Mixed Media Structure Building

So I didn’t quite get this post done on the weekend as I suggested on Friday, but I’m in the same week at least!  I wrote back in December 2016 about 587 Yonge Street and building a model of it.  I haven’t been doing much work on projects of late because of workload at my day job, and not really feeling motivated to work on any model railroad stuff at home.  I’ve been sorting the projects in various stages of completion on/around my workbench to get organized and help find motivation to get going on them again.  During this cleanup/reorg, I’ve had some time to start working on the plans for 587 Yonge Street again.  My vision for the mini-diorama of this building has clarified as its evolved.

First up though, is I need a base to put the model on, as it isn’t going to be a part of a layout in the near term.  The 12″x12″ base for this is now ready, because of being too tight in my tollerances building the display frame, I had to sand a hair off two sides of the base so it would fit in the frame.  But that is done, and the frame is now painted satin black, my usual display frame colour.

IMGP8162RawConv.jpgPortable Display Base and the wood panel for the project, now painted and with less cat!

For the building model itself, it will be a mixed media project, using some 3D printed parts, styrene, metal, and wood.  This lets me get the best of each different material/technique to create a model, rather than compromising because of a materials limitations or my skill limitations working in a certain material (or frankly the budget, as a fully 3D printed building would be unreasonably expensive compared to cheap sheets of styrene that I already have in stock!).

For the 3D printed parts, I am going to model the 1st floor facade which is the most detailed part of the building.  I’ll also 3D print the windows and doors along with some exterior detail parts.  The upper walls will be a base of 0.040″ styrene sheet, with 0.020″ brick patterned sheet overlaid on it.  I will cut openings to insert the 3D printed window frames, basically the tried and true way of scratch building but with 3D printed windows instead of resin or plastic windows and doors.

Volo3D_1Shapeways 3D Render of front and side first floor facade of 587 Yonge Street.

The building facade is basically plain red brick throughout, but it has some nice details on the front and side which faced streets, with a recessed first floor entry and large glass windows and doors that could open to the street and the patio.  The longer I looked at it, the more I realized that this part of the building was a perfect candidate for 3D printing, as I could basically create a unit that the upper walls and rear portion of the ground floor could connect to, effectively, modular construction.

Volo3D_2False Colour Rendering of 587 Yonge St in Form Z.  The beige/blue walls and Grey Roof/Floor are the parts of the structure that won’t be 3D printed, but will be constructed ouf of 0.040 styrene sheet, they are just there to provide context and scale to the 3D design.

The first floor of this model will have a detailed interior and lighting (the 2nd and 3rd floors won’t), I am still working on determining what the best way of constructing it will be.  There is a part of me leaning to at least a partial 3D print, as much of the interior walls were stucco, and the 3D print can give me that texture.  It would also give me a much easier starting point for the multiple levels of the first floor interior to then go and add detail/colour to.

I also suspect this will be the first project I experiment with using Pan Pastels to paint/detail the building.  The ability to create brick/stone texture and fill in brick mortar courses with different colour will really be effective on this building to create the appearance of the tired brick before it was torn down.  Fortunately, as I am taking a risk of mixing 3D printed brick pattern with patterned brick sheet, a large part of the building was covered in ivy, so I can hopefully hide the blend lines as I doubt the 3D printed brick and brick sheet will perfectly match patterns.

29515480414_3868e052bb_oA reminder of what 587 Yonge Street looked like, it’s all gone now as a Condo is going up in its place.

Tarping a “Locomotive”

So I tried something new tonight.  I’m sure it’s been done before, as its very similar to the technique used to dope tissue paper by model aircraft builders.  In my efforts to replicate the appearance of tarps on top of the steam locomotive Dominion of Canada when it was shipped from Montreal to England in 2012 (see here), I settled upon using cheap fabric as it had the right lime green colour of the tarps used on the shipment.  I’ve spent several months mucking about on and off with the “tarps” to figure out how to make them and get them to sit right.  The goal for them was to look like they were draped, so the general shape of the locomotive is formed.

IMGP8154RawConvThe 3D printed HO Scale “wire frame” A4 locomotive.  As 95% of the locomotive was covered by tarps,I didn’t need to create the whole thing, just enough to give it shape.

I’ve finally gotten to a point where I was happy with the look of the tarps, so to glue them down, I’m trying a mix of white glue thined with water.  It should, in theory form a hard shell when it dries and form the shape around which it is being glued, at least, that’s my theory, my results may vary!!

Working from the ends in, covering the cab and nose with smaller sheets, then two larger sheets over the centre sections.

At this point, this post is a bit of a tease, as the material is still quite wet, so I’m watching to make sure it holds in place (hopefully) as it dries, and will make any adjustments after.  If this is a colossal failure, I’ll hopefully be able to take the material off and re-use the frame, or in a worst case scenario, I’ll be ordering another wireframe A4 from Shapeways and starting over.  Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but this is a bit of a live and learn project as I’ve been making up techniques for what I’m doing as I go.

IMGP8156RawConv3D printed flatcar QTTX 131344, now with weathered decks, all set for a tarped over locomotive to be installed.

Fortunately, while the experiment in tarping a locomotive is an unknown, the experiment in rusting and weathering the flatcar deck has been more successful.  Ever since I re-designed the deck to be able to add structural rigidity (see here), I’ve been much happier with it, and slowly working on painting and decaling the 2nd edition.  I applied Bragdon Enterprises weathering powders to the deck tonight.  I find these powders nice to use for rust effects, as a fine adhesive is in the mix, so as you work them, they bond to the surface.  They are also forgiving, in that its easy to wipe away too much, or go back and add more to darken an effect.  Despite that, they will come off when a model is handled if they are not sealed, so now that it’s close to done, just needs a light spray of dullcoat to seal the rust and weathering powders,

Sometime later this week I’ll post an update on how things have gone with the tarps adhearing and if tonights project is a success, a failure, or a bit of both.

I’ve got a Cat Shaped Box

With all apologies to Nirvana, it’s Friday and I needed a cat picture this morning, thankfully, I had a project on the spare bed in our office/workshop, and Fergie obliged me by turning a 12×12 diorama frame into a Cat Shaped Box….


I have the frame out and the project board in it to check fit (still need to sand a hair off the board to make sure it isn’t so snug that I can’t take it out once I build on it, and then paint the frame) and to start transferring lines from the print onto the board to layout locations for buildings and scenery details before I start construction.  I actually have a half written post on this project, which hopefully I’ll get to this weekend.

My penance for taking liberties with Nirvana’s lyrics is the link to the actual video for Heart Shaped Box to add some 1990’s grunge from my high school days to a rainy miserable Friday in Toronto: