Fording the River

Sometimes I wonder why I don’t recognize earlier that something I decided to do is not going to be a success. I guess that’s how we gain experience. Such is where I stand on building the Crandic’s Iowa River Bridge on The Hills Line.


In my last post I talked about my supposed logic for including the aesthetically-amazing collection of Crandic bridges over the Iowa River. Moving north to south along the line, there are four spans to choose from: a simple wooden trestle, a quadrangular lattice truss, a Warren truss, and another wooden trestle.


Space limitations and a desire to prevent significant compression of an already cramped scene led me to choosing the two northernmost spans. My reasoning seemed sound. Not only would I be prototypically accurate by not skipping around on the order of the bridges, but I’d get to include the much more unique lattice truss. In essence, I could make it a secondary signature scene for the layout.

Then I remembered that I’m not a very good modeler.

My scratchbuilding philosophy can be summed up with the phrase “that’ll do”. At some point in every project, I either decide that no more work needs to be done or become so fed up with the process that I place it on the layout and scream finished! That mindset led to several structures on the IAIS Grimes Line that were nothing more than stacked sheets of styrene. Millard Lumber was a single piece of plastic laid against the backdrop…


I’d argue that it worked. Of course a lattice truss bridge sitting front and center on the layout is considerably more visible than a simple warehouse hidden behind a lot of trees.

So I was left with a few options. First, I could purchase the only commercially available lattice truss bridge in HO scale. The all-brass version from American Scale Models.

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©American Scale Models

Absolutely gorgeous, but comes with a retail price of $475 US. Too rich for my blood.

Second option. I could heavily modify an existing truss bridge into a lattice truss. Enter the ever so adaptable Central Valley Truss kit. Which is where I ended up.


Based on progress to date, I’m hoping that paint will hide a lot of sins because I’ve made my fair share. Fortunately, much like Millard Lumber, there will be a lot of foliage to help mask the approaches so that maybe… just maybe… you’ll think I’m a better modeler than I actually am.

That’ll do just fine.

2 thoughts on “Fording the River

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