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Welcome to My HO Model Railroad Blog

My Leadville House Project

This post is about my son, Doug died in 2001 at the young age of 38 and I have included his Diner and now his home will be on my layout in his memory, he was a great son.  

Doug was very close to our daughter Susan, Susan died in 1991 during a robbery.  She was a night manager and refused to give her assailant the company's money and it cost her her life.  Doug struggled with the death of his sister for ten years and finally gave in.

My model railroad has become a memorial to my two children that died far to early.  Parents are not supposed to bury their children, the children are supposed to bury their parents. 

Doug's House will be the Classic Miniatures Leadville house CM12 kit.  Doug would have loved this home.  The house will sit on a hill above his business, Doug's Diner.  The following Post is about the construction of my son's house.

It is a very good kit with Classic Miniature's quality building material.  It is definitely not for a beginner as the instructions leave a lot to be desired.  In my 50 plus year model railroading career this was the most difficult kit to build I ever encountered mainly because of the lack of text instructions.  The dormers in particular are very difficult, I could not get them to fit together correctly per the kit drawings.  There is only one sheet of instructions with very good actual size drawings that can be used as templates.  All of the card stock except the dormers have very accurate print for cutting out the parts for building the roofs.  The basswood components are of the highest quality as are the detail parts.

My problem with the dormers was a simple fix but were not correct according to the drawings.  The roof angle printed on the card stock did not match the roof after assembly.  Anyone could "make them fit" but I guess I expected better.

The CM Queen Ester Mine House Kit (Doug's Diner) material and instructions were perfect. 

Both kits used Grandt Line plastic detail parts of the highest quality.  The only thing that could have been better would have to included an extra small detail part or two.  In my old age I will sometimes ding very small delicate parts and CM kits includes the exact amount so there is no room for error.


The picture above is what came in the box.

This shows the three cardboard sheets with printed roof and floor sections to be cut out with a sharp hobby knife as well as the detailing parts.

The picture above is side one of the only instructions that came with the kit.

This is side two of the instructions.  What you see is all you get.



This is the wall sections template.  The walls are made from 1/32" basswood lapped siding. 

The following pictures are progressive construction of the walls as they are glued in place to the cardboard floor.  As you can see everything is plainly marked for easy gluing.  I use Aleene's wood glue on all my craftsman kits.  It has a long snout, very strong, sets up quickly, sandable and stainable.  It's only drawback is it doesn't dry clear, it has a slightly orange tint after it is dry when it has been applied very thin.  As you can see where I left it thick it is orange.




The pictures below show room dividers for my lighting plan.  This house will have individual light control in every room.  The room dividers will prevent light leakage room to room.

I will run a 14 conductor ribbon cable from the house to a 14 position DIP switch for full light control.  The switch will be hidden in brush cover located near the edge of the layout behind the house.

My son Doug was full of energy, had a good sense of humor and enjoyed being a prankster I am adding some special effects to his house.  That requires the special lighting. 








I slipped up again and didn't take pictures of early second floor roof/walls before I added the room dividers. 

As you can see everything is well marked for error free assembly after cutting out the sections.  

This is a good time to talk about something for the workbench.  I have been building hobby type things for 63 years and specifically model railroad stuff for 60 of them. I had never heard of or had any knowledge of a Self Healing Cutting Matt until half way through this project when my friend Dan Merkel told my that I needed one.  

I told him that I broke 5 #11 X-Acto blades cutting the cardboard pieces for this project.

I had my wife pick me one up at Office Depot and I can't express how much I needed it 60 years ago.  I have literately demolished every workbench that I've had over the years not having a cutting mat.  I've had many cutting boards that were just a piece of wood but I've always broken blades like they were going out of style.  I have payed the price of the cutting mat dozens of times buying blades.  Since I have been using the mat I haven't broken a blade or put a slice in my workbench.  Even better yet, cutting is so much easier that it is unbelievable.  If you don't have a cutting mat and you use a hobby knife you must have a cutting mat!!!!  




This shows the second floor setting in place on top of the first floor.





I didn't take pictures of the assembly of the 
tower room either but it too is simple.  Here the second floor roof and tower are in place.



This shows the lights glued in place with my favorite glue GOOP.  There are nine 12 volt 40ma 4mm interior lights, one for each room.  A front porch light will be added when the porch is in place as well as a light over the rear door.

At this point the instructions said paint was next.  I chose Doug's favorite colors, Light gray with a darker gray for the trim.  The light gray is Folk Art #708 Dove Gray, the trim is Accent #2400 Soft Gray.





The Grandt Line windows and doors are nicely detailed and look very good on the house.

The Accent Dove Gray is a perfect match for the Grandt Line accessories.



The door is Creamcoat #2053 Dark Brown and the gold trim is DecoArt #DCA05 Antique Gold.




This shows a portion of the roof with shingles glued to the second floor wall/roof sides.  I wouldn't have followed the instructions had there been any on applying the shingles.  The strip shingles are very common in craftsman kits so I've had a lot of experience using them.  First do not use a sponge and water!  that will surely warp the card stock roof.  Again I used Aleene's wood glue sparingly.  It is very important to use a stainable glue if you are planning to stain the shingles, otherwise it will look like crap if you try to stain it. 



As I mentioned earlier there is a problem with the dormers.  The printed dormer roof on the card stock is too short to reach the second floor roof.  The sketch below is the only information in the instructions to complete the dormers.  The printed material for the dormer walls also don't match the angle of second floor roof.  The angle of the second story wall panel is off by 7° therefore the dormer roof lacks 1/16" in length.  The dormer roof lacks a overhang on the front also.  To make everything fit it was necessary to cut a new 1/8" longer roof section for the dormers.

I don't know what the problem is for sure, I suspect that the draftsman/design engineer missed the angle on the printed card stock.  Extending the dormer roof was the easiest fix.

These pictures show that the dormer is to short. 

The longer roof fit perfectly.

As you can see the extended roof on the dormer looks good.  I'm waiting to finish the dormer roofs, my wife is making the curtains for the windows then I will attach them to the window glass and glue them in place..


The instructions said to proceed to the front porch and this is it.  The kit would left the roof section of the porch hollow but as I'm going to illuminate it I filled the roof with a ¼" piece of balsa for added strength.  The Grandt Line details are very nice and authentic for the period.


The Instructions were inadequate here also.  The basswood angle trim left a gap between the porch roof and deck so that required some trimming to fit flush.

The shingles and porch deck are stained with Folk Art #2804 Walnut.



After the trimming to fit I glued the porch in place and added my son and his friend.

On to the juicy stuff, my son was quite the prankster so I added some special effects to the second floor as can be seen in the pictures below.


After the curtains are added and with the room light on you should see a silhouette in the window.


Doug's house is finished and sitting in place on my layout.





I bought some Window Dressing Curtains from City Classics.  There are enough curtains on a sheet of clear plastic to do 54 windows.


The window sheet is clear, I put a piece of black card stock under the sheet to take the picture.

The curtains are printed on the back of the clear plastic sheet so they appear as window glass from the front.  They are very nice, as you can see in the bottom window there is a person standing behind the window.

I highly recommend the City Classic Window Dressings because they make curtains extremely easy to do and they also look very good.

Well my son's home is finally finished and on my layout.  All eleven lights work and are individually controlled from my control panel.  I'm working on finishing up the scenery around his house and Diner.

I have to finish the scenery around Doug's house and diner and then take a final picture of his house and diner. 





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