Durango Press Fairmont Speeder Part 1

Project, Trains

I have a bit of a history with white metal kits, well I started one and did not make it very far and every once in a while I come across the box… one day…

Anyway I needed a Speeder for my Speeder Shed diorama, I also grew up 10 miles from Fairmont Minnesota, home of Fairmont Railway Motors so if I’m going to do a speeder it might as well be a Fairmont. Enter the Durango Press DP-37 white metal kit.

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I was hesitant at first to do another white metal kit but decided a speeder car should be a more simple starter kit, compared to the complex Custom Finishing Models kit I had originally tried.

Basic Prep

This is a fairly simple model without too many parts, first I put them into some little re-sealable ziploc style bags for better storage between steps. Then I started cleaning up any flashing which was mostly windows.

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Paint or Assembly

I took some time to try and decided which to do first, paint or assemble. assembly first might make it harder to paint tighter to get to areas and harder to do some of the more detail things (like the lights). I ended up going with partial assembly and then paint… in large part because I found myself with this:

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Any further and I figured it’d just be harder to paint in part because I’m going to try using a Testors rattle can (because I have it, and I still haven’t fixed my airbrush… and don’t want to wait ūüôā ).

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I took a bit of scrap particle board as a painting surface and some masking tape to hold down the small parts and started spraying away. It’s not the most precise rattle can (the Duplicolor automotive rattle can spray paints are actually pretty good for control and spray… it’d be nice if Testors used the same technology). If figured if it was bad enough I’d scrape it off and start over or just go heavy on the weathering.

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Things didn’t get to a great start (though the lighting in my garage doesn’t really help) so I kept applying light coats… or as light as this rattle can could do to try and give it a smooth finish. and then the rattle can went dry. And by dry I mean leaked a bunch of paint out on my hand and made a big puddle next to the nozzle.. but didn’t spray any of it.¬†Since there wasn’t enough coverage to call it good so out came some matching testors paint and a brush slowly building up paint.

The wheeles were looking good though so I pulled out a Model Masters “steel” color and painted the treads (well half done in this picture).

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I really don’t like the regular testors paint (which is too bad as it’s so easy to find and cheap), the model masters stuff isn’t bad but I’ve fallen in love with the thin Vallejo acrylics but I’ve already started and have it on hand so on I continue.

After this the speeder set on my workbench a while, aside from the wheels I just wasn’t satisfied with out how the paint looked. Actually not satisfied doesn’t even start to describe how disappointed I was with it. I was so frustrated it basically ended up on the shelf most of the summer. This was supposed to be a smallish project that’d be done relatively quickly so rather than a stream of posts I’d just maintain an unpublished post until it was done. Fast forward a couple months and I finally got down to the business of stripping off the old paint.

Based on advise recieved as comments on this blog and searching around the web I ended up with a big container of “Purple Power” and some plastic gloves. It worked so well virtually all the paint had separated from the metal after about 24 hours. In fact even the glue had separated from the model as well so I got to build it again. This time I’m using Vallejo acyrlics not enamel and tonight I started with some primer. This was a chance to test out some airbrush equpiment changes as well. This was going to be one post to the end but I’m thinking it’ll be 2 parts, with final paint and weathering being a separate post.


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Super detailed track, attempt 2


My first attempt at attaching the rail to my ties and tie plates the first time didn’t exactly go swimmingly, the tie plates seemed to go on pretty well but the rail not so much.

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I had some free time this evening after the kids went to bed so I gave it another shot. I found the LED lights for my photo box worked well for iluminating the surface. This time I tried gluing along the rail and then placing it on the ties. That seemed to work at first but it ended up ¬†not really bonding to either. Then I tried doing just a couple ties at a time, and putting the glue directly on the tie plate and using one of the really strong magnets to hold them in place. Hopefully letting them sit like this to cure. If this doesn’t work I’ll probably have to figure out a different glue to use.

See more posts about this project here.

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Some Better Tie Plating… Part 2


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When we last saw our heros… err… ties… a 9″ section was racked up ready for tie plates. I started prepping by cutting out some tie plates to work with. In my first tie plate test I used an X-Acto knife which worked but wasn’t terribly quick or easy so after digging around the Proto87 Stores website I found they recommend using a scissors which ended up working perfectly.

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Next up was preparing a glue syringe, getting the glue (I used a gel super glue) in the syringe was…. well interesting… but I eventually got some in there and I was good to go.

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And with that I was off, as a side note it’s really hard to take pictures of these details with a phone, especially the spikes as we’ll soon find out. I’ll have to see about borrowing my wife’s DSLR and tripod for future detail shots.

