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Archive for the ‘Structures’ Category

I’ve been working on the O scale kit shown here for the last few weeks. It comes from Rusty Stumps Scale Models.

The original store still exists in Silver Plume, Colorado.

I won’t go into all the staining/painting methods I use because they are in previous posts about other models. Suffice it to say that I did not follow the coloring on either the original store, or the kit box cover. The figures are from Railroad Avenue. I don’t know if they have many left, but you can check at their web site.

I detailed the front scene with some parts I had, and some I scratch-built. The produce display rack was scratch-built. The little green and red vegetables are bird shot pellets that I painted. The chimney is one I had from Grandt Line.

The signs on the side of the building can be found on Google Images, and sized accordingly. More on them later.

Here is the other side. The old man leans on his cane as he inspects the produce.

I don’t expend a lot of energy detailing any side of a structure that is not going to be seen, as you can tell from this backside view of the store.

I really enjoy putting lighting into my structures. It brings them to life just as much as the figure groupings. The storekeeper is keeping a close eye on the old guy leaning over the produce! There are two lights inside, and the light with the shade over the storekeeper is from Miniatronics.

Here is the same scene with no added light from the display box I am now using in my library to photograph these models.

I make the roofs removable if I’m going to detail the interiors, especially if I plan on lighting. That always needs repairs, and gravity holds the roof on fine. Here you see two shelf units that are also detailed, but not visible from this angle. Each shelf has a little HO street lamp behind it. There’s just enough of this light sticking up to resemble a table lamp. The wire powering the light over the front entrance is visible on the right, under the yellow tape.

In this view of the interior you can see the photo backdrop I used. If you put enough “clutter” in front of it, you can get away with some elements that are out of scale. It just looks like “something” is in the store. You also get a better view of the little HO scale street light that I made to look like an O scale table lamp.

Sorry for the odd angle; that was all that would work. Here is a view from inside the store looking to the window displays. Some are two-dimensional, others are three-dimensional.

Returning to those signs as promised. I wanted to try the sanding-thin technique that resembles signs painted on the side of a building. It took considerable time, and then I carefully cut slits between the boards along the side of the store. Other signs, like the “Trundles” sign here, I copied on to glossy photo paper to look like enameled signs.

This is the other side of the structure.

I’m really liking the use of canopy glue to simulate old fashioned western glass, and it hides a multitude of sins behind the window panes.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have earlier posted plans to create forced perspective in some areas of my layout. The vast vendor display area at the Narrow Gauge Convention featured a number of booths with attractive kits in HO and S scales.

I have earlier posted plans to create forced perspective in some areas of my layout. This involves using background structures and figures in smaller scales to trick the eye into thinking the layout is deeper than it really is. The vendor display area at the Narrow Gauge Convention featured a number of booths with attractive kits in HO and S scales. O scale is quarter inch to the foot, S scale is three sixteenths inch to the foot, and HO scale is approximately one eighth inch to the foot. I can use S scale material in the mid-background areas, and HO scale material in the extreme background of my O scale layout to achieve the forced perspective.

This HO scale kit by Wolf Designs is called the Iron Horse Press building

This HO scale kit by Wolf Designs is called the Iron Horse Press building. It is basically some nice flat rosin castings for the walls and roofs, with plastic castings for the windows, doors and smoke stacks.

I used painting and weathering techniques that I have used elsewhere on this blog. The most visible of these is probably the one for the deteriorating paint on the walls.

I used painting and weathering techniques that I have used elsewhere on this blog. The most visible of these methods is probably the one for the deteriorating paint on the walls, and the wear on the board sidewalk. Following a base coat, and letting it dry, I scraped some of the paint off with my track saw. I deliberately did a sloppy job of painting the trim and the window and door castings to suggest faded paint on these areas. I painted all the interior walls flat black in case I want to put lights in there. The window glazing is dusted with weathering powder.

Since this will be a background structure, I didn't waste time. or window castings, on walls that would not show.

