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I’m still plugging away here. One of these days I’m going to have to actually get up into the loft and work on my layout. This is a little O scale kit from Wild West Scale Model Builders. The kit contains materials for a number of different options, and I chose to build the “saloon” version. I also wanted to try the old rubber cement “peeling paint” effect shown here. I’d never done that before.

I love the little figures that were created by Railroad Avenue. They come painted, and their slender shape suggests the body styles of people in past generations. A while ago I read that they were not going to be made any more, so I stocked up. I can’t tell from their web site if they are still available or not. I wanted to create a conversational grouping in front of the saloon. I added the transverse stripwood below the model floor/base. I do this on all my models; I think they look better that way than sitting right on the ground. I also created a styrene base (painted dark brown) for when I put this structure on to my layout. Styrene is better than card stock because it doesn’t warp. I’ll blend it in to the surrounding terrain with scenery materials.

This is a head-on view of the structure that I created from the kit. The sign is one of the options I mentioned. The barrels, crate, and chair came from my miscellaneous details supply.

Only one side of the kit has a window. You could create an opening, of course, in the other side, or the back side, and insert a window from another manufacturer….I like Grandt Line castings. I don’t do step-by-step pictures any more, but I always start these building projects by staining all the laser cut wood with my preferred stain, alcohol and leather dye. I made the base stain for this project to be a light weather wood gray, so that would show through when I rubbed off the rubber cement. See earlier posts for a description of the stain. I stain both sides at the same time, so there is no warping. Using the alcohol as a medium also helps to resist warping. Water or water-based paints are not good.

I did use a reddish acrylic paint for the base coat over the gray stain. I wasn’t sure how enamels might react to the rubber cement I wanted to put in places on the walls. Even at that, I applied the paint in a dry-brush fashion, so it didn’t soak into the walls. The doors and trim were base coated and weathered in enamel. I like to put handles on my doors, and this kit didn’t include any. I have used the heads of pins before on HO or S scale models, but this handle (and the one in front) are made from the heads of very small finishing nails. Just paint the nail, drill a hole, insert, and cut off from behind. Then add a dab of Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue on the back side where it won’t show. They make a very nice appearance for 1:48 scale.

Here is a close up of the side wall after I peeled the rubber cement off. The technique worked exactly as advertised, and left a worn and peeling look to the paint job. Be sure to be very random in doing this, but keep in mind that wood walls like this weather more on their lower sides than under their eaves because of sun and rain exposure.

Additional weathering is achieved by the cautious use of weathering powders, sealed with Testers Dullcote.

The kit includes nice strips of heavy paper shake shingles. I stained these using the same method as the walls, and weathered with light dry brushing and the powders. The cap shingle strip needs to be cut into individual shingles and overlapped as shown. There is no chimney flashing included with the kit, so I cut a little square piece out of thin styrene. Then I used a new mounting process I developed. I should have taken a separate picture of this, but didn’t think about that until it was too late. I’ll try to describe it. The chimney is styrene tubing (included with the kit). I cut it to the desired angle, and then inserted and glued a short piece of square basswood in the bottom of the chimney. It makes a good handle, and a secure way to insert the finished chimney assembly into the roof. Then I cut a small hole in the flashing square, and slipped it up and glued it to the angle cut on the chimney. I painted the chimney and flashing flat black and let it sit overnight. I think chimneys generally extended above the roof ridge line to facilitate good smoke disbursal, so select a spot to drill your roof mounting hole accordingly. Insert the chimney assembly with a tiny bit of glue (I used Aleene’s on everything for this model), and make sure it is very upright. The tacky glue sets up fairly fast, but gives better working time than CA glues. I see now in looking at this picture that I forgot to include the three guy wires I usually attach to chimneys. I can put them in later.

I created variety for the four figures on the porch by placing one on a crate, one in a chair tipped back against the wall, and one reaching for the door handle to open the door. Groupings like this are always more interesting if you can suggest that the little people are talking to each other, or doing something together.

Western window glass was not very good quality, and often had a rippled look to it. I achieved this by brushing some canopy glue on the inside of the windows. The glue dries clear, but the brush strokes appear as ripples.

Finally, I wanted the structure illuminated. You probably noticed the red wires running from beneath the styrene base in some of the other photos. I use “grain of rice” bulbs that run on 12v DC from an old power pack. I dip the bulbs in Tamiya Clear Yellow X-24 acrylic paint for the amber effect. The kit has detailed interior roof trusses, similar to the exterior one in photo #5. It is very easy to bend the bulb leads into a little hook, and place it over one of the trusses so the bulb hangs downward. I soldered longer leads (the red wires) on to the ones that came with the bulb to extend the connection below my layout.

