Ballasting in 2022…

Happy Handyman Amateurs tend to create some major cockups :grin:

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Older brick wall construction (to be structural) was often laid as 2, 3 ,4, 5, 6, courses thick.
What appears as “half bricks” set in the wall are actually (cross courses) i.e. whole bricks laid front to back in order to tie the multiple courses together.

Years ago I used the very similar engine house kit to build a very open, detailed interior. I used two kits making double course walls, glued back to back to give the model brick detail both inside and out. (Sorry but no photographs from that era.)

The columns (palasters) and arches you see built into old brick walls are not just there for decoration. They reenforce the strength of the brick wall and increase its’ load carrying ability.

Most modern residential brick construction is referred to “brick veneer”; as it is just a cheaper single layer of non-structural brick, placed there for its looks, a layer that needs be tied to the actual supporting wall structure behind it. (Built of wood, steel, concrete block or pre-cast concrete)

Modern brick veneer is just there for its’ good looks, low maintenance upkeep and some minor sound and heat insulating properties.

To be fair, I’ve seen some very competent Journeymen run into similar problems. Unlike too many overly optimistic DIY types, this particular handyman had done a lot of nice, professional quality renovation work in his home and had a well thought out plan for his masonry work. His reno only failed due to a nasty encounter with “Murphy’s Laws of Bricklaying”. - the stuff they edit out of the Home Makeover TV shows and don’t include in perfect example text books.

Apologies…Thread piracy ends.

Dave, your “bakery” looks great. To my eye, your painting/weather results look much better than the youtube screen shot.

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I had this kit when I was kid…decals on bare plastic…old school
Didn’t even know the name of it…few years ago I searched HO bakery on eBay… picked up a couple of them cheap.

I have a vague recollection of that kit being popular with the kitbashing crowd. Buying two was probably a good idea.

Good luck with your build.

Windows and doors going in…

The printed window inserts are really not rigid so they are held in place by the green window hardware on the outside and clear plastic rectangles taken from packaging material and cut to fit the window opening on the inside…


Dave ~ I really like the way the electrical conduit hides the wall seam in the Bakery molding.

On my engine house I moved the shop wing to the rear but as I had said I already had two total kits so I was able to replace this wall panel with a complete second wall out of the spare kit.

I like the side with the conduit as it is considerably more “busy” than the opposite side….

The roof skylight transparencies are melted…unusable
Tomorrow I will cut some clear scrap to fit in there.
Test fitted the roof…of course it’s warped

The kits decals are shot…badly yellowed …have some Dave’s Decals business/industrial type…may use them

Can’t expect too much from a 50 plus year old kit…

Today I got the roof and one of the smokestacks painted…Tamiya Rubber Black…
Cut some scrap clear plastic for the skylights…happy with one think I have to redo the other…
Glued the ill-fitting roof on with crazy glue immediately hit with baking soda…
Need to repaint roof…weather it a bit…think I am going to epoxy around the edge of the roof interior…
I have to get the other 2 smokestacks, lights, steps etc on…
Think I will leave off the 2 billboards…


Painted the concrete factory yard with craft paint and a 2” and 1” brush stippling grey, white, and black.
Then 3 heavy coats of Future, just poured over and spread with brush.
Finally an airbrush coat of Tamiya Deck Tan mixed with White…
Still have to paint groundwork at the edges of the ballast and clear flat coat on the concrete…
Then dirty it all up…


Colder; could you elaborate on your statement “single width brick walls are often used as load bearing elements”?

Myself I find the exact opposite to be true. I find single course brick is used only as a veneer unless tied to more substantial stablizing elements, such as concrete block or at the very least a wood or metal studded backing wall.

I feel a single course brick load bearing wall would have to be laid with great precision and the downward load forces would have to be totally never shifting for this wall not to buckle just as I and Robin have indicated.

Dave; first I want to compliment you on the wonderful weathering job you did on your industrial bakery structure. I wish I had that finished structure for my layout. (If I HAD a layout any more!)

I am sure EVERYONE reading this thread has already viewed my thread on easy weathering shaders for weathering structures and rolling stock. (And for making convincing weathered wooden decking of all types and scales.)

But just in case I will post this link here:

And Also:

Thanks…i saw your post a while back…
I was looking for the Nuln Oil online and it’s kind of pricey…
Next trip to the LHS I will see if they have it in stock…

I just painted the groundwork on one side of the ballast concrete border to give it some separation…
Painters tape…craft paint…white glue…fine sand…Tamiya Desert Yellow airbrushed over


Because the Citadel products are actually washes rather than paints, a little goes a long way.

Thanks for replying!

@165thspc Michael, I’m not sure what to elaborate on but I’ll have a try.

Warning: Pretty dull non-modelling post follows.

In my neck of the woods, bricklaying is divided into three general types: residential, commercial and industrial. Industrial is the refractory guys, which is a whole different ball game.

