Sunday, July 17, 2022

My article in the July 2022 MRH

In the new issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist or MRH, dated July 2022, my article (part of the “Getting Real” series) is entitled “Fitting an Industry into a Tight Space.” It is about one of the last industries to be built for my layout, the imaginary Santa Rosalia Branch of the Southern Pacific. The industry is a kelp processing business, appropriate for the town of Santa Rosalia along the Pacific Ocean shore.

For a lot of years, I used the bottom part of a kit box, inverted, with the industry name lettered on the “top” of the box, to stand in for industries not yet built. Eventually I decided that was too prominent, so went to a simple paper slip with the industry name, placed about where the industry would go. The photo below (from the article) shows the site discussed in the article.

This is the spot where the new industry had to fit. You can see that most of the site, alongside Laguna Street right next to the fascia at the front of the layout, is just painted Homasote. The problem that I solved in the article was that the site is narrower than the kit that I chose to build.

I chose the “Carnegie St. Manufacturing” kit produce by my late friend Jim Sacco’s City Classics. I liked that it’s a cement-block building, of which I had none on the layout, and that it’s not “cute,” as are so many structure kits. Below is one of Jim’s photos of the kit, showing one way it can be built. It’s actually a fairly flexible kit, offering a number of possible configurations.

As I mentioned, my site is narrower than the City Classics kit, so I narrowed each of the end walls and then assembled the structure. Though this is fairly straightforward kit-bashing procedure, I showed each step in the article, in hopes of being perfectly clear about the simple steps needed. 

After assembling all four walls and one of the office extensions, along with painting windows and doors, the building looked like this from the back or track side (which is not viewable from the aisle of the layout). Roof is not yet painted, structure is not weathered.

Once the structure was weathered, signage added, and some Walthers “Roof Details” (set 3733) placed, it looked like this on the front side.

Finally, of course, the structure was placed on the layout and some scenic details added, along with a concrete driveway for the large delivery door and for parking at the far end. In the distance at right, you see the Santa Rosalia depot, one of SP’s distinctive Common Standard No. 22 structures, and in the background is the Martinelli Bros. fish cannery. 

The last point to be mentioned in the article was some detail about kelp processing and the various kelp products which would be shipped out of this building. I even included some sample waybills to illustrate the inbound and outbound loads. But I won’t repeat that discussion here.

This industry fills a gap on the layout, and in the group of marine-oriented industries here in coastal Santa Rosalia. I’m glad to have it on the layout.

Tony Thompson

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