overall view of the layout I've added quite a number of small details and done a little more painting, although I still haven't tackled the access road yet.
The main item of painting has involved colouring the rock outcrops. Given that I've assumed there will be quite a build up of soot and smoke on everything, I've made the rocks quite dark as well. They were painted with a mixture of stone gray and black liquid pigments from Woodland Scenics, and then washed over with a heavily watered down black to pick out all the cracks and crevices. They don't exactly blend in yet, but hopefully once I add grass, trees etc. it will look a little more natural.
The main new detail is the loading dock which incorporates a small crane. The base of the loading dock is also a painted rock face, the idea being that when the railway and factory were built they simply modified the existing landscape to suit their needs. The top surface is modelled as large paving stones (remember that N gauge is 2mm to the foot so each slab is about 2 foot by 1 foot in size) and was a rather laborious hand crafted process. Firstly I cut a piece of thin cardboard to the correct size. I then covered the cardboard in air drying modelling clay. Once dry I then used a cocktail stick to scratch out the joints between the stones. The whole thing was then painted using the same slate gray pigment as the rock faces, before a wash of black paint (not the liquid pigment) was used to bring out the detail. It might have taken quite a lot of work but I'm really happy with how it looks. Of course the first thing I did once it was in place was to drill a hole through it!
While a loading dock would clearly be helpful at the factory I decided to give the workers a further helping hand by fitting a small hand operated crane. This crane is built from a Ratio plastic kit for a yard crane, but I've left out the supplied base and steps (I was going to re-use the steps at the edge of the loading dock but they aren't quite the right size so I'll have to build something else). At the moment it is a little too shiny and new so will need weathering in, but I think it really adds to the scene, and even rotates properly so I can move it out of the way should I have larger wagons in the siding.
The other detail item fixed in the scene is the set of buffers you can just see at the end of the siding. These have actually appeared in a couple of photos on the blog already but I haven't actually mentioned them. Again these are built from a kit, specifically the Peco kit for rail built buffers. They are glued to the track and ensure that no matter how hard I try I can't run off the end of the siding (believe me I've tried, accidentally of course).