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 Building FSM Engine House Kit #35
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Author Previous Topic: A 5 dollar structure.... Topic Next Topic: Fences
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Premium Member

Posted - 06/28/2007 :  10:12:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A year ago this past April my good friend Bruce DeYoung (Dutchman) sent me FSM's Engine House kit #35 as a gift with a note expressing the hope that I "could do something with it." As can be seen in the first two photos, the kit was not exactly in pristine condition, being far from one which a "collector" would want. (And perhaps when Bruce returns from Italy, he can tell the story of how he came into possession of two of these old gems as well as some other vintage kits.)

Anyway, after a year of periodically taking the kit out and looking it over, I decided to get started. Unfortunately, some events in my personal life intruded about the same time, so I've not been able to make as much progress on this as I had planned - or at least not as quickly as I had planned. So after almost three months, here is a "progress report" of sorts.

I quickly identified two major changes I wanted to make. First, the kit windows are actually printed acetate sheets (in Boxcar Red, no less!) The printing is fuzzy, and the window mullions are far out of scale. And second, the "stones" for the foundation consisted of a bag of unsifted sand grains, which were to be glued on the siding with a heavy application of white glue. No way!

So for the windows, I contacted my buddy Walt Gillespie at Rusty Stumps. Walt agreed to laser cut a set of cardstock windows based on the dimensions of the window openings in the walls and roof. The new windows (seen in some of the photos below) look great with their scale 1" mullions. Unfortunately, I discovered that the 1" mullions are very fragile - especially when Captain Fumblefingers has a paint brush in his hand. So Walt cut a new set of windows with 1.5" mullions. They look just as good but much sturdier when being painted. I'll be using the new ones on the remaining walls.

As for the "foundation" stones, I got a couple of boxes of Dr. Ben's "Baby Building Blocks." They're way out of scale for HO, but they can be cut down to size. I can't begin to tell you how many hours I spent cutting and sanding these tiny linoleum bits until they were the right size!

(I should note that all of these photos are just quickie grab shots, mostly taken with room lighting and my old airbrush easel. Better photos will be coming when I'm further along with the construction.)

Okay.... definitely not a collector's item...

.... but definitely something still worth building..

Oops! First problem to be solved... something apparently happened during the die-cutting process when the kit was produced. The front wall openings are cut off-center. It's not too noticeable in this photo, but when the remaining wood was trimmed away from the door openings (per the instructions), it became very noticeable. And unacceptable.

So I cut a new front wall blank from matt board and proceded to board it over board-by-board with stripwood to match the scribed siding of the remaining walls. The new front wall doesn't match as well as I'd like, but I'll live with it anyway.

The next step was to brace the interior side of the 4 walls and decide upon a color scheme. Since I had used Apple Barrel's "Sandstone" and "Forest Green" for a passenger station a few years back, I decided to use the same colors for the engine house. The main difference would be that the paint on the engine house would appear faded and not as well kept as the passenger station. Once the painting and weathering was done, I added the nail holes to each board.

Next came the laser cut cardstock windows from Walt at RSSM. (BTW: I painted a coat of black alcohol on the windows (while they were still attached to the sheet) and then semi-drybrushed them with Forest Green. No warping or separation of layers. Walt uses good material.) The window openings were framed with scale 1X8, 1X6, and 1X3 stripwood from RSSM.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been working on attaching the foundation stone to the siding. It's been slow going, as I said at the top, but I'm satisfied with the results. (The stones will be interlocking at the corners on all 4 walls.)After getting three course of stones attached, I stained them with black alcohol and then colored individual stones with raw umber and burnt umber dry pigments set with plain alcohol. After that dried, I brushed on a mortar mix of dry plaster of Paris and dry "Gray Slate" pigment and set that with washes of plain alcohol. The final step was to cap the stones with stripwood.

So this is where I am with the kit as of tonight. I still have a long way to go, but I'll add periodic updates when I've made enough progress to report.

Country: USA | Posts: 21584


Posted - 06/28/2007 :  10:57:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

What a great start on a REAL VINTAGE FSM KIT.

