The (Mis)Adventures of a Fellow Modeler


My wife excitedly recommended that I blog about my experience in building the On3 Round Roof Water Tank. I do so with a little fear and trembling for I am about to reveal my weakness to the world.


You see. I do, then read later.


In this instance, it means assemble, then read the instructions when I find that I have painted myself into a corner. What I am saying is my wife was excited about my revealing to you that you should do as our instructions say and not as you may want to do…well, especially if you are beginner.


Well, not entirely.


First, the “not entirely.” I admit it. I am an artsy type. My degrees are in Art & Design and in German. (Yes, I can do a watercolor with an accident. Thadump!) Over the years, I have accumulated various media and have wondered what their application could be in scale model building. In the case of the 123-31 O-Scale Round Roof Water Tank, I wanted to experiment with Prisma Color markers and colored pencils, along with India ink. Since Seth and I have visited the RGS sites several times and have collected several books on the RGS, I have carefully studied how its structures have aged over the years, particularly in the last ten years of operation. To me, weathered structures are beautiful, my Sweetheart’s protestations to the contrary, who wants everything, like our home, to be pristine and new looking. (I mean, after all, she’s married to a structure that is weathering right before her eyes. I digress.)


Of particular interest to me are the RGS water tanks and the toll time had taken. The wood weathered by water, minerals, moss, mold, and rust show real character, and I wanted to see if I could replicate that with the markers and pencils, followed by an ink wash. First, I sprayed the tank with Krylon brown. After it had dried, I lightly roughed it with a small saw blade and lightly sanded it.


I then attacked the tank with a combination of markers and pencils. View the photos below; take note of the photos I referred to in the 2005 edition of Fine Scale Railroader, Narrow Gauge Annual, pp. 12-39. After I was satisfied with the results, I sprayed it with Dullcote. Once satisfied, I applied the bands and lugs.

I applied a wash of black ink. Following the ink wash, I used white pencil which really made some of the details pop.

Yes, I admit that this is a bit unorthodox, but it was fun to try. I can hardly wait to see what it looks like when I finish it.


Second, about that not-carefully-reading-the-instructions part. I am referring to the roof shingles. The instructions refer to “two identical sheets of shingles, with each sheet having 22 groups of 8 arcs. Each group of shingle arcs are designed to fit a particular row on the cone. One revolution around the roof will require all the shingle arcs of a particular group from both sheets, with a small amount to be trimmed off the final arc. Do not use the excess from one row to start the next row.”


Easy-peasy, right? Not quite. The “groups” of shingles run vertically, not horizontally on the sheet as I had assumed. If I had not been so eager, I would’ve noticed that and saved myself some time. Fortunately, I had a spare cone already cut out and assembled. I just needed to re-cut the shingles and swallow my pride.


Lesson learned. Oh, by the way, I also used the markers with various shades of French Grey and randomly applied the colors on the sheet. (See the photo below.) It looks a mess on the sheet, but when you apply the shingles (Hint: as directed), it creates a wonderful random pattern reflecting various stages of weathering. I then sealed it with Dullcote and then a wash of diluted black ink with some random dabs and daubs of less diluted ink. Actually, it turned out better than I had hoped.




So, I am having fun with this kit. And I look forward not only to finishing it and sharing more of my adventures/misadventures with you (hopefully few of the latter). We are also looking forward to reissuing it and the octagonal roof water tank in S and O scales as a kit later this year. Stay tuned.


Miscellany - By the way, if you are missing any parts, please let us know. Several customers have asked us if we would be willing to replace lost parts. The answer? Of course.


Share with us. Again, when building craftsman kits, have fun and follow the directions unless you have a purposefully better method. If you do, please write your comments below. We’d love to hear from you and to share your amazing ideas.

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