A blurred year

Like many modelers, I enjoy taking a moment in January to review the projects of the previous year. It often gives me comfort to know that I’m actually moving models toward completion. 2020 was a very strange year as the Covid-19 pandemic upset our lives and routines. I also completed several models that had sat idle for months and years. It makes it harder to define what was actually started and finished in 2020, making it all seem like a blurred year.

I learned how to flatten a warped resin casting this year, using a square of steel heated on the stove. After the parts cooled, assembly was quick.

I had a paint adhesion incident with this model and another. The experience pushed me to use a primer on all models before spraying on the car color. The end result was made even more delightful with a set of custom decals supplied by a friend. It looks pretty good after the parts sat around for 30 years and some had warped. This boxcar is currently rolling through the weathering factory for a final finish.

I tackled another old kit that was a custom decorated Roundhouse plastic model from 20+ years ago. A new Accurail underframe some modification to the side and end sills, new data decals, and a new set of trucks turned this into a favorite. It was just weathered to make it ready for service.

A pair of Pennsy GR gondolas went through the paint shop. Both have been decaled and weathered. These are Funaro & Camerlengo kits that were built years ago. I dwelled too long thinking about how to model the side stake brackets. It was a goal early in the year to wrap these up and it feels great to finally have them completed.

Another pair of gondolas crossed the 2020 finish line. These follow a Nickel Plate prototype and were produced as a limited private run by a friend. These truss rod cars have lots of character and they were fun to build and detail.

I’ve wanted to add a pair of Lackawanna 36-foot boxcars. A friend had produced custom decals for the 1920s lettering. I upgraded the detail on a pair of Accurail models then painted and decaled the cars. I just finished weathering both, making them the latest additions to the freight car fleet.

This Westerfield Models Pennsylvania Railroad X23 class boxcar is probably my favorite finished model from 2020. I started building this in 2015 with paint and decals applied in 2020. I wanted to show how the steel components weathered different from the wood sheathing, so I took my time applying several different weathering layers. It was fun to try new techniques on a classic boxcar.

Still to finish

Not everything was completed in 2020. Here are a few models awaiting the next steps.

This Owl Mountain Models Southern Pacific flat car is ready for decals.

I have a pair of these Funaro & Camerlengo F22 heavy duty flat cars. This one is decaled, but I realized the weigh data figures are wrong for my 1926 focus and the heavy duty arch bar trucks this car will use. So, I’ll need to create artwork for the new numbers as well as another set for the other car.

This Yarmouth Model Works Canadian Pacific automobile boxcar is also waiting for updated decals to reflect the as-built appearance. These things happen when you focus on an earlier period of time.

I enjoy these annual reviews. It makes me realize that things are moving forward and reminds me of the skills and techniques I’ve learned over the year. It especially casts a ray of sunshine on a year I’d rather forget. My hobby has been the biggest stress reducer in a very turbulent time.

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10 thoughts on “A blurred year”

    1. Thanks, Bob. I didn’t realize there were so many until I began reviewing images snapped along the way. – Eric H.

  1. Excellent progress Eric. I looked back at my layout progress and I am amazed how complete I did some older scenes. The newer scenes also are more detailed. I always felt get a scene started and come back but it always seemed something else came up. Yes overall a terrible year across the world. Thankfully while in isolation I had my wife and model railroading. 2021 shall be better.


    1. Vince, I haven’t added the weight yet. I’ll glue bird shot into the under frame cavities after the deck is installed. – Eric

  2. Eric,

    Thank you for all you do to promote model railroading, especially pre-depression era modeling. This has been a weird year for sure and I have appreciated your updates and project reports. Though it may not have happened in 2020, one of the historic photos you posted has been a great help on a recent project.

    Here’s to an enjoyable and productive 2021!

  3. You’ve cranked out some beautiful models. Wish I was as productive. Congratulations!

    Jared Harper

    1. I like the idea of reviewing what you’ve accomplished last year. Looks like a lot. It got me thinking about what I’ve been able to do, I haven’t compiled my own list yet, but it’s actually quite a bit.

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