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The kids are on a "Learn all about Israel" trip. It's sponsored by several groups. His brother went three years ago and it was a 'life changing' experience. Of course, he didn't end up with an Israeli girl. He's dating a beautiful Greek one.

I'm sure there are YouTube Videos of how they take a tower crane down. I'll look around for one.

Chicago is my favorite big American City. It's got everything, clean streets, fabulous architecture, superb museums and attractions plus lots of theaters. Its restaurants are legendary. It has good mass transit. It has the normal city problems (homelessness and guns), but tell me where that doesn't exist. I will admit that when you live on the East Coast, if you want to go to a megalopolis you head to NYC. Philly's big, but no where near the size and scope of Chicago. We didn't "discover" Chicago until we moved to Louisville and could drive there in five hours.

I certainly agree. My daughter is fortunate to not have to worry about finances  (no help from us), and they've not been afraid to expose their kids to the world. They've been to Europe, in England during the London Olympics, Hawaii more than once and then Greece. While #1 grandson was in Greece, #2 was at camp. The kids are well grounded and do not take their situation for granted. They're both terrific students performing well in the school and the community. Makes us very happy.

On Friday I worked more on the front wall and still misunderstood the different between the front-front and the front of the inner wall. If you look at the picture and the diagram below the structure you'll see that I still have parts to install. For example: the blocking extends across the entire 2nd level (and all subsequent ones if I was building it higher), and there is no door opening in the 2nd level front wall just as there isn't an elevator opening. I will finish all this nonsense tomorrow.

RH Front WIP 2

Just for fun, here's a video on building a tower crane. There's actually quite a few on YouTube. I didn't realize it, but it makes sense, they build an entire concrete foundation to anchor the crane's base to the ground. It's a significant part of the job. Also, for some of the smaller cranes they're assembled using a high-lift crane on the ground. I found it fascinating to watch the serious work being performed by humans high in the air to put these things together and take them apart again. Some of them have sections that fit together with male/female sleeves held with what looks like 4" diameter hollow pins that are then pulled tight with through-bolts that are torqued like crazy. Others have a butt joint held with three large stubs that are torqued with nuts on the top and bottom. These are tightened with powered torque wrenches. What i didn't see in the vids was how power is gotten to the hoist machinery up top. I'm sure there are conduits that run up the tower, but it was hard to see.


Images (1)
  • RH Front WIP 2

Started working on filling in the missing stuff. The dotted lines show what still needs to be done. This will be done tomorrow or Wednesday.

I stretched a piece of E-Z Line across to serve as a "chalk line" to place the blocking. It was less obtrusive than putting a big metal straight edge.

RH Entry Front Moving along


Images (1)
  • RH Entry Front Moving along
Last edited by Trainman2001

Our girls were on mission trips, the older to Japan and the younger to the Dominican Republic twice.  Support was raised for all their trips, so they didn't cost us much at all.  My wife and I have been to Niagara Falls; that is the only place out of the country, which is nothing.  I don't see us ever going anywhere now.

It is pretty amazing how they raise and lower those cranes. 

The front wall is taking shape. 

Well… in that case… let's hope she keeps on living!

Got the front entry wall done today along with two other unrelated projects. After getting all that blocking in place I put the front wall stair landing ledges in place. With that I'm ready to create the two side wails, the inner partition wall and all the bracing that supports the elevator shaft. The I'll finish the stair case.

I will have to build a 1" high foundation under the entry hall and the loading dock. I'm going to fab it out of styrene since as concrete it will be a pretty smooth surface.

RH Front Entry Wall Done

Here's the stair ledges in place. I spent a lot of time to make sure they were are the same height and level.

RH Stair Landing Ledges

re: those other two projects… they're both very different and both on commission. The first is the 1/72 scale Cleveland Tractor Co. (Cletrac) high-speed tractor used to move aircraft at airfields in WW2. A member of the Military Modelers Club of Louisville asked if I could create one on my 3D printer. I said, if I can draw it, I can probably make it. It took a while to gather the images and then draw one on SketchUp. You have to draw in full scale in SU.

Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 6.36.19 PM

I broke it into a group of parts and scaled everything 0.013 and exported the pieces as STL files to my slicer. After printing and building most of a couple of trials, I was having a lot of trouble with the right tracks. They were a mess and making a mess of the printer. Couldn't quite figure out what was going on. Splitting the parts this way meant that all of them could be printed directly on the platen with no added supports that needed to be removed. For example: if I printed the body with the engine with the hood on, I would have had supports inside the engine compartment to enable the hood to print properly. Those supports would have been a pain to remove without damaging the model.

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 6.29.03 PM

Cletrac Build Start

It's clear in this image that the right tracks just didn't print well. I had to attempt to clean them up, but was unsatisfied with the results. I wasn't getting paid to do this, I might have let it ride.

Cletrac Track Problem

I went back into the drawing to see if anything was wrong. At first glance everything seemed okay, and then I saw it. The bottom of the road wheel boogie frames WAS NOT A CLOSED SHAPE. I thought the bottom surface was reversed (not normal-facing) and I had SU set up that non-normal faces are a bright red. I tried reversing the surface and then found that there was NO SURFACE THERE. I was actually seeing the inside of the shape and those surfaces should be red. Repair proved difficult and it was easier just to re-draw the shape. I then realized that I was using too small of a scaling factor. If a shape is not a closed solid, it can't form and may actually hemorrhage resin out to other areas.

1/72 scale factor is 0.0138. I was scaling to 0.013. I upped it to 0.014 and got shapes that were almost 10% bigger. At this small scale that made quite a difference in both appearance AND ease of printing.

I redid all the parts and printed them today. I had 100% perfect prints.  The arrow is pointing to the 0.013 scales track. Notice how nice the definition is on all the details.

Cletrac Track Print Success

This is the rest of the model's parts. I'm going too make two of them, but have enough for three if needed. Instead of attempting to print the headlights separately (I tried and it was ridiculous) I drew them on a stalk and with cut them off to apply them to the model. The other thing that printed better at the slightly larger scale was the real of the chassis which fell apart a the smaller scale.

Cletrac Lg Scale Success

I'll have these assembled tomorrow.

For the second project I'm restoring the base to a cast resin chess piece. The chess set was bought in Tehran, Iran by a woman (married to an Iranian) who lives in Cleveland, but has two sisters living in Louisville. On a whim, she stopped into Scale Reproductions, Inc (America's best hobby shop IMHO) and asked the proprietor, Brian Bunger, if he knew anyone that could replace the missing base. He immediately told her about me. The set, because of where it was purchased is irreplaceable.

I believe I showed this picture earlier, but forgive me. Being resin, the figures are fixable. The base is missing.


The chess set was on a table and some workman were doing drywall work. They threw a drop cloth over the set and when pulling it off, broke the character and then threw the base out with the drop cloth.

I decided to make a silicone mold of the good one and reproduce the base. I don't want to make the entire figure because it would tax my skills to attempt to match the figures coloration. I do feel I can replicate the coloration of the base. Therefore, I didn't attempt to mold the entire figure, but limit the mold making to the base. The broken figure's feet are not complete, so I'm going to make the joint at the bottom of the pants and make new shoes. The base will be pinned to the figure. In fact, I see traces of a metal reinforcement in the sole of the foot.

I used Legos to make the mold box for the bottom, but in hindsight should have just used clay. The box was quite leaky. Luckily, the cured silicone is easy to clean up. The sprue filler tubes are created with left over sprue from my many plastic kits.

Chess Piece Step 1Chess Piece Step 2

I will have to plug the opening where the legs got through the clay or I could attempt to fill the mold from there. You should feed from the bottom and vent the top so the resin forces the air out in front of it. Bubbles are the achilles heel of resin casting.

Chess Piece Step 3

I filled the upper cope yesterday. The silicone I'm using is a Chinese product that wasn't too expensive. I typically use Smooth On and had some on the shelf that kicked. The mold material is two-part (A and B) in equal volume proportions. One of the two, has a short shelf-life and was a solid glob of rubber. I'm not getting much to do this job and didn't want the material costs to exceed the job. As it is, I'm barely breaking even, but I like doing these restorations since they're and interesting challenge. This product cures in 6 hours. It has low viscosity and has long pot-life so it out-gasses by itself. Some silicones, especially the higher strength varieties need to be vacuum de-gassed to remove bubbles.

