Skip to main content

I can't imagine racing the Fairlane. As it was, it handled poorly. It was a good drag racer, but a car with drum breaks, leaf springs and solid rear axle and 14" wheels didn't even pretend to handle well. I imagine that if set up correctly it might work, but not in the stock condition.

I did a test piece today to see how I wanted to paint the brick. The first two panels were done by spraying the mortar color and then dry brushing a brick red that I mixed up from artist's tube acrylics. I wanted a paint that gave some working time which these did. The last panel was the reverse. Leaving the Plastruct color untouched, painting the mortar color and then, before it dried, wiping it off diagonally so the color stayed in the mortar lines. 

NH Brick Paint Test

The dry brushing technique was too variable so I went with choice number three. Choice number two was using less paint on the brush with more repetitions. Number three is more subtle and I might give it an alcohol wash (or maybe not).

It then used this technique to paint the building and wiped the mortar off with a paper towel which I kept using clean sides. I then mixed up a matching color to the Plastruct color and painted those exposed edges which showed the backing plastic color (white).

NH Bricks Painting

I then hand painted the stone foundation using the same acrylics on a palate mixing various tones of grey and randomly painting the stone, while trying to leave the mortar color untouched. I think this needs some further treatment to make it less dramatic, possibly a wash or maybe a misting with some airbrushed light gray. I notice in the picture that I missed one of the window boxes. I'll have to remix some of that brick red...

NH Stone Painting

Talked with the RMC editor today and the article goes to press next month. He wants a re-shoot of the cover shot to get better lighting under the canopy. We were using synchronized strobes. This time we're going with studio lighting. Picture session will be next Tuesday. I'm getting excited.


Images (3)
  • NH Brick Paint Test
  • NH Bricks Painting
  • NH Stone Painting

Your choice of mortar treatment of the brick was an excellent one (IMO). I used a similar one many years ago. Often a VERY light wash of white acrylic , removed quickly with a paper towel will age the bricks if you want that look. Instead of using the expensive artist's paints in a tube I use the small bottles of paint from places like Michael's or WallyMart for about $.75 a bottle (black, white, yellow, red, burnt umber and 2 or 3 others). If it were me , I'd tone down the foundation a bit by eliminating the black stones (perhaps in favor some dark grey) and putting a light grey wash over all of it.


Images (1)
  • P1000164

Thank you! I have those paints also, but didn't have anything in the grays (or even black), but had a nice mix of the tube acrylics. I should use them since they don't last forever either. I did tone down the stone work by getting rid of the blackest color and paint it carefully with Tamiya Neutral Grey. I still want to overspray some light gray (just a dusting) to further subdue the harshness. I used a small brush and re-did some of the mortar lines as well.

NH Toned Down Stone

I went around with another mix of brick red and put a second coat on all the window packing since I had completely missed one part yesterday and the rest weren't covered well enough. I lightened up the mix just a bit to improve the match with the Plastruct brick color.

It was time to start building the interior. As I noted, this all has to be done and in place before the ceiling goes in. I had three ways to fabricate the interior: 1/8" Masonite, thin Foamcore, or built up with styrene. Masonite is not so easy to cut and shape, Foamcore is not very stable especially in cross-section, which left using styrene. 

I built the walls sort of replicating how real partitions are built using thin surface material supported internally with some framing. For the framing I used 1/8" square Evergreen stock. I laid out the door and pass through locations and  glued the framing up to these lines. Then I cut the opening out with one side's facing in place.

NH Wall Building

I used Testor's tube cement again to give me a little more positioning time. The solvent cement sets so fast that you often can't get the piece down before it's already kicked. The sheathing is 0.020" styrene. I then applied glue to the frame and attached the second side sheet. I then cut its openings through the other side.

To attach the walls at right angles I pre-glued the square stock at the location on the through wall and left space in the sheeting before the frame piece so the two walls keyed together. 

NH Wall Joint

For the last turn I simply used a single thickness of 0.040" sheeting since this didn't need any thickness. Actually, none of the walls really need to be scale thickness except at the pass through to the kitchen which I could have simulated with just some thickening pieces right at the window. But, I makes me feel better to make them like real walls.

I test fit the walls in place. The front and back doors don't align well, but it doesn't matter since I'm no longer using that door. It will be covered by the exterior stair housing that I added to the design later when I came to the conclusion that there really wasn't enough room for an actual staircase in the building's confines.

NH Wall Fit 2NH Wall Fitting

I needed to think about the flooring before I went any further. The flooring needs to be added to the floor piece when it's outside of the building before gluing it in. I already had a good black and white checkered floor pattern that I used in the Distillery Boiler House, and put it to use again here. Actually, I designed this when building Saulena's tavern 11 years ago. I printed it out of 5 X 7 photo paper, and after dry, sprayed it with Grumbacher Final Fixative to preserve the inkjet ink.]

NH Flooring

I tried the walls on the flooring. BTW: made two sets just in case I screw one up. One is sufficient to cover the space.

