Saturday, September 26, 2020

 Another plan for Ceresco 

The city of Ceresco is at one end of my U-shaped HO scale shelf layout. It's here that the Ceresco & Wolf River will interchange with the Chicago & Northwestern mainline. I like the idea of allowing for continuous running, Sometimes, you just want to sit and watch the train go around and around. My earlier plan for Ceresco didn't allow for that. This plan does. It is adapted from a plan by Rob Chant -- an HOn30 plan called the "Island of Misfit Trains." Ron's plan is 2'x7'. I flipped it end for end and added two feet to the right end to fit my 2'x9' space. Continuous running will be provided by a removable bridge across the aisle to the peninsula at Scots' Landing, at the other end of the layout. 

I welcome comments, suggestions, constructive criticism, and tasteless puns.

In this version, I've swapped a few things around. The roundhouse is less crowded and there are more industries on the right. Comments, suggestions?

I'm still looking at other layout plans for ideas and solutions, since I probably won't start building Ceresco until early 2021. Stay tuned.

 Ice House & Platform — 1:87 Scale  Model

I needed a small industry to fit a specific location on a narrow peninsula at Scots' Landing. My ice house is Clever Models' Creeky Roofing paper model with doors modified from the kit and roof panels from Smart Models. The platform is scratch built from Midwest Products dimensional lumber, stained with Weathering Mix from Hunterline. The platform was built on a scale drawing of "Atsan Ice" from (I think) an old Railroad Model Craftsman. The staircase is built with stringers from Northeastern Scale Lumber.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Ceresco Long House — an O-Scale Paper Model

The History

In 1844 the Wisconsin Phalanx, a group of followers of the 19th-century French socialist philosopher Charles Fourier, organized a communal settlement known as Ceresco (for Ceres, Roman goddess of agriculture). About 180 people lived in the Association at its peak, farming nearly 2,000 acres. It was one of the three longest-lived Fourierist Associations in the United States, dissolving in 1850, and it was unique for having assets which exceeded liabilities at the time of its demise.

The members of the Phalanx registered their settlement with the state, as the village of Ceresco, Wisconsin, so the village survived the collapse of the utopian socialist experiment. Remaining members of the Wisconsin Phalanx later formed a living cooperative and study group called the Ceresco Union in 1855. Their doctrines included religious free thought and interpersonal free love. That group was disbanded by a mob of outraged citizens from the adjacent community of Ripon (founded in 1849). By 1858, the village of Ceresco was entirely annexed into the village of Ripon.

The Building

The Phalanx built two longhouses to house their earliest members. The first was built by combining several smaller existing buildings The second longhouse was purpose-built as a communal dwelling. That building still stands, though it has been converted to apartments and thoroughly remuddled. 

I have decided to build a scale model of the Phalanx Longhouse as it appeared in the 1840s. Photos are rare and none from before the Phalanx disbanded. I used what photos are known and measurements of the surviving structure to draw what I believe is a reasonably accurate rendering of the building — as accurate as it can be given the scant evidence. I plan to build the model in 1:48 scale and put it on display here in Ripon, where I live.

Early photographs lack details and modern images 
reflect a lot of "remuddling."

The old photos did reveal a few secrets.

I compared my initial renderings to the oldest photos to
confirm the original placement of doors and windows.

Using those proportions and measurements of the surviving structure, I drew elevations in 1:48 scale.

The center section is a mystery. It might simply be a central hallway, but there is no known description of it. My measurements and drawing also showed the building to be smaller than 19th-century writers had claimed. Old records suggest that it housed between 26 and 30 families. Given the size of rural families in the mid-1800s, it must have been a crowded place.

The Model
Putting it all together, the model will be about 30 inches long, a nice winter project. I will use O-scale clapboard, brick, shingle, and door & window texture papers from Clever Models. The model will be paper and card over foamcore. Railings and stairs will have to be scratchbuilt, probably with Evergreen plastic shapes. I'll put it on a base with a bit of Woodland Scenics landscaping, and a figure or two if I can find them.

One more drawing, this one with my best guess as to the porch, railings, and stairs. There are no known photos, drawings, or descriptions of the porches and stairs. I have drawn one possibility that is consistent with the neoclassical style of the building and with the simplicity one would expect of a Fourierite Commune like the Wisconsin Phalanx.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Cape & Armstrong Co. - 1:87 Scale 

Politicians rewrite history, why can't I?

Back in July I wrote that my McIntyre Marine was the largest shipper in Scots' Landing. That's no longer true. Cape & Armstrong is a wholesaler of general merchandise serving communities on the chain of lakes that stretches north from Pheasant Lake, where Scots' Landing is located. At C&A Co., merchandise of all kinds is transshipped from rail cars, to the C&A warehouse, to packet boats that serve businesses up and down the lakes. The company also handles some of the products coming south from the lake district -- furs, leather, apples and cider, honey, cranberries, and wild rice among them. At least one, often two boxcars are unloaded here each day, while an outbound car might carry a substantial amount of LCL freight.

Cape & Armstrong Co., General Merchandise
 scratch built paper model, 1:87 scale
adapted from photographs of a craftsman kit 
by Sea Port Model Works 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

 A Little Diversion

People tend not to use the name "Sakrison" and the word "normal" in the same sentence. I was once asked whether anyone in my family suffers from insanity. I had to be honest. I said, "We don't suffer from it; we really enjoy it."

True Story:  My firstborn daughter has been a nerd (and proud of it) since before nerditude was cool. Both our girls attended a small private grade school where most of the families went to the same church. Ingrid was in third grade when a classmate approached her one day and asked, "Ingrid, why are you so strange?" Her teacher told me Ingrid didn't miss a beat. She turned to her classmate and responded, "Have you met my father?"

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Fogarty's Bait & Tackle Shop - 1/87 Scale Paper Model

This is one of the buildings from "The Waterfront" kit by Builders in Scale. The kit is out of print but full-size plans (HO scale) are available from Builders in Scale. 

I built this paper model from BiS plans using my own barnwood texture sheet (download it here), siding and roofing from Paper Creek (no longer in business), doors and windows from my "digital parts box," signs from the Internet, a barrel and stovepipe from Tichy Train Group, stripwood, and home-made ground foam. I made the shop signs on Photoshop Elements®.

Fogarty's Bait & Tackle Shop will be located in Scots' Landing on my Ceresco & Wolf River RR.

I didn't put a loading dock on the left side of the barn. That side won't be visible on the layout, but I didn't know that when I started building the structure. 

The plans also show a canopy on this end of the barn. I may add it later.