Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Engine Terminal at North Pierce- Part 2

As I mentioned toward the end of Part 1 of this post (, I had found photos of the C&O roundhouse at Hinton, WV on Bill Simonson's website. The brick colors were exactly what I wanted and I studied that photo for a long time in an effort to come up with some techniques that might work.

The Walthers three-stall roundhouse comes molded in a muted red color that appeared to be a good starting point for the brick color I wanted. Also, the brick relief is fairly shallow on this building and I didn't want to lose it with a number of coats of paint. So it seemed that dry-brushing of some sort might work. I started with Accu-Flex R&RGW orange and lightly dry-brushed a small section of the brick. I wiped the brush on a paper towel in order to avoid getting too much paint on the surface of the brick. It took several passes of dry-brushing to get the color I wanted. I should mentioned that all of the trials of various colors and techniques took place on the back side of the roundhouse. And no, I won't be taking any pictures from the lift-out behind the building. I should also mentioned that all of the brick pieces were painted and weathered before they were assembled. More on this later.

The grout in the photos taken at Hinton is a number of different colors. Some of it is black from years of soot and grime. Other portions are fairly light, perhaps the results of some tuckpointing repairs that took place over the years. And in some places, it seems to fade to the color of the brick. For the black areas, I tried several different techniques. I finally settled on a thin wash of Poly Scale grimy black. I applied it in some random areas and let it dry.

The lighter grout was a real challenge. I've kept notes over the years of different techniques that I've used for grout and ones that I've found in magazines. None of them seemed to work. I finally stumbled across an article on using Durham's Water Putty for the grout. I tried a bit of it and it worked beautifully! There was nothing in the article about fixing it in place, so I thought I was finished. Then I dropped one of the test section of brick from about two inches above the workbench and most of the mortar came lose. Yikes! So I thought about ways to fix it in place. I tried applying water with a fine brush, allowing it to run into the mortar rather than soaking the surface, and it worked. The mortar stayed in place and the color remained. The photo below shows the final results.

After the mortar had dried, I masked the brick and painted the foundation, the window sills and the tile wall caps with Vallejo Model Air Aged White. I went back and weathered these areas with a wash of artists acrylics using the Hinton photos as a guide.

In order to the structure a slightly different look than the standard kit, I covered clerestory windows with Campbell Scale Models corrugated sheet metal siding. It was painted aluminum and then weathered using artists acrylics. The photo below shows the results.

For whatever reason, I thought the inside wall on the back of the structure would be much more difficult to see. And in fact, you have to lean in a bit to get this view. But it would have helped the overall appearance to have added some color to the walls, perhaps some whitewash that was common back in the day. I would have also handled the windows differently. But it's time to move on, and I'll settle for using a Geep to hide it. 

There are still a lot of details to add to finish the scene, but it's very satisfying to finally have the main structure finished.


  1. That roundhouse turned out very nicely.

    Gives me ideas for a section of my upcoming layout.

  2. Almost forgot what is the footprint on the roundhouse/shop.

  3. Vince,

    Thanks for the kind words. The roundhouse is the standard Walthers three-stall kit. You can probably get the dimensions from their website.


  4. Cool thanks Mr Patterson

  5. Looking at photos on rrfallen flags came across a roundhouse on the N&W that had the Corrugated panels also.

    Makes these buildings quite unique.

  6. I like the way you finished brick, and the metal cladding is very convincing. Nice addition to the layout, for sure.