San Itize

Mike E’s Californian Depôt in N Gauge

San Itize started life as one of the clubs Coronalayouts, but has taken on a post-Covid life and now has its own page.

It is a small California town in which a joint line of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific runs through the streets, with a small depot (i.e. station!) at the edge of town. Mike E already has two rotating fiddle yards which will serve either end, and allow through running of short trains, and some switching of the spur. As it is N gauge at 2mm to the foot, Mike allowed the footprint to be just 2 square feet.

Here, as you can see, Mike’s second version of the layout design.

The challenge will be to build one (reasonably) scale switch (point!), making the line entrances and exits believable, and the considerable number of buildings – although he has the beginnings of the depot and the oil pump.

Mike has decided to recycle as much material as possible (particularly as Boris does not want him to go out…..). Looking at what wood he had available suggested a revised size (still 2 sq ft !!) of 32″ x 9″. He has built the baseboard (see below) and is inviting suggestions from club members for a name for our little Californian town?……. Coronaville will not be popular…

Update 30 March 20

“how close can you get” image is missing

Above we see the sort of street scene that provided inspiration for the layout and right, the progress that Mike has made already made.

Update 6 April

Mike has completed the building shells to allow decisions on their positioning and hence layout of the roads and sidewalks,

Mike  a name for the town yet – Isolationville sounds a bit singular, San Alcatraz a bit forbidding, San Dwitch a bit obscure…

Other suggestions from other club members have been San Ferrian or the oh-so-appropriate San Itize.

Update 17 April

Roads, sidewalks, building foundations and ballasting all started this week. Mike says he will need a bit of careful smoothing and weathering. Next is to complete building carcasses where he’s got them and get them primed, ready to paint – the latter, he predicts will keep him busy for weeks.

Update 7 May

Mike has spend his time painting – this is for the buildings (views above) which is taking, and will take a long time to get right – using 000 brush and enamels mainly with some acrylic washes. 

He has also have been getting on with the “depot” – again a bit of a miniature challenge – you can see its size compared with a £1 piece,,,The kit is is by the USA Depots by John but with the roof replaced by round slates from York Modelmaking which should look more like wood shingles than what was in the kit. The livery is Southern Pacific, and those shingles will be painted in moss green

Update 22 May

These four photos show the conversion of a KATO 2-8-2 from coal to oils burning (this is the USA west!) using a little kit that Mike picked up years ago. it involved a bit of filing of the mouldings, but otherwise worked well. He also fitted Kaydee couplers instead of the old Arnold-type. Again the conversion went well – despite tiny parts!

This photo shows underneath the baseboard, where Mike has built a “flasher” kit and used it to drive a rather nice “railroad crossing” sign for the road. It flashes nice and slowly. Experience has taught him to make a removable  perspex guard for when he fits it on the top of the layout!

The next job is to finish off painting the stores, glaze them (what a lot of windows!), rig up some kind of interiors (visible through the store windows – should be able to use mainly photos) and devise a suitable way to affix the buildings in place.

Update 29 May

Mike had been worrying about constructing the freeway bridge that is to form the right-hand exit for San Itize, but suddenly realized (note vernacular spelling) that he had some bits of an old Walthers kit that he had saved/rescued {forgotten to throw away] from a previous project. A lot of plasticard and plastic bashing later he has a fine “Art Deco” structure. The first photo shows before painting, and the next two after priming. 

Now – is it California Route 99 or Route 66? – He  rather likes the idea that it is Route 66, and that you would probably not have noticed San Initiz as you drove across the bridge with Buddy Holly playing on the radio………

Update 19 June

Mike E is carry on work on the Walthers Oil Pump kit – it does work too! – I don’t mean actually pumping oil……… There is still quite a lot of detail to be added.

Update 17 July

At San Itize the corner store has been glazed and a rudimentary interior built. Now need bedding-in, paint job chivvying up. a bit of attention to weathering, and surely some colourful signage…..?

Update 31 July

On San Itize I have been glazing the stores and putting very rudimentary shop fronts in, essentially scaled and printed general images from the Web. The main big store needed an “egg crate” interior from cardboard to avoid unrealistic view lines through it. The next thing is to texture its roof and build a small version of one of those characteristic water tanks for the roof….

Update 21 August

Mike E has been putting on the sky/backscene support. The curved corners are made with thin plasticard, the rest is plywood. It will unscrew so that he can apply (he hopes!) the sky paper without it wrinkling and tearing. Once the glue has dried he will think about the LED lighting gallery – I think I have some in the cupboard.

Mike is also about to start the (very) low relief orange packing plant which will butt up against the backscene. drawing attached – in reverse, as that’s the way round he wants it. The loading dock will only be about 10mm wide, but should be OK.

Update 28th August

Some progress this week. The construction of the low-relief packing plant from plasticard/sheet is going well – am about to prime and then fix windows etc. I’ve ordered some suitable decals from the USA for the lettering.

The LED lighting “roof” has been constructed. The LED strips have been stuck on with “no more nails” as experience has shown that the self-adhesive that they come with soon fails. Next job is to put a proscenium arch on, and a little bit of “backscene” detail low in the sky. The sky paper was a b*****d going on – I think I’ll try a NON-self adhesive version next time.

Mike E’s update 4 September 2020

The fruit packing plant doesn’t look too bad – it needs the lettering from the USA, but will anyway be largely hidden by the buildings in front of it! (you can see their bases in the picture). One arrival was a rather lovely Santa Fe stock car by Athearn – a small stock loading pen is on the “to do” list. It seems a shame to weather the car, but I guess them steers wouldn’t be too clean…..

11 September 2020

This week the decals arrived from the USA for San Itize’s Orange packing plant. Something of a disaster in applying them – hence the developing creeper up the front of the building! 

It will look a lot better in proper lighting (rather than this photo) but am still working on that. I had two white strips, a red, a green and a blue. But the green didn’t seem to help, so I have decided to replace the green with two warm white strips. Should complete that tonight, and will then see if it gives the right effect (and makes buildings look better!)

25 Sept 2020

 A bit of progress this week. For San Itize I have built a cattle loading pen, based on pictures on the web and a drawing from a 1950s Model Railroader – adjusted for the small space available. It was all done from Evergreen plastic strip – 0.5×1 and 1×1 mm, on a plasticard base. 

Yet to be painted/weathered, but the third pic shows that it looks OK in situ behind the depot. 

The little bit of backscene was created from images on the web.

Update Jan 2021

Although no work has been done on San Itize for a while, a few items have been purchased to allow the construction of a little park at the front of the layout, from which we can watch the trains drift by…… Also some items to detail the roads and building roofs…. 

The trackwork is now stuck down, though I’ve not installed the rope haulage mechanism yet.

Trials with the scenics are taking place. Adjustments to the size of the aperture will be necessary from this shot. The sleeper fence is stained and blu-tak’d in place.

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