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Post op exam was good, just like the first eye. Get refracted in 3 weeks and then going to visit son in State College and he will refract me again a week later. He's a terrific ophthalmologist and I trust his exams implicitly. I DO NEED a prescription for the astigmatism. My old glasses work barely, but it's too soon to get new ones since things keep changing until the new lenses settle in. I can use them for closeup work.

Since I'm not building anything until Friday, I actually ran the trains today and took some footage. After running my T-1 and Allegheny, I ran the MTH early Premiere Santa Fe F3s with my Lionel nicely scale passenger consist on the outer high-speed loop and the MTH PS2 Dealer Appreciation Model of the N&S Tuxedo-scheme F-7s pulling a manifest frieght of almost all box cars on the inner freight loop. I mounted the phone on the magnetic holder I made taking pictues as if you were a passenger on the trains. I followed this up with some point-of-view shots around the pike. I like O'guage tin-plate Ross track. You can leave it for months, turn on the power and run trains. I rarely do rail cleaning and without a cleaning car, some places are unreachable.

File was too big for direct upload. Also, video compression really took out some of the clarity. That old guy in the background is me. I was able to start and stop recording on my iPhone 12 Pro using the camera app on my Apple Watch. Ain't technology cool!

Last edited by Trainman2001

On another topic… I'm thinking that when I finish these next two projects, I'm going to declare the RR as finished. There's always more to do, but I'm running out of inspiration. I'm also going to be 80 in a two years and frankly, don't know how much longer I will be energized to do the kind of physical gymnastics needed to continue building it. That's especially true since most of the easy to reach places are finished. My T1 derailed just before entering the tunnel in the far reaches of the layout. I was able to get down on my scooter, roll under the layout, come up in the open space on the back wall and re-rail the engine. I did this without too much effort. I've been managing my weight and doing core strengthening exercises. I'm reasonably fit for a 77 year-old, but how long will that last?

With that backdrop, I'm thinking about trying to sell the entire layout as an entity. And I have absolutely no idea how one goes about this. It's not something that's going to happen soon. My brother in law is 89 and was still a practicing pediatrician up till last weekend when he had a heart attack. He has survived with the help of a stent installed within an hour after the event. He has three other stents in place for 14 years. Not only does he have a doctor's office that needs to be closed down, he and my sister have a vast amount of antiques and have been part-time dealers for years. She almost lost him and would have be saddled with unwinding all of this on her own.

I don't want my spouse to have to deal with my railroad under those conditions and would rather liquidate it while I'm able to manage this massive project and maybe get some cash our of the deal too.

Anyone have any experience or thoughts about how to go about this? How to valuate it? How to market it? And is it a good idea?


You are wise to think about this ahead of time. We ALL will have to sooner or later. However, to see what you have accomplished on your layout and it have to be sold is still melancholy. I know you don't plan to sell the layout tomorrow and I certainly hope that you will just enjoy it for a few more years while your health is still good. You have worked very hard to accomplish what you have and owe it to yourself. The special care, effort, research, precision, creativity, and outcome of your buildings is second to none.  In going through this thread, I see I'm like you in that I actually enjoy building my layout more than anything else. But as everyone knows, we all enjoy the hobby in our own way. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy it as long as we are having fun in the process.

I know I didn't answer any of the above questions, I'll let someone else chime in on that one. In the meantime we will await your Hardware House build. Also, I'm not sure if it's just me but the link to your video is not working on my end. I was looking forward to see your trains run through that stunning scenery.


Didn't get much done today, but what I did do was essential to move the project forward. The weather cooperated and I was able to get a coat of Rust-oleaum Red Oxide primer on the walls, corner thingies and chimneys. I couldn't move forward until this was done. I'm able to get back into the shop and will now be able keep going. The roof truss assembly and the screwing down to the work surface DID get the warp out, but the finished plate needs some more trimming to fit into the wall structure. It looks very different even with the walls all covered with the oxide red. Suddenly all the levels of brick work pop.

NHH Brick Color On

Stay tuned… things are moving.


Images (1)
  • NHH Brick Color On

Myles, it does really show the brick detail well!

I can see where you would say the layout is pretty much finished once these two buildings are installed.  I suppose you could come up with a new building to replace something near the layout edge if you want.

I don’t know anyone who has sold a layout, though I have heard of it done; and I think it was someone on this forum.  I agree, there comes a point to plan to make things easier on our wives and children when the time comes.  Not unlike planning a layout that would be easier on us when we aren’t as mobile.

Last edited by Mark Boyce
@Mark Boyce posted:

I don’t know anyone who has sold a layout, though I have heard of it done; and I think it was someone on this forum.  I agree, there comes a point to plan to make things easier on our wives and children when the time comes.  Not unlike planning a layout that would be easier on us when we aren’t as mobile.

I have not been able to build a layout as fantastic as  many forum members with structural integrity and complexity. 

The layouts like these that I see in the photos look like disassembly would be pretty daunting for me.   

I have seen where layouts have been left and actually enhanced the sale of houses if they were done well.

IMHO ....I would leave the layout the way it is right now .    If I  had a plethora of engines and rolling stock I would box them up maybe with some postits on the boxes for family reference and keeping some out for self enjoyment for now.     