Since this will be a background structure, I didn’t waste time. or window castings, on walls that would not show. I used rusty weathering chalks around the smoke jacks that protrude from the roofs. I painted the inside of this one rear-facing window with flat black so interior lighting wouldn’t hit my backdrop. The building extension doesn’t connect through to the main structure, so those open window holes won’t leak any light.

Here is a size comparison to an O scale ore bin that will go in the Silverton mining area.

Here is a size comparison to an O scale ore bin that will go in the Silverton mining area.

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This is the color postcard-sized picture that comes with the Hunterline King Post Truss Bridge kit.

This is the color postcard-sized picture that comes with the Hunterline King Post Truss Bridge kit. I have admired Hunterline products for several years, so when I had the opportunity to pick up this little bridge kit at the Narrow Gauge Convention in September, I bought it. You could scratch-build most of the Hunterline products from pictures or plans, but I thought I’d try one of their kits first.

The first step is to scrape some wood grain into the basswood supplied with the kit. I got over-eager, and stained my wood first, so I had to come back and do the wood grain after the stain had dried. That worked out alright, because I decided the wood needed a second dip in the stain anyway.

The first step is to scrape some wood grain into the basswood supplied with the kit. I got over-eager, and stained my wood first, so I had to come back and do the wood grain after the stain had dried. That worked out alright, because I decided the wood needed a second dip in the stain anyway. I use leather dye mixed with isopropyl alcohol for my stains.

The kit comes with plans for three different bridge widths, which I had not realized, but is a very nice feature. After some clearance testing on my 23 inch radii, I determined that the narrowest bridge, the 12 foot clearance, would work alright for me.

The kit comes with plans for three different bridge widths, which I had not realized, but is a very nice feature. My bridge will be on a curve, so after some clearance testing on my 23 inch radii, I determined that the narrowest bridge, at 12 scale feet wide, would work alright for me. I cut out that part of the plan, and taped it to a scrap of homasote, under some wax paper. I wanted to keep the bridge as small as possible to conserve space on the layout. I plan to have two of these bridges, separated by a snowshed, on the turn-back curve below my Silverton mining area.

Using the drawing I positioned and glued the bridge ties to the stringers.

Using the drawing I positioned and glued the bridge ties to the stringers. I used Elmer’s carpenter’s glue for this, applied very sparingly, and then I weighted the whole arrangement down overnight to insure a solid bond. You can see how the second application of stain left some variation in the coloring which I like. This is simply achieved by throwing all the ties into the stain, and then removing them one at a time. The first ties to come out are lighter in color, and the last ones are darker.

The kit comes with nut-bolt-washer castings, but they are extremely small, as you can see from the upper sprue in this picture. The lower sprue has larger castings from Grandt Line.

The kit comes with nut-bolt-washer castings, but they are extremely small, and hard to see, as you can tell from the upper sprue in this picture. I’m sure they are prototypical, but those on the lower sprue from Grandt Line, will be more visible.

The instructions call for the bridge ties to be bolted every fourth tie, and in the center of the bridge.

The instructions call for the bridge ties to be bolted every fourth tie, and in the center of the bridge. You can see what I mean about NBW casting visibility here.

Here is the bridge with the diagonal bracing in place. The long brace under the center of the bridge will pick up the central brace and the truss rod.

Here is the bridge with the diagonal bracing in place. The long brace under the center of the bridge will pick up the central brace and the truss rod.

I gave the completed bridge a dusting of rusty weathering chalk from AIM in the areas where the NBW castings were located. I also used some light brown weathering chalk from AIM generally on the other bridge surfaces. For the time being, I didn't seal this powder in with dullcoat, and maybe I never will. AIM suggests sealing the powders only if the model will be handled a lot, and bridges, once installed, don't fall into this category.

I gave the completed bridge a dusting of rusty weathering chalk from AIM in the areas where the NBW castings were located. I also used some light brown weathering chalk from AIM generally on the other bridge surfaces. For the time being, I didn’t seal this powder in with dullcoat, and maybe I never will. AIM suggests sealing the powders only if the model will be handled a lot, and bridges, once installed, don’t fall into this category.

A view of the other end of the bridge, showing a bit more of the truss rod.

A view of the other end of the bridge, showing a bit more of the truss rod.

