Approach Slow (Rule 284) at the west end of Big Chimney, WV

Approach Slow (Rule 284) at the west end of Big Chimney, WV

Friday, March 6, 2015

The House with a Thousand Pieces

Well, not really, but it certainly seems that way. I started building a house to sit on the hillside at the west end of Nelsonville in December (is it really March already?) and it still isn't finished. It's based upon the house that's in the background of a picture I found on the Internet of a Clinchfield U36C. Here's the picture blown up to show the structure.

With the addition that was added to one side, what appears to be a new metal roof, and the weathering on the boards covering the bottom of the house, I thought this would be a great structure to model. I started by drawing up the basic dimensions of the house using some scale drawings of similar structures and some Grandt Line windows. I also planned to use some of the same construction techniques that I used on the three company houses just west of Big Chimney.

Everything started out fine. I cut the Evergreen board and batten siding for the sides and ends, cut out the windows and door, and built some internal bracing. I next installed the Evergreen metal roof and some .030 sheet sytrene for the section of roof covered in tar paper. And that's when things got interesting. 

I realized I would have to paint the side and ends white first and then come back to paint the roof some type of silver color. But before I did this, I wanted to make templates for the foundation sides so I could be working on those while the paint on the structure cured. Which meant I had to do some scenery work where the building would be located. Which meant... you get the picture.

The photo below shows the final contour and ground cover where the house will sit. I had to add numerous layers of plaster to finally get the right look here.

In all fairness, part of the reason this project is taking so long is that there are a number of other projects that I've been working on at the same time. One of them is the house trailer in the photo above and below. It still needs steps and a bunch of additional details, but it is also part of the big push to get this area of the layout completed. Or at least most of it. Or a significant portion of it. Or the area on this side of the tracks...

So with the scenery contour finished and the cardboard templates for the foundation done, I painted the sides and ends of the structure white. This was followed up with a coat of Dullcote in order to protect the base color when weathering the structure. I then masked the sides and ends and painted the roof with Vallejo Model Air aluminum.

I realized early on in this project that I would have to build the foundation pieces separately. There was just no way I would be able to weather them correctly if the pieces were mounted on the structure. So I build frames for the three visible sides and added the individual boards. The photo below shows the back of the front foundation piece.

I used artist's oils and odorless turpentine to weather the boards on the foundation pieces. And once this was complete, I was really anxious to get them mounted onto the structure. After installing the front piece, it occurred to me that it would be really difficult to get the building to sit level once the side pieces were attached. I would need the building to be fairly level in order to be able to get nice, straight brush strokes when weathering the tar paper roof. So I build a small support jig out of wood blocks to hold the building level as shown in the photo below. With the tar paper roof installed and weathered, I was ready to add the side pieces to the foundation. Or so I thought.

With the building sitting on the blocks, it occurred to me that this would be the ideal position from which to measure and build the porch railing. So the side pieces would have to wait. Again. And you can see in the photo above where I had to cut the ridge pieces on the metal roof in order to accommodate the porch roof. Seems like I missed that step when I was building the metal roof.

The photo below shows the completed porch railing ready for paint along with the steps, screen door, chimney and foundation side pieces. 

At this point, the end appears to be near. 
It's a good thing I'm not doing this kind of work for a living. At the rate I work, my family and I would have perished a long time ago.


  1. That house will really make that scene come together nicely.

  2. Agreed thanks for posting this gives me many idea's