Miles - regarding the layout and entirety of buildings, engines, cars, track etc,  just make sure you do an inventory and do an estimate on what each piece may sell for or leave it at purchase price.  Having been the executor for my mom's and mother-in-law's estates, the biggest challenge was figuring out what might be of value and what wasn't. The cleaning out the houses to make ready for sale was a huge time commitment. Make sure the next person knows there are auction houses out there who will buy collections and come in and get them. A couple of years ago one of them (Stout?) had a large layout for sale, buyer had to come in and disassemble. Do not remember how that worked out.  Personally I would not down size in preparation for my next adventure? Seems to me that is too much like waiting to die, none of us know how much time is left.  Have excess stock you don't run or need that is another story. Maybe sell those off now. Otherwise keep doing what you enjoy. Having an inventory to share with the auction house will make it easier for them to say "yes we'll take it" - they will have an idea if they can cover their costs.

When I had my house under contract the buyers insisted the train room be "clean" and had a separate clause in the purchase agreement.  No value in the layout to them. Nor was there any value to me because I wanted to build something different in the next house. Took me about 8 hours to strip the layout and cut it up enough for the trash guys. Actually, my biggest problem was getting rid of the plywood and other materials. If it did not fit in the can, they would not take it. I got very creative in getting rid of pieces.  Yours is quite a bit larger than mine and may take a small army to disassemble. Hence - the auction guys who will do a lot of that work.

The after take down photo,  the next one image of the layout - grandson not included in the sale.

Best - Jeff

IMG_2978Breaking News Photo


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  • IMG_2978
  • Breaking News Photo

Thanks for the valuable input! I'm going to sit tight for now… I believe I have time to think about this. That said, one never knows when something really bad can happen, but I'm not planning on that.

Before I give today's report, I did get pictures of the Iowa Class Turret in its final display location on the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial. It's at a nice height letting viewers see into fully exposed turret top as well as seeing the rest of the interior.

ITP Final Location 1ITP Final Location 2

Ryan Syzmanski took the pictures today. I don't know what kind of smart phone he has, but the resolution ain't so hot. I don't really care… it's where it belongs.

I finished the outer building painting today of all the direct attached features. This doesn't include front store window assemblies, doors and shutters. The windows are all painted and waiting for installation. Work started by masking to airbrush which semi-gloss Tamiya acrylic. I make semi-gloss with a 50/50 flat and gloss mix. All the top details are white.

NHH Masking the top

I also masked down the sides since the upper cornice is also white. I use Tamiya tape to mask the edges and then use less expensive 3M blue to cover the larger areas with the newsprint. Nothing is better than Tamiya tape.

NHH Masking the side

After de-masking, this is how it turned out. I de-mask quickly when paint is tacky so the tape doesn't pull any paint.

NHH Top Painted

The lower cornice was masked, and the rest re-covered so I could paint the cornice Tamiya Japan Dark Green.

NHH Lower Cornice Mask

Then I covered this up and masked the lower foundation reveal and airbrushed my custom concrete mix (Neutral Gray and Buff).

When all the tape was removed, I have a painted building. I also painted the chimney tops with concrete also.

NHH Building Shell Painted

While all this was drying I started working on the front window assemblies. The window sill prints aren't quite right and I needed to add some flat 0.040" styrene to create a real sill space, part of which which be on the exterior below the glazing and the rest forming a display space on the inside. While I could have printed this layer, it would be thin and prone to severe warping. I coped the sheet stock into the back of the printed part and held with med CA and accelerator. Some minor filling will be required to make this layer nearly invisible.

NHH Sill Filler Piece


Images (8)
  • ITP Final Location 1
  • ITP Final Location 2
  • NHH Masking the top
  • NHH Top Painted
  • NHH Masking the side
  • NHH Lower Cornice Mask
  • NHH Building Shell Painted
  • NHH Sill Filler Piece

Thanks Mark!

Hobby shop run today to get Evergreen strip stock to produce the front store windows. I did get about an hour in the shop and multi-tasked. I printed out the scale images of Early Sunday Morning (ESM) and mocked up the building on some cardboard to test the fit on the layout. It actually has a footprint smaller than the Idaho Hotel that previously held that spot (and is now on Mark Boyce's layout I might add). If I didn't have to find a spot for the appliance store since its spot is going to the hardware store, I wouldn't have to sell any buildings… yet.

Here's several views of ESM. The only negative is the back of the store facing the layout's front. You can see an oblique frontal view from the inside opening on the layout.

This shot is from that opening.

ESM Site Test 3

And here's what's seen from the aisle.

ESM Site Test 5

And here's looking across the fire house, and a little elevated.

ESM Site Test 1

And two views down mainstreet.

ESM Site Test 4ESM Site Test 6

Verdict… It clearly fits and actually makes a nice kit-sized structure. It will look nice with the 3D relief of store windows, set back doors and cornice/corbel details.

I also printed out a scaled pattern to serve as a guide for assembling the Hardware Store front windows. I tested the fit here and it was the correct width.

NHH Front Window Pattern

Last thing I did was complete the mods to the 3D printed store-front sills. I added the Tamiya filler and will let it fully cure overnight. After finishing, the adding styrene pieces will not be seen. I will be attaching the window assemblies to these parts. I probably will epoxy the sills onto the building wall first so I can get accurate height measures for the window framing.

NHH Front Sills WIP

I also had to stop at the body shop during my trip today. When bringing my car into the carriage the last time, I just bumped my mirror on the garage door frame and made a mental note that I was very close on the right side and to pay attention on the way out. I didn't! On the way my mirror was hyper-extended with a loud "Crunch". This was the seond time I did this with this particular mirror. The first time it cracked the plastic housing and I was able to sort of snap it back together so it was functional… not perfect… just functional. This time I did the whole job. Mirror was shattered and hanging on my the two wires for the defroster heating. The mirror is sort of old school without the blind spot passing senors and that kept the price to just annoying, not horrific. Total job will be $313. Parts were $193.

