Water Tank Kits

Discussion in 'Structures' started by Jim James, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I'm not wanting to scratchbuild the water tank at Brownwood but I wouldn't mind modifying a cheap kit. Would the Atlas or Model Power kit be close enough to represent it? I just don't want something that looks obviously out of place or too unbelievable. I have no photo of the prototype so it will have to be a generic tank I guess. Anybody have a photo of an early wooden Frisco water tank?
  2. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

  3. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Well for Pete's sake. I've already got that image saved! Thanks Karl. So this would be similar to the one at Brownwood? Heck, maybe I could build one after all. Anyone here ever scratchbuild one of these? What color were they? Too much coffee tonight:)
  4. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    It looks a lot like AMB's MOPAC water tank.
  5. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I'll check that out. I'm going to snoop around ebay as well. I'm on the fence about scratchbuilding it. What to do, what to do.

    SAFN SAAP Member

    Get off the fence and build it yourself. You'll never find anything close to a Frisco prototype. Building a water tank is not difficult Jim. I have the builders plans for the SA&AP water tanks and it's my next project. All scratch. With your skills, go scratch or go home.

    Wait, you are home...Go scratch, or er, uh, well, just go scratch. LOL... Scratch build that is!
  7. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    You're right, Manny. What's wrong with me? I'm going to scratch it by golly! Just needed a kick in the pants:)
  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Please.... Carry on:):) and pics when you can.
  9. timothy_cannon

    timothy_cannon Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Here is one of Ken's photos. This is probably close to what you are looking for. It is the S,M & A tank at Cape in 1904. SM&A%20Water%20Tower.jpg
  10. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Thanks for that. I think now I have just enough to go by to squeak out a fair representation. I guess there's no way of finding out the actual measurements like tank diameter, height and such. I think I can guesstimate close enough from these photos. Thanks again. That photo is almost haunting! I love it!
    I guess I could see how far apart my ladder rungs are use that as a scale to estimate measurements. Should be a standard for ladder rungs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2013
  11. FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018)

    FriscoFriend (Bob Hoover RIP 4/12/2018) Passed Away April 12, 2018 Frisco.org Supporter

    Jim and All:

    Way back in the mid 80's I had aspirations of building a model of the Frisco tank in Beaumont, KS and actually spent an afternoon crawling all over it and taking measurements which I later misplaced and after several moves can't locate. I do remember that I concluded that it was a 30,000 gallon tank. I also remember that the upright posts were scale 12' X 12' and almost if not all of the rest of the lumber was 3' by (3' X 12' for example).
    I also concluded that the Campbell Scale Models water tank was almost a dead ringer for the prototype with the possible exception of capacity. The major drawback was, and still is for that matter, that Campbell uses sugar pine instead of basswood for it's lumber which to me wouldn't stain as realistically. Also over the years I feel that Campbell kits are overpriced for what you get.


    Bottom line, scratch build it. I get to Beaumont several times a years and could possibly get you some basic measurements.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2013
  12. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    You've just been a help already. I've got enough deminsional lumber laying around to build the supporting structure so I can get a start. I'm kicking around some ideas on the tank itself. I may distress some styrene car siding and wrap it around a form and disguise the joint with the ladder or water gauge. I have enough NBWs to make things look right. I'm sure I'll scrimp here and there and take shortcuts but I think I can pull this off. I will do some hillbilly calculations this afternoon and start cutting pieces for the supports. Thanks gentlemen!
  13. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Beaumont was a 50,000 gallon tank. Plans are here - http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=Drawing: then search for Beaumont KS. Not sure why entire url will not paste.

    With additional information here: http://www.kshs.org/resource/nation...tStLouisAndSanFransicoRailroadWaterTankNR.pdf
  14. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I'm off to a running start. This tank at Brownwood was built by Louis Houck's railroad so it's not quite a Frisco design I'm sure so I'm going to use features from the previous photos to come up with one suitable for the era. Here's a quick pic of tonight's progress (I've already fixed the crooked support leg).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2013

    SAFN SAAP Member


    Is that tank to fill tenders with water? If so, I hate to say it, but it really looks to be too low. Or is the water tank not the standard railroad type?
  16. FriscoGeorge

    FriscoGeorge Frisco Employee

    All you need to do now is add three petticoats hanging over the side, along with Billy, Bobby, and Betty Jo.
  17. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    With my luck I would only see uncle Joe.
  18. trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017)

    trainchaser007 (Brandon Adams RIP 9/22/2017) Passed away September 22, 2017

    If you can do this, why would you even consider buying one? Excellent as usual! Can't wait to see the end result.
  19. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    Tonight I made the flat iron bands that run around the tank to keep it tight. I used blue painters tape and cut them out with the aid of a metal straight edge and a sharp #11 blade. I first put a full size strip of tape onto a pine board (didn't have glass) and made sure it was long enough. Then I cut a thin strip off the edge. Removed the big piece of tape and moved it down a bit and cut the next piece so on and so forth. The bottom bands were wider and closer together on the prototype so I cut different widths. After cutting them all I painted them with a dark rusty blend of cheap craft paint. When dry I simply peeled each band off the board and applied them to the tank overlapping the ends. Now I know that they are a bit crooked but I blame Schober No. 14. After I add the roof,water gauge, ladder and spout assembly the poor band application will be a bit less obvious. In the future I may replace this model with one using wood car siding instead of styrene for the tank and straighter bands. But not now. [​IMG]
  20. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Very good Jim! I am always impressed buy your resourcefulness when I comes to scratch building, and building techniques.

Share This Page