Monday, July 28, 2014

Hemlock Street Part 2 - Selecting Models | 6 Comments - Click Here :

    Keith Hayes - A side benefit of this scene was the opportunity to build some neat laser cut kits in HO and N scale. So, back to the hobby shop in search of appropriate kits. I found a couple small home kits and neat industries from LaserKit and Bar Mills. I started building models and mocking them up along the street to see what worked. I already had a Banta Silver Plume Bakery kit. The prototype bakery is on a corner, and has a great false front with a complicated cornice. This kit was to anchor one corner. For the opposite corner, I went back to the photo—there was a great, simple commercial building right there in the middle screaming to be modeled.
    The building form was simple, and Grandt had a number of castings that fit the bill. I used Evergreen styrene lap siding to make the front, side and rear. The cornice is built up from strip stock and dowel. I was pondering how to build the walk in front of the building, and I spotted a web article published by Tom Troughton. Tom recommended building loading docks on a piece of hardboard. You drill holes for the posts, and glue stripwood to the top—perfect!
    The building in the photo has no sign to indicate its use, though it has a large black patch above the door for a sign. A grocery seemed the ticket at the end of the residential street, and extending the platform to the track provided a nice opportunity for rail service. Bar Mills has a neat kit, Four-Fingered Tony’s, which provided the window signs, and many castings to fill out the platform with vegetables. Our friend Tom Carleno obliged us with his name and Carleno’s Grocery was complete.

Laying out the front wall using Evergreen lap siding and Grandt Line windows. Being in the foreground, this building is built full scale; 1:64.

I use spare parts as gussets to square the inside corners. There is a large door on the track side. The rear wall faces away from the viewer, so there was no need to add any openings. It will be on the lot line anyway.

I did not enlarge the prototype image much, but it seemed like the building had a nice cornice. You could see the inside face of one side of the parapet, so I added lap siding there, and a wide piece of styrene as a cap. I added a tall vertical leg, then a piece of rod and a smaller piece below that: the whole bunch creates a satisfying effect. Some Squadron putty fills the holes.

The building in the photo does not have a sign, but there is a black panel where one was painted. I painted the siding yellow with a nice green trim. I masked patch and painted it black for the sign. I looked all through the letter decal sets at Caboose Hobbies one day, and settled on this Gothic font (one challenge in larger scales, is the lack of large fonts for signs like this). I used my computer to layout the sign spacing, and taped this on the building for reference.

If you look closely at the McClure photo, you will see all the buildings have a stain at the bottom three feet of the walls. I suspect this is due to long winters and melting snow setting against the bottom of the buildings. Some charcoal rubbed on the bottom of the building duplicated the effect nicely. This image also shows the deck I built following Tom Troughton's tips; more on that another time.

Keith Hayes
Modeling Leadville in Sn3

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hemlock Street Part 1 - Inspiration | 5 Comments - Click Here :

    Keith Hayes - Every layout has a corner, and mine is no exception. Usually, the outside of a broad curve  is the site of a hillside or pasture, or an occasional industry. Adding more track or an industry is always a temptation. When planning my layout, I don’t know that I had anything specific in mind for my corner condition. Then, I saw the photo; In about 1915, George L. Beam journeyed to Leadville and took some photos of town looking west. In the foreground are the residential neighborhoods that stretch downhill from the mines on Carbonite Hill towards the C&S depot and Harrison Street. The streets are lined with shotgun houses with board walks and picket fences in front. What a great scene. My corner problem was solved!

Hemlock Street homes being delivered at Leadville.

    About this time, I was wandering in the HO kit aisle of Caboose Hobbies and spied the Grandt Line Gold Belt kits. These are some neat styrene models of small homes and mines available in HO and N. I bought the Reese Street Row Houses, and quickly assembled a couple with the intent to modify them with S scale windows and doors. On a whim, I bought the N scale Reese Street Row Houses too. Once I assembled one of the three homes, I thought to place them on some foam to study the street scene. Then lightning struck, and the thought occurred to me to create a forced perspective scene with this residential street. Hemlock Street was born!

The problem condition; that area outside the curve and at the corner of the room.

    Forced perspective uses scale and compression to enhance the depth of a scene. Think of standing between the rails and looking at the horizon. Many modelers have placed a smaller scale structure in the background to achieve this effect. By placing the larger models in the front, and having the street extend to the backdrop uphill and get narrower where it meets the backdrop, it is possible to create the impression of distance in a small space. Initial experiments made this look like a winning strategy.

