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Rix Vicky's Fashions as background building

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  • Rix Vicky's Fashions as background building

    I bought Rix's 'Smalltown USA' modular 50s - 60s office building kit years ago:

    I haven't noticed it on a layout, or discussed in print or internet forums. So, as I don't think I've ever met Rick and have no financial interest, here I'll continue in the next post.

  • #2
    Rix's site describes it as 'Talltown USA Window and Door modules' with Evergreen strip. My older kit has injection molded parts for the .125 x .156" columns & window headers, and the L-shaped cornice. All the molded parts have modest 'draft angle' from the dies, so many edges will need to be squared with file or sanding tool.

    I haven't counted, but it seems my kit had quite a few modular windows beyond the minimum required for the building in Rix's photo. Here extra modules are stacked on the masking tape & paper strips my wife made so I could airbrush them. Injection-molded cornice, corner post and window header parts are in the foreground.

    I wasn't planning on an interior, but I may shoot some dull color on the back to reduce light transmission if I ever change my mind.

    As with other modular building kits, assembled the front looks better than the back.

    Concrete color is Scalecoat Aged Concrete. Window and door modules of this era were almost always aluminum. As the building is supposed to be 8-ish years old, I used Scalecoat Graphite & Oil to represent something next to a heavily traveled steam hauled RR for that time.

    My wife first used MEK to assemble the modules into vertical stacks per the instructions. You could go taller by substituting longer .125" square and .125 x .156 stock; Splicing the supplied parts won't look as good or be as strong. Then I filed shallow angles on the edges to follow the curve of the site (paper template under the model). I used tube cement for these joints. Some will need putty once glue dries and I reinforce the curved shape.


    • #3
      Good start! Keep going!


      in Michigan


      • #4
        From the title of the thread I expected a tiny dress shop.

        This is an impressive structure. Looking good.


        • #5
          Is this for the GE site?


          • #6
            Thanks, Pete & Bill. Bror, this will be left (RR west) of the Bexley depot, between it and the box pony truss overpass. But I am thinking of using the leftover window modules for a background building in Rover Works. The aluminum extrusions definitely point to Alcoa et. al. trying to keep their wartime aircraft materials capacity busy afterward.


            • #7
              I worked on what will be DigiCompuTronAMatics corporate headquarters yesterday and today. Assembly of the modules is complete, with the L-shaped fascia along the roof. I cut up the supplied black, textured styrene slabs to make the roof. I added blocks of .125" sq. and .937" sq. stock to reinforce joints and support future floor sheets. The left two bays' windows overlap the house window, so I used Rix's printed glossy cardboard for 'glazing'. It looks OK but I'm still thinking about whether I should do a partial interior for the deeper portion.

              I'll touch up the paint first, then put an elevator head shed on the roof, then consider signage. Floors will be needed for an interior.


              • #8
                Venitian blinds can help hide empty windows where offices would be, some suggestions of interiors in other spots would look good too.


                • #9
                  Nice progress on your large structure, James. I like Bill's idea of using venetian blinds in some of the windows.

                  The sky is not my limit, it's my playground.


                  • #10
                    Yes, Bill, I had thought about them. Looking around, City Classics 711 blinds should fit the 0.5" x 1" window openings. Their clear plastic could maybe be glued on the front of the Rix printed cardboard, but I have about 150 windows to do and most would be pulled all the way down in August. I might be able to get 13 usable per $8 sheet. Circus City's decals are sized for streamline car windows. Family Garden Trains has free downloads I'd have to resize for HO, but they're fully closed. That might bother me personally, as I know I'm looking at the North side of the building, but should look OK to visitors.

                    My next step is to get some overhead transparency film that will work with my HP color laser.


                    • #11
                      That’s an impressive building, James.

                      All those large windows do present a problem. If you could draw blinds on your computer you could make rows in various configurations or closed and attach them behind the windows. You’d have to cut where there are open blinds.

                      I’d be inclined to use a clear glass material and build simple walls for offices that can be seen into.


                      Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin


                      • #12
                        I downloaded Family Garden Trains's free JPG files from

                        I opened it with GIMP and experimented a bit. What worked was using the Tile tool to replicate it 7 wide and 5 high. Then print without any further fiddling. The dark-to-light shading and visible support strings resulted in a whole lot of scale 36" square blinds.

                        This installation is recognizable from normal viewing distance, but I must be more careful about alignment for closeups. I also should test how they look when backlit before using them in an illuminated building.


                        • #13
                          I picked this up again for the 2021 Challenge (abandoned project category). So far, I've worked on 1) a better Venetian Blind texture for the many windows, 2) interior walls of black 3/16" foam-core, and 3) a sign for the employee entrance door:

                          It's now named "DigiCompuTron-A-Matics" as that's what the recordings on-line called the fictitious company.

                          Back story: MIT had a student-run FM station called WTBS for "Tech Broadcasting System". The group also had an AM carrier-current operation which could and did run commercials. DJs filled in commercial slots on the FM side with PSAs and homebrew oddities, including faux commercials for Apple Gunkies and "DigiCompuTron-A-Matics, makers of the all new, Mark II DynaDigitron..."

                          The interior walls need a bit more trimming to fit the curved backdrop. And then I need to address the 100+ windows: They should have some sort of blinds. Venetian Blinds were common in similar buildings of the 1950s and '60s. How I do that will determine what interior finishing it needs. I've asked some friends if they can take me pictures of blinds with slats horizontal, as I don't think they're available commercially.


                          • #14
                            This structure can be viewed from less than 3 feet, and it has many large windows. Buildings need something to keep direct sun, freezing cold or curious eyes out, As Bill said above, Venetian Blinds were a common choice. I'm trying to make them lowered all the way, but with the slats almost horizontal, In 'daylight', viewers see the light colored blinds but not the interior (or lack thereof). At 'night', if I illuminate one or two offices, they'll be visible but the rest won't. Opaque white blind slats would be prototypical, but I think a thin yellow/gray tint might also work in daylight, and disappear even more effectively when the space behind is lit. I've made a pattern with GIMP's Filter > Render > Pattern > Grid feature that fits the window layout. Once I get clear material I can print it on, I can test my idea.


                            • #15
                              Jbvb that is one large build. Good luck and have fun.
                              Owner, General Manager, and all around "chief cook and bottle washer" of the Caz Coal-and-Wood Railroad