Thursday, February 25, 2016

Clear the Tracks!

When I read in one of E. L. Moore’s letters to Bill Rau that he enjoyed a book from 1943 called ‘Clear the Tracks!’ - and that he liked it even more after the second reading - I immediately looked for one from an online bookseller. And this being the 21st century, it didn’t take long for a copy to arrive in my mailbox.

I didn’t want to spend a lot on a collector’s edition - a reading copy was good enough for me - so when I found this odd little low-cost paperback, I snapped it up. And it turns out it too has a story all its own (from the inside flyleaf),

This Book is published by Armed Services Editions, Inc., a non-profit organization sponsored by the Council on Books in Wartime, which is made up of American publishers of General (Trade) books, libraries, and booksellers. It is intended for exclusive distribution to members of the American Armed Forces and is not intended to be resold or made available to civilians. In this way the best books of the present and the past are supplied to members of our Armed Forces in small, convenient, and economical form. New titles will be issued regularly. A list of the current group will be found on the inside back cover.

I’m humbled to think that this little addition might have been carried by a World War II veteran somewhere, sometime during that terrible war and provided some needed distraction. It’s not that far fetched a thought. Consider this passage from Gilbert Thomas’ 1947 Paddington to Seagood: The Story of a Model Railway where Mr. Thomas recounts an unexpected benefit to having his layout written up in the Model Railway News,

Most memorable of all, and affording the most striking proof of the psychological value of the hobby, have been some of the visits paid by soldiers on leave during war-time. I recall in especial a lance-corporal quite unknown to us, who turned up unexpectedly, and very apologetically, one day, asking if he might make a later appointment to see the model. He took from his pocket a much-tattered copy of an old Model Railway News containing a description, plan and pictures of our layout, and said that studying these, with similar particulars about other miniature lines, had been his consolation - nay, his sole means of preserving sanity - during “a fairly nasty time” on the beaches at Dunkirk. Of course we took him into the railway-room at once, and the extent to which he had studied the diagram and illustrations was apparent when he saw the real thing. Every detail had become so familiar to him, through his imagination, that he immediately found his way about the complex system - identifying in turn feature after feature, asking after the junior members of the “Board” (then at school), and even remembering our pet names for the stations - as if he had lived with it for weeks . . .  A strange world, this! I sometimes think that the model railway, started for my own amusement, has been more worthwhile, even in the deepest sense, than most things I have done from serious or dutiful motives!

Clears the Tracks!: The Story of an Old-Time Locomotive Engineer, published in 1943 by Whittlesey House, is the memoir of Joseph Bromley, as told to Page Cooper, who had a 29 year railroad career that started at age 15 in 1880, and ended in 1909 when he became Inspector of Safety Appliances for the Interstate Commerce Commission. He started his career on the Black River Line in Utica, New York, but soon left to join the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad at the suggestion of his mother as a way to better his career. It was good advice. At 20 years of age he became the youngest locomotive engineer on the line, and stayed with the road for the duration.

The book is all recollections of Mr. Bromley’s life and adventures as a railroad man. I honestly thought I’d be bored by it, but was pleasantly surprised it turned out to be a page-turner. It was the accounts of the sheer differentness of life during that time - told in a matter-of-fact manner - that hooked me. From today’s vantage point, it almost seems like a story about life on another planet, full of it’s own highs and lows, and goods and bads. Obviously, there are also tales of railroad adventure. Not the ‘adventures’ of the railroad businesses and barons, or boy’s life type ‘adventures’, but of the men who worked the equipment and keep the lines running. The prose is spare, speedy and clear, and often humorous. I can see why E. L. Moore enjoyed it. 

And may have enjoyed it enough to let one of Mr. Bromley’s anecdotes stick in his mind and inspire the story of one of his construction articles. Was this story about Old Tom’s mishap with a homebrew elevator . . . 

At the moment the Old Man’s attention was completely focussed on the elevator which he had put into the new storehouse. The building was only two stories high, but Tom had the idea the men couldn’t steal so much equipment if they didn’t have access to the stairs; so he put in an open cage built after his own design. It was run by a pull rope and stopped by a contrivance that stuck out at the top of the second floor. Perhaps the Old Man calculated originally how much tonnage it would carry, but he was so proud of it that he ended by believing that it would lift anything.

One day when I hauled over a load of “brashes”, forty-or-fifty-pound bearings for driving-wheels, he ordered us to pile them all on. Old Tom was going up with them, to show Dal Alvord how she worked.....

