Tuscarora Railroad

The Tuscarora Railroad is a 1:20.3 garden railroad located in suburban Denver, Colorado. The railroad is based on the East Broad Top RR which still operates today as a tourist line in Orbisonia, PA (south-central PA). Be sure to check out Garden Railway Basics , Kevin's book on building and maintaining garden railroads for information on how the TRR was built.

Location: Denver, CO

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

EBT #7 completed!

After nearly 20 months from when I first started thinking about this project, East Broad Top #7 is finally ready to roll onto the rails and provide service to the towns and industries along the Tuscarora Railroad.

The paint scheme I chose for this model comes from similar examples of EBT locos c. 1908. Recall from earlier posts that #7 was inside the EBT's paint shop when the building caught fire and burned to the ground. Number 7 was damaged in that fire, which is when it received its new steel cab. As a matter of course, it would have been repainted following the fire. The EBT had just ordered 2-6-2 #11 from Baldwin, wearing this particular paint scheme (Baldwin "olive green," a paint which by all accounts I've read is a very dark green that looks almost black) with orange lettering. They had also just rebuilt EBT #1 (their first locomotive, a diminutive 2-6-0) with what appears in photographs to be identical paint (or at least lettering) that same year. So in all likelihood, #7 would probably have been painted to match those two locos.

The green paint I use is Badger ModelFlex "Seaboard Airline Pullman Green." The boiler is Testors' Buffable "Gunmetal." This gives a nice, darkish, almost mirror-like finish, which I then enhanced by buffing in powdered graphite. The weathering dulls the finish down a bit, but in the bright sun, it still shines very nicely. The smokebox is flat black paint.

The firebox and frame was also painted flat black, then weathered with washes and weathering powders. The drivers were painted the same green as the cab, but also weathered with washes and powders.

The detailing in the cab is approximate at best, but based on prototype practice. It's more just to give the effect of there being pipes everywhere. I did add a small lantern hanging next to the wall to illuminate the cab at night. It's wired to the power, so when I turn the loco on, it (and the headlight) come on. In retrospect, I probably should have hung the lantern on the back wall so the crews aren't looking into a light, but there was no convenient place to run the wires since the wires have to come out of the boiler. The lantern is an Ozark Miniatures casting.

The lettering on the side of the tender is from a set of custom dry transfers I had made up ostensibly to do the lettering on Accucraft's (or Rich Yoder's) EBT mikados when I got around to repainting them to their "as built" appearance. Well, I've got #12 from Accucraft, but decided I wasn't in the mood to backdate it, so it kept its factory lettering. I don't have one of Rich's mikados--nor do I foresee myself getting one in the near future. So, I'm using the lettering for all my other EBT locos (#1, #3, and now #7). The only "problem" is that I didn't have any 3s or 7s made up on that sheet--just 12, 14, and 15--so I had to use O-scale decals for the 7s. Fortunately there's no number on the side of the cab (that practice didn't start until #12 was built in 1913) so the O scale numbers work well. I got them from the Friends of the East Broad Top, so the color matches.

You'll also notice that I decided against the side extensions on the tender (see earlier post). Once the loco was painted, the visual weight changed, and the tender looked much better without it. 

The coal is genuine EBT coal, collected years ago when I was exploring the mines back in Robertsdale. The EBT seems always to have burned "run-of-mine" coal in their locos, despite having the facilities to clean and grade the coal up at Mt. Union. As such, the coal in the tenders always seems to have ranged in size from dust to fairly sizable chunks. That's great for modeling, because it means all I gotta do is get a big lump of coal and a big hammer. Before too long, I've got a perfect coal load. Pour it in, spray it with water laced with a touch of soap, then pour dilute white glue over it. The same technique was used on the "spillage" in the back of the tender, though I used just the smaller bits for that.

I wanted to model #7 as a hard-working locomotive; maybe not quite so "spit-and-polish" as her sisters (though they're hardly "museum fresh" either.) So, there's lots of dirt and grime, but more soot spread over the top of the boiler, domes, and cab roof than the others. I used flat black acrylic paint (Folk-Art or similar), then dusted coal dust onto it while wet. It sticks very well to the paint, resulting in pools of cinders here and there. A little extra dusting with powders completes the look. From a purely "scale" perspective, the dust is probably about twice as coarse as it would otherwise be, but from normal viewing distances, makes for a better effect. If it were smaller, it would just look like dust, not cinders.

All in all, I'm very pleased with how this project turned out. Of course, I get it done just in time for Bachmann to release a 1:20.3 C-19 which would have saved me a fair amount of work, but in looking at that model, I'd still have to do a bit, so maybe not such a savings after all. This loco runs very smoothly, so there's nothing more in terms of performance I'd desire from it. I can definitely see it being a "go-to" locomotive on the TRR. Still gotta work out some bugs with the front pilot truck, though. It's still prone to derailing every now and then.