Detailing – Buildings and structures

There are only a few buildings and structures on Kirkmellington. Each will be described here as they are added.

Construction of the building shells has generally been subcontracted to Bucknell Senior for which I am eternally grateful.

1) The colliery engine shed.

Every colliery had an engine shed. Often small, often single road, usually ramshackle and run down. And so is our aim for Kirkmellington.

We have opted for a single road, single loco length shed, corrogated sheet construction in a careworn condition. Wills brick and corrogated sheet form the sides, individually cut panels of corrogated styrene sheet on a styrene sheet underlay form the roof. Internal columns and beams are added using styrene section. The building has been weathered using a mix of Modelmates weathering dyes.

Kirkmellington engine shed

I have now formed the concrete floor slab for the shed using Polyfilla applied between plastic strip ‘screed rails’. When dry it will be sanded down and painted, weathered and most likely hidden under an array of dirt, barrels and assorted shed clutter.

Concrete base slab for engine shed using Polyfilla

Concrete base slab for engine shed using Polyfilla

The inspection pit outside the shed is simply embossed brick plastic card (South East Finecast) for the sides and cobbles for the base. Plastruct steps and a coat of off white, dirty grey and bobs your uncle. Weathering will take the form of ash from my BBQ.

Inspection Pit

Inspection Pit

2) Colliery Screens and Buildings

The colliery itself is wholly fictitious but the style and form of the buildings is based on observations from archive photos and from drawings published in books such as Modelling Aspects of the Coal Industry. We have made the assumption that the colliery has expanded in a piecemeal fashion over the years so the architecture of each building varies and the finishings (eg type of roof) also vary to suit the purpose of the building with cheap and cheerful corrugated steel & asbestos cement sheet used widely.

Construction has again been from SE Finecast embossed plastic sheets laminated onto plain sheet. USC columns and such are from the Plastruct range. The buildings are fitted with custom laser cut windows from York Model Making plus some delightful opening windows from True Texture. The head frame is a Bachmann Scenecraft product (44-025) hidden in a corrugated steel shed whilst the winding house is also Bachmann Scenecraft (44-026) painted to match the other buildings and fitted with imitation engine & winding drums. The cables that run between the two are steel hawser from Green Scene. The chimney is from Walthers, again painted to match the rest of the colliery complex.

Painting and weathering uses mainly acrylic paints with many layers and shades built up gradually. Regular reference to prototype photos has been made to get as realistic finish as possible.

Small details are then added such as yard lamps by RML electronics, posters and room\ building name signs (home printed from archive images).


3) Signal Box

Kirkmellington has been set in G&SWR territory so some signature buildings are required. The most obvious to ‘place’ the layout is the signal box. After much searching (online and in Ayrshire), we settled on Holywood as it is small and distinctive. Construction has again been from SE Finecast embossed plastic sheets with brass section for the walkway brackets. An interior detailing kit has been added for those with 20-20 vision.




Kirkmellington Signal Box

4) Yard Huts and cottages

Cheating, becoming an Identikit or saving time for more precious tasks? Whichever is your view, all of the yard huts and cottages on Kirkmellington are Scaledale ‘ready to plant’ buildings from Hornby. All have been repainted, weathered or modified but to me, are equal to their scratch built neighbours.

Yard Huts

Concrete base slab for engine shed using Polyfilla


Supervisors cottages


Farm \ colliery Labourers cottages

5) Weigh Bridges

There are two weigh bridges, one for the rail despatch and one for road.

The road version is a wills kit, painted and weathered and set in a cobbled roadway using a Redutex 3D Textured sheet

The Rail version is a Pooley bridge from the Cooper Craft range with the track laid across (not using the kits moulded chairs).                                                                                                                                                  


6) Overbridges

The two fiidle yard exits are masked with overtbridges. At the southern end, we have a road over rail in the form of a stone arch with curved approach. This is formed of a 1mm plywood former with DAS modelling clay applied on the faces. This was imprinted whilst fresh to represent the stone courses. When the clay had fully dried, it was roughened with ‘wet and dry’ before being painted and weathered.

At the north end, a more simple structure is used, this time to carry the narrow gauge tubs across from the processing complex to the small drift mine tunnels. Such combinations of vertical ‘deep’ mine shafts and adjacent shallow drift mine tunnels were common in Ayrshire with one colliery complex processing all of the output.

This bridge is assembled from various sizes of Plastruct truss girder with N gauge track and thin timber planking forming the deck. Shawplan whitemetal ‘kee klamp’ fence posts complete the deck. The abutments are timber faced with embossed styrene sheet and the central pier is from my spares box, being a stanchion from the Hornby ‘operating ore’ set.

7) Substation

This was originally the  Hornby R8747 Electricity Sub Station. The key components have been removed and planted on the layout. A home made chainlink fence (1 sq mm brass section for posts and Green Scene GS328 mesh) has been created to secure the equipment.

 Photo to follow

8) Yard Lamps, Telegraph Poles, Signals and Point Rodding

The yard lamps are by by RML electronics and are working (though we do not use). These add much to the atmospeher of a small rural exchange yard.


The Telegraph poles are by Express models.

The main Midland \ BR semaphore signals are RTR fully working and produced by Dapol.


The ground signals whitemetal kits are by Model signal Engineering (MSE).

Point Rodding is from the Plastic kits by Wills.

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