Author Topic: Industrial Challenge: The Rico-Argentine Mining Co. Pro Patria Mill in HO  (Read 1991 times)

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Dave V

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My entry will be a little different.  The famed Rio Grande Southern narrow gauge railroad was built to haul silver and gold from the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.  The Silver Panic of 1893 put many of the silver mines out of business and the Great Depression almost finished it all off for good.  By the 1940s the two biggest mining and milling concerns along the RGS were the Pandora mine at Telluride and the colossal Pro Patria Mill at Rico.

I'm planning to model Rico as part of my RGS First District HOn3 model railroad.  The Pro Patria Mill was enormous...second perhaps only to a few of the big mills north of Silverton.  It dominated the town of Rico until its destruction shortly after the RGS was abandoned.  Some pictures:

https://ngtrainpics.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/RD139-RGS-Burns-Canyon-to-Rico-1/G0000O9ghGdmGF1U/I0000bPY_Y3Uw.I4/C0000Vd2qoA2MbNU

https://ngtrainpics.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/RD140-RGS-Burns-Canyon-to-Rico-2/G0000_JI2BlAWziA/I0000lsLYoSJbFiA/C0000Vd2qoA2MbNU

Bill Banta of Banta Modelworks makes an amazingly detailed model of this mill (photos from Banta's website):







The cost for the HO scale kit is a whopping $475.  However, when you consider the size, the number of parts, and the overall Banta quality, that's actually not unreasonable at all.

So why aren't I just buying the kit?

The size.

This monster is over two feet wide!

My itty-bitty Rico is going to be cramped enough without a mill the size of a microwave oven.  So my plan is to kitbash a mill using plastic kits that captures the general look but isn't a faithful reproduction.  A student of the RGS will know that there should be a big old brown-colored stamp mill north and east of the Rico depot served by a spur off the Rico house track.  If I can capture the overall shape my hope is that it will be close enough not to draw scrutiny.

I'm starting with these two plastic kits:



I'll also be scratchbuilding a little bit.

To be clear, the real mill was vertical board sheathed and my kits are board-and-batten.  I'm also not doing all the dormers.  Just a few to capture the look.  So I guess you could call this "proto-lancing?"

Silver San Juan Scenic Line

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Point353

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Looks like an interesting exercise using a combination of selective compression and kit bashing.
Could some of the upper levels of the complex be rendered in low-relief or as flats against the backdrop?

Dave V

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One of the tricks I learned from Model Railroader Magazine is to photocopy the walls to scale and work out all the cuts and measurements that way first: 

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Silver San Juan Scenic Line

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GonzoCRFan

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This monster is over two feet wide!


TWSS
Sean

Dave V

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+2
Made some progress today.  Serendipity is often the key to kitbashing and it just so happens in 1996 I built the Grandt Line East Terrible Mill and inexplicably kept it during my entire N scale career.  So, armed with two of 'em, I went to work:





I'm still figuring out the ore warehouse and the covered loading shed.



The "floating freight door" will be level with the terrain.  This'll be on a very steep slope.



The ore house roof will be covered with roll roofing or corrugated metal, so I'm not sweating the splice joints:



It seems like a large enough entity to warrant rail service, and that's what I was after:



Again, the objective here is to capture the overall feel without inviting too much negative scrutiny.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 07:11:47 PM by Dave V »
Silver San Juan Scenic Line

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DKS

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Again, the objective here is to capture the overall feel without inviting too much negative scrutiny.

No question you're succeeding brilliantly.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

Dave V

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Thanks!

I'm debating building a bit of the scenery around this thing to keep the parts all lined up.  Still need to build the covered loading shed and maybe add the ore bin below the ore house.  I think I'll be placing an order to MB Klein for moar styrene!  That is if you guys haven't already bought it all!
Silver San Juan Scenic Line

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DKS

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I'm debating building a bit of the scenery around this thing to keep the parts all lined up.

Why not just cobble together a skeletal support made from heavy cardstock or matte board?
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

Dave V

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+3




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mu26aeh

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Very nicely done !

Dave V

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Re: Industrial Challenge: The Rico-Argentine Mining Co. Pro Patria Mill in HO
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2018, 11:53:05 PM »
+4
Silver San Juan Scenic Line

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davidgray1974

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Re: Industrial Challenge: The Rico-Argentine Mining Co. Pro Patria Mill in HO
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2018, 06:18:47 PM »
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Really coming along nicely Dave.

Modeling the L&N, well at least a few times a year.

narrowminded

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Re: Industrial Challenge: The Rico-Argentine Mining Co. Pro Patria Mill in HO
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2018, 02:14:34 AM »
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Very nice! 8)  This is especially interesting to me as I'll have something similar to build on a future module.  Keep up the nice work so I have something worth copying when the time comes.  Oh, and take your time.  It will be a while. :)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 02:43:46 AM by narrowminded »
Mark G.

Dave V

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Re: Industrial Challenge: The Rico-Argentine Mining Co. Pro Patria Mill in HO
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2018, 11:17:48 PM »
+4
Still working on it....slowly...  Scratchbuilt the covered loading shed which was a combination of corrugated metal and board siding.

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Santa Fe Guy

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Re: Industrial Challenge: The Rico-Argentine Mining Co. Pro Patria Mill in HO
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2018, 08:58:16 PM »
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This kit bash looks very plausible Dave. Nice combination of shapes. Should look good once installed on the layout.
Rod.
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