Chess Piece Step 4

I pulled all the Lego stuff of and turned the mold over. This time I built the walls entirely out of clay and had no leakage. This is a special clay that contains no impurities that can affect the silicone's curing.

Chess Piece Step 5

You have to apply mold-release so the silicone doesn't glue itself to itself or to the model. The silicone did not damage the model. Tomorrow, I'll split the mold and attempt to make the first replacement part. Good thing doing it this way. If I screw it up, I'll just mold another… and another… until I get it right. There is some engraved printing on the base that will be picked up by the mold-making process.

So in today's session I was working in three-generations of crafting: wooden sticks, silicone mold-making and 3D Resin printing.


Images (14)
  • RH Front Entry Wall Done
  • RH Stair Landing Ledges
  • Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 6.36.19 PM
  • Cletrac Build Start
  • Cletrac Track Problem
  • Cletrac Track Print Success
  • Cletrac Lg Scale Success
  • IMG_0709
  • Chess Piece Step 1
  • Chess Piece Step 2
  • Chess Piece Step 3
  • Chess Piece Step 4
  • Chess Piece Step 5
  • Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 6.29.03 PM
Last edited by Trainman2001

I got the side entry walls started. I'm building them connected so they're exactly the same. I will slice them apart when they're finished. I had to conscious of the junction points between these two walls and those to which they attach. I held the front entry wall up to them to make sure I knew how they would join and did the same for the main front wall.

RH Entry Side Walls WIP

Re: the Cletrac project: They're done. One has the back frame broken so I gave my client a discount.

Cletrac FinishedCletrac Finished 2

And the Chess Pieces… The mold worked terribly! Everything that could go wrong did. My entry sprues were too narrow and the resin couldn't pass fast enough to prevent air binding or premature setting. Our of four sloppy tries, I only got one complete part and it was basically junk. I bit the bullet and re-purchased Smooth On-00 silicone. The Chinese stuff just didn't cut it. Even with mold release the two halves of the mold bound together so tightly that I almost had to destroy it to break it apart and release the master figure.

Chess Piece Test PourChess Piece Test Result Fail

The model had tons of air entrainment, and a big missing chunk from an air bubble.

Chess Piece Test Article

The new silicone arrives on Tuesday. Interesting: Price directly from Smooth-On was $27.25, but then there was $21.28 shipping plus KY sales tax so total was $51.45. The same product was available on Amazon. It was more expensive @ $38.94 plus KY tax, but free shipping so the total was $41.28, $10 less! It pays to do your homework!

I'm going to re-mold the figure. This time I'm going to mold the entire figure and not worry about trying to isolate the base. That was more trouble than it was worth. I'm going to make much larger feed sprues and air vents. And I'm going to use Smooth-On silicone which cures more completely and doesn't stick to itself when you use mold release. I'm asking $50 for this job and have already surpassed it just in the cost of silicone alone. I'm now doing it for the accolades, since I will make no money. I suppose I could present my case to the client since she thought I was going to charge much more anyway.


Images (6)
  • RH Entry Side Walls WIP
  • Cletrac Finished
  • Cletrac Finished 2
  • Chess Piece Test Pour
  • Chess Piece Test Result Fail
  • Chess Piece Test Article

The resins I'm using shouldn't require vacuum de-gassing if I was doing it right. If they did, I'd be out of luck since I don't have any de-gassing equipment. I've  been thinking all weekend about the changes I'll be making. I've done successful casting in the past and should be able to get it right. My initial decision to only mold the bottom half created much of the problems I was having. The new silicone arrives tomorrow and I'll give it another go.

Thanks Alan. It's not the resin's fault. It was the mold designer's… me.

Last night this site was running very, very slow, so I'll post Friday's and yesterday's work now and add another tonight if I get more done.

The front walls are complete and I'm now working on the stair case and the elevator shaft bracing that goes inside.

After finishing the two entry side walls and gluing them onto the ends of the front entry wall using angle blocks for squareness.

