This time I’ll discuss the buildings on the backside of the layout, especially in the Hitop area. We’ll start with the largest building and centerpiece of the layout, the Hitop mine. I used Walther’s New River mine for this one, without the adjoining waste hopper.
The mine is I think a bit difficult to glue together and hold together while drying, what with all the large, odd-shaped pieces and angles. I had quite the time trying to get all these odd shapes and large pieces to fit together properly. The kit is a good representation of an Appalachian coal mine however in my opinion, but I believe the kit was actually based on a mine in the western US. The mine sits on part of the large cork sheet in the general mine area that all the mine tracks also sit on.
I weathered the mine with thinned rust colored paint, and the roofs with black powders. As I wanted all three tracks going into the mine, I did not cut it down and kitbash it as MR did in their project layout. Photos of the mine here:
Btw, a side note here, and sort of a funny story. When I had glued the mine building in place and checked all the rail clearances, I had only to put the conveyor in place from the mountain to the main building. While measuring the distance between the two before cutting the hole in the mountain for that end of the conveyor, I accidentally dropped my scale metal ruler down through one of the mine windows and into the bottom of the mine it went. As I had the main building glued down, and didn’t want to take the roof back off which gave me fits to glue down as mentioned, the ruler stayed put, and is there today. The first friend and his son who checked out the completed layout noticed right away the ruler laying on the mine floor!
The next building next to the mine is a Woodland Scenics pre-built kit, the gas station with service garage. I love these kits for their weathering, and all the great detail that’s on and around the buildings. I already had a WS tow truck named Wayne’s wrecking service, which I purchased to honor a family member by the name of Wayne who met an unexpectedly tragic death some years ago. So, I had the tow truck, but no garage and gas station, so when I saw this WS hit, it fit right in to the plan. To place this on the layout, I had to turn the general store sideways, and move one company house on the other side to across the mine tracks. I’ll discuss the general store next, but for now, here is the gas station/garage:
Wayne is in the green coveralls in the above left photo. The general store is on the right.
I completed this area with a WS set of checker players on one side of the garage, and some mechanics around the station, one cleaning a car window.
The next structure is Blair Line’s general store. I love these kits, as they are sturdy, well detailed and thought out kits, and go together well. The general store reminds me of the general store on the sitcom “The Walton’s”, and seemed to fit right in to an Appalachian small town in my era modeled. Again, I had to turn the finished store sideways to get the gas station in the plan. I finished up this kit with Preiser figures, one that looks like a shop keeper with apron on, some details from WS including some produce on a table, one of the scratchbuilt ice machines, and a few details from JL Innovative, including a soda machine, empty soda bottles, and a propane tank out back. I also added a hedge alongside the building from I believe Busch. Photos here:
Another side note here. You can see another photo of my store on Blair Line’s website, which I’m honored they placed my photo on their site!
Next up is a company house kit (actually two) from City Classics. Another great line of kits which include shades, blinds, and I think curtains for the windows of these houses. I used these kits as the houses were taller than wide, allowing me to fit two in the plan. These kits also went together well for plastic kits. I weathered these houses with powders, and finished them off with quite a few details. Included were miners from WS, dogs and cats also from WS, a rusted car from WS, a wife hanging laundry on a clothesline from Preiser, mailboxes and garbage cans. One company house had to be moved across the mine tracks to again accommodate the gas station. Photos here:
In the above right photo, you can see the one company house relocated to the other side of the mine, which along with the church next to it, actually created a road between them and the mine building.
Which brings us to the other building by the company house, the church. I believe this small little church is by AMB, not a lot of detail to speak, but it went together well. I stained this again with wood stain first, then painted the church and trim. I added a white fence along one side from JL Innovative, some hedges from Busch, and some grey ballast from WS for the walkway. Almost every mountain town in West Virginia that I have traveled through has at least one church somewhere down along, or near the tracks, so this was a perfect choice, and just fit into the spot I planned. This I named the Crossroads Baptist Church. Photos here:
The last building now in Hitop was the previously discussed original “DB Tower”, which was moved onto the mine area proper to serve as a railroad yard office for Hitop.
That about wraps this part up for now. Stay tuned for the last part of building the Hitop, when I’ll cover the several buildings in the Morris Fork area….