August 24, 2012

Freelancing is hard

Work continues on the tavern to be named later. I cut the windows and doors on the laser and assembled them. Then I added the roof trusses, ridge beam made with laser cut 1/8th inch plywood and roof skin using 0.022 PolyBak.

Then I added the fascia and trim along the roof. In a first in a long time, I used 0.040 by 0.040 inch styrene strip to add the final trim pieces to the roof. I haven't use styrene on a model in a long time. Usually I laser cut the trim peices I need to the exact size, but it was quicker in this case to use styrene.

Once the roof was enclosed I added laser cut cedar shingles. It's a tedious process, but it does create a nice looking roof.

I still need to add the chimneys, porch and foundation.

The brick is very convincing. The Taskboard surface has a nice brick texture, not overdone like some other bricks I have seen. It also can be prepainted before laser cutting. That saves me having to try to paint the grout lines.  But the laser cutting process makes the individual bricks somewhat fragile. A few will come off in routine handling as you build the structure. So this laser cut brick technique is not really suitable for a commercial kit.

With the roof on, I placed the building back in its intended position. I am now reversing myself and leaning to having the building front face the road vice the tracks.

Even though the tavern is  freelanced, the orientation of the tavern would provide a hint to its history. If it faces the road, it probably pre-dates the railroad. However, if it faces the tracks, perhaps it was built after the railroad to service the passengers using Brooke as a stop to head into northwest Stafford and southern Prince William County.

There is also an unexpected practical implication. With the roof on and placed facing the road, I discovered that the building does a good job of blocking the view of across the "blob." ( I suppose it is only half a blob, as the other half is not visible.) In any case, my intent was to use the hill and trees  plus the low valance to interrupt the view down the length of the layout.

It did not occur to me when I was designing the layout that a building could also help perform that function. This is part of the learning process in switching from primarily N scale to O scale. Buildings and ships are quite large in O scale. It has taken me a while to make that mental calibration, now in the vertical dimension.

I noticed in reviewing the other buildings on the layout, that I tended to opt for smaller sheds and cabins. The depot at Falmouth was the only other large building. While it has a large footprint, it is only one story and does not have the vertical presence that the tavern and the church mock-up have. (The church mock up is the white building visible in the photos)

However, the tavern is further sparking my interest in trying a model of the very large Pioneer Mill and Fitzgerald Warehouses in Alexandria.

This un-retouched photo illustrates one of the problems with a low valance and high buildings. This is a good photo angle for capturing the train coming out of the tunnel, but  the low valance and the photos in hallway are very visible in the upper left. It will take some photoshop work to remove them when it comes time to do finished photos.

Finally I received some good suggestions for the name of the Tavern. Pete Magoun, being an old sailor, suggests "McGuirk's Fouled Anchor." He also suggested the "Old Dominion Inn." Gerry recommend "Uncle Billy's Tavern." Trevor's suggestion involved an artichoke.  Another that appealed to me was the Golden Stag or the Goldener Hirsh if I wanted to imply a German owner.

While these were interesting, I think something more in line with the locale might be in order. Some ideas that came to me were "Accokeek Inn" and the "Spotswood Tavern."  Accokeek is the stream that passes near Brooke. Spotswood is a very old Virginian name. One of the first governors of Virginia was named Spotswood and it was the first name of my brother's college roommate.  I am still open for suggestions. Get those creative juices flowing.


  1. I like the 'parallel to the road' position.

  2. Me too. Looks very good, Bernie! Wish I had the equipment you work with.

    Grtz, Ronald.

  3. Prefer parallel to the road as well. And I think Pete came up with a great name for the establishment!

  4. You bring up a very good point and a pet peeve of mine. I strongly dislike model city streets that follow the curves of railroads. Planned real life cities tend to build in grid patterns and stick to it regardless of where the railroad wants to go. And I feel that a railroad cutting through town on the diagonal makes for a very interesting element. But many early towns sort of grew following established trails and roads which tended to meander. So it depends on what kind of town you want to represent: planned or organically grown. Not to mention that a tavern has absolutely no reason to orient itself in relation to a railroad.
    Excellent work sir!