Saturday, January 10, 2015

Urban Renewl ... Part 4

Work continues ... although now at a slower pace ... on the new commercial block.

The sides have been cut and added to the front:

The side walls will have no windows. Once wall will face the L station, so definitely no windows there. The other will have some advertisements, so no need either.

Don't be skimpy with interior bracing. I've found that you really can't over-brace. Use all the scraps from the window cut outs:

Once the side walls were attached, I cut the roof out of 0.040" styrene and attached that to the shell.

I'll be adding additional bracing to the roof shortly.

Next up, I cut out the windows and doors to the back wall:

I used a combination of the doors and windows I had on hand (all cast resin from scratch built masters). I decided to use solid panel doors for the stores as security wouldn't recommend windows in the doors. I will next brace the back of this part to stiffen the joints then skin it with brick sheeting.

It was asked what brick sheets I use. I currently do the majority of my buildings with N Scale Architect O Scale Modern Brick Sheets:

The N Scale Architect

I highly recommend these sheets for the following reasons:

  • Size: 10" x 14": This helps eliminate seams in your buildings. Some seams are always possible, but this large size definitely helps
  • Quality: I've yet to get a bad sheet (I've ordered over a dozen sheets). The quality is consistent throughout the sheet ... no "fading" towards the edges.
  • Ease of cutting: Being 0.020", these are very easy to cut.
  • Cost: Well, $10 a sheet isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for. So ... they (N Scale Architect) do have volume pricing which can get the sheets down to $8 each. And, once you start, you wont stop building so the more the better!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Urban Renewal ... part 3

Two posts in one day! It might be a miracle, or just a snowy, rainy Saturday in Chicago. No need to go outside, so why not work on layout?

Anyway, the second floor of the new building has been built and added:

To create the second floor, lay out the windows in the desired pattern. A few years back, I made my own window masters and cast these windows out of resin.

These windows are large for O scale, but I based it off a window found on the Ameritown series of buildings. Its more a 1:45 scale window, but seems to go well with my L structure and the MTH cars. I made masters of 1, 2, 3, and four panel windows. By doing this, I save a lot of money (and aggravation in ordering) by not having to use commercial windows. Also, through experience, I've come up with a good size formula for floors and height that goes well with my L structure. 

Once the window layout was determined (two upper offices and a center window for the stairwell to the upper floor), the window openings and roof details were cut using the score and snap method. This is were working with styrene is very easy ... makes construction a snap, so to speak! Once snapped, the parts are glued back together with MEK. The windows act as guides for the cuts.

Once the window openings are cut, the whole assembly is laminated with brick sheeting. Then the window openings and roof details are cut from the back side. The brick is glued to the styrene using CA glue. MEK would be used but it dries too fast. It is used around the outside edges and the window openings to reinforce the lamination. The window openings are intentionally left "tight" ... filling is need to fit the windows.

Good news! The building fits the space! I've also left some room next to the station so I can add an exit Rotogate for the station. Note: no stone trim or lintels have been added at this point. I've learned to add these details AFTER the whole building is painted and mortar has been added. I explain this later, but trust me, its easier to do it this way. Note the gap between the second floor and the first floor: this will be covered by stone trim later. The joint is a butt joint that I reinforced on the back.


The view to the TV is no longer blocked! Plus, I get what I feel is a more realistic building. 

Urban Renewal ... Part 2

A couple of posts ago I mentioned my intention to replace my block of stores next to my Sheridan Road station.

I thought I would document my process for scratch building O scale buildings. Unfortunately, O scale buildings are in short supply, and therefore, they have a tendency to appear on multiple layouts.

Scratch building buildings is actually pretty easy. Below are a few photos documenting the process.

For this building, I've decided to build in a modular method. That is, to ease construction, I've decided to start the first floor store fronts first. This will have two stores and a center doorway that will lead to the second story. Do not forget to add access to the second floor of your buildings!

Materials are pretty basic:

  • N Scale Architect brick sheets. I highly recommend these. The quality is excellent
  • 0.040" Styrene sheet. With bracing, this is more than sturdy enough for the shell
  • Various sizes of strip styrene and scraps. I use about five different sizes of strips. 

I don't build to a plan, but rather to fill a space. In this case, I had about a length of 11.5" to fill. From that, I determined that two store fronts and a center entrance seemed to work the best. Just try to maintain some symmetry across the facade.

The store front is build up from the backside, stacking various strips and shapes to make windows and eventually doors. The brick sheeting is also stacked to create recessed brick rows.

Since this building will sit towards the front of the layout, I'm thinking ahead about possibly eventually detailing the interior. So, I made the center entrance deeper than I normally would so I can have some of the interior hallway. I will make the door separately so it will be easier to paint.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year .... a new camera?

Sometimes its shocking how good technology has become ... evidenced by the below photos taken with my new Iphone.

These photos rival those taken with my DSLR ....

Next up, I'll have to try some video!

But, goes to show you how far we've advanced. And, always seem to have phone on me so maybe I'll take more pictures!