Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Building a warehouse, part 4

In this part of my little "Building a warehouse" series of posts we have arrived at the installation of the canopy. Before installing it above the loading dock, I spray painted it a light gray. Also before the canopy, I installed a number of down-spouts. I made those from styrene rod and small pieces of styrene strip bent around the rod. The latter simulating the hardware that keeps the down-spouts in place.

Here are some pictures of the warehouse with the canopy in place.

And here it is on the layout. Still lacking the roof, but that you cannot see from this angle.

Thanks for watching.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Building a warehouse, part 3

I have put together the canopy, i.e. the roof above the loading dock. Right now, before painting it looks like this:

Agree. It does not look very interesting. Just some Evergreen corrugated metal siding. A closer look shows that I have attached some .080" (2.0mm) channel along one of the long sides:

The channel represents the gutter, and it will be on the side facing the wall, meaning the whole canopy will be slightly tilted towards the wall. That's the way it was done on the prototype I'm using. Better to have the rain water accumulate along the wall instead of between the loading deck and the cars being worked, I guess.

If the top side of the roof is fairly dull, the underside is more interesting.

Here you can see the supporting structure, built up of I-beams. A closer look shows the details:


The beam along the wall (far side in the picture) is .125" (3.2mm) I-beam. The cross members are the same size. The beams along the front and the middle are 0.080" (2.0mm).

The next step is painting and mounting the canopy to the warehouse wall.

Thanks for watching.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Building a warehouse, part 2

The next thing I did on the warehouse was to make the platform and lower parts of the walls look more like as if they were built of concrete. I did that by brush painting them with various layers of Polly Scale Concrete, Gray and White colors. The out-of-the-bottle Concrete is a little too yellow for my taste. There might be aged concrete that actually has that color, but I wanted something a little more grayish and lighter. That's why I added in the gray and white as well.

I then also tried some weathering. I did that by applying streaks of grime and rust, in the form of washes of color. I'm not totally satisfied with the result. I think I'll come back and try to improve it later, when the whole structure itself is done.

I cut he visible wall siding from Plastruct Ribbed/corrugated Roof (91511). Before attaching the siding to the structure, I spray painted it with Polly Scale B&M Blue.
As you can see above, I also attached roll-up doors. These I made form Plastruct Corrugated Siding (91509), painted a gray color, and then simply glued to the inside of the wall, covering the opening. For variety and visual interest I let two of the doors be partly open. I also attached some styrene channel along the top of the walls, and pieces of angle at the corners.
Still left to do is the roof and canopy.
Thanks for watching.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Building a warehouse, part 1

Today I finally got around to building one of the warehouses. Well, at least I started the work that would eventually replace this mock up with the real thing.

The look I am after is something like this.

Not exactly that, but along those lines anyway. I started with the foundation and the platform, which I built by laminating a piece of 3.5 mm tempered hardboard on top of a piece of 10 mm MDF board. I cut both pieces from some leftover material I happened to have lying around. By laminating these two pieces I would arrive at a suitable platform height (about 4 ft, when the bottom of the structure is brought up to the sub road level). This would also mimic the layered concrete construction you see in the above picture. Here are two construction photos.

Next I marked the location of the front wall and the three doors. Using these locations I cut and glued wood braces in place. These will later hold the walls in place. It did not put any braces at the positions of the doors, since I wanted to be able to model one or several of the doors as being open.

I then cut three holes in the warehouse platform/foundation, inside the building. Two of them to accept wooden dowels fastened in the bench work. That way I can have the building removable, but when on the layout, it will still sit tightly exactly where it belongs. The third, larger, hole is for the wires of any possible future lighting.

Next picture shows a piece of cork attached to the foam in order to get he bottom of the warehouse foundation at the correct level. You can also see the two wooden dowels, which matches the two smaller holes in the foundation.

After that I turned my attention to the front and side walls. As you can see in my "inspirational" prototype picture above, the lower parts of the walls are of concrete. I decided to model those using 1mm (0.040") plain styrene sheet. Although mostly invisible, I made these concrete/styrene walls as high as the complete building, for additional strength. In real life the concrete walls are much lower, just being a foundation for some kind of structure that holds the visible sheet metal.

Here are the styrene walls in place. To avoid having to fuss with cutting door openings at this stage, I simply did not put any of these "inner" walls at the door locations.

Wrapping up this first part of the warehouse build I gave the whole thing a coating of gray (from a can). The idea being this would be a good start for the concrete platform and the warehouse floor. Now, the gray turned out to be too dark, so I have to come up with something better if I want it to look like concrete. Also, the paint raised some "burrs" in the wood which must be sanded down.

One more thing. I sprayed the inside black. This will make it harder to actually see that there is not much stuff inside (if I decide to leave a door open), and hopefully also stops light leaks (if I decide to put any lighting in). At a later stage I will also put in a back wall, which will also be painted black.

