My Own Personal Waterloo

Every man meets his Waterloo at last
-Wendell Phillips-

A quick glance at The Hills Line at the start of 2023 finds it in a mostly completed state, at least on the Iowa City side of things. I consider the Maiden Lane section finished, knowing that there will always be additional details to add.

The same level of completeness holds true for the City Carton section, giving me one half of the layout that’s essentially done. But on closer inspection you’ll notice a big gap still to fill.

The gap, between Clinton Street and Dubuque Street, is the planned home of the last structure needed for my version of Iowa City on The Hills Line… the Johnson County DHS parking garage. The reason it’s the last structure to build is that I’m still planning how I’m going to attack this project.

The garage presents a variety of concerns, from both a design and construction standpoint. It’s a large, flat, and open structure with a variety of materials present, including concrete, metal, and glass. While only two levels high, it’ll require some planning on how to support the structure since I can’t just hide the guts of this thing with photo wallpaper or styrene sheet.

Then to add insult to injury, most of the structure will not be visible from the aisle. Since it sits west of the industrial spur, I’m planning on modeling only the north portion and using a fascia extension to block the aisle-side view as I’ve done for a lot of the buildings on the layout.

My first thought was to take a Bachmann Scene Scape garage and pretty much use it as is, just trimmed down. After all, I’d be blocking the view from the front. You’d have to stick your head into the layout to see the illusion I was presenting.

But even I have standards, low as they are. For the cost of one of the Bachmann garages, that wasn’t really a good match for the prototype, I could scratchbuild three or four custom versions. It’ll probably take me that many to get this right, or at least get it to the point that I’m quasi-content.

So my plan is to combine all the construction methods I’ve used on the layout to date. Styrene, acrylic, and even balsa wood will be turned into one big conglomeration of a building. Hopefully this won’t be my own personal Waterloo.

For those wondering about the Hills side of the layout, stay tuned.

7 thoughts on “My Own Personal Waterloo

  1. This parking garage may be your Waterloo, but aren’t the Waterloos why we enjoy the hobby? Figuring out how to build it will be a big challenge – but that also means the reward will be big too. And nobody will be able to look at the finished model and say “Oh yeah – that’s the Bachmann kit”, which I also find satisfying.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. James…

    First off Happy New Year!

    During the last year and a half, I have faced a seemingly unending series of “Waterloo’s” during my track planning process. It’s been one thing after another. But as you so aptly described there is always a way forward. One of those ways is leaning on and learning from other modelers such as yourself. I went from a string of “it’s just not possible ” to ” oh yes it is and here’s how.”

    Good luck on your parking deck project but honestly I don’t think you’ll need it…..modelers always seem to find a way to creatively engineer our way to a successful outcome even if it takes two or three tries! And that’s what makes our hobby so enjoyable.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m just being curious here. Are you planning to build the structure so as to be able to look into the parking area? I know from looking at the overhead map that the structure is deeper than the space you have on the layout, not to mention you’ve had to compress the area between Clinton and Dubuque.

    That could be a rather novel experience for operators, to see their train from the perspective of clients of the parking garage. Then there is that four story (?) corner tower.

    This looks to be an epic build and I know we’re all looking forward to seeing how you manage it. I’m rooting for you, man!


Leave a 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.