Simple Little Things

Not all dreams are great big dreams. Some peoples’ dreams are small.
-N.R. Nash, T. Jones, & H. Schmidt-

The apparent appeal of modeling a smaller prototype is that you can take the time to include the little details that generally aren’t found on larger layouts. Not that the larger ones don’t have such details, but that those that build them generally have bigger fish to fry. For those of us with smaller ambitions, we generally have less obstacles to getting such details on our layouts earlier in the process.

By far the most obvious detail you’ll see on The Hills Line are power poles. Since the prototype started life as an electric interurban, it makes sense that the right of way would be littered with electrical infrastructure.

A kitchen bamboo skewer, some Rix Products cross arms, and a Bar Mills transformer are the only components, all of which can be bought in bulk. Add some Burnt Umber and metallic silver paint, and you can mass produce the poles in record time.

For my money, PikeStuff makes the best cost-per-inch gutters on the market. Since a lot of my structures are nothing more than paper boxes, adding stand-off details is essential to making them believable. Gutters and downspots are a quick and easy way to bring the building to life.

Give me enough Central Valley Model Works fence kits and I can rule the world. I love the fact that CVMW provides multiple versions in the same kit, all of which are easily adapted into a multitude of uses. Their security fence features prominently around the industrial spur.

But sometimes you just have to roll your own details. A quick screen grab from Google StreetView, some styrene strips, along with a few scale lumber pieces, and I’ve added the prototypically accurate replication of the Iowa Fire Equipment street sign along East 1st Street in Iowa City.

It’s the simple little things that make the biggest difference.

6 thoughts on “Simple Little Things

  1. Thanks for keeping a running commentary going.

    Yep, British railways had power poles, too, though the cross arms were shorter for some reason and I’ll be including those. Another feature fairly prominent was the point rodding running from the signal box at each station. Sometimes it’s the NOT so simple things.

    Hoping to be building the Framlingham Branch in Texas if I can ever make myself tear out Meridian on the Santa Fe.


Leave a Reply to Steve Henkel Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.