Friday, January 13, 2017

Modeling Danbury - Signature Structures, Danbury Freight House Part 2

References For Modeling

The Danbury freight house was demolished by Conrail sometime during the late 1980's or early 90's, ending any possibilities of measuring or photographing the structure. Most photos taken in Danbury are focused on the rolling stock at that location, photos that include the freight house in the background usually only show the western end of the two story portion like the photo I took in the 80's below.

Click to enlarge photos

This photo and others are useful if dated for determining era specific condition and changes made to the structure and are helpful in sizing this end of the building. The 1930-40 era photos in the last post were very helpful in sizing the long side of the two story portion partly shown above.

On the layout, the yard side and two ends are viewed from the operators isle. Precious few photos of the long yard side of the freight house have surfaced but enough that I was fairly confidant an accurate model could be built.

I went to the Danbury yard frequently in the 70's and 80's, I rarely took photos and if I did it was usually of ex- New Haven equipment. I never took any photos just of the freight house, in retrospect what a mistake! Fortunately I did take two photos of the turntable which will be handy later, wish I had taken more.

Sizing The Structure

The 1930 - 40 era photos in the last post were helpful in sizing the width and length of the two story portion. The two east end photos of the longer original single story portion were helpful in sizing that end.

What was the overall length of the freight house? On the New Haven valuation map the length scales out to about 345 feet. The 1970's photo below shows that 6 box cars approximately equal the same length of the structure. In that era most box cars were 50', it looks like 5 are 50' and one a shorter 40' car. Using this photo as a reference I figured the length to be approximately 310' which would fit the room available on the layout so this length was initially chosen for the model.

The Modeled Two Story Office/Freight Portion

The freight house model is built with Clapboard, V-Grove, Board & Batten and plain sheet styrene plus various sizes and shapes of strip styrene. Tichy windows and small doors were used, larger freight doors are scratch built.

The below photo shows that the building ends and three bulkheads have been affixed to the two story structure base. The bulkheads will help support the sides and make the building seem not so hollow when looking thru the windows. The foundation for the single story longer portion of the freight house is also present but not attached to the two story portion at this time.

The usual method of securing structures in place on the layout over dowel pins inserted into the layout base will not be used with the freight house. Because of the length of the building and slight undulations in the layout surface I thought that bolting the structure down would offer the best finished result. The below photo shows the building foundations being temporarily held in place with 1/8" clecos so that the larger holes for the permanent bolts can be drilled simultaneously thru the foundations and layout base. Nuts will be permanently affixed to the inside of the foundations and bolts will come up thru the bottom of the layout base securing the structure in place and flat to the base surface.

The prototype building sides have clapboard siding on the top and v-grove on the bottom and a color change where they meet. The upper and lower sides were built individually, painted in their respective colors and then permanently joined after painting for a crisp color separation line. The two separate side pieces can be seen below.

Sometime before the modeling era of the layout, two of the freight doors and part of the loading dock on the lower side of the building were removed and replaced with three smaller windows and an office door. In the photo below taken close to the modeled era, two of the replacement windows and the door can be seen. Note that although the paint on the clapboards surrounding the new windows is the same color it is not as weathered as the remainder of the building indicating that only the replacement clapboards were painted after the remodel.

This photo shows the finished side has now been attached to the building. A light base coat of gray weathering has be sprayed on the building except the area of the remodel described above, more weathering to follow.

An exterior brick chimney was added sometime after the prototype buildings original construction. The chimney was built thru the eve of the existing roof, I thought it would be easier to fit the chimney to the roof and building if the roof was made in two layers.

The chimney is tapered so it had to be attached to the structure before the second layer of the roof was permanently in place. The chimney is also made with styrene, it is covered with peal and stick brick paper.

A unique fire escape ladder was attached to this side the building at a second story window, one was modeled with phosphor bronze wire.

The photo below shows the gutters and down spouts being added, the fire escape is now in place. The peal and stick roofing shingles have been fitted to the roof. Some additional weathering has been done to the building sides with pan pastels.

Next post will have a look at the construction of the longer single story portion.

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