Modeling the Ontario & Western
Photos and Article by Don Spiro
You know the feelings; we've all experienced them. You've been grazing the hobby shop for over a half hour and you're consumed at the moment by two nagging thoughts. 1. FAILURE: "I have just devoted over one-half hour of my life to this shop and being Male, the Hunter & Gatherer of the species, have nothing tangible whatsoever to show for my time." 2. GUILT: "The owner has been gracious as a number of times he offered assistance and seemed genuinely sincere. And I haven't purchased squat." Well, find some of these products made by Creative Model Associates or simply CMA and you and the owner will be flush with success and in your own small way will have made a small but significant contribution to ensuring a strong economy.
CMA manufactures a line of injection molded styrene trackside details and small structures. These details are small and inexpensive but at the same time offer more "Bang-for-the-Buck" than items costing five to ten times their amount in raising the level of realism on any model railroad. For all intents and purposes CMA is a "division" of Tichy, makers of some of the finest rolling stock kits (and awesome coaling tower) on the market. And like their freight cars, these little details are exquisite. OH... and yes, some of them are "VERY" O&W.
Trackside details and railroad signs complete any scene and are the surrounding scenery to the trains and right-of-way. They also define a railroad by their often standardized and personal "signature" design. Take for instance grade crossing signs. Most grade crossings on the O&W featured diamond shaped signs with the warning "RAILROAD CROSSING LOOK OUT FOR THE CARS" printed around the diamond. CMA detail #1022 Diamond style crossing sign is as close to an O&W prototype as you'll find commercially. "LOOK OUT FOR THE CARS" is slightly different in its placement on the diamond, but don't let this deter you from spreading these around your layout at any grade crossing for protection. These signs come ten to a pack for $4.95 so you begin to see what I mean when I say "Bang-for-the-Buck". The lettering is pad printed and razor sharp. All that's necessary is to paint the lower third of the post below the diamond black, add a little weathering and the sign is layout ready.
If you prefer the standard RR Crossbuck, kit #1009 will give you twenty of this style and if you are a Canadian modeler, kit #1021 will give you ten of the Canadian style crossbucks; both are $4.95 each. While you're working this signature O&W sign into the grade crossing scene plant a yellow crossing warning sign, the round one with the R X R, on the road approaching the grade crossing. #1008 will give you 20 of these for $4.95 and #1023 will give you 10 of the earlier styles.
Okay, perhaps you just bought a few of the Old & Weary Car Shops O&W 1200 series milk cars or have had one or more of the brass or Ambroid wood O&W milk cars. You're troubled though by the fact that you haven't any creameries on the layout for these cars to serve and create a little "OPERAYSHUN" on the railroad. Kit #1007 will put your railroad in the milk business in about an hour's worth of pleasurable modeling time. When you're done you'll have a small Milk Station that is based on an O&W prototype that appeared in a past issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.
The station is a simple elevated platform with a small "lean-to" style shed on one end to protect milk cans from direct sunlight. The little shed has board & batten siding molded on the outside, and the inside of the walls features 2x4 stud framing, a fine example of the level of die work CMA is capable of. Also included with this kit are a small delicate "gangplank" that is used to bridge the gap between the platform and the door opening of a car, and 27 milk cans. The beauty of these milk stations is that you can either locate them on a depot's team track or place them right at trackside, as the prototype railroads did this to cut down on switching moves. The milk train would stop right alongside one of these and wait while cans were loaded or empties unloaded. An entire "interpretive" exhibit of a farmer delivering milk to this station in either a horse drawn wagon or a period pick-up truck will make this a focal point scene on your railroad. Price for this fine kit is $9.95.
While these two items are close to or are O&W prototype details, the balance of the CMA line (and it's always growing) is generic enough to be appropriate for any model railroad. Kit #1004 ($4.95) provides a pair of the most realistic telltales you'll find anywhere. Gone from today's trackside, telltales hung over a mainline track some distance before a tunnel portal or a bridge over the tracks. They were ropes hung off a crossbar that grazed a brakeman walking the tops of box cars to warn him to "hit the deck" as a low obstruction was about to seriously alter his lifestyle. Kit #1005 ($5.95) builds up into two highly detailed Hayes Bumping Posts. So fine is the detail on these that even small NBW and metal plate castings are provided to ACC onto the web of the rail to model the attachment point of the bumper.
