Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Loads of Fun..

The great thing about the hobby of model railroading is you have so many things you can work on.  If you get tired of working on one area of the layout you can do something else.  Build a kit, detail a scene, work on some motive power etc.  With all the focus lately on the turntable, schematics, wiring  some controls, I decided on a little diversion and worked on some scratch built loads for some of my hoppers.

An article in the latest Model Railroader got me to thinking about making my own loads, and it seemed like a fun, simple project.  I do have some loads that were produced by my friend Jim Harr of Stella Models.  He had donated a whole bunch of them to the NERPM and I won all of them in the door prize raffle!

The Stella loads I won were good for some Accurail, Walthers, and Athearn cars.

What I didn't have were loads for Stewart fish belly hoppers.  So I made my own.  I measured the Stewart hoppers and cut a piece of pink Styrofoam to fit inside.  I then carved it to the profile of the coal load I wanted to represent.  I first painted the Styrofoam black with some old Poly S steam power black I had laying around.  Then, while the paint was wet, I put a coating of my black sanded grout.  I then wet the grout to activate it's binders then poured on black craft sand I picked up at Dollar Tree for $1 a bag.  The black sand looks like a good representation of coal.  After I got the sand shaped to the contours I wanted I hit it with some wet water, then a 50/50 solution of white glue and water.  I then let all dry over night.

In this picture: 4 finished loads, Poly S steam power black (any black will do actually), my mustard bottle full of white glue/water mixture, and the Steward hopper the loads fit into.

Here is a comparison: the long LV hopper has a Stella load in it and the short fish belly LV hopper has one of my home made loads.

This project was a fun diversion, and it took just about an hour and a half to complete 4 loads.  :)

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