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Civil War Era Ventilated Shed Kit

| November 28, 2013 | 13 Comments More

MTL Civil War ShedMicro-Trains Line has a new series of N scale trains and laser cut kits based on the US Civil War era of 1861 to 1865 and I thought I’d take a look at a recent kit in the series, the Ventilated Shed (MTL #499 90 959). With a footprint of just 2” x 3.75” and cut from micro-plywood, it’s a fairly basic piece to assemble. With all kits though you want to make sure all your angles are straight when assembling and gluing. The kit comes cut on 4 laser-cut frets plus a one-piece scored roof.

Before I began working on this kit, I knew I’d be simulating a period appropriate limewash, or whitewash for the entire structure so I decided to assemble the kit first and paint later. If you decide to paint before assembly, I’d strongly suggest leaving all the cut pieces on their respective frets while painting to avoid the sections warping.

The photos here roughly match up to the directions that come with the kit and again, it’s a pretty quick piece to assemble. When building I tend to use a drop of gel CA as a tack weld near a corner just to hold the pieces together and then double check everything is squared-up. I then go over all the seams and joints with a fine brush using yellow wood glue. I find this method ensures straight joints, there’s nothing worse than laying on CA or wood glue then rushing to make sure things are square while you’re trying to assemble the pieces. The drop of gel CA allows me to take my time and look at pieces from several angles to insure a square joint.

Even laser cut plywood will often have a slight bow to it, there’s always a little wiggle room here and here with kits but as long as you make sure you joints are square when going together, you’ll be fine once the piece is fully assembled. Once you place a kit with long framework legs like this on your layout, you’ll be able to make any final squaring-up adjustments with a few drops of adhesive on the leg bottoms.

I looked around for some ideas for my roof color and decided to make this sort of a tin rusted roof. I’ve also seen a number of Civil War era buildings that were simply long wood slats, not shingles, but what appear to be continuous wood slats going from the ridge to the eaves. Not being an authority on what roof material would have been used in this context, I took a flyer on the roof color and material.

Going a limewash for this structure makes sense given the era, and once the white paint had dried, I scraped some just a bit off to simulate normal wear. After the red roof was glued down, a few basic weathering powders were applied to the whole shed to give it a hard worn feel.

What I really like about this kit is the open, see-through feel it has; you get a building that invites viewers in for a closer look. The horizontal slats and cross bracing on the walls add a nice touch. It would be a great siding structure for a parked loco or freight car.

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  • Jim Lane

    John – Great tip on using CA to make tack welds to help ensure a square structure. Since Micro Trains has released a number of Civil War era era laser kits, I would love to see you post a few builds of them like you did with the Z scale waterfront kits.

    • Raildig

      Thanks Jim, glad to hear you liked that CA tack weld tip, it’s saved me from more than one off-kilter wall :)

      I am definitely interested in the new MTL Civil War concept and look to do more work with it in the future.

    • Raildig

      Jim, I’ve just added a new MTL Civil War kit build: http://www.raildig.com/raildig-build-projects/civil-war-era-transfer-dock/.

      • Jim Lane

        Yes, I just read the Transfer Dock construction article. I want to try using a soldering iron to enhance the contact cement bond of the rails to the deck, as you suggested. Can’t wait to see how you tackle the Rail Barge construction! Thanks for sharing your modeling expertise.

        • Raildig

          Just make sure to test on a piece of scrap first, and the iron just needs a short amount of time on each section of the rail. Also, make sure to apply a little downward pressure to the top of the rail after moving the iron to the next section so the rail doesn’t move while cooling.

  • John Bartolotto

    John,

    What was a Ventilated Shed used for during that time period?

    Yours,

    John

    • Raildig

      Hi John, I’ll forward this to Micro-Trains to get their answer. My take on the structure is based on pure supposition but I see this as more of a Southern rather than Northern structure, as you might imagine. I’ve seen modelers’ photos of similar scratchbuilt sheds in the area of narrow gauge model railroads: lumber, sugar plantations, etc.

      Also, and this is just my wild guess for the day, I’ve seen roughly similar structures in both English and even Australian railroading. Given that there was British influence in the US Civil War, maybe some of this influence can be seen in this shed? Ok, I did say a wild guess :)

      More likely is the thought that this shed would be quicker to erect than an enclosed shed. Let’s see if MTL can shed (yep, pun intended) some light on this design.

      • Raildig

        Hi John

        The shed was used for protecting freight from the sun
        and rain, generally in southern climates. It was also utilized to store
        and work on freight cars and engines as necessary. The kit is a general
        design, there were all sorts of different versions. If you are familiar
        with the Pullman sheds and further, British Branch and Hault lines,
        open sheds like these were common. SP went a step further and the
        Pullman or ventilated shed in Modesto or Stockton… is a big concrete
        affair that has been turned into offices.

        Hope this helps.
        Joe D’Amato

    • Raildig

      John, I just heard back from Joe over at MTL:

      Hi John

      The shed was used for protecting freight from the sun and rain, generally in southern climates. It was also utilized to store and work on freight cars and engines as necessary. The kit is a general design, there were all sorts of different versions. If you are familiar with the Pullman sheds and further, British Branch and Hault lines, open sheds like these were common. SP went a step further and the Pullman or ventilated shed in Modesto or Stockton… is a big concrete affair that has been turned into offices.

      Hope this helps.
      Joe D’Amato

    • Raildig

      John, I just heard back from Joe D’Amato over at Micro-trains:

      Hi John

      The shed was used for protecting freight from the sun
      and rain, generally in southern climates. It was also utilized to store
      and work on freight cars and engines as necessary. The kit is a general
      design, there were all sorts of different versions. If you are familiar
      with the Pullman sheds and further, British Branch and Hault lines,
      open sheds like these were common. SP went a step further and the
      Pullman or ventilated shed in Modesto or Stockton… is a big concrete
      affair that has been turned into offices.

      Hope this helps.
      Joe D’Amato

      • John Bartolotto

        John,

        Thanks! So it would have been used on sidings, correct?

        John

        • Raildig

          John, I’d think sidings or stubs would be appropriate for this shed.

  • Raildig

    John, I just heard back from Joe over at Micro-Trains:

    Hi John

    The shed was used for protecting freight from the sun and rain, generally in southern climates. It was also utilized to store and work on freight cars and engines as necessary. The kit is a general design, there were all sorts of different versions. If you are familiar with the Pullman sheds and further, British Branch and Hault lines, open sheds like these were common. SP went a step further and the Pullman or ventilated shed in Modesto or Stockton… is a big concrete affair that has been turned into offices.

    Hope this helps.
    Joe D’Amato

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