Friday, February 14, 2020

General Store and Lodge Hotel Arrives at Farmington

The Dyke & Harrold store and the Central Hotel in their approximate final positions at Farmington.
Another view of the D&H store. The curved steps at the corner were a partic-
ular challenge.
As mentioned in my last post, I am now concentrating my efforts on Farmington. Besides the Central Hotel mentioned in my last post (, the Dyke & Harrold General Merchandise store has arrived. Soon after construction was finished, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows leased the second story for their lodge hall. Soon after, the Post Office department appointed O. D. Dyke Postmaster and what better place to put the business than in his store. All institutions are now open for business.
The prototype store with some slight additions due to moderni-
The D&H store was scratchbuilt from photos and measurements taken at the still-standing store. The prototype was built around 1873 and the Odd Fellows have met there ever since. Styrene scribed siding with Tichy windows and doors were used.
     The construction was straight-forward with the only problem area being the rounded steps at the corner of the building. They do add a nice look to the building, though, and were worth the trouble.
     The Central Hotel and associated Central Saloon were built, as mentioned, by my friend, Doug Taylor. I added the signs taken from a couple of closeup photos of the hotel entrance. In one of the photos, there is a light post outside the building with the hotel's name on it so that had to be added, too. The small space next to the hotel is still vacant but will soon be leased out to some going concern.
A closeup of the D&H front entrance. What is the somewhat
blurry red item at the end of the porch??

The Central Hotel and Central Saloon. The small red saloon signs were copied from a prototype photo of the building. The oval sign on the front porch column shows that the establishment serves California-made Boca Beer. The building to the left is for lease. Apply at hotel.

The real Central Saloon with its signs was obviously popular
for cyclists.
The light outside the hotel. See the prototype photo below.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Farmington Gets a New Hotel

The new Central Hotel as it sits on the workbench (yes, mine is as cluttered as anybody else's). Signs and other details still need to be added.
My next major project is to build out the town of Farmington. There are a couple of signature structures I will need to scratchbuild but a lot of the town will be populated by commercial kits. One of these signature structures is the Central Hotel. It was located across the street from the S&C depot and is very near the tracks. Unfortunately for me, there are no good photos of the hotel. I did have a kit made by JL Models which was the right size, though, and thought this would fit. A couple of weeks ago, I made some custom decals for a friend of mine and great modeler, Doug Taylor. He offered to build a structure for me so I suggested this kit. I am more than happy with the result, especially with the lack of good prototype information.
     Doug also built one of the livery stables which now resides at Milton. Thanks, Doug!
Downtown Farmington in 1914 complete with McKeen car. The Central Hotel is somewhere beneath the trees near the center of the photo. I do have the Sanborn maps for the area so I know the size which is why I chose the JL kit to represent the building.

3D printing on the McKeen

McKeen's special ventilators can be seen near the top center of the photo. The strange shape was to filter out moisture picked up by the vent.
The Elegoo Mars printer is very compact and inexpensive.
While I like the way my McKeen motor car turned out (, I was still bothered by the unprototypical vents on the car.I wasn't going to change the bulk of the ventilators as they didn't look too bad. The front vents, however, were of a different pattern designed for this car.

The finished 3D-printed ventilators. I made a few extra plus
some of the other ventilators for another McKeen car I have.
 Fortunately, I had a solution. A few weeks ago, I invested in an Elegoo Mars 3D printer. This machine was rated highest for its class last year. You, too, can have one for only $229.99 at Amazon. Anyway, I thought that producing a couple of these unique vents would be a good test for the machine. They turned out great and a pair now reside on the S&C Motor 99.
The ventilators installed on Motor No. 99.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

McKeen Motor Car Arrives on the Copperopolis Road

McKeen Number 99 stops at Milton to discharge passengers for the waiting stage to Church's Mineral Springs. The Stanley Mountain Wagon is by Mokelumne River Models.
A new 55-foot McKeen motor car has been seen putting along the tracks east of Stockton. It appears that the railroad's management has seen fit to experiment with yet another motor car. It is anticipated that this car will be used in lieu of a comfortable coach pulled by a reliable steam locomotive. Time will see if the public will accept this new mode of transportation.
This view shows the boat-like design of the motor car with a sharp "bow" and rounded "stern."
 In reality, the car is an old Ken Kidder model from the '50s-'60s. I had purchased this car back in the 1990s but the motor/transmission had played out and so the car had been side-tracked  on the shelf until recently. The delay has mostly been due to getting the proper sound from the car. Nobody makes an off-the-shelf McKeen motor car sound so I had to devise one myself. The decoder used was a Loksound model modifed for the new car. I used a Galloping Goose as the basic motor sound. The whistle was recorded by me a couple of years ago in Carson City where the only running McKeen car is kept. The whistle is original as well.
The big trouble with the Goose sound is that starting of the Goose is by an electric starter where the McKeen was an air-starting engine, a completely different sound. I solved that problem by splicing out the electric starter and splicing in the air-start sound from an Alco locomotive. The same thing was done with the whistle and the bell. Learning the Loksound programming method was a project but it turns out that it is straight-forward once you learn the program's arrangement.
      Powering of the car is by a Stanton drive which is a very slick way to do the job. The unit has the motor and gearing in one unit with 4-wheel pickup. The wiring is such that the drive can be used for DC or easily rearranged for DCC. Wipers on all of the front truck wheels added to the pickup.The car was painted after the original paint scheme as reproduced by the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
     The motor vehicle shown in one of the photos is a 3D printed model of a Stanley 12-passenger Mountain
The underside of the Stanton Drive showing the electrical 
pickups and gearing. The truck sideframes are glued on
spacers attached to the drive.
Wagon of the same vintage as the McKeen. It is made by Mokelumne River Models ( and is a very good reproduction. I highly recommend their products. Lastly, this style of motor car was not made until about 1910. They were used on the Stockton & Copperopolis from that time until around 1920 but, by then, the line was a part of the Southern Pacific. Why have the car on an 1895 railroad? I like McKeens and plan to have a couple or so more eventually. Model Railroading is Fun!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Two Steps Forward and One Back