Loaded with Tom and Dal and the brashes, the car labored to the second floor, but when it hit the stopper at the top, it fell back and bumped the starting trigger below with such force it shot up again.

“Jump, you damned fool, jump,” yelled Tom. Dal jumped as the cage descended, and the elevator, lightened by his weight, bounced up again, throwing the Old Man out among the monkey wrenches on the second floor. For a third time the cage fell, this time to the cellar, and imbedded the brashes in the cement.

. . . the inspiration for Uncle Wilbur’s fictional elevator in the Novelty Factory tower that appeared in the July ’70 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman?

I forgot to mention the tower has an elevator just big enough for one big fat man to ride in. But it was too slow, so the “come-five-o’clock” boys got together and cut a round hole in the floor and installed a brass pole, which, while not exactly a new idea, served to speed up the quitting time descent, particularly at such times as when Uncle Wilbur surreptitiously squirted grease on it.

Ok, it’s a bit of a stretch I admit, but I can imagine some tales from either Bromley or Moore being inserted into each others text without too much notice.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

HOJPOJ Reno: Cover letter and manuscript

I was a very happy fellow Friday because I finally came across the cover letter used to sell the HOJPOJ Manufacturing Company project and the typewritten manuscript. 

December 27, 1967

H. H. Carstens, Editor
Railroad Model Craftsman,
Ramsey, N. J.

Hooby-hooby and hub-hub . . .  Christmas is out of the way for another year.

Here’s the Hojpoj Manufacturing Company with a water tower -- can’t recall having seen anything on modeling a water tower.

I’ll try to find something simpler next. Any ideas?

Kinda thinking of building myself a railroad. Wouldn’t consider anything of any size as that would entail a bit of work. So . . .  card table size. Has to be simple to be in line with my thinking. N scale. Gotta plan drawn up, loop-de-loop, trestle, tunnels, mountains and lake, with just a couple of sidings. Intrigued with this little HOn21/2 stuff -- run both it and N scale stuff with some compromises, maybe TT buildings or between in foreground, N in background. Trouble is I’ll never know whether to reach for HO, TT or N ruler. Low cost project for beginner -- ought to be a little fun, and maybe the real reason is I like to dabble in scenery occasionally.

Hope your Creative Crafts thing is doing well.

Keep the steam up . . . . 

signed E. L. Moore

E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave., Apt 3
Charlotte, N. C.

Well, well, well. Not much about the HOJPOJ, but an interesting proposal for what would become the three-part, Enskale and Hoentee layout series that ran in the October, November and December 1968 issues of Railroad Model Craftsman. This is the layout that featured, among things, an N-scale version of his Grizzly Flats Depot - well, it turns out that after he built a simplified version, he decided not to use it because it was too small compared to the other buildings.

Also, it’s an interesting reversal of opinion on layout building. In an August 1966 letter to Mr. Carstens he has this to say on layouts,

You and Crosby both have problems. He’s beginning on his “layout of a lifetime” so damned full of ideas he has to have a filing clerk to keep track of his ideas. I built one railroad, only 4’ x 6’ and I have no intentions of ever building another. It was fun, but I get even more fun outa building buildings. Now me, I’m probably the only railroader without a problem or a worry.

The 4’ x 6’ layout he was referring to was his Elizabeth Valley Railroad. I’m going to speculate a bit, so don’t take this too seriously: I think what he liked about layouts were the trains, scenery, buildings, atmosphere and the stories they can embody, and he wasn’t that interested in wiring and control and simulating business operations and empire building. He was a romantic, not a formalist. In today’s world, I think he’d have more interest in compact UK style layouts, and less in room and basement sized North American style operation oriented pikes. But, I as I said, that’s all speculation on my part.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

E. L. Moore’s Ode to Emmett

[In the January 1956 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, there was a photo essay by E. L. Moore called with the Spumoni family in Merrie Old England. It was a collection of photos of a diorama Mr. Moore built based on the works of Roland Emmett - basically, it was an homage to Emmett’s work. This master photo shows the entire diorama, and from it you can see the scenes that appear in the ’56 photo essay]

E. L. Moore’s friend, Bill Rau, suffered a heart attack in September ’67. He was laid up in hospital for a number of weeks (note, he recovered and resumed his editorial duties at Model Railroader) and during that time Mr. Moore sent him some letters to lift his spirits. One, dated 1 Oct ’67, included a poem that was to have accompanied the photos in that Jan ’56 RMC photo essay.

