Independence Station and the Residential District

Over the last few weeks, I started working on the parking area for the train station, as well as the hardshell for the surrounding area (the residential zone, etc). One decision I had to make was whether the depot was going to be “up” on a raised parking area like the rest of the town has been so far. I decided not to do that. The main reason I chose to put the station more on “ground” level is that the platform for boarding is sort of built assuming that — raising it to the level of a sidewalk made it look too high (to me). So I decided to use 0.020″ styrene, as I did with the road, to make a parking area, but I did NOT place the depot atop it. Instead, I cut out the footprint of the depot — I sort of “cut around” it to make a parking zone.

My next step was to prime, and then paint, the parking lot. I moved the depot out of the way to avoid getting paint on it. Read the rest of this entry

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Installing the Post Office

It’s been a little longer than I had anticipated. I actually did the post office, which I document below, a couple of weeks ago, but I got bogged down with other things and could not get the pics uploaded until today.

Following along with the method I used to create the parking area (and elevate it to “sidewalk level” the way it should be) on the west side of Main Street, I used some 0.060″ styrene from the hobby shop to create a parking area/base for the post office on the corner of Main Street and Independence Avenue. My first task was to lay down the sidewalk pieces (without gluing them yet), and then size out and sketch out where I wanted things to be. Having cars and houses in place showed me where I needed to end the parking area and how big to make the styrene piece.


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Installing Main Street

For the last couple of weeks, I have been working on starting to get some layout items finalized. I have all but the last two structure kits built, and enough of the structures are completed to see that my plan for tracks and highways and such will work spatially. Therefore, there is really no need to keep delaying the process of making things permanent. During the week I have glued down all the track, and also glued down the roadway (which you will be able to see in some of the other shots I will be making).

The first part of the layout I wanted to finalize (glue things in place more-or-less permanently) is the shopping area, consisting of the book store, cafe, and bakery. The area was to have two small parking lots at the corners, and then in the back there is a delivery zone for the three buildings where trucks can pull in. This section will back onto the lot for the saw mill, but that will go in later. Now, I already had some sidewalks, and these are about 1/16″ high, taller than the very thin styrene I use for roadway. That’s perfect relative to the street but I clearly needed to elevate the buildings and parking lot area to match the height of the sidewalk. I accomplished this by obtaining a single sheet of 0.060″ styrene, which is approximately the same height as the 1/16″ sidewalk. I then created a paper template, and used it to cut a couple of notches out of the styrene platform to make sure it fit in the space allotted. Next, I tested the buildings and noticed that the “alcove” for the doors was going to require some thought. In the end I decided it was easiest to just paint those the same color as the sidewalk (Testors acrylic “sand” color). I also noticed that despite the black construction paper inside the buildings to block “see through”, the white “floor” was too bright and did not look right. To make that dark, I decided to add black construction paper in the shape of the building footprints. Thus, I began by sketching everything out in pencil and then painting the sidewalk color where the doorways are and putting down the black construction paper “floors.” That was step 1.

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The Schulman Farm

Over the last couple of weeks, I have built the farmhouse, barn, and outbuildings of the Schulman Farms.  These represent the final structures for my layout. First, I built a farmhouse for the small farm on my layout. I chose to use Branchline’s Farmhouse kit, in part because I have been so greatly enjoying the high quality of their kits.

This kit was a bit simpler to make (in most ways) than their others, primarily because, as a smaller structure (a house), it had fewer detail features. By this I don’t mean it was less detailed, but that with less “square footage” to the walls, fewer corners, and fewer windows, there were less parts than in one of the larger industry buildings. Read the rest of this entry

Constructing Independence Station

This week, I tackled my town’s train station.  I chose Branchline’s “Center Hall Depot”, product #863. Originally I had planned on the larger “Santa Fe” station, but I decided that for this small town it would be out of proportion, and that the smaller station made more sense.  In this post and its follow-up I will document the build process, as I have with past kits.

The kit comes in a large, rather imposing box (size-wise). I thought it was going to be huge when I opened it, but it turned out that the box was mostly empty space — honestly I am not sure why the kit needed to be in such a large container.


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More housing on Industry Ave.

