Sunday, 28 June 2015

Cement Works Part Two

With the base for my concrete plant finished, I thought adding the discharge silos would prove to be just as easy a project. It turns out I was wrong. After gluing the wrong piece to the.... well, wrong piece, adding the cement silos became an afternoon salvage operation, but with surprisingly good results.

I copied the green from my local concrete plant for my model, but swapped the white on the silo for a steel finish.

It all started with a field trip to one of the local concrete plants in the town where I live. Thinking it would be best to ask first before pointing my camera from the safety of the front gates, I got the whole "I don't want our logo shown in any photos, our name mentioned on your website and you can only stand here" reception. Darn, and I was just about to ask him about sponsoring my website for $500 a year, (just kidding). When I only wanted to photograph the silos, I could have just as easily come back after hours and shot the photos through the chain wire fence anyway. Fortunately it wasn't a windy day. Otherwise the tickets the guy had on himself would have blown all down the road.

After gluing the wrong piece, a painting mishap and a brush with a frosty plant operator, the first of the silos goes up.

So returning home with my ego a little bruised, I opened my FALLER old concrete mixing plant once more, and proceeded to glue the wrong piece to the wrong piece. Although able to pry the pieces apart using a Stanley knife, the smooth surface of the round silo piece was ruined. I finished the silo anyway thinking that the white paint would hide a multitude of sins, but the acrylic paint once dry simply rubbed away with my fingers. Talk about disaster! Fortunately I remembered I had a silver enamel paint pen in my hobby drawer. Five coats with the paint pen ended up hiding the wrongly glued join. So my discharge silos ended up having a stainless steel finish instead.

My wife Denise's hairdryer makes another appearance on my model railway's construction site.

As for the green paint? I had an old bottle of Floquil 110040 dark green, so old that the lid was fully rusted and the paint was one big congealed mess in the bottom of the bottle. The colour was correct for New York's Penn Central Railroad back in the 70's, and with a healthy dose of mineral turpentine, the paint was now perfect for applying as a faded, weather-beaten steel primer for my cement works. The final trick is to borrow your wife's hairdryer as soon as you apply it, and on a low setting so as not to blow paint everywhere, bake the paint dry so that it cracks and dries with a chalky finish.

Notice how the weather-beaten paint on top of the silo has faded and cracked over years of use.

Finally, I gave the steel beams that support the discharge silo platforms a light wash with the same dirty water I had my paintbrushes soaking in from painting the timber upper level and the first of the roof sections. The discoloured water will collect on the flat sections of the beam and resemble years of aggregate dust that has been stirred up in the yard. Its a simple and 'el-cheapo' weathering method I have used for years.

Ready to have stairs, railings and steel piping added to supply the waiting cement trucks below.

Thankfully I dodged a bullet with this one. The silos could have ended up a disaster, but instead give the plant an interesting mix of old and new. Next up my attention will turn to the main silo and roof on the upper level, but as usual, that's a story for another day.

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Thanks for taking the time to visit Philden. I hope you'll book a return ticket soon. Cheers, Phil