Stock Tower—the first structure I’d finished—got its name from the fact that it’s a stock
Atlas Switch Tower (an overused kit, I know, but I happen to like it). Well, that’s how
it was originally supposed to play out. As I got to work, I set myself a modeling challenge:
could I, in fact, build a 100% stock kit?
About two-thirds of the way in, I lost my own bet. First, the large windows of the upper
floor sparked thoughts of interior detailing, especially as the tower is right at the front
edge of the layout. How far should I go? A finished floor, desks, chairs, locker, control
board, lighting, personnel, wall calendar? It sounded like fun!
On the brink of abandonment.
Then I thought about the nearby coal trestle, which by that time I’d decided to model
as abandoned. This seemed to be incongruous with a fully-functional tower, so I made a
180-degree turn and decided to model it as abandoned as well. I boarded up the windows
with scraps of micro-ply; the rest was just a matter of painting and weathering.
First to cross the finish line.
The disused tower is accompanied by a disused NJI signal bridge (which I had to cut down
from a four-track version to two). Originally I was going to add the heads from a few Atlas
Type G (G for “gorgeous”) signals I had on hand, but the move to abandon the tower
allowed me to leave the signals intact and use them elsewhere.
A (little) blast from the past.
Also in this scene is a small, nondescript brick outbuilding which was the pumphouse from
Arnold Rapido’s water tower, a favorite old first-gen kit introduced in 1965. (I bought one
a few years later for my first N Scale layout, and building one again was like stepping into
a Wayback Machine.) The water tower itself was chopped down to become a rooftop detail
for one of the Haber Manufacturing buildings.
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