NH Flooring Fit

I made a wooden pass through sill and also pre-stained more wood strips for the door, window and baseboards. I noticed in Hopper's painting that the door has no frame at all. It's just an orange rectangle. I'm conflicted about how close to the painting I should be. On one hand, I'm trying to replicate the painting in 3D, but I've already deviated from the painting by making the counter rectangular, not a triangle like Hopper drew. The painting doesn't show a pass through since the wall is cut off before it would show. I did drill the hole for the support pole by clamping the ceiling and floor pieces together so the holes are in line. I have to make a ton of bar stools. Anyone know if there are any pre-built ones out there? I'm not sure where that door actually goes. Notice also the wall thickness next to the red head. It looks well over a scale foot with the glass bisecting it. My wall will not be that thick. It will be about a scale foot. (or less). According to the story, Hopper was painting a cafe that more or less existed in NYC. I will match that yellow and green as best as I can. It's a very well lit space and mine will be also. And I'm going to have sculpt the figures. John Armstrong did it, so I should be able to also. Heh…heh…!



Images (8)
  • NH Toned Down Stone
  • NH Wall Building
  • NH Wall Joint
  • NH Wall Fit 2
  • NH Wall Fitting
  • NH Flooring
  • NH Flooring Fit
  • nighthawks_by_edward_hopper_1942


I was playing around with SketchUp and Podium rendering various views. I still haven't finalized how I'm going to build all the layers of millwork on the outside of the big window.

NH Int Render with LEMNH Render Test

Spent time at the hobby shop today so I only worked a little over 1 hour, but got the flooring down and started sheathing the perimeter interior walls which need to be done before I drop in the partition walls. I had to seam the flooring to fill the whole space. I fastened the image down with MicroMark pressure sensitive adhesive.

NH Wall Sheeting 1

I'm using thin styrene, 0.010" to simulate dry wall. I have more 1/8" square stock packing out the framing and giving a surface to glue to.

Because of the floor ledges, it necessitates doing the walls like a real building with sheet rock going on one floor at a time. The only area that doesn't quite work is where I used 1/4" square stock as corner reinforcement that is fatter than the rest of the wall framing. One can imagine that it a pipe chase going to the second floor.

On Monday I will continue with these wall. I will have to mask the flooring when I paint the walls.


Images (3)
  • NH Int Render with LEM
  • NH Render Test
  • NH Wall Sheeting 1

The Hopper painting shows wooden stools. SketchUp had a nice wooden stool on their 3D Warehouse which I've used as a model for a 1:48 version. I just drew them up in CorelDraw for Laser-Cutting and giving Mini-etchers the opportunity to bid on this smallish job. It will be cut from 1/32" maple sheeting and the legs should fit together nicely. When I build them, I'll make the plans available for others, or the vendor could include them in his store. Below is a JPG which can't be used on a laser cutter. They have to be vector drawings. My master is CorelDraw, but I've included a PDF which can also work. Laser cutters are so precise that it should preserve those small angles where the legs meet and should facilitate the gluing job. They'll also key into the notches on the square upper piece that sits under the seat.

NH Stools Laser Drawing


Images (1)
  • NH Stools Laser Drawing

Actually, I already have a 3D version since that's what was the basis of the orthographic drawings that I created. What you download from SketchUp's 3D warehouse is a complete 3D model.  There are a few places to get it printed these days starting with Shapeways. My quess it would cost upwards of $50 to have them produced this way. I think laser cutting will be less expensive and be out of wood which could appear more realistic. I'll see what the estimate is.

Started the day preparing to paint the walls. I mixed Tamiya Flat Yellow, Flat White and a tinge of Flat Green to approach the shade in the painting. I think I got it pretty close. I had to mask the entire building to paint the perimeter interior walls. I start using thin Tamiya tape around the base board area, then use paper with thick Tamiya tape to cover the large areas. I used the thin tape to mask the inner surfaces of the window openings.

NH Wall Masking

I used my old Badger airbrush to apply the paint to both the perimeter walls and the partition assembly. A few light coats did the trick.

NH Wall Paint

After the paint was dry I cut the pre-stained strip wood for the mill work. This included door framing and baseboards. Parts were cut with the Duplicutter II. The partitions are not glued, just posing for the camera.

NH Millwork

Before I went any further I realized that I needed to add brick lintels and window sills to the exterior. I sliced off brick rows from the Plastruct sheet and then cut them to brick size, again on the Duplicutter. I used a steel edge to space the fence out from the tool's back. I find that the razor blade doesn't exactly cut to its fence which can leave a little ragged edge. Spacing it out a little puts the cut completely on the blade. To cut 45s, I use that piece of masking tape on the cutting surface as a guide.

NH Cutting Lintel Bricks

Here's a collection of bricks waiting to be applied.

NH Lintel Bricks

I finished the session by applying the first bunch of lintel bricks. When they're fully cured (solvent cement) I will trim any irregularity at the their bottom edge (tomorrow).

NH Lintels Begin


Images (6)
  • NH Wall Masking
  • NH Wall Paint
  • NH Millwork
  • NH Cutting Lintel Bricks
  • NH Lintel Bricks
  • NH Lintels Begin

Yup! O'scale is the only way to go for old scratch-builders. I just looked at the 1957 magazine article upon which this building is based and he used masonry lintels and sills which would be a lot easier to craft. I may switch to that. Also, my friend and I re-shot Bernheim for the article today using photo-floods to get more light on the front and I'm pleased with the results. It's up to the editor to decide if we're there yet. I've sent all the files and the ball's in his court (a Wimbledon reference). The magazine will crop it and drop out the blue background replacing it with a real sky image. The focus is much better than shown on this GIF version. All the pictures are transmitted as Nikon RAW and are 20mb each. The lighting and color are pretty accurate.

