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Monday, December 19, 2011

Niles Project ~ Signs of Destiny

Super Detailing Continued: Adding Dash Signs to the Niles Cars

A SCTC club member showed me a car that he had bought on which the dash signs were decaled right onto the front of the car. To me, that is what it looked like. Because it conformed with the curve of the front of the car, the sign looked painted on . But dash signs are flat. I prefer the 3d look of separate signs. So that's what I'm going to do. And its easy enough to do.

K+S Engineering offers a bag of Shim Brass of assorted sizes. Some of these are really thin. Much thinner than what can be achieved with plastic. And yet still be nice and rigid.

The brass is thin enough to be cut with an X-acto. I cut the brass to match the size of the decals that where made and printed at the same time as the rest of the cars decals.

Decals adhere to glossy paint best. So the decals were printed on clear decal paper and the brass painted the background color. White in this case. I used Floquil Antique White. Its cream color isn't as stark as Reefer White would be. So that the paint doesn't flake off, the brass has to be prepared before painting. I used the exact same technique as I did to prepare the brass models for painting. After the paint dried for a day, I gave it a coat of Floquil Gloss and another day to dry. Now the decals can be applied.

The dash signs are glued in place with good ol' Micro Kristal Kleer. Now these cars look like they got somewhere to go. Yes sir! Somewhere to go!


Monday, December 05, 2011

Module Spotlight ~ Burma-Shave

The first module to be featured here is a simple 1' x 4' module. SCTCs Module 971. Better known as the Burma-Shave module. 

In the beginning there were doubters. Yes sir! Doubters! Doubters and naysayers that claimed that modules with overhead or catenary wouldn't work. And rightly so. The tight tension of the overhead would be compromised when the modules were disassembled. And that could result in wires and poles becoming bent as everything is pulled towards the center of each module. So a quick proof of concept had to be built to see if modules featuring overhead wires could be built and maintained. Assembled and disassembled time and time again. 

That's where the 1' x 4' modules comes in. Mainline modular model  railroading has been around for decades now and developed the standard 2' x 4' module. But why waist time and expense on scenery when the concept might not work. So the first traction modules were 1' x 4'. Plenty of room for operational track, streets, poles, overhead, and even some scenic features.

SCTC Module #971 (built 1997 it was the 1st module built that year) wasn't the first module built, but its about as basic as modules get. A straight, double track mainline. Centered line poles. Private right-of-way between a divided highway. Its a good, hard working, reliable, proof-of-concept module.

 Despite its small size, it does feature some areas of interest. Here, the Caterpillar shows up just in time because Mac just broke his shovel. Don't ask me what Sam is doing! Though I think he used to have a jackhammer. These modules do take a beating. Maintenance is constant. But the real feature of this module are these:

 Anybody old enough to remember the old Burma-Shave signs on the side of the highways?
Click Pics to see the Rhymes

Click the pic to see the rhyme. In reality though, these signs are so small they are beyond the limits of detail. Visitors can't read them, so we have to tell them what they say. But they are a conversation piece. A lot of folk remember the old Burma-Shave signs.

Next month I'm featuring another 1' x 4' that gets a little fancier with the scenery. That's right. It is possible to do more with the 1x4. Yes sir! More with the 1x4!