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 Scratch-building Graves - 2017 challenge
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Author Previous Topic: HO Figures Suitable For The 1930s Topic Next Topic: Plastic roof smoke vents?
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Crew Chief

Posted - 01/01/2017 :  7:19:51 PM  Show Profile  Send mark_dalrymple an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Hi guys.

I decided to flesh out my progress on this project with a few extra photos and detailed explanations to those in the official 2017 challenge thread. I'm trying a few new things in this build which I thought it would be good to document. I've not use matt board on anything apart from pretty basic stuff before, and I'm trying a new stucco technique and medium.

Well - I'm indulging myself in a sketch to scratch for this challenge. For this project I've decided to attempt a scratch-build with a few alterations of Bar Mills Graves Elevators. I love the design of this kit and spent some time with a calculator when it came out working out just how much it would cost to get it to New Zealand (it worked out at around $650NZ). Those of you who saw me leave Scranton in 2015 will know exactly how many models I took back home with me! The pile when held with straight arms went above my eye level! And so, as much as I would have loved it, I couldn't afford this kit. I must add there were a few Bar Mills kits in that pile.

I started with a few pictures of the kit and a few doodles. This is a kit that looks great on all sides, and as appealing as that is, on my layout that usually means a whole heap of work that will never be seen. My favourite sides were the rail side, the side with the elevator shaft and the fire escape, and the angled wall with the wooden additions between these two. I also obviously needed the front entrance way, so I left the other side wall intact back to the second elevator shaft. At this point I cut the remainder of the structure off with a 45 degree wall going back to the rail serve wall where it meets at 90 degrees. I also kept in the 3-4 story break in the roof line, although mine is a triangle. I had to reduce the length of the rail serve side, curtailing the small office and covered deck.

Plan of my scratch-build showing measurements in mm. The dotted line shows where I have omitted part of the original structure.

And here is a sketch of the changed side of the structure.

I based my dimensions on clapboard size and window size. The windows I will be using are slightly shorter than those in the kit. Basically the stucco bottom level worked out to be 50mm high and the other levels 40mm high with about 7mm extra added for the cornice. This is pretty consistent to my typical allowances for scratch-builds. I am using 3.5mm matt board for the base and stucco walls and Northeastern random clapboard for the upper timber levels. The corner trim will be scale 6" by 6"s, and I will use 6" by 2"s for the meeting of the stucco/ timber walls and as a division to split the main front wall into two sections. The cornice will be made from some spare Campbell timber pieces spliced together. I was lucky enough to find an almost complete Montgomery's feed and seed for $12 which I have kept for scratch-building supplies.

Here is the base cut out ready to go.

And here is the walls for the elevator shaft and the stucco bottom story walls glued in place.

And the back wall and rail serve wall glued in place.

More soon, cheers, Mark.

Country: New Zealand | Posts: 901

Crew Chief

Posted - 01/03/2017 :  01:47:37 AM  Show Profile  Send mark_dalrymple an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Hi guys.

Firstly I cut some interior bracing 'floors' and glued these in position. I cut these the thickness of the clapboard walls smaller than the outer stucco walls so the two different mediums should finish almost flush (with the clapboard protruding very slightly). I had also cut the elevator shaft side walls smaller to also allow for the thickness of the clapboard. I had worked out where all the openings would go and chose the doors and windows before assembly. I had carefully marked these on the matt board and cut them out with a very sharp blade.

I put the windows and doors in place and marked the edges of their facings with a pencil. I masked these with painters tape. I marked where the rails for the lift would go and masked these, as well as the loading dock and office addition.

I applied Reeves course texture gel with a flat blade on all the stucco walls including the top and inside of the parapet walls. Once dry I sanded with 120 grit sandpaper. I reapplied where necessary (wall ends mostly) and again sanded.

I then applied a full coat of course texture gel by stippling with a paint brush.

More soon, cheers, Mark.

Country: New Zealand | Posts: 901 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn

Posted - 01/03/2017 :  08:23:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Very unusual approach to bracing but I expect it will be extremely effective. As you pointed out it takes a fair amount of planning. Your stucco looks very real.


Nobody living can ever stop me, as I go walking that freedom highway -- Woody Guthrie

Country: USA | Posts: 3616 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 01/03/2017 :  08:59:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I can't imagine building this structure from scratch. Way to go Mark.
Your stucco looks terrific...


Country: Canada | Posts: 1122 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/03/2017 :  3:10:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That sure is a very cool stucco job Mark'.
And a great scratch build'..Good for you on a very tricky build...


Country: USA | Posts: 5407 Go to Top of Page

Carl B

Premium Member

Posted - 01/03/2017 :  7:42:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit Carl B's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nice work Mark!

Country: USA | Posts: 2717 Go to Top of Page

Engine Wiper

Posted - 01/03/2017 :  8:59:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That is looking awesome so far Mark! I'm sure you've heard of Emmanuel Nouaillier and his work with foam-core, but on the off chance that you have not you can Google him for some tips that would be at your standard of work (which is top class).


Edited by - Socialtrader on 01/03/2017 8:59:30 PM

Country: New Zealand | Posts: 116 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 01/03/2017 :  9:16:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Mark, nice to see your work being displayed here once again!
And it Looks like your off to a great start.
I've never tried that Reeves course textured gel before, looks like it does the job nicely.

Greg Shinnie

Country: Canada | Posts: 7639 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 01/06/2017 :  8:14:11 PM  Show Profile  Send mark_dalrymple an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Hi guys.

Thanks so much for all the comments!

