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The 1870s was the golden age of machine design. Mankind was enamored with the newly emerging industrial age. Just look at the beauty of the old stationary steam engines. At the Children's Museum of Philly there's a model of the 1876 Centennial Exposition. The buildings and machines inside were fabulous and highlighted the upcoming power of the USA. Memorial Hall was preserved and is now the Children's Museum which is a wonderful re-purposing project. Humans were able to both work with machines AND be interested in the Humanities. Unlike today, if you like machines, you certainly can't be erudite. Wrong!




All of the buildings looked like this one. I'm glad that Philly didn't raze this one and eventually made it do some wonderful things. Anyway, they are not easy buildings to model. 3D printing, as it improves and gets cheaper, will allow us modelers to make more ornate structures for our towns if we do desire. When in Asheville we took some pictures of the downtown buildings. One on a corner was from the early 1900s and WOW! It even had gargoyles!




And the less tall one next door was no slouch either. Like the substation project sparked my interest in power distribution, the fire house and now the distillery is firing up my architecture genes. The nice thing is that my wife can really appreciate the buildings, much more than locos and rolling stock.


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It's Monday, so I'm back in the shop.


I did a trial by using the joint compound directly over the Rustoleum paint which had 3 days to fully cure, and then I shot some Testor's Dullcoat and then used the compound. It did reduce the "red bleed" from the paint to the joint compound so I took it outside in the summer heat and sprayed the whole building. It was so warm that it dried almost immediately.


After applying the compound I cleaned off the excess with a damp paper towel and then used some alcohol/India Ink wash. Here's what it looked like. The right side is un-wiped compound, the middle is the washed area and the left is wiped compound. 




My wife likes the un-ink washed brick, but this is a factory and would not have brightly pointed new brick work. I like the dull subdued appearance. Notice that the hand-scribed styrene brickwork is not as regular or as deeply engraved as the laser-cut bricks. Also notice that I drew the bricks with "common bond" where every 6th row shows brick ends. When buildings were all masonry, they used double-thickness brick walls. The bond course was facing inwards to tie the front and back walls together. It also makes nice patterns. With laser-cutting, the design is whatever to can manage to draw.


Here're the other views. The crenelations are the hardest to get the joint compound properly applied.




IMG_3428Even with the Dullcoat, I was still getting some pink bleed, but not enough to stain the "mortar" pink.





Just as a reminder, here's the Joint Compound that I'm using. It's very fine grained which works for O'scale projects.




I sent André a new set of correction files for the main building. For this iteration we made two adjustments. We decided that PDF versions would work better for him since he's using CorelDraw and I'm using Adobe Illustrator. The PDF conversion looked very clean. I also drew the images on larger "art boards"—the work pages on which you draw using Illustrator—which enabled me to now draw in a single piece the building's ends and floors. The production drawings for the kit will have all the big walls as single pieces. Since I've already glued up the side walls I didn't need to have them re-cut at this time.


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Thanks André!


It keeps getting better. Today I finished the joint compounding of the front. It took quite a while to apply, and even more time to remove the excess. I'm really feeling like a dentist removing plaque. I'm using the same instruments. I reground the ends of some of the probes to give flat scraping edges that could get into the corners and clean out the excess dried joint compound.




The grouting must makes the brick design pop. After going over all the corners and flat areas I gave a two layered wash with alcohol/India Ink to dull it all down. If even got too dull in parts so I went back over it with a water/alcohol mix to remove some of the black. Here's the end result. The capitals topping the crenelations will be painted concrete color.




I decided that the front door needed to be stained and not painted since it's actually wood. I had some MinWax dark walnut stain and put on two coats. It has to dry 8 hours before doing anything else. I may still add some more stain to darken it some more. After final staining I'll coat it with some form of clear coat.



Lastly I needed to make roof parapet capping. I chose to do this out of styrene for the pilot. I'm going to have them laser cut out of 1/16" Masonite for the production version. After measuring, cutting and fitting I airbrushed them with Model Tech concrete acrylic. I'm waiting until the roofs are in place with shingles and tar paper before final installation. You'll notice in this picture that the roof trusses were notched for purlins. The roof pieces, being 1/8" Masonite, are so stiff that the purlins are unnecessary. I've removed them from the drawings for the production version. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that they would provide a convenient anchor for the LED lighting. Hmmmm.





