HO scale Windmill Kit Instructions


Windmills have been synonymous with the Australian countryside for over 100 years. They are just as much an icon as corrugated iron. No Australian rural scene would look complete without one somewhere in the background.

You will find them near waterholes, dams, rivers, bores and creeks pumping the very scarce commodity which is in short supply in the outback, water. With our very arid regions, the windmill has been an essential item in giving life to the outback.

Their benefits where, almost silent operation and pollution free, no fuel or power bills, move large volumes of water efficiently, self sufficient and require minimal maintenance. They also last for decades in the rugged climatic extremes of the Australian outback.

This windmill is based upon data supplied by Southern Cross windmills and is to their IZ pattern. The mill came in various sizes ranging from 6ft through to 14ft in diameter. Towers varied in height from 10ft through to 60ft depending on the water volume to be pumped and the surrounding areas geographical needs. Large mills could be found on short towers and smaller mills on taller towers depending on each customers needs. Another manufacturer (Yellowtail) made their towers in only 3 sizes, 20ft, 30ft and 40ft but used the same sized mill.

Requirements: Soldering iron, flux, solder, pliers, hobby knife and assorted files.

1. Using a hobby knife carefully cut through the thirteen tabs (see arrows on diagram 1) holding the main tower which is triangular shaped. (Do not cut the ones between the 3 tower sides.) This can be done on a self-healing mat or on a wooden surface such as masonite or similar piece of scrap timber.

2. After “tinning” the outer edges of the tower, fold the tower onto itself so that the two outer edges of the tower meet. Flux and solder the join so that it now stands as a 3 legged windmill.

3. Carefully cut the central collar with the rounded corners at the base of etch and slip it over the tower and either glue or solder in place. The other two spares are for use if you slightly distorted your tower out of shape and require one slightly off centre one. (see photo 1 opposite)

4. Remove the ladder taking care not to crush it when freeing from the etch and either glue or solder it from the bottom rung and then centrally to the tower face and across the guide wires that run at angles to the support rungs.

(Note: if you require your mill head to turn, please twist the blades individually at a slight angle before doing steps 7-8. Photos on page 2 will help)

5. Trim the brass pin supplied to approximately 5mm in length (including the head in the length). This is the axle for the mill head that goes through the styrene block supplied. Drill a small hole (20 thou) through the bottom of the styrene block lengthwise approximately ¾ of the length, another at 90 degrees through the centre of the block. You should now have 3 holes at in the styrene block similar to diagram 2 opposite.

6. Using the pictures on page 2 as a reference shape the piece of styrene roughly to match the gearbox.

7. Push the axle rod (brass pin) through the central hole in the mill head. Slip the nylon bearings onto the axle and apply a small dab of glue to the end and push this assembly into the styrene block (not the lengthwise hole) see diagram 3. Make sure the mill head spins freely and set aside this assembly to dry.

8. Whist still in the etch scribe a line through the centre of the tail both sides (diagram 4). Remove tail from the etch and glue this into the opposite sides hole of the mill head axle in the styrene block.

Using the above pictures as a guide set your windmill into your scene and super detail the area around unit with trees, logs, animals and whatever else suits your taste. Assembly diagram1 using the tail piece as the axis for the mill with a tube to allow free movement. Assembly diagram 2 uses 5mm brass wire as the spigot and axis points.

9. Glue the 75mm wire supplied into the bottom of the mill head assembly and set the unit aside to dry.

10. Poke the bottom of the wire containing the mill head assembly into the tower. You may have to open the hole up slightly in the towers apex for the wire to pass through easily.

11. Finishing, paint either silver or grey, affix decals to the tail and weather to taste.

12. Drill holes into your scenery to accept the windmill’s legs and vertical wire of the head assembly. The legs holes are drilled at a slight angle to match the angle of the towers legs. If your windmill is the free turning version; test it by gently blowing on the vanes and watch them turn like the real unit.

Diagram 1.
Cut the tower from etch on the tabs marked with the arrows


Photo 1: Completed tower with collar soldered into place.

Construction of mill head from styrene block.

Fitting mill and bearings

Step 6 Shape head roughly to this shape in the picture and diagram above.

Finished mill with extra wooden slats added at the collar by the builder.

Soldering - A few notes of guidance.

All metals oxidize over time and brass tarnishes very quickly and makes soldering almost impossible if not properly cleaned and fluxed. The same care taken on the etch should also be exercised with your soldering iron of choice.

In order to get the best possible joint, all brass parts should be thoroughly cleaned before assembly. You can use very fine wet/dry sandpaper to clean the items, brass cleaners such as ‘Tarnoff' or similar products will also aid in cleaning provided residue cleaner is washed off and the units dried carefully.

If items are to be joined they should be ‘tinned' first before soldering them together. Tinning is a procedure where by a small amount of solder is deposited over the item to be joined that has first be cleaned and then fluxed. The flux helps make the molten solder run over the item or through a joint. Once both parts are “tinned” they can be bought together and a small amount of flux applied to the matting parts. With a fresh dob of solder on the iron the iron tip is brought in contact with the items until the solder flows freely around the joint without undue burning or distortion. It only takes a few seconds to do this and any longer points to a problem in a lack of heat, flux or cleaning of the items being joined. Soldering can be mastered with practice and attention to detail. If you like, try practising on the frets that are left from the kit before attempting the main items.

Solder tools, fluxes and special items.
Fluxes: Carr's Red label priced around $10.00 and found in most train shops. Yorkshire plumbing flux available from hardware shops or similar fluxes that are safe for brass/whiemetal.
Soldering iron tip cleaner: Available at Dick Smiths for approximately $14.00.
Solder mask: Carr's Solder mask available for around $7.00. This keeps solder away from parts you don't want soldered together.
Solder Paint: Carr's solder paint/flux, aids by painting a thin layer of flux and ground up solder into tricky areas where neatness and difficulty can be had if using normal methods.
Solder irons: Vary in price and wattage. A temperature controlled iron is worth the extra investment as you can control how hot the iron gets. These are generally around $130.00+.