In which I dive into the Wheeler – Osgood scene.
Now that I had an idea what I wanted to do with this corner of the layout, I went ahead with it. I want to get this area done because 1) I’m curious to see how it comes out, and 2) the layout isn’t operable until I’m fairly far along with this. I can shuffle cars around if I want, but I can’t operate while this scene is under construction.
So I needed a warehouse for wood products based only on a plan from a fire insurance company map. Some room for interpretation. I went with a clapboard-sided frame building with a timber deck for the dock. Because of the way the scene was developing I decided on a piling foundation. The layout is set in and around the Tacoma tide flats and I’ve seen many buildings in similar areas on this foundation.
The foundation parts. The drawing is the foundation plan. The parts are dimensional balsa wood, and the bracing on the right side of the plate are cut scale (hah!) 2 x 4’s for bracing.
The foundation jig. I tried building the jig in such a way that the joints were unencumbered, and this worked well. The wood is weathered with Pan pastels using Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Grey and Black.
I wanted to use printed textures for the building. I’ve tried this a couple of times with indifferent results. I had Light Tarpaper and Grey Dock Boards from Clever Models, and bought the Dirty White Clapboard texture for this project. I’ve found that the N-scale textures are often not correctly scaled, so I adjust the density until I get what I’m looking for. I printed the textures on 110# white card stock.
The building base is 0.040″ styrene sheet while the walls are 0.030″ styrene. After cutting the parts and painting the interior surfaces Flat Black I glued the texture to them.
This is what happens if you use a water-based glue like PVA. The water-based ink discolors. I could live with the floor because nearly all of it will be inside, but the walls had to be redone. I had to find a way to glue the textures, and tried spray glue. A large can of the good stuff isn’t cheap, but it does work very well. Perhaps a bit too well, as you really have one chance at it. Once the paper is down, it’s down. I put alignment marks on the reverse side so I’d have a guide and the textures wouldn’t be crooked.
I have a number of small balsa blocks left over from Cheney Lumber, so I used some to act as alignment blocks for the walls. I figured they’d act to hold the walls straight and level, and this worked pretty well.
Testing different doors. I drew the doors and tried various textures to see what looked best. The door tracks and trim are 0.030″ x 0.040″ styrene strip weathered with Black powdered pastel.
The warehouse serves a door and sash plant, so I figured I’d better have some doors and sashes. I got pictures of both from the internet, and scaled the images to N-scale. The doors came out OK, but the sashes are too small for me to cut reliably, so on this day only doors will be shipped out.
I found that a standard manila folder is about the right color to represent new wood, and the thickness is nearly scale for a door, so I cut a bunch of door-sized pieces and glued them together with the door texture on top. I cut some lengths of small strip wood left over from a lumber load kit for the stacks of doors to rest on. It occurred to me that I’ve spent a lot of time modeling stacks of wood products for this layout.
Building interior with view blocks and door stacks in place.
I was going to use shingles for the roof, but when I put the roof in place it seemed a pretty fancy roof for an auxiliary warehouse on the back lot of a large plant. Tar paper seemed the more appropriate choice.
The various roof samples. Top and bottom center is Clever Models Light Tar Paper, on the left is the same texture at 1.15 gamma, and on the right is the texture at 1.3 gamma. The center pieces are a felt roof texture I downloaded as an image and tiled and adjusted.
I printed a complete roof on regular paper for each of the textures and mounted them on manila folder. I didn’t spend a lot of time trimming the pieces; I just needed a mock-up to see how it looked. It was a couple of hours to do this, but the building is going to be on the layout for a while, so maybe worthwhile to get things right. The pieces are on my glue press, which is a couple of shelves from the computer desk on which the NPP is built. They feature smooth, finished surfaces, weigh about five pounds each, and are very good at pressing flat stuff together.
I attached one half of the roof to the center view block/ridgepole, and the other half is taped to the first half. This held the roof in place so I could draw reference marks for trimming.
Tar paper at 1.3 gamma.
Felt roof texture.
I decided that the Light Tar Paper texture at 1.15 gamma looked most like aged tar paper, so went with that. The rejected roofs served as test articles for trimming and fitting, and it turned out that having several pieces was a good idea.
The roof is printed in two parts: one piece of card has the roof texture, and a second piece is printed in an off-white color sampled from the clapboard texture. I glued the pieces together back-to-back and after trimming dusted the edges with Black pastel. The top seam is hidden with a piece of 0.030 x 0.040 styrene strip painted Flat Black and dusted with Grey pastel to simulate the ridge vent. I considered adding structural detail under the truck dock roof, but decided against it as scale 2 x 4’s are very small, and that would be a lot of fiddly work for something not really viewable from normal angles. I did add some nominal bracing to the rail dock roof because the building looked a little off without it.
I also considered adding gutters and downspouts, but I have seen a number of this type of building without any rain control at all. There are a lot of rainy days in the Northwest, but those looking for gutters on a structure of this type overestimate management’s zeal for spending money.
For the rail side dock roof I used CA to glue a styrene strip across the wall so the roof would have something to attach to. The corner boards are 1.5 mm styrene angle.
With the roof sorted it was time to attach the foundation. Unlike every other building I’ve done the floor on this one was above grade, so I had to paint it Flat Black. I used a correction pen to make the alignment lines for the timbers. After attaching the pilings I added the bracing.
After the glue dried, I used a pair of Xuron scissors (PL4440) to trim the braces. I recently acquired this tool, and like it. A light dusting of pastels to cover blemishes on the pilings and dock, and done.
One nice thing about printed texture is the ability to print the weathering right on the texture. Other than trim pieces, there is almost no physical weathering required. This building did take about 30 hours to build, which is a bit long in my opinion. Fortunately the scene only requires two buildings, but I expect the steam plant will take half again as long as this one.