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Modeling 'The Gilpin Tram' - pt.I
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 Posted: Mon Mar 10th, 2014 05:26 pm
   
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Dan Graham
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Keith, How about letting us in on your ground cover. I have been looking at your layout photos, including the ones on the 2013 Sn3 symposium. I am amazed at how closely you have matched the prototype Gilpin photos...is it likely that if I go out to your garage I will find buckets and buckets of COLORADO out there...Dan.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2014 04:37 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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Dan:

Thank you for the nice comments about the scenery.  That got me thinking about how I have been making scenes on past and the current a'building layout.

Nothing I do is original - it's all taken from other published articles by others.  Of course, Frary and Hayden's scenery books and articles have given me a lot of ideas.  Harry Brunk's articles in Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette have given me lots of ideas, too.  Lane Stewart helped me a lot, also.  He published an article several years ago in Gazette about using a palette of ground cover materials when doing scenes.  At one of the past narrow gauge conventions (Colorado Springs in about 1992, I think), he gave me several suggestions about painting scenery and models based on some of the techniques he was using at the time.  So, using a variety of techniques seems to help.


Scenes like this are what have always inspired me.  When I visit Gilpin County, my trip usually starts in Denver and head up through Clear Creek Canyon.  Views like this, with rugged rocks, rushing water, and  mountain vegetation are all things I have tried to model.


I tend to have free time in September, so when I visit Gilpin County, it's definitely near the end of the growing season, but early enough that many aspens haven't turned color yet, nor is there snow.  The image above shows the variety of textures that to me are typical of this area.  The ground itself is very rocky - everywhere!  Where vegetation grows, it is in spotty patches, usually not a carpeted lawn.  The "underbrush" is a variety of shapes and textures - some bushes are kind of round-shaped, some are wild and scraggly, and others.  The trees come in a variety of shapes, too - not all the classic pine tree shape - some are round, stunted, or deformed.  There is a lot to consider when modeling scenery along the Gilpin Tram, but fortunately, it's pretty easy to do.


I've learned the hard way to paint a backdrop first, otherwise, I tend to put it off and never get around to it.  I prime sheet styrene that I buy in 4' x 8' sheets and cut into strips, and prime with white and sky blue latex paint.  I then paint very crude backdrop scenery with artist's oils.


Following the KISS method of scenery (Keep It Simple, Stupid). my HOn30 layouts are rigid foamboard (extruded polystyrene to those of you not living in northern climes) cut or sanded to shape.  Textured areas are built up with thin plaster of paris rock mold castings (homemade or purchased from Bragdon Enterprises), then later colored with washes of diluted artist's oils.


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 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2014 04:50 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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The ground seems to often be gravelly and rocky soil everywhere.  Over the carved/sanded foam, I paint a diluted layer of textured ceiling plaster (this is a gypsum plaster with styrofoam beads in it, intended to be air-sprayed to texture residential ceilings).  This stuff is cheap, and a large bag can be had for less than $20 and lasts forever.  I simply paint it on, and when dry, give it washes of diluted oil paints.

Then basic cover goes on.  I collect dirt samples from a variety of places - Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and other places I have forgotten.  After a while, you build up a palette of a variety of colors.  I do collect some dirt on every trip from along the Gilpin Tram - this gives a color like the prototype because it is from the prototype.  Above, I am putting gravel and sand textures in an earlier version of Black Hawk yard (since replaced).  The more variety, the better the results seem to be.  You want to avoid building scenery where the ballast or ground foam material you used can be instantly identified - instead, use lots of different sources like the prototype.


In this image, the future enginehouse area (in a Black Hawk scene that preceded the model shown in the previous image), the basic sand and gravel textures are down, and now I am putting vegetation that is fine ground foam, sawdust, and flocking.  Then, bushes and trees will be glued on.  Everything is adhered with white glue and wetted with sprayed rubbing alcohol (a technique published by Boone Morrison in Gazette years ago).


Again, a variety of bushes, grasses ,and trees abound in the prototype. What I have yet to model well are groves of immature aspens, as shown here.  Something I still need to figure out.


The lightweight foam scenery is lightweight and easy to build and tear out.  I guess I tend to start and modify layouts a lot.  This image is a layout from 1998, which was later torn out and replaced with the versions shown in previous photos.  But, this and the other layouts were torn up due to house moves, not completely due to my changing my mind again...

So, there is a long-winded summary of how I do my scenery.

Keith

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 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2014 01:30 pm
   
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Herb Kephart
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Thanks, Keith!


Herb



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 Posted: Wed Mar 12th, 2014 03:17 pm
   
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W C Greene
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Yes, masterful work from a true master. Always a treat to see Keith's layout. We are blessed to have him here on this site.

Thank you, sir.

Woodie



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 Posted: Thu Mar 13th, 2014 02:46 am
   
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Dan Graham
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Thank you Keith, I have been in this hobby for a long time, and have seen a lot of layouts. You hit it on the head when you mentioned easily identifiable materials. The "loose" look you have is great. I agree that it is too easy to pick up bags of scenery material at the hobby shop. I have almost reached the scenery stage (on blue foam). The sad part, this is layout (probably number three hundred and six or so..) needs to get past the blue foam! Dan.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 24th, 2014 04:23 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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Last year, I moved to a new home, and in the process, had to discard much of my previous layout.  Fortunately, I was able to salvage the more crucial sections for reuse.

In the past year, I didn't get as much layout-building done as I would have liked, but I did get unpacked and organized, the shelving for this shelf layout built, roughed-in backdrops built, and lighting set up.

