One of the nice things about a small layout, is everything is done in moderation, there is not a lot of any one thing. This comes in handy where it comes to Buildings/Structures, as no two buildings are the same, and modelling a real area, I can’t really stick in generic space fillers, all 18 buildings/structures are as accurate as I can manage in 1/87th scale of the real buildings, or at least achieving that is my goal. In the past week and a bit I have made a dent in 3 more buildings, bringing me to 14 of 18 started.
#1 – S.F. Bowser, Southeast corner of Mowat Avenue & Liberty Street
First up, a building that will be a lot of work, and which you really won’t be able to see. This is the last of my front edge see through buildings, and is at the corner of Liberty Street and Mowat Avenue. It is important that this building be see through, as there are two switches at its front door, and to date, I haven’t gotten to 100% reliable operation through them. Some of it is I think, rolling stock related, some of it is the switches which are the middle of the giant “bat’leth” of track a friend custom built for this complex corner of the layout. The real building here has large multi-pane windows. Putting in a building with just big openings wouldn’t work for me, because I would know its wrong, and when I stick a camera into the layout, there are angles you can see it, and I’d know its wrong. After some thought, I realized that with a thin 0.020″ piece of Styrene, the Cricut could probably cut an inner layer to the wall cores I have been cutting, that could be laminated inside the wall and create the appearance of the windows. What I didn’t contemplate, was how long it would take for the Cricut to cut out the huge number of window panes. I set it to run one evening…and 8 hours later when I got up, it was still only half way through cutting. I decided to cancel the cut as they were scored enough that using a burnishing tool, I could pop the openings out. This was another slow and careful process, as too much force risked ripping the mullions that were to be left behind. I did tear some, but not beyond careful repairing with the parts that tore off and gentle application of liquid cement.
Using the Cricut to cut both a thicker “core” and a thinner “window” layer to be laminated together to make a wall.
Before I laminated the mullion layer to the core, I wanted to apply brick to the layout side, and make any adjustments to the window openings for the door or window lintels. This building is one where I am using a lot of off-cuts and remnants from other projects. I save almost every off-cut of brick sheet, and a lot of bits of blank styrene from the walls. Someday down the line I will do another purge and get rid of them, but while I am actively layout building, having lots of scraps comes in handy for a lot of reasons.
A lot of work for a building where 100% of the detail faces away from the operator into the layout!
#2 – Starting Toronto Carpet
The Toronto Carpet complex on my layout is three buildings, two of which are connected by a sky bridge over Mowat Avenue. To make this work, I first need to do the western part, Barrymore Cloth. Once this is done, it will set a hard support for one end of the bridge. I don’t think I will build the bridge until the main Toronto Carpet building is done, so I can make sure it fits between to final buildings, rather than between a plastic building and a foam mock-up.
I have only cut the core on this building, and put it in place to check dimensions. That said, the Core of this building is layered, and boy did I have a bad day cutting. I managed to need three takes at this because I screwed up the dimensions in the Cricut cutting program twice before getting all the walls and the depth plates to create the pattern of areas set back from each other. It was, a frustrating day between the time, the mistakes, and wasting styrene. I didn’t throw anything out, but the leftovers of the first attempts won’t be useful for much other than braces and hidden parts of buildings.
Test fitting the first part of the Toronto Carpet Factory on the west side of Mowat Avenue.
This building has some interesting and unique brickwork that I really want to try and re-create, so I am going to be doing a lot of careful brick laying before I connect the walls. I will write about the brickwork whenever I actually do some of it. Same for the windows, I think I am going to try something new for me, we shall see how it goes and report either way!
#3 – Toronto Carpet Factory – 72 Fraser Avenue
The third building in my recent mini wave of progress is 72 Fraser Avenue, a second building on the main Toronto Carpet Factory Block. It is not rail served on my layout, and is a background space filler. It is being built using tried and true techniques now, with some adjustments. This is the first time I have tried to use the Cricut to cut openings for commercial windows. I have cut to use my own 3D printed and resin cast, vinyl windows, and Cricut windows as above. For this building, I am using Tichy Trains windows as they are close enough to the actual buildings. There is no point in making work for myself when something off the shelf can be used.
Working on test fitting the walls, and the almost ready for primer and paint building on the layout.
For this building, I am going to paint the windows and door separately, so I can finish the brick, then once its sealed, pop in the windows, glaze them and call it a day. Still lots of work to do, but over the course of a couple of nights, it is always gratifying to see a building go from a board mock-up and drawings/measurements to a physical object I can hold and look at and really feel it becoming a part of the layout.
My current work target is to get the buildings along the backdrop done, so I can then work from the backdrop out improving and finishing scenery. To get there, two of these buildings need to be done, as do two others. Both the other two need some more work in creating 3D printed windows for resin casting. I’ve been putting that off finding excuses to not spend even more time in my layout room on the computer (since I spend all day there on my work computer), but I am going to need to do some of the computer work so I can keep on with the actual layout building. Seeing what I can get done certainly isn’t hurting the motivation to do more on the computer so I can keep the progress happening.