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Archive for the ‘Structures’ Category

Another cabin in HO scale

I also had a kit for the HO scale version of the Tie Hacker’s
Cabin. I decided to just build the cabin portion of the kit, and use it as a background building. As opposed to the O scale version, the HO version of this kit has the strip wood needed to construct the cabin. It seems to be a question of what will fit in the kit box.

At just 3.0 x 4.5 inches, this is a very small structure, but it will look good in the distance as some kind of mountain cabin.

The foundation casting for this one was the right size. The extended room (which I left off my larger version) is just designed to fit on wooden posts.

A few open windows make the place look inhabited.

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The Tie Hacker’s Cabin

This is the O Scale Tie Hacker’s cabin/complex from Rusty Stumps Scale Models. I put this together back in November of 2018. Yes, I’m a little behind in my postings. The kit includes plans, but not the wood, for the cabin and an open tool shed. Instructions are provided for securing the necessary strip wood to build the kit. I really like the look of the cabin, but for space saving reasons, I decided to use the rest of the complex in my lumber camp.

The figures are from Railroad Avenue, and I scratch built the little chimney lamp. For the lamp, I used the tip from a plastic eye dropper. The bulb is inside the eye dropper. I placed the lamp on a thin styrene piece that I painted black, and inserted along with the wires through the cabin wall.

The plaster casting for the foundation wasn’t large enough (I think I got the one from the HO scale kit) so I took a piece of pink foam insulation, and surrounded it with Chooch flexible stone wall material. I used acrylic paints on both the chimney casting and the new foundation. I always stain my wood before assembly, and weather it with powders afterwards. Plans for an extension for another room on the back side of the cabin are included, but I decided to leave it off.

This cellar hatch was a fortuitous mistake. I only had enough Chooch flexible stone material to go to the center of the front of the foundation. I though maybe if I painted the gap black it would be OK, but it showed more than I thought it would, and didn’t look right, so I added a few scraps of wood, and created a cellar hatch.

The kit is designed for board by board construction. It takes a little more time than some other methods, but it produces really nice looking walls and floors. I ran the wires for the lighting up through the foam foundation. If I want my bulbs to look like oil lamps, I dip them in Tamiya Clear amber acrylic paint. A bit of the porch roof shows here, and that was just done with strips of blue painters tape, painted black and weathered. This makes a pretty good representation of tar paper roofing, and you don’t need any additional glue.

I used strips of off-white paper for curtains on the two windows.

Here’s a shot of my two Railroad Avenue guys “plucking and strumming” at sunset.

This is the large open tool/work shed I built with plans from the kit. The details are cast into the tables, so the most time consuming part is painting all of them. I put two overhead lights in for night time scenes.

With a rusty corrugated tin roof, my little Railroad Avenue workers will stay dry when it rains. To achieve a rusted look, I paint the roof gray first and then dry brush with a rusty color.

I put the shed on a thin styrene base which was coated with various colors of grass. There are lots of castings with the kit, so I put some outside the shed. The weeds are Silflor Autumn Prairie Tufts from Scenic Express.

The little guys are “burning the midnight oil”. Or maybe they’re just very slow….they haven’t moved since the photos were taken earlier in the day!

There was an abundance of castings with this kit; too many to fit in the one open shed, so I designed and scratch built another small shed for some of the others. I used the same idea with the styrene base.

I used the windows from the cabin extension on this shed.

This is the other side.

There is a nice casting for an oil tank, and plans to build the base. The hose didn’t have an on-off mechanism so I took a Grandt Line water tank band tightener to represent this.

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The Durango Fire Hall

What follows are three views of the Mt. Albert Fire House kit. This is a very elaborate, well detailed kit. It comes with a DVD that shows over 80 color pictures which correspond to the steps in the written instructions.

You’ll notice that there is no bell showing in the cupola on these three shots, but the kit does have a very nice heavy brass bell.

This will be my fire hall in Durango, so I wanted to change the sign to reflect that.

I did a little work on my computer to change the sign, and then gave it a light spray with flat beige paint to take the reds down some, and give it a dusty look. I used my standard techniques for painting and weathering the rest of the model. I start with a gray stain made with 91% isopropyl alcohol and a little black leather dye. Then I dry brush with a little light gray acrylic paint. I always stain the wood before I do any gluing. No matter how hard you try, you will get glue showing, and it does not like to take stain the same way the rest of the model does.

In order to save layout space, I shortened this structure front to back as I have done with other kits. This will be the tallest building on my layout, but it should be. The cupola has a windowed lookout area, and you want the little O scale firemen to be able to see all over town from here.

I installed five lights in the fire hall, three outside like the ones shown on the original model, and two inside so that I could see my fire engine at night. I used a system I had employed some time ago that carries the power for the lights on two brass rods running out of sight through the rafters. It is fairly easy to solder the leads from the lights to these brass rods.

This photo shows the two parts of the roof assembly that I will leave unsecured in order to have access to the wiring for the lights.

Here you can see the brass bell. I had to add the clapper. I also added a lightning rod to the roof of the cupola. I thought it looked a little unfinished without it. On the back of the hall I soldered wires to the tips of the two brass rods where they protruded through the wall, and enclosed those wires in small styrene tubes to take the electrical service down through the roof of the add-on structure.

When I shortened the building I made an error in cutting the sub-wall and the outer wall on the second story of this side, so I just created two boarded over windows. It was easier (and more interesting) than cutting the window openings in the sub-wall plywood. My window shade technique has been described elsewhere on this site.

The figure of the man holding open the door is from Scenic Express, and I assembled the fire engine a long time ago from a white metal kit. I always intended that this fire engine would be used in Durango.

Here is a close-up of the styrene conduit that carries the power from beneath the layout up to the brass rod lighting system.

The kit comes with shades for the three outside lights, but they are just decorative. I substituted the Old Fashioned Green and White Lamp Shade & Bulb from Miniatronics.

I painted the interior of the fire hall black, and used black wiring to carry the current down from the brass rods to the lower lights. Maybe I’ll come back with some black Gorilla tape to secure the wires to the wall a little better.

All five lights that I installed can be seen in this view. The interior floor is made from coffee stir sticks.

This is the scene I had in mind when I envisioned the use of the two interior lights.

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Rusty Stumps Bakery

The latest kit I’ve tackled is the Rusty Stumps Bakery. This is the photo from the front of the instruction manual. This building is quite long and narrow, so as you’ll see in the next picture, I shortened it to save room on my layout. Maybe I’ll use the left over pieces to make another smaller building. I’ve done that kind of thing before.

I cut the two side walls just in front of the side window, and stained the kit more to my liking.

A large blank side wall in this era would have been used for several advertisements. I had some signs left over from other projects.

The kit has heavy card stock floors for the first and second stories, but nothing for a foundation. I also wanted to add a small rear porch, and a wooden walk in front. I built the foundation with 1/8″ square strip wood, and extended it under the thin planking of the front walk and the back porch.

Because of the shortening of the structure, and the sloping side walls, I needed to add to the top of the kit’s rear wall. I found some suitable materials in my spare basswood supplies. Using the same stain for these added materials blended them in nicely.

Refer back to the first picture, and you’ll see a large square roof vent. That didn’t seem appropriate for my period, so I scratch-built a roof hatch to cover the hole left in the roof from the omission of the other vent. Then I added some Grandt Line hinges and a scratch-built handle.

The left side of the bakery has two more wall signs.

I used postal tape again for window shades.

I had some shake shingles left over from another project, and I like the look of these better than the roofing included with the kit. The people are from Railroad Avenue.

If you were looking closely you may have noticed that I reversed the arrangement of the details on the roof. The sub-roofing card stock was pre-cut for the location of the roof details. After cutting the shorter piece that I needed, it just made more sense to turn it 180 degrees. With this kind of roof, some means of draining rain water would be needed. I’ll come back and add that, along with a downspout and rain barrel.

All my interior lighting for the bakery is on the first floor, so I made the roof and the second floor so that they could be removed. It’s better to assume that you will some day need access to that light on the first floor. The tarpaper roofing material here is blue painter’s tape, overlapped and painted black. Then a little weathering powder creates that dusty look.

This view straight down into the store shows the placement of the shelf unit that has the bakery goods on display, and also the positioning of the bulb that will illuminate the shelf at night…..or during the day. It was a lot of work to decorate all those cakes. Large kit walls like these always seem to warp a little, so the two 1/4 inch square posts on both sides help keep the walls straight.

Here you can see the way the light plays on the bakery shelves. I noticed that I’ll also need to do a little masking of the light leak along the edge of the window.

There’s a slot in the front wall behind the bakery sign. The second floor was meant to insert here, but I cut the tabs off the second floor so that I could remove it. The little light bulb just happened to fall right behind that slot. I’ll slip a little piece of tinfoil in between the bulb and the slot, and that will fix the unintended rosy glow.

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Some time ago I bought this Rusty Stumps kit because I liked the look and the size of it. I had already built a passenger/freight depot for Silverton that was of my own design. It more closely followed the D&RGW style for depots. When I finally got around to building this kit, I still wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with it, but I had a space on my track plan for Silverton that was simply marked for a generic “industry”. I assumed that inspiration would follow as I built the kit.

 

The rectangle on the plan shows the location for the “industry”. The light green block is where the passenger/freight depot will go. I have three earlier posts on the construction of the Silverton Depot.

 

As I was assembling the kit, I decided that this model could be an earlier Silverton depot and freight house that was left standing when the new one was built. This building could then be used for overflow freight, long term storage, etc.

 

I followed my usual methods for staining the wood parts of the kit, then lightly dry brushing them with acrylics. I find that this is the quickest way for me to get the look of worn and peeling paint. Weathering powders complete the effect.

 

Simultaneously I was completing the last of my Leadville Shops reefers. I decided to use one of the Bachmann under frames for On30 cars for several reasons. The plastic under frame fit the car, and came with couplers already installed that matched the rest of my rolling stock. This would save me the time and frustration of trying to assemble all of the tiny (but accurate) details that come with the kit. I am not building models for a contest; I just want reliable running, and the underbody details don’t really show that much. The biggest difference in doing things this way is the look of the trucks, but I figured my railroad could have replaced the earlier trucks.

 

This end view shows the unusual venting technique for keeping the shipment cold. The grill just above the end bolster would let in cool air as the car moved, and the vent pipe at the top of the car would exhaust the warmer air. Ice was loaded through the side doors, and placed near this passive re-circulating system.

 

In order to get the car floor to come close to the loading dock height, I put a strip of California Roadbed under the track. This brand of homasote roadbed is no longer being sold, but Steve Cox at Cascade Rail Supply promises to stock a matching product.

 

This is the view of the backside of the building. It will hardly show in the position in which I plan to use it, but at some point in the future I’ll probably add a loading dock here.

 

There are two choices of shingles with this kit: shakes and the more conventional style. I chose to use the more regular type. The On30 track shown here is Micro Engineering Code 83, which I plan to use throughout the layout. The figures are from Railroad Avenue, and I’ve placed them so that the two fellows on the dock look like they’re talking to each other, and the third guy in the doorway is listening and waiting on whatever decision they come to.

 

An outhouse is also included with the kit, as well as seven castings for a variety of freight. I decided that just using the included castings would be sufficient.

 

I put two lights in the model. One was placed over the office doorway, and the other inside the freight room.

 

I located the inside light out of sight so that all that can be seen is a soft glow.

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A Small Scratch Built Shop

This is one of a series of very nice booklets of drawings for scratch-building small period wood structures. It is spiral bound so that you can lay it out flat as you are working, but I copied the pages for my project, so I wouldn’t spill anything on the original book.