RH Gluing Entry Hall Wall LFT

I then realized that I needed to build one more of this size wall… the partition wall between the stair well and elevator shaft. This wall is just vertical studs, no blocking. The stair side of the wall got the "drywall" treatment.

RH Entry Hall Partition Wall

For some reason (which I can't figure out since I used the same building pattern) this mid wall was one-stud-too-wide and didn't come out the same as the end wall. I had to remove the last board on the right, carefully, so it would not bulge the front wall when all glued together.

I glued the wall using an angle block to ensure it was square.

Here's the finished entry walls before the drywall and mid-wall.

RH Entry Hall Walls Comp

I started constructing the stair assembly. If you pay attention you'll notice that the side and front walls don't actually line up. Puzzling since I built them on the patterns. Answer: I created the different parts of the structure by cutting and pasting different parts of the pre-exisiting parts of the long-wall drawing. These parts I was copying weren't exactly the same. As I've been saying, "If I have to build one of these again, I will be making a lot of changes."

I measured the width of the stair landing joists directly off the model, not the drawing, to be sure I was getting a "real" number. Like real joist I felt I needed some cross-bracing to prevent the boards from flopping over while gluing on the floor boards. Probably overkill...

RH Stair Landing Start

For the remainder of the landings I'm going to use less robust lumber for the cross-braces.

I tried the landing in place before gluing on the front walls to ensure that the length is correct.

RH Landing Fit Test

I glued the stair cases to this first landing and tried it again. It was comforting to see that the stair runs lined up with the floors as they should. But I don't have much space over the first floor door opening for the stair joist to fit if I use the stair ledge method as I'm doing on the mid-landing. I could butt glue them to the wall and assume their using Simpson Stonge-Tie Joist Hangers. I'll go that route.

RH Stair Start

After seeing how well it all worked, I glued the front assembly to the main front wall and held it with gravity clamps.

RH Gluing Entry Hall to Front

Here's the wall fully attached. Looks just as complex as my drawings. The front wall is not glued to the base yet and I still have to make the base for the entry hall and loading dock.

RH Entry Hall Attached

I then again tried the completed stair into the space to see how it worked. It did! In this image I did NOT push the stair all the way down to the stair ledge so it does not align with the floor level, but it does.

RH Stair Fit Test 3

Until next time.


Images (9)
  • RH Entry Hall Partition Wall
  • RH Gluing Entry Hall Wall LFT
  • RH Entry Hall Walls Comp
  • RH Stair Landing Start
  • RH Landing Fit Test
  • RH Stair Start
  • RH Gluing Entry Hall to Front
  • RH Stair Fit Test 3
  • RH Entry Hall Attached

If I were doing this model I would have designed the walls and studs in CorelDraw and then laser cut the walls with studs. To get the vertical stud look I would have laser scored the verticals at the horizontal intersections.

I built a multi-story building using  your method but as accurate as I was, I could not get the walls to line up exactly creating gaps that grew as I built upward. It was frustrating.

After I got my laser cutter, I then did a similar structure with all laser cuts, it was a remarkably different experience.

I applaud your detailed work  and your tenacity. 

Myles, It defiantly looks as complex as it is.  I wouldn't kick yourself for the miscues.  There is a lot going on there.

About the Advanced Manufacturing Institute; are you meaning the equipment is going to satellite campuses buildings here and there on the Louisville campus?

In a way disbanding the Advanced Manufacturing Institute and your friend's position reminds me of my contract position at the telecom company that gave me early retirement in 2015.  A week before the retirement date, I had lined up a contract position to work exclusively on data integration projects from the Network Engineering users side.  I had worked on the integration project to move all the Net. Eng. information from my old company's system to the system used by the company that bought ours, then on the project to move everything to a totally new system.  After 2 times that IT tried to move data, only to find out much fell out and had to be reentered manually, we worked in tandem with IT to make it more efficient.  As a contractor, I worked on the projects to integrate 2 new company's information manually.  Each time they bought a company, they kept certain managers and executives from each company they bought, and that usually meant reinventing the wheel.  Well, they bought the 5th company and ended up making one of that company's executives the VP over all of IT.  He declared they were going to move forward without Network Engineering's help and do it all from IT.  So it meant back to square one from 10 years earlier, and I was out.

