Author Topic: Weekend Update 3/19/17  (Read 4225 times)

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johnb

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2017, 11:43:54 PM »
0
Did someone say, "kudzu"? 


I always loved Jim Downing's Mazda powered Kudzu

wazzou

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2017, 12:06:08 AM »
+1


I always loved Jim Downing's Mazda powered Kudzu


Forgive me if I'm missing something but I think that car is Buick powered.
Bryan

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johnb

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2017, 12:16:29 AM »
0

Forgive me if I'm missing something but I think that car is Buick powered.
ack....that is a Kudzu, built by Downing, but a customer car....you're right about the engine.

This is a Kudzu Mazda


nkalanaga

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #48 on: March 20, 2017, 12:27:32 AM »
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Jerry:  Correction noted, but when I said "originally", I was thinking "before it became what it is now", not "when it was first built".  An unclear statement on my part, I know.

Serious question:  Did anyone ever BUILD a slug, from the ground up, as a slug, not a conversion from something else?  And no, I don't count the MILW's electric "middle units" for their boxcabs, which didn't have pantographs, and were powered from the end units.  The boxcabs were designed from the beginning to run as two-unit sets, and use only one of the pans under normal conditions, so the jumpers were already there.  I'm thinking something powered from a diesel-electric.
N Kalanaga
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jmlaboda

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #49 on: March 20, 2017, 12:32:31 AM »
+1
Quote
Serious question:  Did anyone ever BUILD a slug, from the ground up, as a slug, not a conversion from something else?

Not so much built themselves but had them built.  GE Mates for SCL, both single and double end, were all built from scratch using newly constructed underframes.

Mark W

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2017, 02:08:15 AM »
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The track looks great (can't tell it is Z scale - looks more like N or H0), but with 3D printed ties, it mist be fairly pricey.

Thanks.  I think price ended up coming pretty close to within reason.

Compared to N Scale, based on MSRP and adjusting for to "per inch" prices, these come in at ~2.5x the cost of Atlas/ME C55 Flex.  Compared to other Z Flex, *drumroll*  dead equal!

Of course, who pays MSRP?  Based off MBK price, comparison jumps to ~4x of N Scale C55, and averages about ~1.3x vs other Z Scale flex.  And let's not forget my ties come un-assembled and are very much more fragile to work with.  But, given the end result of how insanely better C40 looks vs C55, especially for Z, I say totally justified. 
 
Except, when we bring in Atlas' Z Scale C55 flex (which I just now notice is already available) the difference jumps to 2x MSRP, 2.6x more than discount price.  So bummer there; that difference will certainly add up quick.  But the end game is expanded market to bring cost down and variety up!  So, immediately Atlas has cut Z Scale Flex cost in half.  Definitely a huge step!  Visit the Atlas Z Flex product thread for gripes re: why they did not go C40 themselves.  :|
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 02:09:48 AM by Mark W »

peteski

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #51 on: March 20, 2017, 02:41:43 AM »
0
Thanks.  I think price ended up coming pretty close to within reason.

Compared to N Scale, based on MSRP and adjusting for to "per inch" prices, these come in at ~2.5x the cost of Atlas/ME C55 Flex.  Compared to other Z Flex, *drumroll*  dead equal!

Of course, who pays MSRP?  Based off MBK price, comparison jumps to ~4x of N Scale C55, and averages about ~1.3x vs other Z Scale flex.  And let's not forget my ties come un-assembled and are very much more fragile to work with.  But, given the end result of how insanely better C40 looks vs C55, especially for Z, I say totally justified. 
 
Except, when we bring in Atlas' Z Scale C55 flex (which I just now notice is already available) the difference jumps to 2x MSRP, 2.6x more than discount price.  So bummer there; that difference will certainly add up quick.  But the end game is expanded market to bring cost down and variety up!  So, immediately Atlas has cut Z Scale Flex cost in half.  Definitely a huge step!  Visit the Atlas Z Flex product thread for gripes re: why they did not go C40 themselves.  :|

Interesting . . .
--- Peteski de Snarkski

Chris333

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #52 on: March 20, 2017, 03:56:17 AM »
+2
My HOn30 hopper test mule.
Decided not to go with these truss rods

Instead I will add another board to each side... like a ET&WNC hopper  ;)

Started the assembly line:

Parts for 5 more on the way: https://www.shapeways.com/product/VFQFFFCNE/hon30-tichy-hopper-frame?optionId=62254083

robert3985

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #53 on: March 20, 2017, 05:40:13 AM »
0
I've started a new project. 