The front pieces are notched to clear the corner brick towers. Tomorrow, i'll airbrush the window frames, finish the front door, and make preparations for the lighting.


I'm not going to use the 3-light set that I used for the fire house. It's just too big and bright for this small space. Instead I'm going to use a single LED. I may even dull it down some more by wrapping the bulb with frosted Scotch Tape, or painting the LED with some Tamiya clear yellow. This building wouldn't have been lit with florescent lighting so the LEDs have to be a little subdued. For the main building I'm probably going to use the big LED strips, but maybe put color filters over them to again make them more yellow and less blue. As I'm thinking about this I realize that the kitchen lighting should be tied into the main building lights so there's a single lead to tie into lighting power.


I'll also paint the concrete details on the building front. Those capitals probably were limestone, so I may add a little more white and yellow to the concrete color to lighter it up a bit. I have a Model Tech sand color that may work better. I test it before finishing it.


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The kitchen is turning out nicely!  You do have a point about leaving the purlins in to hang lights.  Hanging from the bottom of the truss may be too low and show through the window! and hanging from the top of the truss may cause a funny shadow where the truss bottom blocks some light.  I never knew what those pieces were called.  I like the wood grain on the door.


What are the overall dimensions of the whole distillery building?  I take it that it is larger then the firehouse by a good bit.  If you already mentioned it I missed it skimming back through the topic.  Lots of pieces.



The way it was configured in my original drawings makes it 34-1/4" wide by 43-1/4" deep.


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But, that's including the warehouse and silos. If you choose not to build those, it would be 16.5" deep by 34.25" wide. Right now, the kitchen is attached to the main house as it appeared in the original photograph. The building to the left, the boiler house, is my own design and hasn't even been drawn yet. I myself may not use it on my layout in this configuration. I may choose to move the warehouse to one side or the other. I still haven't decided on how to make that big chimney or the silos. Just having the main house and the kitchen would make a really nice model.


Speaking of nice models, here's today's report.


I installed the purlins based on Mark's suggestion.





I also hand painted the capitals on the front brick work. It took two coats of Model Tech concrete.




 I then airbrushed the window frames a Model Tech Pennsy Green color which seemed appropriate for a factory setting. Model Tech is almost completely odorless and dries very quickly. I help the drying by using a Top Flite hot air gun. The plastic paint bottles use the same thread as the Badger bottle adapter on my airbrush, so I can just screw the paint bottle on and start spraying. I shoot it un-thinned straight from the bottle. I believed Walthers carries the full like of Model Tech colors. It goes on nice with a brush too.




i put another layer of walnut stain on the main door too.


Lastly, I started shingling the roofs. As I noted yesterday, I purchased Rusty Stumps Victorian Slate collection which has an equal amount of straight and fish scale shingles. You alternate three rows of each. After drawing guidelines on the roof I started applying the self-stick shingles. They stick very well on the smooth Masonite and didn't need additional adhesive. I let the lowest row of shingles overhang the roof a bit so they'll cover up the top edge of the brick trim pieces forming the eaves.




After trimming here's what the first roof half looked like.




Pretty spiffy, eh? I don't intend on gluing down the roofs. They fit very snuggly without it. It may be difficult to remove them though once all the windows and doors are in. There will be chimney on one of them that could form a convenient handle to life one side. With LED lighting, I doubt there will ever be a reason to open it up.


Tomorrow I'll do the second roof half and install the lighting. I will also use "tar paper" roofing for the corridor. I'm going to tar paper the unfinished Masonite that forms the interior of the parapet. And I'll be ready to start installing windows. I neglected to design the loading door in this pilot cutting. I've since added it the production file. In this case, I will scratch-build one. It's not a big deal. I'm also thinking about adding downspouts and gutters following the same scheme that was used on the fire house. Bar Mills never includes these in their kits, but for a formal structure like this one, I think they're needed.


