A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

July 10, 2011

Pump House and Lineman

I continued working on the final details punch list for Falmouth. I resumed sculpting the climbing telegraph lineman for the pole, added some grain sacks, installed some guard rails and built a pump house.

The telegraph lineman is based on the photo from the Civil War. It shows a soldier at the top of  pole doing maintenance. Actually, in the photo it looks like he is hanging on for dear life as he poses for a picture. I can't see any tools.

I cut and modified a locomotive engineer figure from Cannon Scale Models so that he looked like he was climbing the pole. These figures out of production now. I found them at a train show for a good price,

 I replaced the Cannon loco engineers head, that had a typical RRer's hat, with a head from a 28mm Old Glory ACW soldier wearing a flat wide brim hat. The heads on Old Glory figures are overscale (they should be about 1/58 to 1/64th scale) and work well with 1/48 scale figures. I also converted a second figure that would be leaning on a tree watching the action.

Unfortunately, both these figures were damaged as I heated them to speed the cure of the two part modelers putty, in this case it was Andrea Sculpt. The metal in the figures actually melted. I used my hair dryer to speed the cure as suggested by the Andrea Sculpt instructions. Normally I use a small foil lined box with a single light bulb for heat. But I noticed the putty was taking a long time to cure with this arrangement, so I tried the blow dryer. Oh well.  Two little metal puddles later...

Unfortunately these two figures melted during
the conversion process. Note the very effective
backdrop and foreground integration  in
this view.
Here is the second pole climber with
 a coat of black primer and
dry brushing with white.
Fortunately, I have duplicates of the base figures.  So I redid the pole climber. This time around I used thick CAA to reshape the joints and Andrea Sculpt to make the jacket. This went quicker. I primed the figure and test fit him on the pole. So far, so good. Now I just need to finish painting him.


As I mix up small batches of putty, I usually have some left over. With these bits I made grain sacks. I will need several hundred of these so it might be worth my making a mold and casting them.

The pump house is a quick scratch build using scribed board and batten siding and scale lumber. The door is a Tichy casting. The stack is also a casting. I made a sign for the house, although I don't have a prototype to go by. It makes sense that they would have a pump for the tank. The small triangular area by the water tank looked empty, so I added the pump house. Once I decide on final placement, I'll glue it down and run a pipe to the tank.

Also visible in this shot is the guard rail I added to the turntable lead. This curve is very sharp and a guard rail helps keep the wheels on the rails. I also added  guard rails to the other sharp curves behind the tank.


  1. I am SO jealous of the figures you guys have available to you in O scale.

  2. The ability to do some simple figure modeling is one of the aspects of O scale that I really enjoy.

  3. What size is your water tank (model or prototype dimensions or capacity)? And what is the height of the tank platform?