Leedham’s Mill construction :: 2

Leedham's Mill - Office Building - Battens

Work stalled last summer on my model of Leedham’s Mill in Port Rowan, for a wide variety of reasons. But the first building for this complex – the railway’s former freight house, converted into the mill office – has been sitting in my home office since then, in plain sight. I could feel the waves of guilt emanating from it every time I sat at my computer…

On the weekend, I decided to do something about this.

I like board by board construction, particularly for foreground models, because I find that commercial siding can look too perfect, making the resulting model somewhat sterile. (It’s a personal opinion: your milage may vary.) Unfortunately, it means I’d hit the tedious – but necessary – step of applying individual 1″x2″ battens to the walls.

I cut a stack of strip wood into scale 16-foot lengths, which was a nice compromise between speedy construction and adding some joints to battens to further build character into the walls. I also framed out the windows with strip wood of various sizes. As the photo above shows, I’m almost finished the final wall. (I’ve also added the office on one corner of the freight house – it can be seen on the right side of the lead photo.)

The good news is, I’ve been setting aside a little bit of time each day to work on this project – even a half-hour makes a difference – and I’ve managed to make progress three days in a row. This feels very good, and is a habit I’m going to try to cultivate.

10 thoughts on “Leedham’s Mill construction :: 2

  1. Nice job; how difficult are you finding it to keep the battens “straight”. I tried this in H.O. and it works, using the 3-foot rule. A close up inspection shows a few defects. I would be curious as to any pointers that you could provide as to keeping things proper.

  2. Hi Trevor, your last paragraph:

    “The good news is, I’ve been setting aside a little bit of time each day to work on this project – even a half-hour makes a difference – and I’ve managed to make progress three days in a row. This feels very good, and is a habit I’m going to try to cultivate.”

    Is something that I find core to the hobby. I find even just making a point of sitting at the workbench for a few minutes every evening when I’m home in between everything else going on. I’d been frustrated over the weekend that I wasn’t finding motivation to get going on modelling again last week after a vacation over Christmas/New Years, and then just a few minutes here and there over the weekend and last night, all of a sudden I feel like i’ve made progress and am getting going with projects i want to get done.

    Your mill building is looking great. I can’t wait to see the finished project on the layout sometime in the future!


  3. Thanks guys. I wish I could say there’s a trick to keeping the battens straight. But I simply align them by eye. It helps that I applied individual boards, so I have a line between each board to lay the batten onto. They’re not at all perfect – but the defects add age and character to the structure.
    I stained the wooden wall boards with various media, including Hunterline weathering stains. I will paint the walls after the battens have been added. This will blend everything together and make the structure look maintained while – I hope – still providing some subtle variation from board to board, so it does not look as if I’ve built the structure from a single piece of Evergreen board and batten styrene sheet.

  4. Your model is looking great. The fact that you took time to vary where the joints of the battens meet up, adds a lot of character to the model and definitely pays off. I attempted this in N scale, however even the slightest deviation from perfectly vertical was amplified and looked sloppy. Your model has provided me with some motivation to consider trying this approach again. Nicely done.

  5. Your work continues to inspire me to try S sacale! To me, it seems the perfect size for a scratchbuilder. I have scratchbuilt all of the structures on my HO layout (A Steam-era Switching Layout: Model Railroader May 2016) but I itch to try it in a bigger scale so that the detail is better and more visible. Your work confirms that to me. I started in HO because that is what I had as a teen and also because of availability, cost and space restrictions. Naturally, I have been reluctant to scrap all of that investment in time, effort and money. But a possible need to downsize and move may force me to dismantle the layout – so that may be the opportunity to make the switch!
    Keep up the good work – it keeps me inspired!

    • Hi Jim:
      Thanks for the kind words. S is not for everyone, but for the right person it can be very rewarding. If you’re serious about exploring it, I recommend you join the S Scale SIG forum. Also, have a look through the NASG product gallery to get an idea of what has been produced in the past.
      Good luck with your decision.

  6. Thanks for the advice. I will check them out.
    On another note: I, for one, hope you don’t dump this blog. I really enjoy reading it. But I understand. Time is precious and we all need to set our priorities. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  7. That’s going to be a very realistic looking model to compliment your beautiful layout as a whole. These trackside structures of smaller rail customers getting the occasional car or two hold my interest much more than the mega-industries that take strings of freight cars at a time.

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