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Thank you.  I didn't realize there were as many supporting structures.  Maybe I missed something.  No matter.  Yes it is a big complex, even on a layout the size of yours.  


The kitchen is turning out great.  The concrete capitals and the Rusty Stumps shingles really add to the overall good looks.  Yes, I think that green on the windows is appropriate for this building, having seen that used in the past.


it will be great to see how the main building turns out!

The supporting structures are really optional. It's really a chemical plant. Chemicals that you can drink. The kitchen is even exceeding my expectations.


Today I finished roof #2, got the lighting installed and then attacked the door and windows. 


The first thing I did was turn a door knob. It ain't a door without a knob. I started with some 1/8" brass rod and turned the end down to a little over 1/16". I then used a tool which I had already ground a nice radius to form the front of the knob. I used a very narrow parting tool (also custom ground) to shape the stem down to something much smaller. The size isn't critical as long as i had a jeweler's drill in the neighborhood.



The stem turned about to be a #37 drill. I drilled the hole, inserted the knob and then used thin CA from the back to hold it in place. I also glue the window frame from the back using Aleen's glue, and then installed the "glass" (.010" clear styrene) using the liquid Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA), and then installed the stain glass window. Before fastening in the stained glass I first installed a piece of clear styrene which gives the transparency film something to hold onto. I used a few drops of CA to hold the transparency to the styrene. 


As i noted earlier, the production version of this kit takes care of some errors that I made in the initial design. This pilot is using parts in the first cutting. One of things I quickly realized is that the windows and doors need more than just a piece that fits perfectly in the opening. They need some support to hold them into the opening. For the Production version, I've added another layer that extends past the doors and window frames and holds them to the rear of the opening. For this pilot I had to add separate pieces to frame out the back of the door. It also blocks the excess light that would sneak out around the frames.


Before going further with the windows, I needed to get the lighting in place. Once the windows are in, it would be more fragile and handling it would be problematic. I'm using one single LED and I attached it to the purlins. I sawed a couple of notches in the purlins so the roof would close down tightly against them. I hooked up the LED, soldered the red and black leads to the + and - leads, and ran the wires out of the extra hole in the side (the one that was an error in the first drawing). I couldn't wait to light it up and hooked up the 12VDC source. Nothing. Reversed polarity and still nothing. What's wrong? Any ideas? Well... I'll tell you what's wrong. I did it again. In my haste to see if it lit, I forgot to install the 470 ohm current limiting resistor. The LED never had a chance. It blew out without even a whimper. I got another one, this time adding the resistor and the light worked perfectly.


Here was the first one mounted on the purlins.


That was the LED I blew out. Here's the installation complete.


 The LED is secured to the purlins with some CA.


I added some shrink tubing pieces to the leads coming out of the building to keep them ship-shape. They'll tie into the lighting leads in the main building giving only one connection.




With the light done and checked (it worked!), I started on the windows. Because of my inexperience, my first designs for the windows were incomplete. I missed two key features. First, I didn't allow for any material to which to glue the bottom (inside) sash. Second, I didn't allow for any support to hold the windows in place and aligned.


So in this case I improvised by adding some of the same 1/32" ply stock (edges of the windows fret) to make side supports. I also added the supports just to the lower sash area to space it backwards one window-thickness thus allowing the lower sash to lie behind the upper, and, in the case of the front window, enable me to position the window open. In the production drawings this is all corrected making the parts look more like they should. Since this is an all masonry building the windows are inset into the walls. If it were a frame structure, the window designs would be reversed, more like how Bar Mills does their's.




I glazed the windows with the 0.010" clear styrene. For the windows I'm using three different kinds of adhesives: CA for to hold all the sash pieces together, Pressure Sensitive Adhesive to hold in the glazing, and Aleens PVA to hold the windows into the building. I use Chobani Yogurt cups turned upside down as glue receptacles. In this case, I put blobs of each type on one. Having them raised above the work surface makes it less likely that I will lay something in it, or get my hand on it. Notice I said, "unlikely", not "impossible". With me, nothing is impossible.


Here's the front window installed.




Here's the back view showing the extra material that's supporting the window.




