Sometimes less is better. Model buildings are too often weathered to the point of total decrepitness, as if the whole world is ancient and crumbling into disrepair. Surely there must be some recently built, or at the least, some well-maintained structures in our miniature world? Rather than simulating peeling paint and rotting lumber, this structure was modeled in a state of relative newness.
This small lineside industry was initially built as Taylor Machine, on commission for a customer back in the winter of 2006-07. It was based on a photo e-mailed to me, and I roughly scaled the structure using common prototypical trim and siding sizes, counting the siding boards to get an idea of height and extrapolating for length and width. I did a bit of fudging of dimensions here and there to economize the Mt. Albert milled clapboard siding used in construction, and to get the model to fit in the customer’s desired footprint.
The photo showed only the platform side of the building, so I came up with my own design as to how the back might appear. I made some further modifications by eliminating a elaborate support structure for the stairs up to the office door and its platform, and added a large set of hinged doors below, with an overhead monorail crane for loading. I fell in love with this little industrial building, and ever since it shipped it off to the happy client, I planned to construct one for myself.
Ron Pare (of the popular site www.ModelersGuild.com) created a Facebook page for Mt. Albert Scale Lumber and asked fans to add photos of models constructed using Mt. Albert materials. I posted a few photos of custom builds I had done in recent years. Chris Lane saw these photos and asked me to write an article for the On30 Annual. That kick started the project in earnest.
In reviewing the drawings and photos of that first model, I saw a few places where I could improve proportions and add a bit more prototypical realism, so I drew up a new set of plans. The first build had shorter Grandt Line #3702 windows on the second floor and these seemed too small to me, so I substituted the same #3703’s used for the first floor windows. I considered adding much larger #3763 windows so that the interior would be more visible but those windows made the building look smaller than it actually was. The #3703’s seem to be the correct proportion.
I also wanted to come up with a new name as well as a new type of industry housed in the structure. Years ago, I was employed as an industrial model maker and a pattern-maker named Jim Evanoff worked with me. I learned a lot of tricks of the trade from Jim, along with many “professional” short-cuts, so when it came time to name the new model, I chose to honor my old friend Jim. Thus Evanoff Pattern & Foundry represents a small pattern-making shop and precision casting foundry served by the On30 Cooper & Sawyer Railway. The siding off the mainline receives lumber and casting supplies, and ships finished patterns and castings.
Tools and Techniques You’ll Need
Besides the usual array of hobby knives, tweezers, straight edges and squares, there are some handy tools you can fabricate to help make certain steps easier and improve your modeling accuracy.
A good solid flat surface to work on is imperative, and something portable for larger projects such as this allows you to set the work aside for a time, not cluttering up your main workbench for extended periods. Pre-finished laminate shelving boards, 12×36″, from home improvement centers are ideal for this, either white or light gray. Glue and paint doesn’t stick well to them, especially with a coat of wax, and you can temporarily mark on them for notes or measurements and templates. Smaller off-cuts of this same material can be used for laying out and gluing up sub-assemblies.
Drawing a series of pencil lines, spaced scale 16 inches or 24 inches apart, really helps in building joist and rafter assemblies. You’ll see further along in this article how I put these to use. While you’re laying out dimensions, make yourself a “Stud & Joist Ruler” from a length of stripwood. Set a caliper to a scale 16″ dimension and mark off a series of lines on your “S&J” ruler. It might be handy to mark the back side with 24″ scale markings while you’re at it. Use a small square to pencil these marks squarely right across the face of the ruler, ink them with a very fine technical pen if you have one handy. Give your new ruler a shot of clearcoat to protect the markings.
The emery boards you find these days at cosmetic counters are not particularly flat and quickly wear out. Make your own from strips of 1/16″ thick basswood ripped into various widths from ¼” to ½” or more, 4″ to 6″ long. Use double sided tape to stick strips of sandpaper to both sides, putting different grits on both sides. 220 wet/dry paper in combination with 100 grit aluminum oxide paper work well, the black of the wet/dry paper makes it easy to tell apart from the brown aluminum oxide paper. Both sandpapers wear well so you efforts at making these sanding sticks will pay off in the long run. A nice flat stick sands accurately and with the grit right out to the edge, can work into corners.
While not totally necessary for building model structures, power tools sure speed up the job, increase the accuracy and save some muscle. I make extensive use of a miniature chop saw locally manufactured by John Sachs and a miniature table saw from Proxon. Where I refer to operations such as “rip or slice” a strip of wood, I’m suggesting the use of a table saw to “rip” or modelers knife and straight edge to “slice.” The chop saw can be set to precise angle cuts and accurate and repetitive off-cuts, both of which can also be done manually with a Northwest Chopper, or simply a straight edge, square or mitre gauge and modelers knife on a cutting pad.