A preliminary mock-up, with the wedge-shaped street and preliminary building placement.

    The street is a key part of the deception. The valuation map indicated the streets were 70 feet wide, which seemed wide. So I made the street 25’ in S scale at the front, and the same width in N scale at the rear of the scene. I angled the street a bit to the left, and created a crest a few inches in front of the backdrop to hide the joint.
To be continued....
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dunn's Buns | 6 Comments - Click Here :

Keith Hayes - Catherine Dunn, of Dunn's Buns Pies and Cakes, recently took delivery of two new sales counters for her bakery, located at the corner of 6th and Hemlock in Leadville. Not being one to cut corners, Mrs. Dunn ordered them constructed of marble, and the boys reported they were darn heavy to move. We expect many fine breads and desserts will cross these counters.

Mr. Britton inspects the new counters upon arrival.

Finished painting the counters.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Roper's Snapshot Saturday No.8 | 8 Comments - Click Here :

Roper was camping out this last weekend; hence his late post:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Leadville Shops DSP&P and CC Freight Car Kits | 14 Comments - Click Here :

Derrell Poole Photo 
(note: this is a pre production kit and not all parts shown belong to the kit)

    Derrell PooleIf I recall, the first stock car I ever built from scratch was a DSP&P 26’ car in HO scale. There wasn't a kit and certainly there wasn't anything R-T-R. The next scratch built stock car I made – was a 26’ DSP&P car in O scale. There still wasn't a kit available. In fact, the only stock cars I've ever built from scratch were DSP&P 26’ cars.

    To my knowledge, with the exception of the Cimarron Works resin kit in S scale there has never been a kit of these cars in any scale. But I haven’t paid much attention to large scale so maybe I’m wrong.

    I've built several Tiffany refrigerators both from kits and from scratch in several scales. And there have been plenty of kits to choose from. So what difference would one more kit make here?

    Pa-Lenty! Study the photos and observe the high end production and laser sharp accuracy. And, if you are like me, the idea of a wooden kit that goes together like a plastic injected kit excites you, little more needs to be said about what difference one more kit makes.  The two kits in the photos are brand new releases – in fact at this writing they have not actually been released yet. They come from a new company, The Leadville Shops.

Derrell Poole Photo (note this is a pre production kit and not all parts shown belong to the kit. 
Only the upper half of the brass etching fret belongs with the kit)

     The Leadville Shops is the brainchild of Robert Stears, Bill Meredith, and Doug Junda – 3 Modelers with a huge amount of manufacturing experience between them. They are the principles of The Cimarron Works so while TLS is a new company with a completely new direction they are not a bunch of amateurs. Bob and Bill are high quality craftsmen with a dedication to accuracy AND a penchant for development that is oriented to the modeler who doesn't always have time to invest in an award winning historically accurate model. In other words they know we all want the very most from our models but sometimes we have real lives that get in the way.

    Doug Junda has been the promoter and manager of Cimarron Works for more than 4 years and the former owner of Design Tech Models. He certainly has plenty of experience in what it takes to run a Model Railroad business. Nor is that to suggest he isn’t a consummate modeler as well. Doug will be handling your orders and you can find the company’s contact information below.

“The Leadville Shops goal is to produce the finest and most accurate models and components possible…. We also appreciate the importance of providing an enjoyable modeling experience… We are modelers with high standards, just like you” - excerpts from the introduction of the Kit instruction set.

    I could not say it better. I must warn you, however, that these are VERY limited run kits. Let me explain so that you will understand how important it is for you to act as quickly as you can IF you want any of the kits offered. You will notice that at least one kit in the list below is already “sold out”. How is that possible? When they tell me that these are limited run kits they mean just that! There is no set number of each kit they intend to produce BUT, being modelers themselves, their first interest is to fill their own rosters for their own layouts. That may sound like an abandonment of a market-driven compulsion to produce kits  - guess what? That is exactly what it is. Let’s face it; the DSP&P as well as the Colorado Central AND the early D&RG are not leading the pack when it comes to modeler interest. So this isn’t a high volume venture to begin with. In all honesty the primary purpose is just what I said it was, yet, in their interest to help like minded modelers enjoy the hobby, they hope; A) to give back to the community high quality kits that perhaps other modelers can enjoy and; B) like all specialize ventures that costs lots of money to produce, they hope to defray some of their costs and perhaps offer more new kits in the future.