Here’s a little ditty after the fashion of Carryl’s Robinson Crusoe Story:

I often find diversion
In a holiday excursion
On the little railroad that you see;
And we travel up and down
Then, stopping at a town
Refresh ourselves with whistleberry tea,

We stop at every station
To give the engine medication,
And to buy up souvenirs for home.
We get blisters on our hinies
From sitting, talking with the limeys,
And more while writing up this travel pome.

We never have to worry,
And we’re never in a hurry,
For we have our own domesticated cow;
While in the coach ahead
The Dukes and Lords are fed
On refrigerated, germinated chow.

Our coach is light and airy,
But quite unsanitary,
For the plumbing has a weather-beaten look.
We live from hand to jug
Weighing calories by the glug,
For we have no pots and pans with which to cook.

We had an invitation
From the Duke of Ostentation
To scale at Castle Twitching By-The-Sea
We bought a ship for sailing
But it had a single failing
It was anchored on a mountain balcony.

I’ve come to the conclusion,
So I’ll put my sox and shoes on,
For the ties and cinders hurt my feet.
You see, I lost my bloomin’ ticket
In a bloody game of cricket,
So I’m walking home down railroad street.

I had a set of pictures, one to illustrate each verse, or vice versa -- the pictures appeared in RMC once many years ago -- here’s one of them -- a take-off on the English caricaturist, Rowland Emmett and his Nellie, or whatever his engine’s name was.

Carryl was Charles Edward Carryl, an American stock broker and children’s literature author who was born in 1841 and died in 1920. His poem, Robinson Crusoe’s Story, was published in 1919.

Friday, February 19, 2016

HOJPOJ Reno: Storage tank and shack

Just across the tracks from the main complex is a small storage tank and shack. There are pipes - modelled by wires - which run from the brick building, over the tracks, and into the shack roof. I guess inside the shack are some valves and things for controlling whatever is flowing in those pipes. This is another part of the HOJPOJ build that has not survived the ages, so I built a new one.
The shack is built up from scraps of balsa and then surfaced with E. L. Moore's tried-and-true 'paper' metal technique.
This method involves making a tool with a ridged pattern that resembles corrugated metal, placing a sheet of paper on it, and scribing the pattern into the paper with a pencil, dried-out pen, or sharp stick. I had made a pattern back when I was building Bunn's Feed and Seed and thought I had stashed it away somewhere in the workshop. I searched for a couple of weeks but couldn't find it :-( So, I went ahead and made another. My new pattern, like my old one, is made from curved plastic pieces, suitably flattened, leftover from an HO-scale quonset hut kit that were super-glued to a piece of wood. You can see it in the upper left in the above picture.
In this picture I've taped a piece of paper - I pulled a sheet from my computer's printer - and have started scribing with a pencil. Use a low angle to keep the pencil tip from pushing through the paper. Over on the right you can see a piece of bamboo skewer that I also tried as an embossing tool - it works fine too!
The roof panels are a little different. For these, only scribe every 4th line. 
Once the paper is scribed, 4' x 8' panels are cut out and these are then glued onto the balsa walls. For this, I just use an ordinary household white glue. 
And here it is, all done! I tried to make it look a little more haphazard by varying the lengths of the paper panels. It's ready to be painted with some acrylic aluminum coloured paint.
The tank was built around a discarded aspirin bottle. It turns out this one is just the right diameter as the original at 11', but is only 17' long compared to the original's 21'. Not a big difference. 
The narrow opening was cut off with a razor saw and circles of 1/16" balsa sheet were then glued on each end. At this point I hunkered down to finish the model and didn't take any photos along the way. But, basically, the bottle is wrapped with construction paper, and the hatch on the top is built up from a section of styrene tube topped with a thin, styrene disk and a sprue stub - yes, styrene again, the anti-Moore material :-) Well, look at it this way, he was economical and used things he had on hand instead of spending money when he didn't have to. I did the same.
The tank is supported by four little balsa wedges that simulate concrete blocks. The tank is painted with a number of loose washes of several greys, white, aluminum and black. After the shack was painted with a base of aluminum, it was washed with a thin neutral grey, and then a gloppy rust mixture. After painting the shack and the tank were glued together to form a single unit.
Once the model is on the diorama, some holes will be drilled into the shack's roof for the delivery pipes, and a support arm for them will be added to the front of the shack.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Last Thursday's car show

