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Scratchbuilding a side discharge rotary snow plow

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  • Member since
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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, July 18, 2022 11:01 AM

I like the roof walks and think you should leave them on. These machines were not out to win beauty contests. A little dirt and grime always help with the finished product.

I also think with the heat of that steam engine under it, the roof would remain clear of snow and ice and would be safe to walk on most of the time with or without.

If you looked at ten copies of a piece of equipment there is always a good chance there may be noticeable differences between them. In your plows case, I think it is right, however you do it.

Of course, if photo ops were a regular occurrence roof walks might make the health and safety people happy.Laugh

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 2:56 AM

Thanks rrebell and Brent,

So far 3 to 1 in favour of the roof walks. All of the arguments make sense regardless of which way they go. Taking them off would be a bit of a task because, as I mentioned before, I always use too much glue.Dunce I think I will leave them in place at least until I can get a coat of paint on the shell.

Right now I'm working on the cupola interior. I'm going to keep it very spartan because, if the pilot used whistles alone to communicate with the engineer and the pusher locomotives, there wouldn't be a lot of mechanical bits up there. All I'm going to do is model a couple of whistle actuators which probably won't be very visible.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 3:35 AM

hon30critter
All I'm going to do is model a couple of whistle actuators which probably won't be very visible.

I believe it was in the pilot's bailiwick to operate the flanger/ice cutters so there would at least be a lever to operate a pneumatic valve for the raising of the flanger. Plus a brake valve.

If it were mechanical there might even be a "Johnson bar" - sized lever.

Something to consider and something you could point to as an interesting detail.

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 4:28 AM

gmpullman
I believe it was in the pilot's bailiwick to operate the flanger/ice cutters so there would at least be a lever to operate a pneumatic valve for the raising of the flanger. Plus a brake valve.

Hi Ed,

Those would be interesting additions. I can't see anything on the prototype that looks like a flanger blade, but that doesn't mean there wasn't one. Also, you would think that there would have been ice cutters for the rails but I can't see any evidence of those either. It is possible that the pictures were taken before the plow was fully developed so adding those details would seem to be quite reasonable.

Thanks,

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 22, 2022 3:40 AM

I spent a couple of hours tonight prepping various parts for painting. Most of that time was spent cleaning up the rotary blades. I used my Optivisor to examine the blades very closely and I discovered that there was all sorts of excess solder as well as corrosion from the flux. I went over the blades three times, cleaning them with alcohol after each pass, and they finally look reasonably respectable.

I had cleaned the blades several times after assembly so I was a bit surprised to see the green corrosion buildup. I will get a coat of primer on them tomorrow so hopefully that will prevent further corrosion.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, July 23, 2022 6:20 AM

I said I was done working on the boiler. I lied!Whistling Last night I attached the main steam line to the steam dome. I had to adjust it a bit to get it to fit right which of course broke one of the solder joints. Like I said before, two steps forward and several steps back.Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

I am trying to get most of the project ready for painting and each time I look at something I see something else that needs to be done prior to painting. I hope I have identified most of those things by now but I still have to add the brake system to the plow.

Right now I'm waiting for some Ziploc containers to arrive so that I can wash everything. I thought we had lots in the kitchen but they are all in use.

I'm going to start by using rattle can primer on the main bits, but if the paint goes on too heavy I will dig out the airbrush. I haven't used it for a long time. The boiler and engines will get painted by hand, that is if I can keep my hands steady enough. Wish me luck!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Pruitt on Saturday, July 23, 2022 8:08 AM

I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product, Dave!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, July 23, 2022 9:55 PM

Pruitt
I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product

Hi Mark,

So am I! I seem to be working at a snail's pace because I have been correcting and/or improving so many little details.

I'm also waiting for a few more parts from Precision Scale.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 1:48 AM

I finally started the painting process tonight. All I have managed so far is to get the floor and the interior of the car sprayed with rattle can white primer which will be the final colour for the interior. It looks okay, but there is a bit of bleeding from the Sharpie pen that I used to mark the assembly lines. I did try to wash it off with alcohol but apparently I missed a couple of spots. Nothing serious.