Thanks Gents! Laser cutting would certainly streamline the production of the model and would make it mathematical perfection. It's been fun doing it old school, and it has much more character. While the AMIST is gone, the Manufactory First Build is still in operation. It's owned by GE Appliances and is open to the public in the same building that housed AMIST. They have some significant equipment there including large laser cutters and really large laser cutters for cutting metal. I've applied for a Craftsman Certificate which would give me full access to the whole deal. Really all I want is the laser cutter.

Didn't work on the Rick House today, but did FINALLY get success with the Chess Piece Project. And I have to tell you about the tiny M2 Cletrac High-speed Army tractor.

I redid the entire molding process of the chess piece. I used the Smooth-On Silicone. This product is so superior to the Chinese stuff that it's not even in the same league. It cures solid without any residue on the surface and it separates from itself. As I noted with the other product, even with mold release agent, glued itself to itself. I molded the entire figure, although I was not concerned with the accuracy or appearance of any part except the base and the trousers. I made a HUGE entry sprue and two large vents on the upper mold surface.

I didn't go the LEGO route this time. I did all the barrier work with the special clay used for silicone mold making. The large sprue started with piece of solid core 14 gauge ground wire. I then wrapped it with Sculpey and fired in my old Black & Decker Toaster Oven that I commandeered from the kitchen when we finally got a new one. I went this route because I wanted that nice smooth bend. The impressions are there to act as registration pegs to align the mold halves.

Chess Piece Redo

I built walls around this with more clay and carefully sealed all the surfaces. This took some time, but was effort well spent since it did not leak. My entry sprue would make a mess of the character's head, but as I said, I wasn't making the entire figure.

Chess Piece Redo 1

I mixed the silicone and poured it last night. I wanted it to have all night to cure.

Chess Piece Redo 2

After breakfast, but before exercising, I pulled off the clay, turned the mold over and attempted to pour the 2nd half of the mold. When I mixed and poured the first half, I had to mix two batches and thought to make the batch bigger so I could do it in one pour. This created a problem. The plastic cup that I was mixing the batch was very full and I had a difficult time stirring to the bottom. The Smooth-On silicone consist of a bright blue and a hot pink component mixed 1:1. When mixed it should be a smooth periwinkle blue color like you see above. I poured the mix in and noted that a whole bunch of un-mixed blue component was on the bottom and the mixed was very purple. And I could see different colored swirls in the mix in the mold. THIS WAS NOT GOOD!  And what made matters worse… much worse, was I forgot to apply mold releases to the bottom half.

That second blunder could be a job killer. It was very possible without mold release that the new part would adhere to the old part making the mold a solid block of silicone with the master figure inside.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I dumped out the new uncured material into a container that was big enough where I could fully mix it. I then attempted, clumsily, to remove all the fresh material I could so I could apply mold release. I don't think this second part did any good at all, but mixing it thoroughly was very important. I refilled the mold, and let it cure for about four hours. At the start of my separation attempt I thought that it was glued shut, but then I was able to separated the mold. I made a test pour using the quick setting Aluminite white resin.

The redesigned plumbing worked perfectly and I was rewarded by seeing the vents fill nicely. I used my powered mini-sander as a vibrator to help dislodged any entrained air. To keep the mold closed tightly I clamped the lower part in my wood vise and the top half with stiffeners and rubber bands.

Chess Piece Perfect Pour

The mold was successful. I still was getting an entrained air bubble in the base which needed fixing. I opened a hole in the mold right where this bubble was forming and put in a small piece of hollow ABS tubing. I then recast the mold using the Smooth-On off-white resin that has a slower cure time. This time was perfect! No entrained air, full resolution, very little mold lines. As predicted, the figure's head was marred by the huge sprue connection.

