An S SIG Shout-Out

As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, I’m relatively new to S Scale. This is my first S scale layout, and I’ve been at this one for less than two years. So it’s not surprising that I’m still fumbling about when it comes to finding sources for details and suchlike.

I have many questions – often falling into the category of “Does a certain item exist? And if not, did it ever exist?”

A few times in recent months, I’ve posted such questions to the forum run by the S Scale SIG. And every time, I’ve had very helpful answers.
S Scale SIG Logo photo s-scale-sig-logo_zps881ddb6b.jpg
(Click on the logo to visit the SIG)

The most recent example was in my search for an S scale baggage wagon. I’ll need a few of these for the layout – one for St. Williams and one or two for Port Rowan. I consulted The Google, and concluded that such an item exists – or did at one time. I found lots of references to baggage wagons in HO and O scales and several references to baggage wagons once produced in S, but seemingly no more – but nothing describing a current run kit.

So yesterday afternoon, I asked on the S Scale SIG forum – and received several good answers overnight, including two references to Port Lines Hobby Supplies. It appears Port Lines has baggage wagons from the Banta line, so I’ve ordered three kits. I don’t know why they didn’t show up when I Googled, but there you go.

If you’re at all interested in scale S (as opposed to American Flyer) – either because you’re building models or a layout in 1:64, or because you’re just curious – I encourage you to join the SIG. It’s free, although the SIG does accept donations via the Pal of Pay. (I’ve made a note in my calendar to give them $20-$30 per year.) Most importantly, the SIG is looking for volunteers. Even people who are willing to put some SIG promotional materials on their table at conventions, shows and RPM meets would be most welcome.

(Thanks again, fellow SIG members!)

St Williams station underway

St Williams Depot - from the road photo StW-Stn-02_zps65f637e0.jpg

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:
St Williams Depot - Wall Construction photo StW-Stn-Walls_zps1c03af91.jpg

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:
St Williams Depot - Roof Construction photo StW-Stn-Roof_zps049bd214.jpg

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.

St Williams Depot - Front photo StW-Stn-04_zps80a8da19.jpg

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.

St Williams Depot - Freight Side photo StW-Stn-01_zps9e6b569c.jpg

St Williams Depot - Passenger End photo StW-Stn-03_zps17c86771.jpg

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…
A new vantage point? photo Wagon-02.jpg

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.

Switching the mixed in Port Rowan

Preparing to shove the mixed back to the Port Rowan station photo MixedShove_zpsedaf3ade.jpg
(Having just run around the train and under the watchful eye of the conductor and a brakeman, the engineer on Mogul 86 prepares to couple up to the tail end of the mixed in Port Rowan. The crew will then set off any freight cars and shove the passenger equipment back to the Port Rowan station for loading. Click on the image for a larger version.)