A little bit of light can still leak out around the upper sash so I may just glue a piece of black construction paper butte up against the window to block that little gap that still exists. I did the same thing on the top of the door.


Here's another view showing the relief better. Those laser-cut bricks sure look good!




I could have made the curved lintels above the openings as part of the brick design. Instead I close to make it a separate piece so it's proud of the surface. I've seen buildings both ways. Any one have any opinions... not for this structure, but future ones?


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Last edited by Trainman2001

Finished all the window installations and worked with both grandkids on their last day before heading off to overnight camp. #1 grandson wanted to take apart an old RC flying machine and use the motors and props as a fan he could use at camp. He's learning something about electronics at school and was anxious to see what voltage/resistance was needed. We ended up using an old throw-away flashlight as the battery holder. He then wanted to use one of my LED strips to make a reading light. I gave him one of my spare 12vdc converters and in a few moments he had one powerful light.


So grandson #2 wanted to do something two. He's 11. He ran the trains a bit and I videoed him. Here's a short clip of #2 running the trains today.


So he wanted to make an LED flashlight. We found an 9-volt battery holder in my electrical stuff, a 5mm warm white LED, and then I showed him how I find out what size current-limiting resistor should be used. So then we had to build a container. I use those Chobani Yogurt cups for all sorts of things and now we turned one into a flashlight: a Chobani LED 9V flashlight. We made a plywood disk to close the big end, cut open the small end, and then mounted a SPDT switch that was fastened through the containers side with a ply backing plate and some small machine screws and nuts. The big end was held with miniature self-tapping screws. The small end was hot-glued which contained the LED and an LED socket. We covered the outside of the small end cover with aluminum foil, and then screwed a clear plastic dome that was left over from an old robotics project that my son built when he was their age. He's now 40! In fact that robot has been put to some good use. The motors and gear sets were used in Grandson #1's Rube Goldberg Project two years ago.


They were both really pleased with their work! Starting out with some junked toys and some electrical parts, they both ended up with cool, usable stuff. Good way to send them off to camp.


I also glued on the parapet caps. Next session I'll be working on the chimney and roofing the corridor. I ordered some metal from Special Shapes to make downspouts. I bought brass square channel for the gutters and copper tubing for the downspouts themselves. I wish they stocked the square channel in copper too since that's what these spouts would be. I'll only have to paint the brass parts now.




By the time I get the kitchen finished, André will probably have the corrected parts for the main building done and then the real fun will start. This was just a chance to hone my skills some more. I was especially glad to have the opportunity to try the brick coloring techniques and how realistic it came out.


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Last edited by Trainman2001

Well... word is they both got to camp safely and have been assigned bunks. With modern technology we get photos every day so we can see if they're eating, using sun screen, etc.


Today I exercised on the equipment and got in a couple of good hours of work on the distillery kitchen. The roof ridge material arrived from Rusty Stumps and I was able to finish the roofing on the building and also did the corridor.


For the corridor roof I used left-over "tar-paper" self-stick roofing material from Bar Mills. I put it on with about 1/8" overlap. I measured the distance between the parapets with the calipers, transferred the marks to pre-cut lengths (I made one first to determine how much material was needed and then cut them all with the Chopper) and then scored across the piece on those marks.




Since the tar paper is self-stick I didn't need to apply anything to the roof base, but the sides are that un-finished Masonite and needed a little more so I brushed on some PSA liberally to provide more stick. I then applied all the pieces.




With a nice new sharp razor blade I trimmed all the excess flush with the parapet top. I then painted the tar paper Tamiya Nato Black (a weathered black) with two coats, applied the painted styrene parapet tops with RC 550 canopy glue, and then added some gloss black sealing "pitch" to seams. I will add some weathering powders to both roofs later. But for now the two buildings are essentially complete except for the chimney and loading door. I'm going to scratch-build the loading door for this pilot only. It's being laser-cut on the revised cutting plan.




I took some beauty shots under natural light outside. There are no pictures of the back since that load door is just a big square hole. On the inner parapet I used black construction paper notched like counter flashing and the doctored up with glass black "pitch" again to cover the unfinished Masonite. On the main distillery building I'm going to have some thin stock brick-etched overlay material to create an inner brick facing on the inner parapets. On this little building I chose to just use the flashing. 