My completed bridge. Compare this to the first photo in this post.

My completed bridge. Compare this to the first photo in this post.

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Wagons

Some people like to model the steam to diesel transition era so they can have both steam engines, and diesels on theOne of the reasons that I selected 1915 as the date of my layout

Some people like to model the steam to diesel transition era so they can have both steam engines, and diesel locomotives on their layout. One of the reasons that I selected 1915 as the date of my layout was so that I could have both horse drawn wagons and gasoline powered cars and trucks on my layout. At the Narrow Gauge Convention in Kansas City in September, I picked up a few nice little kits for horse drawn wagons. This one is the Grizzly Mountain Engineering Billboard Delivery Wagon. I pulled the Colgate sign from Google Images, and the driver is a figure by Railroad Avenue.

This is the Light Delivery Wagon from McKenzie Iron & Steel put out by Anvil Mountain Models.

This is the Light Delivery Wagon kit from McKenzie Iron & Steel put out by Anvil Mountain Models. The driver is by Railroad Avenue.

We had out of town visitors for Thanksgiving, so I threw some buildings and figures back on the Durango part of the layout.

We had out of town visitors for Thanksgiving, so I threw some buildings and figures back on the Durango part of the layout.

 

 

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A Water Tower for Texas

About a month ago I had an inquiry from a fellow in Texas about building him an O scale water tower to go with his Lionel Challenger and Mikado.  Since these are larger locomotives than my On30 narrow gauge, I

About a month ago I had an inquiry from a fellow in Texas about building an O scale water tower to go with his Lionel Challenger and Mikado. These are the same scale but larger locomotives than my On30 narrow gauge ones.  I knew I’d need to make the support section of the tank taller than the ones I made for my own layout, and I decided to make the circumference (and the corresponding volume) of the tank larger, too.

The first item on the agenda was to select a mailing tube of the required size.

The first item on the agenda was to select a mailing tube of the required size, and cut off the needed length.

I sealed one end of the tube with card stock, and measured how many basswood strips would be needed to enclose the tube,

I sealed one end of the tube with card stock, and measured how many basswood strips would be needed to enclose the tube.  The machinist square will help me get them glued on exactly perpendicular to the ground.

I always stain my stripwood before assembly, and I use isopropyl alcohol with a few drops of leather dye.  I keep various colors of stain in plastic containers like the one in the background of this photo that is marked "wire".

I always stain my stripwood before assembly, and I use isopropyl alcohol with a few drops of leather dye. I keep various colors of stain in plastic containers like the one in the background of this photo that is marked “wire”. I used scribed siding to cover the card stock on the bottom of the tank.  This area won’t show very much on the completed model.  This photo also shows the start of the leg assemblies that are made from 1/4″ square basswood stock.

For the tank bands I used Evergreen styrene strips that are .015 x .080 inches.  They are painted grimy black before being glued to the tank. I butt joined them

For the tank bands I used Evergreen styrene strips that are .015 x .080 inches. They are painted grimy black before being glued to the tank.

I butt joined them, and graduated the placement as the bands go up the sides.

I butt joined them, and graduated the placement as the bands go up the sides.  They were placed this way because the water pressure inside the tank was greater in the lower portion of the tank.  I’ll hide the butt joints behind the structure for the spout counter-weights.

A quick dunk in some rail weathering solution does a great job on these Grandt Line spout parts.

A quick dunk in some rail weathering solution does a great job on these Grandt Line spout parts.

The legs are completed.

The legs are completed.

I had some Grandt Line band tighteners, but they are made for tightening cable, and don't really look right on steel banding.  I decided to scratch build something that would look better.

I had some Grandt Line band tighteners, but they are made for tightening cable, and don’t really look right on steel banding. I decided to scratch build something that would look better. These are two small beads, and a short piece of wire, mounted on layered sections of the banding material.  I put them together with CA and Zip Kicker for speed, then painted them black.

They are a little less than 1/2" each, and I made one for each band on the tank.

They are a little less than 1/2″ long each, and I made one for each band on the tank.

Here is the start of the under-structure that fits between the legs and the tank body.

