Sunday, February 24, 2013

Virgin Church 10

After I little delay, I tackled the molding of the Virgin Church.  Virgin was the original settlement in this valley, and the church was the only public building built in the area during the Civil War.  Because of this, it was lavished with some attention to detail, and was designed by a more prominent architect of the time.  This is manifest first in the presence of the clapboard siding itself (in lieu of the plain Virgin flat stone and adobe of the neighboring buildings), and in the eaves moldings.  Using finely milled siding in these parts was not common at the time, and it certainly would have been a luxury.   In it's original form and finish the church would not seem dissimilar from a building on the East coast or in another part of the world.  This projection of power and refinement was symbolically important considering the global origins of many of the Mormon settlers sent to these parts.

I milled much the molding material from basswood on the table saw, something I do but don't recommend to most people.  In addition to using good safety procedures and fixtures, I use a saw made by "Saw Stop", the now famed safety saw.  I would not encourage people without experience and a similarly equipped saw to make such small parts this way.  The pediment molding was built from seven pieces, assembled in place.  The eaves were built from five pieces, incorporating the milled section, as were the eaves returns on the corners.  I used two types of dollhouse crown moldings to add the convex and concave sections to the molding.  In the end, it reminded my of doing architectural work in New England, trying to match historic moldings by building up assemblies of square and milled parts.  

I am going to prep the roof for shingles and do some of the interior fitting before getting into final paint.  Final paint is delightfully close.  And of course, I need to get the corner boards on. . . .

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Virgin Church 09

The last clapboard went on this afternoon.  I am relieved to be at the point where I can return to trim work and painting.  I will certainly layer up clapboards again, but I am going to do it just a bit differently. . . . I already have my eye on a Shorpy photo of a clapboard building that I just have to make.  For the time being I'm enjoying seeing the 19th Century outline of this building take shape.  

Krueger Electric 03

The Color Country Model Railroad Club has been wracked by the news of another members passing.  John Westbrook died on February 9th.  John was an O scale railroader, and was a big contributor to Jim Harper's layout.  I did not know John well, however I did very much enjoy the time that I spent with him.  I'll have to speak with Jim and see if there is something I could contribute to his layout in John's honor.

My models of Krueger Electric have been moving along.  I finished the brick work, and added cap stones and sills.  The cap stones are made from laminated railroad board and shirt cardboard, painted with acrylic. I've drawn lines on the capstones to create joints using a brown brush pen.  A little chalk weathering should finish them off, however, I am going to get the steps and last concrete elements done before doing that.

Interestingly, doing three of these has not slowed things down too much.  In contrast to Virgin Church, which has been "drinking" hours, these little HO structures seem to go fast.  I am aiming to get these done before Wednesday's club meeting.

Water Tower 06

I've taken a little break from working on the spout to get the superstructure and the sound system together.  The plan is to have "filling sounds", clanks and sloshing, play whenever the spout is lowered.  As I have a good idea of how I'm going to handle the spout mechanism, I figured that I should fit the speaker before going much further.

The speaker I chose is Altec Lansing "IMT 228 OrbitM" speaker.  I discovered the hard way that you need to pay close attention to the spec, as there was a cheaper USB only version of the speaker.  I specifically wanted the headphone plug so that it would easily interface with a Pricom Dreamplayer Light.  The components and amplifier are delightfully small, and the sound is very good.  I discarded the provided enclosure, as the body of the water tower will fill the need.  The joists under the tank floor make a perfect grill to conceal the speaker, so, I set the perforated metal aside for future use someplace else, for an as yet undetermined purpose.  The on off switch and indicator light are on a separate circuit board, very convenient for remote mounting.  Ultimately, there will be about half a dozen wires travelling down the stem of the tank.

Over the past several days I've been treating the support timbers with a mixture of steel wool and vinegar.  My clients have been using this finish on full size buildings, and it's working great in scale, delivering the look of real oxidized wood.  The timber was grained with the side of a razor saw and sanded.  The ends were treated with the "Timber Terminator" where they would be exposed.  I am going to get the structure assembled and then return to the spout.  I may take a detour to work out the chain and pulleys, as this could be a bugaboo with the working spout. 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Krueger Electric 02

I've been gluing clapboards on the church--I'm not going to post that until I get up to the eaves.  Progress has been a bit slow because my eyes have been giving me trouble.  Too much work on the computer being the likely culprit.  So when I feel myself straining I switch activity.  

Krueger Electric is the beneficiary.  The three copies are moving right along--a simple paper model goes very fast.  After getting the walls together, I went ahead and glued some extra laminated wall material on the unfinished exposed sides of the walls.  I also popped the doors in.

