By George Riley/photos by the author
By the late 19th and early 20th century long term housing for workers close to the mines, mills and construction projects in the sparsely settled sections of North America led to the development of “company” towns. Often rows of cookie-cutter lookalike houses were quickly and cheaply constructed near the work site for this purpose. The amenities were spartan at best with outdoor privies and either well or a single tap for household water. Alpine Scale Models “Chilao Flats” offers three small cabins and back yard conveniences representing these basic structures that would have housed either four single men or a single family unit.
Every now and then a kit designer offers a model with such a wealth of uses that go well beyond the original concept. This is the case for Alpine Divisions Scale Models’ latest release. The application of the cabins on a model railroad is limited only by the builder’s imagination. Each cabin has a rough foot print of one and one half inches wide by two inches deep which will allow the modeler to fit them in anywhere on their layout that a small building is needed.
Chilao Flats is a primer for anyone wishing to learn how to construct “craftsman” laser-cut structures or as a first step to developing the skills for scratchbuilding. Each easy to assemble cabin features laser-cut walls, cut-to-length basswood strip wood, and a die-cut card stock floor and roof. Only a minimum amount of trimming is needed to cut the roof angle into the corner pieces, all of the other wooden parts needed no additional cutting. Injection molded window and door castings with pre-cut clear acetate and paper shades make quick work in building each structure. Fine sand paper that can be cut into strips is included to simulate commonly used roll roofing material. A die-cast smoke jack, plastic trash barrel and pot belly stove add finishing touches to each cabin. The injection molded plastic outbuilding features two different doors. This quickly assembled structure can be constructed as a privy or be used as a small shed simply by the choice of doors and interior fittings.
Prior to assembly all of the wood and card parts were sealed with sanding sealer, primed and painted. The windows and doors were primed and painted as well and set aside to dry. The review models were finished as if they were well maintained with a minimum of weathering, however, the builder could easily stain and distress the wooden parts for a heavily weathered finish. Once the paint dried assembly was surprisingly quick with all three cabins and out building finished in less than an evening’s worth of time.
The finished models readily capture the “company” look as they are lined up along a gravel road. However, these small buildings would be equally at home as flag stop stations, yard offices, assay offices, telegraph offices and more. These versatile, easy to assemble models are a real value and can find a place on any HO scale model railroad.
Alpine Division Scale Models
P.O. Box 6
Artesia, CA 90702
Item # 5806 Chilao Flats – 3 Cabins and 3 Outhouses