Every Thursday night from Scarborough Day to Labour Day the city holds a car show on the strip. Everybody who has some sort of custom car they'd like to show is invited down to Ocean Blvd. to show it. The show's free to everyone, but the organizers ask for a $5 donation for the children's hospital.
At around 6:30 the cops block off Sinatra and cars start parking on Ocean.The show starts around 7:00 and ends at 9:30. Streetcar service resumes at 10.
I brought my van, but I didn't show up until later so I got a spot near Gecko's.
Last Thursday The Lincoln Club showed up and parked all their identical black convertibles along the south side of Ocean. It's quite a sight with them all them stretching from one end of Ocean to the other.
I'm a big Lincoln fan. It was great to be there and see them all polished and gleaming.
There were a couple of Pacers there too.  I've got mixed feelings about the Pacer. Yeah, it's weird, but I admire its individuality. Conformity sucks.
The Noir was open and doing great business.
There were a few less brick-and-mortar oriented food vendors there too. Ice cream is definitely good on a summer night. There were a couple of sweet Ford woodsides there. Very nice.
There's the other one. That's Ken's Bluesmobile replica in the foreground. He showed up real late and had to be satisfied with a spot in the alley.
There were some rowdies, but the cops cleared them off pretty quickly. Guys like that aren't good for business.
At the other end of Ocean was the new Deora. I guess it's not so new anymore since it came out in the mid-2000s, but it's still looking good. The owner let me stand up on the back deck and take this picture down Ocean.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

E. L. Moore, TV star

Sometime in 1971 an episode of the local television show, Carolina Camera, aired with a segment featuring E. L. Moore according to this letter he wrote to H. H. Carstens.

July 13, 1971

H. H. Carstens, Editor,
Railroad Model Craftsman,
Ramsey, N. J.

Most Honorable Sir:

Hey man, you-all got something you’re not using and I could use, namely CUSTOM FEED MILL that I sent along about the middle of last year, so here’s a buck for postage. It ain’t doing you no good down deep in your files, and I might be able to make some use of it.

You-all got all the best of it in a feature Carolina Camera did on me for TV. On account of I had AHM’s kit models of the Journal Building, the Schaeffer Brewery and Grusom Casket Company prominently displayed. Your mag hogged it all over Model Railroader which they didn’t even show. They spent a whole afternoon shooting models and displays plus a little interview. Hunsoever, I didn’t need the publicity and it ain’t likely it’ll raise your circulation another hunnerd thousand.

Pete Van Dore of AHM writ me some time back -- sent me a bunch of kits to distribute to friends among which were the three mentioned of mine. Says too he’s giving instructions to put my name on the box of the one in the works now “Ma’s Place”. Also requested I do a specific thing for them, like maybe a powder plant with the side blown off. So I obliged him. Y’know you bastards reviewed the kit, Ramsey Journal Building, without even giving me credit for the thing -- ain’t you the purity things!

Well, keep you shirttail tucked in and your zipper flapped shut . . . . 

signed E. L. Moore

E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave., Apt 3
Charlotte, N. C. 28204

There’s a couple of fascinating points in the letter. First, apparently, E. L. Moore got his 15-minutes of TV fame on Carolina Camera.

Carolina Camera was a local interest television show focused on stories about people and places in the Carolinas produced by WBTV in Charlotte that ran from 1970 to some time in the early 1990’s. It was revived in 2010, but cancelled again in 2014. There is a youtube channel with many videos from the early years, and some here at The Southern Weekend but no segment on E. L. Moore.

I’ve tried to contact the station, but no word back. This will be a great segment to see if it can be found. 

And then there’s that hint of a model E. L. Moore designed exclusively for AHM. All the AHM kits - and their latter day versions - were based on particular Railroad Model Craftsman articles. The only thing that might come close is a rare variant on the Molasses Mine that was labelled as some sort of explosives plant - basically, I think it was just the Mine kit with different signs. I’ve misplaced the link to a photo and need to find it again. But, there’s the intriguing, “So I obliged him”, hopefully hinting that there is at least a design out there somewhere for this project.

To get a flavour of segments, check out this one from Carolina Camera called Model Boat Man.