There are 45 projects in this volume. Each features detailed construction drawings from all four sides. The drawings are in HO scale, so you need to use your copier’s sizing function to render them in other scales. I decided to make my building in S scale with O scale windows and doors. I did this to conserve space on my layout.

Each project has an introductory page with a written description of the structure, and an isometric sketch that has no scale. The author calls this a blacksmith’s shop, but it could be any number of small structures like a stable or an auto repair shop. By the way, if you are building anything with a horse shoe mounted on it, have the open end of the shoe facing upwards, not downwards as shown here. Good luck falls from above, and the open end of the horse show is supposed to collect it. Horse shoes mounted like this one would produce bad luck.

Most kits are easy to build, but often pricey. They usually yield nice looking models, but without the creative satisfaction of something you scratch build. I used left over shingles from my hardware store project on the small extension that gives this building much of its character. The exterior walls here are just a few scraps of ship-lap siding I had on hand. The windows are from Grandt Line Products.

I’ve always wanted to try the coffee stir stick method for wood siding. I got a lifetime supply on Amazon for just a couple of dollars. About 35% of them are too warped to use, but that still leaves hundreds that are fairly straight. I stained them in my customary manner and used them for the vertical boards. In O scale they are about 12 inches wide. They are harder than basswood, so a little more difficult to cut. I found a saw works better than a knife. The handles on the big double doors are bent from a couple of pieces of a paperclip, inserted through small drilled holes and secured with CA on the back side.

For the chimney, I used another technique I had wanted to try for a long time. I first made a rectangular styrene mold and filled it with plaster of Paris. I let the mold sit for several days until the plaster was no longer cool to the touch. That means it has completely cured and hardened. I had to break the mold away from the plaster, but I wasn’t planning to use it again, so no problem. Once I had the basic chimney block free, just a little sanding gave it a nice round-cornered shape. I drew the stones in pencil, took a needle file with a small tip and carved in the joint lines between the stones. I gave the whole chimney a wash of acrylic Depot Buff to seal the plaster, and then painted the individual stones with three additional colors. I left about 25% of them with the Depot Buff base coat. After that, I used very thin washes of acrylic raw umber to tone everything down, and blend the stones together. Finally I brushed the chimney with a dusting of near-white weathering powder. This takes the shine off of it, and gives it a weathered rock look. The stack on top of the chimney is a bit of plastic drinking straw recessed into a 1/4 inch hole I made by hand-turning a drill bit down from the top. Plaster of Paris carves very easily.

For the roof I simulated tar paper with blue painter’s tape over card stock. It helps the roof to hold its shape by making a couple of interior supports to match the peaked end wall. Then I painted and dry brushed it, and used some light dirt colored weathering powder on it. This is a quick and simple way to make roofing. I just used a thin line of black paint where the chimney meets the roof to simulate flashing.

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At this year’s National Narrow Gauge Convention in Minneapolis, which is close to where I live, I had a nice conversation with Mike and Korie Pyne of Wild West Scale Model Builders. I have built many of their kits, and I told Korie that I really appreciated the isometric instruction drawings because they reminded me of the drawings that you get with Legos. She said that that was exactly what they had in mind when they created them.

Their kits always include beautiful photos of the finished model from all angles. There was an option to leave the roof and second floor removable, so I did that with my kit in order to have greater access to the lighting I intended to install.

I added three figures from Railroad Avenue, and one from Arttista. I like to compose small scenes with my little people so I made two conversational groupings, one on the stairs, and one in front of the store.

The barrels and the crate were included with the kit. I’ll be able to take the warp out of the board walk later.

I always reinforce the flooring and give it a little elevation so that when I finally put the model on the layout, I can bring the surrounding soil in without sinking the building too far into the ground.

Mother Nature rarely makes anything just one color, so I always use three colors to dry brush my shingles.

A technique that I’ve been using since the 1980’s for simulating window shades is beige postal tape. It sticks right on the windows, and as you can see from the night time photos below, it lets a little light through.

The lighting is similar to that which I’ve used on other models.

Having finished the model, I realized that it had no chimneys. There were none provided with the kit, but I can easily whip a couple up.

 

The second kit that I purchased that night at the convention was for a small fire house.

This kit also has nice color photos of the model from all sides.

With the addition of this kit, I now own 3 fire houses, so with only two towns, something is going to have to go. My original drawings for a fire hall in Durango can be seen in an earlier post called “Plans for the Durango Fire Hall” (11/22/13). I have partially constructed this building, but it can easily be repurposed. I have a kit for the Mt. St. Albert Fire Hall, so I think I’ll build that one for Durango, and this much smaller fire house can go in Silverton.

The little horse with one front leg lifted is from The Aspen Modeling Company.

I decided to use a tin roof instead of a shingled one. Less of a fire hazard! This corrugated roofing is from Dr. Ben’s Scale Building Materials. Since I wanted to play around with a stone foundation on this model, I dropped the angle of the flooring in front of the doors.

One fire ladder is included with the kit. I’m not sure which side of my fire house is going to be visible on the layout, so I created little pegs on each side of the building. I’ll hang the ladder where it can be seen. The pegs were created using straight pins, exactly like the method I use for door handles.

This is a good picture of the foundation I created. The material is two courses of Chooch Enterprises flexible cut stone wall. I cut a piece of 1/4 inch plywood the same size as the kit flooring, and applied the Chooch wall material around it. I felt the stone foundation would go along with the theme of “fire retardant”.

There is no bell provided with the kit, but I had a whole bag of silver bells from Michael’s. They were a perfect size, and a simple paint job made it look like a bronze bell.

The seated figure is from Railroad Avenue. I don’t remember where I got the horse-drawn fire wagon, but it’s a perfect size for this small fire house.

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This is a kit from B.T.S. Structures. According to their instruction sheet, that stands for “better than scratch”. Historically many Chinese men, and families, were brought to this country to work on the transcontinental railroad. From the outset they faced prejudice and discrimination, even on the railroad that brought them here. Eventually their superior work habits, skills, and clean living gained them widespread acceptance on the railroad, but they still faced an uphill struggle when they left the railroad to pursue other occupations. One of the few businesses they were allowed to own and run was the local laundry.

This kit consists of an elongated main structure and a small attached side room of some sort, as seen in this rear view.

Since I’m trying to save space in Durango, I decided to leave the small addition off, and shorten the depth of the main building. I can use the little addition to make a small shed somewhere. You can always use a lot of small sheds!

I don’t intend to have the back of the laundry show, so I just used a piece of card stock, and painted it a rust color. Now I can add the windows and doors shown in the second photo above to my stock of spare parts.

I decided to use a different chimney so it wouldn’t dominate the structure so much.

I like to use photographic interiors, and you can almost always find something useful on Google Images. I used this on the back wall of the laundry.

I split this photo in two and used half of it on each side wall. The canopy glue I use on the window glass, and the addition of a window shade makes these photos very hard to see, but that’s OK; I know they are there.

I put two lights on the structure: one over the door, and one on the inside near the back.

From this angle, you can see both lights. Now my little Railroad Avenue people can have clean shirts.

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The Kokomo House

Another kit I recently completed was the Kokomo House by Wild West Scale Model Builders. With a footprint of roughly 6.5 x 4.0 inches, this structure is a little bigger than the houses I have been building lately. Maybe it can be the home of a rich person, or some business office. A bit of history by Joe Crea on the Wild West web site says, “Kokomo, a small Colorado mining town, once existed just below the east crest of Fremont Pass. The townsite is presently buried under extensive tailing ponds of the Climax Molybdenum operation. An early photograph of the town revealed this small house. Like many log structures of the period, this building has its facade sheathed with siding to provide a more finished appearance. The house appears not to have been painted, but it was common practice to paint only the finished facade and allow the log portions to weather naturally.”

This is the front view of my finished house. Nothing new in terms of techniques here. The mortar lines between the logs took a while to paint with a very fine brush. Fortunately, rough is OK here.

The front from another angle.

The back has an interesting little walk-out addition, and cut-away roof line.

The other rear view angle. I put two lights in the structure because of the size of it, and the many windows.

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As you know if you have been following my postings, I am currently engaged in creating some housing for all of those little people who will populate my railroad.

Since these structures take up very little space, and are of a simple generic nature, I have been using ready-made kits instead of designing and scratch-building everything. I also have some houses and other buildings that are in S scale and HO scale so I can create some false perspective on the layout. I posted an article on May 20, 2012 (in the “structures” category) that shows how convincing false perspective can be. The photos in that article were shot on a set up that was less than four feet deep.

This kit is called “Tommy Knocker’s Cabin”, and is from Wild West Scale Model Builders. They produce some very fine laser-cut wood structure kits in a number of scales. I won’t cover all the techniques I use on these kits because the information can be found in earlier posts.

This kit contains number of options like this addition, and the small front porch roof. I like kits that give you options, because you can individualize your structure.

There are two windows on the back side of the cabin, but no back door. A door could very easily be added.

The other side of the cabin has room for an optional storage room. I built the kit with all the options, and the footprint is still only 5.5 x 5 inches.

The kit just comes with a small tubular styrene piece for the chimney, but I like to add more detail, so I scrounged in my spare parts storage for this chimney cap, some guy wires, and flashing. If you look closely at the full photo of this angle, you will wonder why I put the chimney in this location which sort of suggests that the stove would be located right inside the front door. I wondered about that, too, but the deed was already done! I guess the cabin’s owner will have to route some stove piping to the rear of the room….a more logical location for the stove. I hope he can still get good draft.

I wanted to try doing window curtains here, so I used some of the tissue paper from the kit. This paper is supplied for the builder to paint black to simulate tar paper roofing. The shingles shown are also provided in the kit. I drew the curtain details in pencil on the tissue paper, and then cut out the shape, allowing excess width and height to make it easy to glue the curtains on to the inside walls. I cut away the shape of the opening between the curtains. I think the effect worked well. I also added interior lighting so that the curtain modeling would show up better at night.

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Small House and Outhouse Kits

Here are the results of my work with two Banta Modelworks kits. This company makes some very fine laser-cut wood kits in many scales, and I have assembled a number of them in the past.

This is the photo that comes with the kit for the house. There are not two houses in the kit; this photo just shows two variations of the same house.

The kit includes an interior layer of walls that are just plain laser-cut plywood, and an exterior layer with inscribed siding. You are supposed to sandwich these walls for strength, but I started to think that I could actually build two houses with this kit if I reinforced each set of walls with some basswood strips. Make sure your reinforcement is at a 90˚ angle to the grain of the laser-cut wood. You can see the wiring for the interior lighting. I won’t do a separate photo of the lights “on” since I have done that in so many recent posts.

To build two houses required a little scratch-building, but that didn’t deter me. The hardest part, cutting all the window and door openings, was already done for me. For variety I decided to make my second house resemble board and batten construction.

To further differentiate these houses from each other, I used separate roofing techniques. As I was developing these two structures, I decided that one would look “cheaper” than the other, and that decision colored all my choices. Here you can see that one house has a nice shingled roof, and the other has a simple tar paper job. Wooden battens were often used on tar paper roofs to resist the paper lifting in high winds. On both roofs I used Clever Models “Creeky Brand” printed paper products.

Here you can see two techniques I have become quite fond of; the use of canopy glue to resemble the cheap glass often found in early western structures, and the employment of simple straight pin heads for O-scale doorknobs. This photo also shows the wooden beams I use as a foundation on many of my structures. This adds detail, and helps to resist warping. I used AIM weathering powders on all of these structures.

On the more expensive home, I included a porch light. This is from Miniatronics, item #72-512-03.

Here is the photo that Banta provides for the outhouse kit. There are actually 6 outhouses in this one kit, as you can see from their statement.

