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Archive for the ‘Modeling in Other Scales’ Category

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.

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Just when I thought I'd seen the last of my old N-scale equipment, another couple of boxes of it turned up in my storage.  There are structures, some scratch-built, rolling stock

Just when I thought I’d seen the last of my old N-scale equipment, another couple of boxes of it turned up in my storage. There are mainly structures, some scratch-built, rolling stock and a few locomotives.  I’ll be putting them on eBay over the next few days.  You can access these auctions under my username: mapsattic.  This is a six stall roundhouse that I built from the Heljan plastic kit.

These are two Shinohara #6 curved turnouts with Code 70 rail.  The radii are 31.5 cm and 28.5 cm, which is 11+ and 12+ inches.

These are two Shinohara #6 curved turnouts with Code 70 rail. The radii are 31.5 cm and 28.5 cm, which is 11+ and 12+ inches.

This is a wooden coaling tower, made I think, from the Campbell kit.  If it looks familiar to readers of this blog, that is because I built another one last year just like this on commission from a client.  I had forgotten all about building this one so many years ago.

This is a wooden coaling tower, made I think, from the Campbell kit. If it looks familiar to readers of this blog, that is because I built another one last year just like this on commission from a client. I had forgotten all about building this one so many years ago.

As long as I was getting back on eBay, I decided to try selling this book again.  I've had it from the Minnesota Transportation Museum for over a year now.  I tried selling it for them twice before, but had no takers.

As long as I was getting back on eBay, I decided to try selling this book again. I’ve had it from the Minnesota Transportation Museum for over a year now.  I tried selling it for them twice before, but had no takers.  It is really a rare and very valuable book.  Please read the description and see the photos on eBay at auction #291005105813.  I have sometimes seen these at train shows, and they go for about $300.

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On a recent trip to Seattle that my wife and I took, I had the great good fortune to meet Paul Scoles, creator of the Pelican Bay Railway and Navigation Company.

On a recent trip to Seattle that my wife and I took, I had the great good fortune to meet Paul Scoles, creator of the Pelican Bay Railway and Navigation Company.

I spent the afternoon with Paul and his beautiful Sn3 layout.  To quote from his web site: The Pelican Bay Railway & Navigation Co. is a period free-lance Sn3 layout, set in coastal Northern California in 1895.  Inspiration largely comes from the North Pacific Coast Railroad, and the South Pacific Coast Railroad.

I spent the afternoon with Paul and his beautiful Sn3 layout. To quote from his web site:
The Pelican Bay Railway & Navigation Co. is a period free-lance Sn3 layout, set in coastal Northern California in 1895. Inspiration largely comes from the North Pacific Coast Railroad, and the South Pacific Coast Railroad.

Over the years, Paul has published dozens of articles about his layout in the model railroading press. He also has some highly instructional DVDs on scenery and operations which feature his layout.  See http://paulscoles.com

Over the years, Paul has published dozens of articles about his layout in the model railroading press. He also has some highly instructional DVDs on scenery and operations which feature his layout. See http://paulscoles.com

Since Paul's layout is in a western setting, and models narrow gauge railroading in a time period close to mine, his work has been a tremendous inspiration to me for quite some time.

Since Paul’s layout is in a western setting, and models narrow gauge railroading in a time period close to mine, his work has been a tremendous inspiration to me for quite some time.

I intend to follow Paul's pioneering technique of using decomposed granite for mountain scenery.

I intend to follow Paul’s pioneering technique of using decomposed granite for mountain scenery.

Paul has scratch-built or kit-bashed almost all of his structures, as I intend to do on my layout.

Paul has scratch-built or kit-bashed almost all of his structures, as I intend to do on my layout.

Paul's tree building technique is the most realistic I have ever seen, and the forested parts of his layout have a dark density that is truly rare in model railroading.

Paul’s tree building technique is the most realistic I have ever seen, and the forested parts of his layout have a dark density that is truly rare in model railroading.

I am sincerely grateful to Paul for sharing his time, talents and stunning layout with me.

I am sincerely grateful to Paul for sharing his time, talents and stunning layout with me.

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Here’s another commission that is calling on me to explore three modeling fields that are new to me. A client in Arizona wants me to build some playground equipment for his outdoor G scale railroad that is set in the very early years of the 20th Century. He wants to place it along side a one-room schoolhouse that he already has on the layout. Although I’m not old enough to remember the turn of the century, I do recall typical playground equipment from my childhood, and a little research justified the two pieces I designed for him. This is my merry-go-round.

This is a teeter-totter. After I showed him the drawings, he reminded me that his layout has a concrete base, so putting anything into the ground for support won’t work. Everything has to be free-standing.

The three new modeling experiences for me are:   1. Building in G scale.  Half-inch to the foot is twice as large as my On30 scale work.   2. Making something that has to stand up to outdoor weather.  3. Working in brass.  In order to make the merry-go-round free-standing, I soldered small sections of brass tubing, that were slightly different diameters, to two brass plates.+

When the smaller diameter tube is inserted into the larger diameter tube, the merry-go-round is very stable….and it goes around!

