Hazel Mine Tipple - Construction: Windows
08/28/2020
As they say, "measure twice, cut once", I re-measured from the drawings and photos the positions of the windows, and clearly marked them on the side walls. I then marked the center point of each of the windows, and then duplicated those points on the other side wall, too.
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I could then use my drill-press and a Forstner bit to cut out the window openings. So, why cut circles when the windows were rectangular? Well, the 1/4" plywood walls scale out to 16 inches in S-scale. I seriously doubt the walls of the tipple building were that thick. The walls were likely just metal framing covered by corrugated sheet material, with probably no insulation. So, to avoid the 1/4" plywood from being visible at the windows, I made the hole bigger than I need for the windows, so that I can build up the edges of the windows from styrene later on.
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When I cut the ends of the building out 3/4" plywood, I made two of them. I knew the one for the back of the building was more complicated. I determined where the shorter end of the building ended, and then cut that end panel on the table saw, to leave me with two pieces, both having the same roof slope. The shorter end of the building is closed off, but the longer end is open to the tracks coming up from the mine's incline. I then cut and fitted some pieces of leftover plywood to enclose the walls.
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Next, I wanted to add supports to the roof sheets, but when I did that, I noticed that there was something odd about the building. The long sides were nice and straight, but the front end wall didn't seem to line up with the concrete foundations, which I know are perfectly aligned. I took a square to the corner, and, sure enough, it was off. I used a square to attach the front end wall to the two long side panels, but somewhere along the way while the glue was drying, it must have wandered off somewhat. This top-down photo clearly shows the amount of a gap, as the interior floor "brace" I had put in there, was cut nice and straight.
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To solve this issue, my plan was to cut out the end wall and start over again. I set the tablesaw fence at 1/4" and put the building on its end wall and made the cut. When I did that, the end wall snapped out and wound up being perfectly square to the other wall, as can be seen by the placement on the foundation blocks. So, now all I have to do is deal with this gap, but that can be easily hidden when I get around to installing the exterior sheathing.
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To make sure that the cut didn't weaken the structure, and to make sure that the end wall remained at a 90-degree angle, I cut and glued this piece of plywood into the interior corner.
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And, so then I decided to make this handy hand-tool carrying box...

Naw, just kiddin'! I had some leftover angle bracket wood, and glued two of them into the building, flush with the angled tops of the ends walls (the second one is behind the one visible in the photo). These will provide the support for the roofing material to be installed.
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I spent some time thinking about whether or not to scratchbuild the window frames for this structure. The odds of finding the exact size in the exact configuration were pretty slim. I searched both S-, O-, and HO- products, but couldn't find anything that matched exactly. However, the amount of time it would take to do a credible job at building the window frames from scratch would be quit large, especially knowing that I'd have 14 window frames to make. So, I decided to go with the items sold by Tichy Train Group. There is one small 2'x3' window at the end of each side of the tipple. I found an exact match to the size in Tichy's S-scale "Work Car Window" (part #3536).
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These come with window glazing, so that makes it easy. There are six per package, but I only need two.
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There are six large windows per side. These measure 4'x6' (from my own estimation by measuring prototype photos). I was not able to get an exact match as far as size, but I found the 9-over-9 configuration more important than the dimensions. Tichy has these 27-pane windows, which are 9/9/9 format. So, my plan is to cut one of the 9x9 panes off of each, which leaves me with the configuration that is visible in the prototype photos.
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This close-up photo shows where I plan on cutting these windows. There are 4 individual frames per package, and I need 12 frames. The Tichy frames are 41" wide instead of the desired 48", and the cut-off portion will be 96" tall instead of the desired 72". So, I will have to make some adjustments to the wooden frame of the building. The package also comes with "weathered" glazing. This is Tichy's part #3520, intended for use in roundhouses or factories.
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This photo shows one of the Tichy's window frame sprues.
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Thinking about how to cut this frame up to make it closer to the size that I need, I decided to cut the top 9x9 portion off, while keeping its outer edge (on the left in the photo). I set up the NWSL Chopper, with its stop aligned with each of the cuts (since I have to do that for each of the 12 frames) and then just slowly cut through the part.