Bernheim Sample pic

I'll post later today when I have more Night Hawks work done.


Images (1)
  • Bernheim Sample pic

Today was one of those days...

Before getting back to work I decided to notch the corner of the building to accept the small upside-down turret. I had a drawing of the contour of this part and used it to make a plastic pattern that could be traced onto the building corner. All good so far...

I then made a sample piece to test the cuts to set if it worked.

NH Turret Inset Test

It worked! So… we still good...

Then I traced the pattern onto the building's corner. And used the Dremel with a combination of carbide router and small diameter sanding drums. Again… we're look'n pretty good.

NH Turret Inset Cut Wrong

Everything was just great!

NH Turret Inset

So I started back to work on the lintels. I'm going to finish the building with the brick lintels, but use simulated stone window sills. I put lintels on all the windows and doors and realized that one of the back walls is having the outdoor stair and it will block some of those so I removed the already applied brickwork. 

Then it hit me! I CUT THE NOTCH IN THE WRONG CORNER!!!! WHAT??? Yup! I was so excited about doing it this way that I forgot to double check actually which corner I was destroying. It the front corner over the front window space that gets the turret. 

So I immediately went into repair mode. I made brick replacement pieces that matched the brick courses of the existing walls, put some heavier backing plastic to rebuild the corner, then another layer of the same thickness that I used as a doubler behind the brick sheeting and then the actually replace pieces which were traced from each corner's cut. The insert pieces are sitting below the building. You can see the lintels that were removed in this image also. It's good that it will dry overnight since this corner was seriously compromised.

NH Fixing the Screwup

It won't be perfect, put after gluing the inserts in tomorrow, I'll fill the gaps and re-scribe the brick joints and paint with matching color. It's the back of the building. And there's a silver lining (I am nothing if not an optimist). It gives me another shot at cutting the opening and I wasn't all that happy with the fit in this cut because there was big chunk of 1/4" square stock reinforcing the corner. The front corner doesn't have this blocking so it will be easier to cut with the jeweler's saw. This accident didn't happen because I was rushing since I took the time to make the test piece. It was basically a lack of attention for the forrest while I was looking at the trees.


Images (4)
  • NH Turret Inset Test
  • NH Turret Inset Cut Wrong
  • NH Turret Inset
  • NH Fixing the Screwup

You always learn more from your mistakes than your successes (or so they say)...

After all the tumult in cutting the building, I'm re-thinking cutting the turret instead. I don't have to cut the hardened steel ball. That little bit can nestle into a small depression I'll make. And cutting the aluminum plug won't be too difficult for a razor saw. And that way, I'll leave the building alone. Ideally, it's a job for a milling machine (which I really don't have) and holding onto a conical part is very tricky. I suppose I could embed it in some sculpey and then harden that to give a good support to the part while I cut it. That could work.

The patch is completed although there's still some touch up painting to be done. It's a reasonable solution to a ridiculous self-imposed problem. If I can match the red decently, it would almost disappear. It almost looks like a real building repair… It's a benefit using the Plastruct color as the base since when sanding you expose more of it instead of removing it if I had painted the red.

NH Corner Fixed

I cut and fit the interior doors. I wanted to match the orange that Hopper used for his door. I also wanted brass push plates like shown in his painting. I first mixed some red into the light yellow I used for the walls, but it was a bit too pink so I added some more straight yellow and got very close. I also put a coat of Tamiya clear gloss on all the woodwork.

NH Interior Doors

My first approach for the door push plates was a using a sheet of gold MicroScale decals, but after wetting them they started falling apart, so immediately went to plan B. I used some PE fret brass that I polished with some steel wool. There's nothing that simulates polished brass than polished brass. I also put a coat of clear on the brass so it wouldn't oxidize too badly.

I getting antsy to install the interior walls and realized that first floor windows and doors need to be fitted prior to this happening. I designed the building to be laser cut and all the doors and windows were going to be custom-cut. When I decided to go "old school" and build it out of styrene, I changed the window sizes to conform to Tichy window dimensions. I even went further when I was gluing up the interior window frames I used the actual windows to space the frames correctly. However, I didn't change the door openings to conform to the Tichy doors that I purchased. And they were completely wrong-sized! 

The door frames had transom windows, but my openings didn't include this. Furthermore, the frames fit tightly, but the opening was so much shorter I was having to dissect them. So I decided to build the frames from scratch to hold the Tichy door. The width of the opening was .094" wider than the door, so I needed to pack out 0.047" on each side. I had some 1/8" X 0.015" strip so three stacked together gave me .045" which was just about perfect. I added a piece at top to fill that space too. Then added some 0.088" X 0.020" about 1/32" back from the frame edge as a door jamb stop.

NH Door Packing 2

The door fits nicely. I'm going to airbrush the doors, but probably brush paint the frames, both a flat brown.