I tried to create as much variety in the outhouses as well. I made one to match the coloring of each house, and one to look like it was newly built. Since a lot of my structure work so far has been commercial buildings, I think it’s time I create some places for all those people to live.

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Icing Dock

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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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This is the photo on the cover of the box for the HO scale Timber Oil Derrick by Campbell Scale Models.

This is the photo on the cover of the box for the HO scale Timber Oil Derrick by Campbell Scale Models.  My original plan called for building this model, and simultaneously copying the parts in O scale.  Then I would sell the HO version, and build the O scale version for my layout.

As I started construction I became aware that the tower, which was 11 inches tall in HO scale would be nearly 22 inches tall in O scale.  That just seemed awfully large for my the space I had allotted on my layout.

As I started construction I realized that the tower, which was 11 inches tall in HO scale would be nearly 22 inches tall in O scale. That just seemed awfully large for the space I had available on my layout.

The gray squares on the track plan are one square foot each.  The base of this model in O scale would occupy a length of nearly two feet.

The gray squares on the track plan are one square foot each. The base of this model in O scale would occupy a length of nearly two feet.  I plan on having two spurs at the oil company, for convenience in dropping off loaded cars and picking up empties.  If space becomes a problem, the same switching move can be done by using the main, or two different cars could be located at the oil company at the same time.

Then I got the idea of enlarging the door openings, adding a couple of O scale windows, and adjusting the ladder step spacing...turning what was a large HO scale model into a modest size O scale one.

Back to the model, I got the idea of enlarging the door openings, adding a couple of O scale windows, and adjusting the ladder step spacing…turning what was a large HO scale model into a modest size O scale structure.

Here is a comparison of the alterations to the ladder.

Here is a comparison of the alterations to the ladder.

Like any craftsman wood kit, this one has a lot of small parts, and, fortunately a good set of instructions.

Like any craftsman wood kit, this one has a lot of small parts, and fortunately, a good set of instructions.

The front and back side of a single sheet has good drawings from all sides, and templates for some of the assemblies.

The front and back side of a single sheet has good drawings of all sides, and templates for some of the assemblies.

Here is the multi-faceted base platform.

Here is the multi-faceted base platform.

This is the completed four-sided tower.

This is the completed four-sided tower.

The tower including the upper sheaves, in place on the base platform.

The tower including the upper sheaves, in place on the base platform.

Here is an O scale figure next to one of the walls with an enlarged door opening, and a small O scale window.

Here is an O scale figure next to one of the walls with an enlarged door opening, and a small O scale window.

There was a good place on the other side of the model for a second O scale window.

There was a good place on the other side of the model for a second O scale window.

I took this photo because the interior of this area of the model would be mostly enclosed by the final wall.

I took this photo because the interior of this area of the model would be mostly enclosed by the final wall.

This photo shows some of the detail of the walking beam and the eccentric coupling that enables it to go up and down.

This photo shows some of the detail of the walking beam and the eccentric coupling that enables it to go up and down.

At this stage, the derrick is pretty well finished, and some weathering has been added.

At this stage, the derrick is pretty well finished, and some weathering has been added.

I added some drilling pipe to the pipe storage rack. These are made from different size plastic drinking straws

I added some drilling pipe to the pipe storage rack. These are made from different size plastic drinking straws, and the larger ones match the diameter of the pipes I put on the pipe gondolas I built some time ago.

Ground level view of the pipe storage rack and the walking beam.

Ground level view of the pipe storage rack and the walking beam.

Two oil workers.

Two oil workers.

And, on the other side of the derrick.

And, on the other side of the derrick.

The end by the engine house.

The end by the engine house.

One last view of the pipe rack.  I think I'll knock some of that rust coloring down with a little Dullcote.

One last view of the pipe rack. I think I’ll knock some of that rust coloring down with a little Dullcote.

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It has always been a plan of mine to have a Fire Hall in Durango.  One of the first things I do in designing scratch-built structures is to make a rough sketch.  This helps me to organize my basic ideas and see how the various elements I'm thinking about would fir together.

It has always been a plan of mine to have a Fire Hall in Durango. One of the first things I do in designing scratch-built structures is to make a rough sketch. This helps me to organize my basic ideas and see how the various elements I’m thinking about would fit together.  You’ll notice in the final drawings below, I seriously down-sized my bell tower.  It was overpowering everything else in this sketch.

Having a Fire Hall made of brick certainly makes sense.  I like the slightly more elaborate window treatment here.

Having a Fire Hall made of brick certainly makes sense, and I do have other brick buildings in my Durango.  I like the slightly more elaborate window treatment here.

On the other hand, lumber was a handier building material in the west.

On the other hand, lumber was a handier building material in the west.

I decided to go with a combination of materials.  I certainly have used brick in other Durango structures.  I'm also cobbling together some supplies I already have on hand.  Monster Model Works makes laser etched brick and wood siding sheets, Rusty Stumps makes the fancy windows and the warehouse door on the left.

I decided to go with a combination of materials. I’m also cobbling together some supplies I already have on hand. Monster Model Works makes laser etched brick and wood siding sheets, and the brick trim pieces.  Rusty Stumps makes the fancy windows and the warehouse door on the left.  Chooch Enterprises makes a flexible foundation stone wall.  Kaw Valley makes a nice external staircase.  I figure you can’t have a fire hall without a fire escape.  Grandt Line makes an assortment of small styrene castings, including a sheave wheel for the bell, and some gingerbread trim.  I’ll get a little Christmas bell from Michael’s.  This drawing is more to show the arrangement of details than for specific color ideas.  I have two fire engines.  One is a 1914 Model T Ford, and the other is a horse-drawn pumper.  Since my layout time period is 1915, my concept is that the fire hall was built around that time to house the newer engine, but the older vehicle was kept in the shed on the left, just in case they ever had a two-alarm fire.

Here is a side view.  As I have done with some other buildings in Durango, I have shortened the structure front to back.

Here is a side view. As I have done with some other buildings in Durango, I have shortened the structure front to back, but it still has plenty of depth for my fire engines.

    I might model one or both of the doors open and include some interior details. Lighting will also be on the menu.

I might model one or both of the doors open and include some interior details. Lighting will also be on the menu.

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This is a photo from Google Images of the Classic Miniatures kit I will be building in this post.

This is a photo from Google Images of the Classic Miniatures/Trout Creek Engineering kit I will be building in this post.

I've rearranged the track plan in the mining area to bring the 18 inch gauge track down to the tipple or ore bin.

I’ve rearranged the track plan in the mining area to bring the 18 inch gauge track (green) down to the tipple/ore bin.  I’ll be simulating this route with some N scale track.

It is very important as you start the assembly of this kit that you get the core structure as square in all dimensions as you can.  Here I'm using a number of tools simultaneously to insure that the central cube is square.

It is very important as you start the assembly of this kit that you get the core structure as square in all dimensions as you can. Here I’m using a number of tools simultaneously to insure that the central cube is square.

Here I've completed the the bin floor and walls.

Here I’ve completed the the bin floor and walls, and put in the vertical support rods.  You may have noticed that I’m only building half the width of the kit model.  I don’t have room or a need for the whole 4-chute version.

A couple of days later, the horizontal support rods, the ladders, and the approach track stringers and ties are in place.

A couple of days later, the horizontal support rods, the ladders, and the approach track stringers and ties are in place.

In this front view, you can see the bin chutes and their adjustable deflectors.  These last parts are just a heavy grade of paper, but they look like steel once they are painted and weathered.

In this front view, you can see the bin chutes and their adjustable deflectors. These last parts are just a heavy grade of paper, but they look like steel once they are painted and weathered.

This isometric view shows the chutes better.  The deflectors can actually be set at different angles.

This isometric view shows the chutes better. The deflectors can actually be set to different angles.

An overhead view shows how the track for the mine carts leads to the open top of the bin.

An overhead view shows how the track for the mine carts leads to the open top of the bin.

The third board for the walkway beside the chutes has to br cut to fit between the chutes, and it is not yet in place in this photo.

The third board for the walkway beneath the chutes has to be cut to fit between the chutes, and it is not yet in place in this photo.  NBW castings are used at the ends of the support rods, and they actually keep the rods in place.

This structure is designed to be situated on a hillside.  In truth, hillsides is the whole reason for the existence of

This structure is designed to be situated on a hillside. In truth, hillsides were much of the reason for the existence of these bins, that and a means to get ore from small hand pushed carts into larger ore gondolas on the regular rails.

The next step is to add some weathering with a combination of Bragdon powders for the rust effects, and AIM powder for the ore residue.

The next step is to add some weathering with a combination of Bragdon powder for the rust effects, and AIM powder for the ore residue.

Weathering at the top of the bin.

Weathering at the top of the bin.  Once I install it on the layout, I’ll add more loose ore effects.

The kit has a stone wall to go under the support at the front edge of the tipple. A quarter inch piece of balsa is provided, and some embossed paper to simulate stone.  I thought that Choose Enterprises flexible stone wall material would look better, so I'm building my wall with it.  This is the back side of the wall that will go against the hillside.

The kit has a stone wall to go under the support at the front edge of the tipple. A quarter inch piece of balsa is provided, and some embossed paper to simulate stone. I thought that Choose Enterprises flexible stone wall material would look better, so I’m building my wall with it. This is the back side of the wall that will go against the hillside.

A front/top view of the wall shows how I dovetailed the stones at the corners.  I also sanded the corner stones to get a more rounded look.

A front/top view of the wall shows how I dovetailed the stones at the corners. I also sanded the corner stones to get a more rounded look.

To finish the wall I gave it a thin coat of grimy black acrylic, and dry brushed it with depot buff.

To finish the wall I gave it a thin coat of grimy black acrylic, and dry brushed it with depot buff.

There is material in the kit for two trestle bents to support the approach track structure.  I built these at thir full height for now, using the template provided.

There is material in the kit for two trestle bents to support the approach track structure. I built these at their full height for now, using the template provided.

One tool that I find very useful in building wood kits is a simple bamboo shish-kabob stick

One tool that I find very useful for applying white glue when building wood kits is a simple bamboo shish-kabob stick.  Here I am using it to supply a small drop of glue to a hole drilled for an NBW casting.  The stick is about nine inches long, so it is very practical to get glue to places that would be to tight to reach with even a small glue bottle.

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More detailing…..

This end of the depot is pretty well detailed in this photo.  I've written before about my methods for creating shipping crates and labels, so I won't go into that again.  I found some old signs amidst my N-scale stuff for a D&RG shipping service, so I included

This end of the depot is pretty well detailed in this photo. I’ve written before about my methods for creating shipping crates and labels, so I won’t go into that again.  I have found that using a dry-brushing technique to highlight barrel bands is easier to do, and gives better results than trying to paint them in a circular fashion around the barrel.

I found some old signs amid my N-scale stuff for a D&RG shipping service, so I included that on the wall along with the REA signs.

I found some old signs amid my N-scale stuff for a D&RG shipping service, so I included that on the wall along with the REA signs.  I like my Western Union signs on stand-off supports, so they can be read from all along the platform.  Other signs are advertisements or house rules.

Here are some of the contents of the inside of the freight area.  When I'm all done, I'll position these so they can show through the open doors.  This area will also have interior and exterior lighting.

Here are some of the contents of the inside of the freight area. When I’m all done, I’ll position these so they can show through the open doors. This area will also have interior and exterior lighting.

I promised a note on dry-brushing the roof.

I promised a note on dry-brushing the roof.  I think the most frightening thing about dry-brushing for the novice is the thought that you might apply too much of that highlighting coat.  But, have no fear; just make sure you still have the base coat available, and any areas that get too much of the highlighting can be toned down by dry-brushing with the base coat.  It’s like having a paint eraser!  On this roof I have also added weathering powders, weathered chimneys, and an over-spray of Testor’s Dullcote to fix everything in place.  Note that the course of shingles that were formerly sticking up have been firmly glued down, and that holds the roof edges down on to the eave braces.  The train order signal rotates to display either red or white to the engineer on the approaching train.  Red means to stop for an order; white means you are clear to go through without stopping.

