Dolores, Colorado once included many warehouses served by the RioGrande Southern railroad. The JJ Harris warehouse was one of the earliest and has often "photo bombed" many of the pictures of railroad subjects. That is, bits of it frequently show up in the background of the photos. Built sometime prior to 1916, the structure continues to stand today, converted to apartments.



Throughout its life, the building underwent a tremendous number of changes. The length was increased, gables were added, platforms changed, and doors and windows appeared and disappeared. Even the modifications were modified. I chose to model the building and include the features I felt were most interesting, even though they may not have existed in the fall of 1939 -- the period I prefer to model. However, I've tried to make the design flexible, allowing the builder to decide which of the features he/she wants to include. A warning, though, if you're trying to build an accurate model of the warehouse on a specific date in time, it will very difficult to locate enough information to cover all the modifications. The kit allows you to vary the platforms, the number of gables, and the window arrangement in the tallest gable (the "tower").


Kit construction is typical of our design approach. A well supported interior plywood (no cardboard or laser board used) core makes extensive use of slots and tabs for correct assembly and supports the outer wall and roof details. Interior partitions not only serve to support the outer walls (no additional interior bracing is needed) but also serve as view blocks, making the stucture appear more prototypic rather than as an empty shell. The interior partitions include door openings that mimic what might have been the prototype's original floorplan. For structural reasons, the roof is not removable once the model is completed.




The outer siding consists of a layer of peel-and-stick plywood followed by a second layer of peel-and-stick plywood battens. As with the prototype's siding, the first gable is sided with scribed siding, the second with corrugated siding, and the third with raised seam siding. (Yes, we pay attention to detail!) The foundation is covered with stripwood and the builder has the option of either covering the platform supports with more stripwood (the prototype's treatment in later years) or simply adding additional bracing for interest (original to the prototype).


The gables are also constructed using plywood cores. As usual, the kit includes "scale" door knobs and lockplates. The freight doors can be mounted in either the open or closed position. The interior floor is scribed should you want to add freight items. (Sorry, I haven't included the freight items in the kit.)


Even though the warehouse was originally in the implement business, it either added or became a grain facility. Two very unique features are included in the kit: the wood grain chute and the grain transfer hose. These certainly add interest of the model! Also note the corrugated roofing included in the kit. The warehouse at one time had shake shingles, tar paper, or corrugated metal roofing. Again, I chose the corrugated roofing for the kit because the weathering adds so much interest to the model.

Is the model as big as it appears? Not really. The complete footprint for the S-scale model including all the platforms measures 6 3/4 x 23 3/4 inches (17 x 60 cm). Each platform measures about 1 1/8-inch wide (2.5 cm). You elect which platforms to include, which could reduce the footprint to as little as 4 5/8 x 22 5/8 inches (11.7 x 56 cm). You can't get much smaller in the width for an S-scale prototype structure! The HO dimensions are 5 x 17½ inches (12.7 x 44.5 cm) for the full model or 3½ x 16¾ inches (9 x 42.5 cm) for the smallest model.

Naturally, the kit includes a very well illustrated (77 photos and diagrams in S), large print, spiral bound (lays FLAT!), 42-page (46-pages in HO!) instruction manual that helps guide you through every step of the construction. It includes a section on helpful tools plus detailed recommendations on what products to use and how to apply the various finishes. (An easy method is included that results in "chip free" metal siding and roofing!) Many assembly tips are included that may even improve your overall kit-building skills. And, yes, we also include one of our glue syringes to help assure a neat appearing final model.


Click the text below to purchase the JJ HARRIS WAREHOUSE kit:

Purchase the S-Scale JJ HARRIS WAREHOUSE kit, $225

Purchase the HO-Scale JJ HARRIS WAREHOUSE kit, $210