Simple Joys

The last couple of Monday night Zoom calls, I have been working along on a 1:48 water tower kit from Built-Rite Models that I picked up at the 2016 National Narrow Gauge Convention in Augusta, Maine. I put the kit in a bin and lost track of it until that pile until recently. Since I am always looking for things to do at the bench during calls, I opened it up and started in.

The kit consists of a four part laser cut frame for the round tank shape, a whole bunch of strip wood, some thread and a couple of castings. There is a clear and well illustrated instruction booklet to help you along. A well designed kit that gives you the pleasure of board-by-board scratchbuilding without the challenge of assembling the materials and figuring out the methods yourself.

The process of applying boards (previously stained) one by one is something I find restful. It also helps that the results are, like hand laid track, impressive looking disproportional to the actual skill required.

Here is the tank with the side boards on, perched on my sander so I can even up the ends of the boards. Sanding or trimming overlength boards almost always results in a better finish that trying to line up the ends. (Church-Key Brewing Holy Smoke Scotch ale in the background…)IMG_20200831_210105109

I got as far as applying the top boards which are obviously going to require more than a little sanding to get them to length. I am looking forward to carrying on with this kit. I am probably going to need an On30 layout to give me a place to put these various structures that don’t fit Comstock Road. This is the meandering comes in.IMG_20200831_213117188

I Knew I Would Need That Eventually

I found the previously mentioned Campbell profile shingle kit after a gratifyingly short amount of hunting. Multiple winnowing passes of the supply stash over the years has reduced the height of the pile more than I thought. Apparently some of that pile is psychological. 🙂

In this case, over the years is almost an understatement. I purchased this shingle kit sometime in my teens which makes it on the order of 40 years ago. I am conflicted about how to feel about finally finding a use for it. It is not like I have never constructed a structure in the last four decades but never one in HO that required a shingle roof. Let this be a caution against purchasing materials on vague contingency. Or an exhortation to get out this sort of thing and create a use for it. Take your pick.

On the actual usage, the decades have caused some disarray in the reel and, I presume, some curling and taking a set. The adhesive on the back is still viable but, being a belt and suspenders sort of guy, I used double sided tape to attach it with judicious adhesive activation via water and small brush as required.

Side trimming still in progress but the result is satisfactory but does suggest some general weathering will be required to get things to blend.IMG_20200401_104914344

Train Night in Canada #2

We now have a series of virtual gatherings scheduled and seven of us gathered on Zoom to catch up, model, have a drink and generally socialize. I think we successfully managed to combine mutual support and encouragement. Having a scheduled time designated for this helps give one the emotional permission to take a break.

Prior to the actual video call, I did some tidying up around the shop. I have two workbenches and neither one is suited to current needs. Unburying them is a necessary first step to moving them out/on and clearing space for the replacement.

During the call, I worked on my Waterfront Willy’s kit. By end of the night, I had the sub=roofs on, the dormers on, and the walkway planking stained and stuck on. I even remembered to install the laser cut rafter ends before glueing the roof down. It was a near thing, though.IMG_20200328_212758866

I have some ancient Campbell shingles somewhere in the stash. I need to find them or make some substitutes. This being the only HO scale structure I am likely to build in the near future, it would be great to use the pre-made ones up.

Modelling Idea: The “Book Nook”

One of the modelling challenges I ponder regularly is the logistics of taking modelling output (hypothetical though that output might be) to distant events especially those involving plane travel. I can’t see putting any non-trivial structure or diorama in a checked bag which means you are wanting something that qualifies as carry-on.

At major events featuring modelling contests, there is often a diorama contest with limited space for just such travelling modellers. I have seen square foot, a ceiling tile, peanut butter jar lid, 2×2 inches, and so on. One I have not seen yet is the shelf insert or “book nook”. The basic format is a roughly book shaped box diorama viewed from the narrow edge while inserted among books on a shelf. I didn’t want to pirate anyone’s photos so here is a link to a BBC article on the subject. If you search online, you can also find numerous photos of fascinating instances.

Many of the existing instances are variations on a view into a narrow alley framed by structure faces depicted against the inside of the box. Usually some sort of lighting is included. It occurred to me that I know of a bunch of folks who like to model structures… I also see why there couldn’t be rails running up that alley since even modern O scale (1/48) horizontal minimum clearance is about 4.5 inches. Giving it a bit of thought produced an extensive list of possible ideas.

Why wonder about this when I have a layout already under construction? If the blog title didn’t warn you already, I am not the most laser focussed person when it comes to modelling subjects. Such a format offers a change to try out all sorts of techniques, materials, scales and eras that do not fit within the primary project. The book nook format would also solve the question of where to put the non-conforming item once completed. Leaving aside the problem of having bookshelves already stuffed with train books, of course. 🙂

Windows For Willy

One of the non-Comstock Road projects I have in my collection of projects in progress is a Bar Mills HO Waterfront Willy’s kit. Being taken with a desire for a change from track spiking and circuit wrangling, I pulled the project box out and set about figuring out where I was at.

Where I was at turned out to be adding window castings previously painted. That went well until I realized that there were more window holes than window castings. A short amount of searching and vocabulary exercising later, I concluded that I was indeed short three castings. I have no idea whether that was because I lost them or the kit was short so I contacted Bar Mills and enquired about buying the missing windows. They kindly undertook to mail me some. They have so far declined to take my money. I appreciate the prompt and understanding customer support!

Anyway, I have got all the windows stuck on, the eave and door trim boards applied and the two doors assembled. I just set them in place for the photo which reveals one crooked in the opening which is an argument in favour of photographing your modelling to reveal areas in need of improvement.


Tarpaper Roof Installed on Shed

I grabbed some time today to glue down the shed roof and install the tarpaper roofing I made with brown paper and India ink wash. I also decided to try out some of my new double-sided tape as suggested in by David Wright in his book. I decided that glueing down the overlaps on the horizontal seams wasn’t essential given the sketchy condition of the roof in question.

Here is the overall result:shed_roofing.jpg

The double sided tape took a little getting used to and I am lucky that it isn’t so strong that if you touch it with anything it stays that way. But, a few bits consumed in learning and I was off. Applying the whole roof took me only about 15 minutes including marking the guide lines. If it holds over time, it is a win. The tape in question looks like regular transparent tape and comes in the same sort of dispense and is thus 1/2″ wide. Covering a large surface would get tiresome so I will see if I can acquire a wider product for future use.

I am also please with the general effect of the tarpaper. Variations in black and grey look like worn but still intact roofing, at least to me. The detail photo doesn’t really do it justice due to my lighting washing out the colours. A future challenge to improve my photography and/or post-processing skills. The variation isn’t as extreme as it looks in this shot.