I suspect the vast majority of the brick you’re seeing is residential and in general these are veneer walls that contribute to the appearance and weatherproofing of the structure and one other important element. By definition, they provide no structural support. It is possible to tie a veneer wall into a building in such a way that it adds structural support but then it is referred to as a face wall. Most of the veneer style of masonry work grew from municipal responses to the “Great fire of (insert your favorite big city here)”. I like London. The city Fathers would then decree that all new structures would have a masonry (brick or stone) facing to prevent the spread of fires and a veneer wall provided the easiest solution. Fire codes have changed over the decades/centuries but most urban centers have rules governing the flammability of exterior surfaces. In the time honoured tradition of turning necessities into virtues, brick facings became “stylish” and attractive and veneers are found on all sorts of structures whether required by code or not. The drawback to veneers is the requirement for a supporting back-up, a perimeter beam or a shelf angle. Single wythe structural walls only need a footing.

In the commercial brick world and before cinder block became common, many structures were built of single wythe fired clay brick as curtain walls, sheer walls, load bearing, interior sound dampening, fire or support walls. If you think on it, a cinder (concrete) block is nothing more than a really big brick. There’s no practical reason that block walls can’t be built with regular modular brick and for many years they were. Block walls ubiquity came about because a relatively small crew can put up a lot of square feet very quickly i.e. it’s cheaper. Brick is added to block walls (picture a school or a library) to protect the relatively fragile block from the elements and provide additional sheer and load support. These building are expected to endure and it’s worth the extra expense to the owner. Compare the weight of a pallet of brick to a pallet of block and you’ll get a feel for the durability and strength of each component. You’ll also recognize that a wood or metal stud wall behind the brick doesn’t have much of a chance of stopping a masonry wall if something causes a collapse. The brick wall has to support itself and anything resting on it. In this instance the studs, insulation, drywall etc are the veneer. If you look at a typical modern warehouse, it’s framed with steel with block running between the vertical members to counter shear and has an interior lining to suite the tenant. In older construction the vertical steel would have been replaced with brick columns, buttresses or arches as called out by the designer and the horizontal steel replaced by a masonry bond beam. Remember that as these structures go up all the wall elements are installed at the same time, each course including all of the elements and becomes a single monolithic structural wall. My grandparents stone farmhouse in the UK had a brick extension added long before I was born. A sort of mini barn with a lightly buttressed single wythe wall running up about 5m (roughly 16 1/2 ft) to the rafters and a heavy slate roof - plenty of load. These were not uncommon.

Modern multi-wythe walls are typically double wythe cavity walls with weep holes in the bottom course to allow the inevitable water to drain and not penetrate the structure. Sometimes they’re built a bit thicker to allow for utility chases or have a local thickening for beam pockets and what have you.Old multi-wythe walls, which could be ridiculously thick, kept the cold and rain out but referring to them as multi-wythe is a bit of a misnomer. Typically the outer and inner face would be laid in the traditional “line, level and plum” but everything between them would be a dogs breakfast of chipped and broken brick with a bit of mortar to hold it all together. Something to consider adding to a diorama.

Your observation on precision is quite correct. I was a second year apprentice the first time I laid a course of brick, put my level to it and went to tap the brick into alignment with the butt of my trowel, only to be surprised that every brick touched the level exactly as desired. Several thousand bricks later I could do that consistently as can any qualified journeyman (being a bit more accurate; you do run into the occasional bricklayer who really shouldn’t be allowed to own a trowel). No inspector or QC/QA will except a bowed or bellied walls for the reason you point out - it would buckle and collapse when heavily loaded. In that regard, double wythe or greater walls are much more forgiving of “rushed” craftsmanship.

As for dynamic loading, you’d be surprised at how much a brick wall can move and retain it’s integrity. This is mostly down to the mortar. Traditional mortar (pre-cement) was a mix of sand, slaked lime and water and was effectively self healing - those walls survived tremendous abuse. Cement mortars aren’t as forgiving but can tolerate remarkable load movement without failure. In locations with notable seismic activity (eg. California) specific mortars will be identified in the building code ( I believe a Type S, but don’t quote me on it) that are designed to accommodate significant movements. If it helps, you can imagine a brick wall as a concrete wall with really big aggregate. The mortar transfers the applied load to all of the brick in the wall and on to the foundation. Considering that the minimum acceptable compressive strength of a brick is about 3.5N/mm2 (a bit more than 73,000 lbs/square foot), brick walls have a lot of inherent strength.

I’ve rambled on far too long about a non-modelling subject and hopefully elaborated successfully. What it really boils down to is that a single wythe wall is fully capable of being a useful structural component in spite of appearances to the contrary and by definition all single wythe walls are structural except for the veneer wall. Welcome to the exciting world of bricklaying.


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OK, Wow, just WOW!

Thanks for all your hard work there. I admit I have never thought of a single course wall as being structural. I have always thought of it as only a veneer. But I am somewhat familiar with the older thick multi-course brick walls with columns and arches built into them and yes, anytime you see a broken down wall the interior bricks look, as you say, like a dog’s breakfast. The insides don’t need to be pretty.

Again thanks for all you hard typing.

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You’re very welcome. Thanks for the positive response.


A further question: Did this tall single course wall in your grandparent’s barn have a few evenly spaced solid brick columns built into the otherwise broad “flat” of the wall?

You use the expression “lightly buttressed” so I assume the answer to my question might be yes.

Just on the corners.