I used Floquil paints throughout this project. Substitute whichever brand or medium is your preference. For adhesives, I used Elmers ProBond yellow carpenters glue for wood-to-wood joints. I use the gap-filling variety of cyanoacrylate adhesive, a.k.a. super glue or Crazy Glue. A neat trick I learned from a fellow woodturner is to apply cyanoacrylate to one surface, then spritz the mating surface with cyanoacrylate accelerator and join the two pieces. For this method you must either align accurately, or have the option to trim after the joint cures, as you only have one shot at this, it cures rather quickly. You should always keep the cyanoacrylate accelerator well away from open cyanoacrylate bottles: cap the cyanoacrylate glue, then use the accelerator.
Start with the Walls
My preferred construction method for O scale buildings is to laminate Mt. Albert clapboard or board and batten siding material with plain basswood sheet, flipping the grain of the plain sheet 90 degrees to the siding sheet’s grain. This will provide strength and prevent warping, much the way plywood is made, and eliminates the need for a lot of heavy bracing inside the model.
With the new drawings and supply of Grandt windows and doors in hand, I set about cutting out the exterior walls from six inch wide Mt. Albert .090″ clapboard siding sheets, product number MA752P12. This represents 4½” clapboards in O scale. Layout the locations of the doors and windows, using the castings as referencefor the opening sizes. Cut these out with a new sharp #11 X-acto blade, using a square for accuracy. Always start at one corner of an opening and slice toward the next corner, but don’t cut all the way to the corner. Then reverse the direction your knife is cutting and finish the cut, this gives a nice clean opening and you don’t overshoot and cut into the siding past the window opening. Several light passes with the blade works better than one heavy cut. Another point to ponder with regard to your modeling knife, is that because the blade is bevelled, it will leave a bevelled edge on both ends of cut parts. If you tilt the blade of your knife slightly toward the “scrap” side of your cut, the “good” side of the cut should be pretty well square. See Sketch #1.
Next, I cut out plain basswood sheet interior walls, and laminated the two, ensuring that the grain ran at 90 degrees. Use your favorite wood glue for this. Note that the plain sheet on the gable end walls needs to be set back 1/16″ from each of the corners where they will meet the side walls. See Sketch #2. Place the glued-up walls on a flat surface, then place a sturdy flat board or sheet of glass over the laminated walls and pile on some weights. Once the laminations have dried overnight, cut out all the window and door openings in the plain sheet. Test fit the window and door castings and touch up with your sanding sticks. For this model, Mt. Albert Scale Lumber’s six inch wide basswood sheets saves having to splice sheets for the most part, except high up on the gables. If using narrower sheets, endeavor to hide the spliced joint behind an architectural feature such as the awning over the loading dock.
I have found two layers of 1/16″ at 90 degrees to each other provide plenty of strength and eliminate the need for a lot of bracing.
Detail the individual walls while they are still flat. Lay out the stud spacing and impress nail holes in the siding at scale 16″ spacing using your Rafter & Stud Spacing Ruler. Modelers tend to “over-model” nail holes, adding far too many and far too deep. Prototypical siding’s purpose was to protect the building’s inner structure from the elements, and nail holes invite rot and a way for moisture to enter, so just one nail hole at each stud, near the lower edge of the siding “board.” Using a dressmakers pin and straight edge, rather than a pounce wheel, gives better control and a more “scale” result, as most pounce wheels actually leave rectangular holes, and their spacing usually doesn’t match the siding, giving you nail holes in some strange places.
Lay out, cut and laminate the Boiler Room/Foundry annex walls from board and batten siding.
Prepare the Window and Door Castings
Cut the window castings off the sprues and clean up any residual marks and casting flash. Tichy’s #2022 windows are exactly the same as Grandt’s #3703’s but with the lower sash cast separately. I used a combination of both brands, as I had them on hand. The small attic windows (Grandt #3722) need to have a small bit of trim added to the bottom to match the 3703’s. Join two Grandt #3713 Sliding windows for the clerestory windows.
The Grandt Line #3618 Freight Door Frames have peaked trim at the top; sand this off. Build up the trim with some .015″ by .100″ styrene strip so they match the wider trim on the window
castings. Cut the Freight Doors themselves in half, these can be glued in from behind later, or made to operate, as described later. For the double door on the boiler house addition, cut the transom off a #3618 Freight Door and trim as above.
