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Modeling 'The Gilpin Tram' - pt.II
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 Posted: Sat Feb 22nd, 2020 03:46 am
531st Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 765
So, to prove this isn't all just talk
(or not "all hat and no cattle" as my Texas friends say)
I started building my new model of the Gilpin Tram engine house,
and took some progress photos.

I decided to build the two-stall version of the engine house.
We have photos of the engine house with one, and with three stalls,
so there had to be a time when it had only 2 stalls.

This shortened version (compared to the three-stall version)
fits the available space on my layout.

I framed the walls and interior framing using Evergreen styrene sheets,
and various "stick" sizes to construct the model.

I built the walls separate,
so I can finish the siding and paint the interior side when flat,
then assemble into the model.

Plus, leaving the walls off leaves room to detail the interior,
including piping, lighting, belt-drives for tools, etc.

On the previous model, I had put all the walls on,
and then detailed the interior - that is the hard way to do things!

The same above photo shows the basic weathering and coloring paints,
being spray-applied to get that well-used look.

Prototype photos show what seems to be a corrugated metal roof,
and it also appears to be painted, as it is dark,
and not light, like unpainted galvanized siding may appear. 

My go-to product for this is the embossed paper corrugated siding,
sold by Wild West Scale Model Builders.

I cut the strips into scale 8' lengths,
and then spray paint it different reddish brown colors.
I like the slight variations in colors between the pieces.

Just as I started this, both of my Badger air brushes developed glitches
(a broken spring in one, etc.) so they had to go back to Badger for repair.

In the interim, I purchased a cheap (less than $20) airbrush from Harbor Freight,
these appear to be cheap copies of other airbrush manufacturers,
and you definitely get what you pay for.

On the plus side,
this cheap airbrush was good enough to hose down the siding pieces with paint,
and it got the job done.

Now the fun begins.
I put double-side transfer tape on the roof,
and then start applying the painted corrugated siding pieces,
in this case, the small roof above the two locomotive stall doors.

This process is very easy and relaxing to do,
and you can create a very realistic looking roof very quickly.

I am actually much farther along than what I posted tonight,
but it's getting late, I'm tired, so that's all for now.

But, more progress will be shown soon!


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 Posted: Fri Feb 28th, 2020 05:24 pm
532nd Post
Cor V

Joined: Wed Mar 11th, 2015
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 338
Nice build.  :thumb:

There is an alternative for tools from Vectorcut :

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 Posted: Fri Feb 28th, 2020 06:03 pm
533rd Post

Joined: Wed Oct 6th, 2010
Location: Twickenham, United Kingdom
Posts: 1213
I do like the framework and wall structures Keith, nice detail.

Looking forward to seeing the roof in place.

Double sided tape is a great tool.



Updah Creek
My Flickr albums
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 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2020 03:53 am
534th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 765

Cor V - thanks for posting the link to the brass-etched detail parts - are they 1:35 scale?
I always liked the figure and detail part choices available in that scale.


March has been a very busy month for me, for many reasons.
However, I have continued with the Gilpin Tram enginehouse model.

I finished cladding the walls and roof.

I used 3M transfer tape.
This is a double-sided tape-like material, that is thinner, stronger,
and more durable than typical double-sided office tape.
Once I put a piece down, it stays!

I used Wild West Scale Model Builders' embossed corrugated metal roof sheets,
which come in paper strips I cut to length.

The wall siding is painted paper, cut to "tin" siding sheet sizes.

Once I had built the exterior walls and roof,
it came time to frame up the interior.

But, what actually was in the enginehouse interior?

There are no photos or drawings showing much detail as to what was there.
A few clues come from the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.
Besides showing a plan draining of the enginehouse, they drew a dark circle with the notation "U.B.",
which according to a key to Sanborn symbols I have indicates a vertical steam boiler.

There is also a drawn circle with the notation "F.P. & Hose", for a fire pump and hose.
There are a couple of other circles drawn,
which could either represent standpipes for water lines,
or maybe a stack - I am not sure.