Today I finally got the last of the houses for the residential side of Independence Avenue. As I played around with what was going to go where, I decided that I didn’t want the Post Office hanging out in the breeze where it was. So I moved it across the street, and scrunched the houses up together a little bit. Here’s how it used to look (before adding the houses):

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Operations on the WI&P

I created a couple of short videos, one about 3 minutes long, the other 10 minutes, showing operations on the WI&P RR.  The first one, shorter, just shows the WI&P’s RS-3 pulling a mixed consist of about 10 cars through the town.  The loud clicking sounds are the sounds of turnouts being switched. I apologize in advance for the “camera shake” but I was holding my HTC Sensation phone in one hand shooting video, while I was operating the train with the other hand.  Here you can just see the RS-3 pulling the train through the town, past streets and intersections.

The second video shows some simple switching operations on the layout. Again I apologize for the camera shake and occasional lack of focus, but it is hard to operate with one hand and video tape with the other.  In this video you will see the switcher, the RS-3, moving the cars into place one at a time and assembling a consist. Then it leaves the consist and parks on the dairy spur, and the FT A/B freight pair fires up the ol’ engines and moves into place, and then carries the consist through town and out to Pioneer Tennessee (off screen of course).

Enjoy the ride. I will make more videos as time permits now that I have a smartphone and some simple editing tools.

Building Carnation Creamery

A little while ago I posted about the old-style Ice House from Branchline trains. That was part of a matched pair of kits, the companion of it being the Creamery. Since they are a set, and designed to go together, I purposely built a long enough spur for both, and I bought both of them together. This thread will detail my build of the Creamery, which was very similar to the Ice House but had more details and was thus a bit more complicated to build. As you will see, at the end I tried something different for the roof, liked it better, and ended up changing the Ice House to match. But let’s start at the beginning. The kit comes in a small yellow box, just as the Ice House did.

Inside the box is everything you need to make the kit other than tools, paint, and glue. I used Elmer’s wood glue to glue wood to wood, Elmer’s white glue to glue non-wood to wood, and Testors Model Master acrylic paint to detail the kit. The kit includes the wooden parts, as well as glazing for the windows (clear plastic), some plastic chimneys for the roof, and they even threw in two plastic clusters of milk containers that you can put on the loading docks for added detail. And, like the other kit, this one included a long, detailed set of very clear instructions — again, props to Branchline for doing that. Read the rest of this entry

Carnation Ice House

This week, I tackled my second wood laser kit, a fairly straight-forward and not-too-difficult, but nevertheless nice looking, kit by Branchline Trains, #881, the N scale Ice House.

This ice house is small and is the companion to their creamery (which I also have and will be building next), so since I had the creamery, and the space, it made the perfect companion. I found the Branchline kit to be of superior quality, and here I will document my build of it. There are a few small pitfalls to watch out for, which I will mention along the way. Read the rest of this entry

Larry’s House and the Drive-n-Dine

So far, the WIP has been created exclusively with kit-based structures. I have not tried to scratch build anything (nor, in all probability, will I, as the plans do not call for any).  And I have also not added any “built-up” (pre-made, ready-to-use) structures.  I prefer to make things from a kit if I can, but on the other hand, I also want the layout to look the way I want.  Initially the track plans called for 6 houses, and I was going to buy each one separately so they all looked different. However, after building the Atlas structures, I decided that I really liked the shape, size, and dimensions of those houses, and I liked the way they looked on the layout.  As a consequence, I decided that I’d like other versions of the houses, but in different colors.  However, Atlas only makes the kit versions in one color scheme — although other color schemes exist, they only exist as built-up structures.  I had to make a decision, then… I could either make the kits but paint them (not something I really wanted to do, since I prefer gluing to painting) or I could just buy the built-up structures.  I decided to try one and see, and I started with a second copy of Kate’s Colonial Home.  Here’s how it looks on the bench top (remember, it comes pre-assembled, so all I did here was take it out of the box):

Larry's House

Larry's House

This house will belong to my old friend Larry, so I decided to simply call it “Larry’s House.”  The house looks good (although black trim seems an odd choice), and frankly is indistinguishable in most ways from the one that I constructed.  I guess that says nice things either about my model-making skills, or Atlas’ mass-production quality… or maybe both.  At any rate since it is not possible to distinguish hand-built from mass-produced buildings, I’m OK with using the built-up structures for a couple more houses along the way. Read the rest of this entry