I used a couple of fresh blades to do the trimming.  The parapet was cut on the edge of my glass table top.  Once the "backs" of the walls were on, I went ahead and glued the Cinch board roof in.  Although I've complained about the cost of Cinch board, I'm rethinking my aversion to it, as it has been working very well.  

While waiting for the glue to dry, I went ahead and painted up some railroad board to use as concrete details (cap stones and sills).    Adding these elements is really bringing things to life.  I think with a couple of steps, and some other finer bits the little structure could look pretty good.   I still need to do some painting on the edges.

The remainder of my model time this week is going to have to go to the church and the passenger car roof.  I have a demo to give at a local university on Monday, and I will be using the roof as an example of a mold. . . .good motivation to get more done.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Krueger Electric 01

I'll be hosting the February meeting of the Color Country Model Railroad Club.   It's going to be great fun to share the models with fellow members, and to show them the laser cutter and the workshop.  I've started making a couple of models in preparation for that meeting in order to demonstrate a couple of techniques.

It's a bit of a sad time for members of the club because we have just lost a member and friend.  Ed Krueger passed away on January 24th.  Given that Ed was an avid HO scale model railroader it only seemed appropriate to honor him with an HO scale model despite my recent conversion to O scale.

I started by purchasing a brick texture from Clever Models.  I chose their aged brick, imagining a building built in the late 1940's featuring steel windows and concealed lintels with painted signs.  After doing a rough layout in Autocad I modified the Clever Models texture in Photoshop.  Signs were created on individual layers.  I used the "History Brush" to fade the sign, and allow the brick to show through.  I adjusted the transparency of the history brush, and the layer itself until I was happy with the result.  I went pretty fast.  In the future, I might also want to layer in a chipped paint texture.  

I printed the art on archival paper, and spray laminated it to black railroad board.  From there, I cut the sub-walls from some cinch board that I happened have (I don't normally use cinch board due to the cost, but I had it on hand).  I accounted for the thickness of the paper face and the adjacent walls in my cuts so that the finished model would fit together precisely in a saw tooth fashion.  These were then spray mounted to the paper sides.  

In the midst of that work, I cut several frets of windows and doors for the project from black railroad board.  One advantage of having your own laser, even a basic one, is that you can cut very fine sections--sections so fine that it would be hard to sell them commercially.  You can see in the photo below that I etched the line between the sash and the fixed portion of the window (this particular design based on my memory of small buildings in Providence RI).  

The windows are built from two pieces, while the doors are made from five pieces.  The long tail below the door accounts for the landing and steps that will sit in front of it.  As is my regular practice, the doors and windows are primed with spray paint before being finished with acrylics.  

Starting with the laser mark, I drilled the door knob location to accept a brass wire.  Not the most detailed knob in the world, but enough to create a good impression.  

Working in from the outside, I folded in the brick and added a black paper ceiling over the door opening.  Having the door in place really starts to bring things to life. 

With luck, I'll be able to get these models done well before the meeting.  

Virgin Church 08

One thing is clear to me, O scale models are not small, and applying clapboards certainly illustrates that fact. That said, I love the way board by board siding looks, and I don't think I would do it any other way at this point.

You will immediately notice that the siding is not white.  You can see a lot of the Payne's gray and raw umber coloring.  This will tone down once I finish the coloring, something I can only do after I finish gluing the siding.  I'm going to keep plugging away this week, with luck I'll have the siding done by the weekend.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Virgin Church 07

I've been working on my projects in very small segments of time.  I'll take the twenty minutes between chores and work to glue a few items together or paint something.  It's not a lot of time, but it has made a noticeable difference in my progress.

In the past several days I've done the windows on the Virgin Church.  I've done them twice, as I managed to stick my finger through the mullions the first time through.  The mullions are virtually to scale, hence very delicate.  I am going to glue them to the glazing for strength, I just need them to survive until that time.  

Aficionados of the real Virgin Church will notice that I have added three windows to a side of the building that is a blank wall.  The real church has half as many windows, which makes sense since it was built as both a church and a fort to protect local citizens from Native American uprisings during the Civil War.  I chose to add the windows because of the position of the building on the Virgin Railhead. 

The windows themselves are made of seven layers of paper.  They are primed chocolate brown, then layered with Payne's gray and three or four washes of white.  The primer layer is really important with such delicate sections.  They were hit with a final dry brushing of white. 

The corner boards and eaves will come after the siding.  With luck I'll get the clapboards on this weekend.   That might also come as a surprise to locals, as the church is currently covered in stucco.  The stucco is the result of a contemporary renovation.  The original construction is of adobe interspersed between wood studs, with siding over the adobe as confirmed by friends in the local historical society.