Here is the start of the under-structure that fits between the legs and the tank body. Since my friend in Texas wants the tank spout to operate by remote control, I’m cheating a bit on the spout pivoting system.  I’ve made other tanks with more prototypical chain support for the base of the spout, but the chain tends to break with repeated use.

I made the tank top with more of the scribed siding, and four battens.  The hatch handle is a small piece of bent piano wire, and I'll be putting Grandt Line hinges on later.

I made the tank top with more of the scribed siding, and four battens. The hatch handle is a small piece of bent piano wire, and I’ll be putting Grandt Line hinges on later.

I used the same water level scale I designed for some earlier tanks.  I just had to enlarge it a little for this one.  If you look closely, you can see those butt joints in the bands that I was talking about.

I used the same water level scale I designed for some earlier tanks. I just had to enlarge it a little for this one. If you look closely, you can see those butt joints in the bands that I was talking about.

At this point I decided to drill the legs for the truss rods.  Keeping them all aligned really helped with subsequent construction.

At this point I decided to drill the legs for the truss rods. Keeping them all aligned really helped with subsequent construction.

Here is the completed water level gauge.  The pulley at the top is made from an N scale wheel set. I cut it in half at the axle center, filed the axle points flat, and glued it back together with the wheels facing each other.

Here is the completed water level gauge. I later took some of the stark white out of it with a little dust bowl brown weathering powder. The pulley at the top is made from an N scale wheel set. I cut it in half at the axle center, filed the axle points flat, and glued it back together with the wheels facing each other.  I’ve made these before, and they can actually turn like a real pulley, but this one is glued in a fixed position.

I made the ladder on a jig I have for O scale ladders.  The frost box sides are ship lap siding.

I made the ladder on a jig I have for O scale ladders. The frost box sides are ship lap siding.

Because the joints on the ship lap siding showed too prominently, I went through with my back saw and

Because the joints on the ship lap siding showed too prominently, I went through with my back saw and grooved every joint deeper.

After that, another coat of stain helped blend the fake joints with the real ones.

After that, another coat of stain helped blend the fake joints with the real ones.

The spout has been drilled out and secured on a little brass pivot I made.

The spout has been drilled out and secured on a little brass pivot I made.

Another compromise with the prototype is the dummy enclosures for the spout counter-weights

Another compromise with the prototype is the dummy enclosures for the spout counter-weights.  My practical counter-weight will be inside the tank, attached by cables to the spout.  The cables will run through tiny holes in the upper tank side, behind this enclosure structure.

Grandt Line hinges in place on the hatch cover.

Grandt Line hinges in place on the hatch cover.

The frost box is complete.  Both ends of this piece are left open.  The actuating rod for raising and lowering the spout runs up through the frost box.

The frost box is completed with 3/32 angle on the corners. Both ends are left open. The actuating rod for raising and lowering the spout runs up through the frost box.

Various parts are test fit.  I put a card stock base under the legs to secure them.  This can be covered with ground materials.

Various parts are test fit. I put a card stock base under the legs to secure them. This can be covered with ground materials.

Top view.  I'll leave the tank top loose so we have access to the inside of the tank.  You'll see why that's necessary in a moment.

Top view. I’ll leave the tank top loose so we have access to the inside of the tank. You’ll see why that’s necessary in a moment.

Another view.

Another view.

.....and another.  the end of the chain from the water level gauge will drop through a small hole in the tank top.  The marker on the numerical scale is actually suspended by that chain, but I glued it in a fixed position at the pulley.

…..and another. the end of the chain from the water level gauge will drop through a small hole in the tank top. The marker on the numerical scale is actually suspended by that chain, but I glued it in a fixed position at the pulley.

These tanks leaked notoriously with age and changes in the weather, so the extremities, particularly the lower parts of the tank became encrusted with mineral scale from the water leaks.

These tanks leaked notoriously with age and changes in the weather, so the extremities, particularly the lower parts of the tank became encrusted with mineral scale from the water leaks.  I simulated this with a mixture of AIM dirty white weathering powder dissolved in alcohol.  I brushed this on with stokes from the bottom up.  The water level gauge scale has also been weathered in this photo.

