Saturday, March 1, 2014

Constructing section buildings, Part 1

Modelers often neglect them, but a familiar sight alongside the right of way of any railroad were section facilities, ranging from handcar sheds to tool houses, bunk houses, and other facilities needed by track crews. Of course SP is no exception. In the past, I collected various model manufacturers’ small railroad sheds and painted them for SP, but today there is no reason to do that.
     The fine kits for a variety of SP tool and handcar sheds from Bruce Barney’s AL&W Lines quickly and easily assemble into fine and accurate models of the buildings we want, and I will show one of those kits assembled below. (You can see the entire line at their web site, at: , including several small depots.) But one may have a particular prototype service building in mind, which is not exactly a tool house, and variations on this theme are easily built from scratch. I will show one of those below also.
     My shed kit is AL&W kit No. SP3, the “large” tool house with drop siding. Like all such laser-cut buildings, it is easiest to paint all the walls and trim before assembling the little building.
     My larger section building is proportioned just like the tool house just shown, particularly duplicating the roof pitch, and is intended to be situated right next to it, so it should have a family resemblance. I simply used Evergreen Novelty siding, material no. 4083, and laid out larger sides and ends than the AL&W tool shed. Here too, I airbrushed the walls Colonial Yellow before doing any assembly. Here are all wall parts freshly airbrushed with Tru-Color’s version of this standard SP color (Tru-Color no. TCP-153).

The four parts in the top of this photo are the AL&W parts from kit SP3, the lower four are the styrene parts for my modified section structure. It has no front wall, since that aide will face away from the layout edge.
     Some tool houses had side windows, but by my observation, many did not (possibly for security reasons). The AL&W “large” tool house does not have one either (it’s taken directly from a prototype). In the larger of my new styrene versions, I put a single horizontal-sliding window, using Grandt Line part no. 5081, as you can see in the photo above.
     Next I proceeded to assemble the walls of the styrene structure, connecting them with Evergreen styrene strip no. 166, which is 0.080 x 0.125-inch dimension. This makes a solid corner, and I ensure that it is a 90-degree corner by using a small machinist’s square when putting them together. In this photo of the first wall attachment, you can see the scrap piece of styrene sheet used to splice the two ends.

     After assembling the sides to the building end, I added corner gussets. These are easy to make, and add greatly to the stiffness of a building like this. I just cut a square or rectangle of styrene sheet, checking carefully with a machinist’s square that the corners really are square, then cut it across the diagonal. The gussets are strengthened underneath with more pieces of the Evergreen no. 166 strip. Once those gussets were done, I also added a beam across the front of the structure, using more Evergreen no. 166 strip. Here is a photo of the arrangement from below, so you can see the construction.

     Meanwhile, I sprayed the Grandt 5081 window molding white, then masked the center section of mullions so I could airbrush it Light Brown (Tru-Color no. TCP-163, Depot Trim Brown), along with scale 1 x 6-inch styrene trim strips for the corners of the styrene structure. At the same time I airbrushed the trim parts in the AL&W kit the same color. When applied, the trim strips and window looked like this in the larger structure:

      I also assembled the AL&W kit to this point, using the kit’s very nice peel-and-stick trim. The walls glue neatly to the floor and hold everything square and in alignment. It is a delight to assemble.

By the way, the doors should not be brown. I will repaint them Colonial Yellow.
    Once the structure had reached this point, it was time to undertake the complexities of roofing the double structure. I will describe how I did that in a following post. The AL&W kit roof is uncomplicated but I will defer it also.
Tony Thompson

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