The frame for the #3611 Freight Double Doors used for the big hinged doors come without a frame, so this needs to be made up from styrene strip. Use .030″ thick styrene strip in widths to match the Grandt #3703 window castings. Make up a “U” shaped frame slightly wider than the total dimension of the two doors. Add a threshold across the bottom from wider strip, then add casing around the perimeter. Add a “stop” around the inside of the frame from .030″ square strip positioned so the doors are flush to the frame on the outside. Build up a smaller “U” shaped frame for the “I” beam monorail crane and glue to the top of the main frame. Once this has set, cut out the main frame at the bottom of the smaller frame. Cut and glue on .020″ by .080″ strip to mating edges of the doors at center, so that when closed, there is no gap and the doors fit together (see Sketch #3).
Paint the frame your trim color and the doors your siding or other color, glaze the small window frames that go in the doors. Use some Precision Scale brass hinges to hinge the doors. See Photo 1. The man door next to this large door is a stock Grandt Line #3633 casting. Leave the frame and door separate at this point for painting. Modify a Grandt Line #3619 door for the office door by cutting out the upper two panels to open up for a window in the door.
Stick all the castings to a scrap of cardboard using transfer tape, one board for your trim color and one for the alternating color you choose for doors, etc. Airbrush the parts and set aside to dry. Transfer tape is available from art supply dealers and is much like rubber cement on a roll. It holds small parts well enough for airbrushing, yet releases them easily without damage.
Glazing the Windows
Microscope cover sheet is probably the ultimate in model window glazing, as it is real glass. However, it is tough to cut accurately, impossible to adjust once cut, breaks very easily, and is getting hard to find, as this laboratory item is being replaced by plastic materials. Thin acetate or clear styrene commonly used tend to distort when used for model window glazing. I found that 1/32″ clear cast acrylic sheet looks just as good as real glass and is much easier to work with. You will probably have to source this from a big city plastic supply house.
Acrylic sheet can be cut by scoring with a knife or ripped on small table saw with fine blade. Measure window openings and cut to size. Peel off the protective paper and clean with Novus #1 Plastic Clean & Shine. This is a rather important step, because pulling off the paper builds static electricity and sucks dust to the clear plastic window “glass.” Place the “glass” panes into window casting, hold down with a round toothpick (Stronger than regular toothpicks and the fine point can better maneuver the sheet). Use acrylic solvent to carefully bond to frame, using a new brush and apply with care, just be sure to press the “glass” down into frame before you apply the solvent, otherwise little blobs of softened styrene and paint will mar your nice work. Set aside to dry.
At this point, I discovered a small hitch in using the Tichy #2022 windows. When the 1/32″ glazing was applied to the upper sash, the frame was no longer deep enough to hold the glazed lower sash in place, so I had to build up the frames with stripwood trim, making them as deep as the walls were thick. See Photo 2.
Floors and Assembling the Walls
Interior floors go a long way toward providing rigidity to the building as well as avoiding that “empty” look. Dry assemble the walls to get your measurements for flooring and cut from scribed sheeting. Floor joists would logically run the width of the building, parallel to the end gable walls, thus the scribing of the floor sheets should run 90º to the joists. The bottom of the first floor won’t be seen but for the second floor you could model the joists with some 2″ x 12″ framing, laid out and assembled on the Joist/Rafter Spacing Board.
Before you assemble the walls, mark a pencil line on the inside at the height of the interior floors, also measure down the thickness of the floor sheet and/or the dimension of the joists in the case of the second floor. On a flat surface and using squares, assemble the two gable end and the two side walls. Add the first floor and brace it underneath with some 12″ x 12″ stripwood. Add the walls and a floor for the Boiler Room/Foundry annex. See Photos 3 and 4.
From a scrap of the clapboard siding, rip or slice a strip of siding two boards wide, of sufficient
length to go behind the loading docks, the loading dock canopy roof and another bit for the office door landing. Glue these to the walls where the loading docks, canopy and landing will go. See Photo 4. Later, when these assemblies have been built, they will be glued to these strips, which will be far easier than trying to glue to the bevels of the clapboard siding. Paint the siding white or your preferred siding color.
You’ll notice at the corners where your walls join, there is a gap. This is for the corner trim, using scale 4″ x 4″ boards pre-painted in your trim color. Sand the paint off the back corner of the strips and apply glue to this new edge. Glue into the gaps where the side and gable end walls meet. Please refer to Sketch #2.
Add a 6″ x 8″ trim board atop the gables, glued with the 8 inch flat on the walls. Rip lengths for 1/8″ thick basswood at 45º on one edge for a filler strip atop the side walls and cut to length to fit between the gable top trim boards you just added. See photos 5 and 6.
