Equipment Portraits :: 8

Here’s the eighth in a series of posts featuring photos of equipment in my collection. This time, I return to the models ran on my fallen flag layout, Port Rowan in 1:64, in no particular order.

CNR 481536

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 my friend Andy Malette at MLW Services. I replaced the plastic brake rigging with wire. I had several of these cars on the layout. This example features the CNR “Serves All Canada” all-white herald, part of a decal set from Al Ferguson at Black Cat Publishing.

CNJ 65414

S Helper Service produced this ready-to-run car, factory-painted for the CNJ. I weathered the car, added flexible air hoses from BTSRR, and added finer scale NWSL wheel sets, which have become my standard for 1:64 modelling. While the CNJ may seem like an odd choice of road name to find on a backwater branch in southern Ontario, one of the few prototype photos I have of the line shows a hopper from this railroad being positioned on the elevated unloading track in Port Rowan. Lots of coal would’ve been shipped from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and environs for heating southern Ontario homes in the winter.

PRR 220133

Here’s another example of a ready-to-run S Helper Service two-bay hopper – this time, a wood/steel composite model factory painted for the Pennsylvania Railroad. As with the CNJ hopper, I did the weathering. I also swapped in NWSL finer scale wheel sets and added train line air hoses from BTSRR. This car sports EC64 couplers from Sergent Engineering: I experimented with these couplers, but in the end decided that I preferred the operational reliability of Kadee 808s. (That wasn’t a problem with the Sergent coupler so much as with my ability to assemble them.) With its “Buy War Bonds” slogan, this car is a bit early for my line but I can live with that: Maybe I’ll obliterate more of the slogan so it appears to be failing to the effects of weather and time. With their open ends, hopper cars really show off the thinner profile wheel sets I use to good effect.

WAB 181

Port Rowan was home to Potter Motors – and my understanding is that this business also dealt in farm equipment. (If it did not, well – it did on my layout!) This car is a ready-to-run, factory-painted example from S Helper Service, which I weathered and loaded with six tractors by Ertl.

This is a favourite car of mine for several reasons. First, I really enjoyed researching and building all the blocking and tie-downs for the tractor load. Second, I’m really pleased with how the deck weathering turned out. It makes a great contrast to the brand new, shiny Farmall tractors. Third, at the time I built it my friend Pierre Oliver modelled the Wabash across southern Ontario (in HO), and his line crossed mine in nearby Simcoe – so this car is a nice reminder of that. And finally, this car is good for the biceps: It’s a die cast flatcar with six die cast tractors mounted on it, and the combination weighs more than 17 ounces.

CGTX 1038

This tank car is a ready-to-run model from S Scale America (a brand owned by Des Plaines Hobbies). I was pleasantly surprised to find a few offerings lettered for Canadian prototypes. This car has a number of minor issues in terms of accuracy, but fellow S scale enthusiast Pieter Roos has done a great job on making these cars more prototypical and I have notes on his upgrades in my files – somewhere. Meanwhile, “S” is for “Stand-in Model”. As with the hopper cars, the finer scale NWSL wheels really look nice under this tank…

CNR 209503

This resin kit – from my friend Andy Malette at MLW Services – builds up into the CNR’s distinctive eight-hatch refrigerator cars. In a previous instalment of this series, I included a car with a red-and-green maple leaf, whereas this car has the all-red logo. Pierre Oliver built the kit for me, while I added CN’s distinctive segmented wooden running board, finer hatch rests, and a few other details. I also weathered the car. I need to hit the train line air hoses with a brush – I somehow missed the valves and glad-hands so they’re still in bare brass.

I plan to share more posts like this – but if you’re new to them, browse the Portraits category to find all the previous posts in this series. If you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you enjoyed these equipment photos and notes.

Published by Trevor

Lifelong model railway enthusiast and retired amateur shepherd who trained a border collie to work sheep. Professional writer and editor, with some podcasting and Internet TV presenting work thrown in for good measure.

6 thoughts on “Equipment Portraits :: 8

  1. Always thought S-scale was the perfect size. It has plenty of heft, large enough to detail, but still manageable in size. Unfortunately it is, as you say, a niche scale with limited availability of material compared to HO. Perused with pleasure your photos of the layout. Rarely modeled to scale were the trees which dwarfed the railroad and structures. The modeling was superb, especially the track. Overall balance was excellent. Wonder if you remember our operating on John Armstrong’s layout 20 or so years ago with Bill Borrelli, Andy Sperandeo, and myself?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from you, Norm. And yes – I do remember that operating session! How could I forget?
      To be fair, everything is niche compared to HO. My experience has been that by carefully choosing one’s prototype (or by freelancing, as John Armstrong did), it’s possible to build a very rewarding layout in 1:64. And the lack of choice certainly helps one focus! S has also forced me to learn new skills so I can “build” instead of “buy”, and I’m grateful to S for that.


  2. Hi Trevor! Although I don’t model in S scale, I always enjoy your rolling stock portraits. Do you have any recommendations for a soldering iron, solder and flux for building photoetch kits. Sorry if I missed an earlier blog entry about your soldering methods. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John:
      I’m glad you’re enjoying these!
      I haven’t made any specific recommendations. For the models I’ve built, I’ve used a Weller WES51 soldering station and a resistance soldering rig – mine is a Hot Tip, which is no longer available, but an American Beauty will work just as well. I use Ruby Fluid as the flux, and bog-standard electrical solder for the solder. I bought spare tips for the WES51, because I also use it for electrical soldering and I don’t want to use the same tips for both. Also, the Ruby Fluid is quite corrosive so after every session, I disassemble the soldering iron tip and the resistance soldering rig’s probe, and clean them with some contact cleaner or WD40.
      My best recommendation is find some well designed but very simple and readily available kits to practice on before you try to solder something that you can’t replace. I started with for some 7mm (British 0 Scale) kits for simple open good wagons (freight cars) from Walsall Model Industries because they fit the criteria and I like the Great Western Railway. You can find some photos of these on my website if you check the “God’s Wonderful Railway in 7mm” link at the top of the home page.
      Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Really, though, it’s whatever you’re comfortable with and what you’re building. I could probably have done all of my soldering with a couple of pencil irons in different wattages.
        I like the WES51 because it comes up to heat rapidly, so I don’t have to leave the iron on. I hated having a hot iron sitting on the bench for hours – it seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. I also like it a lot for installing decoders, doing layout wiring, etc.
        I like the resistance soldering rig too – but it mostly makes the job easier, as opposed to being necessary for the work.
        The tools are less important than the practice…

        Liked by 1 person

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