Here are a few signs on the other end of the depot.  Signs and figures and lighting really make your structures come to life.

Here are a few signs on the other end of the depot. Signs and figures and lighting really make your structures come to life.  Note the transoms over the doors were installed in an open position.  This also helps to convey the idea that the building is in use.

I've made the wall that separates the freight and passenger areas, and the passenger waiting area floor.  I made these so that for the time being, they can be removed.  I'll fix them in place once the lighting is done.  I also made some interior door and window trim.

I’ve made the wall that separates the freight and passenger areas, and the passenger waiting area floor. I made these so that for the time being, they can be removed. I’ll fix them in place once the lighting is done. I also made some interior door and window trim.  The wires lead to the outside light over the back door, and will connect to the brass lighting bus in the ceiling.  That way, they won’t show when the roof is on.

Here is what that light looks like from the outside.  I ran the wires through a short section of heat shrink tubing; there is enough stiffness in the wires to hold the tubing in a curve.

Here is what that light looks like from the outside. I ran the wires through a short section of heat shrink tubing; there is enough stiffness in the wires to hold the tubing in a curve.

I made a table lamp from an HO scale streetlight by just using the base and the top, and painting them kind of brassy.

I made a table lamp from an HO scale streetlight by just using the base and the top, and painting them kind of brassy.

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After a little over a week's more work, many of the exterior details are coming into focus.

After a little over a week’s more work, many of the exterior details are coming into focus.  I can see from this photo that I’ll have to reposition the telegrapher’s bay; it’s a little out of plumb.  I’ve left all the doors open so that interior details will show, especially at night when the depot is lit.  The triangular gable over the telegrapher’s bay will house the station order board.

I've left the edge of the roof flexible to this point, which is why that one course of shingles sticks up.  When I'm sure of the angle I want, I'll slip some glue under that course, and

I’ve left the edge of the roof flexible to this point, which is why that one course of shingles sticks up. When I’m sure of the angle I want, I’ll slip some glue under that course, weight the edge, and let it dry up hard.

This is the end of the freight part of the depot for servicing wagons and trucks.

This is the freight end of the depot for servicing wagons and trucks.

The four exterior corners will get a piece of angle stock to hide the joints.

The four exterior corners will get a piece of angle stock to hide the joints.

The roof will get weathering and chimneys added.

The roof will get weathering and chimneys added.

This back side of the depot is where trains will leave cars for unloading.

This back side of the depot is where trains will leave boxcars and flatcars for unloading.

Lights on the inside will help to relieve the dark and abandoned look.

Lights on the inside will help to relieve the dark and abandoned look.

 

If you look to the left in this picture, you can see how much I need to bend the roof down to meet the roof braces.

If you look to the left in this picture, you can see how much I need to bend the roof down to meet the roof braces.

Here is the view with the roof off.  I haven't put a floor into the passenger side yet because I need to decide how I'm going to use the brass lighting bus for the interior lighting.  There will also be a wall separating the freight and passenger areas.  I attached all the roof and eave braces to the side walls, so that the roof can always be removed.

Here is the view with the roof off. I haven’t put a floor into the passenger side yet because I need to decide how I’m going to use the brass lighting bus for the interior lighting. There will also be a wall separating the freight and passenger areas. I attached all the roof and eave braces to the side walls, so that the roof can always be removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On a structure like this, I will usually start by laying out the dimensions of the foundation.  This is particularly true when I plan on detailing the interior, and it is composed of more than one room.  Here I've laid down 1/16th inch square supports for the interior floor boards, and the exterior surrounding wooden walkway.

On a structure like this, I will usually start by laying out the dimensions of the foundation. This is particularly true when I plan on detailing the interior, and it is composed of more than one room. Here I’ve glued the floor plan to matte board, and laid down 1/8th inch square supports for the interior floor boards, and the exterior surrounding wooden walkway.  This makes a scale 6 inch step up from ground level.  I’ve also installed two brass lighting buses, so I can wire wall lamps or table lamps directly down into the floor.  When I get to that point, I’ll run two brass buses through the roof peak to handle the outside lights under the eaves.

It usually takes about a week for my Grandt Line detail parts to arrive, so I decided to start with the exterior freight loading dock.

It usually takes about a week for my Grandt Line detail parts to arrive, so I decided to start with the exterior freight loading dock.

This is the underside of the loading dock with the cross bracing.

This is the underside of the loading dock with the cross bracing.  I normally don’t bother to sand the bar codes off the strip wood if they won’t show on the finished model.

Next I cut the walls from matte board, and built the raised interior floor of the freight area.

Next I cut the walls from matte board, and built the raised interior floor of the freight area.  The items on the four corners are handy magnetic corner clamps I got from a site on the internet.  The tricky thing with laying out the foundation first is to keep the thickness of the walls, and the interlocking structure of the corners from exceeding the foundation plan.

The roof will also have matte board under the shingles.

The roof will also have matte board under the shingles.

I used          clapboard siding over the matte board walls, and built the wanscot board by board with stripwood.  The clapboard is painted with........   At this point the walls are now 1/8th of an inch thick, and dovetail at the corners.  I painted the clapboard with Scalecoat........  I'll probably give the castings a coat of Testores Dullcoat before I install the window glass.

I used clapboard siding (Northeastern Scale Lumber 332SCR116P, Scribed Clapboard Siding) over the matte board walls, and built the wainscot board by board with strip wood. The clapboard is painted with Scalecoat Depot Buff, and highlighted with their SCL Hopper Car Beige.   At this point the walls are now 1/8th of an inch thick, and dovetail at the corners.  I’ll probably give the castings a coat of Testores Dullcoat before I install the window glass.  I liked the color, but the gloss is a little high.

Here are the two end walls.

Here are the two end walls.

Here is the depot upright at this point.  I like working with the matte board, but you do have to brace it on the inside to resist warping.

Here is the depot upright at this point. I like working with the matte board, but you do have to brace it on the inside to resist warping.

I found out from my Durango Depot, that the peaks of the end walls are especially susceptible to warping, so I used quarter-inch strip wood to brace these.

I found out from my Durango Depot, that the peaks of the end walls are especially susceptible to warping, so I used quarter-inch strip wood to brace these.

I gave the roof matte board a coat of Testor's Flat Black spray paint.  This will help a little with warping.  After that had dried, I started applying Branchline Trains French Style Victorian Shingles.  These will get painted and weathered eventually.

I gave the roof matte board a primer coat of Testor’s Flat Black spray paint, inside and out.  This will help a little with warping. After that had dried, I started applying Branchline Trains French Style Victorian Shingles. These will get painted and weathered eventually.

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The first thing I always do when I'm starting a new structure project is to check the footprint of the building on my track plan.  The program I used to draw the plan, Empire Express, has a measuring tool that lets me see exactly how much space I have allotted for the new

The first thing I always do when I’m starting a new structure project is to check the footprint of the building on my track plan. The program I used to draw the plan, Empire Express, has a measuring tool that lets me see exactly how much space I have allotted for the new station.  Here I can see that I’ve got a little wiggle room on the length of the station, and possibly even a little on the depth if I adjust the tracks slightly.  The plan that I developed will take 8 by 12 inches of space.

The next step is to consult photos of the prototype to see the features, and how they are arranged.

The next step is to consult photos of the prototype to see the features, the architectural style of the doors and windows, and how they are arranged.  Fortunately the depot at Silverton, Colorado, is well preserved, and still in use by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

As I have had to do all over my model railroad, I will have to use selective compression on this structure

As I have had to do before, I will, again, have to use selective compression on this structure.  Here is a photo I found that more closely approximates the size I will have to make my Silverton depot.  Quite some time ago, I decided that the station at Silverton would have to accommodate both freight and passengers in one building.

My next step is to make some free-hand rough sketches to determine how I want to arrange the features of the structure.

My next step is to make some free-hand rough sketches to determine how I want to arrange the features of the structure.  At this point I wasn’t planning to do much detailing to the rear of the station, but I later decided to flesh it out, since the track for freight unloading does run behind, and the back could be visible from some angles.

Quarter inch to the foot is my scale, so now I sit down with my quarter inch graph paper, and start drawing out a full size rendering of the model.  I mainly use the Grant Line Products catalogue and web site to choose the detail castings.  Their selection is excellent, and their service has always been prompt.

Quarter inch to the foot is my scale, so now I sit down with my quarter inch graph paper, and start making a full size rendering of the model. I mainly use the Grant Line Products catalogue and web site to choose the detail castings. Their selection is excellent, and their service has always been prompt.  The left section of the depot above is for freight.

The depot at Silverton sits at roughly a 45˚ angle to true north, so that's why I labeled my sides the way I did.

The depot at Silverton sits at roughly a 45˚ angle to true north, so that’s why I labeled my sides the way I did.  I used Google images to copy the shingles, the clapboard siding, and the wainscot.  I size and print the images, and cut them to fit the spaces on the drawing.  A little rubber cement finishes the job.  All of the trim will be dark brown like the prototype when I’m finished.

Here's what I decided to do with the back of the station.  It's not too elaborate, but functions to serve the track for freight arrivals.

Here’s what I decided to do with the back of the station. It’s not too elaborate, but it’s functional for freight arrivals on the track that runs behind the depot.

I liked the look of this end door for freight on the little model I saw, so....

I liked the look of this freight door on the end of the little model I saw, so….

....I put one in on my southwest side, and wrapped the loading platform around the corner of the depot.  This allows one side for train loading, and one for trucks or wagons.

….I put one in on my southwest side, and wrapped the loading platform around the corner of the depot. This allows one side for train loading, and the other for trucks or wagons.  Now on to the construction.  I’m going to detail the interior and put in lights, so I’m probably looking at three to four weeks on this project.

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Dawn at the Freight House

Durango lies in a shallow bowl of San Juan mountain foothills.  The glow of dawn lights up the town before the actual rays of the sun can penetrate.

Durango lies in a shallow bowl of San Juan mountain foothills. The glow of dawn lights up the town before the actual rays of the sun can penetrate the surroundings.

The midnight shift at the freight house is just winding down.  The men are thankful for the six new electric lights that have just recently been installed.  It makes working at night so much easier.

The midnight shift at the freight house is just winding down. The men are thankful for the six new electric lights that have just recently been installed. It makes working at night so much easier.

Another new addition at the freight house is their very own gasoline pump.  Going all the way into town to fill up the truck was tiresome, and the general store, which up until now had the only other pump in town, was often closed, just when you needed gas the most.

Another new addition at the freight house is their very own gasoline pump. Going all the way into town to fill up the truck was tiresome, and the general store, which up until now had the only other pump in town, was often closed, just when you needed gas the most.

No, the OK Corral was not in Durango, but it was too nice a sign to pass up.

No, the OK Corral was not in Durango, but it was too nice a sign to pass up.

Junk piles are probably more ubiquitous on model railroads than they ever were on the prototype, but I just can't resist a few.

Junk piles are probably more ubiquitous on model railroads than they ever were on the prototype, but I just can’t resist a few.

There's another one over behind the engine house shop.

There’s another one growing over behind the engine house shop.

Looks like the folks over at the hotel were up all night, too.

Looks like the folks over at the hotel were up all night, too.

Since I was going to be adding four exterior, and two interior lights to the freight house, I decided to try the idea of a brass wire lighting bus.  This keeps wiring to a minimum, because the bus is the only thing wired through the floor.  Everything else is soldered to the bus.