Derrell Poole Photo (note this is a pre production kit and not all parts shown belong to the kit. 
Only the upper half of the brass etching fret belongs with the kit)

     Naturally if there is enough solid interest they are willing to produce more of these kits as well as future new releases. But there is no commitment on their part to do so and it will be our “interest of substance” that will determine what the company does in the future. Bill has shared with me some of his ideas – how many Peninsular 30’ cars have your seen produced in O scale let alone S? So. Is this what we want?

    This entire strategy is built on the philosophy that for small specialized markets like this one, where we all know each other and speak the same NG language, it is better to commit only offering the fruit of our skills to those folk who will truly appreciate them rather than a blanket appeal to a mass market. No one gets rich doing this sort of thing – and that isn’t the point here either. If there are modeler who don’t really understand or appreciate this philosophy perhaps we should all wish them happiness with the Athearn-esque mass produced products. We are talking about fine scale modeling at it’s best. (Narrow Gauge modelers were the original Proto Modelers before Proto modeling was cool!)

Derrell Poole Photo - A close look at the Brass etchings for the South Park Freight cars. 
The extra parts in the pre production kits will not be included in production kits.

     The kits are what I call composites because they supply parts in several materials; wood, plastic, resin and brass. But this isn’t a bunch of sticks and brass castings. A great deal of the mundane prep work has already been done for you. The brass consists of very finely done etchings and the wood is precision laser-cut plywood. Only the body bolsters are nicely cast resin. Grandt Line supplied the plastic parts and decals are provided by 
The Cimarron Works - they are crisp, complete, and accurate. The instruction sheets appear to be complete with diagrams of the parts, elevations and technical drawings to aid in assembly. In talking with Bill I am told the kits go together really quickly yet result in an assuredly accurate and handsome model; in spite of what appears to be a rather intense degree of complexity. I am not surprised to hear this as I've noted that even the drill holes are already made for you.

    In the next few weeks I hope to build each of the two South Park kits in S scale and experience for myself the pleasure of building a laser-cut composite project. I’m not completely familiar with this type of kit since I've never built one before. So this will be a new experience to me and hopefully an exciting one to you. Of course, the objective is to finish with an accurate and presentable model I’ll be proud to run on my slowly developing layout. Nevertheless, I am truly excited about the “doing” of the kits purely for the sake of doing. I plan to build the first 2 kits stock-out-of-the-box per the instructions but I will also be getting more of each and updating them to my C&S era.

Bill Meredith Photo – S scale and O scale car bodies.

     Study the photos, absorb the obvious quality, imagine these beautiful cars on your layout – or at the very least on your own Fermentation Shelf (where it may take yeeeears for a kit to finally reach its “time”).

    Below is a list of what is about to be offered and how to order. Yes, they are pricey, perhaps when compared to other products by other less specialized companies. If this bothers you then I hope you will be happy scratch building your own – and doing the type of research this kind of quality and accuracy demands. For me? My time bills out at a set shop rate and while these would be for pleasure I still expend my time at the same consistent pace. The time I save here should make them a real bargain to me – and I've DONE the research!

The following O kits are $75 each:
(all kits less trucks and couplers)
LSO-1 DSP&P/CC 26’ Stock car
LSO-2 DSP&P/DL&G 27’ Tiffany Reefer
LSO-3 D&RG/RGS/SRR 24’ Boxcar (September availability)
LSO-5 CC 24’ Boxcar #4 (contact for availability, very limited numbers)
LSO-5 CC 24’ Boxcar #1620 (Sold out)
LSO-5 CC MOW/caboose #26552 (contact for availability, very limited numbers)

The following S kits are $60 each:
(all kits less trucks and couplers)
LSS-1 DSP&P/CC 26’ Stock car
LSS-2 DSP&P/DL&G 27’ Tiffany Reefer
LSS-3 D&RG/RGS/SRR 24’ Boxcar (September availability)

The following S kits are $65 each:
(all kits less trucks and couplers)
LSS-5 CC 24’ Boxcar #4 (contact for availability, very limited numbers)
LSS-5 CC 24’ Boxcar #1620 (contact for availability, very limited numbers)
LSS-5 CC MOW/caboose #26552 (contact for availability, very limited numbers)

O scale trucks

Union Pacific Type A and B Swing Beam Colorado Central available from Coronado Scale Models

D&RG 10 ton – Price TBA

S scale Trucks

(Trucks come with Berlyn Wheel sets)
Union Pacific Type A – 25.00pr.
Union Pacific Type B – 25.00pr.
D&RG 10 ton – 25.00pr.

