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Thread: Builder's Railroad Project: in the Beginning...

  1. #1291
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    NH: Repairs and other things

    The patch is completed although there's still some touch up painting to be done. It's a reasonable solution to a ridiculous self-imposed problem. If I can match the red decently, it would almost disappear. It almost looks like a real building repair… It's a benefit using the Plastruct color as the base since when sanding you expose more of it instead of removing it if I had painted the red.

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    I cut and fit the interior doors. I wanted to match the orange that Hopper used for his door. I also wanted brass push plates like shown in his painting. I first mixed some red into the light yellow I used for the walls, but it was a bit too pink so I added some more straight yellow and got very close. I also put a coat of Tamiya clear gloss on all the woodwork.

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    My first approach for the door push plates was a using a sheet of gold MicroScale decals, but after wetting them they started falling apart, so immediately went to plan B. I used some PE fret brass that I polished with some steel wool. There's nothing that simulates polished brass than polished brass. I also put a coat of clear on the brass so it wouldn't oxidize too badly.

    I getting antsy to install the interior walls and realized that first floor windows and doors need to be fitted prior to this happening. I designed the building to be laser cut and all the doors and windows were going to be custom-cut. When I decided to go "old school" and build it out of styrene, I changed the window sizes to conform to Tichy window dimensions. I even went further when I was gluing up the interior window frames I used the actual windows to space the frames correctly. However, I didn't change the door openings to conform to the Tichy doors that I purchased. And they were completely wrong-sized!

    The door frames had transom windows, but my openings didn't include this. Furthermore, the frames fit tightly, but the opening was so much shorter I was having to dissect them. So I decided to build the frames from scratch to hold the Tichy door. The width of the opening was .094" wider than the door, so I needed to pack out 0.047" on each side. I had some 1/8" X 0.015" strip so three stacked together gave me .045" which was just about perfect. I added a piece at top to fill that space too. Then added some 0.088" X 0.020" about 1/32" back from the frame edge as a door jamb stop.

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    The door fits nicely. I'm going to airbrush the doors, but probably brush paint the frames, both a flat brown.

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    With a brick building the windows and doors are often set into the structure like this door is. Most of the doors available from the likes of Grandt Line (RIP) and Tichy are framed for frame buildings where the frame stands proud of the siding. The exterior stair will be clapboard so the doors and windows will be more conventional. Again, I'm not going to use the transom window and will cut the frame down to remove it.

    The last thing I did was blank off the door that will no longer be used since I'm eliminating the back door and will be hidden by the exterior stair.

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    I still have to deal with the cellar windows, which I was not able to get factory built ones to fit the space. I may scratch build them. They're pretty simple affairs. Fitting all these details takes a lot of time.

  2. #1292
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    NH: Window Fitting

    We had a nice lunch with our daughter yesterday and then went to the Speed Art Museum at the University of Louisville, but I still got into the shop at around 3:00. I continued working on the windows. I did find that I had purchased Tichy windows for masonry without a flange for the second story windows, and was using the Grandt Line windows that I already owned for the larger first floor windows. Since the 2nd floor windows would inset more shallow when view from the front since they fully fit into the window openings, I decided to cut the flanges off the first floor windows and, in effect, turn them into masonry windows. I used the micro saw to this. These Grandt Line windows have a mold defect in the vertical mullion where it breaks at the same place all the time. It's right where that little bit of flash is. I'm always having to reglue them.

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    The window fit in the space nicely.

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    I got all the windows fitted and ready for painting. Then I got to work on the cellar windows. I decided to fabricate them out of styrene sticks, but because they're so small, I'm building them on a piece of thin 0.010" styrene sheet cut to the window opening size, and after it's all cured, I cut the middle out leaving a complete frame. I never built windows this way, but it actually worked very well.

    I cut each strip long so they stick out on one side and then go back and cut them all off flush. This way, I don't have to cut pieces to an exact length which takes much more effort. I'm using 0.020" X 0.030" for the wider piece, and then 0.020" X 0.020" square on top for relief.

