Friday, March 21, 2014

Rainbow Desert Freight Lines

Located next to Thunder Mesa Depot, Rainbow Desert Freight Lines provides express wagon service to many frontier outposts not served by the railroad. This graphic is one of the signs created to help transform an old B.T.S. Red Eye Saloon kit into an office for the freight lines.


From Saloon Kit to Freight Office 

After finishing up Big Thunder Saloon I was inspired to keep things rolling with another structure project. This time it's a kit-bash of an old B.T.S. Red Eye Saloon. It's a nice kit with great period architectural details and a small size that's a perfect match for the other diminutive structures in Thunder Mesa Town. Looking at the kit, I realized that with a little creative imagineering it would be perfect for an empty spot next to the depot.

This is what I started with. I built the Red Eye Saloon kit for another layout years ago but never got around to finishing it. Luckily, the roof was never glued down and that made it easier to bash and detail the structure now.

And this is the final product ready to be installed on the layout. New signs, a new front porch, loading dock, roof, lights and interior details are just some of the modifications made to the structure.

The loading dock with miscellaneous freight, Grandt Line freight doors and a wall mounted oil lamp.

Step one was carefully cutting through the scribed basswood siding of the model to create an opening for the Grandt Line freight door.

The freight door and frame were primed and the door was airbrushed in a two tone scheme to match the structure.

The freight door was cemented into place with ACC and the transom windows glassed with frosted acrylic. A new foundation was created from 1/4" thick MDF with the edges scribed and carved to resemble 12" x 12" scale timbers.

A wall mounted oil lamp was created for the loading dock by assembling the pieces above.

The finished lamp. The protruding diodes were bent back at right angles to the lamp, extending through holes in the structure and connected to the interior wiring.

The oil lamp in place on the structure.

An awning for the loading dock was constructed from illustration board and I made these decorative brackets from scale 6" x 6" stock to hold it in place.  The balls are dress-pin heads.

The awning roof was covered in hi-res printed photo-textures of actual tarpaper roofing. Scale 12" stock was used to deck the platform and front porch.

Interior walls were laid out in Adobe Photoshop using wood plank photo-textures and a door from cgtextures.com, along with various signs, posters and pictures. The print out was laminated to 1/16" thick illustration board using 3M 45 all purpose spray adhesive.

When cut out and assembled inside the structure, it is very difficult to tell that the interior walls are merely printed paper.

A counter, chair and oil lamp complete the interior detailing. The lamp was constructed around a 2.5mm yellow LED. The lion's share of interior space holds wiring for three LEDs that light the structure: the counter lamp, the flickering platform lamp, and a hidden 5mm yellow LED to illuminate the back room windows. Power enters from beneath the floor.

The counter lamp provides a steady, warm glow.

Testing out all the lights.

The original stove pipe from the B.T.S. kit was a bit oversized for such a small structure and I ended up replacing it with one from Grandt Line. The weathering was done with chalks and dry-brushed acrylic paints.

To finish the structure, I added a few crates and barrels to the platform, including one open, scratch built crate filled with packing straw (actually finely cut Woodland Scenics dry grass). A new, better fitting roof was built from illustration board and covered with photo-texture tar paper.

Rear view. The rafter ends are illustration board.


One Thing Leads to Another 

Finishing the Rainbow Desert Freight Lines has inspired me to get back to work on the entire depot area, a spot on the layout which has remained untouched since the depot was completed back in September of last year. In the coming weeks I'll be filling in the scenery here, ballasting the rails, adding details and a couple more small structures to finish things off.

The space between the depot and the freight office will soon be a busy wagon loading scene. I also need to do something about that tunnel portal.


That about wraps it up for this project but there's much more to come in the town and depot areas. Thanks for checking in. Adios for now!
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