The MTH mill is a great model (nice size, good detail in the molding and the roof), but I wanted to try and "plus" it up a little bit in order to make it look more realistic and less static. My plans are to add an operating water wheel, add more exterior detail, weather it a bit, detail the loading dock area, and replace the lighting with LEDs.
Every good grist mill needs a wheel, so I started there. Embroidery hoops are great sources of pre-made wooden circles/hoops. Looking at some photos of mills, I decided an 8" diameter would work best for my needs & ordered a couple online. Stripping the outer ring with the hardware from the embroidery hoop left me with the basic hoop. I used two to make the basic wheel, joining them together with lengths of square dowel. In order to keep everything evenly spaced, I printed out a 12 section "pie" as a guide:
Next, I checked mill placement to make sure wheel would fit as designed (it's on the far side):
In order to turn the wheel, I tracked down a 12V DC motor with a long shaft (ebay). This particular motor spins at a nice slow, sedate number of RPMs - perfect for a mill.
The center hub of my wheel is a wooden spool:
...and the spokes of my wheel are craft wood, with angles cut into one end to allow 6 spokes to come together:
I once again used my "pie" template to align the spokes:
Once both sides were "spoked", I added ridges/paddles around the outside for the water to "push". I also re-drilled the center hole on one side and test-fit the motor:
Quick sanity check (note: the wheel will sit 3/4" below the bottom of the mill itself when complete, and will be mounted to the other side of the building). Also did some initial/rough weathering on the mill roof to see if I liked it that way:
...and finally, I started the painstaking process of repainting the stone façade of the building. I expect to use ~3 different shades of gray for the stones... this is just the first one, on one side.
More to come...