SpaceMouse's Very Own Photo Fun is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Fun Lover
You said I could, Eric

Bob, after this week you can move it where you want but please call it:

Photo Essay: From Butt-ugly Ebay 'Lot" extra to layout.

So this is the Butt Ugly structure I got on Ebay thrown in with a bunch of other stuff. My layout is short on industry so I'm going to try to make this one look good. I don't know why people who sell stuff on eBay don't know how to use glue and they don't paint anything except to drip, but they all seem to be like this. So on to saving it.


The first thing we have to do fix those doors. I never did figure why people who make these things think that it's cool be able to open doors like these. What do they think where going to do, unload cars and wheel in freight?


So the first thing I'm going to to is make them so they don't move. I cut up couple pieces of styrene and glued them to the back of the frame.


Then I glued the doors to the styrene. Still pretty sorry looking.


So I took some scale 2x12's from my Muir Kit Silver Mine and Trimmed it out.


A little bit of paint and.......Voila!



Lazy Daydreamer
Amazing what wonders an 'equalizer' coat of paint can do in transforming an ugly structure! :D

Just this once, since it was your club, I'll post on your WPF thread...

[Chip, you've already seen the following text on the 'other side'...]

Family business took me into Indiana, PA on Friday. I figured I would just pop-in and say hello to Chip [a.k.a. SpaceMouse] in his store, since I was in his neighborhood. He had an even better idea: Running some trains at the Central Indiana Model RR Club's layout, located in the basement of an Episcopal church in downtown Indiana, Pennsylvania. Since my own under-construction layout is not yet DCC-equipped, Chip kindly let me test-run my new Atlas Gold-series CW40-8 to pull a 'local', switching-out a few of the many trackside industries there. I spent about 3 hours operating, then another hour snapping photos of various scenes around the layout. Here are some of the stops along the way:

A panoramic view the main yard. A scratch-built electric power plant can be seen in the background. The utility’s board of directors came under fire from the local town council saying their industrial-looking structure “compromised the city’s natural beauty”, so they hired the late Andy Warhol to do a makeover on one of the cooling towers. Can you spot it?

A close-up view of the same yard;

I nicknamed this place “Timesaver Junction” because it reminds me of the late John Allen’s masterpiece that spawned thousands of track plans over the years. Here is where I did my first swap-out of cars with the ‘local’ I was in charge of – kept me occupied for quite awhile!

A view looking down the mainline on the upper level, with a closeup of an ivy-covered building.

Ahhh...Beer and television, what a combination! People enjoying that lifestyle obviously are the target market of this trackside brewery, judging from the product’s brand name.

Heading into the countryside, we pass this animal farm built by one of the Club’s artistic members, so we decide to stop and smell the...uh, never mind! Anyway, here is a panoramic view...

...and a close-up. [Chip attempted to enhance the scene by adding a “Grampaw Coyote”-style pickup truck on cinder blocks. The original scene creator was NOT amused, and proceeded to dispose of the truck in short order!]

Here’s a night-time view of a small town’s freight yard – not one of my train’s stops, but a must-see kind of shot.

This dilapidated-looking coal mine was totally scratch built – not one of my train’s stops but I just HAD to include it!

Here are some locomotive sand towers we passed as we returned to the yard.

Finally, a panoramic view of the roundhouse.

Thanx again Chip for a great afternoon![:)]


Tom White
Oh you guys--I'm gonna have to stop collecting locomotives and building bridges and start concentrating on some structures (not a strong point with me). Chip--talk about turning a sow's ear into a silk purse!! That is one neat building/

Ken--pretty spectacular stuff. I've got an idea--once I settle down and stop collecting locomotives and building bridges, how about I just send you guys the structure kits and let you have fun with them before you send them back (with a bill, of course)? Of course, I have to BUY some, first, LOL!



Fun Lover
You guys are too kind. But were not even 1/4 of the way done.

A while back I learned a technique for making figures more realistic looking. The guy painted the figures black to accent the creases. This building has a lot of relief that I want to take advantage of. Also, since my layout will be set in a small town in 1917 (or 1890 until then), I want a rustic look. The colors I will be using will be close to the originals, just a little closer to railroad colors. Like boxcar red-brown and SP yellow. So the next step is the base coat of the original colors. I'm not too worried about the color completely covering at this point , as the black showing through will add to the aging later.


After 2 coats, I've decided the color is not quite right. We'll fix that on the next coat.


Okay, this phase represents what the building would have looked like when it was new. more or less. Notice how the black gives the wood and roof tiles texture. Now comes the point I hate. It's when I have to decide, even though it looks really good, to weather it.

Last edited by a moderator:
Chip - any chance of getting a trackplan, and/or some more photos of that Timesaver Jct area, please. Just can't work it out from that one photo, and it looks like an interesting switching area! TIA
Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands


Fun Lover
Shortliner2001 said:
Chip - any chance of getting a trackplan, and/or some more photos of that Timesaver Jct area, please. Just can't work it out from that one photo, and it looks like an interesting switching area! TIA
Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands

Ken might be able to get a better view of the track. My camera would not be able to do it.

But there is no puzzle per se. The right track is the main and if you look there's a large D shaped runaround in the center. Everything can be switched from there without much trouble.


Lazy Daydreamer
Chip, I did something similar to what you're doing, with a Kibri wheel loader. I've always hated translucent tractors, this keeps the light from shining thru and makes it look like it's made of painted steel instead of plastic.

Step 1: Cover yeelow plastic with Reefer Gray...

Step 2: Paint it yellow again.

Step 3: Paint the 'male' hydraulic silver to resemble stainless steel...

Step 4: Ream-out the 'female' hydraulics to accomodate the slightly-fatter [painted] 'male' pieces...

Presto! The end result.


Fun Lover

Although we used similar techniques, the purpose was different in my case. I paint the building black to create shadow and depth in the crevices.


Fun Lover
Now to weathering. I'm not going to make this building terribly old, but even after a year or two a building gets dirty. If you've ever owned a black car, you'll know that dirt is gray. So what I like to do is thin out acrylic grey paint with water about 10:1 so that there's just a hint of grey. Below you can see the difference this grey wash can make in the roof.



Likewise you can see the difference it makes in the stucco. I like to run dirty streaks down from the corners of the windows.


YOu can also see the effect of wash in the wood.


Here I highlight the hinges with flat black.


I repainted the hopper with flat black but it was still quite shiny. It got the gray wash as well (not in this picture.) Notice too that I painted the ground a solid color. This is the base color of the layout right now so it will blend in when goes back in place. Notice that the post in the front right of the hopper support is broken. It would not hold no matter how long I held it.


Add a few plants. A little rust on the hopper...


Remember the broken support. It is now covered in ivy.


The other side.


Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.