Raising Crane 6

Attaching the mechanical house to the boom was the last major assembly step. The house has two main support beams where the boom sits, and until I installed the backstays, would be the only attachment point. I used epoxy for this joint, because I wanted the strongest adhesive I had available. Somewhat surprisingly the house fit right into place with a minimum of adjustment. I let the epoxy cure for 12 hours.

With the structure upright and braced by a motley collection of shims, I added the backstays. These are two short pieces of 1.5 mm I-beam cut to fit and tacked in place with CA. After the glue set I ‘welded’ the upper part of the supports with MEK. A piece of scrap 0.030 styrene maintained clearance between the boom and the house. Not as finicky as I’d feared, but still required a steady hand. If there’s a more difficult way to do this, please let me know in the comments.



The backstays anchor the boom, so the adhesive is under tension: not adhesive’s strength. I left space at the back of the boom to add weight, and may yet do so.

The smokestack for the Diesel is from a variety pack I bought some time ago and painted Flat Black. The smokejack for the heater is 0.50 mm rod. I ran a length of 0.50 mm rod painted black along the underside of the boom to represent the support wire for the electrical cable. Both the electrical cable and the hook cable are carpet thread coated with CA and allowed to dry to stiffen it. I put the bends in the electrical cable with the nose of a pair of hemostats. The ‘stats were very helpful in compressing the thread horizontally so the loops in the cable stayed. Attachment was with CA while the boom was upside-down.

This structure took over a month to build, and I didn’t want to ruin it with a ham-handed weathering effort. I lightly brushed the crane with Black pastel, and added more Black pastel on the platform over the rails to simulate locomotive exhaust per the photo. Shades of Brown pastel were brushed onto the under-frame, and everything was sealed with Dullcote. The wheels of the base were CA’d to the crane rails:



The hole in the base was a bit too large to hold the upper section pin tightly, so a bit of electrical tape solved that. While the base is glued down, I wanted to be able to remove the top section for access and when the layout moves.




The hook is from a crane kit I put together last year for the scrap yard: I’d substituted an electromagnet. Two pieces of styrene sandwich it for the block, and the cable is stiffened carpet thread.

The log pile is a bunch of 2.5 mm bamboo skewers painted and cut to length. The bag of 80 skewers yielded nearly 900 ‘logs’, and about 750 of them are in the pile. I laid a row or two daily, and in about two weeks the logs were complete. The remainder will be fashioned into freight car loads. The larger logs in the soon-to-be millpond are 5 mm dowel cut to scale 24′ length.

The prototype reference photo for comparison:


This was the most challenging scratch-building project I’ve done, and it took a while. The NFL playoffs, in fact. I mostly enjoyed it, and I think the result is worth the effort. The scene is coming along. Next I have to find a convincing representation of metric tons of fresh-sawn lumber.




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