Meet at St Williams

Like the prototype, my model of the Port Rowan branch is normally a one-train-at-a-time affair. But I was thinking today about what an operating session would look like with two trains on the line at the same time.

With only two modelled towns, options are limited. The trains would either occupy Port Rowan at the same time, or meet at St. Williams. If they were to meet at St. Williams, it might look something like this… with thanks to Elgar for the beautiful music:

(Enjoy within the blog, or watch it in larger formats on YouTube)

St Williams :: Six months of progress

I’ve made considerable progress in St. Williams since I noted, back in July, that it was time to tackle St. Williams.

Half a year ago, here’s how things looked around the St. Williams depot:
M233 at St. Williams depot photo M233-StW-Depot_zps73d83bf1.jpg

The area had a first pass of scenery, but that’s about it. All structures were mock-ups – including the depot, seen just over the second boxcar. And trees were non-existent.

Compare that to the photo I took today, which appears below. The farmhouse scene is well underway, although I still have to build the tobacco kilns. The station is essentially finished, including a working order board. I’ve scratch-built a number of trees, plus fence lines and other details.
StW-Tour-2014-01-03 photo StWilliams-2014-I-04_zpsc53ccd63.jpg

One of the pleasures of building an achievable layout such as this is the ability to make real progress in relatively little time. With a modest “to-do” list for St. Williams, I can indulge in my interest in structures and scenery, yet still be able to look back on the progress over a half-year and say, “Yep – I’m moving forward”. The rewards come quickly.

There’s still much to do in St. Williams. I have trees to build. I have five tobacco kilns to scratch-build. And I have details to add. But the scene is definitely coming to life – and that encourages me to keep going.

Here are a few more photos taken today: enjoy!
StW-Tour-2014-01-06 photo StWilliams-2014-I-01_zps7e84032e.jpg

StW-Tour-2014-01-05 photo StWilliams-2014-I-02_zps5e27e441.jpg

StW-Tour-2014-01-04 photo StWilliams-2014-I-03_zpsd87d3255.jpg

StW-Tour-2014-01-02 photo StWilliams-2014-I-05_zpse4ef245c.jpg

StW-Tour-2014-01-01 photo StWilliams-2014-I-06_zps95ff887d.jpg

A (small) garage for St. Williams

 photo StW-Garage-01_zps03da8adb.jpg

A day at the workbench yesterday – actually, at the breakfast table in the kitchen – resulted in another structure for St. Williams (and another cardboard mock-up for the recycling bin or fireplace) as I scratch-built a garage to go with the house I recently finished.

Unlike the rather large – one might even say “useful” – garage in Port Rowan, this is a classic 1920s-era single car garage. It’s the kind found behind many houses in the older parts of Ontario communities: at just 14′ by 16′, it was big enough for a 1920s-era automobile but far too small for most vehicles on North American roads today.

Even by the 1950s, this garage would have been too small for the chromed cruisers. The car likely parked in the driveway and the garage was used as a combination garden shed and workshop.

For this model, I drew heavily on the floor plans and sketches in the “Better Built – Ready Cut” Bennett Homes Catalog that I found online.
StW-Garage-Bench photo StW-Garage-Bench_zpsbe6ff99c.jpg

I scratch-built everything except the window panes, which I cut from a spare set of Grandt Line 20-pane factory windows I found in my parts box. I built new window frames around these with strip wood, and scratch-built the double doors using strip wood and veneer business cards that I picked up at my local Lee Valley Tools. I added HO scale Tichy hinges to the doors, plus a latch bent up from a pair of Details Associates eyebolts. As is my preference, the windows are glazed with microscope slide covers.

I decided to use Insulbrick on this building, since it’s commonly seen but not commonly modelled. I cut the four walls from styrene sheet, then applied printed Insulbrick from Penitentiary Productions – the same company that produced the licence plates that I’m adding to my vehicles. The Insulbrick is printed on photo paper and is scaled for HO, but I think it works fine for S. I cut the sheets into panels with a sharp blade, then treated the cut edges of the paper with a black permanent marker before gluing them in place with Thick CA.

For the corners, I rounded the edges of the styrene and applied panels to overhang the corners on the end wall. I then curled the panels around, determined where to trim them, cut them to length with scissors, treated the edges with a marker, then folded and glued them in place.

