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Stumpy’s Station – “The Junkyard” Part Five

August 2nd, 2013 · No Comments

We have the cars, we have spare parts to place, we know what a small yard was like from the earlier parts of this series, but how do we make our own scene?
First of all, how big an area do you have, or need? The junkyard that I built about ten years ago in O scale for the modular club could have been 8×21,” in other words, almost a whole module except for track area. In that much space, even in O scale, I could have built a sizable yard!
As it was, I chose to do a small yard, just enough to give a flavor of such an operation, not a full scale representation. I used a piece of thin wood veneer as a base and made it 6×12” which allowed a two stall garage, a gate shack, and room for just a few cars.
In S scale you could go a bit smaller. Or of course any size, if you really enjoy this project and have built a dozen or more cars. Perhaps build a large yard with all kinds of salvage besides automobiles, and run a siding into it equipped with a magnetic crane.
A small junkyard could have about six junkers spread around with spaces between a couple of them as if a car or two had been stripped out completely and cut up.
Almost all of the old yards I’ve been in used corrugated metal sheeting for the perimeter fence with wooden posts and stringers. Making the wood part could be done with scale lumber, but being basically cheap, I bought a whole pack of kabob sticks for under two bucks at the grocery store.
Scale corrugated metal panels are available and expensive, but I stumbled onto a “Corrugating Tool” in the Scrap Booking area of a local craft store. Using common card stock (3×5” file cards, also from the craft store) I “rolled” my own corrugated metal fencing. I cut the cardstock to 8 scale feet high and sent it through the tool. This was laid on the work table and the kabob sticks cut to 6 scale foot lengths and glued on as posts. These posts go from the “ground” to a point below the top of the fencing. Other kabob sticks go between these horizontally as stringers. Actually, the stringers are much heavier than they should be in S scale, so perhaps scale lumber would work better for them.
I made enough fence to surround the yard and decided to do my garage the same way. It had no windows or doors, the “front” was open so you could see the structure and vehicle and junk inside.
All timber on the fence and in the building was painted with a dark wood stain I had left over from a furniture project, and then the corrugated sheeting was painted with gray primer. After the primer had dried, I dry brushed rust streaks down it and in some places did a “wash” of rust color over the whole surface. As with all weathering, less is more, it is very easy to overdo! After this weathering, the fence was glued in place and the garage was assembled and placed.
For the gate shack, I used a small shed kit and painted and weathered it well. The gate itself was built similarly to the corrugated fence and glued in the open position.
I spread some light gray ballast at the entrance to the yard, inside and in front of the garage building. The rest of the yard was painted tan to represent dry dirt. Around the fence (on both sides) I dabbed green paint. Once I decided which junk cars would go where, the most stripped ones had green dabbed where they would go, under the “active” cars were left “dirt.”
I next placed the junk cars and glued ground foam weeds in the green areas along the fence and around the older, more stripped cars. Fenders and doors, tires and wheels and bits of painted aluminum foil “sheet metal” bits were then randomly placed to create debris. A stack of tires was put near the garage as was an engine. Placing “clutter” can be an art form.
I did not glue my “Pole Truck” in place so that I could move it from time to time. I made it from a die cast Model AA stake bed truck with the bed cut off and the tripod made of Plastruct plastic “pipe.” This also was “dented” and had lots of rust spots and grime on it.
If you add people, you’ll have to do some painting on available figures, but this will be adding smudges of oil, or dirt. Customers would be common male figures in t-shirt nad blue jeans. You might want to paint bib overalls on a couple of them to represent “Pa” and his helper. “Ma” could be out of sight inside the gate shack, counting money.
For many of you a few junk cars behind a gas station would be enough, while I know of at least one S gauger who turned such a project into a large operation loading scrap onto gondola cars with a crane!
Turning toy cars like “Hot Wheels” into realistic ones, or creating junk cars can be addictive once you get into it, especially if you like cars to begin with. Adding such a “sub-hobby” to trains can be lots of fun!

Stumpy Stone

Next month we start another locomotive project!

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