For comparison, here's the original SketchUp drawing upon which the building was created.

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The Rusty Stumps shingles really came out nice. You can clearly see the peak capping in this picture. 




In the revised drawings I've also closed down the opening where the corridor meets the kitchen. On this pilot, I'm not going to worry about it. Where it's going to the layout it won't be too noticeable.




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Thanks all!


That cantilevered front embellishment repeats itself, only large and more grandiose, on the main building. It was difficult for me to visualize and align in SketchUp, and then equally challenging to engineer so it would "hang" at the proper orientation.


Today I finished the chimney using a left over Grandt Line unit that I had. I made a styrene "concrete" support that was cut at the roof pitch and the chimney sits on top of that. I chose a quick-and-dirty method to do the grouting; I sprayed the whole deal with Model Tech concrete, forced dried it with the hot gun, a coat of Dullcoat to seal it and dry brushed a mixed Tamiya blend to resemble the color of rest of the brick work. The results are okay, but not up to my standards. I think the chimney is too big for the building. For the production version, I'm going to come up with something else.







I still needed a back door. I used the same plans as I sent River Leaf for the laser cutting to cobble out a door using two layers of styrene. The backing with the scribed planks is 0.040" styrene, and the overlay is 0.010" styrene. I used Krylon spray adhesive on the paper plan and stuck it to the overlay styrene and cut it out using the Xacto.




Tomorrow I'll air brush it the same green as the windows and install it. Boy! You can really appreciate laser cutting when you have to hand-build something as simple as this door. It took close to an hour to scribe all the lines and cut it all out. As a laser cut part it would take less than 5 minutes to assemble and look much better.


I will then glue the corridor to the kitchen and this phase of the pilot is complete. I'm waiting for the corrections cutting to come from River Leaf. We're leaving for an extended 11 day trip on Friday, so work will come to a halt then and resume when I return. My singing 10 year-old granddaughter has a singing lead in a professional production of Les Miserables in State College, PA and we're going to see her perform (among other things).


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After exercising late, I did get some shop time. Got the load door painted and installed, but a front step and decided to fill those gaping holes in the corridor walls. All of these annoyances will not be part of the production version (there may be other annoyances, but not these).


I used the same Model Tech Pennsy Green for the door and then sealed it with Dullcoat since I may want to use an alcohol wash and didn't want the water-soluble green to be disturbed. Before installing I cut some scrap green-painted pieces of the 1/32" ply and CA'd this to the back of the door opening to prevent the load door from falling inwards and to provide a good gluing surface.




I then CA'd the door into this space. The strips are wood, the load door was styrene so CA was glue of choice. I neglected to paint the white interior side of the door. This is now seen when the interior is illuminated. On the production version, this door's back sheet will be wood and may not need to be painted. The overlay trim will be laser board.


Here's the installed door.




The prototype picture showed a front door step. I added this using a thin piece of styrene sheet as a backing to cover the brick and a 1/8" x 3/16" piece of styrene rod for the step. The backing sheet was CA'd to the building and the step glued using solvent cement. I then brush-painted it with Model Tech concrete.




Finally I decided to make fillers for those gaps. I made a pattern out of styrene of the opening's shape and transferred this to a piece of the main building that is now scrap since I've re-designed the parts to be single pieces instead of the jig-saw puzzle's pile that I originally had cut. After River Leaf Models helped me understand that he could cut larger pieces on his machine, I was able to build all the walls and ends with full-sized parts.




I attempted to match the bricks for the patches. I did so... marginally. Again, the gap will be closed with a re-designed part in future models. I cut the first piece on the jig saw, but wasn't happy with how that went. The next piece I cut using the fine-toothed razor saw. After sanding I got them to fit the spaces. Aleen's and CA hold the pieces into the wall. 




The last thing I got done was putting a coat of Rustoleum primer on by brush. I decanted some of the spray can into a Chobani Yogurt tub. 




