No announcement yet.

In-ko-pah RR: New project

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Your modeling keeps improving!


    • My next project is's a repair and upgrade of the Dos Manos Drugs building which was finished in 2010.

      This structure was built much differently than my current methods. I used real rocks and mortar for the walls. There are pros and cons to this type of construction.

      Pro: It holds up well in all weather, never needs to be repainted, and you can't beat the appearance of real rocks.

      Con: The only way I could find to make the interior accessible was through the top, so it had to be built in two pieces, and I couldn't make the interior removable. It's not completely moisture-proof. It's heavy, and although it's sturdy it can shatter if accidentally dropped. And unless you have a stone saw it's hard to make stones to fit arches, etc.

      Anyway, the real problems with this structure were with the other materials. I had used thin, clear plastic to glaze the windows. This stuff aged very badly, becoming yellow, opaque, and eventually warped and cracked. I used styrene to build the "wooden" parts of the structure, and although the styrene is ok, the paint on it has become worn and faded. Also, I had used incandescent "grain of rice" bulbs to light the interior, and these all burned out rapidly.

      Here's how the building looked after I removed it from the layout. A few parts broke off as I was handling it:

      I started with the ground floor, since it would be the easiest to repair. The first thing I had to do was remove the displays that were mounted in the windows. These were glued into place but luckily I was able to break them loose without causing any damage:

      The displays are in much better condition than I'd expected, and just need to be cleaned up a little. The paint on the "wooden" sidewalk has almost completely worn off, so it will need to be repainted.

      Next I removed the plastic glazing from the windows. I was worried this would be difficult, but all I had to do was press on the plastic with a blunt tool, near the edges of the window frames, it it popped loose. When I got enough of it loose, I grabbed it from inside the structure and pulled it off. With that weathered plastic out of the way, you can now see that the interior details are still in good condition:

      The red and black paint on the framework was in pretty good shape, just a little dull. The paint on the underside of the balcony was much worse:

      I repainted the underside of the balcony, and touched up the red and black frame to brighten it up a bit:

      I set that part of the building aside and turned my attention to the second story. I removed the corroded plastic from the windows, but that was as far as I got:

      The entire balcony is badly faded and needs to be repainted. Several parts of the railing have fallen off:

      This end of the balcony railing and canopy is loose:

      It would be easiest to paint the balcony if it were separate from the main structure, but with the exception of the loose bits at this end, the rest is very securely attached. I don't think I can remove it without causing significant damage, and I don't want to be forced to replace it.

      So for now I have to put on my "thinking cap" and figure out the best way to go about repairing and repainting the balcony.

      I just got some new LEDs in the mail today, which I will be using to replace the incandescent bulbs that were originally installed in the structure.



      • Ray,

        That old structure still looks GOOD but I'm sure you will spice it up. WE ARE ALL WATCHING!!!

        It is interesting to see what held up in the weather and what didn't.



        • Ray, Just like real buildings, yours needs a bit of sprucing up from time to time. Nice to see the care they receive. Whatever can't be 100% brand new looking will add to the realistic overall aging of the structure and look great as always. (Why do you htink the UNDERSIDE of the balcony weathered so much?)

          I wonder if the yellowed window "glass" helped preserve the appearance of all the interior details a little?


          • Ray,

            Building outside presents its own unique set of issues that requires different construction techniques. My layout is also outside, under a covered patio, so I use different building materials than most modelers. For example I use mortar instead of plaster for roads and mountains along with real dirt, sand, and rocks. Plaster would crumble and fall apart in no time.

            Always enjoy seeing your modeling and how you tackle problems.
            Michael M

            Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad


            • Just took a leisurely stroll through the whole thread.

              Holy Moly, what beautiful work and such detail in those buildings. Excellent work Ray.

              New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds


              • Ray,

                I haven't had much time to comb threads lately, but always watch what you are doing. This building repair is no big deal, as long as you are the builder! I am amazed at all of the work you have put into these buildings. Exceptional, and I will be watching more closely. Thanks for sharing.



                • Thanks, everyone!

                  Bill, I think the paint on the underside of the balcony was at least partially worn off by mud, sand, etc splashing up from the ground during heavy rains.

                  Also, the paint on all of the faux wood parts is unusually faded and worn, so I suspect I didn't get a thick enough clear coat over it.


                  • Now that the holidays are over I'm making a little more progress. On the second floor of the building, I decided the best adhesive to secure the loose end of the balcony was Gorilla Glue, a urethane glue. I wet the area first, then used a toothpick to smear the glue under the parts that were loose. The excess glue foams up along the edge:

                    When it was mostly cured but still pliable, I trimmed off the excess glue:

                    I repainted the balcony using craft acrylics. The coloration isn't as subtle as I had originally done it, but it'll do. Next I needed to spray it with a few coats of Krylon UV-resistant clear matte, so I masked off the rest of the building:

                    I also repainted the large sign above the balcony, using a small brush. It's not quite as sharp as the original sign, which was done with the aid of a stencil, but it's close enough considering the rough surface:

                    I cut some real glass for the windows, but haven't installed it yet. Cutting the curved piece was a little tricky. I had score straight lines and snap off a small piece at a time until I had a rough curve. The remaining bits were crushed or broken off with a needle-nose plier:

                    Meanwhile, on the ground floor, I installed LEDs into the ceiling fixtures:

                    I get my LEDs from Evan Designs They sell them with the tiny circuit board pre-wired into the leads. This allows them to run on battery or regulated DC voltage ranging from 5-12 volts. You don't even have to worry about the polarity.

                    These particular LEDs are the "chip" size. I ordered them with the circuit board on separate leads, so that the LED leads can fit through the brass tubes of the fixtures:

                    My messy wiring on the top of the ceiling. I bundled the leads and taped them in place:

                    Here's how the storefront looks with the LED lighting:

                    That's all for now. Enjoy!



                    • Ray,

                      A lot of work going on here, but what you've done so far is eye appealing. I especially like stone buildings, and yours looks good.



                      • Thanks, Rich!


                        • Ray, I get my LEDs at the same place but I have not tried the chip size. Yours look wonderful so I will have to try them.

                          Your work is top notch as usual with the additional work required for outside use.

                          :up: :up: :up:




                          • Ray the touchups are paying off it looks great!!

                            "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln


                            • Ray, most folks wouldn't have the will to tackle the rebuild. Nice work on the repairs! It's a beautiful railroad worth all of your effort.


                              • I had a real face palm moment this evening.

                                I was geared up to install the glass in the door frames of the second story. This is a bit tricky because the interior furnishings leave limited space to reach inside. I used a toothpick to smear silicone sealant all over the inner surface of the first door frame, including the arched window above it. Then I went to put the glass into place....and it didn't fit!

                                When I cut the glass I measured the door frames from the outside, and forgot that the inner surface is slightly smaller. Doh!

                                So I had to try to clean the silicone off the door frame as best I could, and also clean it off the glass. Tomorrow I'll have to take the glass pieces out to the patio and try to trim them down.