Monday, May 5, 2014

Modeling Leadville | 11 Comments - Click Here :

    My friend Keith Hayes got more than he bargained for when he replied to the post about Derrell Poole's plans for Buffalo. I thought his reply was so good, that it was worthy of it's own blog post. Here, Keith provides additional details and photos of his Sn3 layout based upon Leadville during the later years of the C&S. Thanks for sharing Keith!

C&S 60 drifts across Hemlock Street during a test run after some shopping at the 7th Street Shops. You can see how effective the forced perspective is in the distance. Dunn's in the background is a Banta kit that is placed in the foreground for maximum effect: it will have a detailed shop interior.
    
    A general statement about my Sn3 layout; I did not set out to model a specific prototype segment, as Darel and Derrell are, but am more interested in assembling a layout of scenes that I have not seen others model, and in a sequence that makes some operating sense. So far, Leadville has been very rewarding to model and research. And if anything, I have regrets for not having followed the prototype more closely.
    Brother d's observations about operation on the C&S are well stated. The profiles are like that of a camels back with ruling grades far enough apart to give both train crews and the dispatcher headaches. Moving a double (or triple) header over this railroad is more than a satisfying challenge in this writers view than following green lights across the plains in the cab of a Berkshire. (no altitude--er attitude here).
    When selecting my own modeling subject, I briefly considered Black Hawk and Central City. I liked Central for the small yard and the awesome depot. A photo of the engine terminal at Leadville caught my eye, and I realized it was mostly intact and had many of the features I was looking for: an unusual depot (brick, not clapboard), a small yard and a roundhouse. No one has really done Leadville, either. I have also been fond of the railroad operating in the street as at Idaho Springs, and Leadville has a bit of this too. The juxtaposition of mines is a good place setting, and the opportunity to model some housing along Hemlock Street has been an added plus.
    Rick Steele created a great folio plan for me to follow. Though I selectively compressed the plan, and have mirrored some pieces, the yard has all the parts. When Brother D and I have operated just the yard, it has proved good entertainment for a couple of hours, even though I think he grits his teeth when I assign him one of the big Brooks locos that is stabled here.
     As this is the end of the line, I don't have the need for cassettes, though I do have a slightly freelanced interchange with the Evil Empire: it justifies modeling the narrow gauge diamond where the Ibex Branch crosses the main line to Denver.

One neat feature of the Leadville line was the Denver-Leadville passenger train, numbers 70/71. It was typically an RPO-Baggage and a coach handled by a mogul: a neat, tidy train. The layout, though set in 1939, features the operation of this train, seen here leaving Leadville. There are lots of models of old, wood buildings, but very few of stone and brick buildings, and even fewer that have neat SIDES. I am always on the lookout for cool buildings to model, and don't have an issue scratch building something if it is neat enough. The train is passing in front of Joe Hocevar's Bar, which is based on a building we found in Silverton. The sub-structure is 40-mil styrene with Chooch peel-and-stick stone over the top. I ended up hand painting all the stone and the mortar to get the effect I was after. Berendt & Blackburn's mining hardware is in the far background, but that is another story.

Extra 74 has pulled into Leadville from Como. This is the area where the standpipe will be. Photos were generously provided by Dave Grandt, and I hope to model this using a 3D printer. While Leadville is not an exact model of the prototype, I am trying to convey the flavor of it in 1939. Missing from this scene is the section house that will be behind the tender. I also have to screw my courage to the ground and build a real model of the brick depot.

Leadville is constructed on shelf brackets which have been fitted with a wood frame. Track is on MDF splines that are glued, screwed and sanded. Derrell Poole suggested using California Roadbed homosote, and I ordered 1/4" x 1" pieces with no slope. Flex track is glued to this with caulk. I priced out track and determined that flex is less expensive per linear foot than hand laid, plus you get the great spike and tie plate detail. Turnouts are FastTracks #6, all code 70. I cannot say enough about their jigs.

A more recent image with most of the closed cell foam infill ready for scenery. A lesson learned is to install the foam after the homosote but before the track to better fit it and carve in the slopes. All is painted with a brown latex paint, and I usually sprinkle some play sand in to provide texture before scenicing: fast and inexpensive.


This portion of the layout includes a corner section that is always a challenge to scenic. I was inspired by a WWI era image of Leadville showing the many homes on the east side of town. This became Hemlock Street. Many modelers have written about the use of smaller scale models in the background to enhance the sense of distance, but I don't believe anyone has used such a wide range of scales in such close proximity: the structures in the foreground are S scale, and the ones at the rear are N scale with some HO scale in between. This has been great fun to build, and if there is interest, I will be happy to share some tips on how to do this. It is very effective from a variety of angles.

View up Hemlock Street.


View of the D&RGW staging yard and the Arkansas Valley Smelter. This adds a lot of interest to Leadville, and provides an additional job. 


Keith Hayes
Denver, CO.
Leadville in Sn3
11 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Keith, it's been a while since I've seen photos of your layout. Great progress! When I was looking at doing Breckenridge I thought I might be able to use smaller scale buildings in the background. But the tracks stood too far from the nearest structures so that very little of that would have been doable. Moreover Breckenridge works a little better if your back is to the town. But I still love the affect you've obtained.

    Those C&S hogs look really good, especially in the sepia.

    I don't think you should regret modeling the station "more accurately. What you've got going certainly captures the spirit of the prototype. It is just about impossible to create a "location" that is not compressed or even compromises in track layout. The only two stations that I've "designed" that are unaltered are Grant and Ohio City. There are others but always you wil have to compromise outside the yard limits if you are going for anything more than a diarama.

    Anyway didn't want to be the first to comment but no one else has stepped up, so....

    d

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    1. "Those C&S hogs look really good, especially in the sepia"
      Agreed! Very Uncle Bender-esque.
      Maybe it be time to move his collection over here.

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  2. Well I can send some of them over. I know where the Bath photos are but I was sure he had some Buffalo shots too. But haven't seen them for a while. May take a bit (a few years maybe?) to find those. He may have a few other things too. Ol' (Great uncle) Bender was a prolific photographer in his day.,..

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    1. I have the Bath pictures already. I will put them up for everyone to enjoy. Oh do I hope you can find the Buffalo photos!

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  3. I've operated on the Leadville layout a couple of times. They've been very enjoyable experiences. My favorite part about the layout is how Keith has blended the operations between the two railroads. The best of both worlds!

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    1. When is the next operating session anyways?

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  4. Darel, thanks for posting this.

    Currently Leadville is experiencing some unforeseen issues as we continue to install Tortoise switch motors. I mass produced the toggle switches and then wired about four up before I turned the power supply on only to discover I have a short. :(

    Keith Hayes
    Leadville in Sn3

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    1. Let me know when this is corrected. The freight is starting to pile up, and soon there won't be anyplace to spot cars around that town.

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    2. The switch motors are operational. Now to attend to cleaning the track. Where, oh where is the crossing I ordered from Mr. Steve Hatch? With that in place, the great canyon extension can commence. For now, I think I will build some Phase III boxcars.

      Keith Hayes
      Leadville in Sn3

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    3. Your xing was sent awhile ago.
      -Steve

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  5. Sounds like Weston in 1879-at the height of the Leadville boom.

    Bob McFarland,Wichita KS-"weston1879"(not anonymous!)

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