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Author Previous Topic: Need some technical help with a loco. Topic Next Topic: Mara Harbor a 0n30 show layout part 2
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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/03/2019 :  09:03:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Bob,

I did find the roofing shingles for the handcar/tool shed at the aforementioned major train show. At two acres of model trains in one building, it is always impressive. As to be expected there was HO and N roofing out the wazoo and even some S, but only two dealers that I could find that had O. Nevertheless, mission accomplished and now the shed can be completed.

I purchased mine from Rail-Scale Models. Give their website a look as they make and sell interesting laser cut detail parts as well as structures.

All the best.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/04/2019 :  3:15:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Outhouse Serendipity

I had purchased an MTH (Mikes Train House) pre-built plastic outhouse (90001) several years ago. It was cast in white plastic with an overall spray of flat white paint and it always seemed to me that it was too bright to be right, so I considered toning it down a bit while on the current structure painting spree. However, when I started researching outhouses, I found that, historically, MTH got it right, so I left it as it was.

Period outhouses were often whitewashed inside and out. Whitewash is simply slaked lime (Calcium Hydroxide) mixed with water. It is not a paint that covers wood or masonry with a continuous coat, but it is applied as a thin emulsion that actually soaks into the covered surface. It does not dry like paint either. It chemically reacts with the natural Carbon Dioxide in the air to form a coating of Calcite crystals. The double refraction of light due to the crystal covering gives the coated structure a unique surface glow akin to the above described outhouse model.

Why did our ancestors rely on whitewash? In the age before manufactured medicines, it possessed a natural antibacterial property. This proved effective when spread over large areas normally adjacent to or surrounding people, such as backyard fences, the walls of a kitchen or a dairy barn or an outhouse. In addition, when mixed with a little ordinary salt (Sodium Chloride), it also develops anti-mold and anti-fungal properties.

Whitewash also worked as an insect repellent for ants and other creepy-crawlies. It also served with some effect as a deodorizer, but its highly reactive first cousin known as quicklime (Calcium Oxide) was better for that. An occasional dose of quicklime added to the "receptacle" would go a long way to making the outhouse civilized.

Its only major drawback is, unlike a coat of paint, whitewash is not weather resistant and it needs occasional renewing, but its cost is so little, this was not a big problem. As it had no injurious effects on the human body, recoating was also a good way to keep children busy or as a punishment for bad behavior, as portrayed in the Mark Twain classic Tom Sawyer.

Now for a few words about outhouse architecture. From what I've seen, most of the outhouses currently being modeled can be considered as "quaint" with a slanting shed roof over a simple closed structure painted in dark colors, with a door in one side. Actually, many outhouses were architecturally matched to their adjoining structures and the MTH one earns its place by having a peaked roof that compliments the factory building that was selected for the layout.

Most outhouses for public use featured fretwork ornamentation of a crescent moon or a star, which traditionally denoted usage by either women or men. However, the MTH ornaments are combined above the door on the pediment, which indicates that it is a coed facility, albeit one user at a time. Starting with the Plasticville ones in the nineteen fifties, which were marked His and Hers, the use of the star ornament has faded away on model outhouses and almost all now just have the crescent moon, if they have anything at all.

The source of my favorite "privy" story is railroad related. A new employee needed to relieve himself, so he went to find the facility, but another workman was standing outside of it, indicating that it was already in use. With no place else to go, literally, he waited in line with the other workman, who sized him up. After a few minutes, the workman let him in on the secret. The outhouse was actually empty and the workmen used the act of standing outside of it, ostensibly waiting for their turn, as an excuse to take extended breaks from work. By letting the new employee go ahead of him, so to speak, the waiting workman appeared to be a good guy plus he got to shirk work a little longer.

Edited by - Dan on 02/05/2019 05:49:01 AM

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Posted - 02/05/2019 :  11:37:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
that was very interesting history.


It's only make-believe

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/06/2019 :  09:18:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Bob,

As a history and technology buff I like to research obscure things that affected the day-to-day lives of our ancestors.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/08/2019 :  12:09:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From telephone shanty to fire hose shed with two stops in between.

The currently available MTH 90002 is sold as an O-scale ready-built, plastic Telephone Shanty and it was purchased with the intent of using it in some fashion on the layout. The body of the structure is molded in an unusual royal blue color with a tan painted roof and a white painted door. The window details are molded onto the walls and are painted white. It also comes with a three step base that is colored grey. The base just didn't look right so it was jettisoned and the structure now sits directly on the ground. Although a plastic telephone shanty was not specifically needed, it is a rather well made, very small O-scale structure that has a history of being handy to have around the layout.

When the surface mounted Peco twin coil turnout motor, hooked up in the standard manner (non-DCC), was installed on the layout, it was found that the blue telephone shanty could be used to hide the Jurassic looking turnout motor by slipping the structure over it, thereby taking on the role of a switch tender's shack.