Install the Window and Door Castings
When you’re ready to install the windows and doors, run a bead of gap-filling cyanoacrylate around the perimeter of a window opening and press the window casting into place, use a scrap of wood as large as the window casting. The window will go in straight and evenly, and your fingers won’t pull adhesive out of the joint and make a mess. It’s that slight bit of moisture on your fingers that causes the glue to wick out between the nice paint job and your pinkies.
The sub-roof is made up from 1/16″ plain basswood sheet. Again, laminate two layers to provide strength and prevent warping. Some scribed sheet was used underneath where the roof overhangs at the gable ends. The roof is conveniently designed at an even 12:12 pitch, placing the roof panels at exactly 90 degrees, so use a square to glue the two roof halves together.
Cut a triangular brace and glue in place space just inside the gable ends so the roof can still be lifted off. If you’re using the Grandt #3708 Round Window in the gable end, be sure to cut a round hole in the appropriate roof brace. The main roof is made to be removable at this point, as it will be easier to complete the model at certain points if the roof is off. See photos 7 and 8.
The roof over the Boiler Room/Foundry Annex is cut from 1/16″ plain basswood sheet, edged with scribed sheet at the overhangs, and glued in place. See photo 9.
Fascia and Gable Trim
Build up the end gable fascia trim with “1x” lumber, starting with 1″ x 8″, adding 1″ x 6″ and finally 1″ x 3″ pieces. Layout where the Gable trim will go with a 45-degree combination square. Cut a 4″ x 4″ backer to fit behind the 1″ x 8″ fascia trim, then add a 1″ x 6″ with the ends mitered at 45-degrees to fit, then add 1″ x 4″. Cut and fit the diagonals. See photo 10.
Turn the fancy spool trim from 3/32″ dowel using your sanding sticks, chucking the dowel in a cordless drill. Notch the fascia boards at the peak, and the horizontal gable piece with a small triangular file, then round out with a small round file, finishing with a 3/32″ file, be sure that this is done “plumb”. This is where that 45-degree combo square comes in handy again. Fit the spool trim piece in place, making sure the height above the roof peak is the same for all three.
Many model structures have rafter tails sticking out at the bottom of the roofs. Even when not boxed in to form a soffit, there usually is a fascia board. I prefer the clean look of soffits, which are easily added with a strip of scribed sheet cut to size to fit the space between the bottom edge of the roof and the siding. Cut one edge of some ¹⁄16″ thick scale 3″ spacing scribed sheet at 45º to form the soffits then slice off a width to fill the space between the roof’s lower edge and the building walls. Glue in place along the lower edge of the roof panels, making sure the soffits fit snug against the siding.
Then add fascia boards to match the gable end fascias.
The Loading Dock is built up from 2″ x 10″ lumber for joist framing, with 2″ x 6″ decking and 8″ x 8″ posts. Your “Joist/Rafter Spacing Board” will come in handy once again. The drawing shows the stairs utilizing Grandt Line #3533 stairs. Assemble these and trim to fit. The Grandt stairs are a “notched” stringer style, where the diagonal boards that hold the steps are notched for the stair treads and risers.
I prefer solid stringer style stairs, and these are a little easier to build from scratch than the notched stringer type. Build these up from 2″ x 12″ lumber. A gluing jig can be made from styrene scraps to hold the stair treads at a 45-degree angle. Cut some bits of styrene at the 45-degree angle, the width of these bits will be equal to the “rise” of the stairs less the thickness of the stair tread. Using some 2″ x 12″ lumber scraps, bond the styrene 45’s to a scrap of styrene sheet. While that sets up, cut a supply of treads to 36″ length. Place an over-length 2″ x 12″ stringer along one side of the jig, apply wood glue to one end of the treads and slip them into the jig, snugging them up to the riser. Once the glue sets up, apply dabs of glue to the opposite ends of the treads and press the other stringer in place. Allow to set up over night, then carefully pull the finished stair assembly from the jig. See photo 12.
Build a platform for the office door from 2″ x 8″ stock topped with 2″ x 6″ boards. Use your Joist/Rafter Spacing Board. Fashion hand rails from 4″ x 4″ and 2″ x 4″ pieces. Make up some braces to support the platform from the 2″ x 4″ and 4″ x 4″ stock. See photo 13.