The Gemini Rendezvous Layout

[Model train layout used by NBC News to demonstrate the Gemini 7 and Gemini 6A rendezvous maneuver. Photo shown in the Safety Valve letters to the editor column of the March ’66 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman and attributed to NBC News. The wikipedia entry on the rendezvous says that the mission plan was for Gemini 6A, after launching on 15 December ’65, to meet up with Gemini 7, which had launched on 4 December ’65, on its fourth orbit after leaving Earth. These 4 orbits are likely the four main loops you see in the trackplan. Over on the left you can see where the track comes together in some sort of curved switch or crossing - I wonder what sort of piece of track that is - I’ll have to dig in some old Atlas catalogues to see if I can figure it out.]

The ape, racing to the moon, holds no fascination for me . . .  I much prefer the sedate company of the tomcat who suns himself out on the back porch.
[E. L. Moore in an 8 April ’62 letter to Railroad Model Craftsman editor Hal Carstens.]

I’ve waded through lots of old model railroad magazines while on the E. L. Moore trail, seeing many sights and reading the most fascinating things. This is one, and with the death of Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell earlier this month, and the confirmation of gravitational waves last week, I thought about posting this snippet of a small intersection of my interests in space exploration and model railroading.

Back in the March ’66 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, a reader, Philip Schmucker of Detroit, wrote in and asked the editors if they knew anything about the model railroad he saw on tv that was used to demonstrate the docking of Gemini 7 and Gemini 6A that happened on 15 December 1965.

The editor was interested and contacted NBC for more information. This is what they reported:

... the NBC News Gemini coverage in which loops of HO trackage were laid so as to approximate the elliptical orbits of the two Gemini spacecraft, including the actual rendezvous. Al Chambers of the NBC News staff advises that the 12-foot-square layout was built by Model Railroad Equipment Corporation’s Andy Uveges, who used Atlas’ curvable track and switches. Tyco power cars specially built up by Andy held the Revell Gemini capsules. Diodes permitted the two cars to ride the same track. Power was also by Tyco. The track laid in close approximation of the actual flight pattern, designed to show the orbital mechanics of the two spacecraft. Much to NBC’s delight, Astronaut Wally Schirra referred to the flight as “just like being on rails” at the Dec. 30th news conference in Houston ...
[Safety Valve letters to the editor column, Railroad Model Craftsman, March 1966]

Those Revell Gemini spacecraft models might have been the 1/24 scale kit released in 1965 and re-issued in 2000 and 2012. Today one could use DCC to replace the diode-based control system, making this demonstration layout rather straightforward to recreate. 

[The Revell Gemini models making the rendezvous. Photo shown in the Safety Valve letters to the editor column of the March ’66 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman and attributed to NBC News. The wikipedia entry on the mission states that during rendezvous the two spacecraft remained in close proximity for 270 minutes and at one point got within a foot of each other.]

Some say good things come in threes, others say bad things come in threes, either way, the third bit of space news I’ve stumbled across this month is this amazing video, Cinema: A Space Odyssey

Let’s wrap this up with some words from Edgar Mitchell,

You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.'
[Edgar D. Mitchell (Astronaut; Apollo 14 moon walker; b. 17 Sept. 1930; d. 4 Feb. 2016)]

Friday, February 12, 2016

HOJ POJ Reno: The Water Tower

[Fitting the braces to the legs calls for a little agility.
E. L. Moore commenting - with considerable understatement - on the most difficult part of the HOJ POJ water tank project in his Railroad Model Craftsman article of April 1968.
Amen brother.
J. D. Lowe commenting on the comment.]

The HOJ POJ project included an onsite water tower near the main complex. That model wasn’t one I saw at the meet-up, and wasn’t part of the HOJ POJ remnants, so I decided to build one for the diorama as per the instructions in E. L. Moore’s article.

I must say that if you want to build a water tower for some other purpose, I wouldn’t build one according to this article. This isn’t meant as a slight against the original, just that there are kits and modern scratch building techniques that will produce a somewhat more realistic water tower with less work. I built it completely old school because I want it to fit in with the style of the complex.

