Monday, November 14, 2016

A Shed From Scrap - Part 1

This week end, I visited my brother's farm in Château-Richer. He has been busy over the last few weeks converting a small shed into a barn for his newly bought Canadienne cows. It is an historic race of cattle that was created in New France back in the mid-1660s when our King Louis XIV sent many farm animals selected among the best animals that could be found in France. After many decades of evolution in North America, the cattle developed a set of characteristic making it a small yet highly productive and resistant animal. And they are very fun animals too being quite friendly and good-looking with their dark brown robe. Don't be surprised if a few Canadienne cows fidn their way on the layout near the farm house!

My brother's cows running like crazy last spring
While all this is interesting, what struck me in the face was that my brother - a man who works about 80 hours per week - had the time to "kitbash" a 1:1 structure while I'm only working 35 hours per week and struggle to finish any limited scale project I start... The answer was easy: he just don't waste his life on computer and other such gadget. Not that he doesn't used them, but rather that when he does, it's for a limited yet productive time.

So I just decided to keep the computer shut down and see what I could do... It didn't take a long time before I found things to do, including priming the feedmill, repairing a 1/12 figure that got broken and finally finding a new life for useless HO scale structures... After having litteraly destroyed my Walthers wood grain elevator for nothing since I didn't use any part on the Agrivoix Coop, I thought it would be sad not using the parts for something else.

The only part of the shed in good shape was the housing on top of the elevator which looks decidly liek a small house or shed.

Using my trusty hobby knife, I salvaged two other windows from the building to add some openings into the small shed. A Tichy door was from the junk also came to my help to bring life to this structure. The roofing texture on the plastic parts was scrapped and replaced with corrugated cardboard to get a more industrial look.

Finally, using the hobby knife blade I gently scraped some plastic from the windows horizontal mullions. In Quebec, you often see these old windows with a large central member and smallish horizontal mullions. This is a typical detail seen in French Canadian architecture inherited from France during the colonial time and which survived well intothe 20th century. Adding this kind of subtle reference helps to see the model into the right time frame and location.

I don't know what I'll do with this building. It could be an employees wooden shed at Donohue or used as a storage and pump house for the feedmill. I do plan to add a heating oil tank near the track and if this small shed looks good it will end there. If it's too big, I'm in no shortage of small shed. Whatever the use, this structure will be in need of repair with peeling paint.

Well, I can say keeping the damn computer shut down until 9 PM was an excellent idea to be more productive. Next time I'll complaim I'm lacking time to do what I want... I'll shut up my mouth!


  1. As soon as I started to read that you had scraped the horizontal mullions thinner, I knew exactly why you were doing it without having to read the rest of the sentence. There are a ton of old homesteads on the Gaspe that share a few common characteristics, including the aforementioned windows, being two stories with a hip roof meeting at a peak in the center and having a single dormer window on the front of the roof and a permanent wooden ladder nailed to the roof to get at the chimney for flue fires. I'd love to build a few of these houses for my layout. Nice work!

    1. Thanks Taylor! This is exactly the very small details that make a difference. Sometimes, I wonder if I shouldn't make a 3D print file for casement windows more typically found in Eastern Canada (with four and six panes). Tichy and others manufacturers windows just don't work for this.

      The Gaspé area house you describe is definitely a classic one. It would be terrific to set the locale on a layout