June 22, 2010

Harbor Master Station

Here is a in-progress photo of the harbor master station I am building for the end of my pier. It is based on the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington (WW&F) pier station at Wiscasset Maine. The prototype building is covered in shingles as shown in the photos. This will be the configuration for the kit to be offered by Alkem Scale Models. I may do another version for my scene that uses board and batten siding as that seems to be what the USMRR used at Aquia.

The On2 and On30 modelers that are doing Maine will want the shingled version. The shingles are actual cedar wood with self adhesive film and laser cut to scale size. Even the thickness is scale size though the self adhesive film adds a few thou to the thickness.  I will also offer the shingles separately as they work in O and HO scale.

In the meantime, I am applying  coats of Minwax Polycrylic  Clear Gloss to the water surface in Aquia Landing. The instructions say three coats is enough for normal applications, but I am trying to simulate water and three coats is not enough to convey a feeling of depth. I am up to 5 coats right now and it looks like it is holding.  Has anyone tried using this product in 10 or so layers to simulate water on a model project?

The photos show the nice reflections I am getting with this surface. Once I get sufficient depth, I'll add the piers and docks. The final coat will be acrylic gloss gel to add some wave texture.  The reflection at the wall-flat water interface is not realistic. But once I add the piers and ships that discontinuity should be minimized.


  1. AnonymousJune 22, 2010

    The "water" looks great. Love the blog.

  2. AnonymousJune 23, 2010

    I used a acrylic clear gloss for water. Three coats over a plaster base that has been painted with lacquer based paints. Your water's color is spot on but it does need to be thicker surface. Weird, I never realized how important the thickness of the translucent layer was until now. You seem to be on the right track though just keep the layering going.

    Bob Harris

  3. I am up to 8 layers and the shore line has the look of depth. Now it's time to start adding pilings before going to the final layers.

  4. We discussed it some more, and our consensus is that the current acrylic can remain as 8 coats is not too far outside the parameters for a thin film application. So no sanding necessary.

  5. The plot thickens. Several other folks have chimed in that multiple coats of Polycrylic is very possible. To resolve the issue I contacted Minwax directly. We'll see what they say.

  6. Looks GREAT Bernie! Daylene said she wants to come see it again... to see your water, when the wave effects are on.
    I like the building as well - very nicely done!

  7. here is what the Minwax customer service rep says:
    Thank you for contacting Minwax. We appreciate your inquiry.

    A maximum of 3 coats of Polycrylic can be applied to a smooth wood surface.
    Be sure to observe the coverage recommendations on the label to ensure the coats are the proper thickness. Thin, even coats are best. If you are looking for a heavy, built up appearance a poured on 2 part epoxy should be used.

    I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have further questions.

  8. I would make the station available in Sn2 as well, it is THE growth scale for Maine 2 footers.


  9. First we have to get the O scale one done. Maybe a S scale version can follow. The shingles may be over scale for S though.

  10. AnonymousJuly 19, 2010

    That reflection where the Minwax "water" and the backdrop "water" intersect appear somewhat like a reflective wake. A half-hull waterline model (or even a backdrop painting of a vessel under way) might be able to exploit or disguise that joint.

  11. Did the Harbor Master Station kit ever happen? Is it available anywhere?

  12. I was not pleased with how the shingles came out, so I never went forward with the kit.