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HBR History and Layout Background

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A little background on the prototype: The Hudson Bay Railway (HBR), owned by Omnitrax, took over Canadian National’s lines to Flin Flon (Flin Flon Subdivision), Lynn Lake, Thompson and Churchill Manitoba in 1997. These lines were built to access northern Manitoba’s mineral wealth and forest products. The Flin Flon Subdivision was completed in 1928, the line to the Port of Churchill in 1929, Lynn Lake in 1953 and Thompson in 1958. Another line to Snow Lake was built in 1960 and abandoned in the late 1980’s. Major traffic generators for the northern Manitoba lines include outbound concentrates and ingots from Flin Flon, Lynn Lake and Thompson, predominantly Copper, Zinc and Nickel. As well, inbound concentrates, mill and smelter supplies for the smelters and concentrators at these mining centers is shipped by rail; raw logs and chemicals going to, and finished wood and paper products coming from the Tolko lumber mill and pulp mill, frack sand from Channing, grain loads going to and grain

Blog feedback loop

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Along with my blogs on the Hudson Bay Railway (this one) and another on my real life railfan adventures < here > I have another blog that I originally started on the Model Railroad Hobbyist site about 8 years ago.   That MRH  blog was my gateway to these more recent blogs and I still post there regularly, although now I tend to post a shorter version of what I post here with a link back here to continue reading.  Since I am inherently lazy I figure the easy way for future readers to read my older MRH posts is to put a link here to a list of the MRH posts.   Some I have redone here, others have not been transferred over as I outlined above.  If you feel like reading more of my nattering feel free to pop over to MRH: https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/42428#new    

Belt Railway of Chicago C-424 604 on the HBR

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The October 2021 Railroad Model Craftsman magazine has an article I wrote about the former Belt Railway of Chicago Alco C-424.  The Hudson Bay Railway bought the entire BRC fleet in 199 but only the 604 was ever operational.   I started building the model prior to my decision to back date the layout from 1997-2000 to 1981-83.  I decided to finish it as part of my Covid-19 building blitz.  I tried to clear out my backlog of partially finished projects, with the BRC unit being one of the longer lived projects I had.  I started it circa 2003 and finished it in 2021.  I think that CN will occasionally lease a C-424 from BRC when they are short of power for grain shipments.  At least that is how it will work out in my world.   I was happy to get the C-424 completed and Otto at RMC was interested in an article about the build.  I must say I am quite pleased with his treatment of the article and accompanying photos.  If you happen across a copy of the magazine pick up a copy.  I am a subscrib

CP Gondola weathering

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I have a fair number of Canadian Pacific gondolas in my fleet, probably more than actually rode the rails in northern Manitoba.  Since I have been on a weathering kick of late for my boxcars and gondolas these cars have gone through the paint booth.  Road grime, rusty interiors and depending on the age of the car rust spots and gouges on the exterior.  These may get a bit more work down the road but so far I'm fairly happy with how they have turned out.   In the booth with the competition I weathered the floor to have an aged wood appearance.  It might be a bit too evenly coloured so this maybe revisited later The car sided might need a bit more rust The script scheme was quite old by the early 1980's so this car got rust spotting applied with a sponge followed by a fairly heavy dirt application This 65' gondola was built in 1982 so it would be fairly new in my era.  Prototype photos I have show the remnants of red paint on the interior walls so I tried to show some origina

Railgon weathering

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When Arrowhead Models came out with their Railgon gondolas I picked up a pair to add to my car fleet as these were fairly new in my era and when you are modelling a mining and smelting operation you can never have enough gondolas.  These were also the most expensive freight cars in my fleet; they were purchased direct from Arrowhead so factor in exchange rate, shipping and brokerage costs.  I have been slowly weathering my freight car fleet to get the "look" I envision.  I approached weathering these cars with some trepidation. I didn't want to screw up something worth that kind of money.  I looked at a lot of photos of prototype gondola photos, a few with overhead views of the interiors.  There is a lot of variation between cars depending on their age, general use and how roughly they are treated. These cars were built in 1980 so would have been fairly new in my 1981-83 timeframe.  I didn't want to beat them to within an inch of their lives, but they needed to show s