You can see a little rippling on the glass at night in this photo from the front.

 

 

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Slim’s Shoe Shop

I’m still plugging away here. One of these days I’m going to have to actually get up into the loft and work on my layout. This is a little O scale kit from Wild West Scale Model Builders. The kit contains materials for a number of different options, and I chose to build the “saloon” version. I also wanted to try the old rubber cement “peeling paint” effect shown here. I’d never done that before.

I love the little figures that were created by Railroad Avenue. They come painted, and their slender shape suggests the body styles of people in past generations. A while ago I read that they were not going to be made any more, so I stocked up. I can’t tell from their web site if they are still available or not. I wanted to create a conversational grouping in front of the saloon. I added the transverse stripwood below the model floor/base. I do this on all my models; I think they look better that way than sitting right on the ground. I also created a styrene base (painted dark brown) for when I put this structure on to my layout. Styrene is better than card stock because it doesn’t warp. I’ll blend it in to the surrounding terrain with scenery materials.

This is a head-on view of the structure that I created from the kit. The sign is one of the options I mentioned. The barrels, crate, and chair came from my miscellaneous details supply.

Only one side of the kit has a window. You could create an opening, of course, in the other side, or the back side, and insert a window from another manufacturer….I like Grandt Line castings. I don’t do step-by-step pictures any more, but I always start these building projects by staining all the laser cut wood with my preferred stain, alcohol and leather dye. I made the base stain for this project to be a light weather wood gray, so that would show through when I rubbed off the rubber cement. See earlier posts for a description of the stain. I stain both sides at the same time, so there is no warping. Using the alcohol as a medium also helps to resist warping. Water or water-based paints are not good.

I did use a reddish acrylic paint for the base coat over the gray stain. I wasn’t sure how enamels might react to the rubber cement I wanted to put in places on the walls. Even at that, I applied the paint in a dry-brush fashion, so it didn’t soak into the walls. The doors and trim were base coated and weathered in enamel. I like to put handles on my doors, and this kit didn’t include any. I have used the heads of pins before on HO or S scale models, but this handle (and the one in front) are made from the heads of very small finishing nails. Just paint the nail, drill a hole, insert, and cut off from behind. Then add a dab of Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue on the back side where it won’t show. They make a very nice appearance for 1:48 scale.

Here is a close up of the side wall after I peeled the rubber cement off. The technique worked exactly as advertised, and left a worn and peeling look to the paint job. Be sure to be very random in doing this, but keep in mind that wood walls like this weather more on their lower sides than under their eaves because of sun and rain exposure.

Additional weathering is achieved by the cautious use of weathering powders, sealed with Testers Dullcote.

The kit includes nice strips of heavy paper shake shingles. I stained these using the same method as the walls, and weathered with light dry brushing and the powders. The cap shingle strip needs to be cut into individual shingles and overlapped as shown. There is no chimney flashing included with the kit, so I cut a little square piece out of thin styrene. Then I used a new mounting process I developed. I should have taken a separate picture of this, but didn’t think about that until it was too late. I’ll try to describe it. The chimney is styrene tubing (included with the kit). I cut it to the desired angle, and then inserted and glued a short piece of square basswood in the bottom of the chimney. It makes a good handle, and a secure way to insert the finished chimney assembly into the roof. Then I cut a small hole in the flashing square, and slipped it up and glued it to the angle cut on the chimney. I painted the chimney and flashing flat black and let it sit overnight. I think chimneys generally extended above the roof ridge line to facilitate good smoke disbursal, so select a spot to drill your roof mounting hole accordingly. Insert the chimney assembly with a tiny bit of glue (I used Aleene’s on everything for this model), and make sure it is very upright. The tacky glue sets up fairly fast, but gives better working time than CA glues. I see now in looking at this picture that I forgot to include the three guy wires I usually attach to chimneys. I can put them in later.

I created variety for the four figures on the porch by placing one on a crate, one in a chair tipped back against the wall, and one reaching for the door handle to open the door. Groupings like this are always more interesting if you can suggest that the little people are talking to each other, or doing something together.

Western window glass was not very good quality, and often had a rippled look to it. I achieved this by brushing some canopy glue on the inside of the windows. The glue dries clear, but the brush strokes appear as ripples.