With the loading dock and the office door platform in place, fit the stairs by trimming the stringers to length, and add handrails. See photo 14. I lucked out with the loading dock and office door platform having a press fit into place between the gluing board on the siding and the threshold of the doors, so I did not have to glue these in place at this time, enabling me to build the dock, stairs and platform up as a sub-assembly and paint the whole thing separately and glue in place later. Photo 15 shows the Loading Dock and Stair sub-assembly glued together and painted Lettering Gray.
Loading Dock Awning
Again using your 16″ Joist/Rafter Spacing Board (aren’t you glad you made that handy little tool?), build up the two sections of the Loading Dock Awning, one for the side and one for the end. Cut the ends of the rafters to the correct angle for the slope of the Awning roof. Stick 1″ x 4″ purlins and a straight edge to the Joist/Rafter Spacing Board with double sided tape, place an over-length 1″ x 6″ fascia board against the straight edge and glue the rafters on top of the purlins and to the fascia boards (remember, you’re building upside down here).
Build each section over-length so you can trim the angle where the two slopes meet. Cut an angled support block large enough to hold the rafter sections at the correct angle. See photo 16. Temporarily clamp the awning sections one at a time. to the walls and mark where the awning ends needs to be trimmed.
Carefully sand the respective ends of the awning to the correct angle then clamp both sections to the walls as shown in photo 17. Add a 2″ x 8″ hip rafter between the two sections and glue up, using the angled support block to maintain the correct slope of the awning, see photo 18. Set aside to dry.
Photo 19 shows the finished sub-assembly painted white. Should you wish to add exterior lighting under the awning, this would be the time to do it. Multiple bulbs equals a rat’s nest of wiring, to simplify this, fashion a couple of bus bars from brass wire and solder shortened leads from the bulbs to this, then attach power leads to snake into the building. See photo 20.
Once the undersides of the rafters and the fascia trim have been painted, you can glue the awning to the building. Refer to Photo 21. The Loading Dock Awning roof is covered in corrugated iron sheet, formerly available from Sodders, now manufactured by Stoney Creek Designs. As this material is shiny aluminum sheet, it’s a challenge to get it to look like slightly weathered corrugated iron. The raw aluminum does not take paint well, it chips off far too easily.
For rusty weathered corrugated iron sheet, there’s nothing like a dip in some Circuit Board Etchant, but that rusty look wouldn’t exactly cut it for a newer, well-maintained building. A controlled dip in the etchant gives the aluminum a blackened, rough surface, with a slight bit of that rusty effect. I took it real easy with the etchant so I didn’t end up with rust through. It’s very, very important to rinse the etched sheets well in fresh water to stop the etching action.
Once the sheets were etched and dried, a small dab of Floquil Gun Metal was applied with a flat brush in the center of the sheet, then with the brush dipped in lacquer thinner, the paint was spread over the sheet in a wash, then wiped off quickly with a tissue. Basically, the wash soaks into the coarse finish of the etched sheet and a bit of the black and rust show through faintly. This is a messy process and like the etching, you’ll want to do this in outdoors or at least with lots of ventilation. Rub the Gun Metal a little harder here and there will give a nice uneven effect. Compared to some old galvanized sheet metal, it looks pretty convincing.
Glue the sheets to the frame with five minute epoxy, overlapping the sheets by one corrugation. Add a flashing strip at the top where the corrugated meets the siding. I had some thin copper on hand, but thin cardstock of the old Strathmore type would work as well. If you haven’t already done so, glue the loading dock, stairs and office door platform in place.
Layout the footprint of the building onto a suitable piece of scrap flat board, something plaster won’t stick to but cyanoacrylate glue will, at least temporarily. I used a scrap of pre-painted masonite whiteboard I had on hand. The siding of the building should be proud of the stone foundation by a scale inch or so, adjust the footprint accordingly. Okay, so you ask why I am making the foundation after the building structure? Partly so that any small changes in dimension while building and assembling the wooden structure could be incorporated, but mainly because there was no particular need to have the foundation done first, as would be the case with a prototype structure.
Proceed by ripping or slicing a supply of 1″ wide .060″ styrene sheet and build up formwork to cast the foundation in hydrocal plaster. Cut the styrene strips to length and glue to the board and to each other with cyanoacrylate. Build the outside walls first, then space the inner forms a scale 18″ from the outer form for sufficient strength of the finished plaster casting. It is beneficial to leave the formwork over-length at a couple of corners to assist with pulling off the forms after casting.
Top the .060″ strips with .188″ (3⁄16″) square styrene strips, with the overhang to the outside of the 1″ high strips. This does two things, reinforces the formwork to keep it from bowing, and it gives you a nice little mark to scribe the topmost row of stonework in a lintel-like style. You can use cyanoacrylate or styrene solvent for these joints.