CP tank hopper weathering

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I finally got my CP 8 hatch tank hopper weathered, at least the roof and body.  This car was built from a custom run of  Sylvan Scale Models kits with my custom etched end cages from Black Cat Decals .  I still have a few of the Sylvan kits (in CP Multimark) and etchings available.  You can email me at mesagkits <AT> gmail <DOT> com for more details. I used a combination of Vallejo dark rust applied with a sponge to get a rusty tone to the black car as well as to tone down the white lettering.  Pan Pastel titanium white chalk was applied to the roof and side using prototype photos as a guide.  The white over the black body gives a good representation of spilled cement or lime in my opinion.   I'm still needing to weather the trucks and underframe with some road grime, but I'm happy with how it has turned out.  Sponges are turning into one of my favourite ways to weather cars.  

Weathering Wood Walkways

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Example of a weathered wood roofwalk.  These were already weathering heavily in the early 1970's when this photo was taken Cropped from an image I found on Facebook of a 40' boxcar being scrapped.  You can see the heavy weathering on the roof and roofwalk. Wood roofwalks by the early 1980s were not well maintained.  Cars that kept them often had rotten wood, missing planks, etc.  Rooftop photos from the period show a lot of weathered wood, often with little paint left after sometimes decades of exposure to the elements.   While I haven't gotten to the point of removing boards (yet), I am trying to represent paint failure and lack of maintenance.  A mix of greys, browns and blacks with a bit of wood colour in the mix gives some variety to the wood roofwalks.  I tried to vary the level of weathering between boards and cars so there wasn't any uniformity to the weathering patterns.  This is quick work, literally taking 5 minutes per car to get the roofwalks done.   A few o

CN boxcar build

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CN had a very large fleet of 40' steel boxcars that I have previously written about previously.  One car that I overlooked in that post was the fleet of Hutchins flat steel roofed cars.  There were 1000 10' IH cars with dreadnaught ends and Hutchins flat steel roofs in the 471000-471999 series delivered in 1937 from Eastern Car Company.  I had a Sylvan Scale Models (now offered by Yarmouth Models) Hutchins roof and an Intermountain 10'IH car.  Now what car to model? By the early 1980's CN was removing roofwalks from their boxcars in a willy nilly manner.  Some got them removed when they were repainted or repaired, others kept the roofwalks to retirement.  Using photos as a guide is a must for anyone modelling the 1970's and on. I wanted to model a car with the roofwalk removed.  Richard Yaremko has a good prototype shot in his Canadian Railcar Pictorial Volume 2 of 421856 (former 471039) in the CN tilted wafer "Serves All Canada" maple leaf scheme.  Now I

More 3D doodling - CN rebuilt 8 hatch reefer Part 2

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The parts on their sprues prior to being separated My friend Mike M surprised me with test prints of the parts for the CN rebuilt 8 hatch ice reefers.  The parts turned out pretty well, only a few tweaks are needed.  As a bonus the parts fit between the underframe cross members on the first try, which actually surprised me a bit since everything was scaled from photos.   I need to adjust the fuel tank a bit as it looks like it rides a bit too low - either it isn't sitting properly or it is needing some adjustment to the vertical height.   Next up is figuring out how to do the doors and refrigeration unit.  This is starting to look promising.

Building 3D printed Hawker Siddelley 52' Gondolas

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  3D printing has come a long way in a very short time.  Previously most production was coarse with striated prints that needed a lot of sanding and preparation to make a useable model.  The latest generation of resin printers has changed all of that.   Briggs Models ( www.briggsmodels.ca ) announced a while back that they were going to produce CN 52' Hawker Siddelley welded gondolas in their HO line.  I jumped at the opportunity to acquire a few of these kits as these gondolas were in regular service to Flin Flon hauling concentrate and other stuff.   I got an email that the kits were available so I ordered 5 kits from the website.  It was straightforward and I received a well packed box with the kits in sealed bags.  A few back and forth messages to Jeff Briggs got me a few specifics about the kits and off I went.  He indicated that the instructions will be posted to the website in the near term.  That said these are pretty straightforward to build.   The main body comes in two p