Michael displayed this beautiful diorama at the Midwest Narrow Gauge meet. He writes:
It's 5:30, time to head home. But not before a few brews and a couple old time tunes to help cool down after a hard hot August day's work.
Most of the items were scratch built. The figures, backhead detail, nut & bolt castings, door & window and an assortment of metal detail parts and a few other small items are all that were purchased.
The Base was built from a piece of 3/4 inch finish plywood.
The Foundation was built from individual pieces of broken tile. Then the center was filled with Hydrocal and scribed to represent poured concrete. An RTV mold was then made from this and then the final base came from this. It was stained with an India ink and alcohol mixture and then brushed with a mixture of acrylic washes.
The Boiler started life as a 1" dowel rod. The base of the boiler was a 1" x 2" board with a 1" hole bored through it. The wood was then covered with a skin of styrene. A paper pattern was drawn and taped to the boiler. Then the fun began drilling several hundred holes for the rivet castings. The backhead details are castings from the Back Shop. The dome and saddle are from Precision Scale. The steam pipe is from plastic tube and Western Scale Models pipe fittings.
The Shed was built using stripwood. Each piece was pre cut and stained. Then as it was assembled each board was distressed individually. The lights are 1.5 micro bulbs and were installed at this time. The roof is HO scale Campbell corrugated roofing dipped in PCB etchant and then air brushed. The lean-to roof was covered with tar paper by laminating a single ply of Kleenex tissue to a piece of newspaper with paint. Details on this are in Mic Greenburg's Tip sheets. The wood piles were made by searching out sticks and cutting them to length and then spitting them with a small hammer and chisel.
The Water Tower was built the same way as the shed, with pre-stained stripwood. The ladders were built using scale lumber and brass wire. The pipe fittings are plastic tubing.
The Pump House was also scratch built board by board. The peeling paint effect was done using rubber cement again following the directions in Mic's tip sheets. The roof was also done with Kleenex and newsprint. The door and window are Grandt Line castings.
The Privy was built the same as the others, with board by board construction. The roof on this one is made from foil tape. The working hinges are made from the same super sticky tape.
The Trees are Sedum painted Sage green and sprinkled with Woodland Scenic's fine ground foam. The trunks were then painted with a light sea gray.
The Scenery and ground cover is a combination of real dirt sifted to a powder. Woodland Scenic ground cover and Drift wood scenery items. Wood cinders were used to blacken the boiler foundation and in the ash barrel.
The detail items are from a variety of manufacturers. These include Berkshire Valley, McKenzie Iron & Steel, Wiseman Model Services, Sierra West, Western Scale, Hamm River Model Products and GC design Group. This was truly a fun and at times aggravating project. But in the end, seeing the finished product is always very rewarding.
The tarpaper roof in this picture is not the final one. I did not like the way it turned out so I tore it off and tried Mic's method. I was much happier with the second attempt.
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This page updated May 12, 2006
Webpage © Larry Rickert
Photographs © Michael Yoakam