Just off the workbench: PC 9633

The newest addition to my small collection of locomotives to operate at the paper plant on my layout is this Atlas S2. It’s a sound-equipped model that I painted, lettered, and weathered with acrylics, powders, and graphite pencil. I made an attempt to model the paint chipping along the frame, revealing white frame stripe that was part of its former NYC paint scheme. Also of note is the non-standard application of the corporate logo: the words Penn Central do not appear on the locomotive hood, and the numerals were applied using old NYC stencils.


The above photo represents the most accurate depiction of the prototype that I can muster with my collection. The prototype locomotive and caboose were both assigned at North Tonawanda yard. In the photo below, 9633 pulls a cut of boxcars across the switch to the bulk coal storage area.



SOO 17330

This is Fox Valley Models rendition of a Soo Line home-built 7-post boxcar. This is an excellent model. The quality rivals anything on the market today. I’m no expert on Soo Line, but from the photos I’ve found, this model is a dead ringer* for the prototype. The only thing I added was cut levers. Air hoses will be added when I get some more.

This car was built in April 1970, so it would have been no older than six years during my era. I was aiming for something like four years of service. I sprayed the underbody, trucks, and wheels with a grimy black colour by Vallejo called German Black and then applied a range of powder colours to everything.


Since writing this post, I’ve been schooled on the nuances of freight car spotting. I’m told that the model is 6″ too short, the door is too narrow, and the overall height of the car is off. It seems that the thickness of the side ribs is objectionable as well. 


SSW 40102 Gunderson 5200 cu ft Boxcar

This is one of the “Express Series” cars that ExactRail produced. It seems this model is accurate, as SSW had 300 of these in class B-70-37 numbered 49100 – 49299. The yellow door signifies paper service, which is fitting for my layout. The model has a BLT date of 1970, so I didn’t want it to look too dirty for my early-70s layout.


According to David Hussey, there are several classes of SP and SSW cars that are similar. Here’s a list showing class, builder, roof style, and cubic feet of capacity. The model has non-overhang diagonal panel roof, so it appears to match up with the information here:

B-70-31 PCF Non OH diagonal 5271
B-70-31R PCF Non OH diagonal 5271
B-70-37 GBER Non OH Diagonal 5200
B-70-37R GBER Non OH Diagonal 5200
B-70-49 GBER Non OH Diagonal 5230
B-70-49 GBER Non OH X Panel 5230
B-70-52 GBER Non OH X Panel 5230
B-70-59 GBER Non OH X Panel 5230
B-70-61 GBER Non OH X Panel 5230

According to Lee A. Gautreaux’s website, the B-70-37 group of cars was actually built in late 1966 and early 1967. It seems that everything else about the model as it comes from ExactRail is correct, with the BLT date of 1970 being the only error. I learned about this after it was weathered. I have a second model with a different road number, so if I have a set of SP/SSW boxcar decals in my collection, I’ll make that correction.

I added lube plates and ACI labels, and I plant to add cut levers and air hoses after I stock up on detail parts. To weather it, I sprayed a dusting of Vallejo German Black, a grimy black colour, onto the underbody, trucks, wheels, and along the bottom edge. When that was dry, I used a range of powder colours to create a lightly weathered look. Other than that, this model is a stock, economy-line car that I bought for under $20. And some say the hobby is dying.


Thanks to Ian Clasper and Tim O’Connor who shared prototype info relevant to this car on the facebook group Freight Car Enthusiasts.

Green Team SW1 8470

I’m pushing to get the paper plant section of my layout to the point where I can operate regularly. Part of that effort involves completing a few different switchers. I finished one tonight, and another is on the work bench getting closer to being ready. Presenting PC SW1 #8470:


It started as an undecorated Walthers SW1. The paint and decals were straightforward. Getting the weathering right is still a work in process. The key feature of this locomotive’s charm is the fact that the road numbers are in New York Central font, and the NYC logo is beginning to reveal itself from beneath pealing paint on the side of the cab. The intention was to depict this locomotive nearing the point of being scrapped.

Weathering was done with artist oils, acrylics, powders,  and 8B graphite pencil. There will be some final touches applied when the supplies and parts arrive, but it’s ready for service on the layout.


Ontario Northland Boxcars – Some Weathering

I like using photographs to check the progress of my weathering. Not sure how I feel about how this one is shaping up, but most of what’s on it can come off again. So far, I’ve done a fade with white acrylics, some streaking with grime coloured acrylics, and some rust and grime buildup with powders. This is the first non-practice model on which I’ve used artist acrylics for weathering. I’ve been using oils for a while. I like the fact that acrylics speed things up nicely.