What's amazing is you can get a new right-side mirror for an Acura TL Type-S in the correct Carbon Bronze color. My wife asked me if we could find a used one. I think the odds are slim, but it could be possible. I'd still need them to install it since I have no idea about how to manipulate door panels on modern cars.


Images (7)
  • ESM Site Test 3
  • ESM Site Test 5
  • ESM Site Test 1
  • ESM Site Test 4
  • ESM Site Test 6
  • NHH Front Window Pattern
  • NHH Front Sills WIP

The Early Sunday Morning building will look nice in that location.  Actually, the Idaho Hotel is on a shelf under the layout right now.  I put most of the buildings there while I was changing the track configuration.  That is done, and I’m testing out the engines now.   The new location will be right inside the door. There is a nice large spot there for a large building, but it is a fitting spot for a fine model.

Considering I had 2 hours in the shop today, I didn't get much done, but there's always a reason.

I glued a backing board (styrene) to the rear of the sill assemblies to provide another point of support. I then attempted to assemble the two sills and their respective doors together over the plan drawing I showed yesterday. According to the plan, the doors were narrower than the sill spacing, so I added some 0.080" X .100" styrene stock CA'd to the side of the door's frame. I then glued the back board of the sill to the sytrene extension on the door. There was very little gluing area and it was a very fragile deal that kept falling apart. Each time they fell apart the assembly got more ragged.

I then carefully took these two door units to the building and guess what? The space was too narrow and the sills and the door were buckling and the joints were breaking again. My printed plan WAS NOT the correct dimension for the building. I broke all the remaining glue joints and sanded the area, and then had to relief cut the sills so, when glued to the front wall, their spacing correctly accommodated the doors.

NHH Fitting the sillsNHH Fitting Sills 2

And then I changed my routine. Instead of trying to assemble the door to the sills off the model, I glued the sills to the model and then glued the door inplace. This was trickier than it seems at first glance, as I didn't want to glue the door assemblies to the floor. I am not ready to permanently glue in the floor, and may never to do so. I was using epoxy to hold UV resin to acrylic. I was careful to get the cement only on the areas that will touch the building lower wall part and not the wood floor. A lot has to happen to the floor before it's going in permanently.

The doors are just epoxied at their bottoms in that very small glue area, but the rest of the window framing will add more support going forward. The whole thing will be a networked assembly. The two store fronts are not equally sized with the left store being narrower. This assymentry is caused by the distance taken up by the apartment door which falls on the original hardware store side of the building.

NHH Gluing Sills Front ViewNHH Gluing Sills Top View

Tomorrow I will start working on the window frames proper.


Images (4)
  • NHH Fitting the sills
  • NHH Fitting Sills 2
  • NHH Gluing Sills Front View
  • NHH Gluing Sills Top View

Really dug into building the front windows… over and over again. If there was a way to screw it up I did so and multiple times. Some were measurement errors. Some were getting glue on the glazing. And finally there was my usual impatience by trial fitting assemblies before they were cured enough to handle and they fell apart. Once that happened, the second problem showed up with the glue getting out of control. I solved most of these and changed my glazing method from using liquid cement applied from the outside edge to using the 3M Transfer Adhesive to avoid any glue leakage.

First let me review my recently developed method to create sustainable windows.

  1. Cut a rectangle sized to the window opening out of thin styrene sheet (0.015").
  2. Cut the first frame piece out of your selected stock and glue it right up to the backing's edge. I usually tray and butt the end of this first piece right to the side edge. I square the ends of all the frame parts on the precision sander.
  3. Install two more frame part butting thier one end against the previously placed part and letting the other hang just hang over. We'll trim them up at the end.
  4. I used a straight edge to assist in getting the frame parts right up to the backing edges.
  5. The last frame part is the only one where I have to measure precisely. I use the digital caliper to measure the space and then make a scribe mark on the stock. I cut this piece on the Chopper. If it's a tad long that okay. Sand it to a perfect fit.
  6. Trim all the hanging ends close to the frame.
  7. Finish sand all the ends square on the precision sander.
  8. With a sharp #11, cut out the center of the backing and finish off any remaining edges.
  9. Placing the part onto the clear glazing (styrene) and apply liquid cement from the outside edges. Turn it over and check to see it the wetting is even. OR
  10. Use transfer adhesive tape applied to the frame. Then invert and apply frame to the glazing. OR
  11. Use MicroMark Pressure Sensitive Adhesive applied to the frame and invert frame on glazing.
  12. Again, with sharp #11, trim glazing all around and final sand all the edges.

Here's some images showing the above:

The 3rd side is fitted. The long tails get cut at the end.

NHH Window Assembly Scheme

Using the straight edge helped keep the frame aligned to the backing's edge. Be careful that the backing doesn't scootch under the straight edge. The straight edge needs to be thick enough to block the frame from moving.

NHH Window Assembly on Straight Edge

When all the tails are trimmed I square them all up on the precision sander.

NHH Windows Squaring Off

Assembling the Window Set:

I decided that the angled window will be the part attached to the rear of the front window. This meant angling the angled window's frame to nestle against against the front frame. I used a wider frame piece for this side so when the angle is created there will still be some frame left. This is was that looked like glued to the backing. Notice the overhang.