NH Door Fitting 2

With a brick building the windows and doors are often set into the structure like this door is. Most of the doors available from the likes of Grandt Line (RIP) and Tichy are framed for frame buildings where the frame stands proud of the siding. The exterior stair will be clapboard so the doors and windows will be more conventional. Again, I'm not going to use the transom window and will cut the frame down to remove it.

The last thing I did was blank off the door that will no longer be used since I'm eliminating the back door and will be hidden by the exterior stair.

NH Door Blanked

I still have to deal with the cellar windows, which I was not able to get factory built ones to fit the space. I may scratch build them. They're pretty simple affairs. Fitting all these details takes a lot of time.


Images (5)
  • NH Corner Fixed
  • NH Interior Doors
  • NH Door Packing 2
  • NH Door Fitting 2
  • NH Door Blanked

Well… with that encouragement, I will simply age the patch a bit and let it be.

We had a nice lunch with our daughter today and then went to the Speed Art Museum at the University of Louisville, but I still got into the shop at around 3:00. I continued working on the windows. I did find that I had purchased Tichy windows for masonry without a flange for the second story windows, and was using the Grandt Line windows that I already owned for the larger first floor windows. Since the 2nd floor windows would inset more shallow when view from the front since they fully fit into the window openings, I decided to cut the flanges off the first floor windows and, in effect, turn them into masonry windows. I used the micro saw to this. These Grandt Line windows have a mold defect in the vertical mullion where it breaks at the same place all the time. It's right where that little bit of flash is. I'm always having to reglue them.

NH Making Masonry Windows

The window fit in the space nicely.

NH Masonry Window Fit

I got all the windows fitted and ready for painting. Then I got to work on the cellar windows. I decided to fabricate them out of styrene sticks, but because they're so small, I'm building them on a piece of thin 0.010" styrene sheet cut to the window opening size, and after it's all cured, I cut the middle out leaving a complete frame. I never built windows this way, but it actually worked very well.

I cut each strip long so they stick out on one side and then go back and cut them all off flush. This way, I don't have to cut pieces to an exact length which takes much more effort. I'm using 0.020" X 0.030" for the wider piece, and then 0.020" X 0.020" square on top for relief.

NH Basement Window Fab

I enlarged the cellar opening to make them higher since the window frames were a bit thicker than I would have wanted and it would have left very little room for the glazing. I cut about a 1/16" off the top of the opening using the micro-saw and Xacto. These windows too will be painted with the rest of them next week. The window is not asymmetric as it appears. It simply wasn't pressed all the way into the opening evenly.

NH Basement Window Fit

I've decided that instead of trying to cut the master turret with the wood and metal, that I would make a resin casting of it and cut which would be much more easy to do since it would be all one material. But first I have to order some new silicone mold material from Smooth On. The stuff I have has kicked and cured in the bottle. Even though it's two part, one part will cure eventually left on the shelf. This one did. I'll keep you posted.


Images (4)
  • NH Making Masonry Windows
  • NH Masonry Window Fit
  • NH Basement Window Fab
  • NH Basement Window Fit

I may add a mullion too, but I may fake it by having it overlap the frame on the front. If I can get it to fit nicely between the frames, I'll try that first, but Plan B will have it on top. I can't put it behind since it will interfere with the glazing. I have the perfect styrene strips for it.

Yes, by using the thin styrene sheet as a 'building surface' I was able to maintain squareness without effort. In fact, it was so elegant, it could be used to build much larger frames as an alternative to laser-cutting. 

Speaking of laser-cutting… it's looks like the estimate for cutting the stools is very inexpensive ($5.40 plus shipping). My talented number 2 grandson's coming home from camp next weekend and I'm going to give him stuff to do. He's a budding artist and I'm going to have him sculpt the occupants of the cafe. He started learning how to do it when he and I built the "Old Man and the Sea" diorama for school last year. I researched it on the web and found a wonderful source on how to really use Sculpey when making figures. You do it in layers, firing each to harden it. That way you're not distorting previously shaped areas when messing around with others. You build the mandrel out of aluminum and roll a core of Sculpey on it and get the posture, then fire it. You then add each layer carefully, firing each time until you're working on the final little details (noses, ears, creases, buttons, etc.). It really works.

I'm also going to have him assemble the one dozen bar stools. We're picking him up with his older brother, visiting U of Wisconsin for the older one's college selection challenge, and spending a couple of days in Chicago. The older one's a Jr. Counselor now and we'll go back to camp in Wisconsin for another four weeks and we're bringing the 14 year-old home.

And on the magazine article front… the last set of images were acceptable and the article's going to press. As I noted before, it will be three parts in RMC. If you remember back a couple of years, O'scale Trains refused to publish my substation article because I post all this stuff here, and it was you folks that suggested I turn to the newly re-vitalized RMC, which accepted the article without reservation. They're now publishing my second and I feel there will be more in the future.

Like the great line in "Pretty Woman" when that snooty clothing store refused to serve Julia Robert's character, "Big mistake… big mistake!" I doubt that many of OGRR's forum members are Railroad Model Craftsman subscribers. RMC is oriented to a different audience, and they don't even share the same advertisers. And, different numbers. I doubt that I have 20,000 people reading my missive every day. O'scale Trains needs to get with the times.