Since I was going to be adding four exterior, and two interior lights to the freight house, I decided to try the idea of a running a brass wire lighting bus. This keeps wiring to a minimum, because the bus is the only thing wired through the floor. Everything else is soldered to the bus, and the bus is hidden under the roof peak line.

Here are the leads from the first exterior soldered to the bus.  Since the bus is brass it functions just like a wire, and conducts electricity to anything attached to it.

Here are the leads from the first exterior light soldered to the bus. Since the bus is brass it functions just like a wire, and conducts electricity to anything attached to it.

I ran the feed wires to the bus through the base of the freight house model, and up a rusty exterior conduit.

I ran the feed wires to the bus through the base of the freight house model, and up a rusty exterior conduit.

Here's the first light, working at sunset, with the roof removed to show the bus connection.

Here’s the first light, working at sunset, with the roof removed to show the bus connection.

Here are all six lights connected to the bus wire.  I made the two interior lights just like the ones on the front porch of the Rochester Hotel.

Here are all six lights connected to the bus wire. I made the two interior lights just like the ones on the front porch of the Rochester Hotel.

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The Rochester Hotel

Please refer back to my posting of May 25, 2013, and compare the finished hotel with the prototype photos and my drawings.

Please refer to my posting of May 25, 2013, and compare the finished hotel with the prototype photos and my drawings.

One thing I learned about Monster Model & Laserworks laser cut brick sheet is that you do not want to stain it piecemeal like I did with my engine house.  This time I was more patient, and prepared a bottle of the weathering chalk and isopropyl alcohol mixture

One thing I learned about Monster Model & Laserworks laser cut brick sheet is that you do not want to stain it piecemeal like I did with my engine house. This time I prepared a bottle of the weathering chalk and isopropyl alcohol mixture, and was patient enough to wait until I had all the walls, lintels and corbels glued together before I stained them.  The result was a much more even coloring of the building.  The window shades here are postal mailing tape with a fine piece of piano wire glued across the bottom to give them a little termination.

As I have done on some of my other structures, I used photos to detail the interior.  These are from the General Palmer, and the Strater Hotels, also in Durango, and of the same period as the Rocheter.

As I have done on some of my other structures, I used photos to detail the interior. These are from the General Palmer, and the Strater Hotels, also in Durango, and of the same period as the Rochester.  If you look through the lower floor windows of my hotel, you will see a late 19th century hotel lobby.  If you glance into the upper floor windows, you will see a hotel bedroom, and the upper floor hallway.

On the upper floor, I put a piece of black card stock between the balcony door which is at the end of the hallway, and the two windows of the bedroom,

On the upper floor, I glued a piece of black card stock between the balcony door which is at the end of the hallway, and the two windows of the bedroom.  This will make the light, which I’ll place over the doorway, look brighter in the hall than in the bedroom.

The wall sconces on either side of the front door were fashioned from half inch pieces of that clear tubing that comes around the tips of very small artist brushes.  The black tops and bottoms of the lamps are tiny washers that were a perfect fit over the clear tubing, and the grain of rice bulbs fit perfectly inside the tubes.

The wall sconces on either side of the front door were fashioned from half inch pieces of that clear tubing that comes around the tips of very small artist brushes. The black tops and bottoms of the lamps are tiny washers that were a perfect fit over the clear tubing, and the grain of rice bulbs fit neatly inside the tubes.  Yes, I know the two ladies sitting on the porch have no feet.  I used to have them in a passenger coach, and I had to remove their feet to get them to sit right.  I’ll make them some new feet with Squadron Green Putty when I get time.

Because there were a lot of details around the hotel, I knew I'd need some kind of base.  In my pile of miscellaneous card stock I had some old hard covers from books.  I might even dress the edges like sidewalk at some point, or I could bury them in the soil of the street.

Because there were a lot of details around the hotel, I knew I’d need some kind of base. In my pile of miscellaneous card stock I had some old hard covers from books. I could dress the edges like sidewalk at some point, or I could bury them in the soil of the street.

I did a sloping tar paper roof and created a drainage hole at each of the two lower corners.  The water feeds into down spouts and rain barrels on each side of the hotel.

I did a sloping tar paper roof and created drainage holes at each of the two lower corners. The water feeds into down spouts and rain barrels on each side of the hotel.

Most of the detail castings I used in the hotel came from Grandt Line, but I scratch built the faux-dental molding concrete foundation.

Most of the detail castings I used in the hotel came from Grandt Line, but I scratch built the faux-dental molding concrete foundation.

Some people, a little greenery and a few trees help bring the scene to life.

Some people, a little greenery and a few trees help bring the scene to life.

With the coming of night, the interior of the hotel lights up, and the background photos are visible through the windows.

With the coming of night, the interior of the hotel lights up, and the background photos are visible through the windows.

It could almost be moonlight.

It could almost be moonlight.

Durango by night is still a fascinating place.

Durango by night is still a fascinating place.

One photo, two moods.

One photo, two moods.

I like to save the best for last.

I like to save the best for last.  Double click and enlarge this one for a good view of the hotel’s interior.

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I'm really getting into this lighting thing.

I’m really getting into this lighting thing.

I put two lights into this little store.  The one on the inside, which is mounted out of sight against the front wall, has a bare bulb. Its purpose is to illuminate the detail of the store interior.

I put two lights into this little store. The one on the inside, which is mounted out of sight against the top right corner of the front wall, has a bare bulb. Its purpose is to illuminate the detail of the store interior.

The other light, which has a Grandt Line shade, is mounted just under the roof line over the porch.  I wanted a different color with this light, so I dipped the bulb in a clear yellow paint that is marketed by Tamiya.

The other light, which has a Grandt Line shade, is mounted just under the roof line over the porch. I wanted a different color with this light, so I dipped the bulb in a clear yellow paint that is marketed by Tamiya (X24 Clear Yellow).  The subtle front lighting is coming from one clamp light at the other end of the room that I bounced off the powder blue ceiling.  By adjusting the angle of that light, I was able to control the amount of front light, and give just enough to the wagon to bring out some details.

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Night Icing

Railroading was, and is, a round the clock business.

Railroading was, and is, a round the clock business.

I eventually plan to have extensive lighting both inside and outside my structures, so that operating sessions can take place over 24 hours.

I eventually plan to have extensive lighting both inside and outside my structures, so that operating sessions can take place over 24 hours.

The lights I installed here are grain of rice bulbs from Micro-Mark.  They are rated to run on 12V, but I'll keep the voltage lower than that to extend their life.

The lights I installed here are grain of rice bulbs from Micro-Mark. They are rated to run on 12V, but I’ll keep the voltage lower than that to extend their life.

I left just a few light on at the other end of the layout room for the photos.

I left just a few lights on at the other end of the layout room for the photos.

I don't have my background lighting installed yet, but for the photos I rigged a red and a blue string of Christmas rope lights behind the background hills.

I don’t have my background lighting installed yet, but for the photos I rigged a red and a blue string of Christmas rope lights behind the background hills.

The lights I'm

This works nicely for the photos, but for the eventual layout, I’m getting the new high intensity LED lights from Micro-Mark.  They come in an easily installed strip, and have a controller that can vary both the color and the intensity of the light.

A little bounce lighting.......ice

By aiming the camera a little bit away from the rope lights, I picked up some bounce lighting from the other end of the room.  I like the way the grain of rice bulbs illuminate the ice blocks from the back side.

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Coming Next…….

I always knew I would be building a hotel for Durango, and the more I looked at this period photo of The Rochester Hotel, the more I saw elements of the front of it that wouldn't be too hard to duplicate.

I always knew I would be building a hotel for Durango, and the more I looked at this period photo of The Rochester Hotel, the more I saw elements of the front of it that wouldn’t be too hard to duplicate.  Grandt Line makes window and door castings, and while not identical, are close enough.  They also carry the porch posts, the balcony balustrade, and the picket fence.  Monster Model & Laserworks has beautiful laser cut brickwork for the wall, they have a similar roof line cornice, and lintels for over the windows and upper door.  I can mock up the decorative foundation (look just to the left of the lady in the center with the white apron) with basswood.

The original Rochester Hotel in Durango was built in 1892, and the basic structure is still there today.  I'll be building the 1892 version, of course.

The original Rochester Hotel in Durango was built in 1892, and the basic structure is still there today. I’ll be building the 1892 version, of course.  The older photo gave me an idea for selective compression, and a way to avoid the symmetry of the original.  If I just modeled what was visible in the 1892 picture, I would have a smaller structure, and one that I think is more visually interesting.

Here is my sketch for the basic structure, selectively compressed to use only the central entranceway and the section of the hotel to the left of it.

Here is my sketch for the basic structure, selectively compressed to use only the central entrance way and the section of the hotel to the left of it.  The Grandt Line catalogue has full scale drawings of everything that they carry.  My concept for the foundation will be easy to create in basswood, and then paint like stone.

Here is the second sketch, showing the elements that are layered on towards the street....the porch, the picket fence, the sign and the lintels.

Here is a second sketch, showing the elements that are layered on towards the street….the porch, the picket fence, the sign and the lintels.  The original hotel had the sign painted on the window over the main entrance, but on a model, I think it might get lost in the shadow of the porch, so I moved it over to the front wall.  When I get the brick, the lintels and the cornice all stained the same color, I think the lintels will lose the Groucho Marx eyebrow effect.  I should have this structure completed in a week or two.

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Icing Dock

As I have done with all of my structures, I start with research photos, and pull features that I like, combining them into a building that will fit the space allotted to it on my layout.  I was amused when Google showed me two pictures of an N-Scale icing dock I built in the 1980s.  Center two pictures here.

As I have done with all of my structures, I start with research photos, and pull features that I like, combining them into a building that will fit the space allotted on my layout. I was amused when Google showed me two pictures of an N-Scale icing dock I built in the 1980s. Center two pictures here.

The next step is usually ground plans and elevations, drawn full size for 1/4 inch, or O scale.  It's nice that most standard graphing paper comes with quarter-inch markings.

The next step is usually ground plans and elevations, drawn full size for 1/4 inch, or O scale. It’s nice that most standard graphing paper comes with quarter-inch markings.

Sometimes the actual doors and windows can be scanned and included in the drawings.  I find anything helpful that will give me a good sense of the finished model.

Sometimes the actual doors and windows can be scanned and included in the drawings. I find anything helpful that will give me a good sense of the finished model.

This was to be a complex structure consisting of several sub-assemblies, so I took care in getting the drawings just right.

This was to be a complex structure consisting of several sub-assemblies, so I took care in getting the drawings just right.

I built the main structure first.  It houses the office and ice storage area, the receiving dock, the lift for moving the ice to the second level, and the smaller door to access the platform used to move the ice into the refrigerated car.

I built the main structure first. It houses the office and ice storage area, the receiving dock, the lift for moving the ice to the second level, and the smaller door to access the platform used to move the ice into the refrigerated car.

I used clapboard siding, a Grandt Line window and door for the office, and Rusty Stumps laser cut doors for the back.

I used clapboard siding, a Grandt Line window and door for the office, and Rusty Stumps laser cut doors for the back.

The roof of the ice house is covered with Rusty Stumps O scale octagon cut shingles.  These come in adhesive backed strips, and simply need to be aligned in alternating fashion.

The roof of the ice house is covered with Rusty Stumps O scale octagon cut shingles. These come in adhesive backed strips, and simply need to be aligned in alternating fashion.  Here you can also see the vent structure, and the head house for the lift that brings the ice up from the first floor.

Three of the roof sections are complete, and the icing platform is started.  Many icing docks were painted white or light colors to reflect the heat of the sun, I imagine.  I decided to give mine a brown stain covered with an off-white acrylic wash.  I think it looks like faded white-wash.