NHH Window Mounting Edge

Before glazing I try each window with the opaque backing into the building's space. No point in wasting the clear if the piece doesn't fit correctly. Getting these dimensions were the most difficult especially establishing the width of the angled window. A failure later on was the right side window set where I got the depth wrong and destroyed the entire assembly when trying to break it apart to just replace the angled portion. Remember the 4th axiom of model making: The glue joint that is strongest is the one you need to break apart!

NHH Fitting 1st Window

I attached the frames to the glazing leaving scrap all around and would just trim around to made them right.

NHH Windows Glazing Scheme

I measured the angle with an angle gauge and then carefully sanded this angle into the side frame on the 1" belt sander.

Using the pattern I made and a MicroMark soldering block with some T-pins, I secured the front and side frames to the angle for gluing.

NHH Windows 1st Assembly

NHH Windows Build on Pattern

There is not much gluing surface, and that was a problem (for me).

I didn't let the first set dry long enough. When I was fiddling with it in the building space to see if it fit, it fell apart. Subsequent attempts to glue it back together made things worse and I finally had to scrap it. Here's what happened to the front window when the CA got on it. Yes… I was reverting to CA to rejoin the failed glue joint. Didn't work!

NHH Window Screw Up 1

I finally got two sets done.

NHH Windows two Assemblies

Here's the fit of the first window sets after three tries. The slight gap you see in the left angled window will be closed when final assembly takes place.

NHH Windows 2nd Trial

There's are several more challenges facing me. These frames could use some trim pieces around the joints, like some 1/4 round at the base to sill and wall joints. I have to paint them! That means the glazing has to be masked! And I have to remove that mask without wrecking anything. I have to glaze the doors which are now glued into the building. AND I have to paint before glazing since masking these will be almost impossible. All of these are surmountable, as long a I keep my wits about me. I also don't like that the sill on the window on the right side of the image is not square to the building. I could swear that I had that clamped down tightly. If that's true it means that the inside of the 3D printed part was not parallel to the sills surface resulting in the tilt even if the part was clamped tightly. It's epoxied and that means difficulty in removal without damage. I may have to print another one.


Images (12)
  • NHH Window Assembly Scheme
  • NHH Window Mounting Edge
  • NHH Window Assembly on Straight Edge
  • NHH Windows Squaring Off
  • NHH Window Mounting Edge
  • NHH Windows Build on Pattern
  • NHH Window Screw Up 1
  • NHH Windows Glazing Scheme
  • NHH Windows 1st Assembly
  • NHH Fitting 1st Window
  • NHH Windows two Assemblies
  • NHH Windows 2nd Trial

By hook or by crook I got the windows built. They all fit.

NHH Store Windows Built

To streamline the work on the second set, which by the way, had no rejected versions, I made a semi-permanent fixture on the belt sander so I wasn't attempting to hand hold the correct mating angle. This let me pay more attention to keeping the part well-seated on the sander table, and keeping the grinding parallel to the edge. Like all these other on-off custom structures, I always figure out the best way to do something 3/4 the way through the project.

NHH Sanding Guide

I built the transom window that goes above the apartment door. I taped the door into the opening so I could get an accurate height measure. The width was the same as the door's. I'm getting really good at building these windows. This one took about five minutes.

NHH Transom Window

To facilitate getting the windows into the proper locations and to help hold them there, I pressed some scrap adhesive backed RC board left over from the laser cut window frets. Never throw frets away that have special characteristics such as this self-adhesive RC board or Photo-etched fret which is a great source of fine brass stock for small jobs. I was just about to glue on styrene strip like I did with all the window openings when I saw the RC board sitting on the bench.

NHH Scrap Use

This was SOOO much easier.

NHH Adhesive Backstops

For the lower sill I did use styrene since the surface to which is was gluing was also styrene. With these positive stops in place, I'm assured that the windows will go in parallel to the building's face.

NHH Front Backstops

Tomorrow's our 55th anniversary so I'm not sure that it would a good day to work in the shop. In that case, I will definately be back on Monday. Next up will be masking and painting. I'm going to use the liquid PSA to glue in the front door glazing after the painting. I can easily apply that working through the building without making a mess.


Images (6)
  • NHH Store Windows Built
  • NHH Sanding Guide
  • NHH Transom Window
  • NHH Adhesive Backstops
  • NHH Front Backstops
  • NHH Scrap Use

I worked in the shop and got the store windows masked and glued in. I then installed over-door LEDs into the little roofs that cover the door alcove and then masked and glued the roofs in place. This way, with the window masking done off the model, but glued in with their masks on, I will be able to paint the front as a whole and then peel the tape. This let me glue the windows onto bare styrene for a better joint. The little roofs further reinforce this somewhat-delicate assemblage.

It would have been difficult to impossible to mask the windows in place. By doing the masking before gluing them into the building let me hold them securely and trim the tape nice and close. Removing the tape with the windows in will not be a problem.

NHH Windows In and Masked

In addition to the parallel backing pieces I put in on Thursday I put some angular backers today to glue more support to the angular windows.

NHH Window Braces

I'm using little 1.8mm warm white LEDs for the over door lights and then tested them.

NHH Over-door Light Test

I glued these little roofs in place using old-school Testor's tube cement and it will dry overnight.

NHH Over-Door Ceilings In

I just used a spot of masking tape underneath to shield the lights from the subsequent painting.

NHH Over-Door Lights Masked

I still have to install the center door and transom and then paint the assemblage.


