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sledhead
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Plaster City and Northern
"The White Dust Route"



No stinkin' steam in sight and far, far from Colorado, narrow gauge freight makes it's final stand. Wide-cab ALCO powered road switchers haul heavy loads of white gold through shifting desert sands where even buzzards fear to tread. The land is so forsaken, that even water must be hauled in to the parched gypsum quarry. Don't venture too far beyond unless you are seeking to shake hands with the devil!




And did I mention the scenery can be modeled with a bucket of sand? Big bonus for a scenically challenged individual such as myself. Big plus for construction is I already have a foam shelf set up and ready to go. I built it last fall before I realized it wasn't big enough to do what I wanted to do. But now it's different, and as far as I'm concerned, less is more! I just need to decide whether to do the mine end or the plaster city end first. I drew up a quick plan with the help of google earth.



Narrow rails, still gettin' shiny the ol' fashioned way!



(photos property of owners at respective links)

Herb Kephart
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WOW!

A modern 6 axle diseasel blowing smoke! And narrow gage!!

And a great idea for a shelf layout-

Go for it!!


Herb  :old dude:

W C Greene
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Yep-modern narrow gauge. My only concern is that tangent track...there are no kinks or jiggles! Be sure to tell the railroad owners that this is not "prototypical narrow gauge"...

                      Woodie

Sullivan
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But the ties are properly buried in dirt (sand in this case)!

I did note one interesting feature; the double mail box sitting beside the track. Just who's delivering the mail out here.

Also, in you drawing, is that a road cutting across the length of the section?

Regardless, I'd say go for it!

Last edited on Fri Apr 15th, 2011 05:26 pm by Sullivan

sledhead
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I noticed that too, I think the mail box is for the gypsum mine processing plant, the sharp curve is right before the quarry.

Yeah, that's a road in the drawing. It separates the gypsum storage area and the wallboard plant. The road is straight, but I may give it a bend so it takes up less space. Another thing to do is to set the whole line at an angle, so the road is more perpendicular to the shelf.

I'm doing this in S scale, but I'll still have to build most of the rolling stock from scratch. Railmaster Imports sells a pewter craftsman kit for the locomotive, so at least motive power is taken care of.

I also love the cool little tank car at the end of every train, doing its level best to impersonate a caboose.


sledhead
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Check out the google street view:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=plaster+city+ca&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Plaster+City,+Imperial,+California&gl=us&sqi=2&ll=32.78879,-115.851495&spn=0.010607,0.022724&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=32.791096,-115.852083&panoid=IuOo9SmTZKplT7dxDedM2A&cbp=12,353.25,,0,0

Last edited on Fri Apr 15th, 2011 09:27 pm by sledhead

sledhead
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Well, Friday I got started on that Railmaster loco kit. Talk about a box o'parts. Yeeesh, gonna take me a while, but I did make good progress last night.


Box o' parts:



I cut out cast shut rear louvers and used a jig to solder individual fins, fussy work but the end result was a vast improvement. Cutting out the center of the casting without damaging the frame around it was the hardest part. USG made a few modifications to the rear cooling vents over the year, not a surprise as these locos were meant for Alaska and ended up at the gates of hell.

New vents soldered in the 'open' position.


Last edited on Mon Apr 18th, 2011 01:15 am by sledhead

MinerFortyNiner
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Great concept, and what a cool loco (for a diesel!). Great looking kit, that thing must weigh a ton when its's assembled!

sledhead
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Yeah, she's a beast, will probably weigh 1+ lbs when done!

sledhead
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I decided to do the quarry end first, as it fit the current shelf better, though I will probably trim the shelf down to a uniform length and discard the 'bulge' in the front. The layout of the quarry in pretty linear... so it fits a narrow shelf perfectly. The track is just laid in a test pattern, mainly to test out the new chassis. The final track plan still hasn't been worked out.



