Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Central Plastics....Scratchbuilding 101

This area at the north end of Euclid Yard was a toughie to visualize.  I needed to hide the vertical curve for the steep grade leaving the yard, but keep the area accessible for switching; further I needed to represent some sort of structure for Central Plastics, a consignee on the M&E that occupies a narrow strip next to the main track.  Well, here's how it is coming out:

I used some cardboard to mock up a few ideas, and settled on one that is a two-tier modern structure with an enclosed unloading area.   The structure is only to suggest a larger plant that is not modeled, as that is all I can fit here!   This does a nice job of hiding the grade on the track, as well as providing some visual interest for viewers and crews working Central Plastics.   Here's an overview:

 You can see how this fits tightly against the fascia, suggesting a larger plant off the layout.  For my first-ever scratchbuilt structure, I used JTT styrene sheet and plastruct styrene strips.  The corrugated sheet was cut to fit, and then joined with the strips; I framed the corners out with scraps at the 90-degree angles.   The door and ends were cut to fit using an HO scale rule.  Black photo paper was cut to fit as ceilings, installed on top of the interior strip bracing.  It's rather basic and bland, but that's just what we need here.

And, here we go - a track-level view showing the door area, now ballasted.  The retaining wall was a piece of leftover bridge abutment that fit perfectly, and then additional corrugated sheet glued in place.  The building and wall were painted with Rustoleum Gray Primer, giving a nice flat light gray appearance that will accept light weathering well from pastels.   Trees will cover the area in back, and the foreground obviously is just getting started here - still, it's fun to see the progress! 

Yet to come here is a sign for the industry, some warning clearance signage, and some door and piping details along with a spotlight or two. 

And the march of the scenery continues south along the railroad!



  1. Dave - looks like you've done a great job on your building. As an idea, maybe you could try to "extend it" by putting a photo wallpaper of the more of the plant up along the front fascia of the layout. Kind of like a backdrop, but at the front.


    1. Jim, that's a really interesting idea. I'd not even thought of it. I will take a look and see what I can find to give it a try!