Nicks workshop mutterings

Various railway orientated modelling projects in my new workshop/railway room.

Archive for the category “Buildings”

Cowleaze garden progress

Well, the garden has been dug and the bean poles are up……


The soil as described before is a mix of filler, sawdust and PVA which has then had 4 or 5 washes of watercolour.. A mix of neutral tint, Chinese White and burnt umber with a dash of raw sienna. The paths are covered in fine sieved chinchilla dust rubbed down with emery cloth when dry and then toned in with weathering powder.

The bean poles are made from fine stems from a willow screen hiding the oil tank in our garden!

All that needs to be done now is plant all the various vegetables that I have been producing off site.

Fruit and Veg

I have started to produce the produce to go in the gardens of Cowleaze Farm. I have reblogged a description of how to do them from my other blog – Yeoton wharf

Yeoton Wharf

As part of the detailing of the scene I will need some garden and allotment details. I am also doing a scenic tray for Pendon Museum. I previously built a pair of workers cottages for Cowleaze farm;-

and I am now installing it and modelling the gardens to go with it.

I initially had a long session of making the various vegetables. I have used methods taught to me by Malcolm Smith when working at Pendon and have also taken ideas from a very good article written in an early Model Railway Journal [no. 5] by Chris Pilton. I have also experimented and worked out my own ideas.

Lettuces, Cabbages and Cauliflowers

The basis of these is punched out coloured tissue paper. Acid free tissue paper is first painted, on both sides, with watercoulours in the various shades for different vegetables. A strip is then cut and folded over and…

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Cowleaze Farm progress 1

I have been working on the area of the stable yard and the small garden at the end of the farmhouse. The buildings have been set into their bases and the gaps around filled with a filler/PVA mix. Weeds have been added using short static grass. The surface of the yard was basically already done but I have added some cobbles and a drainage channel using scribed filler and added weeds, a mound of manure and some wood awaiting cutting into logs for the house. Weathering powders were used to give some variation in colour to the yard surface. The farm was a fairly poor farm so will look rather run down as controlling weeds etc was not priority.

stable yard 002

I have also begun to prepare the ground for the vegetable garden. The surface of the earth is a mixture of filler, sawdust, PVA and some Woodlands scenic earth pigment. This is based on the method described by Stephen Williams is his books on modelling Great Western branch lines . It will next be painted with a suitable earth colour after which it will be planted up but firstly all the various vegetable and fruit plants will need to be made!. More of that later.

garden 003

Cowleaze farm- stone walls

I have made a start on the stone walling which encloses the garden and orchard.
The base is 2 thicknesses of card one of which fits into a slot in the foundations of the scenery.

The stones along the top are made from strips of mounting board chopped into small pieces and stuck into PVA. The whole lot is then covered with filler mixed with a small amount of PVA. This helps it stick to the card and also harden enough to be scribed. When dry the stone courses are scribed into the plaster with a sharp metal scriber.

The stones are now painted with watercolour. I used charcoal grey, Chinese White, raw sienna and raw umber in varying amounts to get the colours.
Windsor and Newton no longer seem to do a charcoal grey but neutral tint is the nearest match.


Cowleaze Farm

A new project I have taken on is to install the buildings and complete the surrounding scenery for the Cowleaze Farm tray for Pendon. This farm sits towards the back of the ‘Vale’ scene and the hole where the tray will be installed can be seen in the photo below.

2014-05-06 at 12-13-20

The buildings were all built some years ago and need fitting to their cellar bases and detailing around added. This will include the surface of the stable yard, gardens, an orchard and stone walling to surround the site.

In the next picture the main farmhouse building is in it’s base along with the garage and cart shed. The empty bases will take the stables and pigsties. The basic card for the stone walls is taking shape and a start has been made on colouring the bleached carpet felt to represent the grass.

2014-07-01 at 15-28-22

Plenty more to do!

Lilac Cottage-finished

After 2 years work on and off I have now finished my model of Lilac Cottage in the village of Bishopstone in the Vale of the White Horse. Hopefully it will meet the criteria for Pendon Museum and be part of the village scene. It is mounted in it’s own cellar base ready to be put in the scene.

Now I can get on with my other projects!…….




Lilac Cottage- Thatching

I have now reached the interesting stage with Lilac Cottage, thatching the roof..

I am doing this with plumber’s hemp as described by Chris Pilton in his book on cottage building for Pendon, which I can thoroughly recommend.

Below shows the cottage with one aspect thatched and trimmed and a second elevation waiting to be trimmed. Once all this has been done then the ridges will have to be done as well as the various bits of detailing. Eventually the whole building will be weathered.


one thing i have noticed, for anyone who has had a house re-thatched, model thatch seems to produce as much mess as the real thing if not more scale for scale!

Lilac Cottage update

It is taking a long time but at last I am managing to move forward the cottage I am building for Pendon museum.

All the brickwork and stone work has been embossed and painted, the windows have been put in and the shell has been folded up from the flat parts. It now sits in it’s own cellar base which will be used when the model is eventually set into the scene.




The upper floors have been put in place. The box like structure that can be seen in some views is the light box to take internal lighting to two of the upstairs rooms.

The next step is to make the chimneys, again from embossed brickwork and then start to build up the profile of the roof ready for thatch to be laid.

Lilac Cottage progress

Well Christmas is over so it is back to modelling. I have finished marking out the main walls for the cottage and have done all the embossing for the brickwork and the chalk stones. I have also painted the brickwork and now need to start on the stonework. Some of the stones along the base are quite rough and these have been scribed into filler mixed with PVA glue applied to the card.


Lilac Cottage

I have made a number of models for Pendon Museum over the years starting with the test piece one hole privy and working up to full blown cottages, the last being a pair of farmworkers cottages for Cowleaze Farm. I have now taken on the construction of lilac cottage which is my first attempt at a thatched one.

lilac cottage2

I was presented with a selection of photographs taken in the 1950’s and a set of sketches with basic measurements done by the late Roye England. These are not to scale and some of the measurements are estimated and some of the important ones are non-existent! Below is an example of one of the sheets;

lilac cottage1

From these drawings and the photos the first stage is to set out on card the dimensions of the walls and windows. Dimensions that are not known can be worked out from the photos by counting bricks knowing what the size of a normal brick is! Some bits have to be estimated by trial and error.

I have now worked out all the dimensions and have started on the fun of embossing the brickwork and scribing the chalk stonework ready for painting.

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