My wife got me a brass etching system for my birthday (what a gal eh?), so I made up a sprue with brake wheels for the hoppers and lift rings and the cab top air conditioners that feature prominently on the top of USG #111 (can be seen in the photos above).




titus
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Wow, cool looking etching. I've looked into getting an etching setup for a bit but haven't yet pulled the trigger on it. What do you think of it so far and which kit did you get?

sledhead
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My wife bought me the Micro-mark kit. It was very easy to use, and the instructions cover everything you need to know. After one misfire, due to me not following the instructions closely enough, I had success. And the second time around was much easier and quicker as I already knew most of the steps.

I would say the most time was actually spent creating the artwork. I used a combination of Adobe illustrator and Solidworks ds.

sledhead
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Almost have my first piece of motive power. All that's left is paint, lights, and sound. It was definitely a fun experience. This is the first kit I've ever done like this, and I ended up modifying it quite a bit to match the prototype, also a lot of fun! I made the cab roof removable in case I want to add an interior at some point.... Let me know what you think!








The next shot really highlights the narrow gauge!





Herb Kephart
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Nice job on the loco and the etching! 

How thick is the sheet, and how long did it take to etch through?


Herb  :old dude:

sledhead
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Thanks Herb!

The brass was the .005 inch thick sheet that came with the etching system. It took about seven minutes to etch completely through one side, and I just dangled the unfinished side in with the pair of plastic tweezers for about two more minutes to complete it. Believe it or not, folding the dang AC unit without deforming it was the hardest part of the etching.  All the soldering except for brass to brass was done with cerrosafe. I made thin soldering "sticks" by ladling a thin line of it out on a sheet of glass.

Herb Kephart
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Well--an old dog learned a new trick!!
 


Been soldering for about 70 years--my dad was a tin knocker, and showed me early how to solder-- but I never tried soldering with any of the Cerro alloys.

Great idea---THANK YOU!!!


Herb  :old dude:

sledhead
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Well I can't take credit for the idea. Railmaster (the kit manufacturer) recommends a low melt cerro alloy for soldering the pewter parts together. I did come up with the idea to create the sticks though, works really well. I used stay-bright acid flux, soldering REALLY speeds kit construction, plus it makes filling gaps and fixing mistakes a breeze. I did use JB Weld for a few details that would have been difficult to solder, it is as durable as solder, plus you can solder right next to it and the heat won't bother it unlike epoxy and CA.

mosslake1
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Good job on the loco mate:thumb: There's gotta be a special blessing for someone who runs Alcos:P

For those who were wondering, that's an Alco/MLW, originally built for the White Pass RR.


Just a thought, why not make a master and cast the dump cars in urethane?

Last edited on Thu May 26th, 2011 12:59 pm by mosslake1

sledhead
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mosslake1 wrote: Good job on the loco mate:thumb: There's gotta be a special blessing for someone who runs Alcos:P

For those who were wondering, that's an Alco/MLW, originally built for the White Pass RR.


Just a thought, why not make a master and cast the dump cars in urethane?

Thanks moss!  Yep, there's just something about those Alcos...

Yeah, probably the best way to do the hopper cars is by casting. I'm going to need at least a half-dozen of them, so in the end it will probably be faster, but that means I first need to learn how to cast in urethane. I originally considered doing them with etched details and brass shapes, but it would likely take forever. So I began the water car in the the meantime. Since I only need one, it makes sense to just do that one in brass.

elminero67
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That loco is very cool. Nice to see someone take the time to do something unique.

W C Greene
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I agree, the loco is extremely neat..can't wait to see some paint on her now (although it might be a sin to paint over this fine work). I now have the "want" for an IC loco on my layout, it won't be a big un like yours but it ain't gonna be a little punk critter either. Thanks for the inspiration.

                    Woodie

sledhead
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Thank guys, she's in the paint shop as we speak!

Woody, can't wait to see what you come up with, glad I won't be the only guy running "modern" power. I think my next loco will be one of the GE's that the Alcos replaced on the USG.

