The River Basin Railroad (AAR: "RBAR") is an HO scale freelanced regional railroad that operates within the lower Midwest, operating on spun-off Illinois Central and other class I territory. As the name implies, the Carrier follows the Mississippi River and serves a variety of heavy and light industries, as well as barge-to-rail transload operations. Hills, curves, poor drainage, and heavy vegetation dominate the landscape and create a very scenic yet sometimes challenging operation.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Saturday, October 24, 2020
A MOSTLY-FINISHED PROJECT
YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!
It took me a few weeks but I managed to push out another local business for the town of Kemper, Missouri, using the Old Indian Tobacco Shop from the Smalltown USA line by Rix Products. Because the kit is intended to sit between other buildings, there are no windows on either side but she sits between a main line/siding and a junkyard spur, so I doubt that the occupants would have much of a view anyway.
The building was assembled using standard techniques and my favorite solvent, MEK, which is available by the quart and is far cheaper than the equivalent products from the hobby shop. Squadron putty was used to do a sort of "plastering" effect over the brick on the right side, then lightly sanded to bring out the brick texture beneath. I used the as-molded colors as well due to laziness, only painting a few window frames and the awnings plus a wash of Robert's brick mortar. Miscellaneous details were applied to the front and rear for a bit of interest: heavy paper and wire awnings, downspouts made from scrap styrene and wire brackets, as well as the PABST advertisement and the Thomas Hart Benton mural on the right side-The Wreck of the ole' 97. I came across the piece while googling "American artists" or some such and figured it would look right at home in a small, old railroad town. Weathering powders were added and sealed with Model Master flat from a spray can, then glazing was installed.
The mural and beer logo were both printed on regular paper and sprayed with Krylon rattle-can matte finish. Once dry, they were sanded thin and affixed with diluted Mod Podge. The signage out front was simply printed out on heavier gloss paper and applied to a scrap of Sintra*, which is another new favorite modeling material. Unfortunately, the only local art shop that I knew of who carried it fell victim to the rioting and looters of Chicago. Amazon gets more of my money now, I guess.
*from the intranet: Sintra is the brand name for the high-quality PVC board, that is specifically made of moderately expanded closed-cell polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, in a homogenous sheet. The board is made from a lightweight material with a low gloss matte finish.
The business was obviously inspired by the movie A Christmas Story, a family favorite, and while my model railroad is not located in Hohman, Indiana (and not during winter), I used some modeler's liberty and created my own 1/87 ode to Jean Shepherd's tale anyway.
The interior is virtually unnoticeable when placed in town but I thought it would be funny to add, so once again I turned to the internet for some research. I found the scene and copied/pasted it into MS Word so I could get it sized properly, or at least close enough. The image was printed and glued to a scrap of Sintra, then installed about a half-inch from the front windows. If it were not for my impatience, I could have built an interior complete with figures and lighting but again, considering the law of diminishing returns and the building's location, this was a reasonable compromise in my mind.
I wanted to add electrical service details to the rear of the building but I couldn't find the meters that I know I have SOMEWHERE, so I stuck on a scrap box exhaust fan for the kitchen and another awning built from scrap styrene. The creeping vines are leaves from Scenic Express applied over randomly-dabbled tacky glue.
RENAMING THE BLOG
I finally began to ponder how to accurately describe my model railroad, as "CMPS" didn't really match what I'm doing on the blog. As such, I have updated the blog's title and description to reflect this fact and hopefully it seems less convoluted than it was before. I ran out of room in the description, so I'd like to also add that Consolidated Motive Power Services still exists as an on-line customer and also on my workbench. CMPS is something I started years ago to give a name and "official" feel to the work I did for other modelers: paint, DCC, lighting, mechanical upgrades, etc. I may start it up again, depending on my amount of free time. For right now, they exist solely within the (fictional) town of Clemens, Missouri and continue to provide all sorts of locomotive and heavy diesel repair, rebuild and refurbishing services.
So, back to the railroad...
Not being a graphic designer, the best I can do right now is to cobble together some sort of corporate identity using internet resources and MS Word and Paint. I was able to download an Illinois Central-type font that included their modern logos, so I brainstormed a bit and created the example noted below.
The River Basin still maintains the IC's "Death Star" logo as well as operations over spun-off trackage in Illinois and Missouri. Yeah, we'll have to suspend all belief to get the IC into Missouri but oh well...the next rendition will be "more accurate". I've drawn scenic and architectural inspiration from all the old river towns like Quincy, Dubuque, Galena, and St. Louis so that's the general idea: bluffs, greenery, curves, old brick buildings and nitty-gritty industrial scenes, oh and plenty of EMD power too. I may eventually have a professional graphic artist take a run at the artwork but for now, it seems like a good fit for a regional Carrier that is only concerned with the bottom line.