Category: "Model Cars & Airplanes"

Mail Wagon - part 12

by brae  

Continuing work on the mail wagon. Here's a reminder of the mail wagon from the Galloway House and Village in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Since its interior is the only one I've been able to photograph up close, I'm modeling many of my details after it.

I chose Deep Midnight Blue by Americana for the exterior. I sealed the paint first with a satin spray sealer that must have been old, because it would not dry. I followed that up with a semi-gloss sealer, which ended up looking better overall. I had to wait a few days for it to full cure before I felt comfortable taping or clamping the surface.

The interior of my inspiration has interesting hardware details.

In the beginning, postal carriers were photographed with satchels, but I've always liked the look of the sorters inside some mail wagons I've seen, including my inspiration. There wasn't a lot of room, but I was able to add a few cubbyholes. These wouldn't necessarily be reserved as one per household on the route but a way to sort along the way.

I added a window lock from my stash of interesting hardware (not sure where I even got them or the manufacturer). The lock bar actually slides, though it doesn't matter much for my non-working window. I'm thinking the hook on the top would hold the window open, maybe? I'll definitely add small hinges to complete the look of my non-operating front window.

Next up, a comfortable bench seat. This had to be built with the doors held in place to make sure there was clearance for the doors on either side. I'll make a padded cushion for a softer ride. :D

Mail Wagon - part 11

by brae  

Continuing work on the mail wagon. Here is the mock-up from last time.

I originally intended to build a working window for the front, but after considering that the small space would make it difficult to actually operate the window, I opted for faking the window instead. I cut a front following the cardboard template from the mock-up and then built the trim to fit. I will enclose acrylic sheet inside the window frame during final assembly. No sense in risking marring the acrylic as I continue to work. Even though the window doesn't operate, I did add the holes for the horse reins.

The back wall has a slightly smaller window and is also non-opening.

After building the front, back and doors, I figured it was easier to prime and paint what I could before assembly. I started with the interior since I could start putting things together as I painted if I wanted to do so. The first coat on the interior was Camel by Folk Art mixed with Staining Medium by Americana. After a light sanding, I added a second coat using Honeycomb by Folk Art mixed with Staining Medium by Americana.  I followed that with a light coat of Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish. These layers give the look of varnished wood.

It reminded me a lot of the Model T wood portions as shown below, which would fit the era well.

I cut a solid floor and then scored lines to mimic individual boards. Much less fiddly than trying to use actual planks. This is painted to match the remaining interior.

Mail Wagon - part 10

by brae  

Just a quick note that another miniaturist is making the doctor's buggy - but she is making it right out of the box. Be sure to check out Farmors miniature!
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Continuing work on the mail wagon. As you saw last time, I had primed the wagon wheels. On the hubs, I used Rust-Oleum Aluminum Primer, which is light grey. It bonds specifically to aluminum, and an aluminum primer was recommended in the instructions for the doctor's buggy.

I then used plain flat grey Rust-Oleum primer. As you can see, the wheels are rather fuzzy.

Sanding after priming a first coat always helps smooth the fibers away. Then a second quick spray of the same grey primer and they are now ready for final color when I get there....

Back to the cabin. I made a drawing for the front based on my built walls, not the previously drawing of the sides. My final measurements for the sides ended up being different from how I had drawn them.

Before continuing, I cut the front and back from cardboard to get a feel for the final size. Easier to adjust here than after I started building the front hinged window.

I checked the width against the rear axle assembly, which can be adjusted to fit, but I think the cabin size is good for proportion.

Horse Harness - part 1

by brae  

Maybe that should read, "Putting Jebediah to work, part 1." As you know, I'm using a Breyer thoroughbred horse for my mail wagon. I found it interesting that at least one pacer (harness racing horse) pulled a mail wagon in real life.

Mail Wagon Horse Mon, Jan 19, 1914 · The Star Press (Muncie, Indiana) · Newspapers.com

After finally getting my hands on the marvelous book Making Model Horse Harness by Anne Funnell, I started reading the material and doing more sleuthing online. Anne's business is no more, so I am doing my best to scout Rio Rondo for the things I need. They seem to be well-stocked, so I am making a shopping list while I work on a mockup.

I bought this bridle from Texas Tiny at the local mini shows this past spring.

I fitted it to Jebediah to see. Yeah, it was a pain. I can see there will be more swearing in my future as I make said harness. :D But, it fits perfectly and is very well made. I'm not sure if I will be able to modify this one (the reins are not long enough, there's no simulated bit and there are no blinders), or if I will have to use this as a guide to make my own with the harness.

I had the idea of doing a test run with ribbon before diving into the leather and custom hardware. This would give me a feel for the parts and lengths/widths of the tack. Michaels is always hit or miss in the supplies department, but it was the closest store while out to lunch. I bought 1/8" wide white ribbon - the two colors missing from the stock of plain 1/8" ribbon were brown and black. Sigh. I colored the white ribbon with a permanent marker and let it dry overnight. I'm not worried about color transfer since Jebediah is still in his primed state. I had 1/4" black ribbon at home. These aren't the precise widths I'll need, but they are a good approximation.

I didn't get very far, since one part really depends on another, but it was worth a shot. I need to just get the materials and start to work - trial and error. But, this attempt did help me study the drawings in better detail and estimate the amount of leather I will need. I also kept a tally of the various hardware components since the book doesn't have a detailed listing of items with sizes. The book appears to be a companion to the kits and hardware sold by Anne Funnell, so that is understandable. If you have the kit, you need only the part number - not the size. And, the kit itself would have likely had a parts list with sizes and lengths noted.

I am reconsidering adding flocking to Jebediah in seeing how much handling needs to be done when attaching and, especially, tightening the buckles. I know I can get a good approximation of hair on the body with paint, and the mane and tail will no longer be plastic to help drive the realism.

Mail Wagon - part 9

by brae  

Continuing work on the mail wagon. I'm planning a basic box cabin with trimmed details, a hinged front window, and sliding side doors. I'm using 3/64" thick basswood sheets (3" x 24") for the majority of the parts. It's thinner than 1/16" and therefore lighter in weight but still durable when trimmed.

I started by drawing a quick sketch using the Rondel kit sides as a starting point, then refining from there based on measurements for average seat height, the seated height of my artist model and general proportions from the various mail wagon examples I've reviewed.

The two doors are where I will begin, then I can build the walls to enclose around them. If these don't work, then my basic construction will change since I'll make hinged doors instead. I'm using door frames from Northeastern Scale Lumber, cutting them down width-wise. I am sure there must be a place to get the window channel that Houseworks uses to make their windows, but I have yet to discover it.

The door frame material holds the 3/64" thick basswood perfectly as an insert, and 3/64" thick trim finishes the frame. The top will have acrylic sheet for the window. As I was working, I decided to make my door a little wider than my drawing for practicality. This will add a modest amount to the length of the wagon, but it seemed necessary for better proportion. Here is one door with the original width of door frame material on the side and the other with the width cut down.

I built the side front and side back walls using the door frame material for the lead edge of the door openings as well as the tops and bottoms, cut down to size width-wise. I used 1/4" corner trim for the front and back edges to make it easier to join the front and back of the cabin when I get to that stage.

Most of the examples I saw had no side windows, sometimes small slits to peer through, so I've left the side walls solid to have more room for the lettering. The cross trim on the side front and side back panels isn't glued in place yet, since I want it to line up with the door in the end. Leaving it unattached allows for adjustment later.

Each door will slide to the back just short of its door handle.

I think this will work well, so next I will make the front, back and floor.

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