Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Groveton Paper Mill

I have been doing some layout work away from the layout recently. I have made use of our kitchen island to work on various projects in the past, and this I decided is also a good place to work on the structures related to the Groveton paper mill, served by the Boston and Maine. A large flat surface with good lighting really helps!

I am ready to do some scenery work around the Crawford station now that the full platform is in place, but that has to be done at the layout. I was looking for some work to do upstairs, besides locomotives or freight cars, and I realized I have a lot of what I need for Groveton already on hand, and just need to start building it.

The mill area will contain a number of buildings, flats, storage tanks, small structures, etc. to capture the rail served area of the mill. Having a large amount of Design Preservation Models (DPM) wall components on hand, I decided to start with one large simple building flat to get started. The area behind Groveton has 3 hidden tracks that should not be easily seen, but still have access if needed. I plan to have a number of flats to run along the approximately 60" length of this area. Some will just be flat only, others will have extensions out into the foreground. The idea is to not have just one long building flat, but a series of connected buildings built at different times to look more visually appealing. I am not following the prototype mill in Groveton exactly, but instead I will combine parts of mills I have captured in pictures and research, to best fit my available space.

The first flat will be a basic brick wall section tall enough to adequately screen the hidden tracks. I'll jump ahead here and show you the built up wall, partially completed and basically in the right place. It is not installed, just positioned to see how it will look.

The wall section for one building flat. It uses 16 wall components and includes cornice trim at the top for additional height. It will sit up a little higher and a little bit more forward to be out of the shadow from above, the shelf for North Stratford.
As can be seen, additional buildings will be needed to the left and right to adequately screen the tracks behind and also convey that this is a large industry.

It has been a while since I worked on a styrene structure or with DPM parts. It is a lot of fun, but the key is in the finish and weathering. Most of the pictures I have of New Hampshire brick buildings such as this show an almost brown color to the brick and usually quite a bit of staining from various elements.

After laying out and gluing the wall sections and adding a long .040" strip along the seam to solidify the joint between the top and bottom sections, I sprayed the wall with Rustoleum Rusty Metal primer, a pretty nice looking dark reddish brown paint. Next. I tried a mortar technique using Pan Pastel neutral gray and an alcohol wash. In short, I did not get good results. I know others have used this technique successfully but I was just not getting the look I wanted. Perhaps with more practice, but for now, I wanted to keep the project rolling.

So I went with mixing up a plaster wash, rubbing it into the the wall sections, letting it sit a bit to settle into the joints and dry a little, and then wiping it with a paper towel. This is similar to a technique I used before with water putty, but not able to find that in the house, I used some plaster instead. Here is a look at the painted wall, a wall covered in plaster and then a wall that has been wiped at the right.

The plaster is quite wet here on the center sections. It is best to let it sit a bit before wiping it off so that enough plaster is left behind in the joints. The straight Rustoleum paint color can be seen to the left.
It is fairly easy and the results look good. If an area has too little mortar for your liking, you can apply some more and wipe off again after a bit. As long as you don't let it set up too much, there should not be an issue.

To achieve some of the staining and color variations I saw in pictures, I did go back to pan pastels, using various red and brown colors and some black too. I did this once the surface was dry. I had more time to work and instead of waiting overnight for the plaster to fully set up and dry, I moved ahead. I did not have any issues. Here are some of the results after the Pan Pastels were applied. Further work was done after this but captures the basic effect.

I liked how I was able to show some streaking from the windows and add a little dirtiness around the lower sections of the walls. The reds and browns also helped vary the brick color a bit.
After finishing up and then letting it dry overnight, the color changed just a little and blended nicely overall. As I liked the look and do not think the structure will get much handling, I decided not to apply a flat finish. I'm not sure how that might change the look. I don't see any real issues handling it as I continue to work on it. I think on a future building I will prepare a separate section and do all the same work, but then apply the flat finish to see exactly how that affects the overall look, if at all.

Last night I did more work, but pictures will be posted later. I want to brick in all the upper windows as this was a common look in most pictures I have in my time period. I used a very old piece of Holgate and Reynolds brick sheet to carefully cut pieces to fit into the arched windows. This was not easy and took a bit of filing and trimming to get right, Doing all 12 took most of the evening. As this is very thin sheet, my pieces actually are a little bigger to go over the openings and leave no gap. I brush painted these pieces with a more reddish color to show a different type of brick, and then used inexpensive craft store acrylic paint, a white and a tan mixed together, and wiped it on and off the pieces with a paper towel. The lower windows and door were painted a tarnished black and glued in place. I'll apply clear glazing to these windows and then "frost" it from behind with a flat finish. The large door I plan to model as a roll up door that will be partially open. I'll build a black box behind it and add some interior details. This will help hide the overall flat look of the building. and add interest.

More pictures on this work will be posted next time.

Additional buildings for the mill will be from steel, as well as a brick and steel combination I have seen. The angled paper loading tracks will be partially covered by steel structures as well to add more a 3 dimensional look to the overall flat structures. I have some Evergreen sheet ready to go for this.

I also have some room out front for another conventional (4 sided) building kit I want to use, and I'll add some wood chip piles to the far right. But that is future work. For now, I want to get this first building done and start planning the next one to be placed to the left of it. This flat will butt up against the walls of adjacent buildings, so I won't need any actual sides for this flat. And I do not think I will need any roof either because of the restricted sight lines and the upper level shelf above.

For reference, here is an older picture of the Groveton area, with the hidden trackage above slightly behind the scene.

Taken about 3 years ago, it will be nice to get some structures and scenery in place at Groveton!

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