16mm Projects

Richard Cable: Durango and Colorado Southern Sand House

Whilst the model is not completely to scale it is easily recognisable. Nominal 1:20 scale for my 45 mm railroad the Durango and Colorado Southern.

I realised that the water tank and coaling tower on my railroad were missing a key element - the sand house. Plans for the sand house at Durango are available on the web and there are three key elements;

1. The sand storage bin. Some 30 feet long and roughly knocked together from old telegraph poles, scrap lumber and metal cross ties. This was easy to replicate using 6mm by 3 mm strip wood and some old dowel left over from another project. Liberal coats of weathering solution were applied

2. The sand house itself is a spare Pola building which needed little modification. This was a mistake, however, and one I now regret. The dimensions are wrong and this in turn threw out all the dimensions of the sand tower itself. I shall have to build another to produce a true to scale model. Rats!

3. The tower took the most work and is close to scale albeit not tall enough. Strip wood was glued and nailed together relatively easily. Next came the hopper itself. Bottles of various sizes were emptied and discarded to the chagrin of the household authorities. Eventually, I was presented with a hand pump from an exercise ball. A section was cut out, the top replaced and it’s close enough. Again, liberal coats of weathering solution were applied.

Dried sand was moved into the hopper by means of a vertical pipe. Whether it used an auger or compressed air I haven’t been able to find out. The other moving parts are the spout and flexible tube both redundant parts from another Pola kit. The final items were the ladders also from Pola kits. The plans don’t show much in the way of ladders; I think they hope not to have to ascend too often!The sand is kiln dried to enable it to be liberally applied to the base, sand house and tower. I don’t like the colour but it works and who knows what colour they used in Colorado?

Finally, two cans of Matt varnish were applied as, hopefully, the building will spend six months a year outside.

March 2021


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