This past weekend I put together most of the ‘creamery’ which will be annexed to the main brewery building to act as an extension of the cellars and a cooperage. I still need to ‘tarpaper’ the roof and add a chimney, put some ink-washes on the stone foundation, and add a loading dock. I don’t like the loading docks that are included in the Branchline Trains kits, so I’ve filled and painted over the holes in the face of the building where the loading dock is supposed to be inserted and glued. I wasn’t too careful, as the holes will mostly be covered by a scratchbuilt loading dock. I will probably replace the ice house’s docks while I’m at it.

The kit has been a lot of fun, although my insistence on Tichy windows made it challenging. A few windows turned out a bit crooked, but they add to the charm, I guess. Here are a few pictures of what I’ve done so far:


After completing some of the trim, I realized that the interior needed a backdrop to give the illusion of closed rooms.


This is close to how the building will be placed on the layout, though it will be dwarfed by the main building in the near future. You can really see one of the crooked windows here. I could probably fix it but I can just as easily forget it. I call that attitude ‘progress.’


The back of the building has a loading dock which will likely be for local purveyors to pick up barrels via horse and cart.

Last but not least, while waiting for the glue to dry (and also while brewing an oatmeal stout of my own yesterday) I started playing around with some ideas for brewery signs. I am leaning toward the name Featherstone Brewery. I ripped off one of Samuel Smith’s logos to serve as the basis for my design, although I customized it a bit:


Why Featherstone? Initially, I wanted the brewery to be named after an ‘everyman’ (something like Wm. T. Cadwell & Son or Geo. L. Stephens & Co.) but I found that I couldn’t settle on any of them. I needed something with gravity and mythos. I made a list of some of my favorite surnames and ‘Featherstone’ was the winner, especially because Featherstone is King Goshposh’s page in the Muppets’ Frog Prince (which I watched dozens of times in the 1980s).


“Hear ye, hear ye! The coronation is about to begin!”

Etymologically, ‘Featherstone’ derives from Old English feother-stan, or, “(place at) the four stones.” These ‘four stones’ were likely a waymarker beside a road (in this case, the road that winds through Little Snoring where the brewery now stands).

Creamery Kitbash Part 2

I spent an hour this morning working on the creamery. I’ve not been optimistic about Branchline’s ‘peel and stick’ window frames, and I wanted to do something about it. They are easy enough to put together but they look flat and blocky after assembly. I was prepared to live with that before, but now that the creamery building will be appended to the brewery I think the level of window-detail should match.

N Scale Architect’s foundry kit uses Tichy windows in several sizes and shapes. The 12-pane windows were a pretty close match to the creamery’s window ports, but they were a bit small. I looked online to try and find a slightly larger size, but didn’t have any luck. Instead, I decided to make the window ports smaller to fit the Tichy frames. I cut a bunch of slivers from the ‘shed’ that I’d hacked off the kit yesterday, then glued them to the insides of the ports and trimmed as needed until the Tichy windows fit.


Fitting balsa-wood shims into the window ports.


I painted the shims to match, then test-fit the windows again. Here, you can see that the shim is still evident behind the window’s frame. I’m okay with that, though. It simply looks like the windows were retrofitted.


The windows here need to be primed, painted, and glued in place. It’s a shame that Tichy doesn’t sell them in white.


Here they have been primed and painted with two coats of acrylic. I have also glued them in with Testors plastic cement. They need another coat of paint and then I will spray the flats with Testors Dullcote before assembling and glazing the windows. I’m afraid that if I spray Dullcote after the windows are glazed, the ‘glass’ will get cloudy.

I just ordered a dozen more windows from Tichy to replace the ones I pilfered.

My next step will be to start putting the creamery (well, what’s left of it) together.

Suddenly, I’m Kitbashing

Yesterday I had plans to complete the Branchline creamery (which, as I stated in earlier posts, will be a cooperage). I sat for half an hour, staring at it. I even painted some of the walls red. Then I took my family out for lunch, then to the sporting goods store, then to the bookstore. By the time we got back home, I had other obligations besides modeling (a couple of friends and I play Magic: the Gathering most Saturday evenings).

In the wee hours of the morning I woke up with a lightbulb over my head. Instead of the cooperage being a standalone building, I’ll kitbash the Branchline creamery kit so that it is annexed to the main building of the brewery. This will provide in-house space for the cooperage, an extension of the cellars, and maybe some offices to boot. In some half-informed corner of my mind, this layout makes a lot more sense. Conveniently, the ice house and the creamery have narrow ‘insulated’ doors intended to transfer ice sheets from the former structure to the latter, which should keep the cellars cool when summers get too hot.

The only major kitbashing will be on the right hand side of the cooperage. I have to truncate the shed and back deck from the building. I’ll also have to fill in the window ports on the side of the brewery where the cooperage will be (otherwise, some of the windows will be half-covered). So, without further adieu:


Hacking off the ‘shed.’ The raw edge shown here will be fixed to the side of the brewery as an extension of the building.


The old creamery wall on the left had window and door ports in addition to slots for the shed walls. This wall was no longer going to work. Instead, I needed a simple armature that could be affixed to the brewery, without tabs. I made one from 1/8″ basswood which should do the trick.


I have a long way to go before this part of the project is complete, but I already feel much better knowing that I’m not just building model kits; I am creating creatively. That was why I got stuck in the mud recently. Now that I’m not just following directions, I’m getting fired up again.


I am much happier with this consolidated layout. It was really bugging me that the cooperage was a standalone building. There was something ‘off’ about that. The ice house makes sense, as it could be owned and operated by a separate company for the benefit of the brewery and other local businesses.

Not Much Action, But More Ideas

The ice house went together so quickly that I almost forgot about the outside world for a hot minute. Now that I am starting on the slightly more involved creamery kit, it has all come flooding back. I have primed everything and I’m about halfway through painting the walls and windows, but I’ve been stalled on that stage for days. Not for a lack of time, but for a lack of drive.

I am the administrator at a private medical practice, and the transition from one year to the next tends to be stressful at the office. When five o’clock comes around I am both exhausted and restless, and I haven’t recently been able to channel that odd mix of energy into modeling. I am hoping to get back into the swing of things this weekend.

On a higher note, I have done some brewery-related research during a few sleepless nights this past week, so I suppose I have been productive enough. In particular, I’ve been concerned that the ore house is too small to be turned into a malt house, and the placement isn’t quite right either. For starters, there is no loading dock on the structure, which would be necessary for incoming grain. In order to add one I would have to adjust the height of the building as well as the conveyor that runs to the foundry. Seems like a lot of work for a building that doesn’t even make a convincing malt house. Also, the kiln wouldn’t likely be at the back of the malt house as it would then have to pass back through the malt house to reach the brewery–and it would need a few months in storage before it was used.

I have decided that, instead of a malt house, the ore house will be primarily a grain store. I will model a larger three-story malt house and will place that adjacent to the grain store (at the lower right of the module). For that purpose, I will likely use two or three packages of Bar Mills’ The #1 Kit, and for the kiln I will use a few brick styrene sheets between the malt-house and grain store. I will need to find something suitable for rooftop ventilation on the kiln.

All in all, the current plan would look something like this:


Another aspect of the complex that could use some thought is a cellar. That could really take up some space, which would be nice. I would locate that between the cooperage and the brewery, after pushing the cooperage and ice house to the left. Also, I will likely create a coal yard beside the tracks and the smokestack and boilerhouse, but might shift the boilerhouse to the right of the brewery, not behind it.

I still need to get through the creamery/cooperage before thinking too much more about all this, though, and I will post an update on that after the weekend.