Tomorrow I'll use a little joint compound, some alcohol wash and hope that it won't be too un-sightly. As I used to tell the kids in shop class, "There's always time to do it over, but never enough time to do it right the first time."


I doing similar brick work on the engine house design. The bricks in Adobe Illustrator put a huge demand on system resources. Each vertical line is a separate entity and the horizontal lines aren't one object all the way across either. They're multiple lines due to how I built up the brick array. I now do the bricking fairly quickly by copying a sheet of them and use the "Draw Behind" feature to place all the bricks within the outline of the wall. I'm not done yet. Since the laser cuts any line that 0.3 points, and engraves lines that are wider, e.g., the brick lines are 0.7 points wide, any where that a brick line is overlapping a cut line would turn the cut line into an engraving. So I have to go back and remove any interfering brick lines that hit edges, windows or doors. This is tedious, but not as bad as it was when I had to adjust all the bricks to lie within the image's confines.


The file size was so onerous that there was a one or more second delay every time I clicked on something. I finally split the drawing into three separate files and sped every thing up nicely.


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Mark, the engine house looks like this. I just cranked this out in SketchUp based on the line drawing that I made. It's 41" long and has three tracks spaced 3.5" C-to-C distance which is the spacing of the Ross #4 yard switches when arranged in the ladder scheme.


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if I get it laser cut and I'm drawing it for that application, it will have similar levels of brick detail. Since it's over 40" long, I'm doing the sides, floors and roof pieces in twos with joints between them. There will be loads of laser-cut windows, and several man-doors. I'm also designing a mechanism to open all three doors remotely. This length is necessary to hold my longest steam engines. it will be the biggest engine house out there. Most of the other kits are all half that length and work for single unit diesels. For those of us with large steam you're left with two choices, build your own or buy one of the larger roundhouse kits out there, but what if you can't sustain a 32" turntable? What do you do then? You build a straight house this large.


I've also detailed a traveling crane for the ceiling in the 100 ton range. It will require some more elaborate interior framing. I'm using roof trusses like I did with the distillery.


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It certainly won't be for everyone... I may not offer it unless there's interest. But I do need it for my pike.


I cleaned up the patch on the corridor walls and attached the corridor to the kitchen. I used my longest clamps and put a wood block across the opposite side of the kitchen so the clamps wouldn't wreck anything.




After about a half hour I unclamped the parts and got a nice nice joint as a result.



The patch, now that it's been given the mortar treatment ins't so objectionable. It looks like someone actually made a brick repair to the building. Regardless, it's going to be hidden mostly by the gutters and downspouts I'm adding. Speaking of G & Ds, I started construction today.


The square channel has an i.d. of 3/32" so it just fits the 3/32" copper tubing I bought. I'm using two different melting point solders (again!) so I can solder one part and then solder another nearby without losing the first. I'm also including hanger pins so I can pint the gutter to the building and give it a little more support than just gluing it...just like in prototype practice.




My only regret is not being able to get copper channel to go along with the copper tubing. After I paint it with the primer and copper paint, and then the patina, you won't see too much difference. I wish I could get the brass copper plated... I'm sure there's something in Louisville who could do it.


At Michael's yesterday I bought some more artist's brushes and then saw this pack of palette knives that would be perfect tools for smearing on the joint compound on all this brickwork. It was very cheap. I've been using styrene scraps and pieces of wood. This seems more elegant.




We're off on our trip tomorrow so, dear readers, you'll have to wait until after the Fourth to see the rest of the distillery project come together. André finished cutting my corrections for the big building and I'll have it in my hands upon our return. So I'm finishing the kitchen at the right moment. All I have to do is finish the gutters and it's finished.


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Originally Posted by Trainman2001:

Mark, the engine house looks like this. I just cranked this out in SketchUp based on the line drawing that I made. It's 41" long and has three tracks spaced 3.5" C-to-C distance which is the spacing of the Ross #4 yard switches when arranged in the ladder scheme.


Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 1.37.20 PM


if I get it laser cut and I'm drawing it for that application, it will have similar levels of brick detail. Since it's over 40" long, I'm doing the sides, floors and roof pieces in twos with joints between them. There will be loads of laser-cut windows, and several man-doors. I'm also designing a mechanism to open all three doors remotely. This length is necessary to hold my longest steam engines. it will be the biggest engine house out there. Most of the other kits are all half that length and work for single unit diesels. For those of us with large steam you're left with two choices, build your own or buy one of the larger roundhouse kits out there, but what if you can't sustain a 32" turntable? What do you do then? You build a straight house this large.


I've also detailed a traveling crane for the ceiling in the 100 ton range. It will require some more elaborate interior framing. I'm using roof trusses like I did with the distillery.

I'd definitely be in for the engine house!

Hey gang, I'm back!


The engine house won't get underway for a while. I still have to build the rest of the distillery pilots, and then I think I'm going to build the tunnel/mountain on the undecorated side of the railroad.


We got back Monday after driving straight through from St. College, PA, so I lacked the enthusiasm to get downstairs and work. But I got there today.


I finished soldering up the rest of the gutters/downspouts, masked the copper parts and primed the brass gutters. After drying I painted a few coats of craft paint copper and forced it dry with the heat gun. Before painting and handling them, I marked the locations of the mounting pins and drilled the kitchen walls with the 0.021" drill. I first tried it with the Dremel, but found better luck using the little Archimedes jeweler's drill. After testing the fit I did all the painting.


To age the copper I again used the Rub-n-Buff patina cream. Funny... it actually worked better on the painted brass gutters than the real copper downspouts. I had to work to get enough patina on the copper to look right. Otherwise, I had old looking gutters and shiny, new, copper downspouts coming down from them. I have a lot of this 3/32" copper tubing so I'll be facing this little blip for some time now. I then added some weathering powders to the roof and with that, I'm declaring the kitchen part of the distillery complex complete.


Kitchen Finished 01

Kitchen Finished 02

Kitchen Finished 03

Kitchen Finished 04


The following two pics show the other side gutters in place for test before the patina was added. The copper paint on the gutter does closely match the color of the real copper downspouts. Unlike the firehouse, where I attempted to attached the gutters using those contact cement dots, I soldered pins through the gutters in prototypical fashion, and they're glued into holes in the building.


Kitchen Finished 05

Kitchen Finished 06


I used the time remaining to clean up the shop a bit and get ready for Andre's next shipment which should arrive any day now. 


Images (6)
  • Kitchen Finished 01
  • Kitchen Finished 02
  • Kitchen Finished 03
  • Kitchen Finished 04
  • Kitchen Finished 05
  • Kitchen Finished 06

Thanks All!


Right now, I'm discussing With Andre Garcia of River Leaf Models to jointly offer the distillery as a kit for sale. I'm in the process of writing the instructions, which is a project unto itself. After that, I'd like to work with him to offer larger, more complex and rare models. My company name is Hi-Tech Miniatures, but will work with Andre at River Leaf to make products available sooner. We're a few months away from any final decisions. Andre's offerings of nice brick structures fits my strategy perfectly. With the advent of Laser-cutting and great design software, it opens up a whole new avenue to produce heretofore unchosen subjects.

If there's to be another firehouse, I'll have to take Les Lewis' design and convert it to a laser cut kit. It shouldn't be too hard since it's simpler than the distillery. Let's take one thing at a time. I don't even have the distillery pilot model completed.


On Friday I did some work on the Distillery even though I haven't received Andre's latest shipment. I needed to make resin casting masters for the stacks and ventilators. For the stacks, I took 3/16" brass tubing and turned tapered rain caps for them. It was a simple turning job. I also made a small tapered base for the tall stack that engages directly with the roof.




The fit was so tight at the top that I simply made a press fit.


For the ventilator, I made it in two parts to accommodate the deep-wide smaller diameter. It's hard to machine against a right-hand shoulder. Of course, if I would have thought a little bit more (which I'm now doing as I write this), I would have machined the step first, turned it around and then machined the taper. As it is, I got right into matching the taper and this didn't leave a lot of stock to grip if I then turned it around to turn the step.




Here's the two-part vent before fitting together and holding with CA.