I found it to be a finicky project. It took me a long time and I wanted to give up on a few occasions :-( I’d guess and say it uses some laborious construction techniques from the ‘50s and my 21st century mouse-sized attention span couldn’t handle them :-) I’m sure in the hands of a master like E. L. Moore, this project isn’t too bad, but for me, it was tricky. In the end, the structure is ok, but not great. Anyway, if after all my grumblings you still want to give it a go, let’s get started.
The whole project is built around a humble fishing bobber from the 1950's. Luckily I had a couple and used a very damaged one for this project
Mr. Moore says he removed the central shaft and replaced it with a long 1/8" diameter stick that models the water pipe and provides some structural stiffness to the assembled model. The shaft wouldn't come out of this bobber so I cut most of it off. I eventually learned that it also wasn't square to the body, so I had to cut off that remaining stub shown in the picture.
The tank body, whose diameter is the same as the widest diameter of the bobber, is rolled and glued up from a piece of construction paper. An inside stiffener is cut from 1/16" balsa.
The construction paper tube is slipped over the bobber and glued in place. It fits quite snugly. 
The balsa stiffener is then dabbed with glue along its perimeter and pushed into the end of the tank. It's quite a solid little structure once the glue is dry.
The roof is made from a circular disc of construction paper that is sliced to its centre so it can be shaped into a cone.
Two nested, smaller cones are glued inside the main roof cone. E. L. Moore recommends using three internal cones, but I found two made for a sufficiently stiff roof.
Here's the built-up, painted and lettered tank. The roof apex has a decoration inserted that was carved from a round toothpick. The whole thing was painted aluminum and the lettering was from some very old rub-on transfers from '70s. This version of the tank still has the straight-up final J that eventually got scraped off replaced with a skewed one.

I must admit that my assembly sequence was goofy. If I were to do it again I'd paint the construction paper first and then apply the letters before rolling it into a tube. 
On next to building the girder legs. The first thing I did was cut 8 strips, 3/32" wide from 1/32" thick sheet balsa stock.
The next thing to do is glue on some spacers, cut a scale 1' long from 1/16" balsa. Do this to 4 of the strips, then glue on the remaining strips to create 4 built-up legs.
Here are the half finished legs. The next step is to wrap each leg with diagonal bracing cut from paper. 
I took a sheet of paper from the computer's printer and sliced off 8 thin strips.They were coloured black with a Sharpie pen.
Gluing these strips in place made me a little nutty, but once I got the hang of it, it wasn't too bad. First, glue a strip on a girder end at 45 degrees to the balsa. Let it dry, then start wrapping it up the leg.
It's a little hard to tell from this photo, but the trick is to make the spiral loops equally spaced at about 1/2" between each loop. Once you've made a loop, dab some glue on the paper, press it to the leg and move onto wrapping the next loop. After awhile it becomes second nature. Each leg is wrapped with two strips, spiralling in opposite directions. After the glue was dried, there was a bit of touch-up with black paint to hide small glue smears and missed spots on the legs.
The spirals on the leftmost leg aren't too tight. It was the first one I tried, but I decided to use it anyway. I made it one of the back legs. It doesn't look too bad on the finished model - not noticeable. I think it's because everything is painted black. That hides a lot of imperfections.
Once the legs were done, next came the tank platform. Two donut shaped pieces were cut from 1/32" balsa and glued together with the grains perpendicular.
It too was painted black and then slipped onto the tank.
The railing was drawn out on a piece of overhead transparency film with a Sharpie pen. I made it a little longer than the perimeter of the tank platform so there'd be a gluing edge.
It's a little tricky to get it snug to the platform, but, alls-well-that-ends-well.
At this point I went crazy. I figured I could stand the tank unit up on the four legs, coax them into position, slather on some glue, and voila ! it would be standing up and all I'd have to do is glue the cross-braces to the legs. Oaths were sworn. Glue was glopped. Nerves were frazzled. But, gravity was not defied. Time for plan B. I drew up a template and glued cross-braces to pairs of legs. They were 1/32" strips sliced from a 1/32" thick balsa sheet.
The night dragged on. Braces were cut. The glue dried slowly. 
With shaky hands, and a lack of concern about focusing the camera, the tank was hoisted up on the braced leg pairs and magic occurred ! It stood up. And it was square and straight! The age of miracles is not over!
A couple days later I added the wood frame cover around where the water pipe should be and started gluing the remaining lower leg braces in place. That did a lot to stiffen the overall structure. E. L. Moore made the braces from balsa strips and metal wire. I'm not sure why the mix, but I speculate that's what he had on hand, so that's what he used. The bracing on the upper third is simply thread zig-zagged through the legs, so I did that too. That was the last step.
Ok, well, not quite. I glued a styrene ladder on the left front leg. I ran out of ladder stock and didn't have any left to build the tank ladder to the roof - I'll see what I can find at the local hobby store. But, other than that, it's ready to add to the diorama.