Thanks Micheal. Yep - It sure does take some forward thinking - and when you are scratch-building something this complex you are bound to run into a few problems. I added vertical timber bracing on the corners of the clapboard and one down the centre of the large wall to help beef things up a bit more. I cut small squares in the centre matt board brace floor to allow for these. When I add my 6" by 6" corner trim I always glue it in place with the clapboard face up. The 6" by 6" really represents facings around the corner of the structure and these sit an inch or two proud of the clapboard. In this way I can glue some bracing on the back of the wall right up against the join of the 6" by 6" trim an the clapboard wall and then glue the other wall hard up against this bracing.

Thanks Bob, quartergauger and Carl. The stucco was quite easy to use and I was happy with the results. I think the two coat method is the way to go.

Thanks Bede! Yes - I have a folder fulled with colour photos of Emmanuel Nouaillier's work. Extraordinary modelling.

Thanks Greg - Its nice to be back at it again! I definitely recommend the Reeves textured gel. I did give that final coat a sand when dry as well.

Photo showing the front elevator shaft.

Photo showing the stucco with some colour on. I mixed up a 2:1 mix of Floquil antique white and foundation.

Here's the walls being cut out. This is the addition to the front left of the structure.

And the small walls - elevator winch house, rooftop stairway, cornice. I have almost run out of Floquil grime - which I use for weathering, so for these walls I mixed up a 3:2 mixture of reefer white and aged concrete which I then thinned down by 50%. I thought the colour was pretty close.

And here are the main walls weathered up. I used my usual method of a quick coat if grime followed by dabs of dirty oil based paint cleaner (the sludgy stuff from the bottom) smeared in with a paper towel followed by A&I - all in quick succession.

We have friends over for dinner tonight so modelling is momentarily on hold while I found the dining table again! I'll start messing it up again soon!

More soon, cheers, Mark

Country: New Zealand | Posts: 901 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 01/12/2017 :  5:35:48 PM  Show Profile  Send mark_dalrymple an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Hi guys.

Well - a bit more progress. The table is nicely messed up again!

First up we have a picture of my stencil. I found some 'Graves elevator' signs online and printed some off. I enlarged a couple to get 'Graves' lettering and tried some different sizes and positions until I found something I liked. I cut this out (on plain printer paper) and taped the stencil in position on the wall.

It was very flimsy so I kind of held the part I was working on down as I painted, using a dabbing method and trying not to get paint under the stencil. The results were average - what with the flimsyness of the stencil and the roughness of the stucco. Using a fine paint brush I touched up the black and the stucco colour. Results shown below. I'll see how it looks as things progress and will make up a big framed sign to cover if I am not happy.

Here is the weatherboard wall with the sign burnished on and with the cornice in place. I sized the sign and then printed it on plain printing paper. I gave the sign a good coat of Dullcote to seal and once dry sanded down the back with a cheap nail file. I work in a pulling motion from the centre of the sign outwards, and find that a layer of paper seems to roll off. If you can break small holes in the sign and take edges off without destroying the sign, all the better. I then use a blade to apply canopy glue in a thin layer with a full covering, carefully position the sign, cover with a piece of baking paper and burnish into the undulations of the weatherboards using my thumb nail. The cornice was made up by laminating several pieces of strip wood together and the corners were mitred with my mitre saw.

More soon, cheers, Mark.

Country: New Zealand | Posts: 901 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/13/2017 :  01:14:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looking Great Mark! That is one cut up building.


Edited by - Philip on 01/13/2017 01:15:07 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 2386 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 01/13/2017 :  12:33:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fabulous work there Mark!

Country: USA | Posts: 4496 Go to Top of Page

robert goslin

Premium Member

Posted - 01/13/2017 :  5:18:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Mark. Your making excellent progress. The signs look brilliant.

Regards Rob

Despite the cost of living, it's still popular.

Country: Australia | Posts: 1821 Go to Top of Page

New Hire

Posted - 03/11/2017 :  12:41:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Mark,
This building looks great. Thanks for sharing your build with us. Will this fit into your Tellynott modules, and how is the Tellynott project going?

Country: United Kingdom | Posts: 23 Go to Top of Page

Crew Chief

Posted - 03/18/2017 :  7:09:49 PM  Show Profile  Send mark_dalrymple an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the compliments, Philip, Bob, Robert and Malc!

Other things have seemed to get in the way of this project of late. The plan is to fit this structure into Tellynott, although it did just really take my fancy, and so will still need to be fitted. I hope to get some more done on this build very soon!

Warning - boring non-modelling venting following!
Tellynott is just bare bench at the moment. Everything is packed away in boxes while we wait for our insurance company to pay us the money to do the repairs/ rebuild of our home following the Feb 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Unfortunately there is still no light at the end of the very long tunnel. I have plans to fly into the Tellynott build after completion of said repair.The whole garage area, room and stairwell above, and laundry and studio below are to be demolished and rebuilt, along with a two meter wide area into the two story part of the dwelling - including both bathrooms, toilet, and part of the two halls, lounge and one bedroom. The rest of the house basically gets taken back to a shell and rebuilt. The whole repair process will take at least a year to do, in which time we will be in temporary accommodation with many of our belongings (and Tellynott) in storage. Unfortunately I find it difficult to get my head into my modelling while all this goes on.

More soon, and lots more one day soon(!!!), cheers, Mark.

Country: New Zealand | Posts: 901 Go to Top of Page

New Hire

Posted - 03/18/2017 :  8:25:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Mark
Sorry to hear you have had such problems with your insurers. I guess even when that is sorted out there is still a queue of people waiting for builders to do the work on their homes even after six years. I've been quietly admiring your Tellynott project. I very much like the changing heights and rooflines.


Country: United Kingdom | Posts: 23 Go to Top of Page
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