Saturday 9 November 2019

Car Ferry Apron Project

One of the best things, for me anyway, about having a model railway is occasionally putting together buildings and structures. Whether it's a straight forward follow-the-instructions type assembly or kit-bashing (or trying to) or scratch-building something, I really, really like building a building. 

Brian Smith has a new layout underway at his house, and is including a car ferry as part of the operations there.  He has the Walthers car ferry already, as I gave him one that I had put together for myself years ago.  It's a nice model, but too big for me to use in my layout space.

I volunteered to put together the matching Walthers car float bridge kit for Brian.  I've had that kit in my cupboard for years and never got around to using it either.

Here's a photo of the box cover for the Walthers Car Float Apron.

The apron kit went together well enough, no big concerns there.  Although I didn't much care for the colour that much of the parts were molded in.
A view of most of the sub-assemblies of the Ferry Apron. I hand painted many of the individual boards on the apron deck, and then went over them with a thin black paint wash to highlight the seams between them. I also painted the molded in ties and the recessed grooves where the rails will go.

Some of the sub-assemblies include 2 steel breakwalls and the steel framework, which were all molded in the same bright orange colour as the pulley seen hanging from the cables. I suppose Walthers was trying to make these parts appear to be sort of a rusty colour, but they certainly came up short in that way of thinking.  I painted the framework and the steel girders with grey primer, and sprayed the steel walls with camouflage brown.


Notice the concrete weights inside the two support structures to keep the cables taught. Brian will have to lay the rails (code 83 recommended) on the apron.  The model comes with plastic rails included, but using them would mean having to use at least a couple of idler cars to be able to reach onto the ferry for loading and unloading.

Everything's together here.  The model's apron actually pivots from the loading/unloading end, and can be adjusted for height by easily removing the top structure (which I did not glue to the supporting structure) and tightening or loosening the cables.

This is the view of the completed and weathered apron that would be seen from the deck of the ferry as it approaches. I'm certainly hopeful that this will add a lot of enjoyable operation to Brian's new layout.


  1. The weathering job you did looks great!

  2. Thanks very much. That kit was a lot of fun to work on. I check your blog regularly, and really enjoyed the Gene Wilder picture from last week.


  3. I've been working on my waterfront terminal building and car float area. I have a walthers car float apron that I will need to modify the deck to so as to match the tracks on my non-walthers car float.

    While investigating the parts of the apron yesterday I was still having a little problem determining EXACTLY how the pivot end works. I started looking thru a few images and ran across this page,...but it didn't cover the end of the apron I was looking for info one?

    I'm beginning to think I will need to just use ordinary small hinges since they will be hidden anyway??