The following sets are all $4.95 and all provide multiples of the details. #1003 is for 36 pallets. #1006 has 45 milk cans for those of you with sprawling and "serious" creameries trackside. Got an Ice House next to one of your creameries? Then kit #1012 will give you a mountain of 64 ice blocks. CMA also makes a pair of PFE standard ice stations for icing reefers; an 18" one for $29.50 or a whopping 36" model for $49.50.
Kit #1019 is for 64 Burlap sacks that can be painstakingly stacked or arranged in any manner you wish. #1017 will give you 24 light fixtures, the bracket style with porcelain shades to illuminate any walkway or stairway on a structure. #1020 builds eight various size wood crates that are perfect for loading docks, box car loads or anywhere you need a non-specific detail.
A few other lineside details worth adding to your layout are #1011 for 50 Mile Post Markers at $7.95. While not the correct style or lettering for the O&W they are sequentially numbered 1 to 50 and when placed randomly along any right of way add that final touch of realism often overlooked. You really only need to use a few of these over your layout to create a system wide illusion.
CMA's newest trackside details are ones that have been sorely missing from most model railroads though they were prolific on any prototype road. Whistle Posts: those small white signs with the W on them to warn crews of an approaching grade crossing and that it's time to "lay on the whistle/horn." CMA makes the newer square signs as well as the older diamond style signs. You get 32 of either for $4.95. These are extremely delicate and fine in appearance and I can't wait to add these to my railroad. Now all we need are those prolific trackside "raise flanger" warning signs!!!!!
Freight car details are not overlooked by CMA either. #1010 contains 16 delicate freight car ladders with stirrups. #1018 contains 48 bracket style grabirons used on the left side and ends of steel boxcars. Finally, if you are tired of the monotony of wood roof walks on your box cars, replace them with kit #1016 See-Through Steel grate roof walks. These are very thin in cross section and include the small end platforms for the corners of the roof over the ladders. These can also be used on industrial buildings for walkways, as walkways over the fans on RS-3's and anywhere else your imagination sees a place for them. You get three complete roofwalks for $5.95. Also offered are packages of phosphor bronze wire in sizes .008 through .032 at $2.50 a pack.
Recent additions for structures and structure details are kit #1024 which builds up into three coal bins, the style often seen at depots or train order stations. #1025 is for 3 Outhouses with great board and shingle detail, a hinged door and windows so your Preiser figures can catch up on their reading in those moments of "reflection." Both of these sets sell for $5.95. Rounding out the line are kits #1001 that makes a fine elevated mail crane for $5.95 and #1002 Oil Column for fueling oil fired steam locomotives at $6.95.
I recently had the privilege of photographing a stunning model railroad based on the Rutland Railroad in Vermont circa mid 1950s for an upcoming feature in Railroad Model Craftsman. One of the things that made this layout so special and realistic was the inclusion of many small trackside details around depots, grade crossings and sidings. These details were painstakingly scratchbuilt long before CMA came onto the market with similar details. Look at photos along the O&W and chances are a few of the similar details produced by CMA are lurking almost unseen somewhere in the photo. CMA has really found a niche for specific details that have long been overlooked and were oftentimes too small and/or too finicky to scratchbuild in any great numbers for use around a layout. And two of these are perfect for O&W prototypes!!
I couldn't recommend a line of model railroad products any higher!!!!! Look for them at your local hobby shop or contact CMA direct for a catalog and ordering instructions. Write to Creative Model Associates, P.O. Box 540, Plainview, NY 11803-0540... and enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope.
Editor's Note: Don's superb photography illustrated his fine article on Ron Vassallo's O&W HO gauge layout in the February 1999 Railroad Model Craftsman.
From the Editor's Desk: Here are some spy photos taken by one of the Port Richmonds neighboring roads as F-3 #822 rolls past a scratchbuilt O&W icehouse and another photo showing just the icehouse itself, which was built entirely out of styrene. The ladders are Evergreen ladder stock kits and the roof is masking tape. Perhaps one of the PR's competitors is eyeing some of the milk business? Stay Tuned.......