ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOUSE, LEAVERITE
and NORTHERN RAILWAY
Apart from kitbashing unique rolling stock for the RMH,L&N Ry, my
favourite modeling task is building mini-scenes -- scenes with a
central focus that will catch the eye, and also blend into the overall track and scenic
arrangement of the layout. Stations, water tanks, junctions, small
townscapes, mines, oilfields, farmsteads and similar settings are
logical objectives. Details and era-specific transportation and
architecture help enforce the illusion of reality.
Such scenes are easy enough on indoor railways (see my
indoor railway story)
but a little more difficult outdoors, due to the ravages of weather
and wild critters. Each mini-scene is a separate module that can be
moved indoors for winter storage, renovation, or impending hail
storms. Here are some completed mini-scenes on the RMH,L&N.
Photos taken 2014 by the author and Ian Crain.
C&S 2-6-0 Mogul #5 is
swinging west at Caboose Junction. The station house is an old
caboose with freight and passengers waiting for the eastbound
express. A horse and buggy are passing the station. Grass is
outdoor turf and trees are Pinus Plastica. The grass overlaps the
plywood baseboard so that it snuggles up to the ballast along the
side of the track.
The Pioneer grain elevator
at Leaverite is a stand-alone building, a modified birdhouse with a nice shingled
roof. Some grass and a grain wagon provide the detail. Trees in
the background are at Caboose Junction.
Downtown Leaverite is represented by the old country church and the
Black Hills Saloon along Railway Avenue, opposite the grain
Uptown Leaverite is blessed with a substantial office building and
The Crain #1 oilwell derrick
is just on the edge of town, with the old church in the background.
The derrick is a Lionel product, about half-size
for for G Scale, but about right for a small layout.
Mogul #5 trailed by a DSP&P boxcar
and a series of flatcars with open loads, the first a large steam
traction engine for delivery to a "modern" farmer. Each flatcar is
its own mini-scene.
Here's the Randy
Andy Mine at the Pallisades. It's a Pola kit and the timber work is
Three views of roundhouse and freight house at Climax Hill
yard. The roundhouse at left
is kitbashed from several Pola stone engine house kits. Both buildings are stand-alone mini-scenes
with lots of details. The yard goat is a Lionel 0-6-0T, representing
a rebuilt DSP&P #1 "Fairplay". The road foreman's jitney and
the railbus just outside the roundhouse are Delton products.
The tank at Climax Hill and the train crew bunkhouses, with a few
sheep for company. DSP #1 "Fairplay" is just visible in the
Mogul #5 pauses for water at the tank beside
Glacier Station. This is an Alpine forest area below Big Rock
Head on view of #5 at Glacier Station. Grass and trees are as at Caboose
Junction. Wood stockpile for the locomotive is a kitbash of some
spare LGB parts. Platform lights are Lionel streetlights. Passengers
and baggage are ready for the next westbound passenger train. This
station is all wood.
Glacier Station again with a
good-sized group waiting for the next local passenger train,
showing more details, trees and grass. The whole module lifts out
for storage. Track is a model too. Ballast is coarse chicken grit
mixed with exterior grade white glue, painted with mahogany stain
to match the colour of the Big Rock, the centerpiece of the railway.
The front view of Glacier
Station. So far, this scene has survived 7 years of sun and rain and
a bit of hail. The green grass and green trees have not faded yet.
Closeup of the farmhouse and stable. The prize-winning Horned
Hereford bull is being led from his stall in the barn for a trip to
visit the cow herd.
Overview of the
ranch and wind pump. A kerosene-fueled tractor and horse team with
wagon place the era.
The Hereford cattle lounging
beside Shadow Lake are bracketed by the Big Steel Bridge (a six inch
steel channel) and the Shadow Lake Trestle in the foreground. The
grass is nice and green so it must have rained recently.
The mixed train with a reefer and combination baggage passenger
caboose is headed up Climax Hill, past the cowboy camp at Lone Pine.
The chuckwagon and cowboys are 1:32 scale, making the canyon look
deeper and farther away than they really are.
A lot of what I would
like to do in a mini-scene is too fragile for outdoors, so I keep
three 4-foot modules undercover to illustrate what can be done: Lost
Lemon Mine (left) with Brewster, an 0-2-2-0 working ore car,
Daly Glen Tank and Station (center), Foggy Bottom Lighthouse and
Poisson Ratio's Fish Plant (right).
Click here for larger image