Friday, June 8, 2018

The Depot at Farmington

Although the steps seem to be floating in air, when scenicking is done, they will be flush with the top of the ties. An earth berm will run from the train order signal past the privy .
The Farmington Depot is now complete except for scenicking. It was an interesting project using customary model building techniques combined with laser cutting and 3D printing.
The 3D printed casings fit perfectly around the Tichy
window castings.
The depot has some unusual casing details around the upper part of the window. I drew up some 3D drawings of it sized to fit the Tichy windows and doors I was using and sent them to Shapeways to have the casings printed.
     In the prototype photo shown in my last blog (http://sandcrr.blogspot.com/2018/05/laser-cutting-and-depots.html), you can just barely see the end of a ladder peeking out from behind the depot. This was normally used to access the roof and it seems that most of the Southern Pacific depots had one. I relocated mine to the end of the building so someone might actually see it. The small "bridge" on the platform's end was used to span the gap between the platform and a car to aid in loading or unloading of it.
     Adjacent to the depot is something one sees at almost all of the depot photos, the privy. This one is a standard SP design and is made from two of the Tichy outhouse kits. The lattice work around the privy is also from Tichy.
The privy at Farmington and the model privy. It is a close copy. I realize that the model roof has a steeper pitch and the lattice work is square rather than on an angle. These were modeling considerations I took into account to get the "feel" of the structure rather than make an exact copy. In other words, I was a trifle lazy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Laser Cutting and Depots

Farmington depot circa the 1890s. Note the privy behind the lattice fence at the right and the switch stand.
A few months ago, I bit the bullet and bought a laser cutting machine. It sat in my basement for 2-3 months simply because it was too cold in my shop to work comfortably. I finally started working with it a couple of weeks ago and just cut my first real project, the Farmington depot. The prototype was a board-and-batten structure and was relatively small as depots go. Being smaller in scale made it a good first project.
   
Farmington depot. The window and door openings were sized to accept Grandt Line windows and doors. In the foreground is .010" thick styrene with the gable trim cut out by the laser.
Depot with scallop trim.
Evergreen styrene was used for the basic siding. I always thought that styrene was really not suitable for laser cutting but that is not true. I managed to cut the siding very smoothly, especially the cutouts for the windows and doors. The ends of the depot had some interesting scallop trim that was perfect for the laser. I made a CAD drawing of the trim and the laser made a good job of it.
     The baggage doors were not the right size for either the Tichy or Grandt Line doors so I did another drawing. The doors using were cut from 3/32" acrylic and the trim from a manila file folder.
   
Acrylic baggage doors with trim pieces awaiting paint.
The building is not yet finished but is on its way and the laser has justified its expense (at least in my mind). One of the selling points on getting the machine was being able to cut special templates for my wife's quilting projects. Naturally, the very first project done was some holders on which to wind quilt binding.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Factories at Stockton and Warehouse at Cometa

Henderson Carriages is located just behind the depot on the industry spur in Stockton.
Several years ago, I bought an old Magnuson kit called Menasha Woodenware. It had this great look of a three-story nineteenth century factory or warehouse. I had been looking for a place to put this building on the railroad and finally found it. It is in Stockton on the spur serving the Pacific Tannery, Simpson & Gray Lumber and the Globe Iron Works.
     Putting the kit together was fairly easy in spite of the fact that the instructions were missing. The sides were all cast resin and it was pretty intuitive. I had to decrease the depth of the building to fit the space I had but it still is an imposing structure.
     I decided to name it after the M. P. Henderson Carriage Factory. Henderson made wagons and carriages for use throughout the western U.S. Their Stockton factory was, indeed, a three-story building and looked somewhat like the Magnuson kit. Using a photo of the prototype, I made a few signs and now I have another switching destination for Stockton.
   
Cometa is looking better with two real industrial spots now. As soon as some more dirt is sifted, I can finished the scenicking.
 Recently, I was doing a bit of scenery around Farmington and decided that Cometa needed a couple of structures to establish it as a town on the railroad. The real Cometa had a grain warehouse and a corral and there was just enough space to model both of those. The Walthers Shed on Pilings kit is a nice small warehouse with sliding doors but it was too small for Cometa's needs so I bought two of them. Putting them together end-to-end gave a building about the right size but it was frame and looked like, well, two Walthers kits spliced together. Looking again at my map collection revealed that the prototype warehouse was sheathed in corrugated iron so I decided to do that. Using double-sized tape, I attached Campbell's corrugated iron to the building, painting it and then weathered it slightly with some Bragdon's rust powder.
     I wasn't sure what to call the warehouse, though. The information I had was a bit sketchy. I did some checking on the internet and found that an outfit called Haslacher & Kahn owned the Cometa concern plus several other grain warehouse in the area. Some more searching found an old letterhead for the company and gave me the style to be used on the sign. I printed it out and attached it to the building's side.
     The corral was built with pieces left over from a Walthers stock yard kit used elsewhere on the railroad. I added a small general store and some signs and now Cometa looks like a real destination point except for the lack of ground cover. I ran out of sifted dirt and so Cometa will look very barren until I sift some more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Rest of the City

