Thursday, December 10, 2015

Updates for early December 2015 ... or the motto is: don't give up!

With the holiday season in full swing and all the obligations that come with that, modeling on the layout has slowed somewhat. However, I decided to work on a few different things ...

First up ... 

Behind my Sheridan Road station and behind the Uptown Theater (my very simplified version that is wayyyy out of place) I had a cardboard / paper mock up of a building. I've decided to replace this with a more realistic structure. I've decided to model a concrete reinforced brick building.

This being O scale, this is a rather large structure (18" high by 12" wide by about 6" deep). By making the building concrete reinforced, I can minimize the amount of brick sheeting to use and eliminate any joints in the brick.

And, as this is so large, I decided to make the core of the building out of some scrap 3/8" plywood I had laying around:

This will prevent any warping as the size is rather large! I may leave the roof of the building off as I am thinking of hiding some home electronics equipment (cable modem, router and home network switch) inside as these currently reside on a shelf above the station.

Styrene strips were cut to make the concrete reinforcements using the score and snap method. Once one was cut, it was used as a template for the other sections.

For these larger buildings that typically reside in the background, I am continuing to use the brick sheets offered by JTT Architectural Detail Parts. You get two 7.5" 12" sheets for approx. $6.50. The detail is good and the bricks take mortar very nicely.

For foreground buildings I will still use the brick sheets from N Scale Architect as the quality is better and the consistency of their bricks makes stacking (for added brick details) much easier. The cost, however, is more than double so that is why I try to use these less expensive sheets for background buildings.

To attach the sheet stryene to the plywood core I used 3M spray adhesive which seemed to hold very well. The styrene "concrete reinforcements" have been added to this styrene base:

Since this building will reside behind the Sheridan Road station, details have kept to a minimum on this building for now. 

As for details, my philosophy so far has been to keep time consuming details to a minimum so that I can build somewhat faster. At this point, I'd rather get multiple buildings built, rather spend all my time super detailing one structure at the expense of overall layout progress. I feel that as time progresses, I can always return to these structures and then add more details. But, in the meantime, they can act as adequate background buildings.

And ... as the title of this post states ... don't also give up on either stalled or less than perfect projects. They can often be saved or recycled!

Case in point ...

Over two years ago I began construction on an apartment building that was supposed to be placed on my Sheridan curve module. I made the building from N Scale Architect brick sheeting (so a decent investment in modeling funds) and attempted to add as much detail as possible to the structure ...

I initially built the structure as just a flat with about 1" of depth on the sides. All details were added before painting (this is an important note!).

But, alas ... there were a few problems that stalled this structure and almost sent it to the dumpster ...

  • I realized that the structure blocked the view of the TV from my workbench. Since the "workbench" is more like a desk, I sit rather low. Definitely a bad thing!
  • I built the styrene core of this building from a larger sheet of 4' x 8' styrene that I purchased on-line. The cost of this gigantic sheet was phenomenal ... I think is was less than $10. HOWEVER ... the sheet came rolled in a tube. And, as such, the styrene maintained a memory of being rolled up. Substantial bracing was required to keep the sheet flat for model building. I did that for this structure, but the building still warped badly.I have since added additional bracing, but there still is some warp.
  • When I built this, I didn't account for adding sides and a back. Therefore, when I tried to add the sides, it wouldn't have been a clean transition.
  • I unfortunately dropped the building a few times onto the concrete floor, damaging a few sections.
So, having the above issues, the building was removed and almost thrown away. But, like any good model railroader, I really can't throw anything away (luckily).

Over two years passed, and having the new elevated extension I decided to attempt to "resurrect" the building. I figured I spent too much time and money to just throw it away.

So ... last few weeks I have finished painting it and started adding the windows:

I still need to add additional top cornice details, but I can add and paint that separately.

But with any project, I always try to learn things and especially from mistakes. Some items I learned from this project are:

  • Do not skimp on the core of a building, especially O scale. Due the size, always try to minimize the chance for any warping. While the roll of styrene was very economical, the memory of the "roll" it maintained made for later headaches.
  • If a previous foreground project doesn't turn out as expected, it can always be relegated to the background.
  • Details: When I built this, I added all the stone details (lintels), the front entryway and door, and the brick relief BEFORE I painted and added mortar to the structure. This was a BIG problem. It just made adding mortar much more difficult as I couldn't get into all the recesses and made painting more tedious. A "best practices" approach would be to add all details or brick depth AFTER painting and mortaring. It makes for a cleaner and easier process.
  • Never give up on a project ... it can usually be salvaged!
So, once almost thrown away, the apartment building is now a background building for my newest L extension...

Who knows ... I may even add some interior lighting! Arisen from the ashes, so to speak.

1 comment:

  1. I am from Chicago now in Nashville,and I have a layout of Chicago with the El. I have to know how you did those apartment buildings or where you got them from.

    Scott humphries