Progress continues on my model of the Port Rowan section house, with the addition of a base on which I’ve built two set offs for speeders or hand cars.
The prototype had a single “stall” served by a set off. But another set off was built in front of the section house, to the right of the doors. I think that’s a neat detail.
My prototype photo shows a section gang trailer on the right-hand set-off, so I’ve built one from a white metal kit by Wiseman Model Services. I used the wheels, axles, and handles from the Wiseman kit – but replaced the platform with one scratch-built from distressed and stained strip wood. (I’ve given the trailer a coat of yellow, but still need to do the detail painting and weathering.)
While such set offs were typically built with rail and ties, the “rails” for the set offs here appear to be made from wood, including broad planks for ties. So that’s how I modelled them. I cut a piece of black styrene sheet to use as a base – then cut, distressed and stained wood for the ties and the rails. I glued these in place, using my NMRA standards gauge to set the gauge of the wooden rails. Here’s a close-up of the front of the shed, showing how the wooden rails disappear under the doors:
I laid the set offs first, then used various sizes of strip wood to determine how much I would have to elevate the shed so that the doors just cleared the wooden rails. When I found the right size wood, I used it to build a foundation for the section house.
Here’s a test-fit of the base and shed on the layout – note that the wooden rails extend beyond the styrene base to touch the edge of the closest rail on the runaround track:
I needed to scrape away a bit of the scenery base to fit the set offs in place so that they were level with the rail. When I was happy with the fit, I used CA to secure the ends of the wooden rails to the side of the steel rail on the runaround track. Before setting it in place, I put a thin coat of No More Nails on the underside of the base and weighed it down while the glue cured. Then, I added a mix of dirt and ballast around the set offs.
This photo shows the set off with dirt and ballast in place. Note the wooden foundation for the shed. Also note the boards between the rails of the runaround track, to enable the section gang to get their hand cars and speeders on and off the track:
Here’s the section house in place on the ballasted base. Note the trailer on the second set off:
I will add grass and weeds, plus many details, after I build the oil shed that sits next to the section house.
While building the set off, I also added another important detail to the section house, based on some feedback from Steve Lucas. (Thanks, Steve!)
In a comment on a previous post about the section house model, Steve noted:
The window on the toolhouse needs a heavy steel screen on it like the one in the photo, or some vandal will break it. CN used a stamped metal “screen” that was expanded metal, or alternatively, punched steel sheet.
To model the screen, Steve suggested scratching some clear styrene with sandpaper, then paint the styrene black and quickly wipe off the surface so the paint stays only in the grooves. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, but I worried that it’s so fine that it may end up looking like a deterrent designed for insects, not vandals. So, I went looking in my drawer of metal supplies and turned up some etched brass sheet from K&S Metals. It’s a square mesh pattern. I chemically blackened some of it, cut it to size and installed it over the two windows.
Here’s a photo of the screen on the side window:
What I like about this material is its coarseness. It’s over-scale, but nobody can look at it and mistake it for a window screen to keep flies out. It screams “security measure”.
For that reason, I think it’s a success: It tells a clear story to the viewer – which is my goal with my modelling.