Mix a batch of hydrocal plaster to the consistency of pancake batter, a ratio of slightly more than one cup plaster to half cup water. If your foundation is the same size as mine, you’ll need a little more than 1½ cups of plaster and about ¾ cup water. Be sure to put the water in the mixing bowl first, adding the plaster, and allowing it to thoroughly soak up the water before stirring. Distilled water seems to work better than tap water for whatever reason.
Pour the plaster soup into the formwork, making sure it flows into all the corners, working out air pockets with a small stick and/or tapping the sides of the forms. Place a sheet of glass on top and allow the plaster to set about 35 to 40 minutes.
Lift off the glass sheet and carefully pull off the formwork. Having used cyanoacrylate, the joints will come apart fairly easily, the styrene is slick enough to release the plaster without the need for any mold release, and the styrene strips will just pull off the painted masonite.
At this point, the Hydrocal is strong enough to handle with care, yet still carvable, and you have about a 45 to 60 minute window to carve easily. Using the point of a dental scraper, start at one corner and carve the stonework to represent rough or cut stone, making sure to overlap courses and interlock at corners and work your way across the wall, supporting it with your other hand from behind. Careful, the plaster is still soft at this point and easily damaged, rounded off or even broken. Don’t make the stones any larger than what would be physically be able to handled by a stone mason and his helper, 12″ x 24″ max. The .188″ strip on top of the formwork will have left a small line to work with in laying out a top row of lintel stones. Once you have carved out all the mortar lines, go back and with the side of the scraper, round over the stones a bit and add some surface detail, trying to make it look like a stone wall and not a plaster strip with lines carved in it.
Set aside and allow the plaster to cure for several days. This is very important with regard to coloring the stonework. If all the water has not evaporated from the plaster, you will get an uneven finish, but once the plaster is thoroughly dry, it looks like actual rock when colored. Put a small blob of each of the following acrylic paint colors in a small mixing dish: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Black. Have a bowl of clean water handy, dip your brush in the water to pick up a few drops and mix with a wee bit of one of the acrylics to make a very diluted wash. Apply randomly to the stones, working your way around the foundation. Switch colors and repeat until you have four colors of stones and a few white ones left. Now take a bit of any two colors together to make various mixes and do the rest of the stones.
Yes, at this point it all looks too bright. Allow to dry, then mix up a very thin wash of black and go over the entire foundation. The plaster will only soak up so much water at a time, so set it aside to dry for a few hours, then repeat with washes of your other colors. The stones will pick up bits of the various colors here and there, and give you a nice natural look. Set aside to dry at least overnight. See photos 22 and 25.
Mix equal parts of rottenstone and baking powder in a jar, shake well. Brush this over the stone walls and rub well into the mortar joints. Shake or lightly brush off any excess. Seal with a spray of Krylon #1307 Clear Matte. Hit the walls again with more powder until you get the look you’re after, either with the joints fully mortared or missing a bit of mortar, sealing each time with the Clear Matte. Cut and fit a Gatorboard or foam core “floor” to fit inside the foundation casting and glue it in place flush with the top of the foundation wall.
Build up the clerestory from board and batten siding as shown in photo 26. Paint white and glue to the main roof as shown in photo 21.
Cedar Shingles on the Main Roof
Let’s face it, unless our layouts are above eye-level, the most visible part of any model structure is the roof, so any extra effort in creating realistic roofing certainly is worthwhile. I’ve never been happy with cedar shingles made from veneer or laser-cut sheets, so usually made my own. On previous models I’ve done, I setup a jig on my bandsaw to rip tapered strips off a basswood block, and though realistic, these appeared more like very rustic hand-split cedar shakes than machine sawn cedar shingles. I tried a few different approaches to making sawn shingles and found what follows to be about the easiest. Bundle up a few dozen 1″ x 12″, 1″ x 10″ and 1″ x 8″ pieces, roll up the bundle in some kraft packing paper, then secure the bundle by wrapping it with clear packing tape. Set a stop block on a chop saw to about ½”. With a very fine blade, chop the bundle into little bundles of shingles. At this point, they’re still flat boards, but we’ll address that next.
Shingles, whether asphalt or cedar, always have what’s referred to as a “starter row”. Usually this is done with a row of half shingles placed along the lowest edge of the roof. We’ll use a strip of 1″ x 6″ for this and save a few shingles. Glue down the strip at the bottom edge of the roof panels and once dry, taper these strips along their upper edge with your sanding sticks. Lay a short bead of glue along the strip and a parallel one about 3⁄8″ up and place a row of shingles. Do about 10 to 12 at a time, otherwise the glue will skin over and you won’t get a good bond. Once you done an entire row, allow it to dry, then taper their upper edge down to the sub-roof with your sanding stick. You can stain each row individually with your alcohol/shoe dye or steel wool/vinegar stain, or if you are real careful gluing each row so as not to have excess glue squeeze out between shingles, you can stain the entire roof at once.
