Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The lasercut parts have arrived!

Thanks to my friend and fellow modeler Pit Karges, I now have a bagfull of parts to build my addition to the packing house.

The wall sections and windows are 2mm MDF

The grey parts are actually the corrugated tin sidings. They are lasered from corrugated carton.

As an aid, Pit scored guide lines on the MDF walls to line the corrugated carton. The sheets overlap each other by 2 mm.

This is really a nice kit and I can't wait to continue its assembly.

As always stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Los Rios District (Lupe Combs Adobe)

 A quick update on my adobe houses along Los Rios Street

 Painting and weathering of the Lupe Combs Adobe is almost finished. I just have to add the windows and scenick the surroundings

That's the spot where the house will be on the layout.

Now I'll have to dig out some more pictures of adobe houses. The problem is that they are only shown from one side, so I have to guess and use modelers license. After all on the layout the houses are only seen from the front side. That makes things a bit easier.

In case you doubt if this house is really an adobe structure, here's a close-up. The addition to the right is wood.

Stay tuned for my next project. The parts for the Packing House Addition have arrived!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Los Rios District

A couple of adobe houses lined the tracks just across the depot, so I need some of these tiny buildings on my layout also. They will be prominently visible along the aisle.

On the homepage of the San Juan Capistrano Histocial Society we learn that the street is on the National Register of Historic Places and includes those houses facing Los Rios Street. A street that has not changed all that much since it first became a location for the homes of the Acjachemen/Juaneno Indian neophytes who were not confined to the Mission. This in itself was unusual. At most Missions the neophytes lived in reed huts, “kichas”, which were burned when old and rebuilt as needed. Of the original adobes, all were built about 1794, once lined this street, only three left: the Silvas, Rios, and Montanez Adobes. The Rios Adobe has been continuously occupied by descendents of the original owner.

The first adobe house I build is the Lupe Combs House. It's located at Verdugo Street near the railroad crossing and is the first house of the Los Rios Historic District. It was built in 1878 in Forster City and was moved to San Juan in 1882. On the photo above we see the adobe house which was mainly build with adobe bricks. The walls were painted white. The addition to the right was build of wood.

I usually start with .040" plain styrene to build the basic walls. Depending on what kind of finish my structure will have - brick, clapboard, board and batten or stucco - I just laminate these profiled sheets on top of the plain walls. The plain walls are cut to the exact size that the building will have. Using my windows and doors as a guide I score the dimensions on the walls. 


Then I drill an 8mm (.30") hole in the center of the door and window locations to insert my nibbling tool. Working along the score lines I bite pieces of styrene off until the opening is cleared. A few passes with a sanding stick and the openings for the doors and windows are ready.

Then I glue the plain walls to the desired siding. In my case it is Plastruct HO Brick sheet, that I use to represent the adobe walls. After the glue has set thoroughly I cut the walls out leavin .060" overhang on the long walls. These "noses" will cover the thickness of the side walls with the brick patterna also and give the assembly more strenght than just a butt joint. (see the right picture above)

Then I drill small holes in all four corners of the door and window locations. I cut the openings free with a couple of passes with a hobby knife.

Then I glue the wall sections together using a Mico-Mark metal gluing jig. The magnets fix the pieces in place and square until the glue sets.

I repeated the process for the wooden annex building.

This time I laminated the sub walls to a sheet of Evergreen Board and Batten siding. Again cutting the window openings out as discribed above.

Finishing, painting and scenicking the first adobe house will be covered in one of my nexts posts.

Stay tuned!

Work around the depot

While waiting for the final version of the packing house addition, I started to detail the surroundings of the Capistrano depot.

To avoid that passenger vehicles would roll onto the platform and then on the tracks, there were wooden posts spaced approximately 5 to 6 feet apart all along the platform. To model these I've cut 5 scale feet long pieces off of a wooden stick (12 x 12) and rounded the corners of the end that would be inserted into the base. The posts stand roughly 4 feet tall above the ground. I've painted them with a white acrylic color.

The end of the platform that meets Verdugo Street also had 2 posts. The bases for the depot, freight house and Maintenance of Way shed are finished. The next step will be the ground cover around the depot and ballasting of the tracks.

The depot I've build a couple of years ago represents the original as it looked in 1894. For the 1940's I am modeling, I will build another one with the belltower and part of the roof covered with weeds and ivy. Therefore either depot version will be removable.

Last week-end I ballasted the tracks around the depot and scenicked the parking lot and the right-of-way.

I ballasted the tracks with a mix of medium grey ballast from Woodland Scenics, aquarium sand and tan colored tile adhesive (that's the powder you mix with water and pour on the fresh laid tiles to fill the gaps between the tiles - well I don't know the exact description of this process but I believe you get the clue what I mean).

For the right-of-way and the parking lots I also use this powder and sprinkle it over a coat of white glue that I brushed on the baseboard. Then I mist the whole area with wet water (a few drops of isopropyl alcohol mixed into the water - I've got away from dishwasher soap because it bubbles too much). The powder acts like an adhesive and dries hard, leaving a tan or brown surface depending on the color you choose.

For the areas between the tracks, I used an eye dropper to wet the ground with diluted matte medium (2 parts matte medium, four parts water and two parts of isopropyl alcohol). Then I sprinkle Woodland Scenics medium green and dry grass on top and let everything dry.

Meanwhile I also build the cantilever signal bridge and the train order board to be placed near the depot.

The cantilever signal is an NJ International Plastic Kit and resembles the type of signal standing next to the depot during the 1940's. I inserted a a styrene square tube into the mast, to give the signal more strength and a pin to insert into the baseboard.

The train order board comes from an American Limited kit which is a semaphore signal. I made the mast using 3 different diameters of brass tubes that I inserted one into the other, instead of the plastic mast supplied in the kit. The train order board in Capistrano did not have a battery box, so I just cut the top off of the box and used it as a base. The ladder and head are from the kit. I also modified the blades to resemble those of an upper quadrant train order signal until I have a better substitute. It only needs some silver paint. Maybe I will replace it with a Tomar Upper quadrant train order signal (#H-843).

As always, stay tuned.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Addition to the packing house

As mentioned in an earlier post about the AFG packing house, I received the first cut walls for the addition from my fellow modeler and friend Pit Karges who has cut the sides following my drawings with his laser cutter.
He used 3mm MDF for the subwalls. The walls will be covered with corrugated siding.

I just taped the wall sections together to get a feel how the future building would look like and also to make necessary adjustments or corrections.

The additions has almost the same length and width as the original (old) packing house. My loading track is a bit short to line up completely with the 3rd and 4th loading door. I will probably alter the prototype situation an build a small wooden platform to reach to the tracks.

A closeup shot with the reefers next to the loading doors.

As always stay tuned for updates. I'm very excited about this and hardly can't wait to contiue on this project.