A little distraction, or more simply, a place to rest

The scratch built Spreckels Depot Public Toilet

When deciding what to work on after the box cars I shared recently, I initially put my efforts toward the line's meager passenger car fleet. I've got a few of those in progress, I am pleased with how they are coming, and I'll share them as they are finished.

As is often the case, I wanted to take a break from cars, and work on something different. To scratch this itch, I shifted my focus onto a structure.

I've built many structures over the years, out of all types of materials - wood, styrene, plastic, foam, plaster, from kits, scratch built, and kit-bashed. They've all seen various levels of completion, some turning out better than expected, many failing to meet that hypothetical mark, and a small few surpassing my expectations. Below are some examples of some earlier work.

This N scale hotel was kit bashed from a handful of DPM Hilltowne Hotel kits. It's seen some damage through a few moves, but I still like how it turned out. I'm particularly pleased with the aged copper roof coloring.

My version of Train Troll's "Smokey Duck" O scale kit was awarded Best-in-Show at the 2017 NMRA Pacific Southwest Regional Convention, and was the Popular Vote winner at the 2017 NMRA Los Angeles Division SpringRail Meet. More pictures can be found here.

This O scale scratch built station won 1st Place for on-line structures at the 2017 NMRA PSR Regional Convention.

This simple structure is a laser cut kit made from someone whose name I've forgotten. It's based on the ATSF depot that once stood in Olive, CA. I saw a picture of the kit someone else had shared on Flickr, and he connected me with the guy who created the model. If anyone would like, I can do my best to find their names. I really like this kit, it's simple, but done well.

Back to the PVCRR -

I wanted to build a structure, as of now I have access to plans for the following:
  • The brick depot that stood at Spreckels until the early 1960s (thanks to a reader on Facebook who directed me to the November and December 1966 issues of Model Railroader)
  • The public toilets located next to the Spreckels depot
  • A small passenger shed that once stood at Moss Landing
  • The turntable that was used in Watsonville
So naturally I went with the toilets. 

The plans for this building are from the November/December 2010 issue of Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette. I haven't found any of the plans from this magazine on-line, so I'll follow that model and keep them off of here. 

I built my model from Evergreen Scale Models Clapboard Siding, with Grandt Line Products Part No. 8001 - 12 Pane Windows + 36" Doors. Fortunately, this set comes with four doors and six windows that look a lot like the ones drawn on the plans, so I only had to buy one package to cover the two doors and four windows I would be needing. 

Construction was fairly straightforward. The finished model is tiny (11/16" x 1 1/8"), and I had trouble cutting out the holes for the doors and windows. To make things easier, instead of cutting out a hole for each window, I cut out sections of the walls, and pieced them back together. In the image below, you can see how the wall sections were cut apart. These cuts will be hidden by the window and door trim pieces.

Note how the walls were cut into pieces and reassembled around the doors and windows.

Next up, I assembled the walls. I included an interior wall in the center for support. I used .010" x .020" strip styrene as window and door trim, as well as corner trim. These measure out to approximately 1.5" x 3.25" in N scale. The Chopper from NorthWest Short Line makes fast work of repeated cutting.

The Chopper II, for all of your chopping needs.

The weathering isn't as severe as it appears here. Also I didn't realize until taking these pictures, but I did a poor job staggering the shingles. Next time...

The roof was the last major bit to construct, and it took some trial and error to get right. In short, I was able to measure the final width and height of the roof from the plans. I used those dimensions and some basic triangle math to get the depth of each roof section. The shingles are from Builders In Scale. These laser cut shingles come with a self adhesive backing, and go on relatively smoothly. Once the shingling was complete, I soaked the roof with a white glue and water mixture to help lock the shingles in place. I drybrushed the roof with a variety of acrylics and enamels, as well as a final wash of watered down India Ink. 

The final bit of detail was the addition of the visible roof joists located under the eaves, and the power pole thing. These were using with the same strip styrene as the trim. The eaves went in relatively simply, and add some much needed character to an otherwise simple structure. The power pole thing was topped with two insulators from an old power pole. It was easy to build, but took some time to get it to stand up correctly due to its fragility.

The coloring of the model was based on this screen grab from "East of Eden".

James Dean leaning against the PVCRR (at this point SP) outhouse in "East of Eden," as the lettuce train pulls away.

To my eyes, the building is a faded white, with some light weathering. My guess is that the wood was placed on the windows to keep people from looking into the bathroom, though they probably had curtains or translucent glass at some point. For my version, I took some clear styrene and sprayed it with a clear flat finish, hoping this would fog up the windows. This didn't give the effect I was hoping for, so I put some regular Scotch Tape on either side of the 'glass'. The end result gives a clouded glass look.

I still need to create the tiny "Men" and "Women" signs, and create some door knobs. But for the most part, the model is complete.

This was a quick and simple project, and I was excited to start working on the first official structure for the future layout. 

Products used:
Evergreen Scale Models - Part No. 4031 - Clapboard .030" Spacing
Grandt Line Products - Part No. 8001 - 36" x 56" Window 12 Pane, 36" Doors
Evergreen Scale Models - Part No. 100 - .010" x .020" Strips
NorthWest Short Line - The Chopper II
Builders In Scale - Part No. 400 - N Scale Shake Shingles


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