Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Canadian modeller's choice of era

Recently a fellow modeller on the CanModelTrains yahoo group posed the following interesting question:
 "It seems to me the vast majority of Canadian modellers, at least the ones on
this group, are modelling the diesel era, usually from the 1970s onwards.

Steam on this group is rarely mentioned.  It's all diesels and usually
diesels from the 1970s onwards.  Is this because it's just easier, given the
complete lack of affordable Canadian RTR steam?

USA, British even Australian modellers have a good choice of Spectrum
quality steam yet there's nothing like that available to Canadians.

Tell us why did you picked your era"
     It got me to thinking about a trend I hear/read a lot about. The transition era is the most popular theme among model railroaders. This is because we model what we grew up seeing - which makes sense from a nostalgia stand point. But what about guys like me? I'm 35. Hardly a candidate for the transition era. 
     Growing up all I ever saw was Action Red Pac-man SD40-2's and the tail end of C424's in service. Plenty of Canada hoppers and CAST containers on 89ft flats. I completely missed out on the glory days of steam. And 40' box cars. Miles and miles of 40' box cars. Sure 89' autoracks are kinda neat, but they're all the same to me. TTX yellow with a different railroads logo panel on them. Boring.
So I've chosen to model a CN branch line in 1955-60, that was abandoned and ripped up when I was 6 years old. It's the closest thing I'll ever get to seeing it "alive" if you will.

What do you model, and why?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Armchair Modelling

     As some of you may know, I don't have any space for my planned dream layout - but since it's in N scale I have a fair bit of space for little projects like updating rolling stock and Canadian Nationalizing my Bachmann Spectrum fleet.

     The Inverness & Richmond currently rosters three Baldwin 2-8-0 Consolidations, with plans to some day acquire three more. Those of you familiar with these units will know just how wonderful they are, except for the tenders that come with them. For us CNR modellers, the Bachmann tender is about a half inch too long and lacks a major detail - rear foot-boards.

     This image is the stock Spectrum 2-8-0 tender. Note the overall length..

..and missing foot boards.. and that kinda ugly ladder.
      The other details are pretty nice overall though. Wire handrails, all wheel electrical pick-up. Just one glaring issue for me - it doesn't look like this:

     Clearly this is shorter than the Bachmann tender pictured toward the top of the page. A keen eye may also notice the extended height coal bunker that the CNR seems to had affixed to almost all locomotives I've ever seen in pictures. 

     With this in mind, I did some digging around on eBay and found a gentleman in the US that was selling the updated version of Bachmann's short tender. I won't tell you how cheap I got them, lest you all go and clean out his remaining stock, because I'm going to need three more.

     Anyway, they arrived a couple weeks ago and they look spiffy. Bachmann has re-tooled the ladder, added proper foot boards, an uncoupling lever, and elongated the tenders' water hatch. The only thing missing is a headlight, which you would think they would have added given that the tender has all wheel pick-up and a light board IN the tender. Go figure.

     Below is a comparison shot of the new short tender on the left and my original medium tender on the right - which is now on eBay.

     I've already ordered some Evergreen styrene sheets to build the coal bunker and I hope to put up a post on that project this week. We'll see how time goes.