Wow, your older grandson is visiting colleges already!  They grow fast!

I'm glad the other grandson is interested in art.  Our older daughter has made a lot of Sculpy Clay people in the past.  

Well I am glad RMC is picking up your articles.  Seems like an excuse to me from O Scale Trains.  Yes, as if that many folks read your posts here.  Hardy har har!!!  I don't subscribe, but I will be picking up the copies with your articles at our local Giant Eagle grocery store.  Actually, that is where I first found OGR magazine back in 2012.  I sure wish I had known about this forum before that.

Thanks Mark. I'm really glad that we moved he when he was seven. In a couple of weeks he turns 17. He has his own car, is really cute, girls like him very much and he's basically finished working in the basement with me (although I force him downstairs to get his approval on all the latest additions). I have his younger brother for a couple more years and then he'll go the same route. I'm cultivating another protege… the son of a mentee who I meet periodically. He's going on 8, loves trains and showing all the signs of being a good model builder. 

I stopped the trains at the exact same times, as did all of us. But while a sophomore in college, discovered a nice local hobby shop and bought a model and some supplies. I built models in the dorm and all my 'sophisticated' dorm mates would stop by, check on progress, and lament how much fun they used to have doing it. From that point on I never stopped. The picture below is Michele in our first apartment about a month after we were married, where there is a box in the corner with an almost complete Tamiya Tiger Tank kit while she was writing thank-you notes to our wedding guests on a folding bridge table. This wasn't even our real apartment. It was a temporary while the real apartment's building was being completed. To me, model making has always been my stress relief… still is.

The picture dates from May or June 1968. That little metal cookie box below the model held ALL of my modeling supplies. Now my tools occupy and entire shop. Progress! Tamiya had just come on the American market at that time.

Thank You Notes 02


Images (1)
  • Thank You Notes 02

Great photograph!!

I did very similarly.  I put the trains away when I moved away for my first job.  I built about a dozen 1/24 model cars during my single apartment days, and carried the tools and paints in a small box.  I still have the cars, although several are in need of some parts glued back on.  Fortunately I put each in the plastic show cases, so all the parts are still there.  I may get to repairing them when I retire.  When we got engaged I was 27, my wife to be got me an N scale train set, which I ran in our first house.

Myles, great that you get your grandsons involved. It might not mean anything now but it's a memory they'll treasure later in life. Plus, it's passing it on. My daughter bought me a model to build with my grandson for Father's day. He's too young now (18 months) but I'll save it for when he's older.

I started the young one on building some Snap-Site non-glue models when he was about five. I had them playing with the trains before that. My philosophy is: I don't forbid them from doing things (realistically… working with acetylene torches would be forbidden…) but, certain things must be done with Grandpop's help and guidance. When it's not forbidden, kids are less apt to sneak and do stuff without supervision. I let them roll cars back and forth and taught them how to use the manual uncoupling. I had some separate RR trucks that they'd roll back and forth to each other and got them used to re-railing trains. By age five or six they started being able to use the throttles with me hovering closely.

The face of my youngest grandson (now 14) is the most description picture of pure joy I can imagine.

Alex Jack and Trains

When my son was two, I was building, in mass production fashion, 1/8 scale models of classic cars made by Pocher. I was building three-at-a-time on the dining room table and couldn't put the stuff away so I had to trust that my daughter (5) and son (2) wouldn't mess with it. These were the first three. Eventually, I made 65 Pocher kits on commission.


So I included both of them in the process. I would sit Adam next to me and give him some small nuts and bolts and other parts that he could assemble and disassemble. The cars had real spoke wheels which were very delicate. Onto them you had to 'force' thick vinyl tires. I found the only way to do it without wrecking the wheels was heat them in hot water and put them on. One kid dipped the tires in the water and one would take them out with tongs, and I put the on the wheels. They couldn't wait until it was "time to put the wheels on". I never had a single model project disturbed or damaged by the kids in all the years I was building stuff. Same goes for the grandkids.

Make them part of it. Teach them how to interact with tools and things. Don't forbid, but guide. Kids (most of them) don't want to wreck stuff unless they're frustrated.

My uncle with the HO trains in the 1950s, didn't have his own kids. He didn't have trouble with little kids, but couldn't handle teenagers. All he could say when I was with him with his trains was, "don't touch this…don't touch that." I was (and still am) a kid who looked with his hands as much as his eyes. It frustrated the heck out me that I couldn't touch his stuff. Meanwhile, by that time, I had my own permanent train layout up in the basement in which I did all the track laying and wiring, and I had been model building from when I was 8. It made no sense to me that I couldn't touch his trains. He didn't understand that Kids don't automatically mean breaking stuff.

Morale: Start them early and keep at it.


Images (2)
  • Alex Jack and Trains
  • PICT0003
Last edited by Trainman2001

The fact is, young people are often more creative than us old guys. We need their insights. Look at the age of people in the control room of Space X, Elon Musk's space exploration company. Very young and very energetic.

Monday… happy Monday. As a retiree with a deal with my wife that I'll do no model building on the weekends, for the first time in my life  I look forward to Mondays more than Saturdays.