Three of the roof sections are complete, and the icing platform is started. Many ice houses were painted white or light colors to reflect the heat of the sun, I imagine. I decided to give mine a brown stain covered with an off-white acrylic wash. I think it looks like faded white-wash.

Here you can see the lower receiving dock, and a giant futuristic space ship hovering in the background.

Here you can see the lower receiving dock, and a giant futuristic space ship hovering in the background.

For the vent louvers, I picked up a couple of HO scale diesel louvers at the hobby shop.

For the vent louvers, I picked up a couple of HO scale diesel louvers at the hobby shop.

The back side looks much better without the space ship.

The back side looks much better without the space ship.

I dug around in my box of misc. figures, because I thought I had a two wheeled dolly, but when I found it, it was too large and plastic-clunky looking for the guy I wanted to push it, so I scratch-built one for him.

I dug around in my box of misc. figures, because I thought I had a two wheeled dolly, but when I found it, it was too large and plastic-clunky looking for the guy I wanted to push it, so I scratch-built one for him.  Here’s the story of the ice:  I went out looking at Michael’s for any clear acrylic I could use or cut down to make ice, but I didn’t find anything.  Then I went to a glass store that I have done business with for years.  They no longer carried clear acrylic, but when I told them what I wanted it for, and how little I needed, they dug around and found a piece of 1/4 inch scrap, which they just gave me.  I told them I’d give them a plug on the blog, so it’s Glass & Mirror Inc., White Bear Avenue, Maplewood, MN.

A number of items of interest here:  I've written about this before, but I use the book, "Durango" from the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing, to find names for my businesses.  This book has a whole chapter on early entrepreneurs in Durango.  Cooper & Culver didn't actually have the icing facility; I don't know who did, but at least the names are authentic.

A number of items of interest here: I’ve written about this before, but I use the book, “Durango” from the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing, to find names for my businesses. This book has a whole chapter on early entrepreneurs in Durango. Cooper & Culver didn’t actually have the icing facility; I don’t know who did, but at least the names are authentic.  I do the signs on my computer, and weather them with chalks.  If you double click to enlarge the photo, you can see two of the three poles for lights.  These are made from 1/8 inch hollow square plastic tubing, and you can see a small hole drilled near the cross arm for the wiring.  The lights and the shades are on order.

The little bridges used to reach the reefer hatches are actually hinged. and move up and down to let the

The little bridges used to reach the reefer hatches are actually hinged. and move up and down to let the reefer clear the dock.  The guy on the right isn’t playing hockey; the process of icing the reefers was pretty low-tech, just slide the ice down the ramp with a pole.

For the time being, I've left the various sub-assemblies unattached.  I'll square the staircase up with the platform when I make the final assembly, after the lighting is installed.  The stairs, by the way, are from Kaw Valley Designs.

For the time being, I’ve left the various sub-assemblies unattached. I’ll square the staircase up with the platform when I make the final assembly, after the lighting is installed. The stairs, by the way, are from Kaw Valley Designs.

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My latest project is this railcar and velocipede shed. The railcar and velocipede are cast metal kits; the shed is scratch-built.

My latest project is this rail car and velocipede shed. The rail car and velocipede are cast metal kits; the shed is scratch-built.

I used the same colors and dry brushing technique on the shed as I used on the sand house in the background.  This will give the buildings the feeling that they belong to the same railroad.

I used the same colors and dry brushing technique on the shed that I used on the sand house in the background. This gives the buildings the feeling that they belong to the same railroad.  I decided not to do a step by step construction article for this one, since most of the building techniques I used have been described elsewhere on this site.

The kit for this rail car is actually designed for 3 ft. gauge track.  Here I've got it shimmed up behind the back rail, so it looks like it's sitting on the rails.  I'll probably keep it in the shed where the gauge discrepancy is less visible.

The kit for this rail car is actually designed for 3 ft. gauge track.  My gauge, On30, is closer to 2 ft. 6 inches, so the wheels are set too wide for my track.  For this picture, I’ve got it shimmed up behind the back rail, so it looks like it’s sitting on the rails. I’ll probably keep the car in the shed where the gauge discrepancy is less visible.

The velocipede fits my rails a little better.  There is one almost identical to this in the Minnesota Transportation Museum in St. Paul.

The velocipede fits my rails a little better. There is one almost identical to this in the Minnesota Transportation Museum in St. Paul…..almost identical that is, except size.

I debated about what kind of doors to use on my shed.  If I did two full swinging doors, they would have stuck out too far towards the track.

I debated about what kind of doors to use on my shed. If I did two full swinging doors, they would have stuck out too far towards the track.  I considered two sliding doors, but the track for those would have exceeded the width of the shed considerably.  Finally, I decided to do accordion fold doors.  Can you see the little casters under the doors?

I used masking tape for tar paper roofing, and the same clear styrene material for the hinges that I use on windows.

I used masking tape for tar paper roofing, and the same clear styrene material for the hinges that I use on windows.

I'm pleased with the way my shed turned out, and it only takes up about 3.5 by 4.5 inches of real estate on my layout.

I’m pleased with the way my shed turned out, and it only takes up about 3.5 by 4.5 inches of real estate on my layout.

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Durango Sand House

The sand house at Chama, New Mexico, which still exists, is the prototype for my sand house at Durango.  Both were built by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.

The sand house at Chama, New Mexico, which still exists, is the prototype for my sand house at Durango. Both were built by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.

Sand is used by railroad locomotives to gain traction on rail that has become slippery due to rain or snow.  It was used by steam locomotives, and is still used by diesel locomotives today.

Sand is used by railroad locomotives to gain traction on rail that has become slippery due to rain or snow. It was used by steam locomotives, and is still used by diesel locomotives today.  The sand house consists of three basic parts.  First is the open sand storage bin pictured on the left.  From there, the sand is shoveled by hand through a window-like opening into the main shed.  In this structure, known as the drying shed, the sand is dried and screened by a special coal fired stove.  When a train takes sand, compressed air from the engine is used to blow the sand up into the tank on the wooden tower outside of the sand house.  Gravity then feeds the dry sand into the sand dome of the engine.

Although not exactly like the one pictured at Chama, I liked the intricacy of this sand delivery spout, and decided to scratch build a copy of it.

Although not exactly like the one pictured at Chama, I liked the intricacy of this sand delivery spout, and decided to scratch-build a copy of it.

This photo shows how it was attached to the tank on top of the wooden tower.

This photo shows how the delivery spout was attached to the tank on top of the wooden tower.

This is my scratch-built/kit-bashed copy of the tank and the delivery spout.

This is my scratch-built/kit-bashed copy of the tank and the delivery spout.  The tank is from an HO scale diesel sanding facility kit.  The spout is completely scratch built from wire and styrene.  The red part is the tip of an old Weldbond glue bottle.  The curved connection is an N scale roof vent.

Space is very limited in my Durango yard, so I've reduced the length of the sand house while keeping all the vitsl parts.

Space is very limited in my Durango yard, so I’ve reduced the length of the sand house while keeping all the vital parts.

This is an overhead view of the plan.  The dotted line section is the location of the wooden tower.

This is an overhead view of the plan. The dotted line section is the location of the wooden tower.

Here arer the four walls of the drying shed, using construction techniques I have described before.

Here are the four walls of the drying shed, using construction techniques I have described before.  The one in the upper left is the wall that faces into the outdoor storage bin.  The opening on the right is where the sand would be shoveled from the bin into the drying shed.

After a couple of night's work, the three main parts of the sand house are well under way.

After a couple of night’s work, the three main parts of the sand house are well under way.

Close up of the sand tower with tank and delivery spout.  There are still more details to add.

Close up of the sand tower with tank and delivery spout. There are still more details to add.

Storage bin.  These were made from used railroad ties held in place with round posts.

Storage bin. These were made from used railroad ties held in place with round posts.

Another day's work and the roof is finished.  The larger stack would be over the drying stove.  More details have been added to the tank and delivery system, including a ring of NBW castings around the tank top.  The sand is a styrofoam carving covered with fine buff ballast left over from my old N scale layout of 30 years ago.

Another day’s work and the roof is finished. The larger stack would be over the drying stove. More details have been added to the tank and delivery system, including a ring of NBW castings around the tank top. The sand is a styrofoam carving covered with fine buff ballast left over from my old N scale layout of 30 years ago.

I dry brushed the walls with one lighter and one darker color of acrylic paint.

I dry brushed the walls with one lighter and one darker color of acrylic paint.

Hinges and door handles have been added.

Hinges and door handles have been added.

I still have to add cables across the open bin, and maybe the spout counter-weight on top of the tank, but the sand house is basically complete.

I still have to add cables across the open bin, and maybe the spout counter-weight on top of the tank, but the sand house is basically complete.  The straps holding the tank in place are from thin styrene material that serves as packaging for many items.  It is painted black and weathered here, but in it’s original clear form, I use it for window glass.

The sand dome on this GN locomotive is the one with the little nipple, just under the delivery spout.  You can also see the sand delivery pipes running down the side of the locomotive's boiler.  They terminate just in front of the area where the locomotive's drivers meet the rails.

The sand dome on this GN locomotive is the one with the little nipple, just under the delivery spout. You can also see the locomotive’s sand delivery pipes running vertically down the side of the boiler. They terminate just in front of the area where the locomotive’s drivers meet the rails.

The sand house positioned just in front of the engine house.

The sand house positioned just in front of the engine house.

Overhead view.  The right angle section of the small pipe leading up to the tank was formed by putting a small piece of heat shrink tubing over the brass rod before bending it to the right angle.

Overhead view. The right angle section of the small pipe leading up to the tank was formed by putting a small piece of heat shrink tubing over the brass rod before bending it to the right angle.  The brass rod was weathered with Micro-Engineering rail weathering solution, which is basically an acid.

Sand house and engine house together.

Sand house and engine house together.

 

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I posted plans for this some time ago, and now that I am nearing completion, I thought I'd better get busy and write about it.

I posted plans for this some time ago, and now that I am nearing completion, I thought I’d better get busy and write about it.

This is the set of laser cut parts from Rusty Rail Rick that I used to make the front door as shown on my plans.

This is the set of laser cut parts from Rusty Rail Rick that I used to make the front door as shown on my plans.

It makes up into a beautifully detailed engine house door.

It makes up into a beautifully detailed engine house door.

Unfortunately, it is too short for the O-Scale clearance gauge.  All was not lost, however, as I can use the shorter door on an engine house that only needs to accommodate Porters.  I sent back to Rusty Rails Rick, and got the taller door

Unfortunately, it was too short for the O-Scale clearance gauge. All was not lost, however, as I can use the shorter door on an engine house that only needs to accommodate Porters. I sent back to Rusty Rail Rick, and got the taller door shown here.  This meant raising the height of the engine house by a full inch, but I left the foundation, and the shop building as they were.

I used the construction technique of backing the walls with 1/16th inch thick Bristol Board that I got at Michael's.  On the inside of the Bristol Board, I put 1/4 inch square strips of basswood to resist warping.

I used the construction technique of backing the walls with 1/16th inch thick Bristol Board that I got at Michael’s. On the inside of the Bristol Board, I put 1/4 inch square strips of basswood to resist warping. Here is one end of the shop structure with some of the outer board material, and the flexible foundation from Chooch Enterprises.

Here is that end finished, and compared to the original drawing.

Here is that end finished, and compared to the original drawing.

And here are the other two walls of the shop, and the shop roof.  The stone corners were interlaced, and painted to match the other stone.

And here are the other two walls of the shop, and the shop roof. The stone corners were dovetailed, and will be painted to match the other stone.  The shop roof is Dr. Ben’s corrugated roofing material.

