New pics from the In-ko-pah Railroad, including a small crane and an abandoned mine with a stone cabin:
I had expected my next project would be construction of the Dos Manos depot. However, the complexity of that structure convinced me that I should try out my methods on a couple smaller buildings first. I also needed something to hide an electrical junction near the tracks at the east end of the layout. Since there is an abandoned mine nearby, I decided to build a small, decrepit stone cabin.
The cabin was of real stone and mortar, using a variation of the technique I used to to make my stone bridges. I made a form out of foam-core board, placed the stones inside, added some wire mesh, and poured in the mortar. Unfortunately I was out of film at the time so I didn't get any photos of the construction.
The roof was inspired by a building in the ghost town of Rhyolite, NV. It was covered with random bits of sheet metal, including flattened tin cans, all darkened by age and rust. My roof is made of styrene which was carved and painted to look like old wood. The "shingles" are bits of aluminum from soda cans, with grooves and ridges pressed into them to make them look like flattened, miniature tin cans, corrugated metal, etc.
The floor of the cabin is scribed styrene painted to look like wood, and littered with debris. There is also a crude steel-drum stove.
Across the tracks from the cabin is the abandoned mine. The mine shaft was built some time ago. I added a headframe, and a small powder magazine (explosives storage) set into the hillside next to the mine. The magazine is made of stone with a wooden door. The door has working hinges and is reinforced with tiny "nails" made from bits of wire. It is heavily weathered and scarred with bullet and shotgun holes.
The hillside has also been reconfigured and includes another, smaller mine shaft. There are also some places where I will eventually add more buildings. Higher up, I built a stone retaining wall to support the tracks leading onto the plate girder bridge.
Around the stone cabin and at several other sites, are numerous scratch-built, artificial desert plants. These include ocotillos, cholla cactus, and various small shrubs. As work progresses, more of these plants will be added.
At the other end of the layout is the Cliffside Mine, its hoist house and headframe perched precariously on the mountain. The Cliffside Mine has a couple of exciting new additions. First is a trestle for the tiny 15" gauge tram which will eventually serve the mine. I still have to put in the tracks to the east and west of the trestle, but already it improves the look of the mine considerably.
Next is a small crane next to the hoist house. This was completely scratch-built, mostly of brass. The boom was made from 1/4" scale rails. The gears came from my old printer, and I used a Dremel to carve the spokes. The crane's "motor" was made from a short length of brass tube, capped with a couple parts from plastic Japanese robot kit. The hook is from Ozark Miniatures. The crane is poseable -- it swivels and the hook can be raised or lowered. I also put in a stone retaining wall and concrete pad to support the crane.