Up On The Roof

And there the world below can’t bother me
-The Drifters-

In the inaugural edition of Model Railroad Planning, Bill Darnaby mentioned that he was going to have to spend more time on the underbody detailing of his freight cars, since the design of the Maumee Route put the cars right at eye level where anybody and everybody could see them. I’m dealing with a similar height-related issue on The Hills Line, just a few feet higher.

The plethora of commercial and industrial buildings on the layout each include a roof; a roof that’s just begging for additional elements, especially since they sit in clear view of guests and operators. After a few months of staring at blank tops of buildings, I’ve started to add some much needed detail parts.

Fortunately there’s a variety of commercially-available and relatively-inexpensive components designed for such endeavors. I will say that some of the more common ones tend to be geared towards heavy-industrial applications, instead of the more light-commercial buildings found in and around Iowa City. As long as I don’t overdue it, they work well for the layout.

On the prototype Hills Line, the receiving warehouse at City Carton has no vents or other elements on its roof, since it’s connected to a larger complex. But since I only had space to model the receiving warehouse, it looked incomplete to leave it blank. A few HVAC units from Rix Products and a mechanical vent from Walthers fill the space nicely.

More vents and HVAC units sit atop the Iowa Business Supply structure. I used satellite and StreetView images from Google Earth to best match each arrangement. However some liberties were taken where needed. In such cases I went with what looked best to my eye, knowing I can always add, replace, or remove as needed.

Fortunately not every detail part needs to be a commercial product. For a lot of the vents a small section of styrene rod does and excellent job, as on the roof of Benton Street Storage. Considering that a single bag of strips will provide a lifetime’s supply of vents, that’s an investment worth making.

5 thoughts on “Up On The Roof

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