Finally, I wanted the structure illuminated. You probably noticed the red wires running from beneath the styrene base in some of the other photos. I use “grain of rice” bulbs that run on 12v DC from an old power pack. I dip the bulbs in Tamiya Clear Yellow X-24 acrylic paint for the amber effect. The kit has detailed interior roof trusses, similar to the exterior one in photo #5. It is very easy to bend the bulb leads into a little hook, and place it over one of the trusses so the bulb hangs downward. I soldered longer leads (the red wires) on to the ones that came with the bulb to extend the connection below my layout.

You can see a little rippling on the glass at night in this photo from the front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From June 24th to July 1st, I was in Chama, New Mexico, along with Steve Mitchell of Yard Goat Images. My daughter, and a friend of her’s accompanied us to help with the videography. We were completing shooting on a DVD Steve is going to develop for marketing next spring. The video will focus on the “Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec” program at the C&TS. Volunteers who are interested can sign up to go to the C&TS in the summertime, and spend a week at a time working on the railroad.

 

We had wonderful weather, and came home with hundreds of hours of beautiful video of the trains. We shot the volunteers working on their projects, and did interviews with them in which they discussed their backgrounds and their experiences with the “Friends” program. As far as we know, this will be the first C&TS video that is primarily focused on this extremely important volunteer preservation program.

 

On my birthday, my daughter and her friend and I took the train ride from Antonito to Chama. To do this, we took a short bus ride from Chama to Antonito, and boarded the train there. The train ride lasts from 9:30 in the morning to about 4:00 in the afternoon. I wanted to be traveling from east to west, so that we had the best light for morning photography. This photo is from Osier, Colorado, where the trains from Chama and Antonito meet for a lunch stop.

 

Here our two talented videographers disembark from the train when it arrives in  Chama in the late afternoon.

 

This is the 487, the locomotive we rode behind, waiting in the yard the next morning. It was getting ready to take that day’s train from Chama to Antonito.

 

Out along the line, my daughter and her friend shoot a passing train. It was an incredible trip, and so rewarding to share it with my daughter, who had never been around steam locomotives before. I am really looking forward to the finished video next spring. It will be available at Yard Goat Images.

Yard Goat Images

 

Yard Goat Images has a change in their web address. Please update your files. You must now use the letter “s” after the “http” at the beginning of the address. We are going back to Colorado at the end of June to complete a video on the C&T Scenic Railroad. It will be focused on their “Friends of the┬áCumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad” volunteer program. It should be available for purchase next fall.

Structure Models

Lest you think I've totally abandoned my model railroading efforts, here are some other things I've been working on this spring. In the late summer of 2013, I attended the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Kansas City. This was my first national convention experience, and I had a wonderful time. As you know, these conventions always feature a huge room for vendors, and I came home with a number of kits.

Lest you think I’ve totally abandoned my model railroading efforts, here are some other things I’ve been working on this spring. In the late summer of 2013, I attended the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Kansas City. This was my first national convention experience, and I had a wonderful time. As you know, these conventions always feature a huge room for vendors, and I came home with a number of kits. Among the items I purchased were kits in S-scale and HO-scale to use as background buildings on my layout.

This structure (front view above) is the Wild West Scale Model Builders S-scale Assay Office. The kit is lazer cut plywood and basswood, and the footprint is 6.5" by 3.5".

This structure is the Wild West Scale Model Builders S-scale Assay Office. The kit is lazer cut plywood and basswood, and the footprint is 6.5″ by 3.5″. I stained the wooden parts with a mix of Fiebing’s Leather Dye and isopropyl alcohol, and weathered the finished structure with AIM Weathering Powders and Testor’s Dullcote.

The windows with this kit can be built open or closed. I didn't try to avoid hitting the window glass with the weathering powder or the dullcote, since I am not going to add interior details.

The windows with this kit can be built open or closed. I didn’t try to avoid hitting the window glass with the weathering powder or the dullcote, since I am not going to add interior details.

A larger S-scale kit is this Miner's Supply and Exchange complex, also by Wild West Scale Model Builders.

A larger S-scale kit (5″ x 8″ footprint) is this Miner’s Supply and Exchange complex, also by Wild West Scale Model Builders. With all of these kits, I added a wooden foundation to reinforce the lazer-cut flooring sheet that accompanies the kit. Without this bracing, that thin piece of floor would certainly warp.

I used a thin-tipped permanent marker to add some detail to the tar-paper roofing material. I can also see that I need to add some chimney flashing.

I used a thin-tipped permanent marker to add some detail to the tar-paper roofing material. I can also see that I need to add some chimney flashing. There’s nothing like the camera to show you what you overlooked.

The rear of this two-store complex is almost as interesting as the front.

