Well, I know I said I would leave off further posts about Wilder’s Wagon Works. But here’s the thing. I don’t have a place for it on my layout until I build a new section. So I decided in the meantime to make a small diorama, using a small square of foam insulation board, covered with plaster cloth, painted with yellow ochre and  touch of brown, then drizzled with sand to indicate the main paths used, added some burnt grass, rocks and a tree.


That’s a scratchbuilt freight wagon under construction inside the building. And, as you can see, we caught the two workers taking a lunch break.


I hung one of my LEDs with an on-off switch powered by a 3V battery inside, with the battery and control behind and under the diorama. You can see the slight glow (above photo) on one of the boards inside the freight wagon.

Here are the side views.

I’ll see when I can get this judged for another possible merit award toward my NMRA Master Builder of Structures certificate. I received four merit awards when the judges came to visit me recently — for my derelict building, my steam derrick, my post and cable office and for my superdetailed kit build of the Flack mine.

My trestle bridge is still not finished and a couple items on it need reworking, according to the judges. But getting a merit award for it is close, I sense.

The judges, by the way, came mainly to assess my scenery for the NMRA certificate for Master Builder of Scenery. They say I’ve earned it, which gives me a good feeling of accomplishment as my main interests have always been scenery and structures.

Maybe I’ll start working on some scratchbuilt rolling stock next! Scratchbuilding is fun!

Wilder Wagon Works Rolls Out 1st Rig

The Wilder Wagon Works has rolled out its first wagon, an RS Laser Kits rig.


As you can see, the team at the wagon works has some lumber stacked up there on the shed side. They’ve also got some feed bags in case they have to tend to some horses (a Micro-Scale Models detail washed with India ink.) There are two sawhorses off to the right.


Another view.


This was a fun structure to scratchbuild. The RS Laser Kit was somewhat challenging to assemble, especially the wheels, hubs and axles. But it all worked out.

Actually there is a family connection to wagon building. My wife’s side of the family included a relative who founded the Reber Wagon Works in Centreport, Pennsylvania in 1892.



The County Barn

I recently discovered photos of the fabulous ghost town and state park in Bodie, California. One of the many structures there that caught my attention was The County Barn. Based on what I could find out about it on the web, it was used to store county highway equipment, including horse-drawn freight wagons.


Since I need a barn for the new section of the layout I am planning, and because I just got  an old wooden wagon two-pack kit, I decided to attempt a scratchbuild.


I still have some serious weathering to do, especially on the metal roof (made from strips cut from an old soda can.) But the brown shoe polish and isopropyl alcohol mix, later washed with India ink, came out looking pretty good on the walls.

There are no commercial pieces in this build. I used sheet board and batten for the walls and assorted strip wood for the framing and doors and window frames and rafters. I cut tiny pieces of strip styrene to make the three-over-three window mullions. That was a challenge!

But it’s coming along nicely, I think.


And when I get those wagons built and put some kind of base under the structure and cover it in earth, sand and hay, it should look much better. And my horse collection might cause me to add a corral coming off this back door. Or maybe longhorns? We’ll see.

More Random Scenes Around Eureka

I couldn’t resist painting the latest batch of Knuckleduster figures. Here are a few after placing them on the layout.


Looks like the fellows at the Flack Mine have a precious cargo to load and ordered up an armed guard for the shipment.


Meanwhile, over at the bank, looks like the banker is chatting with a couple, perhaps about a loan or a land deal?


Looks like a lot of activity over at Williams blacksmith shop.

img_0548Up at South Pass, at the Lincoln Lumber Company, owner Taylor Lincoln seems to be keeping a close eye on the operation…or maybe he’s just taking a break?


And that cow down on a siding in the rail yard seems to be concerned about the saddle horses nibbling at the grass just outside her stock car.

Hey, it’s 15 degrees outside, with a wind chill making it feel like 7! What else could I do today?

More Knuckledusting

I’ve gone all in on those Knuckleduster miniatures. I ordered and received the last three sets I didn’t have: passengers, wagon (or sitting) people and hitching rail horses. Here they are washed and ready for priming and painting.


I’ll probably end up doing what I did with the first sets to make sure they stand up (as appropriate) on the layout. I’ve been taking small railroad spikes and supergluing one to the feet or base of these miniatures. Then when I want to place them on the layout, I take a small drill bit and make a tiny hole that the spike slides into. Voila! Figures remain upright.

It’s actually quite demanding (and time-consuming) work to paint these, but the end product is well worth it if you’re doing an old time layout like I am.