As I am starting to make real visible progress on scenery on the layout, my mind has started to turn back to the buildings and next steps on them. The Brunswick Balke Collender factory buildings are basically built and waiting on me starting to paint them, so I needed to decide where to go next. I settled on its next door neighbour, the Hinde and Dauch box factory. This way, if I build this building next, I will be able to have an area that extends from the CPR staging in the closet, about 5′ out of the closet into the actual layout room, where I can have scenery moving towards finished, which will be nice for photography and appearances when people come to visit.
The first step for me, is drawings and working out how I am selectively compressing the building. The factory is a big building, and in its entirety it wouldn’t fit. Fortunately, I have over the years obtained surveys and drawings that helped me figure out how to compress this building. For the western 4 storey portion and the central 2ish storey portion, they are about 40% of the actual building. The eastern part is about 60% of the actual size. To my eye, and hopefully visitors when you compare it to pictures of the actual factory, this feels right. It also gets around the same number of loading docks in the same locations functional with 40′ boxcars in HO scale.
Going from a matteboard mockup to a digitial mockup.
I am using my old reliable modelling software Form Z 6.5 (which is ancient dating from 2006, I recommend a more modern package for your 3D Cad work if you’re getting into this. I’m used to my software’s limitations, and quirks, and just keep plugging on despite them.
Moving forward with the western block of H&D, working on the western wall, then looking at that section basically done in digital form.
Because I am compressing most of the buildings in some way, rather than just drawing the window parts, for at least some buildings, I’ve decided to draw the whole buildings in 3D, this lets me see what they look like virtually, and print out renderings to cut out and attach to the matteboard mockups to see how they look. That way, I can go and adjust the spacing or make changes if they don’t look right to the eye for the cost of a few pieces of paper, rather than find out after hours of work building the structures and when they reach the layout, having them look wrong!
The whole extent of the factory that will appear on my layout, growing virtually, an in software render, and then the windows pulled out for all the different patterns/shapes that will be 3D printed to be masters for resin casting for the model.
Being able to see how the compressed building will look with the windows virtually before cutting the first bit of styrene or printing the first windows to make resin castings from has saved me a lot of problems. I’ve seen some spots where things didn’t work and look right, or where a few little moves would fix spacing or appearance issues.
Brunwick Balke Collender power house and factory in the foreground, and Hinde and Dauch in the rear with printouts of the 3D model taped onto the building to see how it looks before building anything.
I’m now ready to get going with final tweaks on the 3D window file to get them printed so I can use them to make molds and cast the windows in resin. While I could theoretically 3D print all the windows, long run I think it will be cheaper to cast them, that said, you never know, I may find a way to print them for substantially less than through a commercial operation like Shapeways and be able to afford to do a test run of all 3D printed windows. Whether its H&D or a future building, we shall see as there is no shortage of buildings to go on my layout that need individual windows to be properly modelled!