N scale has enormous potential for railfanning.  It's the perfect balance between detail and size.   However, most people have smaller layouts or narrow shelves so they can only do tight photo angles.  But that's not what real life is like.   In real life the trains are minuscule little snakes slithering through vast swaths of nature.  I've always loved railroad pictures where the trains are dwarfed by landscapes.  I seldom see model photos like that.  And I can't say I've seen any large scenes that didn't involve mountains.  I've always wanted to do something incredibly large--like the Royal Gorge in T to scale (and that's only about six feet tall.  Very doable.) or B&O across the Indiana plains in about 10x6 ft of just flat nothing (not so easily doable). 

So that's the philosophy.  Now that I have a fairly large bachelor pad that's not permanent enough to justify a layout, plus a new camera(!),  I thought I'd act on my ideological convictions.   :D

Last week I stumbled upon this photograph and immediately noticed it's potential.  I'm a scenery novice with practically no experience.  I think I can do kudzu though!  I'm also from the deep south and even though it's not western PA where I model it still fits with my SAL interests.



Southbound at Emerson by Patrick Phelan, on Flickr

I cobbled together a copy with my stash of free Styrofoam from work.  It's about 6 ft. by 2.5 ft.   That's still smaller than the real life, of course, but I still have to be able to transport this thing.

Here's a mockup.



I dragged out my B&O standard plans book and found that slopes are a 1:1.5 ratio.  So much hacking and slathered plaster later and I've got this:



And here it is with the opposite slope mocked up.



I experimented with a different angle and immediately regretted only doing one side of the slope.



So I mocked up something to add to that side.




I'm barely into this but I've got a few thoughts so far:

1.  I think I made the slope too large.  I'll beef up the other area to compensate.

2.  Focus stacking software is imperative for what I want.

3.  It's dawning on me that the "three foot rule"  might actually apply here.  I've never had to deal with it before lol.  Some things will matter though, such as ride height, weathering, and coupler size.

Interesting project!  I've built a few "photo dioramas" over the course of my model railroad life, so I understand the concept.  Last one I started was an 8' long to scale U.P. Curvo diorama, that warped before I got the bridges built, even though it was made from several 2" layers of blue Styrofoam.

I agree that your slope is too large.  However, modifying that is secondary to your basic track plan, which should have a curve in it, rather than just a straight length of track.  Look at the prototype photo...the reason the train doesn't go on and on into the horizon is because the track curves.  Prototype fidelity for your photo diorama for a long, elevated length of gently curved track should also include superelevation, which will add greatly to its purpose of showing off your trains for your railfanning photos.

Sharp, focus-stacked photos of your model work are merciless.  I use them a lot during a project to slap me across the face with my errors, which I simply have not noticed during the construction process.  Soooooo...think again about your "three-foot-rule" statement.  Remember...it isn't a "rule"...it's an excuse...for not doing detailed work.  Because I take a lot of photos of my work, it goads me to superdetail engines, cars, and the scenery, with the minimum for engines and cars being either MTL Z-scale couplers and air hoses, with FVM narrow, low-pro wheels for cars.  You'll be surprised at how much just getting rid of that huge N-scale coupler does for the looks of your engines and cars.

For long shots of your trains, 6' isn't going to do it, unless you curve your track.  However, from a photographic standpoint, a standard 55 or 60mm macro (micro) lens isn't going to provide you with the distinct disappearing perspective lines that prototype photos of long objects gives us.  Depending on your new camera's sensor size, a wider angle macro would be more fitting for model railroad photography...or simply a close focusing wide to superwide zoom would also work.

For my Nikon D7200 bodies, I've been experimenting with a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 zoom, which even though it's not particularly close-focusing, it gets those disappearing perspective lines about where I want them.  I originally bought it specifically for real estate interiors and architectural photography, but if I were to get a superwide zoom for model photography, I'd buy one of the new superwide macro lenses that are available now, formulated to minimize diffraction fuzziness at small apertures and with built-in lens shifting to minimize other wide-angle distortions.

As for focus stacking software, Helicon Focus now offers a yearly software authorization on their software which takes away that 300 or so bucks it used to cost for the Pro version.  If you've got a compatible Nikon or Canon DSLR body, their Helicon Remote app is essential to allow perfect focusing and composition as well as basic control of your camera using your cell phone as a remote.  For focus stacking, it allows hands-free focusing at various points in your stack, the number of which you can specify, and your Nikon or Canon DSLR will do it hands-free automatically. Some cameras will connect to your phone using WiFi for wireless control too.

For more in-depth discussions about model railroad photography, equipment, techniques and examples, visit the "Photography" section here at TRW.