The rear of this two-store complex is almost as interesting as the front.

In HO-scale this kit from RSlaser is for the Deadwood Gazette. I purchased the facade-only version because I knew I wanted to keep the depth of the building to a minimum.

In HO-scale this kit from RSlaser is for the Deadwood Gazette. I purchased the facade-only version because I knew I wanted to keep the depth of the building to a minimum.

I added short side walls with some Grandt Line windows I had in my supplies left over from another project.

I added short side walls with some Grandt Line windows I had in my supplies left over from another project.

The footprint of this structure is 2.5" x 2.0" which will make it easy to fit into the background.

The footprint of this structure is 2.5″ x 2.0″ which will make it easy to fit into the background.

The telegraph office from B.E.S.T also makes a nice tiny, HO-scale background building.

The telegraph office from B.E.S.T also makes a nice tiny, HO-scale background building.

The footprint of this building is 2.0" x 1.75".

The footprint of this building is 2.0″ x 1.75″.

Grandt Line makes a nifty model of the Gomez store that exists in Pagosa Jct., Colorado.

Grandt Line makes a nifty model of the Gomez store that exists in Pagosa Jct., Colorado. If I were replicating this structure as a foreground model, I would certainly build the whole thing, but as a background HO-scale structure on my On30 layout, I wanted to keep it small.

I'll use the remaining parts of the kit for some other small

I’ll use the remaining parts of the kit for some other small building. Here you can see some photos I reduced to fit as displays in the windows. There is also a photo across the rear of the interior that will show when I put lighting into the store.

This building occupies a space of 3.5" x 1.75".

This building occupies a space of 3.5″ x 1.75″.

Here is a representative street scene with the S-scale projects.

Here is a representative street scene with the S-scale projects.

And here are the HO-scale structures.

And here are the HO-scale structures.

Somewhat unrelated, but picked up at the same convention is this Grizzly Mtn. Engineering farmer's wagon in O-scale.

Somewhat unrelated, but picked up at the same convention is this Grizzly Mtn. Engineering farmer’s wagon in O-scale.

As much as I love building these things, I have to be conservative until I see how much room I'm actually going to have on the layout.

As much as I love building these things, I have to be conservative until I see how much room I’m actually going to have on the layout.

This past spring, while not actually doing anything on my layout, I decided to keep my modeling skills sharp by working on some other kinds of models. These were all kits, but required varying degrees of craftsmanship and finishing techniques, all of which transfer quite readily to the model railroading world. Pictured above is a Mantua wood and brass kit made in Italy. The label describes it as "Cannone da Costa USA 1780-1812" or American Coastal Cannon 1780-1812. The base measures 6" long by 4.5" wide, and the cannon is 1:17 scale. To weather the barrel, I used Micro Engineering Rail Weathering solution along with various colors of dry brushed enamels. For coloring the wooden parts, I used the same shoe dye and isopropyl alcohol mixture that I use on basswood on my railroad structures. To pull the surfaces together and give everything a nice finished look, I used Testor's Glosscote.

This past spring, while not actually doing anything on my layout, I decided to keep my modeling skills sharp by working on some other kinds of models. These were all kits, but required varying degrees of craftsmanship and finishing techniques, all of which transfer quite readily to the model railroading world. Pictured above is a Mantua wood and brass kit made in Italy. The label describes it as “Cannone da Costa USA 1780-1812″ or American Coastal Cannon 1780-1812. The base measures 6″ long by 4.5” wide, and the cannon is 1:17 scale. To weather the barrel, I used Micro Engineering Rail Weathering solution along with various colors of dry brushed enamels. For coloring the wooden parts, I used the same shoe dye and isopropyl alcohol mixture that I use on basswood on my railroad structures. To pull the surfaces together and give everything a nice finished look, I used Testor’s Glosscote.

This model of a naval 24 pound cannon is by Palmer Plastics. It is roughly 7" long by 3" wide, but the exact scale was not specified. Plastic models present some different challenges from wood and brass kits, namely that the raw plastic has to be painted to look like other materials. Here the elevating block, the wheels and the ratcheting handle are painted like wood, the barrel is made to look like brass, and the cannon carriage like heavy cast iron. Everything here started out as plastic, and was assembled with Plastruct Plastic Weld solution.

This model of a naval 24 pound cannon is by Palmer Plastics. It is roughly 7″ long by 3″ wide, but the exact scale was not specified. Plastic models present some different challenges from wood and brass kits, namely that the raw plastic has to be painted to look like other materials. Here the elevating block, the wheels and the ratcheting handle are painted like wood, the barrel is made to look like brass, and the cannon carriage like heavy cast iron. Everything here started out as plastic, and was assembled with Plastruct Plastic Weld solution.

