East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

Schwenk's Mill - Construction

The Mid-East Region Convention was fast approaching. The James River Division On30 Module Group had signed up to give its first public showing at the convention.

My Schwenk’s Mill module was far from complete, and could not possibly be finished in time. So I set about making it presentable as quickly as possible.

I had a general plan for a mill and two sheds. Two roads running diagonally across the module would connect the buildings and reduce the boxy rectangular look of the module. The roads themselves are primarily charcoal colored grout with sifted dirt and small stones added. The ground cover is mainly fine sawdust. Cherry and red oak in the sawdust make it orange/red tinted, and therefore a fair representation of Virginia red clay. Over top of the sawdust I layered on a mix of decorative moss, lichen, and Woodland Scenics foliage and turf in late summer colors. A short section of tram roadbed is handlaid code 50 rail on HO low profile ties, ballasted with crushed slate that I collected in Buckingham County.

The mill is built in three sections out of black Strathmore board and basswood bracing. The metal siding is drawing paper embossed with the pattern from a piece of corrugated styrene sheet.

The roof of the mill is drawing paper embossed with the pattern from raised seam roofing styrene sheet. The doors and windows are Grandt Line. The dust collector is an HO scale Walthers detail part. The concrete foundation of the loading end of the mill is spackling over the Strathmore board. Trim, steps, roof details, and many other items were left for later.

Ready or not, the time has come to pack up and head for Hagerstown. At the convention, Clint Hyde was kind enough to supply two small buildings that fit nicely in the vacant spaces on the module.

Even though far from finished, construction of Shwenk’s Mill has already taught me a great deal about scratchbuilding. I now know how important accurate, full sized plans are for building, and I have a more realistic idea of just how long it can take to scratchbuild a building.