The first section of the shelf layout is cut down and ready for track, it's been tentatively laid out and should be glued down by the end of the week. I'll post pics as soon as I have something running. I've added some "non-prototypical" ideas in order to enhance operating interest, I'm working on a small container flat to carry explosives for the quarry, and a transfer crane to unload the flats.

Last edited on Mon Jun 6th, 2011 09:17 am by sledhead

sledhead
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Ok, she's done. These locomotives are pretty well maintained, so I kept the weathering to reflect normal use. I tried to give it a hot and dusty look. In the sandy desert, windows get a nice dusty coating so I tried to simulate this.

Here she is!













I only included an engineer, since my layout is a switching shelf, odds are the brakeman will be out and about.

sledhead
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I forgot to mention, I installed a Loksound Select Alco decoder with two speakers in parallel: a "tweeter" and a high bass "woofer". She runs and sounds amazing... love that ALCO chug and turbo whine!

wclm
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:thumb::thumb::thumb:Sure looks good and I imagine it sounds the same. Kudos to you.

                                                                                Clif K

Herb Kephart
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Impressive!!!


Herb :old dude:

pipopak
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Another gypsum company closed, and with it the last company town:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20110611/ts_csm/388321

sledhead
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Wow, that's rough. Another sign of the times we live in. I'm surprised they held on that long, no one is buying building products anymore, especially in Nevada. I'm fairly certain the plaster city plant will remain open, albeit at reduced capacity. It's the only wallboard plant in SoCal.

Plus someone has to replace all that Chinese "drywall" made from waste paper and God knows what else that emits noxious sulfur gas.

MinerFortyNiner
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Beautiful work, Sledhead! I would love to her hear Alco chug. Any chance you could post a few photos from a 3/4 perspective so we can see those huge trucks? For a desert diesel, I would think she would look a bit more dusty, but maybe they ran her through the wash rack recently?

I was fantasizing for a minute about a modern reincarnation of my little copper mining railroad with a set of these hauling ore. Cool.

sledhead
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Yeah, I'll try to get a side shot of her.

I was kind of thinking the same thing about the weathering, I was too afraid to overdo it, I think I went a bit too light. It does look a little dustier/dirtier in person, light weathering tends to not photograph well. I use weathering powders, and a light mist of gray on horizontal surfaces, but after I airbrushed the flat clear-coat, most of the weathering disappeared. :doh:

MinerFortyNiner
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Sledhead, I have found that once a clearcoat has been applied, weathering chalks adhere very well without additional overspray. I had the same results trying to seal my weathering, and have found it's not necessary. The clearcoat helps the chalk adhere to the model, and the chalk can only be taken off by gently scrubbing with a stiff, damp brush.

sledhead
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Here's a good  side on shot, sorry for the wait.




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spectacular!!!

I missed where this real railroad is located. One would be tempted to exhagerate a bit and make some sort of passenger service. Perhaps a steel drovers caboose to get workers to the site.

sledhead
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The line is located in Plaster City CA, a "city" in name only. The nearest real town is El Centro I beleive.

It's funny you mention a workers' drovers caboose. USG actually had exactly that. Though as dirt roads "improved" they did away with it. I'm not sure if it still exists. In the critters/rail cars section there is a thread about a behemoth of a railcar they built that preceded the caboose.

Last edited on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 07:52 pm by sledhead

Traingeekboy
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Well the diesel looks fantastic. There's nothing like bending reality a bit, a little imagination and your railroad could have the drover or rail car too!

sledhead
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Well, a little bit of news on the white dust route. I've had trouble getting the dimensions and details right as I develop CAD drawings of my hoppers. So, I decided to go to the source, I contacted Trinity Railcars and USG for help, I've heard back from USG so far, they've got someone looking into possibly getting me some drawings. that would be really cool if it happens, to say the least.

elminero67
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That must have been an interesting conversation!

sledhead
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lol, I know right? When filling out their contact form, there was no "model railroader seeking info" option in their drop down menu. They should really fix that. :D


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