Model RailroadsPage 24

Utility Cabinet

Although wiring on the Frankfort Terminal Railroad is not in conduit, I have buried outdoor-rated wiring and have made sure there are no connections underground. At the locations where wiring surfaced, a method had to be found to protect the connections. I have used several methods, but my proudest creation is the utility cabinet shown below. It pleases me because:

  • It is totally scratch built, not a kit, no plans
  • It is made from Evergreen and Plastruct styrene sheets and angles, with half round material for the hinges and louvers
  • I made the decals using a Testors Decal kit from Hobby Lobby
  • The cabinet was painted with Tamiya Gray Primer
  • It was then sprayed with Krylon UV Resistant Clear Gloss to provide a smooth surface for applying the decals
  • The surface was further smoothed by sanding with 4000 and 6000 grit polishing paper to minimize “silvering” (air trapped under the decal)
  • Installation is simple, I just shove the sharpened legs into the ground with a gap under the cabinet to allow air circulation
  • Test installation shown below on 2010-10-22

But the big excitement for me is the fact that it is my first real weathering project

  • I used “square pastels” (colored chalk) for the colors
  • I ground some chalk off on sandpaper and brushed it on the cabinet
  • Then I lightly smoothed and blended it with a nose honker tissue (previously unused) 
  • Finally, I sprayed the cabinet with Krylon UV Resistant Clear Matte to “fix” the chalk dust weathering
  • Note for next time – Seal the cabinet and decals with Krylon Matte before weathering – this will give the chalk a better “bite” and will seal the decal edges to minimize “outlining”
  • Then, of course, spray again to seal the chalk

It will be interesting to see how it actually weathers outside, real weathering conditions can be very harsh.


Note -May 30, 2014 – see the bottom of the page for pictures showing just how harsh outdoors can be.

Above – A close-up of the door details.

2010-12-05 – I need to hurry and get its pointy little legs into the ground before it freezes……

2010-12-10 – Above and Below – Installed, and Engineer Casey is reading the fine print.

2010-12-13 – Above – Installed just in time, now the real weathering can begin. (Is that a band playing  in the gazebo?)

Below – Well, here it is on April 27, 2014 after 3-1/2 years of southern exposure. The decals actually weathered quite realistically, the paper-backed signs that were glued on however, just left ugly white blotches:


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