Monday, 23 January 2017

Blair Line Sam's Roadhouse

I needed a "seedy" building just outside the gates of the freight yard and Blair Line's Sam's Roadhouse seemed to fit the bill. Their description is:

Found at roadside in rural areas or along the outskirts of town this type of roadhouse is based on juke joints that would have offered drink, food, dancing and maybe even a few groceries or "recreational" gambling in the back room. Sam's is located far enough off the beaten path that an outhouse is provided. Build it without the signs and use it for a house."

I have made a Blair Line kit before so I knew what to expect. This time, I knew that parts were supplied with double sided tape already fitted - this affects the window, door and corner trim - and makes it easy to fit. In fact, I have learned from this and use my own double-sided tape quite often to fit small wooden parts. I have also learned from making the GC Laser Ice House to use marker pens for the general colouring. This time, I used  a Letraset Promarker Caramel pen for the wood and a Staples DuraMark dark green pen for the trim. The inside was coloured black to mask the fact that there was no interior detail. For this I used a Letrset Promarker black pen. Here are the main walls already coloured with the windows fitted.

The whole kit goes together very quickly and easily. The next step to show is when I had the walls up and the trim fitted.

I was a bit eager in colouring the trim as I should have coloured the Z bracing on the door with the caramel rather than the green but once it was done, I couldn't change it. The next shot shows the roof in place along with the foundation supports.I have also started to place some of the posters.

There is a whole sheet of posters in the kit and it is difficult to choose which ones to use. I fitted some that were in the wrong place, so at the the end I had to tear some off and refit them. From this point, things went really quickly so that, suddenly, it was all finished. I did manage to lose one of the light hangers so there is only one fitted. I have left the screen door and the privy door open.

I have lightly set it in place with the privy out the back and the road sign, sort of, in place.


I think that this looks just the ticket and I am very pleased with the result. I like these laser kits.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

GC Laser Ice House

My next project after working on the yard area was to get the layout moving again. I hadn't cleaned the rails since I laid the ballast so I knew that there was going to be some issues. I had a cash Christmas present so I spent it on the Woodlands Scenics track cleaning andloco wheel cleaning equipment.

These both worked perfectly and I had everything running except the Budd RDC. This is an indulgence of mine as I really like to see a Budd running around the track. However, it is, strictly speaking, way to long for the curves that I have. This came home to me when it came around the left hand curve. First off, it hit two trees. Then it stopped as it had run its pilot against the scenic bank. Lastly, it stopped because the Kadee uncoupler was fouling the track! I cleared all of these obstacles and then had to tweak the track a little and it was now running OK.

OK, so now I had the railroad running again. I then coupled up JMRI and started moving some points. Acouple were still gummed up from the ballasting but these were easily freed up. Next, it was back to some building for the next scene.

I had on hand a couple of GC Laser kits. One is the extension Icing Platform and the other was the Icing Office for the Ice Shed. What I didn't realise was that the platform was an extension to the main one and that I had missed getting the actual Ice Shed! Humm. So me quick thinking was in order. Anyway, off I went. The Office went together first. They recommend using marker pens to colour the model so I dragged out a red and Sepia marker. This went really well. They also recommend buying some needle tip bottles for apply the wood glue. I have some Titebond here which I bought years ago because that was what Norm Abrams used in'The New Yankee Workshop'. Norm is my hero. I even made oak furniture for a living (well not much of one) some years ago thanks to his programmes. Anyway , I had a look on EBay and bought one for £3.50. When it arrived, it turned out to be 10 of them for the price. 

This works brilliantly.You can put down a single spot or a really thin line. Off I went. The construction was very simple and the instructions were a little on the complex side but it all made sense in the end. here are some intermediary images.

Here is the Office complete (sorry about the fence bending buy it is only card so it is a bit flexible).

