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A Module for Taunton, Staplegrove Works, BSC

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As the RMWeb day in Taunton is just a few days away I thought I'd post up some notes on the building of a module. The module was built for last years Members Day and will making a reappearance this year. Twelve months ago I was busy finishing it off and didn't have the time to document it's build, and I guess that current module builders are in the same situation. I'll break the description into three posts, with parts 2 and 3 on Wednesday and Thursday.


Staplegrove Works was constructed during March and April 2013. Following my builds for the BCB project I had built a couple of British Steel Corporation lorries for myself and was toying with the idea of building a photo backdrop for them, and for some other steelworks stock. At the time Stu (Stubby 47) was looking for volunteers to build modules for the RMWeb members day in Taunton. I thought that I could kill two birds here, so a pm to Stu and the module was promised for the Taunton meeting. There's nothing like a deadline to hurry progress on.


The first port of call was to the module standards page;





Basically I was to build a module 3' x 2', the front 6" or so would be taken up with the modules through lines, leaving me about 3' x 18" free to work with.


The module concept lends itself well to the steelworks scene of large buildings hemming things in. It was never the intention to wire it up as a working model (through lines excepted) there's only 4" between modules so no space for fiddle yards and I wasn't intending to operate it at home.


I already had the timber, a mix of contiboard and plywood for the frame and ends, lying around, along with some large sheets of foamboard to make the base.




I'd previously done some trials making large steelworks buildings using Wills sheets but they're not the easiest to work with and to join together. For the buildings here I intended to build foamboard shells again but clad them with corrugated plasticard.


Three buildings were 'imagineered' just to surround the space, I had a vague idea of an Electric Arc Furnace shop along the back, a rolling mill building to the right and a soaking pits to the left. I wanted to include a roadway so that some lorry models could be posed along with some track work on which to pose rolling stock.


Some photographs follow showings progress with some of the buildings, initially part finished and loosely placed. The foamboard shells are covered with horizontal strips of overlapped 'corrugated iron' plasticard which has been scribed vertically to represent individual panels. A bit of cutting and fitting is required at corners but it's a pretty quick method of construction. The pipe racks are made up from Plastruct sections, stairways, ladders and cages from Plastruct with walkways and handrails made up from plastic sheet and microstrip, and wall lamps from Grandt Line.










To be continued:

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Part 2.



The smaller, silver, pipe, running along the building at the back is 15mm plastic plumbing tube, scribed to represent joints and

sprayed silver.  Not the easiest stuff to work with, it's difficult to get

completely straight and doesn't glue so well but I had some lying around and

it's cheaper than styrene sections.  A motorised gate valve was knocked together

from plasticard bits and fitted on the pipe and an inspection platform was built

around it.  A couple of Bachmann trackside workers were modified to fill the role of fitters doing some adjustments to it.



The large rusty ductwork, representing fume control equipment over the arc

furnace, was made from 40 mm diameter plumbing pipe.  The fish mouth joint

between the two pieces was cut and finished by sanding the mouth around a piece

of the tube.  The gusseted bends were cut in a mitre block and superglued

together.  Again, not the easiest pipe to join, plumbing solvents won't touch

it, so once fixed, I strengthened it by filling it with expanding builders foam

from an aerosol. The rusty effect starts with a spray of textured paint followed with weathering







Bachmann Scenecraft supplied two buildings.  Firstly the Portacabin, I cut off

the entrance steps and rebuilt them, with a new door at the opposite end.  A bit

of painting, a notice board and lettering and that was it.  The other building

is the boiler house.  I cut off the raised roof section, fitted a flat

plasticard roof and clad that in 240 grit emery paper, painted as concrete.  The

nicely etched window frames were removed and resprayed and a notice board added.

At one end some pipes and valves, Knightwing, and a low wall were added. All the

brickwork is Scalescenes downloads.


The roadway is from card, curved to give a gentle camber, covered in 240 grit

emery paper painted with Tamiya Buff acrylic. The kerbstones are are from

plastic section.







Other details added were from the RT Models range, ingot moulds, stacked ingots

and a rolling mill roll sitting on a rack made from Plastruct.


The buildings were painted with Montana Gold acrylic sprays, much loved by

graffiti artists. I found a blue which looked good for a slightly washed out BSC blue and Linden Green was used for

some contrast on the left hand building.  Ground cover is various flocks and grits held down with PVA and

the small mounds and embankment were built up from PVA soaked kitchen towel.  I

bought an FMR static grass applicator and did some first experiments with it.  I

was pleasantly surprised with how well and easy it was to use.  The greens are

probably a bit bright, I'll gone them down next time.






The conclusion, tomorrow, will cover the final details and how I finished the module 'box' for transport.

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Thanks for the kind comments, they're much appreciated.


So, Part 3, The Last.



The final detail was the chain link fencing from Ratio, it had to go in last as it gets in the way of other work. I replaced the thread supplied for use as the barbed and straining wires with fuse wire. It's soldered to brass pins fixed into the end boards so that I could put a bit of tension across it to keep it taut. These wires, six of them, were fitted first to get a straight and level run.  Holes were then drilled for the ratio posts which were then glued in ensuring that they were level.  I spent a few months putting the real stuff up many years ago so there was a bit of professional pride.....


An LMS tubular steel signal was made up from a Ratio kit, it’s mounted on a brass spike and can be removed or repositioned readily by just pushing it through the foamboard base which is why sometimes it's here, sometimes it's there, and sometimes it's nowhere....  


Whilst making up the module I did some finishing off to the outside.  Some of it probably a bit over the top but it gives a neat, finished look. I painted the exterior with a suitably industrial mid grey,  I bought some flight case handles to fit either end which involved routing out depressions for them to sit in.  Simple covers, held by home made spring clips protect the track ends and I made plywood cover, held by bolts screwed into threaded inserts, to protect the contents.  Four screw feet allow for levelling and height adjustment.










Finally, the signage.  I made up the artwork and John Peck of Precision Transfers printed them off.


Why Staplegrove Works?  Well, as many will know, the Taunton meeting is held at Staplegrove in Taunton, it seemed right.


This image shows the complete module at Taunton last year.




Although the module will be unchanged for this year, I'll bring along a variety of steelworks locos, stock and road vehicles to populate it with and will ring some changes as the day progresses.


Amongst others, there'll be a new rail and a new road vehicle, one large and one very large.....


As has been said elsewhere, you'll not find a friendlier and more relaxed show, please come and say hello.

Edited by Arthur
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  • 4 years later...
  • RMweb Gold

I bought your book recently and have just finished it.  A very enjoyable read.  I doubt I'll be filling a barn with a model of a complete steelworks but I'm certainly inspired enough to see what I can do at some point regarding an industrial backdrop and/or something in half-relief.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Thanks Rob, that’s much appreciated.


Yes, I hoped the book conveyed that you can get the feel for a large industrial complex in a surprisingly small space.



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