Wolfeboro - Freight House

Publication: Railroad Model Craftsman
Publication Date: June 2009

Back in 1871, at the southern end of Lake Winnipesauke, the powers that be in the lakeshore town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, decided that the town needed a railroad link to Boston. Construction began in November of that year on a twelve-mile line to a junction with the B&M at what is now the town of Sanbornville. The line was opened the following summer.

Concurrent with the building of the rail line, a freight house was constructed in Wolfeboro to serve the needs of the town. The B&M sold the building in 1961. The building has outlasted the railroad and survives to this day as a storage facility of the Wolfeboro Oil Company. Bollinger Edgerly has recently added the Wolfeboro freight house to its line of HO structures.

This craftsman kit builds into a fine representation of its prototype. While it is not difficult to assemble, I would not recommend it as a first-time kit for a novice modeler because there are a few places where the instructions are not as clear as they could be.

With any kit above the "shake the box" level I first read through the instructions and lay out the parts to familiarize myself with them. The eight pages of instructions included a brief historical outline of the building, three-quarter front and rear color views of the prototype, several model views of the kit under construction and finished in a diorama setting; templates for the platform and spacing guides for the roof shingles; a list of needed and recommended tools, glues and paints; and a part list. The parts include laser-cut wall sections of various siding types, roof section, strip wood for the building trim and the platforms, peel-and-stick roofing shingles, Tichy Train plastic window castings, wood panels for the doors, a bag with peel-and-stick flashing for the roof, a chimney, and laser-cut stairway stringers, plus a bag of white metal detail parts (barrels, pallets, ect.) A nice feature of the instructions is a double-sided sheet containing useful tips for weathering wood on one side and painting plaster castings on the other.

I immediately noticed that one of the strip wood sizes called for in the instructions was not present. The instructions said to use 1/8" square stock for bracing the walls, but there was none. There was an overabundance of the slightly smaller 3/32" square material to be used for the platform piers, however, so I used that for the bracing and elsewhere when 1/8 square stock was called for. My kit also did not provide enough 1/16" square material to make all the doorframes. Fortunately, I had some of that size in my modeling stores. This was a random packing problem with my kit, and a note to the manufacturer will bring the missing parts to your mailbox. As mentioned, I had sufficient strip wood on hand. I also found some fractional dimensions in the instructions that were obvious typographical errors, noted below.

I pre-painted or stained wood pieces before assembly. Acrylic paints were used for this, including staining the platform pieces with a brushed on wash of diluted Polly Scale Grimy black. The kit was assembled using a gel-type cyanoacrylate cement. I generally follow the instructions to assemble the building. This included initially using just the 3/32" square material provided with the kit to brace the walls.

As the paint and glue completely dried (and shrank, as it does) over the course of a few pays, 3/32" square bracing proved inadequate to prevent the sides of the building from warping. This was easily corrected by adding 1/4" square cross bracing at the top and bottom of the sidewalls. I spaced these pieces about a third and two-thirds of the way along the long walls, and that was enough to bring the building back square. The intended 1/8" stock is probably a little light for interior bracing on most wood models in HO scale, so choosing a larger size is always wise.

Alternatively, interior bulkhead walls could be made from sheet stock using a kit end wall as a template. When I got to the roof, the instructions just said to glue the pieces together along the ridge. I added a ridgepole using more quarter-inch square stick.

There was a bit of confusing text in the step for assembling the rear wall where the instruction was to glue three individual boards to the bottom of the wall. The writer than immediately states the it would be better to wait and add these boards at the end of construction. I took that advice. It was certainly easier to glue the boards to the footings than to edge-glue them to the bottom of the wall.

To make the piers for the loading dock the instructions call for cutting 1/8" square stock to 1/8" lengths, which would have made tiny little cubes of wood. After referring to the photos, it was clear that this dimension was in error. I waited to make these until I finished the platform and could measure against it. As it turned out the foundation post should be a 1/2" tall. I cut them from the "extra" 3/32" square strip wood provided.

My NWSL chopper II came in very handy when cutting the platform decking. Some 120 pieces are needed for the long platform and 40 for the end platform. It is easy to set up a fence and stop on the Chopper II and make quick work of this repetitive task. If you don't have one of these babies, I strongly suggest that you make up a jig that will allow you to cut at least a few pieces at a time to the same length. I cut about a dozen at a time and then applied them. I didn't want a hundred little pieces waiting for the odd sneeze (or cat) to scatter them about the room.

The roof is finished with strips of stick-on shingle material laser-cut to a diamond pattern. The shingles are a light gray color that does a pretty good job representing weathered slate. Care must be used to keep the pattern lined up. There is a template on one of the instruction sheets to aid in aligning the rows. I cut narrow strips from the template and spaced out five on each half of the roof. The instructions suggest staggering the joints between the rows so that an obvious seam does not appear. The effect of the diamond pattern when finished is quite nice. I installed the roof turned end for end from the way it was shown in the photos. It seemed to me that the stove or furnace and therefore the chimney would be at the office end of the building.

While it is a typical freight shed, the unusual siding and roofing used on the Wolfeboro Freight House will make it an eye-catching addition to a layout. The finished building has a footprint of 11" x 4", not including the platforms. Just as the prototype has become a warehouse for a private firm, the Wolfeboro Freight House could also be used in that capacity on your pike. It should not be too difficult to shorten the length or width of the building if a smaller structure is required.

If you have a foreground location on your layout, it would be worth considering adding a detailed interior and leaving some of the large freight doors open. Despite the shortcomings of the instructions, I can still recommend this kit to those modelers with some building experience who are looking for a building with a little unique character. If you can't find Bollinger Edgerly Scale Train kits at your local hobby shop, you can order from their website: www.besttrains.com.

Chuck Killian


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