However, as the layout progressed, it was decided to convert the turnout motor to DCC. This required vertically mounting a control card next to the motor, so either a second telephone shanty was needed to cover the DCC card or a bigger building was needed to cover the both of them. The bigger building, acting as the yard office, was the option decided upon, which left the shanty without a job.

As the factory area developed, the shanty found another use as the control cabin for the mechanized bucket elevator that feeds the rock bunker. There is a maintenance door at the top of the elevator that was originally connected to the ground by a series of stairs and platforms. They increased the footprint of the rock bunker to the point where they had to be left off. In their place, a long ladder was needed to reach the access door. What was used was a duplicate of the laser cut wood ladder ordered for the water tank (the eBay price was two for a buck). The space required for adding the ladder bumped the control cabin off of the layout, leaving the shanty, once again, out of a job.

With the change from the needed, but unavailable plastic structures to the smaller, laser cut wood kits, a bit of real-estate opened up that begged to be filled. As the spot in question is along the right-of-way, between the ex-pump house, now a line side storage shed, and the handcar/tool shanty, situated adjacent to the factory building, a garish looking telephone shanty would seem out of place.

What would be practical is something even more garish and that would be the seldom modeled fire hose shed. These sheds were just large enough to hold a hydrant and a long length of hose, all set up and ready for use on a moment's notice, plus axes and other minor pieces of fire equipment. Externally, all that is needed to make the change from a royal blue telephone shanty to a model of a fire hose shed is a coat of red paint, but that requires another journey into the land of rattle-cans.

Just when you think that you have seen it all, things get even stranger. The mouth-filling name for Krylon paint that was posted previously has been surpassed. The present can is labeled Krylon Fusion All-In-One Paint + Primer (a whopping eleven syllables).

Regrettably, my theory that the quality of the paint is inversely proportional to the combined number of words in the name of the paint and the name of the color seems to be true. In this case the color name is Matte Fire Red.

According to the dictionary, matte is supposed to mean dull, lusterless, not glossy and not shiny. However, it seems in the present world of rattle-can paints, matte apparently means satin and the term satin doesn't mean anything at all because the satin finish paints will not come out of the (expletive deleted) can!

Much of the present-day reformulated spray paint dries to the touch rather quick, but it takes quite a while to completely cure. My house has hot water heat with cast-iron radiators, which come in handy for the wintertime curing of various types of glues as well as model paints (the radiators will be missed on the move to an apartment). I will let the structure "cook" for a while on a radiator to see if the unwanted sheen softens to matte. In theory, when the paint smell disappears, the object that is cooking is done.

If not, perhaps an old fashioned spritz with Testors Dullcote will do the trick. On the other hand, the Dullcote application may make everything curdle like month old milk. One thing that I have learned about using reformulated rattle-can paint...Life is a crapshoot.

At least they got the color right, kinda-sorta (it is a bit too orange to be a true fire truck red). Once again, the color of the can cap and the paint do not match. While it seems that I am really getting into being a grouchy old man, there is a lot riding on finding a suitable spray paint, as the fleet of company vehicles, currently factory coated in a very glossy, red and black scheme, also needs repainting.

The photos show the fire hose shed soon after the paint had dried to the touch, with waving guy, all six and a half feet of him, as a size reference. The glare of the so-called Matte Fire Red is noticeable. Also shown are the fronts of the storage shed and the handcar/tool shanty. When combined with the new fire hose shed they make a good looking threesome, which will become a layout vignette.

Edited by - Dan on 02/08/2019 3:19:55 PM

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David Clark

Posted - 02/08/2019 :  6:10:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A shot of Testor's Dullcote will knock the shine off that shack in sheconds.

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/10/2019 :  06:32:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Dave,

As soon as I get a fresh can, I'll give it a try.

All the best

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/13/2019 :  06:48:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fire hose shed update.

Heeding Dave's advice about using Testors Dullcote to "knock the shine off that shack in sheconds" I mounted another expedition to my local arts and crafts store. They were out of Dullcote, if fact they were out of most things that could be used to build models, but they had something I had not considered as a way to shed the shack shine.

They had Testors Flat Red in a spray can. A quick spritz over top of the failed Krylon produced a nice deep red that has a very flat finish, which is what I originally had in mind. It looks like this will also do for refinishing the company fleet of vehicles.

Testors also has the same color in a small bottle for brush and touch up work. Testors was always noted for their color matching between mediums and paint runs, but as they are now "associated" with Rust-oleum and their myriad reformulations (both are owned by the same conglomerate) things may have changed. There is so little of the "old ways" still around, let us hope not.

If changes were made, I can always fall back on using kindergarten finger paint to complete the layout, although it tends to be a bit messy. There are some things in this world that will never change.

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