Friday, June 11, 2021

1/25-Scale Garage Diorama

 My friend Bob Kremer, a superb plastic car modeler, is building a model for me of one of my dream cars -- a 1934 Ford four-door sedan. In return, I'm building for him a 1/25-scale garage diorama to display and photograph his amazingly realistic car models. This is a new scale for me, nearly four times the size of my RR structures, but it's been interesting and fun.

The interior walls are a paper texture sheet from, framed with basswood that has been stained with my alcohol-&-shoe-dye weathering goop. The windows and doors are also paper -- the windows built up from the wall texture sheet, the doors from my "digital parts bin." I will add exterior walls, wood floor, and partial roof, all from paper textures framed with basswood. Then I will clutter it up with lots of paper details -- posters, signs, tools, toolboxes, parts boxes, and cans, maybe some tires and a few car parts.

I'm enjoying the project, but I'm awfully glad my model RR isn't 1/25! I would need a much bigger workbench, to say nothing of a bigger basement.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Kendall Printing - 1/87 scale - FOS Scale Models kit

 This is another laser-cut wood kit from FOS's Kit-of-the-Month Club (KOTMC). It was a nice little three-evening project. I painted the walls grey, then sponge-painted them white. Doors and windows were painted grey and sponge-painted green. The large sign was applied following FOS's instructions and weathered with light sponge painting and dry brushing. 

The loading platform railings and supports looked almost too delicate at first, but with careful handling, they were fine. Laser cutting has come a long way. I painted the platform engine black and dry-brushed it with rust.

For the tarpaper roof, I substituted planking and tarpaper texture sheets from Paper Creek (no longer in business), with each row of tarpaper applied separately.

My only complaint was the hoist:  the kit put the upright too close to the building. I substituted a longer  cross-beam on the hoist to make room for a truck to back into that space. I stained the hoist beams with my alcohol-&-leather-dye weathering "goop." 

The KOTMC kits are delightful little projects that can be built as is or kitbashed into larger structures. They are also a great way to learn and practice new techniques.

Witt Manufacturing - 1/87 Scale -- A Tribute

 Witt Manufacturing is my scratch-built copy of one of the buildings in FOS Scale Models' "Printer's Row" limited edition craftsman kit. The corrugated metal came from Paper Creek (no longer in business); wood siding, tarpaper roofing, and brick pavement are from Clever Models. I used Photoshop to make the roofing lighter and more faded. The tall chimney is a soda straw wrapped in paper -- a printed metal texture from Details come from Walther's and Fine Scale Miniatures. Windows and doors paper are from my digital parts bin.

The fire stair is basswood with railings from Caboose Industries and risers from Northeastern. I painted it medium green, weathered it with my alcohol-&-leather-die wash, and dry-brushed it with rust. The landing has an open grid made with mesh fabric.

The walls and roofs of my scratch-built structures are 0.5mm card (cereal boxes) covered with texture papers and braced heavily inside with basswood and balsa.

My friend Roger Witt was a member of our IPMS chapter in Oshkosh, WI and a skilled and prolific scale modeler. He built railroad models for hire and mostly WWI aircraft for fun, casting and scratch-building lots of details as he went. I learned a lot of "tricks" from him. Roger passed away in 2020 and the IPMS chapter is holding a scale model contest in his memory. This is my entry.

In the FOS kit, the low wall butts against an adjacent building. I added the metal door and the large exhaust vent -- both paper -- from my digital parts bin.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Background Buildings for Scots' Landing - Scratch-built HO Scale Paper Models

These structure and others will be placed along a road that will climb along the backdrop of my Scots' Landing module. I'll build the hill and the road on the bench and then place it on the layout.
I'll need a few more houses and a medium-sized factory to fill out this four-foot chunk of HO scale landscape.

The green house on the right is Clever Models' "Small Chicago House" (S14). The other two are kitbashed versions of the same kit. The porch on the left uses fine cloth mesh for window screen.

This building is scratch built from a photo on the Internet. I widened it by adding the vertical row of windows on the left. The side walls are Clever Models' "Cream City Brick" texture sheet. I haven't decide what kind of business this will house so there is no sign yet. Roof details include a scatchbuilt hatch, some scrap lumber, and a sand barrel and shovel from Fine Scale Miniatures.

The boarding house is scratch-built from photos of one of the buildings from the Builders In Scale "Waterfront" kit. The photos were from Vilius Bileisis' amazing blog, The storefront will probably end up being a cafe but I am so far undecided. Walls, windows, doors, and shutters came from Vilius' photos. The shingles and chimney are from Clever Models.

The stone & wood barn is scratch-built from a photo on the Internet. It might be someone's craftsman kit, I don't remember where I found it. The stone walls are from, the wood walls, roof, doors and windows are from the Randsburg Barbershop kit by Paper Creek, now available free from All were modified in Photoshop. This will be a cabinet shop but I have not yet decided on a name.

The grocery store is a scratchbuilt copy of a model photo I found somewhere on the Internet. Wall texture, windows, and doors are from Clever Models' texture collections. The image in the large windows and the wall signs are images from the Web. I'll put some produce crates in the entryway when they arrive from Model Tech Studios.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Three More for the Ceresco & Wolf River

 The Wet Whistle Tavern and the tinshop will be part of the back scene at Scots' Landing -- a somewhat run down commercial street climbing the bluff. They are paper models, scratch built from photos. I don't have a spot for the produce co. yet. That is also a paper model scratch built from plans.

All three are HO scale (1/87) and built with texture papers from Clever Models, Paper Creek, and ScaleScences, and windows & doors from my digital parts box. The sheet-metal roof on the tinshop came from The Texture Library (

The tinshop was a limited edition O-scale kit from Stoney Creek Designs in 2018. I scanned a photo from their ad in Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette to make mine in HO scale. The Wet Whistle was a 3D digital model from (I think) Turbosquid. L.Baker Produce is a FOS Scale Models kit.

One of the advantages of paper models is the ability to use photos, scans, and screen captures of real buildings and models -- plus Photoshop -- to create my own scratch-built models.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Three Background Structures for Scots' Landing

 Against the backdrop of my HO scale Scots' Landing module, I am planning a commercial street climbing a hill to the bluffs above the harbor. The businesses along the road have seen better days but they hang on, serving the river folk at Scots' Landing and people from the town up above. I recently finished three more structures for that street. Once in place, they will be 22 inches from the front edge of the layout.

The Caledonia Hotel is a scratchbuilt paper model, a compressed version of  McGee's Hotel from Microscale Models. I used photographs of the kit from Villius Beleisis' amazing blog at Villius' scale models are masterpieces.

Wishy Washy Laundry is also a scratch built paper model. The front walls are based on a photo of a model from somewhere on the Internet. I've modified it and added the sign and name in Photoshop. If you know whose kit and whose build it was, let me know so I can give proper credit for the photo. The side walls are a Clever Models clapboard sheet, the shingles are from Paper Creek (no longer in business), and the vents are from Walthers.

The coal dealer is a paper model kit from Clever Models. I widened it by moving the vertical "COAL" sign to the front of the building, and I added some roof detail.

The street will be about four feet long, so I have lots more storefronts to build.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

1931 Bugatti Racer - paper model in 1/24 scale

This is a free download from ichiyama. The kit is 1/35 scale. I scaled it up to 1/24. It was a fun kit to build except for the tires. I had to build a dozen of them to get five I liked, and I am still not entirely happy with the results. But it looks good on the shelf.