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The Adventures of a Fellow Modeler, Part 2

What I love about this hobby is the wealth of resources available to modelers (hobby magazines, YouTube videos, on-line chats, Facebook groups, etc.) to create their world in miniature the way they want to… or sometimes not how they originally intended to. But as our local hobby shop owner once told me, “It’s your railroad.” In those three words, he gave me the license to not only learn from the masters but to experiment as well. Take what I know and build from there. Or, in some cases, experiment first and then learn from the masters.

I just finished building our On3 round roof water tank kit and, as inferred in the last post, it’s “my railroad.” And I am grateful for the amazing engineering work put into the design of this kit. I learned a lot and also am willing to learn even more. At the end of this blog post, I will share some references to exceptional weathering techniques which will help any modeler, like you, create your own railroad with the help of some of the masters of our hobby.

Here are a couple of photos of the finished model. As I have mentioned before, I like heavily weathered structures. Here, I am about to date myself. (No, by “date”, I do not mean I don’t have a social life. And she’s been my wife for over 43 years. ‘Nuff said.) You see, I love the Rio Grande Southern and its determined tenacity to hang on to the bitter end. And, unfortunately, in the real world, dismantling began the year I was born. HOWEVER, in “my railroad” world, the RGS did hang on with some worn and almost worn-out rolling stock and structures as well as some rebuilt locomotives, thanks to the generosity of some very well-to-do donors, and a rising interest in steam preservation and tourism. In my world, the RGS occasionally receives revenue from the local economy but mostly from tourism and funding from federal and state loans and grants. It’s rolling stock is from not only its own inventory, but on permanent, no interest, loan from the D&RGW (after it abandoned its narrow gauge) and possibly other railroads. For a few years, my RGS has operated like the Cumbres & Toltec did before getting its financial footing and popularity. My RGS hopes to prosper and preserve the entire length of this San Juan gem, notwithstanding the occasional Colorado highway incursions. (We have a solid bank of attorneys – gratis; they’re die-hard

rail fans.)

So, with that in mind, my water tank is, well, it needs some attention and rebuilding. While the tank barrel’s bands have been replaced and a temporary replacement finial shakily affixed, the roof shingles and timber need to either be refurbished or replaced as well. This water tank, likely to be the Ames tank, still serves a purpose and, anticipating it will make it through the coming winter, it will receive a much needed refresh and rebuild in the Spring.

Lessons learned?

1. Be patient - Part of this hobby is a learning experience and skills development. Enjoy the process.

2. Weathering - While I liked using the resources available to me at the time, that is a combination of Krylon primer, markers, and colored pencils, next time, as I build our O-scale branch line two-stall engine house[1] kit (#129-31), I will follow the directions found in Model Railroading, The Ultimate Guide 2020, “Perfect Peeling Paint,” pp. 16-18. Also, I’ve learned much from this YouTube video, FwFF #62, VANCE JUNCTION SERIES PART 4, HO Storage Box Car. Michael McCarville does an excellent job with building and weathering this time-worn structure. The painting portion of the video is referenced at about 7:58 in the video. Who knows?

Oh, where will I place the 2-stall engine house? In my world the large Rico engine house was beyond repair. So, the RGS razed and replaced it with this smaller structure – a reasonable stand-in for a railroad light in traffic, but big in heart. Well, that is MY story and it IS my railroad after all.

Tell us about “your railroad.” We’d love to hear from you.

Kits Update

We now have available for sale the following kits either in stock or can be fabricated for you:

· Station Coal Shed in HO, S, and O scales

· Stockyard and Stockyard Chutes in HO, S, and O scales

· Wood Shingles in HO, S, and O scales

· Round Roof Water Tank in S and O scales

· Octagonal Roof Water Tank in S and O scales

· Octagonal Roof O Scale Brach Line Water Tank

Kits to be Released Soon:

· 2-Stall Branch Line Engine House

· Ore Pocket and Tram House

· Vance Junction Coal Pocket

Our online catalog will soon be updated with descriptions, photos, and prices. Stay tuned.

Next time: What do model railroaders do when conventions are cancelled and quarantining imposed?

[1] At least three two-stall engine houses were constructed by the D&RG for servicing locomotives used at the end of branch lines. Located at Crested Butte, Sapinero, and Lake City, these houses were similar, but not identical. The major variations were the size and number of lights in the windows, and the width of the structure. In 1900, the structure at Sapinero was dismantled and moved to Ouray.

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