Next came the icing platform and here is where I realised that I had made a mistake. This is designed as an extension so has a part of the platform extended to reach out to the platform proper. This makes the trestles work in place. Without the other platform it looked stupid so I had to do a bit of cutting and shutting to get everything to look right. It was all I could do anyway, as I didn't have room for the main, long, platform.  Well, here it is completed - the construction went so quickly that I forgot to take any in-progress shots.

Finally, I have placed them in their intended location. Firstly the air shot which shows the placement.

Then, the moody, low shot to give a feel for the siting.

I think that it looks the part and will look even better when the real Ice Shed arrives. It gives me the opportunity to close off the area between it and the freight house.This will enable me to make a couple of scenarios rather than just one large on.

BTW, I know that the freight house is missing some roof supports. That is one of my next jobs. They are in a pile around the back!

Monday, 9 January 2017

My wife can't believe this

No only do we have cows, we have buildings, people, junk, etc. I have never got this far before!

OK, so first off, I have put the Fuel Depot in place - this is part of the Walthers kit. I have added a few signs plus some oil drums. I am going to add two petrol pumps. This will also be where the S&NE diesels refuel but that is to come. The fence behind, as mentioned before, is scratch built from coffee shop stirrers. My NWSL Chopper does a great job of cutting these things to size. The next bit to go in is the gates to the railroad yard. These will be open and you can see the road going away.

Next off, I have put the "General Manufacturing" industry in place. This is a Carolina Craftsman Kit - Grizz's Hidden Gems which I have adapted by building a new base. The base is two layers of 5mm foam board covered with stone effect styrene card and decking made from the above mentioned stirrers. Again, I have made up the signage. This was a slightly tricky kit as it was laser cut but came with lots of stripwood for the bracing etc. It ended up looking OK.

I am now getting on with the lumber yard. I am making this from scratch (apart from the crane, which comes from a Wills kit).  The pile of logs in the background is a flat car load that is there temporarily.

The yard, in theory, receives uncut tree trunks and converts them into coarse cut lumber. To achieve this it needs the crane for loading/unloading and a saw to cut the timber.  I found an image that I liked on the internet. (c)

This seems to me to have all the attributes I need. A small installation, constructed of wood and an easily modelled saw. I decided that it could be built using my stirrers. It is going together very nicely at the moment. First off, I cut the back planks. I then used the jig that I made for the railroad yard fence to put together short sections - held together using masking tape. (You can see some of the sections in the back of the image below)

The cross braces had some double sided tape applied and then the short upright sections were attached. Following that, the roof and its bracing were attached. The roof is just some basswood that I had lying around.

Next, I had to make the concrete base. This was made from DAS air dry clay. Whilst it was setting, I inserted some cocktail sticks into the clay to make the holes ready for the main uprights.

Having got all that in place, I layered the roof with strips of printer paper to represent tar paper weatherproofing.  This is what it finally looked like:

A spray of Vallejo Model Air wood finished off the top part and a coat of Vallejo mid-grey covered the concrete base. I made a small table saw to look roughly like the one in the photo. This was made from bits of plastic card and strip wood - mostly held together by doble sided tape.

Once everything was in place, this is what it looks like. I am quite pleased. It was well worth the effort and I am thrilled to be bac scratch-building again after many years.

You can see that the back fence is now in place along with the gates. Not being sure quite how to handle the signage on the gates (and having search the internet for examples) I went for: "Sunset Rail Yard - No entry unless on business - By Order". That might be a bit too British but without more information, I looks OK to me. Also, there is only on US citizen that is ever going to see this in the flesh and he won't mind!

At the same time as getting all of this done, I have completed the Blair Line "Greene's Feed and Seed". This was a great kit and a pleasure to make. I liked it so much that I have ordered three more kits directly from them. They are charging me just $9.99 for shipping from the US so they are great people in my book. I liked the way the kit went together and I also liked it that you got "stuff" to place around. I haven't started scenicking this end of the layout yet so it looks a bit bare.

 Don't you just love all those posters! I have to admit that the back side of the building is bare of all these as I have loaded the side we can see.