Not bad, just rusty

STOP! In the name of “ground work”!

Right at the start of the Emporium Seafood instructions, George tells you to build your base and add the retaining walls. Naturally, I skipped over that part and dove straight into the structure.

A couple days ago, I hit a road block — and it’s because I didn’t build my base. See, in order to add the rail, you need to install the wharf. In order to install the wharf, you need to add the retaining walls it sits against. In order to install the retaining walls, you need your base. Additionally, many “smaller” parts of the Emporium build like stairs, the large chimney etc… also need the base in order to be able to install.

It was clear I needed to build my base.

Here’s the rub: I’m not making a single diorama. I’m making a diorama of an entire section of the F&SM. So in order for me to be able to continue the build of the Emporium, I needed to get to work building the base for the entire scene.

Which mean’t some work. So, first things first, I cast and painted my retaining walls. These are the walls from “Cartwright’s Machine Shop”.

First they were airbrushed with a dark grey, filtering up to a lighter grey to achieve this gradient:

From here, individual stones were painted with various browns and greys, before I washed the entire wall with a black/brown oil wash. After that, thinned AK Moss Effects was added along with AK Streaking Grime in various places. With everything painted, I added barnacles and seaweed using the same materials laid out in the instructions. That got me here:

Next up, I finished the wharf (adding the deck planks). I grouped together three bundles of the strip wood, coloring one set with driftwood, the other with Hunterline golden brown and the third set with the standard A&I mix. Then, picking randomly from each pile rendered the below result — pictured after the base was finally made and rail added:

As everything setup and dried, I got to making the large chimney stack. This was, by a country mile, the most difficult part of this kit. It’s a 7/16″ wooden dowel that you need to make look metal by scribing horizontal wrapping lines, and straight vertical lines. Performing this task on a rounded piece of wood is no easy feat. And my first effort was a COMPLETE disaster, ruining the included hardwood dowel.

Fortunately, most hardware stores sell dowelling so I easily replaced what was lost — albeit with lesser quality lumber.

Anyway, my first effort was using my mini lathe, so this time I abandoned it and favored a mini pipe cutter. That worked well, so it was on to the vertical lines and more breath holding. To achieve these, I clamped my machinist blocks to the bench and using them as a “back stop”, so I could then push the dowel up against them and use my ruler to trap it in place while I scribed my straight lines. I used a panel line tool to achieve these lines. After more finger nails were chewed off, I then got to work punching in all the hundreds of rivets.

Some metallic paints, an oil wash and pastel chalks later, I arrived here:

With these details done, I turned my attention back to the base and did a dry fit of everything so I could mark off and make the street. After outlining all the buildings, I removed everything and used, per the instructions, joint compound. George warns you this stuff shrinks and he’s not wrong. I came down the next morning and my street had huge, ugly lacerations across it. Whilst I didn’t want these, the smaller cracks and to-scale and quite charming. Some filling and drying later, I scribed my expansion blocks, painted a concrete color and weathering using charcoal briquettes.

I put everything back in it’s place and grabbed a couple of dry-fit photos:

The whole thing is starting to shape up and it’s nice to see it finally configured. It measures approx 35 x 25″, so it’s no small potato.

Here is an overview of what I am modeling:

From here, I will continue building the Emporium and then turn my attention to the stone building that George called the “FSM Casting Building” — although mine will be called differently 🙂

After that, I will then be adding the “Water Tank and Tool Shed” kit, which will be nestled on a small step down I’ve made at the front of the diorama. See this photo reference:

I also have the small office (from Baileys Produce Co) to add in front of Seafood:

Additionally, I’m planning on building this little structure, too:

Lots to do, so more soon!

by Craig on March 16, 2021