Author Topic: Palmer Union Station  (Read 3918 times)

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dougnelson

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Palmer Union Station
« on: August 01, 2023, 02:27:14 AM »
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Palmer Union Station, Palmer, MA.  I went to an operating session at the Central Vermont in Northern California and decided to get involved with this group.  It is a very impressive layout, all designed for operation.  Set in May 1956, the layout depicts the Southern Division of the Central Vermont from Palmer, MA to New London, CT.  The layout is a work in progress, although much of the scenery is complete.  It is missing the signature structure of Palmer Union Station, so I decided to think about how to model this structure.  It opened in 1894 and was designed by architect H.H. Richardson in his iconic Richardson Romanesque style.  Richardson did several stations for the Boston & Albany.  Yes, this is HO, but I am not really going to the dark side.

I had a fuzzy plan and elevations of the station that would be the basis.  I also scoured the internet for photos, and found quite a few that would help with the details.  I am in California, so no time right now for a site visit.  Google Earth image and a Sanborn map where useful to scale the plan and elevations.




I created an HO scale mock-up using the elevations to see how the building would fit on the layout.  The space is just large enough to fit a full scale HO station, so it was decided that the building would not be compressed.  The fascia will be extended over the lower deck to create more land for the full size station.



The building walls are all granite and sandstone with rustic texture, definitely a modeling challenge.  I have access to a high-end laser cutter (Glowforge), although I had never used it.  It can both cut and etch.  It would cut the walls out and etch stone pattern.  For the stone texture, I would use matte medium gel, applied to each stone with a wood skewer.  While that may sound tedeus, I have used this technique before on my N scale PRR Sherman's Creek stone bridge which went very well.  It had to easier in HO scale, right?  I decided to test a small wall section to see if my idea was feasible.  With some basic tutorial, I created the file for the laser cutter using Adobe Illustrator.  Very simply, all lines to be cut through were done in blue and etched lines are done in red.  The file is exported as an .SVG file, and the Glowforge web interface does the rest.  The stone pattern was hand drawn on vellum from photographs, and then scanned and dropped into the Illustrator file using the wall outline.



To my amazement, it all worked and I had a test section made from 1/8" MDF board.  I started adding the matte medium gel texture to each stone, and it went smoothly.  When dry, I painted the wall section gray for the granite stone, and a terra cotta color for the sandstone.  I painted a few stones lighter gray as not all of the stones are the same gray value.  This test section was definitely a success.  Can it translate to the full building?  Yes, with patience. 

Test sample as it came out of the laser cutter (windows and door not popped out yet).


Adding stone texture with matte medium gel.


The finished test wall section after painting.


The wall section being test modeled.


The next step is to prepare drawing files for the full walls that will be done with the 1/8" MDF board.  I will also create separate files for windows layers that will be glued inside the stone walls and probably made from 1/16" board.  The distictive doors may be created from scaled photos.



When the walls are complete, I will tackle the complex roof of intersecting planes.  I think that will be doable with some measurements from the drawings, and a good amount of test fitting.  After the roof is modeled, I will figure the best way to add slate roof texture.  This is a challenging project, but so far it has been a fun one.  More progress reports later.

amato1969

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2023, 07:55:55 AM »
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Whoa, nice !

peteski

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2023, 10:48:24 AM »
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It is amazing what kind of scratchbuilding can be done nowadays with some modern tools (like Internet for research, and laser cutters).

The doors appear rather simple - should be easily done with some laser etching of the pattern. The fancy hinges could probably be laser cut from some thin laser board (or even thick stock black paper) and glued to the doors.
. . . 42 . . .

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2023, 11:13:27 AM »
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Doug, that's quite a project you've taken on! Using the matte medium for texture is a very clever idea...and it works. One of the advantages working in a larger scale, looks wonderful. Where is this layout, if you can share?
Following with interest,
Otto

dougnelson

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2023, 12:02:32 PM »
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Otto:  the CVRR is in a historic industrial building on the former Northwestern Pacific in Novato, CA. More info on the CVRR:
https://www.cvrailroad.com/

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2023, 09:31:26 PM »
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Thanks, Doug. Interesting that a proto based Central Vermont layout would be built in Novato, Ca. of all places. Looks like a fun project!
Otto

dougnelson

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2023, 06:18:41 AM »
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Progress preparing the files for printing. Drawings are prepared in Illustrator with separate layers for cut lines and etched images. The cut lines need to be vector lines and the etch lines, in this case, can be an image (jpeg). Stone pattern is hand drawn, over a print of the vector cut lines, and scanned for inclusion in the Illustrator file. The file is exported as a .SVG file for use in the laser cutter app.

Stonework image to be scanned:


Image showing the orange cut lines that the laser cutter will cut all the way through the material, and the blue stonework that will be etched into the material:


The laser cutter at work:


The finished “print” on 1/8” MDF board, ready for the addition of stone texture and painting:


peteski

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2023, 10:27:57 AM »
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I love this type of detailed build threads.  I always learn something new.
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sd45elect2000

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2023, 12:38:30 PM »
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I was just there yesterday… still looks the same.

Randy

Mdrzycimski

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2023, 09:57:52 PM »
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Very nice so far.  That station will be fantastic when completed!
Mike

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dougnelson

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2023, 04:09:18 PM »
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I was just there yesterday… still looks the same.

Randy

Randy:
If you or anyone else are nearby the station, I could use a few additional photographs.  Let me know.
Thanks,
Doug.

sd45elect2000

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2023, 05:44:53 PM »
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Randy:
If you or anyone else are nearby the station, I could use a few additional photographs.  Let me know.
Thanks,
Doug.

Let me know what shots you need, Im not sure when I'll be there again considering whats going on at work. But I'm only 45 minutes away.

garethashenden

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2023, 08:11:00 PM »
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I'm 20 minutes away, what do you need? I might have time tomorrow afternoon.

dougnelson

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2023, 04:36:16 AM »
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I'm 20 minutes away, what do you need? I might have time tomorrow afternoon.
I could use photos of each door type other than the main entry which I have. A few overall views of the station, and some views of the roof. Curious what the roofing material is - slate?
Thanks!

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Palmer Union Station
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2023, 11:50:21 AM »
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Wait, is that a dead season background I see? Be still my heart!