Back to another Italian brass and wood kit, this one by Areopiccala-Torino. It is called a "Cannone da Marina" or Marine Cannon. It looks a lot like the cannons that were on the Swedish warship, Vasa, which sank in 1628. The wood parts in these kits are often oak, and require a lot of drilling and edge-finishing in addition to staining. The brass fixtures are all very new and shiny, and require varying degrees of rail weathering solution to make them look more realistic. Another challenge in assembling some of these kits is that the instructions are all in Italian (which I do not speak). A glue which I find that connects wood and metal parts quickly and securely is Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue.

Back to another Italian brass and wood kit, this one by Areopiccala-Torino. It is called a “Cannone da Marina” or Marine Cannon. It looks a lot like the cannons that were on the Swedish warship, Vasa, which sank in 1628. The wood parts in these kits are often oak, and require a lot of drilling and edge-finishing in addition to staining. The brass fixtures are all very new and shiny, and require varying degrees of rail weathering solution to make them look more realistic. Another challenge in assembling some of these kits is that the instructions are all in Italian (which I do not speak). A glue which I find that connects wood and metal parts quickly and securely is Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue.

This is another completely plastic kit by Encore Models for a revolutionary war cannon. Note the different painting techniques for wood, brass and iron. The scale of the model is 1:24 and measures about 8" long by 5" wide.

This is another completely plastic kit by Encore Models for a revolutionary war cannon. Note the different painting techniques for wood, brass and iron. The scale of the model is 1:24 and measures about 8″ long by 5″ wide.

Here is another version of a naval 24 pound cannon, this one by the Italian company, Artisania Latina. The scale was not specified, but the base on which the cannon rests is only 5" long by 2.5" wide. This presents the challenge of working on something which is so diminutive; the cannon balls in the boxes in front of the cannon are about the size of shotgun pellets.

Here is another version of a naval 24 pound cannon, this one by the Italian company, Artisania Latina. The scale was not specified, but the base on which the cannon rests is only 5″ long by 2.5″ wide. This presents the challenge of working on something which is so diminutive; the cannon balls in the boxes in front of the cannon are about the size of shotgun pellets.

These final two kits took the most time to construct. They are sold separately, but go together to form a cannon with its accompanying limber. The 1:16 scale models are by Guns of History/Model Shipways, and represent a James Cannon, 6 pounder, Model 1841. These guns were used in the Civil War. The cannon measures approximately 8" long by 4.25" wide, and has wood, brass and cast metal parts, just like many model railroad craftsman kits.

These final two kits took the most time to construct. They are sold separately, but go together to form a cannon with its accompanying limber. The 1:16 scale models are by Guns of History/Model Shipways, and represent a James Cannon, 6 pounder, Model 1841. These guns were used in the Civil War. The cannon measures approximately 8″ long by 4.25″ wide, and has wood, brass and cast metal parts, just like many model railroad craftsman kits.

The limber was used to harness the horses which pulled the cannon, and to store the materials used to fire the gun....cannon balls, powder charges, etc. The soldiers of the artillery corp also rode on the limber, until they discovered that opposing artillery forces could target the limber, and blow up everything thus rendering the cannon unserviceable for lack of a crew.

The limber was used to harness the horses which pulled the cannon, and to store the materials used to fire the gun….cannon balls, powder charges, etc. The soldiers of the artillery corp also rode on the limber, until they discovered that opposing artillery forces could target the limber, and blow up everything thus rendering the cannon unserviceable for lack of a crew.

 

 

The DVD that Steve Mitchell of Yard Goat Images and I shot last January in Colorado is finally ready for a pre-release. I met with Steve today, and he gave me a number of copies at what he calls his distributor price. He also gave me permission to sell these at a discount to friends and family. For obvious reasons, he requested that I not advertise the discounted price, but if you would like one, please contact me at my e-mail address    Some of you saw the DVD that I made from my video alone; this finished version, with the work of both cameramen, is twice as spectacular.  If you like steam trains and western scenery, this is one DVD you are definitely going to want in your collection.

Here is the other DVD that I am holding in the post above. Steve Mitchell of Yard Goat Images and I shot this in January of 2013 in Colorado. Some of you saw the DVD that I made from my video alone; this finished version, with the work of both cameramen, is twice as spectacular. If you like steam trains and western scenery, this is one DVD you are definitely going to want in your collection.