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September 1999 - Page 28

a t ime when i t was still possible to eke out a living with a h undred acres or so of land. Farms l i ke t h i s s t i l l dot the area, b u t are becoming fewer as each year passes. The farm as originally bui l t consists of the barn, garage, farmhouse and outhouse. The windmil l was added l ater. I 'd like to tel l you how I built the different structures i n the scene, and also how I built and detailed the scene itself.

B ird's-eye view of the Swanson Holler Farm, showing all the structures. Working on small a reas like this al lows for g reat attention to detail.
I t's not hard to imagine this conversation taking place between the two men in the dri veway of the S wa n s o n H o l l e r far m . The farm combines two years of NMRA contest m o d e l s i n t o a foregr o u n d scene for m y Cincinnati Terminal Railway. The combined scene was awarded first p l ace in Off-Li ne Displays in tlus year's NMRA national con vention in St. Pau l . Swanson Holler is named for Sam Swan son of Alph aretta, GA - who is without a doubt the finest modeler I know. Among other notable achievements, Sam's water-powered sawnlill display received the Gold Award at the Madison NMRA National Convention. We met at the Atlanta NMRA National Conven tion in 1 995, and have cOlTesponded and vis ited with each other since - trading modeling ideas, swapping stories and i nspiring each other to new projects. It's friendships like this that make NMRA membership pli.celess. Sam has a farm on his HOn3 l ayout which belped provide the impetus for tlus project, hence the name of the scene. The Swanson Holler scene represents a farm in eastern Kentucky, circa mid- to l ate ' 5 0 s . I s e lected scenery, b u i l d i n g s a n d details t o recall images o f the family farm at

A few years ago, I was i n that terrible void of between layouts. You know what I mean - reading the magazines, looking at what other people were doing, and being ter ribly envious of those who had the space to put up something permanent. The Swanson HoUer farm display is one of the results of that period.


The barn was the first structure built and is the most complex of the e n tire scene. I pass by the prototype barn on the way to work. I n 1 99 1 , a large portion of the barn c o l l ap s e d . The res u l t i n g combination of debris and sttucture were fascinating, but I never got around to taking photos of it. Eventually, the owner c leaned up the mess and erected wall s on the l ean-to and remaining part of the barn with wood from the coll apsed portio n . I n earl y J u l y 1 994, this wall collapsed, and the opportunity to build an accurate model with a visible inte rior was irresistible. With the permission of the owner, I collected some key measure ments and took two rol l s of fil m to docu ment the building. I buil t the barn using prototypical post a n d- b e a m c o n s t ru c t i o n , w i th i n di v i d u a l boards for the sides. I n all, there are about 900 pieces of wood in the barn. While this may sound intimidating, use of the proper techniques make it a relatively stt'aightfor ward project. Preparing the wood takes as much time as anything else. The barn exterior is birch veneer from a local bui lding supply store. I used a stiff wire brush to roughen the grain, t h e n cut random- w i dt h boards from the veneer using a metal rule and hobby knife. I

T he barn is scratchbuilt in prototype fashion from birch veneer and scale stripwood. It has about 9 00 p ieces, not including detail parts.

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