Thursday, 15 November 2012

Attempting my first scratchbuild

The actual CP Lambton yard office




My attempt to model it. The sign isn't properly attached yet and the roof, windows and other details are yet to come. 


Although I built a few structure kits back in the day, scratchbuilding was something I never got much chance to attempt in my first go-around in this hobby. So I thought I’d take a swing at re-creating a signature railway building that currently sits on the stretch of the CP line I’m modeling.

The building is the Lambton Yard office on Runnymede Road in west Toronto. With its combination of brick and corrugated steel in a vertical pattern, it’s not going to win any architecture awards but to me it’s a building typical of many modern railway buildings we see today.

It also backs onto a mall parking lot near the yard, which allowed me to get decent photos without trespassing on CPR property.


The building was fairly straightforward to model. I made a box of .40 styrene, then laminated that box with vertical strips of brick and steel cladding using styrene sheets, alternating the pattern of the two materials and butting them together like tiles.

I followed the techniques outlined in the book Basic Structure Modeling.

You won’t have to look to hard at the prototype pics to spot my goofs! I didn’t get the paint quite right, had trouble getting the mortar wash to flow into the mortar gaps and in compressing the building’s size (something I always intended to do) I didn’t quite get its proportions correct.

There’s still more to do of course. The roof on the prototype appears to be tar and gravel in the Bing.com rooftop pics, so I’ll try and replicate that. I thought I’d paint the roof, then pour track ballast into the wet paint and following that up with diluted glue to hold everything in place. I’ll also need some HO scale rooftop details like plumbing vents and a large air conditioner to finish it off.

I’m still trying to decide how to fill the windows. I could use clear styrene but I’m also thinking of using actual photos of the prototype windows cut to size and glued in the frames. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Model railroad publications



Three issues for just $2 at a train show. You can't beat that. 

Getting my hands on a copy of Model Railroader was key to sparking my early interest in the hobby all those years ago. It showed me what was possible in model railroading, even though I lacked the skill, space, money (I could go on) to make it possible. I loved reading the how-to articles and imagining how every project would unfold. 

With my return to the hobby, I’ve returned to Model Railroader and found it hasn’t lost its quality in the years I’ve been away. It seems now to be targeting less experienced modelers than it was back in the 1980s. This suits me fine.

A few weeks ago I picked up a few dozen recent issues at the Woodstock Model Train show. Vendors were selling three issues of MR for $2, a price I couldn’t resist! Now I’ve got many evenings worth of enjoyable reading for the price of a few books.

Of course, I’m sure MR is struggling somewhat, as all publications are, to remain relevant in the Internet age. Model Railroad Hobbyist is an excellent online magazine that offers all its content, including back issues, for free. 

So far Model Railroad Hobbyist appears to be making their way on advertiser support alone. You have to wonder if they will ever move to a paywall structure as many Canadian newspapers are now doing. I hope both publications are able to survive and thrive, as they play a key role in the success of this great hobby, inspiring a new generation of modelers as I was inspired all those years ago.