I really like how the individual panels and dark edges create texture on the model when it’s on the layout:
StW-Garage photo StW-Garage-03_zpsf27d78c3.jpg

Now that I’ve built the garage of this scene, I can measure and create a base on which I’ll mount the house and garage. The base will let me level the structures and create a driveway. When it’s finished, I can blend the base into the scene. This will also take care of the floating rear corner of the garage, which is really evident in this photo:
StW-House+Garage photo StW-Garage-02_zpsc6da7f61.jpg

All in all, a good day’s work!

Popular Posts – 2013

According to the annual report generated for me by WordPress, I wrote 310 posts in 2013. Of these, the five most popular posts were as follows:

* Up to my ears… (about planting the cornfield in St. Williams) – February 9
* The elegance of switch lists (in which I explain how I use them in operating sessions) – April 22
* Bushes and weeds for the Lynn Valley (another scenery-related posting) – April 16
* Tim Trucks (about adding compensation to the passenger cars for improved tracking) – October 15
* The Oliver Ouchless (in which I present the fabric valance) – August 30

Thanks to everyone who read my blog in 2013. There were a lot of you, which is pretty humbling, really…

I’m glad you find my layout interesting. I look forward to sharing more in the year ahead.


“Better Built :: Ready Cut”

Bennett Homes - Catalog Cover photo BennettHomesCatalog_zps507df9af.jpg

As the image shows, that’s the tag line for the Bennett Homes Catalog from the 1920s. Bennett was a lumber company in North Tonawanda, New York that offered ready-to-assemble home kits – similar to those offered by The Aladdin Company, Sears, and others.

If you click on the cover image, above, you’ll visit a set on Flikr that consists of scans of the pages of the Bennett catalogue.

I stumbled across this resource while searching for plans for a suitable garage to go with the house I’ve just built for St. Williams:
St. Williams photo StW-House-11_zpsde78d0ff.jpg
(Click on the image for more on the house)

The Flickr set includes 78 scans of the catalogue. Each page features a house, with a photo and floor plans. And one page features four garage plans with photos – a perfect starting point for my model.

What a great resource for model railway enthusiasts!

The garage :: Exterior finished

Happy 2014, everyone…

To kick off the new year, I made more progress on the garage that’s located across the track from the station in Port Rowan:
PtR-Garage-Exterior photo PtR-Garage-Exterior-InSitu_zpsc3232540.jpg
(Click on the image to read all of my blog posts about this structure)

As the above photo shows, I have added the roof and shingled it. I used S scale shingles (the peel’n’stick paper variety) from Rusty Stumps Scale Models, including matching starter strips and ridge strips. I applied them in a manner similar to the process I described for the house at St. Williams. I’ve weathered the roof with weathering powders – including a green powder that provides some variation to the shingle colour.

The garage had a substantial brick chimney. Possibly, there was a hearth for doing a bit of blacksmith work inside. My chimney is a resin casting from Model Tech Studios. The barrels in the loft are HO scale items I picked up at a local hobby shop. Even at 36 percent undersized they’d be pretty heavy if full – so maybe they’re empties. Regardless, I like the spot of colour they provide…

I’ve also modelled the vents in the peak of each end wall. I used some left-over clapboard from the St. Williams house kit – the laser-cut equivalent of a sprue. This was already painted white. I added some stain over the white, then cut pieces larger than the openings and glued them in place on the inside of the walls.

Not as obvious – but still done: I’ve added glass to all the windows. As I’ve described previously on this blog, I cut the glass from microscope slide covers. Since the windows on this structure are not assembled from laser cut pieces with peel’n’stick backing, I slid each pane of glass into place and then secured it with very small dots of Microscale’s Kristal Klear.

Here are some more views of the finished structure. Click on each to view a larger version:
PtR-Garage-West photo PtR-Garage-Construction-08_zpsef6850d8.jpg

PtR-Garage-North photo PtR-Garage-Construction-09_zpsb1aabd68.jpg

PtR-Garage-East photo PtR-Garage-Construction-10_zps5e8ca68a.jpg

PtR-Garage-South photo PtR-Garage-Construction-11_zpsf8c370f2.jpg

While I would call this structure “finished”, it’s still only a shell. I plan to build a base for this structure and when I do I’ll include some basic interior detailing. This detailing will include workbenches along the walls and a hearth at the rear of the building. This is a foreground structure and I’d like visitors to see the suggestion of an interior when they look through those big sliding doors…