Thursday, April 23, 2020

Plaster, Cardboard, Painting and a Couple of Cabooses

Since the ground around the real Farmington is pretty flat, there is not much to put on a backdrop so I contented myself with low rolling hills and distant mountains. The Sculptamold will eventually be painted and covered with dirt.
After some family activities which occupied about a week of time which could have been spent on the railroad, I finally got back to it this week.It seems that all of the necessary buildings for Farmington have been constructed and so it was necessary to get on with the scenery. Cork sheets helped to build up the structures so they would be even with the roadbed. Sculptamold was then used to even out some of sharp edges created by chunks of plywood and cork. When covered with dirt and vegetation, the landscape will look fairly realistic. Cardboard strips were laid down to mark where roads will eventually reside. When the Sculptamold is dry, it will be painted the same bland color the rest of the area is painted.
     This morning, I went down to the basement to see what I could do about a backdrop. I have never made claims to being an artist and I only aspire to my backdrops providing the suggestion that there is something beyond the railroad. They don't have to be perfect. After all, I hope the visitors are looking at the trains and structures more than the backdrop. In any case, I managed to get the job done and am reasonably satisfied with the work.
Farmington is at the end of an aisle behind the photographer, or will be. Now it's strung out all along the railroad. Once the scenery is done here, there will be a long stretch of track with no unscenicked sections.
After deciding where each structure was going to be placed, I removed them and stacked them on other parts of the railroad. I had no idea that they would take up as much space as they do.
     A few weeks ago, I had finished a grain warehouse but wanted rolled roofing to complete the project. My normal supplier was suffering, as everyone else is, with being confined to his house. It took a few weeks to get the material but it was finished this week and that structure is now ready for placement.
Two S&I cabooses awaiting a train for Ione. Now all I have to do is get a couple of working locomotives.
While waiting for roofing and things to dry, I took a quick break and built up a couple of narrow gauge caboose kits for the Stockton & Ione. These were Grandt Line C&S kits I had had for a while. One of them was built per the kit with a cupola. The other I decided to represent as an old car which had yet to be fitted for a cupola. Both were readily assembled even though some of the kit parts are very tiny.
     At least the world situation has allowed me to get some work done and clutter up the railroad while I do it.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Keeping the Dust Settled

The county sprinkler wagon is ready to start settling the dust. The nozzles at the rear of the wagon distribute the water. The tank can be filled through the hatch at the driver's rear or from a hydrant using a hose connected to the water connection just behind the driver.
As summer approaches, the dirt roads of central California turn to dust. Any slight wind or moving carriage will pick up this dust and transfer to such destinations as your clothes, lungs, the wash drying on a clothesline and tonight's dinner. The folks in the nineteenth century were well aware of this problem and had a solution: the sprinkler wagon.
     While there were several companies making this wooden wonder, Studebaker was by far the leader in sales. Always the maker of quality wagons, the Studebaker folks followed through with the sprinkler wagon. Water from the tank would flow by gravity to nozzles just off the ground which would distribute flow in wide fans to cover as much width as possible. On especially hot days, the slow-moving water fans also attracted small children.
The main pieces were the chassis, tank, seat and nozzle system. Other parts like the brakes were added with styrene. Wheels and axles are from a Jordan kit.
 I have wanted to make one of these interesting wagons for some time but just how to get a good representation eluded me until I acquired my 3D printer. The model of the Studebaker wagon was based mostly on a prototype found in Angel's Camp, California. For details of the mechanisms, Studebaker catalogs were consulted as were drawings available online. I drew up the components in the Fusion 360 program to get them ready for the printer. After printing and some cleanup, I added a few more details made from styrene and brass wire. The wheels from a Jordan beer wagon kit were used but SS Ltd makes wheels of the correct size as do some folks on Shapeways. I painted it the standard yellow with a red frame and wheels. The end decal was copied from a prototype wagon.
 Now, the dust is held down on the roads adjacent to the S&C which makes everyone a lot happier.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Last Structure (I hope) for Farmington

This side of the building faces the main Farmington road. For some reason the prototype wall was angled about 20 degrees from the road. No picture of this side of the building could be found so I imagined how it might appear.
I really do enjoy building structures but doing them in the concentrated fashion that I have been the last few weeks makes me want to do something else. In any case, the last planned structure for Farmington is now completed, the Farmington Warehouse. The prototype of this building was built in 1874 as an assembly hall for the town but was quickly turned into a grain warehouse. The building survived into the 1990s or so. When I finally visited Farmington in the late '90s, it had already been razed with the only left being a foundation wall and some piers. I did have a couple of photos and dimensions from a couple of insurance maps so that would have to be enough.
The warehouse will eventually be raised onto a cork base to make it even with the track serving it. In the background are the rest of the buildings destined for this town.
The basic structure for the building is .040" styrene sheet reinforced with 1/8" x 1/4" styrene strips. N Scale Architect brick siding was then glued on these sides with caulk. I 3D printed the warehouse doors while the front doors were Tichy or Grandt Line doors. I figured that, since the building was supposed to be a hall, they would have a bit nicer front doors. After I had gotten everything assembled, I found a distant photo showing more windows in one side. I wish I had seen them early but I was not going to add them at this point.
The trackside had two loading doors with small platforms. It does look better than the cardboard box which was here.
 The roofing paper was made by Minuteman Models. I enjoyed making this structure and it will sure look better on the railroad than the cardboard box I was using as a stand-in. The next step is to start scenicking the area to look like there is actually a town here.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Small Structure From a Photo

The Woods Cigar and Newspaper agency taken around the turn of the 20th century.
A couple of weeks ago, while browsing through Facebook, I ran across the above photo of a small Cigar and News shop. These small businesses once thrived through the cities and towns of America and the somewhat fancy signage intrigued me enough that I wanted to model it. Although the photos seems to indicate that the shop was part of a larger building, I modeled it as a stand-along frame structure.
My model of the store. The interior photo is not very visible in this view but it suggests that the building is more than just an empty shell.
 My model was built from Evergreen styrene sheets and strips. Estimating from the photo gave me a structure of about 15 feet wide. I modeled it to be about 25 feet long. the interesting parts of the model included the deep-set window with the "Magazine and Papers" sign and the "Laundry" sign protruding from the face of the building. Of course, the main sign seemed, perhaps, a bit fancy for a small business but also added to its appeal for me.
     Construction was straight-forward using Tichy doors and corbels. The molding below the window was half-round stock. Decals were made using Adobe Illustrator and printed on an Alps printer. Since it is such a large window, I located a photo of a typical newstand and sized it to fit inside the building to give it an appropriate interior. While this small building cannot hold both magazines and the steamy atmosphere of washing clothes, many Chinese laundries were outside establishments and will eventually show up behind the shop. This little project was a nice respite from building larger warehouse and other structures for Farmington. Next, I will be constructing another grain warehouse, this one made from brick.