Here's a closer look at one of those dovetailed corners....still unpainted.

Here’s a closer look at one of those dovetailed corners….still unpainted.

For the brick sections, I used Monster Model & Laserworks laser cut brick sheet.  It's 1/8 inch thick so it's labor-intensive to cut, but it looks gorgeous.

For the brick sections, I used Monster Model & Laserworks laser cut brick sheet and corner posts. The sheet is 1/8 inch thick so it’s labor-intensive to cut, but it looks gorgeous.

This is the end wall with a special cornice kit that they sell.  They also make the curved lintel over the window.  The window itself is a Grandt Line casting designed to serve as an engine house window.

This is the end wall with a special cornice kit that they sell. They also make the curved lintels I used over the windows. The window itself is a Grandt Line casting designed to serve as an engine house window.

Here is the nearly completed wall that will face the aisle on my layout.  I decided that the other wall, which will not show, will just be rendered in plain black.  The thought of putting in four more windows that no one would ever see was just too much for me!

Here is the nearly completed wall that will face the aisle on my layout. I decided that the back wall, which will not show, will just be rendered in plain black. The thought of cutting in four more windows, and using all that brick sheeting that no one would ever see, was just too much for me!

That same wall from another angle.  I ran out of column material and had to order more.

That same wall from another angle. I ran out of column material and had to order more.

This illustrates the placement of the quarter inch square basswood strips that reinforce the walls on the back sides.

This illustrates the placement of the quarter inch square basswood strips that reinforce the walls on the back sides.

You always have to think carefully when you construct the corners, because you are dealing with the intersection of several layers of material.

You always have to think carefully when you construct the corners, because you are dealing with the intersection of several layers of materials.

Since I will eventually be putting interior lighting in all my buildings, I painted the inner walls black.  The paint also helps the Bristol Board to resist moisture.

Since I will eventually be putting interior lighting in all my buildings, I painted the inner walls black. The paint also helps the Bristol Board to resist moisture, which would cause it to warp.

Interior of the shop section.

Interior of the shop section.  All the roofs will remain removable, but they lock into place with their 1/4 inch basswood strips.

Front wall with new taller doors.  Wood is weathered with "soot" colored weathering powders.

Front wall with new taller doors. Wood is treated with “soot” colored weathering powders.

This is a comparison of the new wall height with the original drawing.  You can see that the position of the foundation, the shop, and the windows did not change.  the added inch was all in the space above the windows and the shop roof.

This is a comparison of the new wall height with the original drawing. You can see that the position of the foundation, the shop, and the windows did not change. The added inch was all in the space above the windows and the shop roof.

I painted the brickwork using the technique suggested by the manufacturer.  It involves the use of weathering powders dissolved in 91% isopropyl alcohol.  The first coat gives the brickwork color, the second thinner coat with a very light gray powder, settles in the recesses and gives the suggestion of mortat between the bricks.

I painted the brickwork using the technique suggested by the manufacturer. It involves the use of weathering powders dissolved in 91% isopropyl alcohol. The first coat gives the brickwork color, the second thinner coat, with a very light gray powder, settles in the recesses and gives the suggestion of mortar between the bricks.  I have also given the foundation a very thin wash of grimy black. The gray sills I used at the bottoms of the windows are just thin basswood strips.

It was hard to know how much of the weathering powder mixture I would need, so I wound up making several batches, and they weren't all the same intensity.  I'll keep blending until they match acceptably.

It was hard to know how much of the weathering powder mixture I would need, so I wound up making several batches, and they weren’t all the same intensity. I’ll keep blending until they match acceptably.

I made the roof with another piece of cardstock reinforced with quarter inch basswood strips.

I made the main roof with another piece of card-stock reinforced with quarter inch basswood strips.  To simulate tarpaper roofing, I used strips of masking tape.  After painting and weathering, the overlaps in the masking tape almost look like roof beams showing through the roofing material.

I'll use the Grandt Line engine house chimney kit.

I’ll use the Grandt Line engine house chimney kit.

Here is what the two sizes of stacks look like when they are assembled.  Since the clearance is tight in my engine house, and I'm not detailing the interior, I'm not using the lower sections of the chimneys.

Here is what the two sizes of stacks look like when they are assembled. Since the clearance is tight in my engine house, and I’m not detailing the interior, I’m not using the lower sections of the chimneys.

Front view without the doors.  There is still some work to do on the corners of the walls.

Front view without the doors. There is still some work to do on the corners of the walls.

Back view.  Ditto on the wall corner work.

Back view. Ditto on the wall corner work.

Top view.

Top view.

Top view with small gray wall cap pieces in place.

Top view with small gray wall cap pieces in place.

The engine house with the corner work and the chimneys completed.  I still have to make a practical hinge arrangement for the doors; they are just standing in place here.

The engine house with the corner work and the chimneys completed. I still have to make a practical hinge arrangement for the doors; they are just standing in place here.

Side view with some of the trees I made from trunk/branch material gathered in Colorado in January.

Side view with some of the trees I made from trunk/branch material gathered in Colorado in January.

I decided to put a gutter on the rear of the engine house with a downspout and rain barrel.

I decided to put a gutter on the rear of the engine house with a downspout and rain barrel.

Here's a full shot of that back rear corner.

Here’s a full shot of that back rear corner.

Overhead shot with the placement of the stacks.

Overhead shot with the placement of the stacks.  The large one near the front doors would be the exhaust stack for the locomotive’s steam stack.  The other two would service cast iron stoves to heat the engine house and the shop.

Another front view.

Another front view.

I'm going to use small pieces of heat shrink tubing and dressmaker's pins to create hinges that will allow the doors to open and close, and be able to be removed.

I’m going to use small pieces of heat shrink tubing and dressmaker’s pins to create hinges that will allow the doors to open and close, and be able to be removed.

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I only have room on my layout for a one-stall engine house at Durango, but I wanted something that still had the flavor of the original Durango roundhouse.  I decided I would try designing this in full color, and of course, full scale size.

I only have room on my layout for a one-stall engine house at Durango, but I wanted something that still had the flavor of the original Durango roundhouse. I decided I would try designing this in full color, and of course, full scale size, quarter inch to the foot.  In order to do this, I penciled the dimensions of the structure on graph paper with a quarter inch grid, and then found samples of the materials I wanted to use on Google Images.  I was very quickly able to size the materials, and print color sheets of them.  The engine house doors are Rusty Stumps Freight/Engine House Doors, and I have already assembled them.  More details to come in a future post.  The small door on the attached shop is also from this set, and I have also assembled it, but I ran it through my scanner to make a flatter piece for the drawing.  The brick walls and details on the following photos are from Monster Model & Laser Works, and the stone foundation will be a Chooch Enterprises HO/N Small Cut Stone Wall.  The Durango roundhouse doesn’t have a stone foundation, but the Como roundhouse was completely made of stone, and I like the way the mixture of wood, stone and brick looks.

This is the side that will face the aisle on my layout

This is the side that will face the aisle on my layout.  The small shop will have a corrugated tin roof.  I haven’t decided where to put the vents and chimneys on the roof of the engine house yet.  I may do a narrow skylight there, too.  The windows pictured here are from Grandt Line Products.  The taller windows are their O-Scale Item #3714, Engine House Double Hung Windows, and the smaller windows are their O-Scale Item #3713, Horizontal Sliding Windows.  The brick wall, and the lintels over the larger windows will be made from Monster Model & Laser Works O-Scale Old Brick Sheets and Details.

Here is the view from the back end.  MM&LW makes a really nice decorative brick cornice

Here is the view from the back end. MM&LW makes a really nice decorative brick cornice that I’m going to use here.  I used rubber cement to fix the samples of the materials in place.

This side will face the backdrop, but i wanted to detail it anyway.

This side will face the backdrop, but I wanted to detail it anyway.  Rendering a planning drawing like this takes a bit of time.  I probably spent about eight hours on it altogether over two days.  I realized as I was doing it, that I had the time to make a lot of decisions that I might otherwise have put off until the construction phase.  These drawings will give me a more solid foundation for starting construction, and a great guide for coloring the final product.

 

 

 

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I finally found a decent set of drawings that includes all four sides of the coaling tower in the same set of documents, with an identified scale. They were in my collection of Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazettes. I don’t know why I didn’t look there before….haste makes waste.  I don’t have room on my layout to elevate the track on the right, and I won’t be modeling all of the subterranean elements.  My coal gondolas will dump at ground level into an imagined pit below.

I ordered the detail parts from Grandt Line Products, and while I await their delivery, I’ll work on the lift house and the various roofs. I’ll build these as modules until I see what kind of space and installation the details (lift bucket, coal delivery chute, etc.) require.  The lift house supports need to remain free because they have to fit tightly into the sides of the lift bucket.  I can’t attach a roof to the lift house until I install the upper lifting sheaves.

This coal bin roof is so pretty, I hate to cover it with tar paper, but I have to keep the coal dry!

Even the bottom side is beautiful. Maybe I’ll make this another one of those removable roofs, and then I can model the coal pile inside.

Since I have the final paint for the shed, I painted it. This is Scalecoat, Light Freight Car Red, and it comes very close to the color the new paint on the shed at Chama must have been. This shed is still preserved on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway.

Here is the side with two windows.  See a note about my mistake below.

I don’t want my railroad to look as completely dilapidated as some narrow gauge lines you see, but neither do I want it to look brand new, so before the paint was totally hard, I took my track saw, and scribed it to look like weathered paint.

I had planned to do this when I put the beige color on as an under coat.  I think the way that coat shows through is just right for a fading paint job.

The coal bin roof has been covered with “tar paper” (masking tape) painted Grimy Black, and dusted with weathering powders. The smaller roof over the future coal loading chute will get the same treatment.

Work has begun with the Grandt Line castings for the lift mechanism and the coal chute. Grandt Line makes wonderfully detailed castings, but I’ve always found their directions for how to locate the details on your model to be a little spare. They seem to think that you should already know where all the parts fit into the scheme of things. After days of research on the internet, I have determined that the “lower hoist sheaves” go about here. The shed contained a motor that powered everything. The two hoist buckets rode up and down in opposite directions, so that they could counterbalance each other to some extent.

The upper hoist sheaves were located above, and distributed the cables to the separate buckets. The smaller pulleys in this photo are for opening and closing the gates where the buckets dump the coal.

This photo shows the wooden coal slide that conducts the coal into the tender (bottom side view). I built this part. The two lift buckets above are assembled from Grandt Line parts, painted and weathered.

After a delay of several months while I workedon other projects, I finally got around to finishing the coaling tower.  It will be situated in the railroad yard at Durango, and be the tallest structure on my railroad....about 50 scale feet tall.  I settled for "similar to" rather than "exactly like" so that I could just get it done.  This view and the next show the locomotive-tender side where coal came down the wooden chute into the tender.

After a delay of several months while I worked on other projects, I finally got around to finishing the coaling tower. It will be situated in the railroad yard at Durango, and be the tallest structure on my layout….about 50 scale feet tall. I settled for “similar to” rather than “exactly like” so that I could just get it done. One early mistake was that I got the windows on the wrong side of the tower.  I didn’t discover this until I was too far down the road to turn back.  This view and the next show the locomotive-tender side where coal came down the wooden chute into the tender.

The same side from the other corner. The figures are pre-painted pewter from Artistta.  The mechanism to operate the coat gate and chute were the most complicated to assemble.  The worker standing on the narrow platform would pull on the chain (visible just over his right shoulder) to activate the gate (heavy black curved metal piece behind the chute) which would open and release the coal.  The drawbridge-like chute was lowered separately.  I weathered the coaling tower with black "soot" powders in areas where coal dust would fall.