Images (5)
  • NHH Over-Door Ceilings In
  • NHH Over-Door Lights Masked
  • NHH Windows In and Masked
  • NHH Window Braces
  • NHH Over-door Light Test
Last edited by OGR CEO-PUBLISHER

Thanks Mark!

Even with exercising today I got the center door and transom installed and some serious painting. The sticky pieces I put in last week didn't hold well enough to put out the door's warp, so I replaced it with styrene strips glued to the building acrylic walls with acrylic cement. I then glued the door and transom in with Testor's tube cement.

NHH Center Door Installed

I then masked all the brick areas and airbrushed the front assembly. I use a lazy susan to paint larger things so I can rotate the work and keep the airbrush in the same relative orientation. The masking went smoothly and got the store fronts painted.

NHH Front Painted

When the paint was set up a bit I carefully de-masked without damaging any of the clear parts. There were a couple of spots that didn't get enough green and I went back and hand touched-up those areas. BTW: this is Tamiya Dark Green, not Japan Green as I noted in an earlier post.

NHH Store Fronts painted Dark Green

The inside wide window sills were still white styrene. I had to hand paint these leaning over the walls of the building. It was a bit nerve wracking since I had to carefully paint the inner bracing without painting the inside of the windows.

NHH Inner Sills Painted

From the outside...

NHH Sills Aren't White

With the main doors painted I can now install glazing on their backs using MicroMark PSA. Shouldn't be too difficult (famous last words).

The entry area is going to be concrete and I wanted a non-wood substrate surface for better finished. Where you see painted green is not the building. It's the ply floor plate. The green airbrushed paint now served as a nice pattern to cut some thin, 0.015", styrene sheet and glue it to the floor plate with the transfer tape. The floor will be removable for various reasons. In fact, I'm going to epoxy some screw blocks to the acrylic wall lower edges and actually screw the floor in. I did the same thing on the Woodbourne Gallery and the turret outer shell in that project. It gives security without permanence.

It needed a bit more trimming to just nest into the space without buckling.

NHH Front Stoops

And with the building in place for a test fit. These appliques and the lower portion that IS part of the wall structure will be painted concrete color. I still have to make door knobs for all the doors.

NHH Front Stoop Fitting

It's time to get the mortar lines filled. I've been procrastinating a bit since this is a sloppy and difficult task (for me). I'm going to try and use a different technique this time. I'm going to use a mortar colored Bragdon Enterprises weathering powder that can be use on flat paint. It might be a little less abusive to the base brick color. My previous method of using joint compound was messy, and being a bit abrasive, would remove the base color when I was trying to remove the excess. I'm going to experiment on some scrap engraved parts, then the chimneys and corner thingys, and finally the main walls. The excess powder can be removed with a wet paper towel. Wish me luck.

Tomorrow we're having lunch with our daughter celebrating my wife's birthday (yesterday) and then I have my refraction appointment for the cataract surgery, so I may not have time in the shop. If that's the case, this will be the last post until the week of the 24th since we're leaving on Friday. We're taking our Spring sojourne back East.


Images (7)
  • NHH Center Door Installed
  • NHH Front Painted
  • NHH Sills Aren't White
  • NHH Store Fronts painted Dark Green
  • NHH Inner Sills Painted
  • NHH Front Stoops
  • NHH Front Stoop Fitting

Hey gang! I'm back after a nice trip back East and gaining my usual extra pounds.

In addition to visiting family and old friends I got the opportunity to photograph the Newtown Theater in more detail and another nice late 19th Century store in Lambertville, NJ. I'm developing a file of wonderful buildings for future construction. Once you figure out how to create these Victorian/2nd Empire gems it seems that nothing is off the table.

I also had my son re-check my refraction prescription and did find a mild change to sharpen it up a bit. I then got some reading glasses to enable me to read anything. It was annoying not having clear vision for the trip home. I had to leave my current glasses with his practice so they could obtain and install the new lenses. I then rummaged through my night table drawer to find an old pair lying around. I found a pair that was at least five years old that is almost the right prescription for both near, middle and far. I'm actually working on my laptop right now with everything in focus. The lenses are a smaller form factor which I don't like and they're not as perfect as the new ones will be, but they will work fine for the next couple of weeks. I really don't know how they would work, but they do.

And today I did get in the shop and I did do a few things… not much… but it was good to get back to 'work'.

I was going to paint the back doors and shutters the dark green, but had stop and first paint the light yellow trim in the panels. This took two coats of craft acrylics light yellow and I'll mask and paint and airbrush the green tomorrow. I then painted the concrete front stoops. I cut and epoxied the mounting blocks to the walls into which to screw the base plate into the building.

NHH Back Parts 1st Coat

NHH Concrete Painted

Here's the mounting blocks curing. I'm using 5 minute epoxy so it didn't take long.

NHH Plate Screw Blocks

NHH Plate Fit to Blocks

I drilled clearance holes through the plate and pilot holes in the blocks. I attached the screws, then removed them and soaked the screw holes with thin CA to harden the threads so the screws can be repeatedly removed without stripping out the threads.

NHH Plate Mount Screws

I had the 1st floor center wall assembly laser cut out of acrylic. I then had to craft the stair well walls or of more material that was laser cut to the correct height. I cut this on the scroll saw, trued up the edges and glued them together with acrylic solvent.

NHH Main Floor Partitions

I marked the floor plate where this will be epoxied. I'm going to glue it to the floor, not the walls so the interior can be removed in its entirety.

