Interesting Search Terms

I took a rotary saw to the TTFH and sliced a big, jagged wound in it to make space for a riverbed, because the bridge to nowhere was bothering me – it needed a river to cross. I put in a couple of supports underneath the hole, then a layer of 1″ rigid foam insulation, then filled in the space between with scraps of foam that I cut sort of angle-ish to make the riverbed and overlaid with plaster cloth, and more ceiling tile scraps for the undercuts and cliffs. For the ‘beginning’ of the river, I made a spring coming out of a cave in the rock face. (Kind of like Spook Cave, which is only a few miles from here and well within the area I could claim to be modeling..) Then, I decided I had better have a pond and a series of dams to justify the spring cave with the water course I’d carved. And what makes more sense for a series of dams than a mill? So, I found a couple of very reasonably-priced HO scale “old water mills” on eBay and got a couple because they each had features that I liked and I thought if I combined them, I’d have a pretty good piece. Except then, I had to know how water wheels work and what they looked like, so I could install the thing correctly and model the immediate surrounds so they looked “right” and worked with the waterway I’d carved.

So, I ended up spending a couple of hours last night learning how water wheels worked, the different ways they were set up and time periods/locations that certain kinds would be canon, and what the requirements in water speed, flow, height of the fall, or ‘head’ were necessary for the diferent configurations… All so I could stick this little plastic wheel in the right place on the train table, so it will not annoy me later.

One model was more detailed than the other, the less-detailed one had a more realistic ‘race’ and a better water wheel, so I figured I could combine them…. Except, once I’d done some research and learned quite a bit about the process, I realized that neither of them was even remotely realistic except possibly as an extremely rudimentary ‘undershot’ wheel.

Anyway, because of the low ‘head’ and relatively low flow of my imaginary mill pond, I decided that a breastshot water wheel would be the most likely to fit the environment I’ve created (Yeah, try googling “breast shot wheel” – the results are interesting…). So, now I’ve got a general idea of how to build what I want. Also, I’m pretty sure that my mom took me to the Motor Mill in Elkader, IA, when I was a kid. So like, that’s also well within the area that I could be modeling. Same type of layered limestone in the area. Although the website doesn’t actually have any photos with the wheel, and no detailed information about it so I don’t know what kind it was. Just looking at the building, I would guess it was a plain ‘ole undershot. But, the building itself has a whole lot more character than the models I’ve got. I think I want to try and put in something like that, instead. I think I’ll have to scratch build it, though. Hrmmm…

Anyway! Too much analysis. Very little actual accomplishment!

Also, in searching for a kit that looks sort of like the Motor Mill, I found a built-up model on eBay that totally looks like Burlingame’s in Froelich, IA, which was a general store and depot and called “Old Iron Sides” because the roof and outside wall were plated so the steam engines stopping right next to it didn’t set it on fire. I could totally model that, too…

Hah, choo choo trains and heritage. Who knew?

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