The same side from the other corner. The figures are pre-painted pewter from Artistta. The mechanisms to operate the coat gate and chute were the most complicated to assemble. The worker standing on the narrow platform would pull on the chain (visible just over his right shoulder) to activate the gate (heavy black curved metal piece behind the chute) which would open and release the coal. The drawbridge-like chute was lowered separately, and before the coal gate was opened.  I weathered the coaling tower with black “soot” powders in areas where coal dust would fall.

This is the side that receives the coal from gondolas designed to drop it out of their bottom or side gates.

This is the side that receives the coal from gondolas designed to drop it out of their bottom or side gates.  There is a separate track passing by here, and a grate between the rails allows the coal to drop into a holding bin below the track.   See cut-away view of this in first photo of this post.

The two lift buckets riase and descend in opposition to each other to balance the weight.  They go into the pit to get the coal, and discharge it at the top of their travel into the large wooden storage bin that comprises the bulk of the tower.

The two lift buckets raise and descend in opposition to each other to help balance their weight. They go into the pit to get the coal, and discharge it at the top of their travel into the large wooden storage bin that comprises the bulk of the tower.  I left the buckets unglued in their guides to keep tension on the lines from which they are suspended.

 

 

 

 

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Silverton Miner’s Supply

I purchased a Grandt Line Commercial Storefront kit, which basically consists of the windows and doors for the front of a store, with the option of creating a recessed entryway in the center.  I then designed the rest of of my store on graph paper in full quarter inch scale.

I purchased a Grandt Line Commercial Storefront kit, which basically consists of the windows and doors for the front of a store, with the option of creating a recessed entryway in the center. Then I designed the rest of of my store on graph paper in full quarter inch scale.  As I have done with a number of other buildings, I am foreshortening the depth of the store to save space.  These buildings will mainly be viewed from the front, so the shallow depth will not be noticeable.

Here we have some of the door and window castings, and the Grandt Line sketch showing one way to assemble them.  I created a foundation for the store, and the sidewalk in front of it, from Monster Model Works aged brick sheet and scale 12 x 12 timbers.

Here we have some of the door and window castings, and the Grandt Line sketch showing one way to assemble them. I created a foundation for the store from Monster Model Works aged brick sheet and scale 12 x 12 basswood timbers.

This is a side view of the brick sheet.  At this point the foundation is upside down.  You can see that two thicknesses of 12 x 12 did not quite equal the depth of cut I made in the brick sheet because I wanted to get whole courses of bricks.  I'll fill in the slight difference with dirt when I position the store on the layout.

This is a side view of the brick sheet.  You can see that two thicknesses of 12 x 12 did not quite equal the depth of cut I made in the brick sheet because I wanted to get whole courses of bricks.  In the photo, it looks like I could have come closer by cutting one course less on the bricks, but what is done, is done.  I’ll fill in the slight difference under the 12 x 12 with dirt when I position the store on the layout.  These bricks are laser cut into wooden sheets, and are much more realistic than similar plastic castings.  Monster Model Works also makes detail pieces to use with the sheets.  Here I have used little 1/8th inch square pieces to trim the corners.  The slight difference in coloration won’t matter, because I’m painting it all, anyway.

One way of painting the foundation (upside down here) is to basecoat it with a dark mortar color first, and then dry brush in the highlights on the bricks.

One way of painting the foundation (upside down here) is to basecoat it with a dark mortar color first, and then dry brush in the highlights on the bricks.

Here is the foundation with a couple of slightly different colors dry brushed on to the bricks.

Here is the foundation with a couple of slightly different colors dry brushed on to the bricks.  I used an enamel for the dark base-coat so it would be less likely to warp the wooden bricks.  Then, I used some water based Polly-Scale colors over the enamel, because they won’t cause the enamel to dissolve and bleed into the lighter colors.  If you’ve been reading about my other building constructions, you may notice that I have used different techniques on all of them.  This helps to avoid too much similarity.

I initially stained the 12 x 12 beams with my alcohol and leather dye stain, and then dry brushed them with a little light gray enamel, for a lightly weathered look.

I initially stained the 12 x 12 beams with my alcohol and leather dye stain, and then dry brushed them with a little light gray enamel, for a lightly weathered look.  I’ll weather them further with weathering powders when the building is completed.

To make the floor boards so that each board could work both inside and outside the store.

To make the floor boards so that each board could work both inside and outside the store, I first stained the whole boards with a light tan stain to simulate freshly cut wooden flooring.  Then I lightly notched each board with my track saw, at the point where the front wall will sit, and carefully applied a darker stain to the exterior end.  I held the boards with the outside end down, and just touched a brush full of dark stain to the tip of them, letting the stain slowly wick up towards the notch.  The notch has a tendency to stop the wicking process, creating a straight-line division between the stains.  The more patience you have in applying the dark stain, the cleaner the dividing line can be made….obviously.  When I get ready to install the recessed entryway, I’ll carefully stain that area dark as well.  All of the exterior sections have been dry-brushed with light gray.

Here is the foundation with the floor boards added.

Here is the foundation with the floor boards added.

I'm going to used board-by-board construction, as I did with the Eureka store.  Here is the backside of the false front for the store with basswood studs and balsa wood sheathing.

I’m going to used board-by-board construction, as I did with the Eureka store. Here is the backside of the false front for the store with basswood studs and balsa wood sheathing.

This photo shows the front of the building with the two large windows and the door frame in their relative positions.  Because I am going to recess the door, it will sit back a bit on the finished store, and be connected to the two large windows by two more slender windows positioned at an angle.

This photo shows the front of the building with the two large windows and the door frame in their relative positions. Because I am going to recess the door, it will sit back a bit on the finished model, and be connected to the two large windows by the two slender windows positioned at an angle.  You may also notice that I have diverged from my original plan, and am now using the double transom, as the Grandt Line sketch shows.  It just simplifies the wall structure to have it all the same height.

The exterior of the store will be board-and-batten style construction, here simulated with the addition of small basswood battens.

The exterior of the store will be board-and-batten style construction, here simulated with the addition of small basswood battens.  I have also started the framing for the side walls.

I'm going to use a photo for details at the back of the store, and I'm not going to render the outside rear of the store, so I'm just using a minimum of stud work in the back wall.

I’m going to use a photo for details at the back of the store, and I’m not going to render the outside rear of the store, so I’m just using a minimum of stud work in the back wall.  These push pins employed on a half-inch homasote base work great for holding things in alignment while the glue sets.  I’ve always found carpenter’s glue on wood will grab and hold in just a couple of minutes.

Here are the two side walls nearing completion of the stud work.  The small horizontal pieces serve as moisture barriers in real walls.

Here are the two side walls nearing completion of the stud work. The small horizontal pieces serve as barriers against the spread of fire in real walls.

Considerable progress here for one evening.  All the walls have been sheathed and battened.  The photo backdrop is in place.  The false front has a little wooden capital

Considerable progress here for one evening. All the walls have been sheathed and battened. The photo backdrop is in place. The false front has a little wooden capital.  These four windows have been glazed.

The back, as you can see, has little of the detail of the sides and front.  I'll just position this store on the layout somewhere so that the back doesn't show.

The back, as you can see, has little of the detail of the sides and front. I’ll just position this store on the layout somewhere so that the back doesn’t show.

Another view of the front of the store.

Another view of the front of the store.

I got the photo from Google Images, by searching for "old stores".  The perspective is a little off, but the colors are nice. on the photo at the back of the store

I got the background photo from Google Images, by searching for “old stores”. The perspective is a little off, but the colors are nice.  I’ll put a stove and some other things in the front of the store to mask the irregularities in the rear photo a bit more.  The shingle roof over the sidewalk will also obscure the view into the store somewhat.  I like the way the color of the floor in the photo matches mine in the store.

I'll add some details to the inside of this store, but perhaps not as many as I have with other structures.  I'm thinking this building may work well in Silverton, where it can be a little closer to eye level.  Here are the parts for a Builders In Scale stove kit.

I’ll add some details to the inside of this store, but perhaps not as many as I have with other structures. I think this building will work well in Silverton, where it can be viewed a little closer to eye level, but at some distance. Here are the parts for a Builders In Scale stove kit.

I've used the Banta Model Works kits for store shelves before.  I decided to cheat on this one, and just do the shelf items as a background photo.

I’ve used the Banta Model Works kits for store shelves before. I decided to cheat on this one, and just do the shelf items with background photos.  The stove is assembled, ready for painting.

I went to Google Images, and pulled out some old store shelf photos.  Then I reduced them to the actual width of my shelf unit, 1 and 1/4 inches, and printed them on photo paper.  I selected ones I thought worked best for this particular set of shelves.

I went to Google Images, and pulled some old store shelf photos. Then I reduced them to the actual width of my shelf unit, 1 and 1/4 inches, and printed them on photo paper. I selected ones I thought worked best for this particular set of shelves.

I also went for the easy solution to the roofing material.  Masking tape strips painted black do a pretty good job of simulating tar paper roofing, and they only take a couple of minutes to apply.

I also went to the easy solution for the roofing material. Masking tape strips painted black do a pretty good job of simulating tar paper roofing, and they only take a couple of minutes to apply.

I love doing cedar shingles, and although they are more time-consuming, the look they give is great.

I love doing cedar shingles, and although they are more time-consuming, they look great when they are finished.  This will be the roof over the sidewalk in front of the store.  This is real cedar that is sold for wrapping and steaming foods.  It’s less than 1/16th of an inch thick, and a lifetime supply costs about $6.

The central door section is in place, and the header and four support posts for the shingled roof

The central door section is in place, and the header and four support posts for the shingled roof are ready to go.  I’ve used the heads of straight pins for door handles again.  You can also see the two shelf units with their photo contents.  The finished stove just barely shows.

This is what the stove looked like after painting and weathering, and before being glued inside the store.

This is what the stove looked like after painting and weathering, and before being glued inside the store.

The shingled roof will sit on the header and the four posts in front.

The shingled roof will sit on the header and the four posts in front.

This overhead shot shows the two different styles of rooves, and the smoke jack comiing up from the stove.

This overhead shot shows the two different styles of roofs, and the smoke jack coming up from the stove.  The tar-paper roof has been treated with several coats of weathering powders and Testor’s Dullcote.

From this eye level view, the interior of the store looks quite busy, but it's mostly photo background work.

From this eye level view, the interior of the store looks quite busy, but it’s mostly photo background work.

Another thing I love to do is put a lot of signage on my buildings.  It really makes them come commercially alive.

Another thing I love to do is put a lot of signage on my buildings. It really makes them come commercially alive.  I pull old advertising signs out of Google Images, reduce them to the size I want on my structures, and then print them on glossy photo paper.  The photo paper gives them the look of the old enameled signs, and it is thick enough that no other backing material is needed.

The name of the store was also created on my computer, and framed in stained basswood scale 1X6.

The name of the store was also created on my computer, and framed in stained basswood scale 1×6.

Here is the finished store with the storekeeper, a Grandt Line figure, standing out front.  I'm not going to secure the three little step units until I place the building on the layout because they'd inevitably get broken off in handling.

Here is the finished store with the storekeeper, a Grandt Line figure, standing out front. I’m not going to secure the three little step units until I place the building on the layout because they’d inevitably get broken off in handling.  With the tar-paper roof in place, the interior is pretty dark, but It will eventually get interior lighting.

Here are two of the wall signs.  I could have gone around the edge with a black felt-tipped marker, but I think the white looks OK, too.

Here are two of the wall signs. I could have gone around the edge with a black felt-tipped marker, but I think the white looks OK, too.

You can see four signs on this corner of the store.

You can see four signs on this corner of the store.

One last photo, and we're open for business!

One last photo, and we’re open for business!

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