A 42 Hour Foundry

I took a couple of days off last week after the Canada Day holiday on July 1 to rest and recharge after 3.5 months of the “new normal” of working from home and dealing with COVID-19 restrictions. About 5pm on July 2nd, motivation struck me to start on another building on the layout. Looking at the end of the layout I am working on, and a building that I can get away with using commercial windows for, I settled on the Gilbert Foundry Building which is located between Pardee Avenue and Jefferson Avenue on the south side of Liberty Street.

Toronto Archives Photograph of the Gilbert Foundry Building (Series 1465, File 37, Item 24).

Given the compression of most buildings on my layout, my building is going to be about 1/3 the size of the real one, and it is located against the front edge of the layout, so it is only a couple of inches deep. To start, I drew up the building in my 3D modelling software to get the basic wall shapes and heights, then started looking through my tub of plastic windows from Grandt Line (now San Juan) and Tichy.

First rough printouts of the building, looking at what windows need to be modified or combined to make the size needed, and starting to lay out on the styrene building core.

I had windows that were the right width and general appearance for most, but not the right height, so I had to combine multiple castings together. A few quick snips and some Tamiya styrene cement later, I had prepared the windows in the right sizes for the building.

Work in progress on marking out with the printouts and cutting out the windows.

This is another job where the right tool makes all the difference. For window openings in the 0.040″ styrene inner core of the building, a nibbler, or a tool designed to slowly cut away styrene from inside the opening is the right tool for me doing the job. Yes, you can do it with straight edges and knives, but I find I always get the opening wrong. Using the nibbler and then filing/sanding to size until the windows just squeeze in works for me, and generally it means I don’t have oversized openings I then need to fight to get the windows to fit and fill with putty later.

Checking how it looks on the layout and whether it feels right.

For this building, I am using a slightly thinner core of 0.040″ styrene instead of 0.060″ styrene. Its not a big difference, little thinner so its easier for cleaning openings and cutting. On top, for the brick I am using N Scale Architect/Model Builder Supply brick sheets. They come in large 11″x14″ sheets, and are probably the nicest styrene patterned brick I have ever used for detail and cutting. They also have sheets of window arches and details. In this case, one of their brick columns on the detail sheet was already the perfect width for the raised details between the windows on the foundry, all I had to do was cut them to the right length and glue them on.

And building basically complete about 42 hours from first thinking about starting to build it.

So now I have three buildings ready to go to painting. Sooner or later whenever the heinous Toronto summer humidity breaks, I will need to set up outside and put some primer on, they are a bit too big to paint inside. I suspect a lot of the “painting” of the brick will be done with pan pastels, but I need a coat of primer to give me a good base. I can probably fiddle the buildings around to spray the windows in the paint booth, but trying to get primer on them will be a bit much. Stay tuned, it will no doubt be an adventure!

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