Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Add it to the list

of things I don't understand.

Yesterday I went to the post office to mail a box of parts to my friend Aaron Gjermundson, the talented soul who created the patterns for the Wabash stock car kit I'm selling. The parts are for a upcoming release of another resin freight car kit. More details in awhile. Patience young Skywalker.
It cost me $10.00 to air mail it North Dakota.
Today I mailed this finished car to a client in Alberta.

It cost me $12.00 to surface mail this. Now the box is exactly the same size and in fact the box from today weighs less.
What am I missing here?
I think I need to lay down some more.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Living on the Edge

Necessity can be the mother of invention!
On Friday I slightly sprained my shoulder residing my mother-in-laws garden shed. Aren't I the good son-in-law?
Next on the bench are 4 Chooch O scale cars for a client. Nice looking cars when they're done, it's just that the castings can have overly thick flash which needs to be removed. The roofs in particular can be a real chore. So with an aching shoulder the prospect of sanding off upwards of 0.015" from the underside of the roofs was, to say the least, daunting.
So, I went out on a limb and tried something I've been considering for sometime now. I pulled out the sanding station, stuck in a new belt and with a little trepidation went for it.
The surface area of the O scale casting is enough to help keeps things in control and with a light touch and repeated checking of progress, within 2-3 minutes the casting is ready. Sure beats the 20 minutes or more that hand sanding would have required.
Now I only did the roofs this way and I would not attempt this with HO scale parts, at least not with 80 grit belts. And this is definitely an outdoors thing. The dust cloud is not welcome in the house.
Now what else needs sanding?
Wonder if I can do the cat's claws this way?
Maybe not.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Kicking it up a Notch

It's been a good week!
Wabash stock car kits have been steadily going to the Post Office.
Lot's of dialogue for the next kit and potential new projects. And I'm still welcoming suggestions. Tell me what it is you'd like to see in resin and multi-media kits. You never know what may work for me and others.
I spent a day in Toronto with my good friends John Mellow and Trevor Marshall, running trains on Trevor's Port Rowan S scale layout. Port Rowan in S scale.

I got this caboose finished.
Silly me I didn't take a picture of the finished car, but you can see another one of these in my Gallery. These are CPR vans from Northern Scale Models. The kits were done by Mullet River Model Works. They are spectacular wood and etched brass kits and create lovely cabooses. As Marty McGuirk recently blogged, they're worth buying one and building just for display.

But the real fun was this car;
A client had sent me this car to build for him. It's an Intermountain 40' AAR boxcar with a Viking roof. The client supplied the C&NW decals from Jerry Glow. From there I upgraded most of the details on the car. A Tichy AB brake set, with wire brake rods and clevis'. Kadee bracket grabs, wire end grabs, DA 8 rung ladders, Tichy Ajax hand brake, cast resin lateral running boards and brass strip lateral supports, Reboxx semi-scale wheelsets, etc. The process, which takes almost as long as building a resin kit, takes a good kit and kicks it up to a great looking model.
After painting the decals went on with only a little trouble. Jerry Glow's decals are very nice and he's got a process where it's viable to create decals on demand. The trouble I have with his decals is that the actual ink used does not soften well with decal setting solution, so getting the actual inked parts to settle over rivets and such can be a trial. What I've found that works, is after initial application with Micro-Scale setting solution and letting that dry, the trouble areas get a little Solvaset applied and after a few minutes I press firmly on the decal with a Q-tip or rubber pad. That usually addresses the problem.
A trip into the weathering shop and voila!
I'm pleased and I expect the client will be as well.
Now to some Chooch O scale boxcars.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Canada Post is STUPID!

So I was in the post office yesterday, mailing off the first batch of kit orders. (Yes, this does mean that I'm actually shipping kits now. Huzza!)
I'm using a standard sized mailing box and wrapping each kit box in brown paper. I took the pile down to the post office and proceeded to process the boxes. The lady measured the package, since now Canada Post has "volumetric" pricing as well as by weight. Anything to get more of our money.
She informed me that the box was too small.
One half of a centimeter too narrow in fact.
Needless to say I was speechless. Gobsmacked as the Brits might say. Stupefied.
Too heavy I see. Too large, I get it. Insured for too much, I understand.
TOO SMALL!? Give me a freaking break.
It's not enough that on top of postal fees we get a "fuel surcharge", and have to pay sales taxes, to be told what size of boxes I have to use is way over the top.
And I know I've received smaller boxes in the past and sent smaller boxes as well.
Solution is shown in the photo. I tape a strip of box cardboard to the side of the box and then wrap with paper and "voila", 9 cms in width.

And a further development on this, late yesterday while I was shipping yet more boxes, I was told that the size restriction only applies to mail to the US. Canada Post is able to deliver "undersized" boxes within our borders, but can't quite figure out how to get them across the 49th parallel.
This in the era of Free Trade and Globalization. Further evidence that government and other public and semi-public agencies are NOT on the side of small business.
I have to go lie down now. :-)