Of course I cut the partitions on the wrong side of the line and was one thickness too wide. I had to make a relief cut so it slipped around the window sill. And as I write this I realize that this notch will prevent the partition from coming away from the wall structure since it will be trapped by the window sill. I will have to rethink how to glue this in. Once again, writing about it clears my mind. I may be able to cut the sill styrene to clear the partition and let it drop through.

NHH Partition Relief Cut

I then wrestled with the 2nd floor plate. I choose my words carefully and "wrestled" is appropriate. I did not win the match and will attach it again tomorrow. The problem stems from the small window frame pieces I glued on and the other floor ledges stopping it from sliding down to lie on the 1st floor partition. You see here it jammed at an angle and not going down further. I cut a bunch of relief cuts where the windows are, but still didn't get it right.

NHH 2nd Floor Jam

I'm thinking to split the floor in two halves so they can slide in sideways. I can glue a step to one to catch the edge of the other. These intermediate floors don't really do anything other than provide a place for partitions and hold the lighting for the floor below. I will figure it out.

Here's some details of the theater that make it an interesting build. It does scale out to just about 40' W X 80' D, which works as an O'scale structure.

While the brick work initially appears simple, it does have some interesting elements.

My wife, Michele is 5' 3" so I will use her to scale the drawings. The main doors appear taller than 84" which is what I would normally use.

NT Front Img

The horizontal buttresses are pyramidal in shape with a stair step bricking proceeding up in both directions.

NT Brick Detail Img

The sides have this section on the bottom courses of brickwork

NT Side Img

Windows are cute...

NT Detail 1

While the corbels are relatively plain, take a look at those larger bricks laid on diagnonals at the roof course. Now that's interesting! Notice the builder's plate… Built in 1831 and rebuilt in 1883.

NT Upper Pediment Img

This left side view shows the emergency exit and also shows that tapered brickwork in better relief.

NT Emer Exit and Brick Detail

The Sojourne Shop on Bridge Street in Lamberville, NJ is one of the many fabulous 19th century buildings in that neat river town that sits on the Delaware River about 15 minutes north of Trenton, NJ.

We were parked across the street and while my wife was talking on the phone, I was staring at the building and realized just how cool it was. We go to Lambertville all the time and often have drinks at the Lambertville House next door. We sitting on their porch you're looking across Bridge Street and don't see this building, therefore, it had escaped my gaze over the years.

Sojourne Lambertville 12

As simple as the corbels are on the theater, get a load of these babies.

Sojourne Lambertville

The windows are complex, but eminently 3D printable (if I can draw them). As I always say, "If I can draw it, I can print it. If I can print it, I can make it." Notice also the piercing in the flat pieces over the windows. And there's another brick step structure where the wall transitions from thin to thick. Look at the brick dentil work at the top cornice. It too has a builder's plate saying it was constructed in 1879.

Sojourne Lambertville 2

The store windows aren't simple either. They may be printable, although they'll be frail. Probably better to do them "old school." The building's a bit deep and I would foreshortened it. You can see the Lamberville House's porch on the right side. When using this image in SkectchUp, I would first fix up the perspective distortion in Corel PhotoPaint. I iPhone 12's wide angle lens distorts perspective. I would have someone actually measure the door height for me so the scaling would be accurate.

Sojourne Lambertville 11

As you can see, this building's a gem that offers a lot of interest.

I'm going to do a series of podcasts with a fellow and my topic will be scratch-building 18th century models. I'm collecting my information for this. Should be fun.

These kinds of buildings exist many small towns all across America. The East is full of them. All you have to do is open your eyes and have your camera ready. That last part is easy now since everyone has one in their pocket and it doesn't run out of film.


Images (18)
  • NHH Back Parts 1st Coat
  • NHH Concrete Painted
  • NHH Plate Screw Blocks
  • NHH Plate Fit to Blocks
  • NHH Plate Mount Screws
  • NHH Main Floor Partitions
  • NHH Partition Relief Cut
  • NHH 2nd Floor Jam
  • NT Front Img
  • NT Brick Detail Img
  • NT Side Img
  • NT Detail 1
  • NT Upper Pediment Img
  • NT Emer Exit and Brick Detail
  • Sojourne Lambertville 12
  • Sojourne Lambertville
  • Sojourne Lambertville 2
  • Sojourne Lambertville 11

Thanks Mark!

The CA trick I learned from the model RC Plane guys. They use it to harden the threads that hold the wing bolts. These nylon bolts are normally threaded into wood blocks that are glued to the airframe. Since they are tightened and removed many times, the CA creates a much stronger thread base than the wood alone.

I masked and painted the dark green for the back doors and shutters, painted them and de-masked. Results are pleasing.

NHH Back Stuff Painted

I solved the floor problems. I first, as planned, split the floor arbitrarily down the middle. With the floors split, I could now insert the floor.

NHH Split Floor

Since part of the floor would NOT be supported properly by the 1st floor partition assembly, I added a lip to one of the pieces to support the other one.

NHH Split Floor Retaining Lip

I also added some more ledges to support the now-split floor plate. These were left over acrylic pieces that were already the correct height. They are glued to the building with acrylic adhesive.

NHH Additional Floor Bearers

I airbrushed the center partition wall color (a lightened wood tan) since painting this on the floor would be harder to do. To solve the removal problem. I removed the stock that was the offending part and remade this part of the wall moved over beyond the sill structure. I can now remove the base plate with the partition attached without snagging the sill. It's not pretty, but will be invisible and solves the problem.

