Initially I used some models from eBay for test placement but subsequently have built my own
Here’s how I went about it.
- Plasticard sheet with textures for walls, roofing and windows
- 6V light bulb
- Tamiya Polycement
- Hot glue
- Clearfilm plastic sheet
- Vellejo paints, assorted colours for the stone, wood and roofing.
- Magnetic corner clamps
- Hot glue gun
- 3D printer – for internal detailing and barn darn
Research & reference
I love the look of the granite and stone buildings in Cornwall from the late 19th / early 20th century. They’re beautiful solid structures with colouring and texture that blend naturally into the surrounding environment and this is one of the reasons White River Mills is set in this area. As such, I go out of my way to make sure the models are accurate reflections of the original buildings.
Thankfully, there are lots of typical buildings from this period still around of which I can take reference photos and measurements. And after a few visits to Morewellham Quay in Devon with its Victorian village and old sheds around Par, Cornwall, I had enough pictures of walls, doors, windows and roofs and their dimensions to work from. In particular the structure above was particularly helpful.
Building the structure
Different sheets where laid next to each other to find panels where the texture pattern aligned with the next so the stone and mortar lines will match at the corners (I’ll come back to this).
Adding internal lighting
With the building complete, the final step was to paint the roof, walls, doors, and windows.
First, I masked off the open doorway and windowpanes with masking tape. Then, I primed the entire building with an acrylic gray spray paint.
After the primer dried, I applied a light coat of Vellejo stone gray (884) to the outer and inner walls. This colour closely resembled the granite of the prototype buildings in Cornwall and Devon.
Next, I applied a dark brown wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade. This wash added depth and shadow to the stonework.
Finally, I dry brushed the walls with Vellejo dark gray (994) to highlight the raised edges and create a weathered appearance.
Once the walls were dry, I removed the masking tape and applied a peeling wood effect to the doors and windows. I painted the wood with Vellejo burnt umber (941), then sprinkled on salt granules. I overpainted the wood with deck tan (986) and brushed off the salt to reveal the cracked, peeled paint underneath.
To finish the building, I dappled MIG Slimey Grim around the base of the walls and door to create a mossy effect. I also added some green scatter to represent climbing plants.
Adding the roof
The building was then put in place on the layout and connected to a six volt power source for internal lighting. With the building constructed and positioned, I then added a few final touches such as a barrel to the left and a pigeon perched on the roof. The seam between the building and ground was covered with scatter and some vegetation with a sprinkling or static grass applied here and here.
Update: Since first adding this and it’s appearance in subsequent layout photos, I’ve had a few people contact me asking if I can make these for them. After a bit of thinking I’ve decided to sell these – along with the bonfire – and they are now occasionally listed on my Little World Workshop Etsy shop so take a look there. If you’d like to discuss in more detail please get in touch.
Subscribe to my free email newsletter for more articles like this, plus the latest model train news, regular and exclusive tips, tutorials and guides. It's free, you can unsubscribe at any point and i promise never to sell your information. Click here to subscribe now.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.