Tuesday 1 May 2018


With the walls painted it was time to turn attention to the roof. It's not too complicated, three basic rectangles but the fourth piece has what might be considered an extension piece with a section of corrugated roofing over the window. Who knows why that is there. It's in all the photos I have but I have no way of telling when it was added. I have to presume it was not part of the original mill building but was added when a window was changed or when a leak occurred.

Anyway, onto my usual material of Wills sheets. The wheel housing and right hand extension were quick and easy to do and I moved onto the rear section which I got slightly wrong but, no problem, I have lots of Wills sheets, so I went to my stash and found that I didn't - what I had were plenty of corrugated sheets but no spare roofing sheets! I am fortunate, living in Reading, to have a couple of model shops within 30 minutes but both of them keep only a random selection so the chances were not good that they would have what I wanted in stock.

In the end I decided to go back to that old faithful of modelling materials, card, and not just any card, but card from a cereal packet (Shredded Wheat in case you wanted to know). The actual roof shape is very quick and easy to generate. I drew lines on the card at 2mm intervals to give me a datum for adding the tiles.

Onto the tiles themselves. I first used paper onto which I had drawn a pattern but when I glued it down it went soft and lost all detail. I used a wet glue which was a mistake and I had used cheap paper, forgetting how it would behave.

I needed some card that would be thicker with paper and I also needed some glue that was not so wet. My wife had some 200gsm card (paper is often 80gsm) and it was black so that looked ideal. There wasn't any way to print a pattern onto black so I printed a sheet of squares on A4 and, with the card sideways on to the sheet, was able to score the card sufficiently. Hopefully the picture below gives the idea.

The grid was made of 4mm squares which is probably a little large but I didn't want to spend the next year doing this. Once each strip was separated I then created the edge of the tiles by cutting through the strip, again using the paper as a template. You only need to cut through half the strip so it all holds together.
Once you have sufficient of these (I did them in small batches alternating with gluing) I set to stick them down. I went out to the local DIY store looking for glues and saw Bostik. I know that some people detest this glue simply because it is stringy but it does have two advantages, first it isn't water based so doesn't turn the paper/card to mush. Secondly it dries relatively quickly. I found I could only work on two rows at a time before the glue dried. It also doesn't matter if you get some glue on the outside as it is going to be painted.
What I did find was that the strips of card were very curved after being cut but with the glue drying quickly I would use the ruler, as above, to give a straight edge against which I pushed the strips I had just laid. The ruler needs to be removed with a twisting motion to prevent the tiles lifting but it is relatively easy.

The other advantage of this glue is that the thickness of it has created a very stiff shape. I had expected to need to brace the roof but now I don't intend to and if it sags then it will just be doing what all old roofs do.

The roof was then added to the building using Deluxe Materials Super Phatic and a ridge tile added, made from 6mm with card suitably scored at 6mm intervals. This was done by guesswork off the grid. I doubt anyone can see that a  couple of the lines are wonky.

And here is the end result ready for painting. The mill wheel roof has already had paint. The section on the right is unpainted Wills and the black is card. I'm pleased with the look and I have to confess I enjoyed going back to a much older modelling material.

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