The new main part of the layout will feature the Buckley Mine branch - I will reuse the structures and scenery base around the structures on the new layout.  The track plan looks like this:



This part of the layout will have 3 major scenes: the Quartz Hill mining area, which will feature the Buckley Mine branch structures, Chase Gulch, and the start of Black Hawk.  The tail of the wye is intended to be the start of Black Hawk, with more to be built.

The layout will have continuous running, but I will operate it point-to-point.  The rear of the loop is hidden by a low ridge and trees, and will be used for staging.



The layout is rigid foamboard over wood framing, and built in 3 sections - each small enough to easily handle and will fit onto a portable workbench.  The image above shows the rough foam contours and basic wood base for the trackwork.



Today, I started carving the foam base in the Chase Gulch area.  I used the techniques shown by Dave Frary in a video I purchased from his website.  Here, I am doing rough carving with a serrated knife (cheap steak knife from a Dollar Store).



About an hour later, this is how this end of the rocky scenic ridge looks.



Here is another view of the same rocky ridge, which will represent Chase Gulch.

More will follow as I continue with the scenery and trackwork, but so far, things are moving along well.

Keith

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 Posted: Mon Mar 24th, 2014 01:27 pm
   
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CBryars2
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Very nice. Like the rock carving. Your modular approach is something I am really beginning to think about and the ability to work on a section at bench is a big plus in my mind.

Thanks Cameron



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 Posted: Thu Apr 10th, 2014 04:50 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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In previous postings, we started an intermittent tour of the Gilpin Tram, beginning at the enginehouse, climbing up Chase Gulch, winding through Winnebago Hill, Eureka Gulch and Prosser Gulch, and ending up at the mining district on Gunnell Hill.

Earlier postings had information on a bunch of mines on Gunnell Hill: the Woods, Gunnell, Grand Central, Whiting, Straub, Grand Army, Gold Collar, and Concrete.


A last look at the concrete mine, showing a string of loaded ore cars that coasted under the ore bins and awaiting to be brought down to Black Hawk


There is still another section of this branch we haven’t explored yet - the Hubert Mine branch.

Little is known about this branch - according to records, it actually was built to the Hubert Mine, a large ore producer on the north side of Nevadavile, close to and perched on the hillside above the town.  For what years this mine shipped ore, how much, and when the branch was torn up seem to be undocumented.


View looking north - the Hubert Mine is on the left end of the large ore dump - the Gilpin Tram trackage ran along the top of the dump


In May 1888, rails were extended to the Hubert Mine branch.  This branch was described as branching off of the switchback from the Whiting Mine and working its way up to eventually reaching the Hubert Mine.  

The mine was managed by Henry C. Bolsinger, who not only was a prominent citizen and state senator, but was President of the Gilpin Tramway in 1886, and a Gilpin Tramway director in 1887 and 1888.


A photo of a portion of a map in the Colorado School of Mines, showing the cluster of switchbacks at the upper left, which was the Hubert Branch trackage



The branch to the Hubert eventually required seven switchbacks.  The first three, because they also served other mines, were documented in the Colorado & Southern mileage charts. These were:

M.P. 40.74 Concrete Switchback:  On the north side of the mainline, the track began a steep climb on the first of several switchbacks to serve the Whiting, Grand Army, Concrete, and Hubert Mines.  

M.P. 40.96 Concrete Switchback No. 2:  Trackage at the Grand Army Mine was relatively congested, and the second switchback branched off almost right in front of the mine building.

M.P. 41.23 Concrete Switchback No. 3:  The tail track of this switchback was 236 feet long, and this switchback was located immediately downhill of the Prize Mine, on an open, grassy slope.  The tail of this switchback is at about the same elevation as the wagon road that serves the ore bins for the Prize Mine. 


A contempory view of Nevadaville.  The Hubert Mine dump remains, and the white dotted line shows where the Gilpin Tram came in from the east slope of Gunnell Hill

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 Posted: Thu Apr 10th, 2014 05:01 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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Darel Leedy, a Denver-area narrow gauge modeler and Gilpin fan, is exploring a typical stone retaining wall on the switchback grade off of the Concrete Mine spur


I speculate that the Concrete Switchback No. 3 was built here to be a convenient location to extend a spur to the Prize Mine if ever needed.  However, it appears the Prize Mine was never a shipper on the Gilpin Tram.  TGhe May 1888 newspaper said the branch was being built to the Prize and Hubert Mines.  Joseph W. Bostwick, who owned the Prize Mine, was also a Director of the Gilpin Tramway from 1900 to 1904.  The Prize Mine also owned the adjacent Seuderberg Shaft, which was shown as being on a spur off of the Hubert Mine Branch.  Although I have never seen any paper records of this mine shipping on the tram, it is possible the ore was shipped out at the Seuderberg shaft.  By 1914, this mine was connected to the Argo Tunnel, and ore was by then presumably shipped out to the mills in Idaho Springs.


Overall view of the southeast side of Gunnell Hill. The Prize Mine is seen at center right


The Prize Mine today is in excellent condition


The Gilpin Tram switchback at this elevation ends in the grassy area where the photographer (me) is standing.  A Gilpin Tram spur could have been easily extended to the Prize Mine ore bins, but there is no record that this ever happened


A little closer view of the Prize Mine, with a nice look at the ore loading side.  The backside of the mine more or less disappears into the hillside - the roof dives down to meet the ground.


[img]">This is the powder house at the Prize Mine - Lane Stewart wrote a nice article on how he modeled this several years ago in the Gazette

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