Chess Piece Vent Needed

Chess Piece Base Success\

I trying to decide where the best place to splice the new base to the baseless figure. At first I was thinking to cut it at the top of the shoes, but I'm now thinking that at the bottom of the tunic would be better. It might be a better place to conceal any joint characteristics. Any thoughts? The base will require very little cleanup. I was actually surprised that I was able to create the entire figure so well. It could have been an option, but I wasn't looking forward to trying to replicate that paint job. It will be much easier for me to duplicate the base and maybe the pants.

Once again, persistence saved the day. Test pilot management! Try A, try B, try C, etc., until you pull up or crash and burn.

Re: the tractor. For some reason, I drew my original drawing to the wrong scale so my shrunk 1/72 version actually comes out something much, much smaller. It's almost 3X too small. Mine are a little over 1" long and they should scale to 2.3". This will require fixing the drawings since with a bigger model and a bigger print means more details. And to make matters worse, my favorite hobby shop owner commissioned me to make a couple in 1:48. Jeez! That's our scale. And that means even more detail. I did finally find a side/front view drawing of the M2 showing the overall dimensions. If I would have had this first, the error would not have occurred. I've stared making the changes already.

So literally, back to the drawing board. I'll rise to challenge.


Images (6)
  • Chess Piece Redo
  • Chess Piece Redo 1
  • Chess Piece Redo 2
  • Chess Piece Perfect Pour
  • Chess Piece Base Success
  • Chess Piece Vent Needed

I forgot to post a picture of the open mold. I really don't understand the color shift between the bottom and top mold halves. I thought I was using the exact same proportions of blue and pink, but the mix doesn't lie. The second batch clearly is heavier in the pink. It cured fine and worked. As you can see in the mold, there was some transference where the top mold stuck to the bottom as a result of no mold release coating in place. I was still able to rip it open… thankfully. The mold is not pretty, but it was effective. Anywhere you see lavender on the left mold and blue on the right is an area where the new silicone bonded to the older. It should happen that way. The mold proper did not leak and the product is pretty flash free. There were a lot more alignment lugs that glued themselves together and got torn apart when I opened the mold. Next time: DON'T FORGET THE MOLD RELEASE!!!

Chess Piece Successful Mold


Images (1)
  • Chess Piece Successful Mold

Having the ability to mold more than one piece let me produce enough so I could practice on the cutting and binding of the new base to the old figure. I did decide make the cut at the tunic bottom and glad I practiced since it helped me understand how much material was removed in the razor saw's kerf. I use the points clipped of some T-pins to locate the corresponding point on the other part so my drilling would be reasonably accurate.

Chess Piece Pin Alignment

I was able to build the test which took a little fussing to get the alignment close. When I thought I figured it out I cut and drilled the real parts.

This picture, which actually preceded the above, shows the metal reinforcement that ran inside the original figures. Of course the base broke off just below where the metal rod ended.

Chess Piece Trial Assembly

I used a small starter drill to open up the pin pricks and then opened to 1/16" where I then used some brass tubing of the same size to pin them together. I used epoxy to make the joint fast. Making the joint at the tunic bottom was the right place since the junction will be invisible when I'm done. Epoxy cured and the piece is solid. The picture makes the rebuilt one look shorter, but it's really very close to the same height.

Chess Piece Epoxied

Now the fun begins with matching the paint. Again, I'm going to use my test pieces to perfect it before attempting to do the actual piece. I am pleased how the cast bottom worked out.


Images (3)
  • Chess Piece Pin Alignment
  • Chess Piece Trial Assembly
  • Chess Piece Epoxied

Multitasking day...

Started working to develop the color palette for the Chess Piece. It took five tries to nail the color of the base's rocky upper surface. It turned out to be a lighten NATO Back with a hint of Khaki… a greenish dark black gray. I started painting color samples on the lower left and went around clockwise to the one that's close enough. I don't know how old these figures are so I don't know how much fading there is. They can't be too old since they were cast resin of some variety or another.

Chess Piece Gravel Match

Color matching the base color proved much more elusive. It turns out to be a light gray tan with a hint of red. Luckily I had all of those extra bases upon which to experiment. I masked the upper part of the figure and airbrushed the base color. When it dried I noticed a lot of pin holes (small air bubbles) so I went around and filled all the imperfections with Tamiya Fine Putty. When dry I sanded it with the power mini-sander.

