One of the features of my new harbor area of Seal Cove is going to be a gravel barge anchored at the dock for my mining trains with their V tippers to unload. I haven't figured out what the final product to be mined will but I need a barge never the less. Something along the line of this:
At the Amherst Railroad Show I saw an unpainted resin kit for a barge from Frenchman Model Works for around $32. I also saw a laser cut, wooden barge kit from Deerfield River Laser for about the same price.
Trying keep costs down, I figured I try to make one myself. After all the shape of the barge is rather simple. The hardest part was figuring out how to cut out the depression in the middle. I thought about carving the basic shape out of foam but getting that middle cut out will be tricky.
I used a piece of graph paper to come up with my rough dimensions that would fit the area available. This is going to be custom made barge built by the local company. No need to be worried about exact dimensions. I just need something that looks like it makes sense.
In the end I used MDF scraps that I had laying around. The basic body of the barge is layers of MDF with the top thicker layer cut in to four pieces using my table saw and miter saw.
The shapes were then glued together. I then cut an angle in the front and back and sanded it down until it was smooth all around. The MDF keeps a nice smooth finish.
For the inside of the bay I used styrene scored with a paper cutter and then snapped apart. In the photo I'm using an extra piece of styrene to keep pressure on the sides as the glue dries.
Here is a shot after making some brackets out of angled styrene and adding some detail parts I got at the Amherst Train Show.
Unfortunately after finding the first photo in this article I see that I put the details in the wrong place. I'll remove them, paint it and add some more details...be right back.
...here we go...
Now that is a boat load of salt!
Note: MDF is a thirsty material, it soaks up a lot of paint so be sure to use a sealer. I used a spray on lacquer sealer made for wood.