This is the second water tank I have constructed, the first was for a 1:20.3 scale kitbashed water car, which can be seen in the June 2004 issue of Fine Scale Railroader.
This build was much different and represented a smaller water tank that could be used as a trackside detail on any model railroad. I was trying to remain within the scale of the main model, a Ertl 1:50 Hitachi backhoe. However, I did not feel the need to maintain a strict adherence to the scale as I was not attempting to be published or have this permanently affixed to the construction diorama. This was built for the pure fun and enjoyment of modeling.
The model began as a grey plumbing coupling piece which measures 2 1/2” in diameter and 2 3/8th” tall. I lightly sanded the raised lettering off the lip and washed it in hot soapy water.
The next step was the creation of the corrugated steel siding that would be glued around the cylinder. I used two aluminum cans, cutting the top and bottom off and cut the can in half which creates a sheet. WARNING, you must be very careful as the cutting creates sharp burrs and it is very easy to cut yourself.
Once the aluminum sheet is cut and the large burs are removed I will run it through a paper crimper which re-creates the look of corrugated siding. The sheet is cut to size and squared the best way possible with sheers. I used EMT sheers which work great.
I used a black marker to mark the locations for the various cuts and test fitted everything until it looked realistic. There is some overlapping and seems which also appear in real life. Once everything was cut to size and test fitted I applied Superglue to the plastic and pressed the aluminum onto the pipe as small clamps were affixed.
To give the model some character I decided on a wooden cover instead of a metal cover. I also used an Ozark Miniature 1:20.3 oil dome hatch that looks fairly well even though it’s way out of scale.
Before I did any work to the wooden popsicle sticks I let them sit is a bottle of tea for a week to give them a darker color. I lightly distressed the sticks and made sure they were not warped. I used two different sized popsicle sticks and temporarily affixed them to some masking tape. Once the popsicle sticks were laid out I further distressed them and then sat the cylinder on them to mark the outline. With the popsicle sticks fixed to the masking tape and the outline marked I used the same EMT sheers to cut the shape out. A few additional cuts with an X-Acto knife were required but not much.
Since this was a water tank I knew that I either had to have a protruding pipe or a pipe and valve assembly. Trying to keep the model as simple as possible I only installed a brass pipe that I thought looked good for the size of the tank. I added some square flashing that would have given the pipe some additional support.
The next step was to come up with a paint scheme. There was obviously going to be some rust and worn pain. However, being limited in resources I chose to do the painting as simple as possible.
The first coat of paint was Rust-Oleum primer. I did two light coats of this allowing more than the required time to dry in between coats. Once this paint had dried for 24+ hours I then used an acrylic paint from Americana which I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I used burnt orange and applied it with a small brush and also small pieces of sponge for a mottled effect. Once this paint had dried I used the hairspray technic which I learned from Michael Rinaldi, and applied two coats of TRESemme ultra fine mist hairspray. I should have only used one coat but got carried away. For the top color I used the same Americana paint but used Uniform Blue. I would have liked to have used a dark green but there is no paint stores here. The entire model to include the functional round hatch was painted blue. I left the wooden roof brown.
Once the blue paint had dried I mixed a 50/50 mixture of Windex and water to thin the blue paint to reveal the rusted sections. I had to scrub a little harder because I applied two coats of hairspray. However, once a small section of the undercoat of rust appeared I moved onto another section trying to keep the effect looking natural.
Once I was satisfied with that technique I moved onto various sections using both the Rustall liquid and some of the Bragdon Enterprises weathering system powders.
This was a very simple and enjoyable model to build which helped to enhance my various skills. I hope everyone enjoys the photographs and the step by step description of the build.