I finished up all four cellar windows and put a mullion down the middle. Unfortunately, since they were all custom made to the size of the holes that I created, they vary in size a bit. In this picture, the larger one will be partly occluded by the outside stair (which is the second thing I did today). These will be painted and glazed off the model and then installed.

NH Basement Windows finished

Since I drew the outside stair originally in SketchUp and then in CorelDraw, I was able to stick the drawing onto the Evergreen clapboard styrene and then cut out the main profile piece. For the rest of the parts that determined its width, I used the Tichy door molding to determine the width since my SketchUp drawing used a door from their 3D Warehouse and it wasn't sized the same. I gave an 1/8" clearance on each side of the frame and cut the piece out. The thin cross-section of the sides broke on one side so I glued it back with a backing piece to reinforce it. I roof is "corrugated metal" styrene left over from making the cooling tower in the refinery. The bottom piece is a chuck of novelty siding left over from making the Victorian Station. Gotta hold onto all those scraps.

NH Outside Stair Parts

I glued all the pieces up with the side pieces butting up against the profile piece. I used 1/8" square stock to reinforce the corners. I used angle blocks to set up the right angles. For the transition pieces for the roofing I used some thin styrene sheeting to wrap the angle and give it something to glue to. Notice I numbered all the pieces to keep it all straight.

NH Outside Stair Insides

The roof design gave me some pause. The slanted portions would drain straight down so the corrugations when linearly, but the flat pieces needed to be pitched outwards so the water just didn't sit there. So I made some tapered supports out of some strip stock and glued the roof pieces to these.

NH Slant Roof Construct

Here's the completed structure put next to the building as it will sit. 

NH Outside Stair Glue Up

I used some small styrene angle for the corner trim and some 0.020" X 0.100" strip for the fascia boards. The window opening is sized for the large Grandt Window that I used on the first floor with the trim facing the outside as normal practice. I then started working on the angled framing that will support the upper landing. I'm using 0.040" X .188" which looks very much like a 2 X 12 structural member. The pieces on the wall are just being fitted. There will be angled members down to them and I'll probably put an NBW on them to make it look like something is actually holding them to the wall. Please note: This is not on the correct wall. The correct wall is the one around the corner on the right. I just stuck it there for the photo. The pic below is on the correct wall.

NH Outside Stair Framing

I'll finish all this up tomorrow and get ready to paint and weather all of it. To connect this assembly to the building I think I'm going to install a wood block between the upper slant roof and lower slant panel and hold it to the building with a screw from the inside. It will be a much cleaner installation and should be easy to do.The screw would be in an unseen area.

I removed the backdrop off the layout today since the photo session is complete. Then I took this picture showing what the water from the dishwasher leak did to my streets. I was a having a continuous problem with delimitation before, but the moisture made it worse. I have a major street repair project facing me. Since all the buildings are removable, (just unhook their electrical leads underneath) I'll probably remove them to give an open work surface. I'm thinking of stripping all the strathmore board off the green foam substrate and then adding something… what? Maybe Masonite. My curbs are too high anyway so a thicker road surface will be a benefit. I'm also thinking about styrene, but I worry about paint adhesion. I'd be trading a headache for an upset stomach… bulging to peeling. I've kept the XING stencils which is a good thing.

Water Damaged Streets


Images (7)
  • NH Basement Windows finished
  • NH Outside Stair Parts
  • NH Outside Stair Insides
  • NH Slant Roof Construct
  • NH Outside Stair Glue Up
  • NH Outside Stair Framing
  • Water Damaged Streets
Last edited by Trainman2001

Work continues on the outside stair. After I had cut and glued the diagonal braces and trying it on the building I quickly found out that I was putting the right most brace right through a window so I had to reshape it to be a small bracket like the center one.

NH Bracket Fitting

I went ahead with the wood-block-screwed-mounting. I measured and cut a piece of thick ply (scrap laying around) and CA'd it between the top and bottom. I needed a bit of shim stock to get the fit perfect. I placed the stair up to the building in its finished position and marked the inside of the building where the screws should go paying attention to the ledge that will support the second floor. I then drilled the exterior of the building with a  clearance hole for the self drilling screws that I was using. I didn't depend on their "self-drilling" attributes.

When I started driving the screws I was putting too much torque on the whole assembly and didn't like it. So I drove the screws into the block with the stair off the model to pre-cut the threads into the tap-drill-sized hole that I drilled in the wood block. This enabled me to re-drive the screws home without breaking anything. I then took it all apart to prepare for painting and windows installation.

NH Outside Stair Fix'n

NH Outside Stair Mount

I wanted to dress up the brackets and and add some gussets since the joints weren't very strong. I have a decent selection of NBWs from Tichy. 

NH Bracket Details

In this image you can see the large clearance holes for the mounting screws. The bracket pads will be painted the trim brown that I'm using on the rest of the model.

NH Wall Supports

Lastly, I painted all the windows and doors, primed the outside stair and started masking it for airbrushing the brown trim and starting to get the tin roof painted.

NH Windows et al painting

While I was laying out all the windows, I found out that I had not re-drawn the turret window panels since I decided to go from a laser-cut structure to a hand-built one. I will draw them up tonight after I finish posting. There are a lot of windows in this little building.


