Sunday, May 24, 2009

Three Stations

The Campbell station's nearly done, with only a few details left to touch-up. My next step (though it may take a while to get there) is to landscape the area where the station will sit. I'll need to add the ground, weeds, tracks for the interurban, posts to keep cars from parking too close to the building, garbage and debris (people were slobs in the 1930's, too?), and whatever makes the scene realistic.

Still, the station's detailed enough for me to declare it complete, and move on. That's the good and bad side of the hobby; it's easy to say "it's good enough" and find another project, and then five years later maybe pick up the model again to touch up paint, or add some additional details on the exterior (like rain gutters on the back side?). If the model's never really done, can I say I'm making progress?

Just as a reminder of progress, I realized this was the third station I've built to match a Southern Pacific prototype.

I built the first (now Wrights station) back in grad school when my hobby budget was exactly $30/month, and that was being spendthrift. I remember being so careful in the hobby shop to pick just the materials I'd need for that month's projects. I scratchbuilt the station from styrene, basing it on a pencil sketch of the Agnews depot in the "Valley of Santa Clara" list of historical structures around San Jose. I messed up on scale and length there, but luckily all the South Pacific Coast details in that model matched what was available at Wrights. I modeled wainscoting and plaster walls on the inside, and added the decorative roof support details on the exterior, but I never found windows to fit the scratchbuilt openings I framed, so the window openings are still empty. I might have borrowed a Santa Clara Valley prototype, but its first location was on a shelf layout in imaginary central California. I'm glad it's found an appropriate home.

(On the subject of Wrights, check out these great photos of the tunnel at Wrights as seen in February 2009!)

The second SP station was the huge San Jose Market Street station that was the main station until 1935. I built this model for a
shelf layout
I keep in the house.
This was another scratchbuilt model, again out of styrene, and I remember just being amazed at how large the model was compared to anything I've done in the past. It's 24 inches long, and has a ton of doors and windows. I also learned about painting fixtures here; I created a little mask out of strip styrene to spray paint the white sashes on the window castings. This model's mostly complete, but it got to the point of looking decent a few years ago, and has never quite been finished. For a while, the interior was the blocking issue, but I added minimal detail a while back. The shelter at the entrance still needs to be attached. Most importantly, the huge barn that covered all the tracks of the station still needs to be built. I'll get to it one of these days... if building that seems fun.

And the last station is the Campbell station I've already written about. Here's the latest picture with rain gutters and signs installed. It's been a change from the previous model. I kitbashed this model from a laser kit, constructed from wood and paper rather than plastic.
It has more details like the wood screen in the front gable and wooden corbels holding up the roof. I also was able to duplicate the fanciful bracing on the baggage door.

These three models cover fifteen years of modeling, and fifteen years of consciously or unconsciously sticking to a theme of stations in the Santa Clara Valley. All three, also, represent building from photos. Although the Wrights station was only based on one sketch, I've added other details based on photos of the Wrights depot from books. The SP Market Street Station was my first serious effort to do some research on the station from Sanborn maps, then use old photos and postcards to figure out the arrangement of the structure. The Campbell station is probably the first where I've explicitly marked up photos to figure out what exact details to add.

More importantly, none of the stations is quite done, but they're all complete enough for me to be able to say "yes, I've made progress". (Looking at all three together also reminds me I never painted the Wrights station roof green; the original roofs were all stained shake shingles.) All three stations are also reminders of what I've done in the hobby in the past, and of the time in my life when I was building each one.

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