East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

August 2011

Module Garage - 1

The second item I was given from Bill Hammer’s models was a partially constructed garage.

This resin kit came to me with no doors or windows. The footprint fit nicely in an available space on my mill module, and a garage is an excellent focal point for junk pile and vehicle details.

I spray painted the garage with auto primer, then scratchbuilt simple styrene doors and windows for it.

I decided to try Rusty Stumps corrugated metal sheeting for the roof of the garage. I spraypainted the metal sheeting with rust colored auto primer.

Then I smeared and splotched on rust and gray tones of acrylic paint with a sea sponge.

Once the acrylic paint was dry, I dusted the sheet with Bragdon weathering powders.

Module Shed - 3

When the time came to paint my module shed, I pulled out William Griffith’s book Atlantic & Danville Railway Company for ideas. Apparently the A&D painted most of its depots a typical Victorian combination of burnt yellow with white trim.

I brush painted the shed using craft acrylic yellow oxide and antique white paints.

The bright and cheery paint job did not really suit my intentions for the shed, nor match the character of the loading dock. I set about to weather it rather heavily.

The shed received several coats of alcohol and ink wash, followed by a wash of Tamiya acrylic Deck Tan. The paint job was revived somewhat by using oxide yellow and white watercolor pencils to accent detail and texture.

Looking more at home in its surroundings, the shed has mud splattered up on the skirting and tracked up the steps, chalking paint, and mildew growing along the sills.

Module Shed - 2

I had built a loading dock for my shed out of black mat board. Now I was going to sheath the mat board with strip wood.

I distressed basswood strips using a metal brush I bought at a kitchen supply store.

The distressed basswood was stained using an alcohol and ink wash, and Micro Mark’s Age It Easy solution.

The basswood was used for the deck of the loading dock. For the steps I used laser cut stringers and treads from Rusty Stumps.

I reinforced the steps using HO scale Campbell low profile crossties. The steps received the same stain and wash treatment as the deck.

The skirting around the perimeter of the loading dock is made from coffee stirring sticks. I did not stain the stirring sticks. They were sent to me already done by my friend Dan George. It was a pleasant coincidence that my deck was such a close match to the color and tone of Dan’s sticks.

The loading dock in place on my module.

Module Shed - 1

A few years ago, at a meeting of the James River On30 Modular Group, I was given two partially completed O scale structure kits.
The kits had belonged to Bill Hammer, a Master Model Railroader and active member of the NMRA for many years.

I decided to start work on these models by modifying the handcar shed.

At first I didn’t realize that this was supposed to be a handcar shed, as it is impossibly small to be used for that purpose.

I scratchbuilt doors for it out of styrene, and added a metal chimney.

I thought the building would be a little more distinctive and have more presence if it had a loading dock.

I placed the building on its site on my module, and trimmed a piece of black mat board to the size I wanted the loading dock to be.

I built the loading dock structure out of mat board with stripwood reinforcement.

Module Mogul - 5

Once the decals were set, I removed the masking from the headlight, whistle, and windows.

I sprayed the locomotive and tender shells with matte finish fixative. Once that was dry, I began to apply Bragdon weathering powders. I had no experience working with the powders, and experimented with applying them wet, dry, with brushes and Q-tips, and cosmetic sponges. The weathering effect ended up being heavier than I anticipated. Going back over areas with a light coat of black weathering powder toned the colors down.

I sprayed the locomotive wheels and running gear with matte finish fixative, and applied Bragdon powders lightly. With the boiler off the mechanism, I was able to turn the drivers, which was absolutely necessary. The running gear, wheels, and tender trucks got a wash of ScaleCoat Mud, Dirt, and Rust. I reassembled the locomotive and tender, and gave everything a thin wash of Tamiya Buff and Deck Tan, applied wet on wet. This final wash bleached and blended the colors, and added highlights to details. I repeated the Buff washes until I was happy with the effect.

I found a black craft foam sheet that had an adhesive backing. I have no idea where it came from, but I cut a piece to a tight fit inside the coal boards and between the tool boxes.

I removed the backing to expose the adhesive, and sifted coal directly onto it. The craft foam’s tight fit between the tool boxes holds the coal load in place. It can easily be removed to access the decoder underneath.

I installed a Firebox pilot, and made the electrical connections between the tender and locomotive. Surprisingly, she still ran!

Several coats of matte finish fixative did not completely dull the acrylic gloss clear coat. The boiler still has a little shine.