Stand-in buildings show what a finished street might look like in downtown Stockton.
Making the building flats for Stockton (April 8 Post) started the city on its way to looking like a city. The unfortunate thing was that several of the streets ended at the backdrop and the result was not particularly realistic. I have seen other modelers use real photographs glued to the backdrop to make it look like the road continued but the only photographs I have of 1890s Stockton are in black-and-white. Since Stockton's nineteenth century buildings are mostly gone, I decided to try colorizing some of the monochromatic photos I have.
    Knowing nothing about colorization, I googled the process and found it to be rather straight-forward but a little tedious. Using Adobe Photoshop, I started adding colors and, a few hours later, had a reasonable-looking color street scene. After printing out a picture which appeared to be about the right size, I pasted it to the backdrop and the result is above.
     I needed at least one other photo but the bulk of my street scenes did not have the photographer standing in the middle of the street producing the right view for railroad modelers a century later. I did, however, have scenes of two separate streets which I thought could be combined, again using Photoshop. Once the two scenes were joined, I colorized the picture and the result is below.
   
This street scene was made by combining shots from two separate streets and joining them in Photoshop.
 I was pleased with these first attempts and am looking forward to completing the street, adding structures and a few vehicles. I think Stockton will start looking more like a big city.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Industrial District Buildings Appear at Stockton

The entire set of flats I constructed stretches about six feet along the backdrop at Stockton. The depressed area at the right will be a marsh. The two gaps in the flats are for Centre Street (at left) and Commerce Street.
A few of my regular operators have told me that they would like to see some progress on structures at Stockton (it only had the two-stall roundhouse and an open-air warehouse for the steamer line). I decided to respond to their wishes and also get some kits out of their boxes. Using some of the Walthers building flats and a couple of parts from another kit, I came up with several distinct businesses, all of which existed in Stockton near the railroad.
 
The far right of the flats is the Pacific Tannery, one of the online shippers on the railroad. The two buildings to the left are Sylvester and Moye, furniture makers and Stockton Bags and Burlap.

The next buildings are Hammond, Moore and Yardley, grocery and provision sales and Thomas and Buell of the Stockton Planing Mill.
Wm. P. Miller sits between Centre and Commerce Streets. They were a big manufacturer of wagons and carriages. They weren't quite as well-known as Henderson but I liked the lettering on their building better.
To the left of Centre Street is the Stockton Glass Factory.
Having nineteenth century photos of the prototype buildings, I tried to use the same type fonts that were used then with the same slogans and signs. Unfortunately, the building flats themselves don't correspond to the actual buildings but are merely there to provide a sort of ambiance to the scene. I plan to work from the backdrop to the aisle as far the structures go
     Now I have to figure out what to do about the "continuation" of the streets into the backdrop. I have a couple of ideas which I hope to share once I perfect them.
   

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New Packing House Arrives in Holden

A California Fruit Express refrigerator car awaits loading at the new San Joaquin Fruit Growers' Association packing plant.
The San Joaquin Fruit Growers' Association packing house in Holden is now complete and occupied in Holden. Refrigerator cars ship daily with apples, grapefruit and other produce. In other words, I have completed another structure for this town.
    It started life as a Walthers packing house kit. Usually, I don't use standard kits, not because they are not good, but because they seldom look like structures in the part of the country I am modeling. In this case, the Walthers kit looked like a frame packing house would like in the 1890s. The kit was assembled per the instructions with little being done. The signs for the building were custom printed.
     The stacks of fruit crates were constructed by wrapping wooden blocks with a printed wrapper showing stacks of fruit crates. This was done by first selecting end labels which appealed to me (there are numerous photos of these labels on line) and then reducing the image to HO scale. The label was then duplicated in a stack-like formation. The same thing was done for the sides of the crates and the top. These images were organized to form a wrapper which glued to the wood block. The individual crates were obtained from Shapeways (https://www.shapeways.com/product/X7NBJNAAQ/orange-shipping-crate-set-ho-no-lids?optionId=59187209&li=user-wishlist). They come in both open top and closed top configurations.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Stockton & Copperopolis in the News


With the NMRA convention coming up in Kansas City this summer, both Railroad Model Craftsman and Model Railroad Hobbyist are doing their part to publicize the event. As many of you may know, the Stockton & Copperopolis has been featured in both publications recently: the November 2017 issue of RMC and the March 2018 MRH.
Trainmasters Video
As another means of making people aware of the convention, just before Christmas, Barry Silverthorn of Trainmasters Video visited my  railroad and a few others in the area. He spent about a day video taping our layouts and interviewing the owners. That video was just released on the Trainmasters website (https://trainmasters.tv/)
     Both RMC and MRH did a real good job of showing off the railroad and Trainmasters was no exception. The 23-minute production covered a great deal of the railroad and even made me look halfway decent. My thanks to Barry and my frequent operator, Mark Davidson, who spent the day helping me during the filming.
     
For those of you thinking of coming to the convention, it looks like it's going to be a good event. The people in charge are working hard to make sure that of its success. If you don't read it already, check out Model Railroad Hobbyist. Joe Fugate does an excellent job and there is a heavy emphasis on photos to tell the story. The best part is that it's free. Trainmasters, however, is a subscription service but there are many, many videos of layout visits and how-to-do-it subjects. I've only seen a couple but they are very professionally done. It seems well worth the price.
     See you at the convention!