|The green and gray building on the right (1984)
The same building on the left in 1986. There are
no traces of the yard at all!
It turns out that I had actually photographed this building, now operated by a small regional paper company, in July of 2010. Most of those pictures were helpful, but I needed a few more to flesh out some details. For example, the building is set on a poured concrete foundation, with walls of concrete blocks, followed by vertical metal corrugated siding. I don't know why it has such an interesting assortment of facade treatments, but modeling it would be fun. And relatively simple too, as aside from the two loading door openings there were no special cuts. The far end of the building had an office with windows but I chose not to model that portion.
I settled on a size of about 16" long and 3.5" tall, which seemed pretty close to the prototype building and yet not overwhelming of the scene. Casting around (get it?) online for some suitable stone block walls led me to Rix Products Concrete Blocks (#541-1004) which are 4" long and 2.125" tall, which matched my building's length perfectly. Their height was within 1/8 of an inch of what I had sketched out. I ordered two packages (4 pieces per package). I also needed some freight car loading doors and found the Walthers "Truck and Railroad Dock" doors (#933-4070) which looked perfect.
The basic core of the structure is 0.060" thick styrene. Because of the angle of the building, there are two right-angle corners and two other angle corner. To make it a little more complex, the Rix concrete block wall pieces are thicker than the corrugated styrene sheet, so I had to compensate by building up the sides of the walls with different thicknesses of styrene overlaid on them so that the end result would be nearly flat in front. I first laid out where the loading doors on the concrete block panels would go and opened them up with drills (in the corners), knife cuts, and files. Everything was perfect and I was feeling pretty smug about how everything was lined up smoothly when...
Painting was done with spray cans. I first painted it with gray primer, but it was too dark a shade. So, off to the hardware store to purchase the right color of Krylon paint. After two days of drying, I then masked the top and painted it with Rustoleum "Spring Green". In person, the spray can cap looked a bit garish and hideous but the overall color matches the prototype pictures well. I waffled on whether to paint the back (aisle side) of the buildings black or not, but decided to continue the gray/green scheme all the way around. I think it blends in better with the scene, where as a large black backside would draw attention away from the layout behind.
The prototype roof has some sort of tar application on it, and there are visible ridges or seams, but at first I didn't bother to model them. I just brush painted the roof flat black. However, it was too dark and didn't look weathered. Since the pictures showed the roof a faded gray, I cut strips of blue painter's tape (to represent tar paper) and applied them to the roof in rows, and then painted them with gray acrylic craft paint. Once that dried, I liberally applied a black oil paint/mineral spirit wash on the roof. The oil paint "broke" and left black pigment particles in random patterns on the tape, which looked a lot like the satellite image of the roof I had. The prototype currently has small square roof vents, but I used some Pikestuff (#3102) castings that were sprayed flat black and drybrushed with silver.
The rest of the building was also given a black oil paint wash, which pooled in the brick crevices and looked like years of diesel exhaust smoke and grime from the air had settled and collected on the sides. The boxcar loading doors had been recessed into the walls and painted with the same gray primer as the rest of the building's side. The surrounding metal "shroud" was painted a flat charcoal gray, and then I dry-brushed various colors of brown and orange to simulate rust. Rust strikes were also streaked down the side of the building where rainwater would have caused them to stain the bricks.
I glued the building to the layout with tacky glue, surrounded the foundation with dirt and ground foam to "plant" it, and scattered some random junk and debris to look like discarded garbage. The boxcar is an old Robins Rails kit which I purchased very early on when I got back into HO. It was too complicated for me at the time, and in retrospect I think there may have been some issues with the kit itself. I had modeled it with an open door when I built it, and added some random details inside, but it never ran well so I declared it a non-operational "scenery only" car. I knew it would be perfect for this structure, as it just had to sit in front of the loading doors waiting to be loaded. And with that, Iroquois Millwork was finished.