Here's that little hole for the water level gauge chain. You just slip it into the hole when you cover the tank; it is not glued in, so the tank top can be removed.

Here’s that little hole for the water level gauge chain. You just slip it into the hole when you cover the tank; it is not glued in, so the tank top can be removed.

I waited until near the end of the project to glue the band tighteners on.  I know from experience that they can be easily knocked off.

I waited until near the end of the project to glue the band tighteners on. I know from experience that they can be easily knocked off.

After the legs were positioned and secured, I cut the truss rods to length and used NBW castings on each end to hold them in place.  I used Bragdon's rust weathering powder wherever there were metal parts.

After the legs were positioned and secured, I cut the truss rods to length and used NBW castings on each end to hold them in place. I used Bragdon’s rust weathering powder wherever there were metal parts.

I was initially going to use chain to suspend the spout, but with previous tanks, I've had trouble with that little scale chain breaking, so I used a heavy needlepoint thread I got from Michael's.  A little weathering, and it looks a lot like braided cable.

I was initially going to use chain to suspend the spout, but with previous tanks, I’ve had trouble with that little scale chain breaking, so I used a heavy needlepoint thread I got from Michael’s. A little weathering, and it looks a lot like braided cable.

A view from t he water level gauge side.  This gauge, by the way, can be place on either side, and my client wanted it to the left of the spout.  I imagine real railroads placed them where they were most easily seen by the engineers and firemen.

A view from the water level gauge side. This gauge, by the way, can be place on either side, and my client wanted it to the left of the spout. I imagine real railroads placed them where they were most easily seen by the engineers and firemen.

Now to the animation.  I had to test this on my layout to see if it would work.  My Durango yard is built on a sandwich of 1/2" plywood and 1/2" homasote; one inch thick in total.

Now to the animation. I had to test this on my layout to see if it would work. My Durango yard is built on a sandwich of 1/2″ plywood and 1/2″ homasote; one inch thick in total.  The thickness of the layout determines part of the length of the spout actuating rod.

I drilled an inch and a 1/4 hole in the layout, and mounted a SwitchMaster switch motor beneath it on a piece of 1 x 4.  The mounting legs on the motor form one limit to the pivoting throw rod, and the dry wall screw to the right of the motor

I drilled a 1.5″ hole in the layout, and mounted a SwitchMaster motor beneath it on a piece of 1 x 4. There was nothing scientific about the hole diameter; I just had that size hole cutter available.  However, a nice large hole helps keep the linkage from binding. The mounting legs on the motor form one limit to the pivoting rod throw, and the drywall screw to the right of the motor forms the other limit.

The actuating rod is soldered to a small screw eye secured to the lead counter-weight inside the tank.  The little piece of styrene tubing helps to keep the "cable" from dragging on the holes through the tank side.

The actuating rod is soldered to a small screw eye secured to the lead counter-weight inside the tank. The little piece of white styrene tubing helps to keep the “cable” from dragging on the holes through the tank side.  I would have made a larger hole in the tank bottom, but the under structure limited me.  This hole seemed to work OK.

I used the measurements with which I had started the whole project, basically how high the locomotive tender fill hatches were, including track height.

I used the measurements with which I had started the whole project, basically how high the locomotive tender fill hatches were, including track height, and the stack height as the locomotive passes the tower.  From these I could determine the upper and lower limits of the spout travel.  The relationship of the actuating rod to the counter-weight determines the up and down end points of the spout travel.  The position of the drywall screw next to the SwitchMaster motor determines the total length of spout travel.  Both are adjustable.

With the animating mechanism removed from under the layout you can see the pivoting rod on the SwitchMaster, the actuating rod attached, and the stops for the pivoting rof.

With the animating mechanism removed from under the layout you can see the pivoting rod on the SwitchMaster, the actuating rod attached, and the stops for the pivoting rod.  To my great joy, the whole business works, and the water tower spout can now be controlled with whatever push buttons or DPDT switches are used for turnout control.  This model took 31.5 hours to finish over 15 building days.

 

 

 

 

 

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