quite the same as mine

Sunday 10 April 2022

Thrashing Machine

 I received a package today  from Ben Kaur which is his 3D printed model of a threshing machine. Ben has been working on this kit for awhile and I will add some links to his story of designing and printing this kit. The detail is incredible and the parts are a smooth finish. Ben was working with Shapeways but they became expensive and difficult for him to deal with so he got his own printer. In talking with Ben I would recommend designers move away from Shapeways as your cost will plummet.

Here is the box

Parts packaged in the box with lots of separate bags. There are 3 kits in this box.

Each separate bags of different parts just to show how it is packaged. The parts are all printed in clear smooth material.

After sorting out the parts they went to the paint booth. The body was painted aluminum to represent galvanized steel. I painted the other parts Badger John Deere green and the wheels John Deere yellow. The outside green frame in the top right is curved a bit but once you trim it out some of that goes away. Because the fit is so good it is easy to have it flat to the shell. The long narrow green piece in the middle includes all the pullies. They are small and are beautifully done. The detail is incredible. 

Here it is with the green frame, hitch, wheels, return grain elevator cyclone and the straw tube installed. The hitch and the straw tube both pivot.

The backend below shows where I added 2 more green braces and the wire that goes to the cyclone. These are my own additions based on prototype photos. The space seen between the cyclone and the tube is because I have not pushed the pin in all the way.

As seen below the feeder table, clean grain elevator, unload chutes and all the pullies are attached.

This is after the weathering is done. This machine is in very good shape for 1959 it must have been in a shed. The next ones will be a JI Case version looking more aged and the third one will be rustier IH version.

When I do the Case machine I will try and add the belts and chains to all the pullies.

Friday 21 January 2022

Grain Bins

Wood Rectangular

These bins date back to the start of farming in the late 1880's. The style and size of the bins were determined by the area of the country you lived in. You can still see a lot of these bins from rural roadways on the prairies, although they will not likely have paint or be standing straight. Having said this I know of some that have been very well maintained and are still in use today. There are some common features that you will see the most notable feature being the 4"x4"s that are seen secured on the outside of the walls.  Wire was tied around these 4x4's and went across the inside of the bin to the 4x4 on the other side forming a grid of wires on the inside. There were 2 wires on each wall. They would be wound until they were tight holding the walls against the pressure of the grain. You could also run rods through the building that were threaded on each end and then these were tightened down. This made shoveling grain a challenge as you had to work around these wires or rods which were about 40" off the floor while trying not to step into the end of the auger which had no guards at this time. The small door near the top is where the auger entered to fill the bin. The one on the backside was used for ventilation and access. So when the bin was getting full touching the auger someone would enter the back door and shovel the grain to the back of the bin. In 1959 hoists on truck were not that common so someone had to shovel the truck box from the front to the back once the grain didn't run to the auger anymore which would have amounted to about 20% of the load and that was with every load!  A more labor intensive scenario being before augers were used you shoveled from the truck or wagon through the top door. This is why my Dad had a real set of pipes without a gym. The shovel of choice was most likely a #8 steel which I preferred over aluminum after they were available. You also learned to shovel ambidextrous so you didn't get so tired shoveling only on one side. This also came in handy when cleaning barns. I still to this day switch from right to left handed after only a few shovelfuls. The other trick when emptying a bin was to glide your full shovel over the grain towards the auger not throw the grain as this took more energy and created more dust. Note: most of the small door openings had burn marks where the belt from the auger would rub against the wood. I hope to build a Mayrath auger some time with the chain fall lift and the Brigs motor 6' in the air. As augers got longer there would be holes cut in the roof about the middle which got rid of the need to have to get in and shovel except maybe in bigger bins.
Behind the main door were 1"x6' or 2"x6' or 8' boards just slightly wider than the door. They slide down a slot and filled the doorway space. One or 2 of these boards had cuts in them to create a small opening. This opening had another board on it that also slid in a slot and could then be opened to let the grain run out. As the level by the door came down you would remove these boards until you got down to the opening then you would shove the auger into the bin. The grain running out the opening could be fed into a small hopper or into a hole that was dug into the ground. There was one other note to this description- the ambient temperature was either + 30C or - 30C doing this job and the combine or the grain elevator were filling so don't dawdle!

This picture shows a bin in good shape of a slightly different style with the side doors. The bar above the door is most likely old grader blade used to tie a cable through to the other end with another piece of blade there.

Here are the bins I have built. I intend to build one with all the interior details.

