No. 59: Ackley Depot Scenery, Part 0

Last Friday my wife dragged me out to the “Technikmuseum Sinsheim” (in English, the Technical Museum at Sinsheim, Germany).  My wife was excited to take my son and me there but honestly I expected another slow day at another museum.

It turned out I was very, very wrong.  It was like going to the German version of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  It was fantastic.


The museum was full of tanks and military vehicles of all types, along with an entire warehouse full of cars and motorcycles and F1 cars, plus a warehouse of tractors, airplanes, bikes, ship engines, and other interesting things too numerous to mention.  Above, a restored Panther on rollers that operates–very loudly–every few minutes with a revolving turret.  Below, a fully-operational German-design steam roller.


And there was plenty of railroad equipment too.  Below is a German 2-8-2 that ran regularly into the 1970s.


Every section of the museum is stuffed full of neat artifacts.  At least seven heavy railroad locomotives are displayed in various buildings and three of them are on rollers, and for a Euro-buck you can start the rollers and watch the wheels and gear turn.  It’s really neat.

Below.  There is a very large section full of mostly German military equipment from World War II and it is fascinating.  Also in the military section is a 2-10-0 locomotive with one side painted in a wartime winter camouflage scheme.

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One thing I appreciate about this museum is they don’t make any apologies for the war.  Many war or history museums in Germany spend a lot of time blaming the German people for everything wrong with the World.  Sinsheim, however, puts it all right out there without any judgement.  There are SS uniforms and symbols, idols of Hitler, and all kinds of references to the fighting fronts, and much more with no apologies offered.  That’s real history.


Speaking of modeling, one of the very few models presented at Sinsheim is this model (below) of a German Army 28 cm Eisenbahngeschutz (Railway Gun).  The model was made during the war, and it is displayed with exciting wartime literature.


Scenery at the Depot

As mentioned in a first few posts, I had a curved brick platform built for me by Bill Hoss of lake Junction Models and I used that as a template to lay the broad mainline curve at the depot site.  I painted the platform with Floquil ATSF Red and painted the concrete edge with Floquil Aged Concrete.  I weathered the platform by painting it with a thin solution made of about 5% artist’s oil paint and 95% paint thinner.  That got just enough black paint into the cracks between the bricks to make it look weathered.  Ideally these would be pavers with no mortar in between, but I like the weathered look.


I marked the location of the platform and then put down a thin layer of Hydrocal over the entire parking lot area.  What I was looking for was a flat parking lot.  After the Hydrocal was dry I sanded it as flat as I could (that turned out to be a bad plan) and then I painted it with the same Earth-color paint I used for all the landforms on the layout.  Then I used some Earth-tone sand from Arizona Rock and Mineral Co. and sifted it onto the wet paint.




The sanding didn’t work too good but I thought I could cover the imperfections with a light layer of sand.  The two photos below show how I put down the sand layer.  I put down a light coat of hair spray and then sprinkled dirt lightly on top.  Then I saturated the area with hair spray to spread it out evenly.





Above.  When everything was dry, the parking lot was uneven and looked like a beach.  I liked the texture but it looked like the beach.  I also had an unsightly gap near the fascia that I didn’t fill.  So I left it alone for a few days.  When I came back a few days later, it still looked like a beach.  So I decided to start over and smashed the whole thing out with a hammer.


I sat on the project for a while and then I had the idea to use a sheet of thin cork to create a flat, dirt parking lot surface.  I went to an awesome craft store about 45 minutes away in Trier called Bastel Stube, and picked up some cork of varying thicknesses and some other cool stuff.  It’s a neat place.

Before laying the cork I glued the depot platform down with Elmer’s spray adhesive.  When that was dry I cut the cork to fit and glued it on the layout with the same Elmer’s spray glue.  A couple of photos below show that process.




The Elmer’s spray glue worked great…for a day.  Then, after about 36 hours, the platform and cork sheet peeled up and popped right off the layout.  It was hot and very humid in Germany that week and I think that contributed to the problem.

So I cleaned everything up AGAIN and this time used Elmers white glue to hold it down.  I had to use a few screws into the center of the platform to take out some warping, but I used them in places that would be covered by the depot model.


I got it flat and got it looking good for now.  I’m good with it for now.  Next I need to lay plaster over it again to simulate dirt and then weather to suit.

Because this whole post is about how I screwed everything up, repeatedly, I titled it “Depot Scenery, Part Zero”.

Maybe I should’a titled this post “How Not To Build A Parking Lot.” – John

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