In accordance with the railroad's theme as a cog in the Nation's Basic Materials & Primary sectors, barges and a towboat were deemed an appropriate addition to my river-rail transload operation. I did some internet searching and found laser-cut acrylic kits offered by Custom Model Railroads. After browsing and getting distracted by all of their other cool stuff like skyscrapers and lift bridges, a barge 3-pack and towboat was purchased.
It has taken me a long time getting to this point, mostly due to a bit of intimidation. These kits are more advanced than what I typically build and are made of acrylic, an unfamiliar material. As such, I let the project fester on the shelf since delivery, paralyzed by analysis. I already had the real estate picked out and riverfront partially landscaped, so I finally forced myself to flip through the directions and dive in.
One barge has been assembled thus far but the other two should go a bit quicker after familiarizing myself with the multitude of parts, and working with acrylic solvent from a needle-tipped bottle. Filling and sanding the interior bracing pockets was slightly tedious, so they'll be hidden with coal or aggregate loads on the remaining two kits. Overall, I've gained some confidence with these acrylic kits and look forward to beginning construction on the tow boat. I'm considering ordering their double track lift bridge for the next layout, too...
|The instructions are well written (and give scale to the kit)|| |
|"Fiberglass" covers are provided, molded out of white styrene|
|Squadron putty applied and sanded smooth, per the instructions|
|An overview. Deck bracing is optional if a load or covers are added. I think the next two will be loaded...|
|Deck details still need to be applied|| |
CMR's double track bridge, nearly 47" in length
The second project is a pair of EMD SD45s that have been in progress for about two years, which were originally painted for the C&NW. With the latest and greatest SD45s available from Scaletrains, I don't know why I'm still heading down this path, but I digress. The hardest part was stripping Kato's paint but the 91% eventually did its job, and details were then added. ESU Loksound decoders with proper 20-cylinder sound files are installed, along with dual sugar cube speakers. Eventually they'll get a paint job and LED lighting.
I have not made a decision about the handrails yet, as we all know the standard KATO parts are a bit chunky. I may order the etched variety from KV models or go
another route with parts already on hand, i.e. Athearn metal parts. Sure, they're not as detailed, but from afar they look decent to my eyes. We'll see how much motivation I find.
The snow shields and air conditioner are why I like freelanced modeling: I added them because they look cool. There's a GP35 that will go along with these two which is in the same condition, but she's hidden away in the modeling closet. All three show various aftermarket modifications such as anti-climbers, relocated horns and headlights, along with an ECAFB* that hints at electrical upgrades, but under the hood they still retain 20-cylinder prime movers.
*Electrical Cabinet Air Filter Box, typically a sign of dash-2 electronics. It's on the left side walkway behind the cab.
|Moderately modified by CMPS but the 20-cyl is still under the hood. AS IT SHOULD BE.|
|Freelanced 20-cylinder rebuilds. Maybe SD45M-2?|
Thanks for reading and I'll have some photos of the tow boat for the next update.
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