The Beginnings Of A Cornish Tin Mine: Landreath Model Railway – Update

n gauge scratch build mineAt long last I’ve got around to starting on the foam board scratch-build of my Tin-mine engine house.

As covered in Clay Conundrum, I’ve tried several different techniques for building the tin mine before but these failed to live up to expectations or produce the look I wanted.

I’m now following the technique used by modelling master Chris Nevard.

Essentially, this is to use foam board onto which a layer of clay – into which the stone work and detailing can be scribed – is added.

After a few trials I settled on 3mm white foam board from which I cut the walls.

The main wall will be the beam engine wall. In real life, this was the support for the beam engine that lay at the heart of the engine house and was much thicker than the other walls.

Currently it’s the same width – 3mm – as the other walls but will be built up as I apply the clay so anyone peaking through the windows will see the extra thickness.


A Question Of Size

When first preparing the foam board walls I based the dimensions of the walls from one of the plaster/clay disused cornish mine models that are available. When checking the scale however I noticed that these don’t seem quite right so I’ve gone for slightly taller and wider walls. A trial placement next to other N gauge buildings and figures on my layout shows it to look a lot more credible.


If you look carefully at the picture you can just about see a shelf on the inside that will support this beam. The shelf is positioned just below the opening where the beam will protrude and is set an an incline so the beam will sit at an upwards angle as it emerges from the mine.

Working With Foam Board

Although foam board has many advantages it takes practice to cut cleanly.

foam board scratch buildThe technique used here is to angle the blade so as much cutting surface is touching the foam board as possible and pull it along the line to be cut in three passes – the top surface, then the foam core, and finally the back surface. For a clean cut and to reduce tearing both surfaces were scored first.

A sharp, new, blade and not applying too much pressure are vital to good edges but some tearing and denting still occurred.  Luckily this can be repaired and the clay will cover a lot of sins, as such for this model I wasn’t too worried about dents or tears – as you can see!

With the walls cut, PVA was applied. Pins and magnetic clamps were used to hold the walls together while the glue set.

As mentioned, the walls will be covered in clay and to give extra stability and rigidity corner supports were added. Again, these are visible in the photo, to the right.

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  1. Nice job – I like the magnetic corner clamps.  Can you advise where these can be obtained please?  I’m newly subscribed to your club,and I like it!  Thanks.  

    • Hi Roy, thanks. It’s progressed even further now – I’ll try to do an update on it soon. The clamps are possibly one of the most used tools I have. I got a set here – I don’t want to think about how much time they’ve saved me 🙂

      Are you making a similar building? Thanks again, Andy.

    • Hi, thanks for this. I’d not seen this model before and have to say looking at the pictures it looks wonderful!!! It’s a shame it’s not in N gauge, I’m continuing to work on my N scale mines – I was out today taking reference pictures of a Cornish mine in Par in fact. Will post a follow up article soon. Good luck with your OO version. I’d love to see a picture of it on your layout when done!

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