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    I enlarged the cellar opening to make them higher since the window frames were a bit thicker than I would have wanted and it would have left very little room for the glazing. I cut about a 1/16" off the top of the opening using the micro-saw and Xacto. These windows too will be painted with the rest of them next week. The window is not asymmetric as it appears. It simply wasn't pressed all the way into the opening evenly.

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    I've decided that instead of trying to cut the master turret with the wood and metal, that I would make a resin casting of it and cut which would be much more easy to do since it would be all one material. But first I have to order some new silicone mold material from Smooth On. The stuff I have has kicked and cured in the bottle. Even though it's two part, one part will cure eventually left on the shelf. This one did. I'll keep you posted.

  3. #1293
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    NH: Outside Stair Construction

    The fact is, young people are often more creative than us old guys. We need their insights. Look at the age of people in the control room of Space X, Elon Musk's space exploration company. Very young and very energetic.

    Monday… happy Monday. As a retiree with a deal with my wife that I'll do no model building on the weekends, for the first time in my life I look forward to Mondays more than Saturdays.

    I finished up all four cellar windows and put a mullion down the middle. Unfortunately, since they were all custom made to the size of the holes that I created, they vary in size a bit. In this picture, the larger one will be partly occluded by the outside stair (which is the second thing I did today). These will be painted and glazed off the model and then installed.

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    Since I drew the outside stair originally in SketchUp and then in CorelDraw, I was able to stick the drawing onto the Evergreen clapboard styrene and then cut out the main profile piece. For the rest of the parts that determined its width, I used the Tichy door molding to determine the width since my SketchUp drawing used a door from their 3D Warehouse and it wasn't sized the same. I gave an 1/8" clearance on each side of the frame and cut the piece out. The thin cross-section of the sides broke on one side so I glued it back with a backing piece to reinforce it. I roof is "corrugated metal" styrene left over from making the cooling tower in the refinery. The bottom piece is a chuck of novelty siding left over from making the Victorian Station. Gotta hold onto all those scraps.

    I glued all the pieces up with the side pieces butting up against the profile piece. I used 1/8" square stock to reinforce the corners. I used angle blocks to set up the right angles. For the transition pieces for the roofing I used some thin styrene sheeting to wrap the angle and give it something to glue to. Notice I numbered all the pieces to keep it all straight.

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    The roof design gave me some pause. The slanted portions would drain straight down so the corrugations when linearly, but the flat pieces needed to be pitched outwards so the water just didn't sit there. So I made some tapered supports out of some strip stock and glued the roof pieces to these.

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    Here's the completed structure put next to the building as it will sit. Please note, this is not the correct wall. It the wall around the corner on the right.

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    I used some small styrene angle for the corner trim and some 0.020" X 0.100" strip for the fascia boards. The window opening is sized for the large Grandt Window that I used on the first floor with the trim facing the outside as normal practice. I then started working on the angled framing that will support the upper landing. I'm using 0.040" X .188" which looks very much like a 2 X 12 structural member. The pieces on the wall are just being fitted. There will be angled members down to them and I'll probably put an NBW on them to make it look like something is actually holding them to the wall.

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    I'll finish all this up tomorrow and get ready to paint and weather all of it. To connect this assembly to the building I think I'm going to install a wood block between the upper slant roof and lower slant panel and hold it to the building with a screw from the inside. It will be a much cleaner installation and should be easy to do.The screw would be in an unseen area.
    Last edited by Builder 2010; 10 Jul 18, at 01:45.

  4. #1294
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    NH: Outside Stair Construction Cont.

    Work continues on the outside stair. After I had cut and glued the diagonal braces and trying it on the building I quickly found out that I was putting the right most brace right through a window so I had to reshape it to be a small bracket like the center one.

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    I went ahead with the wood-block-screwed-mounting. I measured and cut a piece of thick ply (scrap laying around) and CA'd it between the top and bottom. I needed a bit of shim stock to get the fit perfect. I placed the stair up to the building in its finished position and marked the inside of the building where the screws should go paying attention to the ledge that will support the second floor. I then drilled the exterior of the building with a clearance hole for the self drilling screws that I was using. I didn't depend on their "self-drilling" attributes.