I wish I had read the full instructions on the can before using it. The full cure time is five days. Had I read that in advance I would have gotten out my airbrush and used proper model paints. Lesson learned. The rest will be airbrushed with acrylics.

I got an email today informing me that the non-sound decoders for the plow and the second pusher engine are finally on their way. The sound will come from the first pusher engine and I already have the decoder for that. I just have to program it.

Personally I am pleased that I have finally gotten to the painting stage, but I still have a couple of decisions to make, namely the colour of the plow body and the colour of the rotating blades. Working from black and white photos makes it difficult to determine the original colours, but I am reasonably sure that the plow wasn't painted black. I think that red oxide or boxcar red would be more appropriate. As for the rotary blades, it would appear that they were the same colour as the body, but I am thinking of going out on a limb and painting them bright red. It would certainly make the plow stand out better. What say you?

Cheers!!

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by "JaBear" on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 4:00 AM
Gidday Dave, I’ve already “shot from the hip” before and got myself into trouble, but I’d go for the ubiquitous “red oxide” with the proviso that the actual colour varied depending on the local ingredients, and the maker.
 
As for the blades, there certainly is precedence for the use of “bright red”, with the same proviso as above to the actual red colour.
 
¼ My 2 Cents Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 7:34 AM

Hi Bear!

Thanks for the input. I am thinking along the same lines.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, July 28, 2022 9:09 AM

Only accual photo in color I could find of a rotary type that was vintage had the front area black and the box area was red with yellowish trim fron a 1910 post card.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 28, 2022 3:51 PM

rrebell
Only accual photo in color I could find of a rotary type that was vintage had the front area black and the box area was red with yellowish trim fron a 1910 post card.

Hi rrebell,

I agree that painting the rotary blades red might not be prototypical for the time period, but I want the model to stand out even when it isn't running. I guess we can call it modeller's licence. If I think they look too gawdy I can always paint them another colour. However, I really like the look of the standard rotary plows with the blades painted red.

Thanks for your input.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 29, 2022 4:05 AM

I just typed out a long post about painting and other details and I hit the wrong key and now all I have is fond memories!Bang Head The second attempt will likely be much less windy! Here we go:

I broke down tonight and decided to use a red oxide rattle can instead of digging out the spray booth and the air brush. You might remember that I said that I wasn't going to use any more rattle cans, but the heat has me feeling a bit off and I just didn't have the energy to set up the booth. Big mistake!!Bang HeadGrumpy

The rattle can 'red oxide' turned out to be a darkish brown without a hint of red in it, and the paint can was hard to control so I barely avoided having a couple of runs.Dunce (I'm going to turn around and bend over now so you can collectively kick my butt!).

While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I re-did some of the piping on the boiler. The first attempt was a disaster. The pipes were so high above the boiler that they looked like wedding arches at a Las Vegas Elvis chapel.Smile, Wink & Grin

One step forward and two steps back!

I should nave the non sound Loksound decoder in the next couple of days so that will give me something to do.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, July 29, 2022 5:45 AM

Dave, you better get humpin'. Winter is not that far away.  Smile, Wink & GrinLaugh

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, July 29, 2022 8:02 AM

I saw a picture of a rotary in brown but it was not as old as the 1910 one. Also on the 1910 one the box was a real red, not red oxide.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 29, 2022 9:20 PM

richhotrain
Dave, you better get humpin'. Winter is not that far away.

Hi Rich,

A pox be on you for talking about winter in July!!!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Right now I am in the position of literally having to watch the paint dry, which according to the instructions, will take five days.GrumpyBang Head

In the interim I have a couple more details to install on the boiler and then I can start hand painting that as well as the engines. Since my hands frequently shake, that is going to be a challenge. I'm going to hand paint the rotary blades as well. I thought of powering them up and spraying them but I can just see having problems with excess paint so I will brush them.

