Tuesday 13 February 2018

Layout Extension #7

When you walk into my train room, the layout extension that I've spent so much time working on over the past three or so months is on your immediate right.  This picture shows basically what you see to your right as you enter.  What I want to showcase today is the building on the right hand side of this picture. It might be in for re-painting soon, but I'll explain that later on.

This building is made up of various walls that I had left over from Walthers "Roberts Printing Company" kits.  The picture on the kit's box has the brick areas painted red, and I think that's the way all of the models of that kit I've seen built have been painted. But I didn't want that. Not at all.

What I wanted to go after was sort of more like the apperance of this building in Detroit, Michigan. This was GM's Fisher Body Plant at one-time.  I have no idea what goes on in there now. You can see it to the north of I-94 as you drive through Detroit. I explored the areaa little bit in September 2011 with my friend Luc Sabourin (he drove) and I took this photo.

Now obviously, even allowing for selective compression and modellers license, the Walthers building isn't the same as this one, but the structural style isn't too far off.

So what I wanted to do was have my factory modeled as having been served by rail, but closed down and derelict, with the spur track still in place. I had the idea of bricking and boarding up the lower windows, and having the upper windows smashed and broken as though vandalized. Oh, and graffiti too. The rail spur would just be abandoned.

Then my friend said to me that a railroad would quite possibly still use that spur themselves, to temporarily stash a few cars if their intended spots at another location nearby were unavailable. When the proper spot opened up, the railroad then would lift and move the cars to where they were supposed to go.

Bingo!  This idea would allow me to drop pretty nearly any type of freight car, almost any time I wanted. The spur will hold one car under the building, and two or maybe three more outside the building. That spur though is also used as pullback for the industry next door.  It's not my ideal track arrangement, but it does add to the switching job, and I've got a vague idea to expand further sometime in the future - maybe - and the track arrangement can be changed then.

Here's the street-side view of my abandoned building. As I wrote earlier, I cobbled together the structure from leftover parts, and it actually came out one wall section (left hand end) longer than the original kit.

The photo below is actually supposed to be the front of the building, which I've ended up putting flush against the backdrop, so it is unseen on the layout.  If I had been smarter I would have used this wall on the other side too, making the building even longer.  At the time though, I wasn't sure of the final location. I had thoughts of putting this side of the building at the front edge of the layout rather than against the backdrop.

It's kind of a shame that all these broken out windows go unseen.  Oh well, I'm not going to take it apart now.

Speaking of the windows, here's the story on them. Doing the math, 1172 of them that can be seen have been smashed out or broken by those pesky vandals.  That does not count the 840 that are on the unseen side, as in the above photo, nor does it count any that have been boarded over or bricked up.

To make and then break the windows, I used ordinary white glue. I poured a small amount of glue into a puddle in a little plastic container and just let it sit there for a while until it began to thicken and solidify.  Then I took an old, flat artist paint brush and brushed the thickened glue over the window frames, teasing it with the brush until it covered over just about all of the little individual frames. Doing just a few of the window frames each day, all this took a little time, but by the end, I was getting pretty good at it.

I let the glued-over windows sit overnight so that the glue would dry completely and turn hard.  I actually thought that the white glue would dry more clear than it did, but it became fairly opaque.  I tried using Micro Clear for this too, thinking that it should dry more clear, which it did, but it remained too soft to break the way I wanted it to in the next step.  Once the white glue was dried hard, I simply took an old Xacto knife and used the tip of it to break through the glue. This gave me the final look of broken and dirty glass that I wanted.

On the workbench, but here is a view of the other end of the derelict building.

I've recently stumbled across another wall section for this building, so I think I'm going to add it on to the left end, up against the backdrop.  This will help make the structure appear to be a little bit larger.  I'll do the windows the same way, and put in a roll-up door at ground level on the left end. I'll try some black paper behind the windows to block out the blue of the backdrop.

Painting the brick sections in the new piece could be a problem though. I don't think I have any more paint the same colour as I had used before, and even worse, I'm not sure which exact colour it was. If that's the case, I'll re-do the bricks on the whole thing because I want it all to match well. Oh, and that MC5 graffiti along the trackside of the building, for those that might not know, is the name and logo of one of the great Detroit rock bands from the 60's and early 70's.  I'll add more in the future.

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