    When I started driving the screws I was putting too much torque on the whole assembly and didn't like it. So I drove the screws into the block with the stair off the model to pre-cut the threads into the tap-drill-sized hole that I drilled in the wood block. This enabled me to re-drive the screws home without breaking anything. I then took it all apart to prepare for painting and windows installation.

    Name:  NH Outside Stair Fix'n.jpg
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    I wanted to dress up the brackets and and add some gussets since the joints weren't very strong. I have a decent selection of NBWs from Tichy.

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    In this image you can see the large clearance holes for the mounting screws. The bracket pads will be painted the trim brown that I'm using on the rest of the model.

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    Lastly, I painted all the windows and doors, primed the outside stair and started masking it for airbrushing the brown trim and starting to get the tin roof painted.

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    While I was laying out all the windows, I found out that I had not re-drawn the turret window panels since I decided to go from a laser-cut structure to a hand-built one. I will draw them up tonight after I finish posting. There are a lot of windows in this little building.

  5. #1295
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    NH: Outside Stair Completion

    Finished the outer stair, added the first windows and attached the stair to the building today. I finished masking the outside stair and painted the brown trim. Then I masked that and started working on the tin roof. This picture shows the entire sequence starting with 1) painting the brown trim. 2) a coat of Tamiya Burnt Iron which gives a good old metal look. Then 3) I took it outside and did a glancing low-angle Tamiya rattle-can Bare-metal Silver to give a brighter look to the high spots, but leave the dark brown in the trenches. Finally 4) I used rust weathering powder followed by direct application of Vallejo Shadow Flesh which is a great rust color. I dry brushed this to collect the corrosion at the lower edges of the roof slopes.

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    The roof looks about how I expected it should look. I left the wall color the Tamiya Gray Primer and it needed to be toned down a bit so I used AK interactive dark gray wash. It looks frightenly awful when you're putting it on and you think, "Oh good lord, what the heck am I doing to my beautiful work?" But, after you wipe it down, it works out pretty well. You just have to have faith like Indiana Jones stepping off what appeared to be an abyss in the 3rd Raiders movie.

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    Here's the finished weathering. Not too much, just some wear and tear. As you can see I added the windows and doors to this assembly. I also had to add the windows to this wall before attaching the outer stair. The Tichy windows come with glazing material cut to size and window shade material. Those are on the second floor. The Grandt Line Windows on the first floor don't have glazing. For these I cut 0.010" clear styrene sheet measured with the digital calipers. I used G-S Hypo Cement which is basically a plastic cement that applied through a capillary tube so you can be very precise.

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    The last thing I did was add window sills using 0.040 X 0.080" styrene strip painted with Badger Model Flex sand paint. Badger acrylic is a nice paint to airbrush since it's already pretty thin and the bottles screw directly onto the Badger 33 mm siphon cap so it's a quick job to spray the strip before cutting and then touch up the space between the sill strip and the bottom of the window frame and the cut ends of the strips. I was laying the building on its side and wore aware some of the paint on the roof edges. Lighting differences make the colors look very different. I also sprayed the insides of the first floor windows since they are supposed to be the rest room windows, the cellar windows since they wouldn't be nice and clean anyway. A layer of Testor's Dullcoat did the trick.

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    I put the building on the layout in its final position to see how the stair will be viewed. You really won't ever see the stair doorway.

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    We're heading to Chicago by the way of Wisconsin tomorrow to pick up the kids at camp and spend time checking out the U of Wis and then a day and half in Chicago before bringing younger grandson home. So work will resume on Monday. As I noted earlier, I intend on getting grandson to sculpt some Edward Hopper characters and building the bar stools.

  6. #1296
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    NH: Windows and Furniture (Part A)

    Today I installed all the remaining building's windows (main building since there are four in the turret and three gable windows remaining). For some I added some Builders In Scale lace curtains to add some interest.

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    In looking through all my drawings I found the plan view of the roof part that has the turret floor attached. I took the turret bottom and placed it onto the drawing to see exactly where the bottom turret is situated and found that it is pushed off the corner just enough so I can cut out the wedge WITHOUT touching the aluminum core or the steel ball, and I did it. To keep the piece still since it was impossible to put in a vise, I embedded in a piece of stiff un-cured Sculpey Clay. With it stabilized the cuts were actually easy. Here's looking down.

