So Many Windows

Why oh why did I have to fall in love with an early 20th Century Industrial neighbourhood? So many windows to cut out. While I have a good number of buildings, mostly they are shallow along the front edge or rear of the layout. This is a good thing, as I have discovered, it takes a long time to cut out window openings by the dozen when you are scratch-building structures. I have been working this week on the Hinde & Dauch Paper Company factory again. Looking to make some progress in the second of the smaller segments, before the remaining large portion gets started in earnest.

Working on the walls of Hinde and Dauch. Getting the western most portion done, and counting out how many pours of resin I need to do to cast the windows for the last wall I don’t have them cast for yet!

I have written several times about how I have been going about cutting openings and preparing walls. And frankly, the process has left me disheartened at ever finishing my layout and having it look as good as I know I can build. The longer I work on any given wall, the more problem cuts or bad window openings I create. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that I will make an ugly cut and really be annoyed at how something is looking.

That said, this week I have made some good progress. I’ve cast replacement windows for bad castings or ones I damaged trying to clean them for installation, and gotten through the last openings on the 2nd phase of the Hinde and Dauch factory. I am really pleased with how it is looking. I see spots that need fixing with some filler and such before paint and primer happens, but I think, sometimes you are your worst critic because you know where all the problems or mistakes you made are. I don’t think others will see them when they visit. I am sure all my modeller friends have structures or scenery on their layouts that make them crazy but which visitors are blown away by. Being my own worst critic is definitely a skill I wish I didn’t posses!

Getting the windows done on the western block, checking as I progress, the finished wall, and test fitting everything before assembling the block for painting.

That said, the slow and steady approach is working, but I know there are better ways out there. I’ve got something to experiment with this weekend, which is a long weekend here in Ontario, and I’ve taken Tuesday off to extend it. Before the weekend is out, I will have an update hopefully on a path to getting my buildings moving quicker. Hopefully I’ll move from being delayed by cutting out openings to delayed by not having drawn the custom windows I need to print and cast for some of the buildings. Time will tell, but for now, I am out on a windy Saturday morning to chase some trains in the freshly fallen snow!

11 thoughts on “So Many Windows

  1. Stephen, That first building looks great! However, if you are getting discouraged by the amount of cutting, why not have the walls (and windows for that matter) laser-cut? It would save a ton of time, and come out perfect on the first try. You could also etch all the brick detail, although that would use more machine time and cost more. Cheers, Rene

  2. Patience my Friend…these are your trees. But unlike a Great Northern or Northern Pacific modeller who will need to make literally thousands of trees, surely making these fine structures will be much easier. One wall, or even one storey, at a time step-by-step, like one tree at a time and you will get there. Who cares if it takes a couple or more of years…it matters not. You Will get there.

    • Thank you Rick, indeed that is a good analogy, and yes, it is most definitely not a race, but it is a challenge I am looking for ways to improve what I am doing. As they say, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, well, I’ve been doing the same thing over and over, and while things are getting better, they aren’t materially different results that are making me happy. I am on the hunt for ways to keep my buildings feeling like my work, while trying something different to improve my process, and yes, it does have the benefit of possibly moving me on “quicker” on some aspects of the build to doing the parts that I enjoy as the building comes to life with paint and detail, rather than hours spent hunched over making cuts.


  3. Masonry windows, which you are using, are even tougher than windows with visible frames on the exterior of the building that hide cutting sins. Do you have a nibbling tool? It might help. That and sanding sticks or files are your friend.

    • Hi Benjamin, yes, I have had a nibbler tool for a while, its great, but still only as good as the end users ability to cut straight lines with it. I’ll be putting up a post shortly once I give it a fresh morning re-read after writing it last night on what I’m experimenting with.

      Also, yes, wood frame windows and doors hide a multitude of cutting sins with their frames. But for most of the buildings on my layout, they’d be horribly wrong and look it too!


  4. Hang in there! My short attention span for my former Ogilvie Flour Mill on my Winnipeg layout iteration led me to stick on painted cross-stitch mesh or printed paper windows just to get it done.

    Now we know why prorotype structures became large, windowless monoliths! No more skylights.

    The results are looking excellent!

  5. Given that the wall is mostly window opening, is it possible to build it up from strips instead of cutting out openings? I presume some sort of jig would be required to get good results.

  6. Agree with many comments regarding shortcuts versus realism. I am always torn when doing any hobby requiring realistic “backgrounds” drawings, models, etc. When I start to concentrate too much on the background, the total project can suffer… Sometimes there needs to be sacrifice to get a result…

    P.S. You can also go back and upgrade later if it bothers you…

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