This is my second structure fully integrated with a terrain piece. Aside from the mill itself, this piece features the Woodland Scenics
Realistic Water and Water Effects. Realistic Water is a pourable 'liquid
rubber' substance. It has some odor, but the convenience of not having
to mix different parts or have to heat the substance makes it nice to use.
The problems with the water shrinking was not nearly as evident in
this section of the river as it was with the bridge section. I think
that the depth of the river is much more uniform than the bridge section
which helped reduce that undesired effect. The first story of the mill is cast from Hirst Arts molds (Dragon's Inn Mold #51) using Die Keen dental plaster.
Since the key to the mill is the wheel and grindstones, I thought I would
do some research on the inner workings. After performing several web
searches, I ran across a web site called Pond Lily Mill Restorations
(linked below) which contains a wealth of information. The gearing
mechanism for this mill is based of Ramelli's Mill in the 1500s. My
thanks goes out to Theodore R. Hazen for keeping up the wonderful site. If interested in mills, I highly recommend visiting them.
(Click on an image to enlarge)
Layer by layer block layout of the mill itself
Note that the final structure varies slightly from the initial design...
- Initial foam layout after the building has been secured to the plywood
3/4" blue foam insulation was used to build up the banks of the river. The foam was glued to the 1/2" plywood with Woodland Scenics Foam Tack glue.
- Close-up of the building in raw stone [second angle]
The first story of the mill was glued directly to the plywood to give it some extra durability.
- Finished foam and base coat of the mill
The foam was carved with an exacto knife. The rocks are lightweight hydrocal formed from the Woodland Scenics rock molds. The base coat of the mill is Apple Barrel Country Gray mixed with black for a dark gray look.
- Woodland Scenics Plaster Cloth
The entire layout was then covered with plaster cloth to provide a good surface for the turf to attach to.
- Layout covered in plaster cloth
The next step after the cloth has dried was to paint the layout a mixture of brown and green using the Woodland Scenics Earth Undercoat colors. The river bed was then covered with Woodland Scenics
Buff Fine Ballast using Scenic Cement as an adhesive. Once dry, the rock
was then painted medium gray and then drybrushed successfully lighter gray
towards the shallow areas.
- The water wheel sitting in the dry river bed
The water wheel was crafted from balsa wood. First two rings were cut
from a balsa sheet to provide the general shape of the wheels and give a
solid place to glue the other components to. Eight pieces of balsa
wood were then glued around each ring. Another set of eight balsa pieces
(slightly shorter than the first set) were glued just inside the outer ring.
These pieces were allowed to dry and then trimmed around the outside
to give it a round appearance. Eight support beams were glued to between
the inside small rings and the large rings. Grooves for the paddles
were cut in the rings and the paddles were then glued in place. Some
of them were not quite in alignment so some minor adjustments had to be made
after the structure was dry. The entire wheel was then glued to the
- The internals of the water wheel. Eventually the mill stones will be in the story above the main level.
As was the wheel, the inner workings were crafted of balsa wood. The
metal for the gears is wire. Going into the ceiling, the vertical drive
shaft is supported by a balsa beam. The wheel and internals took longer
to build than the mill structure itself.
- Looking up the river at the mill [second angle]
The first layer of Woodland Scenics Realistic Water has been
poured in the river bed. The first layer is approximately 1/8" deep
- the maximum recommend pour depth. This layer was given at least 2
days to dry before pouring the second layer.
- First tree planted on the layout [second angle]
Pictured is the first 'Sagebrush' tree planted on the layout. I
particularly like this one due to a good balance of transparency and foliage.
Here is the tutorial for making this type of tree.
- View of the water wheel after the Water Effects have dried half way
The second 1/8" layer of Realistic Water has been poured and given ample
time to dry (3 days). On top of the second layer (after completely
dry), Woodland Scenics Water Effects was applied. Water Effects
is a thick acrylic gel medium which can be used to create waves. Care
was taken not to put the Water Effects on too thick thanks to the experience
with the bridge piece. When put on too thick, it takes an extremely
long time to dry (weeks) if ever. Until dry, this layer remains milky
- A view of another tree on the layout
Another Sagebrush tree planted on the layout using Elmers white glue.
- Looking up the river at the mill after the Water Effects have dried half way.
Similar angle as above, but the Water Effects layer has dried half way.
- View of the entire layout
Everything is pretty much done except for the roof and the upper level of the mill.
- Looking down stream from the mill
This is basically a finished photo, minus a few minor touchups. The
bridge piece can be seen far downstream. I like the lighting effect
in this photo for some reason.
- Window construction
The windows of the upper story of the mill were created from a small
piece of screen from a screen door or window. This type of screen can
be purchased from hardware stores or taken from old doors and windows which
have damaged screens. The screen was painted black and then drybrushed
silver. Water Effects was then spread over the screen to give it a
'glass' look. Once dry, the screen was secured between two pieces of
balsa which serve as the window sill. Elmer's glue was then lightly
applied with a toothpick around the inside edge of the window to attach it
to the wall.
Back to the main page
Questions? Comments? Email me at: email@example.com