Steel Bins
The late 1950's saw steel bins  becoming more popular and began replacing the many wood rectangular grain bins that had been used. Wood bins would still remain in service until the 80's with some still used today. The steel bins pictured here are Rix N scale bins that scale out really well. They come out 14' D and the ribs in the sheets are very close to HO. With these bins you can model 1350-1950 bushel Westeel or Rosco bins. In circa 1959 the two companies had not yet merged. You could also use them for more modern Westeel-Rosco bins. See the history of Westeel-Rosco here  Westeel History You could also model Butler steel bins see their history here Butler. These are the companies that I am used to seeing in mass. There are newer companies that do not fit my era.
You can change the capacity of the bins by how many rows of rings you use.
4 rings = 1350bus
5 rings = 1650bus
6 rings = 1950bus
I have wood floors and concrete floors. For the wood floors I used scribed styrene .04 with .06 scribe to represent 2 layers of 2x6 planks, with either 4x4 or 6x4 skids under the floor. For concrete I used .08 plain sheet styrene with my bin sitting on top of the concrete. The other way was to have the bin sitting on supports and the floor poured with the bin in the concreate. In all cases wood or concrete types you would most likely see tar applied to the bottom ring where it meets the concrete to help keep moisture out of the bin. This detail can be just painted on with black craft paint as it is a little thicker. I chose to make my own doors out of .01 styrene with a backer made out of flat .02 styrene so they stand off the wall. This is far easier than trying to make a frame out of a strip. If the door was open you would see steel frames that drop down just like a wood bin. One of the panels would have a 6-10" hole cut in it with a pipe that extended back into the bin at a ~30 degree angle down. All you had to do was open the door and push the auger in. Pushing or pulling that auger by yourself sounds a lot easier then it really was because any change to level ground and you really had to tug to get the wheels over. The other design was a frame around one of the panels that went back in at the same slope. Again as the grain stopped running to the auger you would pull the auger out, take out the slats, push the auger back in and let the shoveling begin. You would end up shoveling about 600 bus. I added some wire to the left side of the door to look like hinges and a door handle on the other side. The roof cap on mine is painted yellow which is not wrong but I really don't know when they started painting them yellow so I may end up going back and painting them a steel colour. I seem to find missing details once I have things built.
This is a Rosco bin before the merger of West Steel and Rosco. The next 3 bins are all 1300 bus

This is a West Steel before the merger

This is a Butler bin with the old logo

Here are pictures of my Butler and Rosco 1300 bus bins that are made from N scale bins from Rix. The ribs are more realistic than HO scale bins. The decals are custom made.

Here is a 2700 bus Rix bin that I have not decaled yet. It has a concrete floor.  Wall stiffeners, door and roof hatch were added. It was then painted aluminum to look like galvanized steel. The leg is also scratch built, I have a motor that will go on the platform at the top. The piping between the leg and the roof of the bin is built but I am not going to add it until the scene is almost done. Right now everything needs to be able to be moved. You can also see the cover on the unloading pit.

Round Plywood 1200bus

My Dad had 3 of these bins that we had in service until the late 80's. The bins were built on the cheap to get extra storage as opposed to buying steel. They are constructed out of plywood and 2x4 studs, with strips of plywood over the seams and some metal strapping around the outside. Considering their simple design many lasted for years and you can easily find pictures of them on the Internet. The down side to this design was that the door was small so they were harder to get in and out of especially with an auger in the way. 
The trade off was there is no need for all the crossing steel rods or wire to support their wooden walls leaving you with an open interior.
 My bins are built from styrene and 2"OD tube. I drew out the roof a few times in CAD changing the width of the cut out needed to curve the roof. Once I got the paper one to work I built one out of styrene. I found I had to drill the hole in the center of the roof first and then cut out the other piece to be able to work it so that it curved. I now have a few different sizes saved in CAD. Thin strips of wood are laid over the plywood joints on the wall and roof. For the metal strapping I used pieces of tape that are cut and glued on the walls. The floors were almost always made from wood with 4x6 skids under the floor. The roof cap is made by cutting a circle out of tinfoil. If you do not have have a 2" tube you will have to cut the walls out of sheet. You need to figure out the length of sheet needed for the wall - you use the calculation D x Pi which gives the circumference and then what ever height you want the wall to be (most common size would be 8') .

Here are some pictures of the ones I have built. The grain auger is also scratch built.

 Grain Rings
This is the last type of bin I will talk about. It really doesn't fit my era and became more common from the 60's onward.
These bins are the easiest to model. Take a set of rings and glue one course together and set it on the ground. Done!  You could also take some .01sheet styrene and cut it 4' wide and long enough for your ring. Scribe some lines at 8' so it looks like a sheet of plywood. Give it some wood grain texture with sand paper. Add some fence posts on the outside to support the plywood and a little strapping so it can't bulge out.  During the 60's there were many problems moving grain to port with elevators remaining full as well as bins on farms!  These cheap rings were viewed as better than just piling grain on the ground as there may be less spoilage. There was still spoiled grain that was next to the ground but less so.   During these times our 3 sheet curling rink in Abernethy was built and paid for as it was used to store grain in for a time. The grain was not always covered in the 60's. The one pictured below is quite large.

Hopper Bin
This next bin is not of my era but I wanted to build one anyway. This is an all steel hopper bin made by many different companies. They were originally produced to hold bulk fertilizer and had a lining sprayed on the inside so the bin would not rust. It took me a while to figure out the roof and the cone for this bin. It was built back in the mid 90's. It would hold about 2000 bus and was 14' D. I have not painted it yet. You can also buy just the cone and put one of the above metal bins on top of the cone.

Here is a picture of the real thing.

You could also place a regular grain bin on a hopper cone

Hope you enjoyed the bin tour.