Please note that the details of this listing are subject to correction by the Leadville Shops and only a final word from them constitutes a correct amount due on an order. 
Contact The Leadville Shops:

phone (720) 213-4758
Paypal payments to

Orders will start shipping Aug 1st.

Please watch this blog for my description on how I build these cars in the near future.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Building Some Coal Cars | 6 Comments - Click Here :

Lou takes a break next to the ‘B’ end of a new Phase III Coal Car.

    Keith Hayes - I have been collecting models for so long, it can be hard to take a break from working on the layout to build one. It occurred to me lately that it has been a while since I cracked open a kit. Next up on my list are three C&S Phase III Coal Cars manufactured by Overland. I had not built this kit before, and found them finely designed and easy to construct. If you want some, I saw a bunch of green boxes at the Sn3 meet in Dallas: some kits are out there looking for a good home.

Mike surveys the three new steel under-frames.

    I like to build kits in threes, as it systematizes the dull tasks and gives the chance for the glue to set on one kit while I tackle another.  While you should always read the directions, I tend to deviate and build kits to get the fuss out of the way and reserve the delicate details for last. These kits got built over a week of spare time.
    First, I built all the trucks. Easy enough and nothing special. I used a paint pen to color the wheels either rail brown or rust, and applied rust to the axles. Next up was the under-frame. I primed the steel weights with a tan color from a rattle can: I like a Camo tan by Rustoleum. The steel center frame, wood beams, weight and floor make a nice sandwich. Don’t forget to install the brake line!
    Phase III equipment is distinguished by the Bettendorf steel under-frame and steel trucks—truly modern cars for the narrow gauge. These cars look kind of naked without queen posts and truss rods. All the coals gathered for Leadville operations after abandonment of the mainline east of Climax were Phase III cars. These were among the last new equipment ordered for the narrow gauge in 1910. For reasons unknown, the C&S only ordered 49 (why not 50?) Among the interesting tidbits I uncovered (from Brother d) is the fact that there were more Phase I coals than Phase II and III combined: someone needs to bring out a Phase I kit, as these cars had much deeper side sills and of course different draft gear than the Phase IIs.

The car is all built up, and I am reaming out the holes one last time before installing the hand-bent grab-irons. I made the mistake to consult some photos after I built the cars—the lowest right grabiron should be a stirrup step. Oh, well.
    My least favorite task is drilling holes for grab irons with a #80 drill bit. Many kits (and broken drill bits) have taught me to drill out the holes when the sides are flat. I also got a spiffy spin drill pin vise at a trade show. Easy does it, and make sure the drill is centered in the pin vise. I managed to drill out all the holes for these three kits without breaking a bit: now I jinxed myself for the next time! The sides and ends build up quick, and bending the 50+ grab irons went quickly! I also distressed the top boards of these cars, as material (mostly coal) was hand shoveled out of the car. When I paint the cars, I will be sure to highlight this area with a wood color.

The car under-frame, including the nifty one-piece brake shot, the brass crossover pipe and rubber air hoses. I also added the air tank drain lever.
    Overland introduced the one-piece brake shot, and this has to be one of the best features of a fine kit. To make it better, I added several P-B-L innovations: the brass crossover pipe; real rubber air hoses, and pre-formed cut levers. Actually, this kit has some spiffy Delrin cut levers, and when I figured out how they worked, I used them instead.

The Leadville Agent and a Conductor admire a newly-built car. Note the distressed top board, which has been hit by a few errant shovels.
    Anyone out there got a good technique for installing the retainer valve? I think I lost two in applying the three. No wonder P-B-L has started casting these darn things onto the ends of new kits. These went off to the paint shop right away. First a primer coat of the Camo tan, then successive coats of black, grey, buff and red. But more on that later....

Two cars just back from the paint shop.
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3