Several years ago, I started to shoot portraits of the equipment that ran on my (now dismantled) S scale Port Rowan layout, and published them on my previous (now defunct) website. I always liked this series and I think others enjoyed it too, so I’m resurrecting it for this website – starting with replicating the original posts.
Here’s the first selection of pieces, presented in no particular order. I’ve added some notes on each.
This is a Ridgehill Scale Models resin kit for the CNR’s wooden vans (cabooses). The kits were actually offered in a few variations but I can never keep track of the details. I bought this kit and a resin kit for a CNR boxcar (shown below) in case I ever built a module for the S Scale Workshop. The kits sat on the shelf for a few years because I was busy in other scales. Then one day I realized I was never going to get around to building them so I handed them off to my friend Pierre Oliver, who did this sort of thing for a living. The finished models helped me decide to take the plunge into S scale. Despite this, Pierre and I are still good friends…
This is a Ridgehill Scale Models resin kit for the CNR’s Dominion (Fowler Patent) boxcars. The kit came in a couple of CNR variants, and were offered in CPR versions as well. Like the van (shown above), Pierre Oliver built this one for me. He built a lot of rolling stock for me – including several included in this post – because I was just too darned busy building my layout and I wanted equipment to run on it.
This is a Pacific Rail Shops plastic kit, with several aftermarket modifications and detail upgrades. It’s one of the first rolling stock kits that I built in S scale and it helped me get a real feel for the size of equipment in 1:64. I added a real wood roof walk, Canadian-prototype ladders from Des Planes Hobbies, and a detail upgrade kit from Andy Malette at MLW Services. I replaced plastic brake rigging with wire. This particular kit had been started by the previous owner – who only got as far as adding a ton of weight inside the body, using birdshot and caulk. I was not able to get the lead out (so to speak) so this car really tips the scales. I tended to run it a lot as an LCL car on the Port Rowan Mixed Train.
This wooden plow has become one of my favourite models, even though it rarely saw service on Port Rowan, which was set in August. I built this from an Ambroid kit that I picked up from my friend Andy Malette. The kit must’ve been 50 or 60 years old, but the wood was in terrific shape and was a joy to work with. As designed, the kit is based on a Boston and Maine prototype, so I made several changes as I built it to make it more closely resemble a CNR plow. I was fortunate to have a copy of an article from the CN Lines magazine about Ron Keith, who modelled several CNR plows in HO scale, and I used photos of his work to help me create this version. As a box of mostly wood plus a bit of tin and some pretty rudimentary instructions (“Make and add details per the diagram”) the kit was pretty intimidating, so it sat for a few months while I worked up the nerve to start it. Once I got going, though, I found it a very enjoyable experience and was surprised at how well some of the decades-old parts went together. I was also pleasantly surprised by my ability to perform real construction operations, like sanding bevels into the parts that make up the plow bracing.
This resin kit – from Andy Malette at MLW Services – builds up into the CNR’s distinctive eight-hatch refrigerator cars. Actually, “refrigerator” is a misnomer, even though it’s spelled out on the side. This is really a “controlled temperature” car – equally at home keeping things warm as it is keeping things cool. I was surprised at the great variety of freight that these carried – everything from produce to live bees. Pierre Oliver built most of the kit for me, while I finished it by adding a real wood roof walk, finer hatch rests, and a few other details. I also weathered the car. I really like how the grey sides with red lettering and green leaf pop out in a consist of mineral red boxcars.
I will continue to transfer and publish the original posts here as time allows. As I add to this series, I will collect all of these posts under the Portraits Category to make it easy to find them. I’ll also share photos of equipment I’ve acquired or built for other layouts, in S and other scales.