Images (6)
  • NH Bracket Fitting
  • NH Outside Stair Fix'n
  • NH Outside Stair Mount
  • NH Bracket Details
  • NH Wall Supports
  • NH Windows et al painting

Finished the outer stair, added the first windows and attached the stair to the building today. I finished masking the outside stair and painted the brown trim. Then I masked that and started working on the tin roof. This picture shows the entire sequence starting with 1) painting the brown trim. 2) a coat of Tamiya Burnt Iron which gives a good old metal look. Then 3) I took it outside and did a glancing low-angle Tamiya rattle-can Bare-metal Silver to give a brighter look to the high spots, but leave the dark brown in the trenches. Finally 4) I used rust weathering powder followed by direct application of Vallejo Shadow Flesh which is a great rust color. I dry brushed this to collect the corrosion at the lower edges of the roof slopes.

NH OS Roof Painting

The roof looks about how I expected it should look. I left the wall color the Tamiya Gray Primer and it needed to be toned down a bit so I used AK interactive dark gray wash. It looks frightenly awful when you're putting it on and you think, "Oh good lord, what the heck am I doing to my beautiful work?" But, after you wipe it down, it works out pretty well. You just have to have faith like Indiana Jones stepping off what appeared to be an abyss in the 3rd Raiders movie.

NH OS Tint Application

Here's the finished weathering. Not too much, just some wear and tear.



Images (2)
  • NH OS Roof Painting
  • NH OS Tint Application

Hmmm…. for some reason a whole bunch of this post didn't. Here's the pictures you're missing after the outside stair was completed. I dropped it on the layout to see the orientation and as I thought, the backside with the stairway door will not be easy to see from the layout front, but could be viewed from the bridges area.

NH OS Position on Layout

I added 40 X 80 Evergreen Strip window sills and painted them Badger ModelFlex "Sand" which made a nice limestone color.

NH Window Sills

Today I installed all the remaining building's windows (main building since there are four in the turret and three gable windows remaining). For some I added some Builders In Scale lace curtains to add some interest.

NH Windows in

In looking through all my drawings I found the plan view of the roof part that has the turret floor attached. I took the turret bottom and placed it onto the drawing to see exactly where the bottom turret is situated and found that it is pushed off the corner just enough so I can cut out the wedge WITHOUT touching the aluminum core or the steel ball, and I did it. To keep the piece still since it was impossible to put in a vise, I embedded in a piece of stiff un-cured Sculpey Clay. With it stabilized the cuts were actually easy. Here's looking down.

NH Bottom Turret Fit 2

And here's looking straight ahead.

NH Lower Turret Fit 1

I wanted to start working on the interior since the laser cut stools kit is coming soon (they're shipped). I made a cardboard mockup before cutting plywood since it's so much easier to work with. My first attempt turned out to be a bit too tall. I wanted the counter top to fall under the wide sill from the pass-through window.

NH Counter Mockup 1

I got out one of my Artista figures and decided to knock off about 8 scale inches.

NH Counter Mockup 2

I have some nice 1/16" aircraft ply to which I traced the counter top. I cut this piece out with scroll saw, trued it up with the belt sander and then further finished with diamond files and sanding sticks.

NH Counter Tops

I used the vertical parts cardboard to lay out these parts on the same piece of ply, and had sort of a minor miracle. The five pieces stacked together exactly was the same distance from a previously cut area on the ply to the other edge. I mean it was EXACTLY the same distance… completely random. This dimension had nothing to do with the length of the parts. 

NH Counter Parts Miracle

Here's all the parts, sanded, waiting for stain. I bought some Minwax Mahogany Stain today to try and get the color of the painting's woodwork. I'll use the same stain for the bar stools. 

NH Wood Counter Parts

I going to do some panel designs on the base pieces using some thin strip wood which will also be pre-stained. Staining before gluing means the glue will be basically invisible. I'll probably glue it with Aleen's Tacky Glue. After gluing, I gloss the assembly with polyurethane vanish. Tomorrow I'll do the staining and hopefully the stools will arrive so I can build those while the stain dries. I'm still waiting for #2 grandson to be available to start sculpting the figures (but just between you and me, I'm thinking that he's busy catching up with his friends since he was away at camp for four weeks).



Images (10)
  • NH OS Position on Layout
  • NH Window Sills
  • NH Windows in
  • NH Bottom Turret Fit 2
  • NH Lower Turret Fit 1
  • NH Counter Mockup 1
  • NH Counter Mockup 2
  • NH Counter Tops
  • NH Counter Parts Miracle
  • NH Wood Counter Parts

Thanks all!

Yes! That's why it's a miracle. In my experience the amount of material needed is about 1/4" too short. This was the first time in my memory that the distance was exactly right. In German the word is umglaublich (unbelievable).

Going to cardiologist for my 6-month A-Fib checkup. If it continues as it is he's moving me to a one-year cycle. Then I'm stopping at Costco hoping to find more of those great LED shop lights still on sale for $20. I want to add another one in the shop over the one table that's poorly lit (my picture taking table) and another to replace the florescent fixture over the "bridges area". Over the next year or so, I'm going to change out every florescent lamp in the train room with LED. They're twice as bright, use half the power and have warmer color.