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After a bit of filing, I could then just glue the top edge back to the larger piece, to form the window frame that I wanted. The metal weights hold the parts together while I apply the glue to the gap. I am doing the gluing on a sheet of glass, so that the glue doesn't stick, and to make sure that the parts line up perfectly.
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This is the final frame, in its correct position. Since the prototype photos show no trim around the window openings, I am going to be installing this window frame "backwards". The photos show the bottom 9x9 section as sliding up, so I am going to position it such that it is on the inside of the building. So, this is the way the window frame looks when viewed from the outside.
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Since the entire window frame has to fit within the opening (the 1/4" plywood is thicker than the total depth of the window frame part), I need to make the holes larger. I placed the center of the frame along the horizontal center line drawn through all the openings, and then traced out the outer edges of the frame. You can see where I shaded the to-be-cut-out parts.
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I used a small handsaw to cut the vertical lines first, and then used a jigsaw to make the horizontal cuts. I was worried about the top of the plywood breaking, so I made sure to have the jigsaw cut as slow as it would go, and all the cuts went without a hitch. The window frame needs to fit somewhat loosely into the opening.
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As I stated above, the window frame is thinner than the plywood, so I added some styrene strips to make up the scale 8" or so it was too short. They were glued in such a manner so as to not be visible from the outside. Remember that the frame is going to be positioned "backwards", which is why I glued these to the window frame's trim.
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After making sure that each of the frames fits well within its opening, I cut two strips of 4"x10" styrene, applied 5-minute epoxy to one of its thin edges, and carefully positioned them on the inside of the building, on top of the window frame's styrene strips.
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When the glue dried, this is what the interior looks like (upside-down). These long strips connect the window frames to the plywood sub-structure, and also prevent the windows from accidentally being pushed in if they are hit.
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And this is what it looks like from the outside (right-side up).
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The window frames have been installed on the other side as well.
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This microscopically small photo, enlarged here so that you can see something, clearly shows three small windows at, what is to me, the front of the building. This is the only photo where I can make them out. There is also another incline, the purpose of which I am not clear on (maybe to remove slag), coming out of the building just under the pair of windows on the left side. I can't make out if it connects to the end of the building, proper, or if it is under the building. For my modeling purposes, I am going to assume that it is coming out of the underside of the building, proper. The front of the building is almost 6 inches from the front of the layout, so I will need to model a portion of that incline. I have no clue as to when this photo was taken, but the other thing you can see is that more of the sides of the structure were covered with sheathing. For now, I am only modeling the upper portion with sheathing. If I learn in the future that the sheathing was in place further down the structure in the era that I model, it should be easy enough to add more later.
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I eye-balled the location of these windows based on this one photo. Since the 2'x3' window frames package I had bought from Tichy had 6 frames in it, I decided to make these windows use the same frames. In the photo, these windows seem to match the size of the two small windows on the sides of the building.
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The hard part was to cut through, and file smooth, the 3/4"-thick plywood end walls, to make the holes for the windows. But, with some elbow-grease, I got the three window panes installed.
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Again, since I am not going to model the interior of this building, I painted the entire inside black. I am not going to put a sheet of black paper diagonally in the building, because I do still want the effect of being able to see through the building, but I want it to be dark enough so as to not be able to make out any details inside (of which there will be none).
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Next, I painted the exterior of the window frames with PollyScale "Harbor Mist Gray". The window on the left has been so painted, while the one on the right has not.
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The window "glass" came next. The Tichy packaging includes the thin, clear plastic, so I cut it to the shape of my modified frames (a good pair of scissors will cut nicely), and then glued them in. There were a total of 29 sections to cut and glue into position. I use Formula 509 "Canopy" glue for these, because it dries clear. I used a toothpick and just put tiny amounts on the interior side of the window frame, and then placed the clear plastic on top of that. Tichy recommends using styrene glue, but I tried it on a scrap piece and it crazed the plastic quite visibility.
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Of course, you can quite clearly look through this glass to see the interior, so I next applied a quick coat of a dark gray Bragdon Enterprises weathering powder to the inside of all of the windows, to simulate coal dust flying around in the building making the windows dirty. This significantly affected the ability to see inside. Then, I noticed that ambient layout room lights had a sharp reflection on the exterior of the clear plastic "glass", so I gave each window a very quick spray of Testors "Dullcote" (on the outside only!) to remove any obvious reflections.
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