by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
No. parts: 2
IntroRusty Rail has been casting model railroad scale - and now 1/35 - buildings, accessories and kits since 2001. These incredibly detailed castings feature many recessed and relief detail, solid and hollow, with amazing undercuts. Backwoods Cabin is one of their highly detailed HO offerings.
Backwoods CabinBackwoods Cabin is simply packed in a medium plastic bag held shut by a stapled label. It has a small footprint that measures 4 1/2" by 3" and 2 " tall.
Small cabins like this are ubiquitous around the globe and this model can represent a hunting lodge, trappers cabin, loggers cabin, fisherman hovel, hobo shack, pioneers or sharecropper home - limited only by your imagination. Only two items offer clues to which era(s) of this cabin, a metal lantern and a rubber tire.
The model is cast with a removable roof. The main casting is the shack on an oval base. This amazing model is cast with an interior and an open door and open window!
Casting quality is incredible, full of recessed and relief detail, solid and hollowed items, and amazing undercut areas! Your reviewer has cast some resin in the past and can not figure out how Rusty Rail managed the opposing undercut items. This mimics cutting-edge high-tech slide molding used by the leading injection molding styrene model manufacturers.
The great majority of the casting is high-grade. There is minor flash and a couple of small bubbles although the only one that I though authenticity required filling is a dimple in a canteen. It appears that almost everything Rusty Rail intended to reproduce did so with two possible exceptions: an item on the left of the fireplace mantle; the figure. Figures this size are difficult to form in metal and styrene so the grizzled old hermit might have formed 100% after all. I mishandled the model a couple of times without any damage because the main parts are - prototypically - thick and the resin is robust. Not hard and brittle, not soft and malleable.
The roof is a single flat piece that you will have to score and fold. It is thick and I did sand it thinner.
DetailThe cabin exterior
It is a timber structure with square hewn logs. Corner detail is the overlapping ends protruding. The logs have remarkable wood grain detail that. The detail of the interior is less distressed by the elements. It accurately depicts the splitting of the unsealed wood as I have seen on many a log cabin at historical sites around the country.
Rough hewn boards are cast for the open door and window shutter.
A raw stone chimney is piled high at the other end of the shack. It reminds me of a ruined fieldstone chimney I used to visit at a site in Kentucky - no effort made to pretty up the structure with more mortar than needed to affix the rocks.
The roof could easily pass for wood shingles or slate. It lacks any interior or underside detail.
The cabin interior
This feature of the model fascinates me as I can't figure out how R.R. achieved this reverse detail. Inside is a hewn floor, less-distressed walls, rough stone fireplace, and king post timber roof trusses. There is some excess resin on these trusses although it is easy to pass it off as excess building debris. Strangely, the floor planks are staggered raised and recessed.
Over the stone fireplace is a heavy plank mantel. On the mantle is the coffee mug (With open handle!), an open metal can, and something I can't quite identify.
This scene is not only the shack, it includes a base and a variety of scenic items. Three barrels filled with debris, plus tools, a lantern and canteen, cord of firewood, miscellaneous cans and cases junk hangs, leans, abuts, and otherwise contacts the cabin. "Uni" the occupant stands next to his firewood with a bat in his hands and a cane against his leg, surveying his kingdom.
Ground cover is simulated with gritty ground suitable as a base for - or the - dirt you want to portray. Negative space is prevented by small boulders and a dead tree trunk. To the horror of the HOA a rubber tire lies on a rock while Mr. Uni has allowed his wheel barrow to disintegrate on one end of the base while a pile of trash rusts at another end.
Creating Uni's backwoods shackWhile I plan to nature-up this model with static grass and ground foam, this review is au naturel. I washed the pieces with detergent to remove mold release and primed it with a common rattle can primer. A variety of hobby and craft acrylics brought the cabin to life. While I really like the dark brown of log cabins I want to depict this one as a poor man's place raised from the land. I have scrutinized some primitive and commercial built similar structures in the Appalachians and elsewhere; most weather to a pale gray except for the wood protected by eaves. This area often stays the tan to brown of the natural wood. Shake shingles weather the same as well as can discolor to the detritus of the local foliage.
I primed it light and that presented a challenge painting the incredible hollow and recessed detail - it is difficult to get paint into. I had to resort to filling some with washes. I used a Lifecolor wood color set for the shack and attacked the junk piles with a set of rust paints. Ground colors and firewood are as many brands as colors used. While I applied the wood acrylics per the instructions, rocks and the trunk were treated to a variety of paint, dry brushing and washes.
ConclusionYou may have noticed that the reviewer is enthusiastic about this model. Yes! The level of detailing is exceptional. The quality of casting is high. The engineering of the castings is super. Detail level is equally remarkable.
That there are a few air bubbles neither surprises nor disappoints me. Painting this model can be tricky as if you prime it dark, you may miss a lot of the subtle detail. Prime it light and the incredible hollow and recessed detail is difficult to get paint to. I had to resort to filling some with washes.
This diminutive structure creates quite a scene suitable for any size of layout or diorama. I thoroughly enjoyed painting it, spending far longer than necessary simply because it was so much fun! The detail and overall presentation is super and there is nothing to stop a modeler from adding other shrubs, brush, grass, figures and details. This is a wonderful model to stand alone or incorporate into a larger scene.
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