Good move on redoing the front door wall in card, since it would really have come to bug you if you had gone with the original off-center die cut one.

The windows that Rusty Walt cut for you are absolutely terrific, and you did a very nice job on the painting of the walls and windows. What a fine job on the foundation stones. The coloring and stonework has really become one of your many forte's (accent over that 'e').

I'll be eagerly looking forward to further posts on this build. Maybe when the Dutchman gets back from his travels that he'll also do his version. (You did mention that he had two kits).

Stevie O'D

Country: USA | Posts: 1561 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  12:09:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Stevie.

I'm pretty sure Bruce said he was able to get 2 copies of this kit. I think he got his FSM Signal Tower at the same time. I imagine he will fill us in when he returns from his trip to Italy.

Walt's windows are great! The new ones he cut (and which I'll be using for the remaining walls) are really nice. He's got a whole variety of windows and doors now available in cardstock, so I doubt I'll be using the plywood variety again in any of my scratchbuilding projects. I like these because they seem to be a bit sturdier (in 1:1 handling/painting) and because there are no issues with the grain running the wrong way. I'm glad Marty turned him on to trying cardstock earlier this spring.

Country: USA | Posts: 21584 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  12:09:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

These kits are created to be built. The ones which are imperfect, must be built, to become the treasures that they are. I appreciate what you are doing to make this poor box of parts into something very special. Great start!! You get a save in the record books for this one!!


Country: USA | Posts: 1316 Go to Top of Page

New Hire

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  04:10:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Super start Mike! Canīt wait for the next installment..


Country: Sweden | Posts: 35 Go to Top of Page

jeff nigrelli
Section Hand

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  06:17:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
how were the foundation stones made?

Country: | Posts: 95 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 06/29/2007 :  06:25:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Beautiful work Mike. The combination of Walt's windows and the rock wall look stunning. I love watching these old kits being built. Thanks for taking the time to document the process.

--Rich B.

Country: USA | Posts: 2718 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 06/29/2007 :  07:02:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This will be an interesting thread! Looks like a real good start!

Country: | Posts: 5585 Go to Top of Page

Danny Head

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  07:28:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mike, the windows and foundation are beautiful! Thanks for sharing the photos. I saw the owner of Dr. Bens at a show last month and started to buy a box of the stones (cut floor tile). After seeing what you did with these, I wish I had. I am looking forward to watching your progress. Danny

Country: USA | Posts: 1889 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  08:02:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Great start on a classic... You're right, the new RSSM windows look great and your stone foundation really looks impressive.

Looking forward to more of your progress and thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

Country: USA | Posts: 803 Go to Top of Page

C Laskey
Crew Chief

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  08:11:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

A fine job on a old kit. You have to a big task now making the rest of the building look as good as the windows and stone work.


Country: USA | Posts: 887 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  08:35:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good morning Mike:

Do you do your nail holes individually --- ceratinly doesn't look like you've used a Ponce wheel. If so, you must have the patience of Job.


Country: Canada | Posts: 290 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  09:24:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No one does it better, Mike, and you are well on the road to proving that once again - nice.


Country: USA | Posts: 4394 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  10:36:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the nice comments, guys.

Jeff, I briefly explained how the stones were made in the opening paragraphs. In a nutshell, it involved lots of cutting and sanding.

Danny, I ordered mine directly from Dr. Ben's online store. They're way out of scale for most HO applications, but work fine if you don't mind cutting and sanding them down to size.

Don, yes, I did the nail holes individually. I'm not a fan of ponce wheels at all and don't use them (even though I have the usual set of 3 wheels). The holes they make always look too square to me, but I'm too lazy to try grinding the wheel points to a rounder shape. I use a "headless" T pin chucked in a pin vise to make all of my nail holes.

Country: USA | Posts: 21584 Go to Top of Page

Eddie Landreth

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  11:20:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looks great, Mike! Looking forward to seeing the progress on this one.

That Bruce is one nice guy, too!

Country: USA | Posts: 2714 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 06/29/2007 :  12:04:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Eddie, and you're right about Bruce. Super guy and a good friend!

Country: USA | Posts: 21584 Go to Top of Page
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