To correctly space your shingles, draw a series of pencil lines across the face of the sub-roof panels at approximately 1⁄8″ to 5⁄32″ apart, this gives a scale six to seven inch “exposure”. Proceed with the next row, making sure to “lap” shingle joints in a staggered fashion and align the top edge of the shingles with your pencil line. A little variation in alignment adds interest to the roof and breaks up the uniformity, but exercise caution, you don’t want your shingles all helter skelter. Use wider shingles at each end, allowing to overhang the edges of the roof and trim once dry. Work your way up the roof, once you’re close to the clerestory or peaks, you will have to trim the shingles to fit. See photos 27 and 28.
Evanoff Pattern & FoundryCap the peaks as follows. Stick some double sided tape to the edge of a work board, then stick 1″ x 6″ stock to the tape right at the edge and use your sanding stick to bevel one edge to 45º. Glue one of these on either side of a 1″ x 4″ ridge board to form the caps. (See Sketch #4) Trim around the gable end spindles for a precise fit. Touch up any stain. Go over the roof several times with a few different mixtures of stains and hit individual shingles here and there for a more random look. For more information on how prototype cedar shingle and cedar shake roofs are constructed please visit the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau web site.
Tarpaper for the Boiler and Foundry Annex
3M Micropore tape makes excellent tarpaper for roofing. I found a dispenser pack with 19 mm wide tape at my local pharmacy, close enough to represent 3 scale foot wide tarpaper. Layout pencil lines approximately 33 scale inches apart. Cut the tape into approximately 33 scale foot lengths, this was the common length of prototype rolls and covered one “square” of roof or approximately 100 square feet. Overlap all joints by 2 or 3 scale inches. Leave the ends over hanging at this point. Paint the tape roofing with a prototypical roll roofing color, this material was commonly available in forest green, black, grey, tan or mineral red. Once the paint is dry, trim the roofing using sharp scissors. Cut a strip 12 scale inches wide to form a cap over the joint where the back and side roofs meet.
The stack for the boiler room and foundry was made up from 3⁄8″ Evergreen styrene tubing. Scribe joints every 4 scale feet along the length. A small block of basswood was carved and sanded to form the transition on the roof and painted gunmetal. Parts from the Grandt Line #3512 Engine House stack set were used to make the rain shield at the base and the cap. Form support straps from .015″ x .060″ brass strip by wrapping around a smaller diameter round object. Bend the ends with pliers and glue or solder. Drill #75 holes for support rods and round the ends of the straps. See Sketch #5 and photo 29. Glue to the tube. Airbrush the tube with Model Master #1455 Gunmetal Metalizer paint and buff.
Once your main roof is glued in place, form support rods from .022″ brass wire, flatten the end that attaches to the stack and drill for a pin, round the end with a file. Flatten the other end where it meets the roof for about 9 scale inches and bend so that this end of the rod slips under the shingles. Blacken with “Blacken-It” or paint the parts and glue them in place.
The Rooftop Sign
Build up the frame for the big sign on the roof from 2″ x 6″, 2″ x 8″ and 4″ x 4″ stripwood, with NBW at the joints and to fasten the frame to the roof. Paint your trim color. The graphics were created in Windows Word, using WordArt. Print out on some 28 pound paper and coat both sides with Krylon Clear Matte. Trim with a sharp #11 blade to fit the wood frame. Apply thinned white glue to the wood backing, not the paper sign, as the paper will curl uncontrollably.
Smooth out with a bit of stripwood or styrene strip that’s had it’s edges gently rounded so you won’t tear the paper sign. I ran a thinned down 1″ x 2″ painted Floquil Off-White around the edge of the paper sign to seal the edges, then gave it another shot of Krylon Clear Matte. A similar smaller version of the sign was made up for the gable end wall. Seep photo 30.
Sliding Freight Doors
Deciding what position to glue the freight doors is far too permanent, so wherever I can, I make large doors and even some man doors, positionable. Having tried various methods of making sliding doors with mixed results, I hit on the idea of using 3 pieces of code 55 rail, two forming an inverted “U” shaped track in which another piece of rail attached to the doors slides in. Measure total length of the opening, plus the width of the two doors to get the dimension of the rail. Solder two rails together at base, overlapping as per Sketch #6, to capture rail head of the third one, using the third rail as a spacer but being sure not to solder it into place accidentally.