The color appears very light, but it will get treated with an aging wash using Tamiya Accent Liquid. Again, I may add some brown to the black to warm it up a bit. The filler looks bad, but it's not.

Chess Piece Pit Filling

After sanding here's what it looks like. Tomorrow, I'll mix another batch of base color and air brush it again. The white balance is way off in this picture. It's sitting on a pure white piece of Bristol Board and I shoved the white balance as far to the blue as possible. My shop light over the work bench is a warm CFL that's very yellow. I'm confident that the base color is going to work.

RH Base Filling Done


Images (3)
  • Chess Piece Gravel Match
  • Chess Piece Pit Filling
  • RH Base Filling Done

Thanks Mark!

Exercise and errands gave me something less than an hour in the shop. Did two things. Got the Rick House loading dock 'sandwich' glued up and partially sanded. It needs filling and sealing and then painting the same concrete color used for the RH foundation. The dock is not glued to the building in this image. I will also install a bumping strip to the top dock edge and a metal (Plastruct) stair down the left side.

RH Loading Dock Glue Up

I also got the chess piece base paint done. It took a lot of fussing again to get a reasonable color match. It was made more difficult because of the weathering glaze on the original. I had to peer through the glaze and imagine what the actual color looked like. It's a bit of white, buff, red, yellow, black, etc. Again, I relied on the other base piece I molded so I didn't have to put any extra paint on the real one. I also did some more final sanding on the filler in prep for the painting. I'm going to practice on the spares to do the weathering too. I also added a coating of Dullcoat on the rock portion so that color coat won't bleed the base color that's also on the rocks. Tomorrow I'll do the rocks, then match the pants and boot colors. Once all the color coats are on, I will do the weathering. My goal is that you won't readily be able to tell the difference.

Chess Piece Base Color Applied


Images (2)
  • RH Loading Dock Glue Up
  • Chess Piece Base Color Applied

The chess piece is done and shipped… and I was paid already. I sent the client these images and she was beyond happy. I had my wife and son in law and they couldn't identify which was which. 'Is it real or is it Memorex?' Remember that. I am pleased with how it came out. It was a challenge.


Gone on a road trip tomorrow. Will be back on Monday. Have a nice weekend!


Images (2)
  • IMG_0790
  • IMG_0789

\\\\I'm thinking…. I know, I know… that's dangerous … that I probably should sell off  some of my kit buildings to make room in town for more custom designed and built models that I'm doing. For starters I'm thinking of selling the Bar Mills Idaho Hotel and Gravely Building. I don't know how much to ask. Both kits were purchased for $170.00. What should a built-up price be?

Gravely 4

Gravely 3

Idaho 1

Idaho 3

Idaho 2


Images (5)
  • Gravely 4
  • Gravely 3
  • Idaho 1
  • Idaho 3
  • Idaho 2
Last edited by Trainman2001

I did do work since the last post, but didn't post yesterday. The stairway and loading dock are complete. The loading dock needs some more detail work with the access stair and the bumper strip on its face. I will also weather it a little, although it's new concrete. I got all the stair handrails in except for one inside rail that I just couldn't reach. Can't reach and can't really see.

I got all the stairs and landings fit and put some ledges under the big landings after marking where the joist fell on the walls and framing.

RH Stair Fitting

After getting the first to second floor stairs and landing glued in place I put in the outside railings on both flights. I made some standoffs for these railings which was an overkill detail.

I finish sanded the loading dock and took it outside to put the concrete color on (Rust O-leum Camouflage Tan).

RH Stair Complete

I then glued in the second to third floor stairs and landings. When they were set I installed the 8 X 8 vertical columns that support the center of the stairs and providing a place for the inside railings. These did not get standoffs.  In this picture you can also see the piece of Plastruct stair that's going to be the access stair to the loading dock. The Plastruct railing is too long so I'm going to scratch-build railings out of Evergreen styrene angle stock.

RH Stair Complete 2

Next up is some more internal framing inside the elevator shaft. There is some cribbing that lines the shaft and ties back to the building structure. There are sole plates that tie these columns to the bottom so I can build this without gluing the front onto the loading dock. It would give me easier access. Arrows point out this framing.

