In the august 2013 number of Modelrailroad Magazine there was a description of scratchbuilding a branchline watertank from stripwood. It seemed to be a perfect fit for my scenic’d timesaver layout. Here is a short description of building the watertank.
For scratchbuilding the watertank I used the following materials. A pack of wooden stirring sticks, long matches, a piece of cardstock, waterproof sandingpaper, a cardboard tube of an empty roll of ducttape, a cardboard ballpoint and a straw.
It is important to stain your pieces of stripwood first before you put any sort of glue to them. If there is any glue on the visible wood parts you won’t be able to stain them properly.
Start building the tank
First take the empty cardboardroll and apply a piece of cardboard on both sides. Use a piece of sandingpaper to smooth the edges. Use a small metal square to put vertival lines on the side of the tank to help you align the pieces of stripwood.
Next cut the stripwood from the wooden stirring sticks. Cut the sticks to the length of the cardboardroll and the split them from top to bottom.
Then apply a wash made of a tablespoon of waterbased lack paint and 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Apply the wash as many times until you think the wood has a good stain.
Apply a bead of white glue along the guidelines, then apply the stripwood.
Making the roof took a bit of thinking. First draw a circle whose diameter is slightly larger (add 1/2″) than the diameter of the tank to account for slope and overhang. Divide the circle in nine (9) pieces of 40 degrees.
Make one cut from the outside to the center. Make light folds over the remaining eight lines. Now take the first and the last roofpart and put them on top of each other.
If your roof looks good, then stick the parts together with a bit of glue. Cut of the round ends of the roof.
Meassure the triangles and appy this to the waterproof sandingpaper. Put the sandingpaper on the roof parts and cover the seams with pieces of stripwood.
The base structure
For the base structure use long matches (thicker as normal matches) combined with stripwood.
Use the Tank diameter circle as a guide and cut to 2 of each length of the floor joists out of the long matches.
Distribute the floor joists over the bottom of the tank and fix the joists with a little white glue.
Make a template for the footprint of the structure. You can make it of thick cardboard so it will support the structure when the glue is drying.
The spout, tankbands and more
The spout is made of a straw with a flexible part. Inside the straw is a piece of copperwire to keep the spout in shape.
The tankbands are made of EZ-Line wire. This is elastic wire and is applied as one of the last items and fixed with a drop of CA-adhesive.
In the center of the tank is the water supply pipe. It’s made from the outside of a cardbord ballpoint.
If you are curious and want to built a watertank by your self you can download a three-part instruction file from the Lone Star Region website.
(part1, part2, part3) Or take a look at the powerpoint files (part1, part2, part3)
If you have trouble downloading one of the files, we’ve got a backup in the download section.
UPDATE: see the watertower in action