Kitforums Build Challenge

With a deadline of July 4 2013, I entered an O scale diorama 144 in size.

  1. Build a fully scenicked scene no larger than (your chosen scale) (for O scale it was 144
  2. The scene must contain some form of structure. Your choice.
  3. The scene must contain some form of vehicle. Horse drawn, powered, new, derelict or other. (a railcar qualifies as a vehicle along with boats, engines , even old bi-planes.)
  4. The scene must contain a section of track. OR a section of road.
  5. The scene must have at least one little people.
  6. The scene “should” tell a story. The theme is “the conversation”.

Fuel Tanks

The stairs have long since collapsed under the weight of a rampaging cat but I have managed to recover the fuel tanks and wooden structure. I plan to use them on my layout.;


I found this photo somewhere on the net. I’m not even sure what I am looking at. There are two tanks – what colors are those? *shrug* – all I can tell is that one is dark and one light colored. The dark colored tank has ‘No’ written on it – the light colored tank No.2.

The rectangular can has “Fuel Nozzle” writen on it.
The ‘stop sign’ shape .. perhaps no smoking? There is that can mounted on the platform which has a pipe running from the dark tank. It has ‘Fuel Nozzle’ written on it. The hose runs from this tank. The ‘No.2′ tank has a hose running directly from it.

The pump (what I think it is) doesn’t appear to be connected to anything. It might be used to fill the tanks?

Dowel Tanks

I used some 3/4 in. dowels glued together to form the structure for the tanks. Two layers of cardstock (3in. x 5in. file card) were glued to the ends and soaked with super-glue to plasticize the cardboard.
With sufficient soaking of cardstock with CA it almost resembles working with plastic. Once I sand those ends – using the dowels as guides I would wrap the form with more cardstock.

I want to point out that these tanks are being made using the simplest materials. The dowels were some I had left over from some project or another – the cardstock is simply some 3in x 5in file-cards. I simply ran some white glue down the side of a dowel and pressed the other against it. Once that had set up they were crudely glued to the cardstock. So .. you don’t have to spend a gazilion dollars .. just use what you have on hand.


Once the CA had dried I used some Automobile Primer to fill low areas. The tank was built by covering those two dowels with cardstock and when dry as slightly dished on the sides. I cut a couple of pieces of file-card with the width slightly wider then the tanks. This will give a little lip on the ends of the tanks.

There are several ways you can go with the tanks. Relatively modern tanks are welded and not riveted – and depending on who made it there might not even be much of a seam between the sides and ends. You could use the tanks ‘as is’ without the wrappers and simulate a weld bead where they join. The wrappers extend just a bit wider then the length of the tanks. You could also use some small dia wire glued inside that lip representing a weld bead. I’m again – trying to show that you can do things like this ‘on the cheap’

Gluing Wrappers

Here I’m gluing the wrappers on. When doing something like this test fit everything first – in this case the bottles of Allen’s Tacky Glue worked with the large rubber bands I had. I had a slight gap where the cardstock didn’t quite meet but ‘no worries’ .. that will be on the bottom and can be hid easily enough with some putty.

Two Tank bodies

Once the everything was dry, I soaked all of the paper with AC glue. This plasticizes the paper turning the models into sturdy little objects. The cardstock extending over the flat ends gives a nice thin look.


  • The collar for the ‘dome’ was cut from cardstock, shaped to the tank and hardened with AC
  • The cylinder sitting on the collar is Evergreen styrene tube. Get it close to fit then hold sandpaper on the tank and then sand the bottom of the tube to fit
  • The two black round objects are the pupils from ‘Wiggly Eyes’ used for dolls etc. and sold at Walmart in the craft section. There are all sizes available
  • The U-Shaped vent tube and fittings is a piece of solid electrical wire (think it is #14). The little collars is simply doughnuts made from the insulation
  • The smaller filler is the little Wiggly Eye on a piece of tubing.
  • A length of Evergreen angle runs along the bottom on each side
  • Legs are made from pins

Rivets, NBW and Primer

Everything was sprayed with a gray primer and then water slide rivets were applied. It is hard to see but I sprayed a coat of clear before applying the rivets. I think a second coat would have helped (it would have been more glossy if I had done that and a smoother surface for the decals). The collar could have been glued down better (attention to detail). Finally Tichy NBW were glued to the manhole cover.


The tanks were sprayed green and silvery. The collars are visiably lifted slightly but that is a minor thing (it does cause my ADD to itch).


Rust using washes of appropriate color oils and enamels. Unlike acrylics these thin nicely and will be translucent so can be layered. Rusty weather powder followed. Spilled diesel simply black paint. I may at some point go back with something a bit shinny .. I have some MIG “Oil and Grease Stain Mix”.

Frame & Plumbing

I used stripwood to build a frame for the tanks with a walkway on either side (3) & (4). I made a fillet at the top of the wire legs which with the Evergreen angle (3) to simulate supports. A couple pieces of Evergreen tubing to make the plumbing connections (1).

On the Diorama

Finished and mounted on the diorama. Some red electrical wire works for hoses. At the time this was “Good Nuff” as this was only a detail to the diorama and I was running out of time to submit it (yes .. I won the challenge).

When I created this website one of the reasons I went with a WordPress form was so that I could get feedback from people. This one time I got everything I wanted from Heath. His comment was from July 11, 2013 when this SBS was on my old website. I have brought it back to life thanks to me keeping the old photos and most especially to the Internet Archive. I am copying and pasting Heath’s and my responses.
Click the page 2 below to continue.

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(( This comment was originally posted by Heath to my old website to this article on July 11, 2013 )) Edward, have followed your modeling and I’m a big fan of you work. The dark tank appears to have had written No (number) 2 Only and has been removed. you can also make out a 2 and some writing at the bottom. I assume the No 2 refers to the grade of fuel, which is close to diesel I think. The box below the dark tank looks like it could be a manual crank filler. it appears to have… Read more »

Thomas Heath Trollope

I have been following this build and learning. The use of the jigs you created, produced a perfect structure for the tanks. I found the flange around the neck of the tank interesting and helped me get my head around creating similar for boiler smoke stacks. The weathering on the cement is outstanding and really makes to scene. As for the complicated pipe fittings, I somewhat agree, but your approach allowed for the flexibility of installation. Not to say the least, hours of sheer ‘enjoyment’ of pipe fitting.