RH Elevator Framing CU


Images (4)
  • RH Stair Fitting
  • RH Stair Complete 2
  • RH Stair Complete
  • RH Elevator Framing CU

Thanks Mark!

Bought some more bridal tulle today to make the chain link construction fence around the rick house site. It's the CHEAPEST HOBBY PURCHASE EVER! 19 cents for a 54" X 4" piece enough for that fence and more. The fence will be a scale 8 foot (2"), so I should be able to get 108" running inches of fencing or thereabouts.

I built the access steps. My idea to use Evergreen for a new railing didn't work out as I would have liked so I trimmed the Plastruct railing and added a small piece of Evergreen to finish it off. My solvent cement (MEK) was not fusing the styrene to Plastruct's ABS as it should. I used med CA to glue the styrene strip to the ABS to finish the rail. I mounted the steps on some larger Plastruct ABS Channel. I will spray it metallic next week.

RH Loading Dock Steps

I started and almost finished adding the elevator shaft bracing. The first part didn't come out so square, the rest are okay. I was using a combination of med CA and Bondic UV to hold it. Aleen's just isn't good when the pieces have the ability to move all over the place. The Bondic freezes them in position in five seconds and I follow up with CA and accelerator.

RH Shaft Braces

This next shot shows just what's left in the flooring department to finish it up.

RH Floor to be Built

And then I took a picture just because I wanted to. The front is still not attached to either the framing or the loading dock.

RH Almost there

The is an overhanging roof protecting the loading dock. I can't decide if I want to add it. It will look cool, but it will hide a lot of the stair well stuff inside. Thoughts?

Boy! That's a lot of lumber!


Images (4)
  • RH Loading Dock Steps
  • RH Shaft Braces
  • RH Floor to be Built
  • RH Almost there

I hear you Mark. I'm leaving off the canopy.

Got a lot done today. I finished the last elevator framing, glued the front to the rest of the structure, finished the flooring and mounted the loading dock. Took more status pictures.

I had to add ledges to both sides of the front flooring areas. I used a surface gauge to get the correct height and transfer this to the front wall. I glued the front ledges on while the front was still separate from the building. I also added addition ledges for the ends of the ricks. I realize I hadn't designed this as well as I could since I wasn't sure about how much floor I was going to install until the building was nearly finished. If I build another it will be a different experience.

Also before gluing on the front I added another layer of sole plates to the front lower edge so it would more perfectly match the loading dock height. After these two add-ons I glued on the front using Aleen's. I added some strategic spring clamps to hold until it set.

RH Gluing Front on

To ensure that the front was plumb, I used a angle block and secured the left end with a brace that was pinned to the base. For this I used CA and accelerator to glue it. The arrows are pointing out the floor ledges, but the next image shows them more clearly.

RH Corner Brace

This view shows the ledges more clearly.

RH Floor Ledges

Because my ricks are not completely parallel with the base, I had to hand-cut each floor board since they varied in length quite a bit. Even so, I did all the flooring in about an hour. One of the changes I would make would be to interlace the new flooring with the existing.

RH Floor Complete

Lastly, I glued the loading dock to the building. Before any of this, I made sure the front face of the foundation was reasonably flat to accept the loading dock. To get the glue to set nicely I used gravity clamps. Also not that I painted the outside stairs with Tamiya rattle can Real Metal, which looks pretty much like galvanized steel.

RH Gluing on Loading Dock

Here's a few more views of the almost-finished Rick House. The clamps come off tomorrow and then I'll try it on in the layout. Next up: Site completion.

RH Almost Complete 1RH Almost Done 2RH Almost Done 3RH Almost Done 4

To sum up, the build so far has been 3 month elapsed time not counting the ridiculous amount of hours drawing it in SketchUp.


Images (9)
  • RH Floor Ledges
  • RH Gluing Front on
  • RH Corner Brace
  • RH Floor Complete
  • RH Gluing on Loading Dock
  • RH Almost Complete 1
  • RH Almost Done 2
  • RH Almost Done 3
  • RH Almost Done 4
Last edited by Trainman2001

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