The Grain Elevator

I have been working on this for approximately forever. Like, since about this time last year, truth be told.

When I blithely searched HO-scale models for something to put on our layout, I had no idea of the time and effort necessary for a passable model. Olin wanted a grain bin, and from those  available online, he wanted a modern one.

We ordered the ADM Grain Elevator from Walther’s (which he chose specifically), and I was very surprised to discover that to make a nice-looking model, it took a WHOLE lot more effort, time and money thank just buying the thing and some glue, and assembling it quick. First of all, the shipping took close to three weeks. That doesn’t make much of a difference in the full timeline of the item’s assembly, but when I have a five-year-old breathing down my neck about it, it seems much longer.

Then, it arrived and was not only completely UN-assembled (for some reason, I had imagined it being ready to dust off and stick on the layout) but needed to be washed, dried, then primed, dried,  then painted, dried, ‘weathered’, dried, glued and dried, and then coated with dull finish and, once again… Dried.

Okay, that is going to take forever when I get asked a minimum of three times a day whether or not the train table was ready to use. Also requires a ‘safe’ place to do the painting and ‘drying’, and the equipment to do so. I got some grey primer and ‘steel’, black and white acrylic to complete the process (since the item is molded in two colors: white and grey, I imagined that was the colors it ought to be). Of course, it couldn’t just be ‘normal’ acrylic, the Internet said it had to be special modeling paint. Eventually, I got the stuff and brushes in the same place at the same time, but then I was unable to actually complete the meticulous ‘priming’ step because I was continually interrupted.

Then, sort of concurrently, spring came and AJ decided to “paint” the entire southeastern corner of the EZ-Track layout (tracks and all) with tan acrylic terrain paint when no one was paying attention. I just sort of gave up on the train thing for a couple of seasons, at that point.

After we acquired the TTFH, I went looking for certain important items necessary for its completion. I ended up completely accidentally encountering a person who had done “real” model trains for most of his childhood, who gave me several excellent ideas, some indication of what I needed to make the table operate, and a recommendation for spray primer that would stick to plastic and support acrylic paint. That was the catalyst.

Within 72 hours, I had my model primed, painted, and mostly assembled. I haven’t done the final protective coat, yet, but I discovered that moving my base of activities from my bedroom to the basement offered me not only better lighting, but more space, access to bigger and better tools, immediately available running water, and more of a buffer between me and the smaller, less-dedicated-to-interrupting-me kids. Also, the layout is right there so I have the immediate satisfaction of setting the model there and seeing how cool it looks.

And it does look completely cool. For a first model, I impressed myself.



[As an aside, regarding the damage done to the EZ-Track, my best weapon seems to be the Xacto kit that my mom gave me after my dad passed away. I’ve been scraping off the paint with a straight edge, and using a poky thing to chip off the deep bits between the rails, and then scraping it off with the “rescue” pads of the Woodland Scenics track cleaning kit I purchased. I have always intended to put ballast over the rails, so the other paint on them doesn’t matter so much, but it definitely kills any resale value it might posses.]

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