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One of the first observations you’ll make doing this is that it’s really hard handle these tie plates because they are so tiny, and you are working with super glue which is not really the most forgiving glue. P87 stores recommends a dental pick type tool which I could definitely see working but as I didn’t have one ended up dabbing just a tiniest bit of superglue on the tip of my X-Acto blade and using that to pick up and place tie plates and when the glue dried on the blade scrape it off and dab another miniscule amount on. Really I was just making it tacky enough to pickup but not sticky enough to be a stronger bond than the glue on the ties.

Gluing itself with the syringe had it’s ups and downs but I’ll admit it might be related to the glue I was using (and it being a little thicker than intended for the syringe). One of the problems I encountered was a siphon effect was created and just sitting there it would start oozing out and then I’d have more on the tip than I’d need for a tie plate and I’d have to use a pin to kind of move glue off the syringe onto the tie. This actually worked pretty well and I might use it instead of the disposable syringes.

My second glue observation was that the amount of glue mattered more than I’d expected. Too much and the template would glue to the tie (happened a couple times but was easy enough to pull off), and too little and the plate would set before I got it positioned right and I’d have to scrape it off and retry.

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Soon I had a whole row of tie plates, my thinking was get one side done. I’ll be honest as I started I wasn’t sure it was something I’d stick to but it got smoother as I went. The next problem is attaching a rail. The tie plates have some vertical definition but not much.¬†I’m not sure if the tie plate itself is supposed to help align the rail very (or if it’s just decorative). Next up I was trying to figure out how to bond the rail to the tie plates, I had gotton some pliobond (I got the idea from the Fast Tracks videos) but on first opening the bottle a gloop of the stuff dropped right on my work space and made a mess but worse of all was quite a noxious smell so I knew I couldn’t work with that inside.

I decided to pick one tie glue it in place and my first attempt of that worked… but it didn’t have a great hold when I tried moving things around so I did it again and this time put in a spike to give an additional mechanical grip. Here is a picture of said spike.

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You probably can’t see it… I couldn’t see it in any pictures. You may be thinking, I think I see it, there is a little silverish dot but that’s just where the rail weathering paint hadn’t adhered properly… but it is near there. Those Proto87 spikes are tiny, it was an interesting challenge getting it in there. Even my smallest needle nose pliers was comically large nosed compared to these spikes. I’m thinking what might be more appropriate is a sturdy set of tweezers or see if there are fine needle nose pliers available at hobby stores for jewlery makers.

Moving forwared I’m going to try and figure out how I’m going to attach that rail before starting the other side. I’ll leave you with a parting shot of the rail and tie on the rest of the ties in the jig… though because it’s a phone picture and the details are super tiny you probably can’t make out the tie plates.

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Some Better Tie Plating


My first attempt at tie plates used the Proto 87 Stores sample kit. It has a sample of tie plates, spikes, joint bars, etc and a very simple spacing template that looks like this:

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They specifically say it’s for someone who’s not too sure how invested they want to get in it. After gluing down one tie plate with it I could definitely see why, you basically had to fasten it in place and glue tie plates in without gluing down the template and there was nothing to keep it in the right place or aligned. I decided to just upgrade to the suggested method which comes with a tie alignment jig.

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The tie jig is pretty cool because it can easily handle three different tie lengths and two different spacings.

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Once you get your ties aligned you overlay the the tie plate jig with the correct settings and then glue on your tie plates and swap the jig to the other side. The kit I got came with two syringes for applying glue but since these are really disposable once the glue dries in the syringe I’m going to finish painting my all my ties before I start gluing to avoid prematurely having to dispose of one.

I got the 19″ pro base system which appears to just be a picture frame with a stainless steel “picture” and then some nice strong magnets to hold the jigs in place. What I like about this system is once you have a base it lowers the cost of subsequent jigs because you only need to purchase the parts you need and they also offer a upgrade kit for the 19″ base to 38″ (for the really big switches). That said, I’m going to stick to Fast Tracks for turnouts as I’m not really terribly interested in going full P87 right now and I really like Fast Tracks turnouts.

Tie plate coloring


I’ve been trying to figure out what color I wanted my tie plates to be on the speeder shed, I kind of want them to be a slightly different color from the rail and the ties so they stick out but still be subtle. I have a couple weathering paint pens with rust, tie, and rail colors. I started painting some rust to see¬†but felt there was too much contrast, then I tried rail which I liked a lot better felt to uniform and dark.

On a whim I ran a light coat of the rust pen over the rail painted tie plates and liked the result:



Some New Year supplies


I’ve been slowly collecting supplies for my Speeder Shed diorama, I found some general supplies online (sculptamold, matte mod podge etc) and some other scenic pieces.¬†Yesterday I took my middle child Jacob to Scale Model Supplies, in part to recover from New Years Eve and in part to just browse around.