I'll be back in the shop when I get back and get some more work done.

Thanks for the good wishes Mark. I am now cleared for one year intervals.

I didn't buy two more shop lights since they're no longer on special, but I did find them back in the racks at Costco and bought one ($27 instead of $20), and I installed it over the one table that was in the "dark" so to speak. That table is now going to be outfitted to be my photo studio. If I'm going to continue to produce magazine articles for RMC (or others) I need to be taking better in-process pictures. I have way too much clutter in my images and that makes it hard on the photo editors to drop the backgrounds out of the picture. If you go back and look at my substation article, you'll see that a lot of the images are floating on the page with no background.

New Shop Light

Here's two images shot under the new light. The first is with no iPhone flash and the second with the flash. The flash fills in very nicely.

NH New Light Photo

I did stain ALL the counter parts, including the striping for the edging and pieces for the raised inner panels. I decided to attempt to dress it up with a raised panel design. I first was doing it mathematically by adding up the widths of the outstrips, doubling that number adding a bit more for clearance between the inner panel and the edge rails and use that dimension to cut the center panel. Of course, I subtracted the gap allowance from the sum of the side rails thereby negating the clearance. So after I scrapped all those pieces and decided to actually measure the size on the workpieces. This took a tad longer but I got all the pieces cut and stained. Always stain before gluing since stain won't take where the glue is.

NH Counter Staining

I glued up one corner and stuck the top on to see what it looked like. The only trouble with using real wood is the grain is way out of scale. It might be better to make it out of styrene and simulate the wood finish. If you modeling rough, rural, outdoor woodwork, the grain adds some grittiness to the scene, but this is supposed to be fine furniture and there is no exposed grain. I'll live with it. I'm mitering the corners so the trim lines up.

NH Counter Fitting

And when I got upstairs for dinner, a tiny box was waiting for me with the laser cut stools. They look very, very fragile, and should look pretty neat when built. They were having trouble with the axis motors doing circular interpolation so they sliced some dowels of the correct diameter for the seats. That was good customer service. MiniEtch is the company that did it. They nested the drawings differently than I did and used less material. I should learn from them. Since I typically don't do model work on the weekends, it will wait until Monday to see how they go together. I imagine you could make these little things conventionally, but I couldn't really understand how to do the cross-bracing without driving myself nuts. Now I just have to be careful removing them from the fret.

NH Stools Laser Parts


Images (5)
  • New Shop Light
  • NH New Light Photo
  • NH Counter Staining
  • NH Counter Fitting
  • NH Stools Laser Parts

Happy Monday! Before getting to work I had a minor repair job. The roll-around work table that I bought in 1999 at an IKEA in Venlo, The Netherlands, needed a re-wheeling job. It was rolling terribly and I thought it was because the wheels were binding on little bits of model making debris on the floor. What it actually was is this...

Destroyed Wheel

The tires on the front two casters were disintegrating. And therefore were rolling very badly. I ordered four replacements from The Home Depot on-line and picked them up at the store today. and installed them. Now it rolls as it should. It's also over-balanced with the front edge of the table extending out over the wheels quite a bit to provide knee room and I have a heavy, cast iron woodworker's bench vise attached on the front also. I think that's why the front wheels did this and the back two were still intact. I replaced all four.

I finished building the counter, using a combination of Aleen's reinforced with thin CA. I then stained all the stool parts by just dipping the entire fret into the stain and blotting off the excess.

I removed all the parts I was going to use from the fret and here they are. In this image I already started gluing the seat bases to the seat tops.

NH Stool Parts

I "attempted" to glue the first one together and immediately found that, since these are cut out of solid wood, not ply, the cross-braces are extremely fragile and I already broke more than I'd like to admit. I also found that gluing them together was as challenging as I imagined. The tooth pick gives a sense of scale… they're really tiny.

NH First Stool Disaster\

I did get the second attempt built and put it next to the completed counter and quickly discovered that the stools are too tall! About 8 scale inches too tall. Sitting that high would be uncomfortable and ridiculous.


NH Too Tall Stool

I attempted to modify the stool height by removing material from the top of the legs, but this drastically changed the angle of the leg and made the cross-braces no longer able to join one another. I then took off material from the bottom by cutting just above the bottom rung. This height looks about right with that large Artista engineer sitting on top. When I sculpt (Grandson may not be available if his social life continues next week as it has this past week), I'm going to manage the scale a little better since this figure seems a little bit oversized. The bar is a scale 36 inches high.

NH Stool Corrected

I'm going to put a brass foot rail on the counter panels to give them something to rest their feet on. Still have to do the gloss coating on the bar. I'll do that when the stools are all done. The cross-braces are so fragile, I'm wondering if I shouldn't harden them by soaking them in CA before attempting to assemble them. I may also glue some very thin styrene behind to reinforce the cross-grain braces. Should have been ply.


Images (5)
  • Destroyed Wheel
  • NH Stool Parts
  • NH First Stool Disaster
  • NH Too Tall Stool
  • NH Stool Corrected

Add Reply


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Link copied to your clipboard.