The sketch above was drawn by Joe Crea,
based on his observations of the photos of the enginehouse.

He drew the enginehouse in the 3-stall version,
and the sketch above is cropped to not show the 3rd stall. 

My interpretation of the Sanborn map, Joe's sketch, and photos led me to "guesstimate" that the enginehouse:
  • Had a vertical steam boiler, used to power water pumps and belt-driven machinery for machine tools
  • There was a partial second floor at the former barn's loft - the left hand side of the enginehouse has an upper large door, typical of a barn hayloft door
  • The tall stack is the vertical boiler stack, and the two smaller stacks with pointed end caps are smoke vents for where engines park

Also, Dan Abbott told me a few years ago that his research,
when he was writing the Gilpin Tram Era book,
found that there was a water cistern inside the enginehouse, used to water locomotives.
So, I needed to include that in my model, too!

So, based on my observations, notes, speculation, etc.,
I came up with these ideas as to what would be inside the enginehouse:

Using this information, I continued building the enginehouse,
and also checked the fit for where it will drop into my layout:

The above photo shows the "roughing in" stage,
when I was checking fit and loosely laying in some of the walls.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2020 04:05 am
535th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 765
I built the interior framing of the enginehouse with styrene,
and painted it the same time as the rest of the walls with an airbrush.

I posted a photo of this in progress, 2 posts ago.

This photo shows the model starting to come more together.
I have left off some of the walls to make it easier to add interior details.

Near the front of this photo, you can see the water cistern,
used for watering locomotives.

Because this would be a heavy load,
it is supported on its own heavy wood framing.

Next to it sits the vertical steam boiler,
a cast resin kit from Rio Grande Models.

By now, I had added all the interior details,
and was ready to finish installing the walls.

The photo above shows I have added figures, tool benches,
shop machinery, and general clutter to the model.

The two stalls are very compact,
there would not have been a lot of room inside the enginehouse.

The workbenches are resin castings from Rusty Rail.

I added a belt-driven drill press, a metal casting from Rio Grande Models.
I haven't added the belt drive yet (colored tracing paper).
Also, the LED lights haven't been installed in this photo, either.

The red hose is used to fill the little Shay locomotive tenders.
The hose is painted wire solder, bent to shape, and painted red,
this seems to be the color favored in rubber hoses 100+ years ago

Work continues on the model,
but I am getting much closer to finishing the model.

I'll work more on the model tomorrow,
and then post photos later this coming week.

Until then


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 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2020 11:07 am
536th Post

Joined: Wed Oct 6th, 2010
Location: Twickenham, United Kingdom
Posts: 1213
The shop is coming along beautifully Keith,
and the increasing detail is great.

Those Rusty Rail castings are first class as I found,
when I used them for my loco workshop on Updah.

Being resin castings,
I found they could be easily modified if need be,
and painted up nicely.



Updah Creek
My Flickr albums
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 Posted: Wed Mar 25th, 2020 10:46 pm
537th Post
Keith Pashina

Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 765
Slateworks (Doug) 

Yes, there are many great small manufacturers out there making nice detail parts and accessories.
It seems like I am continually finding new sources when I starting browsing around the web.

Unfortunately, there are many small businesses that sprout up for a while, then disappear.

When I started modeling in narrow gauge,
several experienced modelers advised me to buy something I liked when I saw it,
because the product may not be available tomorrow.

For the GT enginehouse, I started purchasing kits for machine tools, detail parts etc. about 15 years ago,
that I intended for my boiler works and machine shop, and enginehouse models.
Like any real modeler, I avidly collected many more parts and kits than what I actually needed!

Not to worry, though.
I can use the "leftover" kits and detail parts on a future smelter complex I am contemplating building.


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 Posted: Thu Mar 26th, 2020 03:41 am
538th Post
Tom Ward

Joined: Tue Nov 14th, 2017
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 618

Your engine house is really coming along. 
Beautiful work and the details look great. 

I keep getting sidetracked on mine and the time just slips by. 
I’m impressed with the amount of progress you’ve made. 

