The psychology of model railroading is fascinating. Why do we do it? I could give you many answers, but one that comes to mind right now, is the ability to create a model that was/is special to us. A place that we control. A place where if we like a particular scene or place, we won’t let it change. We don’t have to let a 300 units subdivision or big box store scar our layouts. We can keep it just like we want it. We can create what some people call a sense of place. One of my favorite books on this is Home From Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler. It should be required reading for anyone who builds things on our nation’s landscape.
I find myself through Hernandez Distributing and my other efforts at buildings and scenery trying to create a mosaic of special places from my memory. Living in Roswell, NM a number of years, I had to pleasure of keeping tabs on and photographing rail action at three different beer distributors in a town of 50,000 in an otherwise fairly remote corner of New Mexico. Through Hernandez Distributing I sought to capture the essence of the Budweiser, Coors and Miller distributors. It really resonated with me the thought of beer coming all the way from St. Louis, Golden and Milwaukee across the wide open spaces to these three nondescript buildings in a small to medium sized town in a sparsely populated region.
I travelled to work a special way to let me keep tabs on the Miller and Bud distributors. Every few days new loads would appear. The Bud distributor was more active, especially around the holidays, sometimes receiving 4 boxcars at a time! Here’s a SL-SF boxcar spotted at the Bud distributor in 1994.
A couple of days later a UP load came in…
One of my favorite memories, which I have written a post on before, was the time an NP boxcar same to the Bud distributor…
That felt like a little bit of a time warp in 1992–22 years after the NP ceased to exist.
OK, so tying this back to Hernandez Distributing and my Rails West layout–
I sought to create a background structure that would capture the essence of the three distributors, permit a dock to make spotting cars easier and had a great, old school 1981 feel to it. Maybe, it was a building that had been converted from some thing else.
I need two of them for my project because I wanted a long dock.
Here are some construction photos…
Merging two of the dock sides I created a long unloading facility, large enough to accommodate two beer cars.
I then cut the loading dock to fit the revised structure.
Loading dock in place.
Once I got the shell like I wanted, doors and windows were next.
I painted the back of the window glazing with a heavy wash of grimy black and applied a few great 1981-era beer signs–some of I my favorite iconic brands from the 20th Century.
Now it is time to weather. That will be covered in part II.