Northern Ontario “Paper On Wheels”

Hope everyone is enjoying their thanksgiving weekend!!. .. This weekend I decided to start weathering my fleet of NSC, FMC and PS boxcars. I started with the first of 3 GTW NSC boxcars for paper service. After doing a bit of research I noticed that most of the NSC boxcars that the GTW owned faded from the factory paint to a faded light blue. I achieved this by mixing light blue acrylic paint with water applying it to the model in coats. Then drying it in layers with a hair dryer on a low heat setting to prevent the plastic from melting. After the paint dried I used a toothpick with the tip soaked in 99% isopropyl alcohol to scratch out all the reporting marks.. It honestly felt like a scratch card from hell because this model had a lot of small details in peculiar spots. Here is what the car looks like after the fade.

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Quick fact about paper service in the area I model.. Both CN and CP Rail served dozens of lumber/paper mills on both lines in the Ottawa valley. CN served the Smurfit Stone paper mill in Portage Du Fort QC near Ottawa. CP/OVR served a massive Tembec newsprint mill in Temiscaming QC. Both mills plus others along the line meant there where always large amounts of boxcars needed to haul paper and wood products in the area making them a common sight. This GTW boxcar is billed to the Smurfit mill in Portage and is awaiting pickup by the next CN eastbound freight.

In the prototype photo this particular car had a couple rust spots on side and rear. Instead of using oil paint to simulate the rust I decided to use acrylic mixed with flour. I mix red, yellow, brown to simulate the rust then add a bit of flour so it flakes like real rust. After the rust spots are done I go over them with with just strait acrylic paint mixed with a bit of water so it runs down the side of the car. Once that was done I gave the car a wash of flat black and then sealed it with dull coat to keep the rust paint mix from flaking any further.

Here’s another look at the car. I added a filter so you can see where I added the rust spots and black grime wash. On the prototype the ACI label (red white blue label on the side of the car) was torn in some corners so I represented that by scraping it with a toothpick till the corners of the decal came off.

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CN, GTW, CP, BCRR owned NSC 50′ plug door boxcars that where built between 1975-1980. My model railway operates 4 CN versions, 3 GTW and 2 CP rail boxcars. I use/mix them in with my fleet of 50′ PS and FMC boxcars.

Finally. To finish the car off I went over the underbody of the car with weathering chalks. The wheel faces are painted with acrylic then dusted with weathering chalks. I’d like to note that its easy to make mistakes with the acrylic wash but I found that you can literally erase your mistakes with a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol.

I’d also like to stress that I’m still learning this process and that I only intend to go through how I weathered these cars. I see a lot of people online preaching about different methods that don’t usually work. I don’t intend anyone to try this.. I am not an expert. Remember, Its your railway.

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

PSC Cabooses on the ALDR!

I’m going to go right into this one because like most “CN guys” having a Pointe St. Charles caboose is essential. Now.. It’s been a long time coming for these gems to finally hit the market as an RTR model. Let me tell you! And yes yes, I know this article is kind of late due to the fact that they where released over two months ago. But whatever. Still relevant if you’re as big of CN fan/modeller as I am.

Lets get into a brief background on this model and prototype for those of you who aren’t familiar with it. Back in the late 60’s early 70’s CN had an aging fleet of post war wooden cabooses built from old boxcars. With the aging fleet getting becoming problematic across the system tail end crews needed something that was more comfortable and reliable.  CN commissioned the construction of over 700 steel cabooses. They had better visibility, built in marker lights, wheel generators that powered the lights and oil stoves. They came in 3 types. The “transfer van”, the Hawker Siddeley and the PSC. The PSC was the most common system wide. The PSC’s where all built the same however they came in various paint schemes depending on what they where assigned to do. With the advent of EOT’s in the late 90’s CN didn’t see a need for the caboose fleet and most where sold or scrapped. Some managed to stay on the roster. There currently 14 are still in work service on the CN network today.

Now back our regularly scheduled programming! .. – Changes channel – 😉  .. Okay so True Line trains announced this model a little over a year n a half ago. (To my knowledge at least). I first saw a sample at the local hobby shop and was sold on the spot. That same week I had some money saved up for a brass model so it didn’t come at a better time plus the price was a steal compared to the overland one that I was going to buy. Anyway.. I went ahead and ordered two variations of the reg. CN plus an un-numbered kit for some added flavour. After the long wait they finally arrived and MAN did they ever look good! I gotta hand it to Darren at Trueline Trains really did a really nice job getting all the details correct. There are however some factory issues (extra flashing) with the inside of the front and rear back plates but nothing too serious. Just a slice with the hobby knife will fix it. Before I go into more details about my new cabooses here’s a couple photo’s I took of them on the layout.

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The first one 79399 is an early version of the PSC. It has centred stove exhaust stacks and ACI labels. The second is 79883. 79883 is a later model with the standard exhaust stacks. It came as an un-numbered kit. I chose 79883 because it was photographed in the area I’m modelling on the prototype. 79883 still needs to be sealed with gloss and matt varnish.  

Although I don’t run through trains on my modular layout yet. Both cabooses still serve many purposes on local freights and yard movements. Operating them adds some variety to the workload of spotting and dropping off transfers not to mention the realism it adds to the era I’m trying to model.

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Here is 79399 sitting on the CP/CN interchange track waiting to pull forward. Today its heading up to the CP interchange yard to drop off a couple of pulpwood cars.

All in all I’m pretty happy with these RTR models. They’re a must have for any CN layout. They will eventually get weathered.. Along with my CN fleet.. Hopefully.. One day aha.

Back to the model. The international service caboose I bought is currently getting front and rear ditch lights. I noticed that some modellers have attempted to add them with some pretty impressive results. I thought why not? So I will update this post in the future with a “Part Two” showing how I managed to get the LED’s working. Also., I will add I am not a fan of the yellowy green interior lighting so like all my cabooses I run them dark.

With all that out of my system lol.. Hope you guys enjoyed this rant/post on the Trueline Trains PSC. Till next time and happy modelling 🙂