And Now for Something Completely the Same June 2021

I feel I have made enough progress to post an overview of what has transpired over the last 4 months.  I won’t go into the methodology as most people already know how to do what follows but if you have any questions in this regard, please give me a shout.

I have been concentrating finishing off the upper level especially Park Head because it is directly over Owen Sound. Access to putting scenery will be difficult at best once the track for Owen Sound yard is in and felt I had to at least get the station and surrounding buildings roughed in before approaching them with any scenery.  The structures at Park Head were somewhat unique and provided a number of challenges that had to be overcome since I only had photos to rely on, not plans.  From my observations, none of the structures at the Park Head train facilities were standard.  CNR adopted the use of old wooden coaches and baggage cars to replace stations on branchlines that had burnt down.  The original station burnt down on August 19, 1934 and was replaced by a coach, number 3174.  A boxcar, number 322095 became the freight shed.  Of course the coach roof had those turned down ends over the open platforms. I believe the car builders built them that way just to frustrate modelers.  I didn’t like the idea of trying to bend wood roof stock or making the curved ends by bending pieces of stripwood then covering them with thin paper.  Luckily my friend Jamie Bothwell came to the rescue and suggested I use Bachmann On30 shorty passenger cars because they had downward curved ends on their roofs.  I checked out local flea markets and found they could be had for a reasonable cost.  They scale out to around 10’ wide in S which is quite acceptable but they were still very short.  I had to cut the bodies so that when spliced together, they would be the correct 54’ 10” up to the platforms. I got the information about the length in the Lepkey-West CNR Passenger Car Book 1.  This meant that I could not use the O scale windows and had to cut them out.  The rooves were cut and spliced as well so they would be able to plug into the slots in the joined bodies.  Tamiya filler was used and sanded to fill any gaps.

Park Head Station Spliced Together from Two On30 Passenger Cars

Although I drew up a new set of S scale windows in Fusion 360 to have printed out, Jamie offered to laser cut the window frames out of 0.020” sheet styrene.  I opted for Jamie’s help because the 3D printing was too expensive at the time.  I glued his window strips in each side and after cutting more 102 itty bitty pieces per side, I glued them all in place and ended up with a correct 17 windows per side with a blank at the right end of each side where the wood stoves were.  The following photos show this progression.

Getting as many photos as possible of the eras I am modelling has been a hobby within a hobby.  Sometimes I get really lucky.  Many of the photos I have studied show the tracks to Wiarton bordered on farm fields that had tall trees lining the fence along the right of way. In a way, the railway ran through a corridor of trees.  I painted rather tall trees on the backdrop which will be fronted by model trees.  Grass and weeds were simulated by dry brushing with a stiff brush.  I am pleased with the results.  The front edge of the layout is not going to be treed because there is not enough room between the track and the edge of the layout.  Also, ease of access when there are derailments is important. 

Having the station started and a placeholder double sheathed 36’ boxcar in place, I was ready to start the scenery.  I carved long leftover skinny pieces of Styrofoam to line the lower edge of the backdrop creating a berm.  I used a Woodland Scenics hot wire cutter for this.  Our driveway was a bit messy with Styrofoam bits but a ShopVac made quick work of it.  I decided to put in a ground cover base which was Sculptamold.  My friend Trevor Marshall gave me some unused boxes of it amongst other cool scenery stuff before he moved to Saskatchewan.  Thanks Trevor.  I had never tried this before and unlike plaster it provides a very nice uneven bumpy surface.  Earth coloured latex was brushed on with a coating of finely sifted dirt/sand to follow.  Then the Woodland Scenics green ground foam mixture was glued down.  This was done right up to where the Park Head station platform was supposed to go.  In the following photo, you can see the effects of the Styrofoam strips already scenicked over, covering the lower edge of the backdrop. 

Before adding any more scenery, I thought it best to build the station platform.  Pre-1950’s, the platform was a boardwalk but later it became asphalt framed with timber.  In the following photo, I have placed the platform in its intended spot.  It was cut from dollar store foam board which I would NOT use again because when I painted it with water colours, the paper separated.  I will use stuff from an art store in future for other platforms.  The little green tool shed is a stand in.