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    And here's looking straight ahead.

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    I wanted to start working on the interior since the laser cut stools kit is coming soon (they're shipped). I made a cardboard mockup before cutting plywood since it's so much easier to work with. My first attempt turned out to be a bit too tall. I wanted the counter top to fall under the wide sill from the pass-through window.

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    I got out one of my Artista figures and decided to knock off about 8 scale inches.

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  7. #1297
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    NH: Windows and Furniture (Part B)

    I have some nice 1/16" aircraft ply to which I traced the counter top. I cut this piece out with scroll saw, trued it up with the belt sander and then further finished with diamond files and sanding sticks.

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    I used the vertical parts cardboard to lay out these parts on the same piece of ply, and had sort of a minor miracle. The five pieces stacked together exactly was the same distance from a previously cut area on the ply to the other edge. I mean it was EXACTLY the same distance… completely random. This dimension had nothing to do with the length of the parts.

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    Here's all the parts, sanded, waiting for stain. I bought some Minwax Mahogany Stain today to try and get the color of the painting's woodwork. I'll use the same stain for the bar stools.

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    I going to do some panel designs on the base pieces using some thin strip wood which will also be pre-stained. Staining before gluing means the glue will be basically invisible. I'll probably glue it with Aleen's Tacky Glue. After gluing, I gloss the assembly with polyurethane vanish. Tomorrow I'll do the staining and hopefully the stools will arrive so I can build those while the stain dries. I'm still waiting for #2 grandson to be available to start sculpting the figures (but just between you and me, I'm thinking that he's busy catching up with his friends since he was away at camp for four weeks).

  8. #1298
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    NH: Furniture Part 2

    Thanks for the good wishes Mark. I am now cleared for one year intervals.

    I didn't buy two more shop lights since they're no longer on special, but I did find them back in the racks at Costco and bought one ($27 instead of $20), and I installed it over the one table that was in the "dark" so to speak. That table is now going to be outfitted to be my photo studio. If I'm going to continue to produce magazine articles for RMC (or others) I need to be taking better in-process pictures. I have way too much clutter in my images and that makes it hard on the photo editors to drop the backgrounds out of the picture. If you go back and look at my substation article, you'll see that a lot of the images are floating on the page with no background.

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    Here's two images shot under the new light. The first is with no iPhone flash and the second with the flash. The flash fills in very nicely.

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    I did stain ALL the counter parts, including the striping for the edging and pieces for the raised inner panels. I decided to attempt to dress it up with a raised panel design. I first was doing it mathematically by adding up the widths of the outstrips, doubling that number adding a bit more for clearance between the inner panel and the edge rails and use that dimension to cut the center panel. Of course, I subtracted the gap allowance from the sum of the side rails thereby negating the clearance. So after I scrapped all those pieces and decided to actually measure the size on the workpieces. This took a tad longer but I got all the pieces cut and stained. Always stain before gluing since stain won't take where the glue is.

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    I glued up one corner and stuck the top on to see what it looked like. The only trouble with using real wood is the grain is way out of scale. It might be better to make it out of styrene and simulate the wood finish. If you modeling rough, rural, outdoor woodwork, the grain adds some grittiness to the scene, but this is supposed to be fine furniture and there is no exposed grain. I'll live with it. I'm mitering the corners so the trim lines up.

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    And when I got upstairs for dinner, a tiny box was waiting for me with the laser cut stools. They look very, very fragile, and should look pretty neat when built. They were having trouble with the axis motors doing circular interpolation so they sliced some dowels of the correct diameter for the seats. That was good customer service. MiniEtch is the company that did it. They nested the drawings differently than I did and used less material. I should learn from them. Since I typically don't do model work on the weekends, it will wait until Monday to see how they go together. I imagine you could make these little things conventionally, but I couldn't really understand how to do the cross-bracing without driving myself nuts. Now I just have to be careful removing them from the fret.

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