Well, some might say “almost finished”… but I find that details take at least as much time as building the basic structure.
Regardless, over the past couple of days I’ve made great progress on the small station at St. Williams. I’ve been working from a single, black and white photograph, my mock-up, and a bunch of assumptions… but I’m pleased with the result so far.
I won’t numb readers with a blow by blow of how I built it, but I will share a couple of techniques that others may find interesting.
I like how the walls feature two types of cladding – clapboard and vertical boards, separated by a belt rail. For a structure like this, I like using individual boards over styrene sub walls. The styrene keeps things from warping and it’s fairly quick and easy to attach wood to styrene with thick CA. To keep my clapboards aligned with a consistent amount of board to the weather, I used styrene clapboard siding for the upper portion of the sub walls, as shown in the photo below:
After the clapboards were in place, I trimmed them even with any openings, then added segments of plain styrene sheet to the bottom of each wall to bring them up to the required height. I then framed the doors and windows before cladding the lower portion of each wall with individual boards.
For the roof, I used S scale peel’n’stick shingles from Walter and Mary Gillespie at Rusty Stumps. I’ve used peel’n’stick shingle strips dozens of times, but it’s the first time I’ve used the ones from Rusty Stumps. They’re quite nice to work with.
The key to getting a nice roof is keeping the shingle strips aligned. To help with this, I build my roof from styrene sheet – but I use the V-groove stuff, which gives me built-in guides. It doesn’t matter what spacing the grooves are – in this case, I used some .125″ spacing because that’s what I had in stock. I find it’s easy to lay strips parallel to the guides, as shown below:
The masking tape is secured to the styrene with thick CA. I assembled the four roof panels into a roof by laying the panels upside down and taping them together on the underside. I then flipped the roof over, ran beads of thick CA into the joints and covered them with more masking tape. The shingles will hide the tape.
I like peel’n’stick shingles for their ease of application, but I don’t trust the adhesive to hold up over the long run. Therefore, when the shingling is finished I brush on a dilute solution of Weld Bond and water. When this dries, it locks the shingles together into a very solid roof. Since I planned to brush-paint the roof with flat weathered black, the colour of the shingles is not important. The photos of the assembled roof still have some red peeking through – a second coat of black will take care of that.
Three signs on the front wall add a lot of character to this small depot. In addition to the station signboard (with the “T” rendered in smaller font with an underline, like the prototype), there are two blue signs advertising railway services. The smaller of these – at the freight end of the depot – reads CANADIAN NATIONAL EXPRESS. At the passenger end, a rectangular sign reads CANADIAN NATIONAL TELEGRAPH AND CABLE OFFICE.
To model the signs, I searched for suitable images online, grabbed likely candidates, and cleaned them up in Photoshop. I then resized them by importing several copies into PowerPoint and setting each one to a slightly different size on a single slide. I made two of each size, so I could mount the print-outs back to back for the projecting signs. I fabricated the ST WILLIAMS sign in PowerPoint as well, in a couple of sizes. I then printed the slide and selected the sizes that best fit the station. Signs are mounted on styrene strip using double-sided tape.
With the basic structure done, it’s on to details. I’ve added a smoke jack on the rear roof, over the passenger area. I need to add real glass to the door and window – I’ll leave that until later in the build. There are trim boards to add to the bottom edge of the roof. A short strip of rain gutter will be mounted on the trim board over the waiting room door. A train order board is mounted on a support that projects forward from the roof above the waiting room door. I will need to add a cinder platform, faced with ties. And there’s a baggage wagon to build.
Or, more likely, scratch-build: I note that several companies offer kits for such wagons in HO and O scale. But I haven’t found one yet for S. I’ll ask about but I expect I know what the answer is. Good thing I have a study model in my back yard…
But that’s a problem for another day. Meantime, passengers, LCL, express, and telegraph services were all run out of this station. This may be a small structure – but it’s an important one for the community. I look forward to detailing this station as part of my current efforts to enhance the scene at St. Williams.