I was also able to solder the inner ends of the handrails to the first brass plate below the merry-go-round, which makes them very secure.

I used a similar arrangement for the base of the teeter-totter. My client is going to sprinkle sand or small rock over these bases to make it look like they go into the ground.

Here are the seat boards for the teeter-totter.

And, here they are stained, with two of the brass hand holds in place.

The hand rails and the stain work done on the merry-go-round. I’m going to paint the brass bases with Rustoleum high heat black, but I’m not sure I want to paint the hand rails; they look really good against the stained wood. After the stain has dried overnight, I have a spray can of Thompson’s Water Seal to treat everything with.

Here are the two competed pieces. The white background causes the camera to underexpose a little. The wood is actually a shade or so lighter.

If you zoom in closer, the camera’s automatic exposure system reads the wood more and the white background less.

And finally, the teeter-totter. I was especially pleased with the little brass handlebars on these. I had to create a wooden jig to hold the two half-inch long brass pieces in perpendicular to each other while I soldered them.

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This is another one of those commissions in a different scale other than On30. A client wanted me to put together this brass model of a small movie theatre. The kit came with a lighted chasing marquee that used fiber optic technology.

After I completed it, I told him it was one of the hardest projects I had ever worked on. I had never worked in brass, and although the photo etched wall details in the kit were incredible, the instructions to use CAA cement to hold the brass together were hardly practical. I continually had to re-glue brass parts that separated. The fiber optics were positively microscopic to work with, and I wasn’t very pleased with the results.

The overall instructions for the kit consisted of a series of drawings (nothing written). If you made a mistake, and bent a piece the wrong way, chances are that the piece would break along the fold line when you tried to correct your error. This would necessitate another difficult glueing job. Painting was another nightmare. It literally took weeks to mask and paint everything, because each step in the process had to dry for 24 hours. There were days I could only work 10 or 15 minutes on this project, and then I had to wait a full day to continue.

As you can see from these last two photos, building this in wood or plastic would have resulted in a lot cleaner joint lines.

Although you can’t see the chasing effect on the marquee in this simulated night time photo, it was kind of neat.

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Here is an N scale coaling tower I made for a client from a Chooch kit. It roughly resembles the famous Chama Coaling Tower. I plan on making a similar one for my layout, but when I scaled up the dimensions of this one to O scale, I found out that it would result in a model that was over 22 inches tall. Since narrow gauge locomotives were roughly 75% the size of similar standard gauge locomotives, I’m going to build my coaling tower in S scale (roughly 75% of O scale), and then it will be about 16 inches tall. I think that will look fine.

This kit took 22 hours over 4 days to build. All these little balconies and railings were a real challenge in N scale.

The kit called for using some black construction paper to simulate tar paper roofing, but I had some left over N scale corrugated roofing material made by Campbell Scale Models, so I substituted that.

I also connected all of the loose leg bottoms with strip wood, and added a styrene base to make the model more durable.

The kit only provided four wheels to operate the raising and lowering mechanisms for the coal delivery chutes, so I added four O scale brake wheels to the mix. I’m not sure if this is prototypical, but it was easier to secure everything with a more balanced arrangement, and I think it looks better. The kit also provided nothing to connect the wheels, so I used some fine stiff wire that I had.

Here’s a close view of the corrugated roofing, after weathering.

One reason this kit took so long to assemble was all of the tiny bits and pieces that had to be cut. If I never have to glue on another N scale railing in my life, I’ll be happy!

Close-up of framing and styrene base that I added. I used styrene so it wouldn’t warp like card-stock sometimes does.

Close-up of chute mechanism. I suppose I could have added wires to the back side of the wheels, but it’s done for now.  The top set of four wheels are the O scale brake wheels; the bottom set are the four wheels that came with the kit.

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This is another one of the Hallmark, HO scale houses from the series, “Sarah Plain and Tall”. I picked this one up on eBay for not too much more than I paid for the store at the train show.

This is the back of the house.  My plan is to cut this building in half diagonally, and there are two choices.  I’ll place the cut line so that one porch is preserved on each half.

Cutting this house in half diagonally was considerably more complicated, and time-consuming, than the straight cut through the store that I made before.

Here are the sides of the house, now two houses, that will be visible in the upper reaches of my town of Durango

This house also has some Christmas decorations, which I removed with an Exacto chisel blade. Gone are the wreath on the porch wall, the garland around the door and porch posts, and small paintings of candles in some of the windows.

Cutting the house in half left a few scars which I filled with Squadron Green Putty. This material can be sanded, cut or filed to shape once it is dry.

After a little painting and weathering, and repositioning the chimney, you can see the difference between the finished piece, and the other half of the house, which is left to do.

The final test is to position the house, next to the store, on my photo layout. The models in the foreground are 1/4 inch to the foot (O scale). The two in the background are roughly 1/8 inch to the foot (HO scale), and there is only about 18 inches separating the two sets of buildings. The concept of forced perspective makes the structures behind look a lot further away.

Raising the camera about an inch doesn’t destroy the illusion.

This last shot is with the camera raised about two inches above the first elevation, and everything still looks fine.

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