CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Friday, April 7, 2023

Concrete pavement around Southworth Machinery

The next area to work on my layout was Southworth Machinery. I had finished the building but it was just sitting on top of a sheet cork foundation that I glued down a while ago. With the sudden urge to keep working on the layout before another project took over, I looked at satellite pictures of the area to determine what would be appropriate.

Most of the structure except for the rear side which abuts the tracks is surrounded by poured concrete. At least that was what existed in the 1970s and 1980s. Pictures showed that it was in almost perfect condition in the 1970s, and I doubt too much changed by 1984. Now, it is still concrete but there are large portions that have been repaired with asphalt. 

Unfortunately, the area between Southworth Machinery and the blue Agway building was another matter. Around the Agway building was old asphalt, then a chain link fence dividing the two properties, and then the poured concrete of Southworth. I didn't have room to model all of this. Worse, there were many truck and tractor access doors on the sides of the buildings so I had to model enough room for trucks or other large vehicles to enter and exit. Thus, I just installed concrete between the two and dropped the fence altogether. Concrete is easier to model than black asphalt and it can be done with styrene. 

Large sheets of graph paper were taped together and set into place. Then, pencil marks were drawn where the tracks, buildings, and ramp were located. 

Next, it was taken to my workbench and cut to the size where the concrete would go. Multiple trips back and forth to the layout confirmed that everything was correct, and a few areas needed some adjustment.

There is cork under the buildings, but not between them, so that area will need to be supported with more cork or something else. Also, the concrete ramp is a problem because its overall height was calculated perfectly with the top of a flatcar on the track next to it, and if I raise the base of the ramp enough to be level with the concrete the top of the ramp will be too tall for a flatcar. I will figure that out later.

Next, the paper's dimensions were transferred to some 0.040" thick styrene I had which, amazingly, was the perfect size.

I tested the styrene in situ too before making any cuts.

I noticed that one of my Caboose Industry ground throws was broken. I am not sure when that happened, but I decided to fix it while access was easy. Thankfully, I had another spare ground throw in my parts bin.

A grid of roughly 1.5" x 2" rectangles was drawn on the pavement. The real parking area has all different size sections running both horizontally and vertically, so I wasn't terribly concerned about making it all perfect. Some lines I adjusted to make them more pleasing to the eye. 

You can see below the ramp issue I was talking about earlier. I will need to raise the ramp so that it meets the concrete, but I will deal with that later.

Pressing on, I then scribed the lines with a yardstick and the point of a compass tool. I didn't slip a single time while making the lines, including some that were over 2 feet long. The pencil lead from drawing the lines fell into the cracks, making them easy to see.

Next, various fissures and chips were scribed into the panels using the same tool. It was tiresome and I didn't try to overdue it, but I did add some character to it all. Finally, fine sandpaper was used in tiny circular motions over the entire parking lot. This removed any ridges created while scribing the lines, and it also gave the smooth styrene surface some texture. My arm ached afterwards.

Next, I used some 0.188" thick styrene strips to frame the edges of the pavement and also add supports under the road area that is between the two buildings' cork foundations.

Another problem... the pavement wouldn't fit under the edge of the blue building. It was about 0.020" too tall! If I had installe the concrete first, and then glued down the blue building, everything would have been perfect. However, I didn't want to try and pry up the right side of the blue building because I feared it would crack. That would be bad. So, I cut the styrene short so that it abuts the side of the building instead of sliding under it and will hide the gaps with weeds. The areas in front of the garage doors were built up with styrene strips to minimize the gap, as weeds likely wouldn't grow there.

Then, the concrete was washed and painted with various shades of tan paint. The final coat was Rustoleum camouflage "Sand", which when sprayed from about 18" away dries with a slightly rough surface that looks a lot like worn concrete.

After two days for the paint to cure, I applied an oil paint wash to bring out the cracks and expansion joints. I focused on getting a smoother appearance over the parts that will be seen, and just quickly brushed it over the portions that will be hidden by the structure. 

Once dry, it was sprayed with Dullcote and then glued down with tacky glue and held in place with weights. I wrapped my steel blocks with plastic wrap so there would be no chance of having the steel leave rust marks on the pavement.

Then, the Southworth building was glued down. It didn't sit perfectly flat, no doubt because it was built from 6-7 different subassemblies, and I had to use more steel weights to hold it in contact with the concrete. Those two large steel plates on the ends are actually the bufferbeams for my 1/3 scale live steam engine, and the one on the right damaged a roof vent in the process. It was easy to repair though.

Finally, I stepped back and called it good. I need to add some greenery growing in the cracks and along the foundation of the building, as well as some buildings, figures, and a bit more weathering. But, for now I am happy with it.

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