New Year’s.  For me, and I think many, a time of renewal.  A chance to clean up and be ready for the future.  One morning during the holidays I decided to give Fillmore the yearly maintenance it deserves. Beforehand I had decided that I would give it a good going-over that may take the better part of the day.  It would be at a leisurely pace; just doing whatever needed to be done without looking at the clock.  It would be a big  job, after all – you know cleaning (ugh). But my grandiose plan was totally unnecessary because it … Continue reading YEARLY LAYOUT MAINTENANCE


I am not an artist.  I don’t recognize the many different colors that a given object displays.  I admire those who do and can translate that into creating a realistic model.  Painting something that represents unpainted wood has been something of a challenge for me. I recently tried the Vallejo paint kit NEW AND OLD WOOD EFFECTS to see if I could achieve decent results.  The kit is just paint, of course, but at least the colors provided are chosen by accomplished model builders/artists – something that I think I could never get a good handle on.   A bottle … Continue reading OLD OUTHOUSE


The working lamps around Fillmore are home made.  My thinking at the time was to achieve something a little finer and more scale-like. Some years ago I saw an article by John Licharson in Model Railroader (June 1994).  Basically, I took the design he offered and made some changes.  The construction is relatively simple as seen below: I use the Miniatronics 12V light bulb and shade assembly (unpainted brass).  I have found that the assembled lights sit deeper inside the shade, as opposed to buying the bulbs and shades separately which don’t fit as well.  When first making the lights … Continue reading HOMEMADE LAMP POSTS


The concrete platforms around Fillmore are fabricated with styrene sheet.  The expansion joints are made with a scriber and straight edge following lines drawn in pencil.  Prior to painting, I scuff all the flat surfaces with 400 or 600 grit paper and wipe down with rubbing alcohol.  This is how I paint concrete… 1. I apply Polly Scale Concrete thinned as usual for painting a model for an opaque finish.  This is usually a couple of drops of distilled water added to the paint in my air brush paint cup to make the liquid a milky appearance.  To gauge this … Continue reading PAINTING CONCRETE


I never use figures as they are supplied by the manufacturer.  Although I do not modify the pose, I finish them is a certain way. Firstly, I scrape away any mold parting lines with a modeling knife.  This usually means I need to repaint the clothing areas, typically in similar colors to how they were supplied, but not always. Then I give the figure a gloss Testors acrylic clear by airbrush.  The gloss coat allows a brush wash of enamel flat black, applied next, to flow into the crevices and folds of the clothing and hand/facial features.  After this, I … Continue reading REALISTIC FIGURES


The last servicing stage prior to a ride on the turntable to a lubrication stall inside the roundhouse, are the ash and wash pits. The cinder conveyor serves both tracks.  Cinders and ash are dumped into the track-level hoppers.  When the skip-bucket is in position, the trap door opens and they are dumped into the bucket.  The bucket is then raised inside the tower were it is tipped and the contents fall into a chute and into a gondola car below.  Water hoses are provided to cool the ash/cinder mix after dumping.  The cinder conveyor and ash pits are from … Continue reading ASH & WASH PITS