If the silent decoders arrive as scheduled, I will work on installing them too. One will go into the plow and the other into the second pusher engine. I also have to start learning about how to capture sounds for use with the LokProgrammer.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 31, 2022 1:50 AM

Still watching paint dry!Grumpy

I have a question for those who know more about steam engines than I do, which is most of you.

As I mentioned previously, I am going to use two whistles, a steam whistle and an air whistle, for the pilot's control of the plow and pusher engines. The steam whistle will be used to communicate with the engineers in the pusher engines and I believe it would be mounted on the steam dome. My question is where would the air whistle go. The air whistle is used to communicate with the plow engineer. An air whistle would seem to be problematic in cold weather because would be prone to freezing. Exhausting compressed air creates frost on its own regardless of the external temperature, so using it when the temperatures are below freezing would seem to exacerbate that problem significantly. So, where would it be mounted?

To me, the most logical place would be inside the plow close to the boiler so the heat would take care of the potential freezing problem. Of course it would have to have its volume reduced so as not to deafen the plow crew.

Does that make sense?

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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Posted by "JaBear" on Sunday, July 31, 2022 6:33 AM
OK, here goes nothing!! Why 2 whistles, when one would suffice?
 
If that was how the snow plow crew communicated internally, then surely a set of whistle combinations different to those to the pusher locomotives would have been used. 
 
I also have to wonder where the supply of compressed air comes from?
 
Having absolutely no basis in fact, I suggest that a telegraph system similar to those used between a ships bridge and engine room, though much simplified, could have been employed.
 
¼ My 2 Cents Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 31, 2022 7:22 AM

OK, here goes nothing!! Why 2 whistles, when one would suffice? If that was how the snow plow crew communicated internally, then surely a set of whistle combinations different to those to the pusher locomotives would have been used.

Hi Bear,

Good question. I'm basing my two whistle model on the operating regulations that I referred to in an earlier post (I can't put my finger on them right now, but I will dig them up). I believe that the reason for the two different whistles was to avoid confusion about who was reading what signal (whistle) indications. The steam whistle sound would have been lower pitched and loud enough that the pusher engineers' could easily interpret the messages. The air whistle would have been much higher pitched so there would be no question about to whom the signal was intended.

Misinterpretation  of the signals could have been disastrous. Imagine if the pilot was to signal the plow engineer to add power to the blades to deal with a heavy drift while instructing the pusher engines to slow down so the plow could deal with the extra volume of snow. If the pusher engineer(s) were to add power instead of backing off, the plow would have been rammed full force into the heavy snow. That wouldn't do the plow any good whatsoever, nor would it have been kind to the crew. The instructions are very specific when it comes to avoiding that sort of scenario.

Here are the operating instructions. Please refer to paragraph #9. Thanks to Ed for digging them up:

I have installed a small air compressor on the plow boiler and I have a small air tank to mount somewhere in the plow. Note paragraph #7 which states that the pilot shall control all of the air brakes on the entire train from the cupola! Assuming that both pusher engines and the plow have air compressors an air tanks, that could make for some interesting plumbing!

I appreciate your input Bear. You ask good questions.

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, August 4, 2022 10:09 AM

The rattle can primer has finally dried hard enough that it can be sanded. I found a bottle of Polly Scale 'Special Red Oxide' which has a much nicer tone to it. Unfortunately it has been stitting for several years so mixing it was a bit of a challenge. I discovered that my paint mixer had bitten the dust. The batteries went bad and the corrosion destroyed the motor brushes beyond repair. I took the paddle off of the motor and used my drill to stir the paint, but it isn't fast enough so I will have to buy another mixer.

I'm going to take a chance and paint the plow with a very light coat of white before applying the special red oxide. I tried the red oxide right over top of the brown primer and the colour came out too dark. I will use my air brush so hopefully there won't be too much more buildup.

I won't be posting much until August 18th. We have rented a cottage in northern Ontario and we leave on Sunday.