NHH Floor Removal Problem Solution

I opened a large hole that will fall in the partition stairwell to pass wiring through below. I used a circuit board method to add all the lighting circuits for the turret so each three LEDs would have their own CL2N3 driver chips. It was an elegant solution and I'm going to do the same here. I will either put the circuit board below the layout or in this stairwell space. I will have to ventilate the space a bit since there is some minimal heat generated. Opened this with a Dremel and router bit.

Lastly I decided to be a bit silly. I have a lot of scale 2" X 6" (O'scale) Northeastern stripwood that I purchased to create a wood deck for the turret that I didn't use. I found the deck didn't fit my design scheme. Having this, I decided to lay a real planked wood floor. It's silly because I don't believe I'm going to build a full 3D interior, and may use photos. If I do that, the beautiful floor won't be seen.

I used my Chopper II with my custom depth stop to quickly chop off a pile of scale 8' long planks. I gaing cut them four-at-a-time, and almost finished the whole floor in what was left of the afternoon. My depth stop is for longer pieces that would extend out beyond the Chopper's perimeter. For shorter pieces I use whatever's handy and use the depth stop screw to give added security since the razor blade excerts side thrust that can move the depth stop held by the Chopper's screw.

NHH Cutting Floor Planks

I marked the partition's location and planked around it so the partitiions sits on the subfloor. That's necessary since floor height is already established by the partition being flat on the subfloor. I also marked the locations of the doors and sills.

NHH Flooring Start

I laid flooring in the opening between the two stores. The planks are a little bit wider than the acrylic sheet so the partition slips nicely in the gaps.

NHH Floor Around Partition

Up this point I was applying Aleen's Tacky Glue to the individual planks before attaching them. I changed that method and greatly sped up the process by adding a small bead of glue onto the subfloor for the entire run. It was much faster and much less sloppy.

NHH Improved Gluing

Here's how far I got today. I'll finish tomorrow. The floor will be stained dark oak. I used a straight razor blade to scrape the surface before sanding, removing any excess glue in the process. I did my best to stagger all the plank joints. This amount of work finished off the new stripwood that I bought for the turret. I had another package of same that will be enough to complete the job. I may have to buy more to build the outside stair. I have a stair jig and laser cut set so I may not have to buy anything.

NHH Flooring WIP


Images (11)
  • NHH Back Stuff Painted
  • NHH Split Floor
  • NHH Split Floor Retaining Lip
  • NHH Additional Floor Bearers
  • NHH Floor Removal Problem Solution
  • NHH Wire Pass thru
  • NHH Cutting Floor Planks
  • NHH Flooring Start
  • NHH Floor Around Partition
  • NHH Improved Gluing
  • NHH Flooring WIP

Myles I absolutely love reading your posts.  But there is no way I could get into the exacting detail you do.  As an engineer I was trained to design things with a 2x or 3x factor of safety. (That does not work for aerospace)  ie: close enough is good enough.  in my business career,  I really appreciated people with an accounting mind set - willing to dig deep to find the missing penny and make everything balance.  Keep on posting ... Jeff

The wood floor is superb!

Last edited by ScoutingDad

Thank you! I like writing them too.

Funny you should say that… I am the polar opposite of an accountant. Probably the only shared characteristic is that I am tenacious. I bite into something and don't let go… kinda like a pit bull. Where I am most different is I tend to gloss over some details, although people don't notice it too much (PS. My wife notices it a lot). When I was managing a training department, I relied on talented staff to get the details nailed down. I was the concept person and the driving force.

Today's work was a good example… or maybe it was an example of dislexia… I let you guys decide.

Finished laying the floor, trimmed it and stained it. I then epoxied the partition to the floor, but not the adjoining walls. I then started working on the lighting circuits for the main floor. That's where the dislexia showed up. You'll see...

After trimming off all the floor plank tails, I marked out where the various screw blocks impinged on the new floor and trimmed those sections away so the floor fit flush as it did before I laid the floor. The arrows pick out those spots. I still have a few 8' planks left and will put them into use building the back stairs. Planking the floor did not take long and was actually fun.

NHH Floor Final Fits

After staining Jacobean oak, here's what it all looks like. I'm not going to put a final finish on it since I don't want it glossy.

NHH Floor Stained

I attempted to take a picture looking through the front windows, but the iPhone doesn't focus as neatly as our eyes do. You can see the screw block. I'm thinking that I'll add some interior walls to hide all that support stuff. It was an all masonary structure and the walls would be prototypically thick.

NHH Floor View thru Front 1

I then epoxied the partitition to the floor nestling it into the unplanked areas. Some weights hold it down during the short cure. I have not attempted to remove the floor with the partition, but I'm not anticipating any show stoppers.

NHH Gluing down Partition

I then wanted to added the foil circuitry and LEDs to the main floor ceiling. I attempted to mark out where the stairwell fell and wrapped the foil around that space. I soldered all the LEDs in place and tested them successfully. I probably will mask the LEDs and paint the ceiling white.

I also drilled a hole in this floor plate so the second floor light wiring can pass through. All of this was predicated on my understanding where the stairwell ACTUALLY fell. And you know me, after reading years and years of my escapades, that if there's a 50/50 chance to get something wrong, I WILL get it wrong.