Anyway, keep us posted with photos of this project.  Very interesting and pertinent for many modelers who don't have the room yet to build a permanent layout.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 05:43:04 AM by robert3985 »
Cheers!!
Bob Gilmore

robert3985

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #54 on: March 20, 2017, 07:41:41 AM »
+4
I've started a new project. 

...Last week I stumbled upon this photograph and immediately noticed it's potential.  I'm a scenery novice with practically no experience.  I think I can do kudzu though!  I'm also from the deep south and even though it's not western PA where I model it still fits with my SAL interests.



...3.  It's dawning on me that the "three foot rule"  might actually apply here.  I've never had to deal with it before lol.  Some things will matter though, such as ride height, weathering, and coupler size.

Completely ignoring the "three foot" excuse, I got to thinking how to do Kudzu in N-scale.

Observing the prototype is always the first rule that I operate by when designing a module or diorama, and that goes for doing the scenery also.  So, that said, the first thing I noticed about the Kudzu in the photo is that the leaves are fairly large.  This is good.  I Googled "Kudzu leaf size" and my first choice told me that the actual leaves are about 6"...which works out to .038" in N-scale. 

Second thing I noticed is that what I initially thought was a tree on this side of the train is actually a Kudzu covered utility pole!  There's another one further on down the track... A really interesting modeling opportunity!

Next, I went into the layout room and measured the Noch "Laub" (leaf) material I'd applied to my single tree by my Weber River, and the "leaves" on it were about .038" long, being oval, some with sharpened ends, some being a bit larger and some being a bit smaller.  PERFECT!  :)

I went to my scenery supply and looked at the colors available, and they come in three greens, which you can buy separately...Dark Green, Middle Green and Light Green (dunkelgrün, mittelgrün, und lichtgrün on the Noch packages).  The main leaf color from the photo looks to be middle green, with a few light green leaves here and there.  Brown leaves up near the tracks where the road's weed killer is doing the job.

Noch Autumn leaf colors are available only in four-packs, and although the photo on the Noch site looks like they're shades of yellow and brown, they may be brighter.  I think you could probably mix a color or two and come up with an acceptable dead Kudzu leaf color for up near the ballast, but I won't guarantee it as I have never seen them in person.

First, I'd sculpt the ground contours to where I was happy, then paint the Styrofoam an appropriate dirt color using flat exterior latex paint.  Then, I'd take some brown or green felt fabric (bought at my local fabric/craft store), not the squares you can buy at Michaels...and cut them to size by placing them on the painted ground contour, marking with a black Sharpy and cutting sections out with scissors.

Next I'd lay them in place again, and make any additional cuts or additions, then when I'm happy with where the felt is and its edge contour, I'd mark around the edge with the Sharpy, lift the felt pieces off (number them and the marked space so you can get them back in the same positions easily), then using a small artist's spatula, I'd apply latex tile adhesive to the marked-off areas one at a time, press the felt back down into the adhesive, making sure to get it ALL PRESSED IN PLACE, so adhesive is coating the back of it evenly everywhere, and let it dry for a day.

Go back over the diorama with your latex dirt colored paint and touch up the white latex tile adhesive that's sticking out from under the felt and let it dry.

Then, I'd take a file card, and various other pointy metal instruments (dental picks, Xacto knives etc.) and start pulling up the felt so it gets fuzzy and tall everywhere, but not even.  Trim it with scissors to get it down to size, lay it over with your fingers until it forms a base for your Kudzu leaves.

At this point, I might apply fine dirt to the edges of the felt, mashing it down so it looks like the felt fibers are growing out of it...or maybe not.  I'd apply a layer of leaves to most of the felt areas (except the edges) it so that it looks like the felt fibers are growing out of the leaves...which might be appropriate for a thick layer of Kudzu ground cover.

After I was happy with the thickness of the felt fibers coming out of the dirt or leaf covering, I'd spray it with wet-water, then sock the dirt or leaves down with Matte Medium or Elmers mixed with water and a couple of drops of soap...applying it with a large medicine dropper BELOW the fibers sticking up, letting it spread out BELOW the fibers, but not washing the dirt & leaves away.

After this had dried a day or two, then I'd fluff and arrange the fibers like I want 'em, and then using 3M spray adhesive or the Noch spray glue, I'd spray the fibers fairly thickly and sprinkle on the the middle and light green Noch "leaves" until I'd built 'em up to a proper looking thick layer of leaves above the previous covering of dirt and leaves already socked down under the protruding felt fibers.

I think this would produce a pretty accurate looking Kudzu invasion.

Another method might be to tease thin, green or brown 3M equivalent abrasive cleaning sheets (you can buy 'em in 8.5 X 11 sheets), glue those down to your painted ground contour using the latex tile adhesive, and apply a final layer of leaves to them after teasing them to a rough surface texture.  This would use fewer Noch leaf packages, which are fairly expensive.