Cheers!!

Dave 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Attuvian1 on Thursday, August 4, 2022 11:56 AM

Dave,

Have a great time.  Hope the gnats, skeeters and no-see-ums are manageable.

John 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, August 4, 2022 12:05 PM

The Pollyscale paint has a good shelf-life, and if the pigment has settled to the bottom, I find that a bit of stirring with a popsicle stick or a small screwdriver will be a good first step to make it useable.  If necessary, add a little distilled water, then shake the daylights outa it for at least a couple of minutes.
You will, of course, need to thin it for airbrushing, and again, distilled water works very well for that, too.

When I first attempted to airbrush Pollyscale paint, I read a lot of posts about how to thin it, using a variety of products:  alcohol, Windex, lacquer thinner, and a list of other choices that I no longer remember.  I tried many of the suggestions, with absolutely no success, but it finally dawned on me to ask Pollyscale/Floquil. and that's where I learned that distillecd water worked best - you can buy it at any supermarket, but I found that pre-cleaning the bucket on my dehumidifier yielded a good equivalent at no cost.  Hard water is not a good choice.
After hearing from Pollyscale, I went out to my paintshop and did 45 cars, in a variety of boxcar-red/brown colours, without a hitch, changing colours and/or mixing them to create new colours - not one clog in the entire operation.

I'm still ticked-off that Testors/ModelMaster chose to not use the Pollyscale formula, as it was much superior to what they continue to shill to us.

Wayne

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, August 4, 2022 3:56 PM

Attuvian1
Have a great time.  Hope the gnats, skeeters and no-see-ums are manageable.

Thanks John,

We have learned over the years that August is the best month for bugs, or rather, the lack thereof. We have been to this same cottage in August for the last three years and I don't recall ever having to use bug spray.

The worst pests at this cottage are the red squirrels. The cottage is surrounded by very tall pine trees and early every morning the red squirrels climb to the top of the trees and drop pine cones which they will feed on throughout the day. The cones aren't mature so they are as solid as a rock, and when they hit the steel roof  it sounds like a gun going off. GrumpySmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, August 4, 2022 3:59 PM

doctorwayne
that's where I learned that distilled water worked best

Hi Wayne.

Thanks for the advice.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 4, 2022 6:33 PM

hon30critter

I found a bottle of Polly Scale 'Special Red Oxide' which has a much nicer tone to it. 

Polly Scale Special Red Oxide is the most beautiful of all the Polly Scale colors.

I used it to paint my Dearborn Station, and "special" is an understatement. You will love it.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, August 4, 2022 9:12 PM

richhotrain
Polly Scale Special Red Oxide is the most beautiful of all the Polly Scale colors.

Hi Rich,

The station looks great! That colour is perfect. Did you prime the station first? If so, what colour (or what colour was the plastic if you didn't prime it)?

It's too humid to do any painting here today. Maybe I can get a light coat of white on tomorrow night.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 4, 2022 10:07 PM

Dave, I did not prime the plastic, and I hand brushed the paint onto the building. The styrene parts were actually a dull red out of the box.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, August 4, 2022 10:35 PM

This mostly scratchbuilt boxcar...

was covered in aluminum tape...

...then covered with rivet decals from Archer...

...then airbrushed with Pollyscale Special Oxide Red...

I've left it as a mostly "new" car, but will eventually add some weathering.


I didn't bother with primer, as I wanted to see how the paint would stand-up to handling on the fairly shiny aluminum...so far, no issues with flaking, scratches, or fingerprints.

I think this one, a modified Athearn reefer, also got the same paint, although I often do mix-in other colours....

With roughly 400 freight cars, I don't want them all to be the same colour, as they're supposed to represent a wide variety of real railroads.

Wayne

 

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, August 7, 2022 1:04 AM

doctorwayne
This mostly scratchbuilt boxcar...

Hi Wayne,

That is indeed an interesting scratchbuild.

The colour is perfect for my plow.

Thanks,

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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