Coal towers might be my favorite railroad structure.  They're a center of activity for the "iron horse" and a lineside industry all in one.  I'm planning a new engine terminal and I want a coal tower to be the center of attention.  I would love to have a large, modern, concrete tower similar to the Walthers HO model, but I'm not aware of any such kit in O.  I considered a scratch build project, but decided against it due the time and effort that would involve.  The Lionel cylindrical concrete tower looks nice, but it is smaller than what I want.  I really want a structure that spans two tracks with the option to service a third plus a dump pit track.  

After much consideration I decided that a Plasticville Coal Tower kitbash would fit the need.  I already have a Plasticville tower that I kitbashed (pix below).  This initial attempt was a common side-by-side splice to make a more substantial tower than a single kit.  I made no attempt to detail the tower although it cries out for coal chute details and a hoist-house structure in back.  The model is painted cammo brown from a rattle can.


For my next project I decided a back-to-back splice with two kits to make a structure that spanned two tracks as desired.  I initially planned to scratch build an elaborate roof structure with a hoist house, but then remembered seeing a Coal Tower Topper kit from Mount Blue Models.  It occurred to me two of those kits could also be spliced together to make the ideal roof / hoist house for my tower.  

Pictured below is my project underway.  The towers have been spiced together, the hoist tower has been attached to one end, the stairs have been attached, and the basic structure from Mount Blue toppers have been spliced and added as well.  I have to admit it took longer than I thought to get to this far.  It took lots of cutting, filing and sanding to get everything square, mated, and sized appropriately.  



I intend to take my time with the rest of the build and add details like better looking coal chutes and associated pulley mechanisms.  I also plan to scratch build a coal dump house to place next to the hoist tower.  I'll add pictures as I go.  Progress will be slow as my time to work on this is limited, but I'm already enjoying the journey!


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Totally excellent.  I like it.  I will undoubtedly start doing the same type of kit-bashing myself sometime this coming year.

Plasticville kit-bashing and/or painting is a great way to get some good looking structures going.  Be sure and post more pic's when you get more things done.  




2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high in either case.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

If the government knew how much fun O-gauge railroading was, they'd outlaw it!

Common sense is my second best trait.  Nonsense is my first, of course. 

Good job.  I bashed a Plasticville tower into a short line's tower photo that l found on the net, and l had two different kits for huge 200 ton towers on hand, that l thought too large for a shortline.  I posted photos on here and the highest compliment l got was that it did not look like Plasticville.  That won't either.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Thank you for the replies. I didn't get much done this weekend, but I did add the main roof panels to the Mount Blue topper.  This was more work than it looks.  The panels had to be cut to fit since the length of the original kit no longer applies.  Also I found that when looking down on the roof structure from above it had developed a very noticeable banana-shaped warp despite my best efforts to keep everything square.  This may have occurred since my workshop is in the garage with the expected temperature and humidity swings and the resultant impact on the relatively thin would structure.  In any case, I was able to correct things by holding the framework against a straightedge while I glued the roof panels on.  Once done, everything was back to square.


The addition of the roof panels gives a better idea of what the final product will look like.  So far so good!  Next weekend I'll try to tackle the coal chutes.   


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Great job on the improved coal tower.  I added a similar top to the same Plasticville kit, for a single model. 

I also modified a coal tower kit into a coal mine and added a homemade slid valve and solenoid to allow it to dump coal, thus making it an operating accessory.  I have not added an operating bottom valve to my coal tower but it is on my "to do list".




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