NHH Main Floor Light Test

I had the diagram backwards! I was working with the floor upside down and this fooled me into getting it wrong. Dislexia? You decide. As you can see in this image, the hole and space for the stairwell is reveresed. I will have to remove the errant part of the circuit and fix it. Not a big deal, just a 9th level pain in the butt. That hole should have fallen over the stairwell opening. I'm not wasting time putting in stairs. You will not see in that space. i have a decal that goes on the transom window that totally blocks the view inside. Notice that the wiring is secured to the plate with Bondic. Bondic make simple and fast way to make wiring clamps when using miniature wiring in our models. Now I have to redo. DOH!

NHH Main Flr Lights Whoops

I will fix this tomorrow. It wouldn't be one of my projects without about 25% rework. If I can de-solder the LEDs carefully, they will still be usable and can be reapplied correctly. I may just slice the copper foil and leave the LED soldered in place and then solder the foil into a new configuration.

In Disney's "The Madalorian", the creed says, "This is the way". In my creed it's "There is always a way."


Images (7)
  • NHH Floor Final Fits
  • NHH Floor Stained
  • NHH Floor View thru Front 1
  • NHH Main Floor Light Test
  • NHH Main Flr Lights Whoops
  • NHH Gluing down Partition
  • NHH Main Floor Light Test

Happy May Day!

It was one of those best of times, worst of times shop days. I repaired that errant circuit and did the other floor plate as well. That was the good stuff. The bad stuff was that I didn't realize that the floor plates were pressing upon the 1.8mm LEDs that were glued into the porch roof over the front doors. As a results, the constant installing and removing of the floors smashed the LEDs' leads and broke off one on each LED rendering them useless.

First the circuits.

I wanted to show you how much solder is applied at each junction point on the copper foil. No other solder is added to solder on the surface mount LEDs. I put gentle pressure on the chip using a tweezers, heat the solder next to it and let the LED nestle down into the molten solder. As soon as I'm satisfied that wetting has happened on the LED's contact point I pull off the heat. This is just a few seconds. Too long and you will cook the LED destroying it. Also, too much downward pressure can crush the LED so gentle means just that.

This image shows the solder at the LED gaps. The gaps are about 1mm.

NHH Preparing Tape for LEDs

And here's the solder pads for the power leads. I add a bit more solder at the power lead contacts than the LED contacts.

NHH Solder Prep for Power Leads

Here's the number 2 plate with a very neat circuit. I've noted before that the corners are those that were used in the old school lead foil application to windows in burglar alarms. There is no need to solder the corners since the copper is continuous.

NHH 2nd Flr Plate Correct Pattern

To repair the modified plate I cut the foil with a sharp #11, carefully peeled the strip with the LED still attached and re-stuck it to the correct location. In this case, I did add solder at the new overlapped joints.

NHH Fixed Circuitry

I went to try out the wiring into the building. I discovered a loose wire not connected to anything. Oh my! Where did that come from? It turns out that one of the leads from the door porch LED on the right. It broke off right at the light element and rendered it useless. And then I found that a lead on the other LED broke off too rendering it as useless as the other one. Reason? The floor panel sits right on top of the door assembly and crushes the LED leads. I needed to add more relief cuts in the floor panels to clear the LEDs. Arrow...

NHH Relief Cut for Door LEDs

I only had two 1.8mm warm white LEDs remaining. I wired them up removed from the model and attempted to test them. And then the second calamity happened. I accidentally connected the unprotected 12VDC lead to the positive side of the LED series circuit. They went green and in another instant, went "PFFFFFTTTT." Gone! Done! Met their maker!

I now had to use more traditional 5mm LEDs to light the porches. This required opening up the tiny holes for the larger LEDs. For these I like to use the sockets that snap into a 6mm hole. To prevent making this mistake from happening again, I tied up all the excess wire on the unprotected test lead so I can't accidentally grab it. Sort of locking the barn door… The sockets are in place in this image.

NHH Repairing Frt Door Lights

I wired these up and correctly tested them. Initially, one of them was a warm white and the other cool white. I replaced the cool white one with a warm white that they matched. I'll install these tomorrow. I will then add some lighting to the third floor plate to light the 2nd floor and will do the same for the roof plate to add a couple of lights to the 3rd floor.

On another front:

I got a request from the owner of the Newtown Hardware House asking me if I could build a small operating HO- or N-gauge layout to place in their store window. It's a specific challenge since I'm in Louisville, KY and the store is in Newtown Borough, PA. I happen to have an N-gauge layout that could work. This is the layout I built with the grandkids when we first moved here. It was about 13 years ago and before the "real" trains were built. Alex was about 8 and Jack a little older than six, but they did a lot of work on it. It introduced them to railroad building which then led to helping me build the BIG ONE, and ultimately to both of them majoring in engineering in college.

My son in law says it hasn't been touched in years and asked if I wanted it. It will work, but needs some refurbishment and a way to get it there. It's only problem is some very sharp curves brought about by fitting it onto a piece of ply that I had lying around. This limits the type of engines that can be used. F-series diesels do work.

The store is willing to pay for this, but within limits. I may have to rent a larger car (SUV) to get it there and that would have to be built into the cost. I'm even thinking about 3D printing a 1:160 scale Newtown Hardware House for it.


My question is: What is a fair price for a little pike like this? Any ideas? The legs are detachable and it's really not very big.


Images (5)
  • NHH Relief Cut for Door LEDs
  • NHH Fixed Circuitry
  • NHH Repairing Frt Door Lights
  • IMG_1961
  • NHH 2nd Flr Plate Correct Pattern

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