No. 44: Ackley Depot Construction, Part 3


A lot of work on the Ackley depot has been accomplished in the last 10 days.  Part of the success is due to getting my workbench partially rebuilt, so now I have a well-lit, organized place to get some heavy work done.  Another reason is the guys on the Proto-Layouts list, who have motivated me to get back to work on my depot.  More on that in a minute.

Above, here’s where we left off last time we were working on the depot.  Below, here is where the depot is today.  I have painted the depot and the brick platform, added trim, painted and installed the windows, added part of the gutter structure, painted the roof again, installed the chimney, and added a few details.


One of my motivations is attached below.  Clark Propst is a longtime buddy of mine and a fellow M&StL modeler, and is one of the principal guys on the Proto-Layouts Yahoo Group.  He completed his Story City, Iowa depot and scene in October, as shown below…


…and this month finished his depot at Roland, Iowa.  His depots and station scenes look great and his ability to get quality work done in a short time is impressive.  Then again, he is fully retired, but he doesn’t sit around and hope for things to get done.  As we say at work, “Hope is NOT a course of action”.


Clark also finished this depot for our fellow friend Barry Karlberg.  Barry models the Illinois Railway Museum trackage and has a neat layout concept.  I believe this is an AMB model.  Looks great doesn’t it?


Additional motivation was provided by my buddy Jim Dufour a few months ago.  Jim send along a photo of Mike Evans’ D&H Castleton, Vermont depot (shown in the two photos below).  What a beautiful model.

IMG_3171 Castleton Vt. Depot

Mike was kind enough to send me an additional view of the building:

Cton sta south west

This is outstanding model building, and finishing.  Mike wrote “This is the depot I built of Castleton, Vermont. As far as I know, no one else has built a model of this station.  It was scratch-built mostly of styrene. The shingle siding is from Sylvan.  Doors and windows were a combination of Tichy, modified Tichy and some were scratch-built. Fortunately, the real depot is still standing and the folks that own it were kind enough to let me measure and take all the photos I wanted.”

With all that excellent motivation in mind, I got back to work on my Ackley depot.  Here’s the prototype:


I began this phase by painting the plastic shell I built.  As a reminder, the shell was built from Walthers brick sheet; I guess-timated most of the building’s features since I only have unofficial dimensions and one photo view (the same view from multiple eras, oddly).  I have a brick from the depot site and it is brown, but I assume it was weathered over time.  I wanted to apply a color that was a little more red that the brick I had in hand, so I thought by brush-painting the structure with Floquil Tuscan red, it would be just right.  This turned out to be a mistake.  The color dried maroon, not red or brown, and it just didn’t look right.


Here is the depot after the first coat.  The maroon brick, with the washed-out brown roof, did not work together and didn’t look right when I staged it on the layout.


Here is the brick platform, custom cut by Bill Hoss of Lake Junction Models, after the first coat of paint.  To provide a little contrast I painted this with Floquil ATSF Mineral Brown and lightly sanded it to provide a smooth finish.  I’ll write more on the platform in a later post.


Here is the depot during problem solving.  I had two problems to solve: 1) Fixing the color, and 2) Cutting the brick so I could install doors.  I used doors and freight doors from Grandt Line.

I learned, when test-fitting all the doors and windows, that the door (pedestrian and baggage doors…) frames would not clear the lower brick side sill.  Before I re-painted the building I cut enough of the side sill off to provide clearance for the door frames.  I ended up hacking the model up quite a bit but I was able to remove enough of the material to get the doors to fit.


Here’s an example of the surgery I had to conduct, as seen below.  What a mess.  Once the extra material was removed and sanded I painted the model again, this time with Floquil ATSF Mineral Brown.


I neglected to take photos when applying the windows and detail parts, mostly because I did it for 10-15 minutes per night during a very busy work/family week.  The two types of windows used are both from Tichy; in both cases they were modified to fit into the brick.  The personnel and loading doors are from Grandt Line.  I took everything off the sprues, sanded and cleaned all the parts, and then taped them to a piece of cardboard for painting.  I painted them with Testors Green–you know, the paint that comes in the tiny little bottle.



I used a variety of styrene shapes for the building’s details, but most of it came from the scrap bin.  I used Evergreen Ho scale 2 x 8 strips for the window and door “caps”–the small stone cornices–and the concrete caps on the brick side sills were Evergreen Quarter-Round – .040 diameter.  Everything else, like the tubes for the gutters , and steps, and other parts, were all parts from the bin that just “looked right”.  I painted all the of the concrete pieces with Floquil Concrete before fixing them to the model.


Another view of the almost-completed depot is below.  I had to rebuild the door on the parking lot side because I accidentally cut the opening too large.  I hope that won’t be too noticeable.  I still need to install gutters, and the trademark sign on the ends of the roof, and a few more details, and do a slight bit of weathering.  The sign is from a very old Vintage Reproductions set.  The chimney is another Grandt Line product.  I also added a hose outlet at the baggage door on the far left where I hacked up the plastic.  I’ll take a close-up of that area later.


After finishing I will install the unique train-order signal which looks a lot like a US&S three-light traffic control signal.  More to follow on that later as well.  The Louie had them at five or six stations on the system.  That signal will add a lot of animation and I’m looking forward to getting that done as part of the depot build.

Happy Modeling and Happy Easter.  I hope you and your families have a blessed celebration of our Savior’s Resurrection!

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