To part off this work piece, I had to lengthen my self-made cutoff tool. My first attempt at grinding all of that hi-speed steel created a tool that was so thin that if I tried to make a cut up to a step, the tool was bending sideways instead of cutting straight ahead. I then did another one this time leaving enough thickness so the tool worked as it should. Obviously the correct one is on the right. In both cases, for cutting aluminum, I made a little trough behind the cutting edge to provide positive rake to help curl the chips and cuts with a knifing/slicing action. For brass, the top of the top actually pitches forward (negative rake) so the tool cuts by scraping rather than slicing. Brass is soft and if you try to slice it, the tools digs in and jams making a mess.


I didn't cut the diagonal base to conform to the roof pitch. I really don't have the holding fixtures for my lathe milling attachment to feel comfortable cutting it. Instead, You can just cut circular hole in the roof perpendicular to the building's baseline and glue it in. Alternatively, the resin part will be much easier to cut than aluminum and that may be easier to do than cut the angular hole in the roof. I'll wait until I build the pilot to see what's the best way to approach.


I ordered new resin casting supplies from Smooth-on and sulphur-free modeling clay from Amazon to cast the parts for the kits. I've also officially started writing the instructions for building the main building and the kitchen. The Smooth-on website made it very easy to choose the correct silicone, resin and release agents for my application.


Images (4)
  • IMG_3590
  • IMG_3581
  • IMG_3589
  • IMG_3587

Everything arrived today! The resin materials, the clay and the replacement parts from River Leaf Models. I immediately started constructing the main building. I already found some errors, but I can work around almost all of them for the pilot. I've already modified the production drawings (again!) to reflect these new 'discoveries'. i won't submit the final set to Andre until I'm as sure as I can be that it produce the model correctly without any fudging on the part of the builder.


Here's the building slapped together without glue to get the fits and sequencing down. 




The un-sightly seam on the side walls is already eliminated on all future cuts since it will be done on larger pieces like the new ends in this picture. I had Andre re-cut the ends because there were other errors in them. Since the side walls were okay other than the seam, I'm keeping this pilot for myself. Normal buildings don't have that intermediate wall that divides the building, but this one does since the upper clerestory part ends at that mid wall.


There is brick trim for the un-bricked back of the Masonite. The gap for the roof piece is too wide, and I'm fixing that on the next go around. For the pilot, I may just raise the trusses a bit to push the roof about 1/16" higher.



I found that the floor support frames were incorrect, but I had already noted this when I went back and re-checked all the drawings the last time. I had used the same frame for the second floor support and for the roof trusses. This was wrong since the first floor ceiling height is higher by a couple of scale feet. I made some supports to hold the 2nd floor frames to the correct height. But this too is corrected on future versions.


There were some minor discrepancies concerning the trim pieces. Since I ordered these re-cuts I revised the way the trim would be mated at the corners. By using a bevel, I had to extend the width of the corner trim on both parts by one material thickness (1/16"). By beveling the corners it is possible to have the bricks meet prototypically instead of seeing the end grain of one of the pieces of 1/16" ply.





The only thing I need recut to finish the pilot (as I can foresee at this time) is the multi-layer crenelations layers which I mistakenly had cut in 1/8" stock instead of 1/16". It's just a little job which I hope Andre can turn around quickly. I won't need it for some time since getting the rest of the building done will take some time.


I found that the tabs on the floor piece (now one piece) to be 1/32" too deep and stuck out from the wall panels. This is not a big problem since you can always remove excess stock. This was a piece that I forgot to change after Andre informed that the 3/16" Masonite is actually .155" instead of .187. I've been revising all the tabs and slots to recognize this change, but I missed that one. Details, details!


I'm writing the instruction set and it should be pretty comprehensive. Here's a sample of the images I've created in SketchUp for the booklet.


Kitchen Construct Draw 01


Since I have the SketchUp master drawing, I have all the raw material to make many of the detailed construction views. I'm doing the kitchen instructions first since I've completed that pilot. I'll be writing the main building instructions as I proceed with my own build.


Images (4)
  • IMG_3592
  • IMG_3596
  • IMG_3595
  • Kitchen Construct Draw 01

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