File off the outside base and railhead as per sketch. Sweat solder two pieces of brass angle for fastening to wall. Note in the sketch the placement of the higher rail, this ensures that the doors will tend to swing toward the wall rather than inwards. Cut short lengths of rail to suit the door tops and glue to the tops of doors, leaving about 1⁄32″ space back from the center.
When installing the sliding door assembly, place a strip of 1″ x 4″ flat against the wall down on the floor under the doors to give sufficient clearance for sliding. Slide doors onto track, set the assembly in place and carefully apply cyanoacrylate so as not to glue the sliders into the track. Glue small blocks at the ends to prevent the doors coming off the tracks (wire handles on the outside of the doors will work too) and bend a small bit of .010″ x .018″ brass bar stock to glue into the center of the track so the doors will not move past center.
The Monorail Crane
A length of Evergreen 5⁄16″ “I” beam serves as the overhead monorail crane. The monorail should extend about 8 scale feet outside the building. Google “chain fall hoist” for some images and build up a suitable hoist pulley system from scraps of styrene, some fine chain and brass wire. Paint the beam Boxcar Red and the hoist Reefer Yellow. Slip the hoist onto the beam and glue the assembly in place to some blocks glued to the ceiling inside the big hinged doors, in that notch you built up in the trim of the hinged door.
Adding a bit of interior detail goes a long way toward making the building look alive and “in use.” The O scale windows and freight doors are large enough to see into if the model is anywhere near the front of the layout, and an empty interior will simply appear as if the building is vacant.
Some basic interior trim was added in the form of baseboards and window and door casings, using 1″ x 4″ and 1″ x 6″ basswood strips, stained with a brown Sharpie marker. A side benefit of the window and door casings is that they cover any gaps around the window and door castings.
A few workbenches and wooden crates can be scratch-built from basswood scraps. I added some simulated woodworking machinery built up from styrene bits, based on illustrations and dimensions of vintage machinery found by searching on Google (see Photo 32). Berkshire Valley castings were used for the washroom facilities. A roll top desk and file cabinet from Schomberg Scale Models added some life to the office, along with a scratch-built wooden desk. A working table lamp was made from some appropriately sized beads and an 1.5 volt light bulb.
More on Lighting
Exterior light fixtures were made up using Berkshire Valley #552 Ruffled Lampshades, Miniatronics 1.5 volt bulbs and .019″ brass wire. Drill out the Lampshades for the bulb, form the bulb’s wires and a short length of the brass wire into the gooseneck conduit bracket and apply cyanoacrylate, zap with accelerator. Drill out a 1∕8″ x .060″ styrene disc to represent the electrical box and glue at the base of the gooseneck. Drill a hole in the siding to accept the wires and glue in place. Thread the wires down through the inside of the building.
Interior lighting using more of Miniatronics 1.5 volt bulbs and Grandt Line #3510 Lamp Shades. Once the lighting and interior details have been completed you may choose to permanently glue the roof in place. Add some pre-colored 1″ x 4″ trim under the gables to hide any gaps between the roof and the siding.
Base, Scenery and Finishing Up
Construct a suitable base out of your favorite material: plywood, foam insulation, etc. I use a product called “Gatorboard” available in ½” thick sheets. My local hobby shop sells off-cuts of this stuff at reasonable prices. It’s easily cut with a utility knife and straightedge, or on a tablesaw. Gatorboard is strong yet lightweight, will not warp and is dimensionally stable. From scraps of the Gatorboard, I slice off the hard paper sheet that forms the surface of the board and discard the inner foam. Then I glue these strips to the edges of the base to seal the exposed foam, making for a nice finished look for display of the model.
Glue the foundation casting in place and build up the base around it using scraps of foam insulation or Gatorboard. Fill any gaps and smooth the scenic base with plaster. See Photo 33.
Make some Hydrocal castings for a concrete slab for in front of the big hinged doors, as well as some footings for the loading dock posts, using some 3⁄16″ square basswood or styrene strips for formwork. (See Photo 33 again).
Add ground foam scenery products, bushes, weeds and litter as desired. Lay some ties and rail for a siding, On30 of course. Measure for and install a plank floor for inside the big hinged doors and glue to the foundation. Run the wiring for the lighting down into the base, then set the building on the foundation.
Some light weathering here and there, and any touch ups for missed paint or stain and we’re done. Now Mr. Evanoff and his crew of skilled pattern makers can get busy making some patterns and casting some brass and bronze parts!
Requires FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader software.