Wrisley Paper

Wrisley Papers is one of those kits that lends itself to many possibilities, including this western rendition that Jim Lucas and I ( Gregg Wenzl ) teamed up to create. It is another build with simple/subtle changes which give a unique look, while meeting my layouts specific riverside location needs, (nestled in those oak and grass covered hills just outside of town). Changes and enhancements include modifying the masonry wing to angle back from the main mill. There is an added charm in this placement that was lost in the standard linear kit design/layout. The wood extension was pushed back, providing more visual interest and more functional mill operations. A sign was added to the masonry wing.

The track was moved to the side of the main mill, which resulted in a more open feel. This track siding comes from town through the cut in the hills, goes by the mill, then off to the industries across the river, which are still awaiting repairs to the trestle washed out in that late spring flood.

All photos and comments by Gregg Wenzl

The mill front is now fully visible and provides much interest. Stairs were added to the front dock and a bridge was added to cross the outtake channel.

The main mill side dock and awning was extended and stairs added.

There is now much more space for the coal chute and shipping/receiving operations.

A flume and intake piping was added to the back, which will cross the road then connect to the river upstream to bring that ever critical water supply down to the mill. A back door was then added to the main mill building, to give better access to the water intake gates and back work/storage area.

And yes, there is water. Lots of running, falling and foaming water

Jim Lucas and I ( Gregg Wenzl ) are very pleased with the results of this fun and challenging project and Wrisley Papers will be a great riverfront industry

Work crews are finally beginning repairs to the trestle which was washed out in that late spring flood.

The flume bypass gate is being opened in preparation for the weekend mill maintenance activities. This routes the water across the back of the mill to the drainage ditch on the far side

This was a fun project. It started with a few ideas, which I sketched out on the initial layout design drawing.


Then a simple and quick, (two hour) mockup was created. This was an important step which quickly identified many design issues and required changes, such as the need for a v-cut through the hills instead of a tunnel; a washed-out trestle instead of a tunnel across the river; final flume location and height needs; building locations and angles; shed location; the need for an upstream waterfall to create visual balance; hill heights; river depths; etc.

Each of these dioramas was designed to fit specific riverside locations on my layout. Although they do not touch, they are in proximity of each other, following the rivers decent. This Wrisley Paper Mill section is deeper and functions to separate the town behind it from my waterfront section across the walkway from the river.

Regarding the rockwork, Jim Lucas is the rock-master and he uses several molds then breaks the castings into pieces to minimize repetition. He can do magic with rock work.

Water methods used were similar to those used and describe on Thorndike. One thing I did different is the painting of the EnviroTex on both the rocks and the falls to give a wet and glistening look.

The washout was a challenge to create and make look real. You are correct about the use of wire to simulate stems and twigs. I also used unraveled twine to simulate the messy, muddy grass left in the wake of high water.

Flumes were used in the west as one of the easy ways to route water to mills. On my layout the flume will continue upstream,(to the right when facing the mill), remaining roughly level and tying into the river at about a 2 inch higher elevation. It runs along the back of the mill to a gate, which diverts the water down a pipe, through a shutoff valve (which is at ground level behind the smokestack) and into the mill to the boiler to make steam to power the mechanical turbines and perhaps to a small turbine generator. When the gate is opened, the water dumps down the sloped flume section to a drainage ditch on the left side. This model depicts a moment in time when the gate is just being opened with water going both through the mill and to the drainage ditch. (Got to model more running water that way.) The drainage ditch then dumps the water back into the river. Here are a few more pictures of the flume system.


This diorama was designed with the specific purpose and dimensions to fit on my layout. I, like some others on this forum, use this building block method for constructing a layout for several reasons. First, the diorama is small and transportable. I can carry it from my layout room into the family area to work on and build while enjoying the interaction of others (and the comments from my wife for the messes I leave behind ). Another reason for building this way is that layouts are big and difficult to move. By building the layout in sections, with several dioramas in each, much of your work can be moved without loss or damage. Another reason is changing interests. If I ever decide to change my layout or change to another scale, I can always keep a diorama or two to enjoy under glass. Lastly, there is personal motivation. I am one that becomes overwhelmed when I look at all the things I must do on my layout. By working a small portion (diorama) at a time, I keep focused and make progress, while enjoying the experience. I use this same approach when building a specific diorama. For instance this one is divided into several areas including the hills, upper river, lower river, washout area, structure, back area, side loading area, etc.) I think you can see in the photo above