Building the Hitop, Part 11…

In this installment, I’ll discuss the structures I used in building the layout. I basically used the same structures that MR used, except for the Micro-Engineering girder bridge. I also added some structures of my own as the layout developed. MR did however kitbash quite a few structures, which I did not, except for one I’ll mention here in a moment. This is one reason I didn’t use the girder bridge on the branch proper, and used retaining walls instead.

First I’ll start around the front of the layout. We’ll start in the yard. Whereas MR used one structure I believe in the yard which was the kitbashed long freight house, I used several. I wanted two industries to switch in Dickinson yard, so I used a smaller building for my PC freight house which serves the surrounding area. The building is made by AMB, and is their general service building. It’s perfect for a freight house, and it’s dimensions allowed me to fit another industry in the same siding.

The AMB kits are laser cut wood, very easy to assemble, and they look good in my opinion. As with all laser cut structures, be sure you brace the interior walls with scrap wood to help with bowing and warping. On my structure I used probably an unusual finishing step, that is, I first stained the wood pieces with a neutral cream color wood stain from Hunterline, then when dry, painted the wood with acrylic paint. I feel this also helps seal the wood, and gives the paint a bit more to stick to without having to paint multiple coats on the structure. I did this same routine with each wood kit I built. I painted the freight house a light gray color with green trim, trying to match the color of some New York Central buildings I’ve come across. I think the building came out very well as shown below. I finished the building up with an electric meter and painted/detailed barrels and freight from JL Innovative products, a great company for detailed, already painted details. Photos here of the freight house:

The only items I really need to add I’ve decided to the structure are signs on the side of the building, and I think I’ll add an extension onto the loading dock with a new Blair Line loading dock kit.

The next structure I’ll talk about is the Armitage Furniture Company, which sits right next to the freight house. I built this from a Woodland Scenics Sicken Tire kit. The building kit as it comes is in what I think is an awful bright, glossy colored red brick. So the first thing I decided to do was to repaint the entire structure, which I did in a freight car brown color. I finished with weathering the brick with white powders to bring out the mortar, then black powders for dirt on the building. The construction of the building went well. I do appreciate the details that WS includes in their structures as well. I named the building after a town on the secondary over in Ohio named Armitage. To me the name sounds like a furniture manufacturer. The company receives fasteners, paints and stains, lumber, and cardboard, and ships out finished furniture, some going to a huge Sears distribution center that sits astride Buckeye yard in Columbus, Ohio. I finished up this structure with a propane tank by JL Innovative, a forklift, barrels of stain and paints, and some boxes of finished furniture. On one of the JL boxes, you can see a photo (label) of a chair. The last touch was a custom detailed dumpster filled with scrap lumber, and other debris from the manufacturing process, that was done by a former co-worker of mine. Again, the last thing I need someday are signs for the name of the company on the building. I really need to find someone who can make these decal signs or custom signs for me! Photos here:

And finally, another photo of both on the layout here:

2012-12-05 10.12.06

The next structure in the yard is the scale house by Walther’s, as part of their scale house and track kit. Of course this plastic kit needed to be painted as well. As I only wound up just using the one platform the scale house sits on, I painted the wood a dark brown, then painted the edges with Polly Scale concrete. I then weathered the base/platform with powders. I painted the building itself with Penn Central green, with the roof black. The scale inside I painted a light grey. Some signage provided in the kit and a figure of a railroader finished this kit. I did not use the section that fits in between the rails, as I at first did, but found that some wheel sets were catching on this piece, so finally removed it. It may not be quite prototypical, but it still serves and shows that it’s a scale house. This btw was supposed to go along with a Boulder Engineering scale, mounted into the frame as MR did. However, mine would have been mounted flush with the fascia, as I didn’t include the swing out section that MR built. However, when it came time to do this and purchase the digital scale, the company was out of these, so I went on with building the layout. My operating procedure still calls for loaded hoppers and loaded tank cars to be rolled past the scale and “weighed”. Photos of the scale below:

The next structure we’ll cover is the yard office, which is AMB’s “Grand Ave” yard office kit, another wood kit. This kit again was first stained with HunterLine stain, then again painted in light grey with green trim which NYC used in the past. This kit went together easy as well, with a lot of detail. Their signage was added to the building, some crates for several railroaders to sit and chew the fat, and of course some railroaders. A finishing touch was a scratchbuilt ice machine made by a member of the train club to which I belong. Two of these are on the layout. Finally, a pile of ties from Blair Line was added on the other side of the building. The yard office sits on track six of the yard, which is basically the service track. Photos of the yard office:

On the end of track six, to the left of the yard office, sits a few scattered ties, plus an old switch stand. Next to it sits an equipment shed by BLMA, simply weathered with some rust and black powders.

To the right of the yard office sits Walther’s diesel fuel and sand kit. This kit has two fueling stations with pipes, a pump house, and diesel fuel tank and pad, plus a sand house. I did not use the sand house, simply because I didn’t have the room.  All this again had to be painted in this plastic kit, with of course the diesel storage tank and sand column painted black, then weathered. My only suggestions to Walther’s on this one would be to include some thinner, more flexible hose for the fuel stands, and place these on an actual base, as I had to super glue a track spike alongside each fuel column, then push the pointed end into the cork base the yard sits on to get these columns to stand upright. I later moved the pump house over to the chemical company siding, but more on this later. Here are photos of the fueling kit:

To finish out the yard, I later purchased a Bachmann pre-built shed, painted it PC green, and placed it along with a port-a-potty from BLMA at the front end of track six. To finish out the details on this track, I purchased a diesel tanker from Classic metals lettered for Sohio (Standard Oil of Ohio), and placed it by the diesel fuel pad. Photos here:

That about wraps it up for now. In the next installment I’ll cover the remainder of the structures on the front of the layout and more. Stay tuned!




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