CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Structure - Albany Terminal Warehouse

Further down along the west side of the yard beyond Iroquois Millwork was now non-rail served brick Albany Terminal Warehouse building. It originally had rail service and one of the walls curved around where the tracks had diverged from the mainline and traveled perpendicular to the Albany Steel fabrication plant. It had arched, inset masonry windows and doors on the side facing the tracks, though I suspect they were bricked over in 1984. A truck loading dock ran along one side, also with an interesting arched doorway in one place. 

ATW (on left), and vacant lot nextdoor where
Albany Steel was. 
The structure has evolved a bit over the years. It currently has a second story that is sheathed with white siding. In 1984, it looked dark brown so I assume that it was brickwork but who knows? Perhaps it had siding even then but they painted it a dark color. I modeled the rear, aisleway side of the building with plain styrene with access cut-outs for the ground throws. Even though most of the front of the building wouldn’t be visible from the aisle, I tried to capture the shapes and textures of it anyway because it might be seen from limited viewing angles from the entrance way. I eliminated the second story windows on the side as they would require making that portion of the building taller, which would limit operator access over it into the yard behind it.

The ATW has a lot going on. To start, I drew up a full size sketch of how I wanted the main portion (right most) of the building to look. As an aside, I have found that oversize pads of 1/4" ruled graph paper are perfect for this sort of thing. I also did the side of the building with the loading dock, so I could judge the spacing of the doors. One door is arched, and one is rectangular. At least that is how the building currently is. Back in 1984, they might have both been arched with bricks. The pictures didn't show, so I guess-timated. The sketch was useful as I realized I wanted the curved windows on the front side taller.

The core of the structure is built from 0.060" thick styrene. I used some N Scale Architects brick sheet (#50001) which I had leftover from my Albany Tomato Company building (which is still in progress) and laid out the doors and windows. I wasn't using window castings so I could make the openings any size I wanted, and I followed the brick and mortar lines as much as I could. The arches are 1/2" diameter. I then cut the openings on the brick sheet, transferred the dimensions to the 0.060" underlay, and cut them too. I couldn't glue them together and "nibble" them because they were slightly too thick for the tool. Files cleaned up the edges.

After taking it to the layout and staring at it for a while, I sketched out the left portion of the building. In real life, this is curved and it is clear that train tracks evidently went around the building to a different building (that made RCA televisions... a giant "Nipper dog sits on the roof to this day). I didn't model it with a curved wall as it would extend over the benchwork joint. Also, the radius would have to be much sharper than in real life it might look silly. So, instead I set-back that portion of the building and also angled the front slightly. It sort of matches the pictures, and I think it works better with the space I have.

The prototype openings are now bricked shut with a wall of bricks inset a foot or so from the front, so I did the same. I first cut a thin strip of sheet brick and wrapped it around the openings so it extended into the building. Then, I glued more flat brick sheet to the back. It isn't perfect, but from the normal viewing angle of the duck-under entrance way you can't even see them! So, good enough. As noted above, the second-story of the portion on the left had its windows dropped for clearance reasons. The roof peaks were more sheet styrene, though I had to angle the roof on the very left where the building's front angled away from the main structure and getting it all worked out was a bit of trial and error. 

This building had to have its foundation notched in two places for the ground throw control rods to pass through as they head towards the edge of the layout. I was concerned how it might look to put them inside the building, but the only alternative was to make the building shorter by about an inch to leave room along the edge of the layout's fascia. This wouldn't look right at all, so instead I framed the rear edge to have openings where the operators can reach in and throw the ground throws. I made sure to clean up the joints so that it would be presentable, and I also wanted it immediately obvious that no attempt was being made at interior detailing. It was just access, pure and simple. I have never seen anyone do this before (but I bet the British have thought of it first as they love controlling switches like this) so I was making it up as I went.

For the side of the building, I had cut the door openings. Here, I decided to turn to my box of parts and liberated a warehouse door casting from a very old ConCor kit. That worked well for the right, rectangular door. For the left-most door, which is arched, I scratchbuilt something out of styrene. I must admit that not having to build everything from scratch (as I did for my MMR program) is certainly a time saver. I followed the prototype and angled the wooded planks on the door, which added some interest. I made sure the overall threshold of the doorways matched what the loading dock height would be set at.

The building was washed and then given an overall spray of red primer paint, which matched the color of the bricks pretty well. Then, I did a ton of masking and brush painted the upper portions of the front and sides with brown paint. The paint was a little bit too wet and seeped under the paint, so I had to remask and spray with the red primer. The front of the building had a wonderfully faded "Albany Terminal Warehouse" sign painted on the bricks... something that would have been a nice project to experiment with... but it is barely visible from the aisleways and I didn't want to put a lot of effort into something that no one would see.

The prototype roof in the satellite pictures looks like it has some sort of rolled roofing applied, but it also had very definite ridges or seams that run across the roof in a tight spacing. There are also crosswise intermediate ridges that also are visible. I have no idea what type of roof this might be, and there is a good chance that it isn't original to the building or existed in 1984. I used styrene strips to add the seams along the roof of the building (which would have been smart to do before priming it, but oh well). Then, after some more careful masking I sprayed the roof with flat charcoal spray paint. I left it to dry overnight, and then weathered it with a concentrated black oil paint wash. Unfortunately, I missed a step and forgot to seal the charcoal paint with a clear coat, and the mineral spirits lifted the paint away in places.

So, I switched gears and began drybrushing the roof with random patterns of black, dark gray, and light gray craft paint. I used a piece of craft paper to blend the shades as I went along, and made sure not to stop brush strokes mid-way which looked odd. When doing the inner portion of the lower roof where it butts against the second-story wall I was very careful not to streak paint on the dual-colored brick side. Finally, everything was left to dry and sealed with Dullcote. 

Planting the structure involved more dirt and grass. I also installed a small driveway made from styrene and weathered with ink washes, real coal residue, and dirt. I haven't detailed the loading dock yet, but that will come in time. However, for now I am calling this building done.

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