The timber frame needed to be curved to follow the track.  I used some long pieces of Mt. Albert Scale lumber to form the frames by first soaking them in hot water and the bending them to fit.  They were held in place using T pins and metal weights and left in place until dry. The fringe in the next photo acts as a telltale so people don’t bump their heads when ducking under. The top pf my head has reaped the fringe benefits.

Along with the station, there were three other buildings inside the wye at Park Head, a freight shed made from a boxcar as previously mentioned, a rather high tool shed and a two-hole outhouse, I suspect for Men and Women.  I used two photos in Ian Wilson’s book and those that I have collected through the years.  The freight shed was kitbashed from a 40’ double sheathed boxcar someone had built which I cut in the middle and shortened to 36’. I used a photo that Robert Sandusky kindly provided me for help with the freight shed.  The tool shed was scratchbuilt and my first two drafts were board and batten which was what it looked like in the distant photos I had access to.  Then I noticed in a photo I had from the Basil Headford collection, that the tool shed had a side door and was wood sheath or tongue and groove.  The hip roof was the most difficult part getting the ratio and the length of the cap so that it looked just right.  The board and batten outhouse was scratch built next.  For some reason, it was the easiest to build.  Is someone trying to say something to me?  Oddly enough, I had a really cool video of the outhouse.  Jim Van Brocklin, a US railway cinematographer, was stuck at Park Head in 1956 and happened to film the goings on. To recant Jim’s story, he bought round trip tickets to Owen Sound which the ticket agent at Palmerston was happy to sell him without telling him that the northbound train 173 was scheduled to arrive in Owen Sound exactly the same time as the southbound train 174 was leaving and if the northbound train was late, he would have been stuck in Owen Sound overnight which he could not do. Of course 173 was late that day.  As a result, Park Head got some unplanned filming.  Lucky for me, but not for Jim.  The following picture shows the tool shed with incorrect board and batten siding and the outhouse.

Of course, after I did this, I realized I had forgotten to paint the track.  This is something I feel is necessary because it makes the track look less like plastic and more like wooden ties.  As I may have said previously, I can hand lay track but I don’t unless it is necessary.  I just find slapping down flex track quicker in some ways.  Then again, one does not have to paint hand stained laid ties to get that creosote look.  At any rate, I fired up the air brush and carefully painted the track Railway Tie Brown.  The ties will have a lighter wash applied at a later date.  I did all the rest of the upper level track which has not yet had scenery added, at the same time.  The paint I used was water based and it did work well on the plastic ties, wood ties and the sides of the rail.  On the printed circuit board ties not so well.  I would like to migrate from lacquer to water based paints for all my airbrushing but I need to master painting on metal before I feel comfortable painting any rolling stock.

Here is where I am as of this posting.  The station was painted Floquil Foundation which gives a nice raw wood colour.  The jar was from the 1970’s and stored upside down!  Some touch up with the body filler is necessary on the station sides.  Once the station has dried enough, it and the three buildings will be painted most likely CNR Mineral Brown or Red Number 11 which is really close to Pennsy boxcar red or whatever those SPF’s call it.  Then I will distress and weather the buildings.  As you can see, the track has been airbrushed. I will do the sides of the rail by hand a rust colour.

The omnipresent fencing will go in after everything else is in.  I have drawn up the correct CNR/GTR Canadian version of trackside fence and had it etched in nickel sliver.  I can’t wait to try it out. 

Until next time, stay safe.  Live Long and Prosper.


8 thoughts on “And Now for Something Completely the Same June 2021

  1. Hi Andy, great update! This will be a wonderful scene, I am hopeful that we will be able to see it in 2023. Best Regards, Ken Zieska


    1. My layout is not scheduled for the Canadian Layout Tour during the convention because it is about an hour and a half from the border. However, you and anyone else are more than welcome to visit before, during or after the convention. We can set up a time that is convenient to everyone.


  2. Nice work Andy, looking real good. Speaking of Floquil paints I have 2 bottles of Plantnium Silver and Soo Line Red. Unfortunately I threw out my tin can of Diosol by mistake.


    1. Thanks for the kind words. I don’t know if the fence will be available for purchase as I have not tried it yet. It was etched about 3 years ago. Hopefully the company is still in business.


  3. Thanks Andy, we will make that happen. I cannot imagine coming that far east and not seeing your layout. Keep us updated.


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