I’d like to add that this thread of yours,
is what caused me to join Freerails. 

Thanks for all the work you’ve put into it. 
Really informative and inspiring.


Tom Ward

"When I die I want to go quietly in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."
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 Posted: Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 05:01 am
539th Post
Jon Dierksheide

Joined: Sun May 27th, 2018
Posts: 22
Great work Keith on the machine shop and engine house. 
Thanks for sharing your journey.  I've really enjoy following it.

I was browsing the Denver Public Library Western Collection and stumbled on this photo.
In the thumbnail image I thought the wagon wheel tracks were railroad rails,
and that's what caught my eye.

But no, instead it was the W J Chamberlain Sampling Works and the Randolph Mill,
with the Gilpin rails leading down to it,
a harp switch stand and what is really interesting is the corrugated roof on the building. 

I thought at first it was some large metal corrugation,
but I think it may have been canvas,
or other stiff material draped on the rafters with some rips on the right side. 

On the left it looks more like canvas,
but on the right it looks too smooth in areas to just be draped over the rafters. 

It looks like one sheet, not tar paper rolls.
I can't imagine how that would hold up to snow loads in the winter,
and it doesn't look like it was a temporary tarp. 

Has anyone seen a roof like that?  I've never seen one.
Also interesting is that there is a tall chimney next to the building,
but no connection to the building, unless it is behind the dog, but that seems too low. 

I would have expected a pipe near the eaves,
but maybe it had been removed, since the windows are boarded up.

I of course got out The Gilpin Era,
and found what looks like a companion photo to this one on p308,
with this one taken in the opposite direction from where the track crosses the flume. 

I thought the wagons might be the same but one horse is white. 
The wagon tracks are similarly visible, but what seals the deal is in front of the buildings,
on the left is the head of a man behind the rock pile,
and on p 308 there is what looks like the same man,
in a depression behind the rock pile from the opposite side!

It was taken with quite a zoom lens,
since the harp switch stand next to the building is for the sampling works and mill,
and you can see the rails enter the left of the sampling works building. 

So the rails curve left behind the front building and then back right,
and into the left side of the sampling building.

I think Keith talked about that building previously. 

On p310 there is a birds eye (or hill side view) of the area from the other side,
and you see how far apart the buildings really are. 

With that much zoom, I think the Mill sign to the right of the flume,
may be the Penn Mill further down the valley (see p 312). 

Also interesting is the fill under the tracks,
not the usual fine stone work I think of on the Tram.

I also noticed a tram tower and what looks like unloading building
(with the large angled supports to counter the cable tension)
which would have been about right where the Gilpin entered the Mill
(p212 in the Gilpin Era). 

Did you talk about the cable tram in a previous post? 

I thought there was one after the Gilpin ceased,
but with a horse wagon it seems like it must have been there about 1902,
although the 1900 Sanborn maps don't show it. 

Didn't mean to change subjects, but this is still Gilpin related.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 01:09 pm
540th Post
Kevin Fall

Joined: Thu Nov 9th, 2017
Posts: 34

Nice observations on the Denver Public Library photo you linked to.
I don't recall seeing this before.

Keith did talk about the Randolph Mill cable tram back on his 239th post.
He showed a distant photo of the mill with the tram tower circled in red,
in what I believe is the same tower, that is a clearer view in the DPL photo you referenced.

It is also shown from the other side.
I am thinking about possibly building the Randolph Mill eventually,
and the clearer view of the tram tower and terminal building, certainly solves another mystery.

I think you are correct in thinking that the sign in the background of the photo is the Penn Mill sign.
If you look on page 315 of the Gilpin Railroad Era you can see the same lettering on the mill (photo dated 1909),
which appears to match the photo you referenced, but the letters are now faded.
Thus the DPL photo would have been taken at an earlier date.

Just speculation, but thanks for the information.

And Keith

Very nice work on the engine house, and thanks for the reference to Rusty Rails.
Somehow I hadn't run into them before, even though I've been in the hobby 45 years.


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