I had been looking for a 1950s Chevy Pickup but have found that Ford is a way more licensed than Chevrolet and was disappointed that the closest I could find was Mini Metals 41/46 tow truck. It’s a nice model but a little older than I was looking for and as a tow truck would not really make sense as an employee’s vehicle as is. ¬†Then as I was about to wrap things up found an unboxed ¬†Busch (according to the bottom) 1950 Chevy pickup in a display case for only $6.


Given that I have the 50 now I might leave the tow truck as a commercial vehicle (it’s decaled for Mobile) perhaps delivering some petroleum supplies out to the shed. The 50 will need to either be repainted or at minimum have the Cornerstone Construction Co decal removed. The deciding factor will probably be if I can find a replacement Chevrolet hood ornament decal (or I mess up removing the decal) as I’d never be able to ¬†mask it and I’d hate to lose it.


The 41/46 came with some unattached parts, one looks like side mirrors and the other looks like a license plate holder with a tail light but I’m not entirely sure.

I alsoound a set of Blair Line wood grade crossings and I’ve decided to use them as the decking around the track to the main and on the main itself for turning the speeder. It seems logical they’d build it the same way they built wood grade crossings.


Along with a couple trees a quick mockup. I’m still waiting on the track supplies and I need to make the general landform with scupltamold but as I’m fairly well stocked I just need to get to work ūüôā

Speeder Shed Foundation


Posed with some spare flex track and the extent of my 1/87 scale car collection (a Shelby Cobra)

I started gluing down roadbed for the track, I decide to use scrap cork to build the land form under the shed itself (so it’d be level and the right height). I plan to build up the foundation with some leftover turnout ties. This should bring the building up to the correct height so it’s right on top of the rails (there’s a short track perpendicular¬†to the line that goes into the shed)

Most of the supplies I need are either already on hand or en route. I still need to find a speeder, a 50’s pickup (preferably Chevrolet, though the ’60 Ford 4×4 advertised in the Jan MRR would look nice too!), and some general details around the shed (tools, pile of tie plates, etc).

For the speeder I am tempted to try a Custom Finishing Models kit, I’ve had trouble in the past (lack of skill) but want to give it another shot on a simpler project.

Speeder Shed Diorama


I’ve got the day off, most of my around the house projects done, and it’s snowing so good motivation to start working on a winter themed diorama. My Speeder Shed has always been a little favorite but I’ve never had anywhere to put it because it just doesn’t work in terms of era.¬†I’ve had this idea to make a little diorama for it and since my next big project is going to be winter why not do a winter scene.

To start with a base I dug through my scrap wood pile and found this nice piece of Oak board.


This was left over from doing a knee-wall cap so it’s a nice Oak hardwood board (and was fairly expensive). My plan is to stain and varnish the edges to give it a quality feel.

As I’ve never done winter scenery I picked up a Woodland Scenics winter effects kit.


I’ll be using the bits in here pretty extensively, and comes with some nice directions on snow and ice (including icicles).


I’m going to have the track cross the board at an angle for a little more visual interest. I’m working on how a railroad employee would get there, a little minimum maintenance road and parking area and a couple of well-established (tall) snowy pine trees to tower along side the tracks (foreground left) and to the right¬†and back of the shed.

My plan for the track is to do hand laid with Proto 87 spikes and tie plates.

Repaired Speeder Shed


A little over 2 years ago I built a card stock speeder shed from Clever Models. I had some plans for it that never ended up materializing, fast forward to this weekend as I was trying to organize I found this:




A little sad but definitely repair-able. I don’t have a clear vision on where I’d use this little guy but I wanted to fix it before things got worse so I built a sub-frame to hold everything straight and true.




Having straight walls definitely looks better!


You can see the back brace through the door if you look closely, I may try to camouflage it when I give it a permanent home. When I do I will build a wood foundation/platform to replace the card stock one that it originally had which was not salvageable.

Speeder Shed

Project, Trains

I spent some time this afternoon working on a Clever Models¬†speeder shed. It is nearly done, I just need to do some weathering to soften the exposed white paper surfaces. Now a speeder shed isn’t really appropriate for my era, rather my railroad would have hi-rail trucks instead. For a while now I’ve had an idea to put a model railroad museum on my CR23 free-mo module in part because I like railroad history and because it would give me a nice stealth programming track.

I had never really known what structures to use for it though, I’ve been considering the Motrak Models MOW shed¬†(and still am) but it seems to be a speeder shed would be a great addition to any museum. The only thing I might change with the speeder shed is the base, I built the card stock version that comes with it but being a module that will, hopefully, move a lot I might try building one out of wood for durability. It will be hard to do though, this one looks really nice!