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Chamita engine house.jpg


The structures on the layout are a combination of scratch built, kit-bashed, and kit. When most modelers think of the Chili Line, they tend to think that many, if not most, of the buildings were predominately of adobe construction. While it is true that many of the buildings prior to the construction of the railroad were built from adobe blocks, in many cases - because of the availability of relatively inexpensive lumber - turn-of-the-century railroad and commercial structures were extensively wood frame. For the most part, there were no significant historic adobe structures in the village of Chamita in 1947.


In attempting to model a “fine scale” indoor/outdoor model railroad I was, and continue to be, forced to make numerous concessions. Yes, that is true to one extent or another for most, if not all, model railroads. The two biggest compromises that I find myself making is size and scale. That is, structures often have to be downsized and, because of lack of availability of stuff in 1:20.3, I have to selectively use multiple scales. In 1:20.3 I down size for four reasons; space constraints on the indoor portion of the layout, manufacture provided building kits that are down sized to begin with, overall visual impact, and lack of adequate preplanning on my part. The first and last reasons are the biggest drivers for the need to downsize.


Not only do F scalers have to make major concessions because of space constraints, we are forced to think outside the scale box. On my Chile Verde Line I’ve established a few simple rules when it comes to scale. I want to emphatically state that in no way am I implying that my rules should be considered to be any more than rules that I mostly apply to my modeling. Yes, I do deviate at times. The rules that I mostly follow are:

  1. All motive power and rolling stock must be 1:20.3.

  2. All vehicles, as in cars and trucks, by necessity will be 1:18. Not much of a choice here as 1:24 is too small.

  3. Figures can be either 1:22.5 or 1:20.3.

  4. For the most part, 1:20.3 figures should not be placed next to 1:22.5 figures.

  5. Structures/buildings can be either 1:22.5, or 1:20.3.

  6. Detail parts can be 1:24, 1:22.5, 1:20.3 and 1:18

  7. It’s better to place 1:20.3 figures next to 1:18 scale vehicles unless the vehicles are vintage 1940 and older as those vehicles are relatively small in size. In that case, 1:22.5 figures are fine.

  8. It’s better to use 1:22.5 scale figures on or around 1:22.5 scale buildings. It’s okay to use 1:22.5 scale figures around downsized 1:20.3 scale buildings.

The following photos show the majority of the structures that are currently on the layout. I have several structures that do not have a place on the layout. The Los Alamos depot, as you will see in two of the photos below, is sitting on a folding table. Other structures are on my workbench and others are under the layout.

Notice the window and door in the photo just below on the right. In the very last photo on this page the window and door are gone, Well, they're still there I just photoshopped them out.

Line-side bldgs.JPG
# amigos' adobe2.jpg
Upper Chamita 1.jpg
Depot 1.jpg
back of Depot.jpg
Enzo @ Chamita depot.jpg

Railway Express Agency Building. Two kitbashed Polla Building. Not my best effort.

Railway Express.JPG
Enzo Pg 20.png

Did I mention that this Depot took over three months to build? Much of the effort was in distressing each wooden shingle on the roof. So why is the depot sitting on a folding table you ask? Well, there is no room on the indoor portion of the layout and it can't stay outside. So like several of my other structures it has to remain indoors on the workbench, under the layout or on a table.

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