Thanks for watching.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


With yard ballasting finally done, I thought it was time to start planning for some structures. Of course, I have had a mental picture of what I would like to achieve, but now I was prepared to become more concrete.

In the far west end I have planned for some odd shaped buildings. Shapes that would justify the diamond I have already put in there. These building will probably be in a somewhat older style. Brick perhaps. I also plan to add a walkway that spans the mainline. This would make it possible to install a mirror where the track ends, possible extending the apparent line. Here is a picture of the mock-ups on that part of the layout.

Further to the east (right) I plan to build a contemporary warehouse. It will be quite a long structure. I split it into two sections, with an interconnecting piece with other dimensions in between, just to make things visually more interesting.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Keep on ballasting

I'm still in the middle of the "ballast the yard" project, meaning grout mixed with fine ballast, and weathering powders on top of that. Perhaps not very exiting, but here are some more shots.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spreading Static Grass

When my wife a few weeks ago asked if I wanted anything in particular for my upcoming birthday, I said "Yes, a Noch Grassmaster". Although that did not immediately ring a bell, with a few hints from yours truly regarding the nature of this thing and possible vendors, she actually bought one. And now I have even tried it out.

I don't think I had the easiest possible layout patch for this first attempt. Only a narrow stretch between the main line and the fascia. I also tried to a few small isolated spots along the drill and team tracks. Here is the result.

Although it eventually turned out alright, nothing is as easy as advertised. I started out using some Woodland Scenics static grass flock. I have had a few jars of that stuff for several years, spreading it by hand. The problem is that over the years, and my handling I suppose, it had started to form clumps. This made it difficult to produce the desired "drizzle" of fibers from the Grassmaster. Instead I got clumps falling out. I tried to resolve the problem by tossing in couple of marbles, assuming that would help breaking up the clumps. That made things better, although not perfect. Vigorous shaking of the Grassmaster was the best approach, but that produced a true downfall of static grass rather than a more controllable drizzle. I think I just need to practise more.

I also figured out that you really need to mix different shades of grass. Otherwise you get a way to uniform look. Fortunately the Grassmaster came with three small bags of Noch grass, of different shades. And no clumps! The green tones were a little to bright, at least for my taste. I think subdued colors give a more realistic appearance. But the Noch grass was alright, as long as used sparingly.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ballasting continues

With the mainline ballasted in a traditional way, displaying a relatively well manicured right of way, it was time to the turn the attention to the yard and drill tracks. Here I wanted a more unkempt look, with dirt rather than rock ballast. So I decided to give tile grout a try.

I did some tests and decided to go with a mix of 50% grout and 50% N scale ballast. To use only grout, which is much like a fine powder, was more or less impossible. It gave you nearly no control, and the stuff ended up everywhere. A mix of ballast and grout was easier to control, but still gave a dirt look. Here is a picture of a spur ballasted withe the grout and ballast mix (the middle track). The mix is kept in place with a water and white glue mix.

Once the glue had dried I applied weathering powders to obtain a dirt look. I also used some rust powder along the rails, and some black powder in between the rails, simulating oil and whatnot. I gave the mainline a light rust and oil treatment as well.

And a close up...
The dirt is a little to brown maybe. I'll aim for a slightly more gray tone when I do the next stretch of track.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ballasting the main

I wanted at least some parts of the layout to become more complete, so I decided to ballast the main line. Part of the decision was also an urge to test the Minitec H0 Phonolith ballast, which I purchased some time ago.

But before ballasting I actually did scenic the narrow stretches of right-of-way along the actual track. So far, on previous layouts, I have always ballasted first and done the scenicing next, so this was a new approach for me. Some people say this yields better results, and besides this is how it is done in real life. I would not say that the difference, as compared to doing it in the opposite order, is very dramatic, but yes, maybe ballasting on top of the surroundings gives slightly better looking end result.

Anyway, I started by adding gravel along the outsides of the sub-road bed, and ground foam and static grass along the layout edge. I also added some vegetation that climbs on the retaining wall. I did all this using the true and proven standard method: apply a layer of white glue; spread the material; wet with alcohol; soak with a water and glue mix. The gravel is actually some N scale ballast (from Minitec). Here is a picture.

Next I added ballast. I used Minitec H0 Gleisschotter Phonolith. Gleisschotter is German and simply means track ballast. Phonolith is the kind of rock it emulates. Below is a picture where some of the track has been ballasted and some not.

Here is a closer look, where I also tried to add an old cardboard box, so that things would not look that neat.

In this last picture I wanted to show that with the CVC tie strips it possible to actually get a gap between the bottom of the rails and the ballast. Something that normally is not possible with flex track. Looks nice I think, but if you don't know the gap is there, you will probably never notice. But since I know...