The new Stanton drive is in and supported by a styrene mount. Behind it is the old open-frame power truck which seemed to be causing the problem. The gear train between the wheels can be seen on the old truck
It has been over two months since my last posting but it has been a busy one for the family this year. Most of October and November was spent out of town on one trip or another (several railroad related). Right after Thanksgiving, I came down with a fairly bad cold or, perhaps, a flu strain. Of course, the normal holiday chaos was thrown in, too. In any case, I have been out of commission until recently.
     In my posting in May (, I described the new Hall-Scott motor car. It ran well until my first operating session, then it locked up and wouldn't move. It turned out the gear train on the power truck had gotten a few grains of ballast in it which locked up the works. That was cleaned out and a small shield made to prevent a future problem. The next operating session showed the car running all right then it started not to. A friend of mine, Keith Robinson, who specializes in decoder installations and I looked at it and determined that the old open-frame motor was emitting some kind of electromagnetic interference which affected the decoder. It was time to change the motor.
     A Stanton drive was ordered from Northwest Short Line and installed in the car. This required a new motor support bracket and some trimming of the drive unit. Now it is back on the road and running well, at least until the next operating session.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Threshing the Wheat

A turn-of-the-century post card advertising Case products gave inspiration to the project
As has been mentioned before in this blog, wheat is the major item shipped by the Stockton & Copperopolis. The prototype ran through huge fields of wheat, all of which had to be harvested and then threshed to separate the grain from the chaff. To be true to the prototype the model S&C had to have at least one threshing scene. 
The threshing machine assembled from the Shapeways kit. The wagon is a Jordan farm wagon kit. Decals are custom based on early photos.
This project started by assembling a 3D-printed thresher offered by Desert Canyon Miniatures on the Shapeways website. This kit is fairly complex with numerous small parts. The result, though, is a pretty impressive machine. I painted mine to resemble a Case machine of 1890s vintage. 
A Keystone boiler was used with steam cylinder and flywheels taken from parts from the scrapbox.
 The second part of the scene was the portable steam engine which powered the thresher. I adapted a Keystone portable boiler and added a cylinder and flywheel from parts I found in the scrap box. This unit was connected to the thresher by a long leather (brown paper) belt. The reason for the distance from the thresher is the fire hazard. The engine, of course, has a fire and any potential conflagration had to be kept away from the more expensive threshing machine.
The complete scene showing both threshing machine and portable engine.
Figures are from Faller.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Last Bridges Are In!

Duck Creek near Farmington Surrounded by wheat fields, this dry wash is spanned by the S&C.
After postponing building them for several years, I finally got busy and finished the last two bridges on the railroad. The first location was the trestle over Duck Creek which was just west of Farmington. Normally, Duck Creek was a dry wash which could be become a rapid stream in the spring rains. Since the S&C is set in the summer, it's mainly a dry wash which is how I modeled it. The trestle was built like the other trestles on the railroad.
No. 204 crosses Mormon Creek just east of Holden. The water is by Magic Water, an excellent two-part epoxy I recommend highly.
     The second location was the bridge/trestle over Mormon Creek. This stream usually has some water in it year around so I wanted to represent that. Most of it is dry, however, and so a long approach trestle was provided over the stream bed. There was a truss bridge over the actual stream bed. Fortunately for me, the truss bridge was 50 feet long which was exactly the size of a bridge I had built years ago for my last railroad in California. When I dismantled that railroad, I kept the bridges and so a 25-year-old bridge now spans the creek on the S&C. As is typical in the this geographic area, plants near a water source tend to be a lot greener than the rest of the surrounding foliage which is the effect I tried to present here.
     Tomorrow is my first operating session following the lightning strike back in June. Everything seems to be working. Tomorrow we will find out.