The dead leaves look fairly "airy" so using dark green polyfiber wads, and coating them with brown leaves with the spray adhesive would probably work okay too...or apply dirt/ballast to felt pieces, tease it, trim it, glue it...apply brown leaves...that could work too.

Photo (1) - Felt Grass Technique designed to look like Utah desert grass:


I designed my "felt grass" to look like mostly dry, sparse desert grass using tan felt and lots of dirt.  If yours was green felt, with leaves instead of dirt, then more leaves, I think it would be a pretty good representation of Kudzu.

Truthfully, I don't think making convincing Kudzu is an easy project, but it IS doable.

I have no need for Kudzu in my 50's era Utah desert scenery, but the felt method works great for me for very realistic ground cover and bunch grass.  I airbrush it green before applying dirt in places it isn't so dried out.  Maybe this method  will work for you using Noch leaves spray glued to the brushed-up felt fibers.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 07:53:43 AM by robert3985 »
Cheers!!
Bob Gilmore

Philip H

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #55 on: March 20, 2017, 10:24:04 AM »
+4
Honestly, @davefoxx nailed kudzu on his SBD layout.  Even had a decent Kudzu Jesus.  Just do what he did.
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

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nkalanaga

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2017, 03:05:34 PM »
0
Jerry:  Those SCL units are good enough for me.  GE built them new, as slugs, which shows it had been done.

The NP had 3 "slugs" in the 1960s, rebuilt in 1959, 1960, and 1965, but didn't call them that.  These were the "electric trailers" ET-1,2,3 used in the Pasco hump yard.  They started as Baldwin switchers, and were almost exclusively used as hump pushers.
N Kalanaga
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Missaberoad

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #57 on: March 20, 2017, 03:30:42 PM »
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@nkalanaga Both CP and CN had purpose built slug or booster units

CP had 4 units built B-100 to B-103 built by MLW in 1951 and 1957 they were used in Montreal (hump service) and Thunder Bay (heavy grain terminal switching)

http://www.mountainrailway.com/Roster%20Archive/B100/CP%20B102-2.jpg
http://www.mountainrailway.com/Roster%20Archive/B100/CP%20B103.htm

CN Had a number of purpose built slugs in a few series.

HBU-4 500-522 (originally 260-282) built by GMDD in 1978 usually mated with GP38-2's in hump service...

http://www.cnrphotos.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=7203

YBU-4m 200-209 built by GMDD & CN in 1980 usually mated with GP9r units in industrial switching

http://www.cnrphotos.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=7185




Ryan in Alberta

jmlaboda

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #58 on: March 20, 2017, 04:17:56 PM »
0
Quote
The NP had 3 "slugs" in the 1960s, rebuilt in 1959, 1960, and 1965, but didn't call them that.  These were the "electric trailers" ET-1,2,3 used in the Pasco hump yard.  They started as Baldwin switchers, and were almost exclusively used as hump pushers.

The very first slug (or "electric trainer" or "booster" as the Southern Rwy. called them) was a shot of one of the NP units in Trains magazine during the early-70s.  Still very thankful that my old friend Ray Olesen, with whom I am still in touch with, introduced me to not only N-scale but also the various magazines that were around at that time.  He no longer models in N but has had a great career working for Amtrak in the So. Cal. area being one of their lifers.  Just wish I was still in So. Cal. myself so I could take advantage of all the rail activity that now exists (back in the day it was RTDs buses that took me from place to place... Lord if my Mother had ever known where I was going she would have made my life much more miserable...).  I'd be in 7th heaven!!!

chessie system fan

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Re: Weekend Update 3/19/17
« Reply #59 on: March 20, 2017, 11:09:43 PM »
+1
@robert3985 , that kudzu plan is exactly what I plan to do!  I got some felt even before starting the project and I ordered the leaves over the weekend.  I've already started correcting the slope and I'll certainly post more updates once I make more progress.  Dave's kudzu has been in the back of my mind from the start too.  I figure the area is large enough for some experimentation.  8)

And there will be a curve at the end.  It's just difficult to tell in the photos posted.

Regarding the three foot rule, I've always gone by the three inch rule, so I agree with everything you're saying.  I only meant that you're not going to be able to tell much about a car ten cars down.

You can count on me posting ideas and questions in the photography forum once I get a little farther along.  My camera is a Nikon D3400, and I see that's one of the few Nikon DSLRs that is incompatible with Helicon remote.  That's too bad as it seems like a really handy program.
Aaron Bearden