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.

May 23, 2013

Model Figures as view blocks?

This evening while waiting for the laser to do some cuts,  I mocked up the road  scene on the depot section. I am looking for the most interesting and pleasing arrangement of several items including the Grant and Sherman vignette, a column of marching troops representing a squad from a USCT regiment, and a supply escort wagon with a full six mule team.

Initially I planned to have the wagon with the mules at the depot platform, but the mule figures I have all are walking, so it wouldn't make too much sense to have them at the platform, unless one assumed they were just getting ready to leave. So I moved the wagon with mules to the street, having them point to the backdrop.  I tried arranging the wagon coming out of the back drop but that did not look right to me.  The wagon is paper cut out for now. A 3D wagon is on the do list.

The soldier at parade rest is screening the awkward angle of view where the fence meets the backdrop.  He also is trying to look sharp with the Army commanders nearby.

The two mounted generals help disrupt the view of the street going on the the backdrop. Just enough is visible of the backdrop to be convincing.  O scale figures are big enough that they can serve as "view blocks."

The foreground will get more clutter with piles of lumbers and supplies on the ground.

The flag on the Post Office is also a test. It adds a nice vertical and colorful element to the scene. The post office is based on this building in Cairo, IL.  The color in this post card was added later and may not be correct.


  1. Wouldn't Grant and Sherman have a couple of their staff with them? I know from my own time serving that the Generals usually had a couple of staff types or aides with them.

  2. Yes, they would. I thought the same thing and went through my boxes of figures, but did not have any more mounted officers. I may have to resort to some dismounted officers and civilians standing around. I do have some officers on foot in my stocks.

    Another concern (foobie?) is that Grant and Sherman were not in this area in 1864. Grant was in Virginia and Sherman was in Georgia. But since we are freelancing, we will add them to the layout as it is part of the overall story we are telling about the factors that lead to the end of the war.

    The Post Office is based on a building in Cairo, IL. There is a famous picture of Generals Grant and McClernard standing in front of it that inspired this scene. In that photo they were not on horses.

  3. Ah! the plot thickens, thanks for the explanation which begins to allow the peanut gallery to get in on the "real happenings."

  4. Bernie,

    Every time I look at this photo my eyes go to the Post Office sign -- the size just seems overly large to me. Maybe that just goes back to being a newspaper editor for years as to type size and such, but... Also, is that a period at the end of the word 'Office'?

    This is really picking nits off of gnats, as everything is superb. Just wondering...

    --scott williamson--
    --pickerington, oh--

  5. The funky lettering on the post office is an exact copy of the prototype building it is based. It's part of its charm. :)