O'Brien Steel Construction Co. - Detailing
05/03/2011
I made a decal for the company's name using Micro Scale's blank decal sheet and my laser printer, and applied it to the structure.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
Next up are the "glass" inserts. The kit was short two window's worth of clear styrene, but I had plenty in my supplies drawer. I used Canopy glue to apply them (the glue is drying in this next photo).
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
The next photo shows quite a bit of progress on the structure. Compared to the painted structure above, there has been quite a bit of weathering applied. This happened because I had sprayed the structure with Testors Dullcote, and a day or two later I applied the alcohol and india ink mixture to age the building. However, what happened was the alcohol (I believe) started attacking the Dullcote layer and really made the structure look bad. I had never experienced that before. I then used Bragdon Enterprises' weathering powders to cover all the bad areas. The building is now more of a red, grimy structure.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
After that fiasco, I applied the following details: two Banta Modelworks "Dallas brick chimneys" (part #5037) on the far left and middle roofs; two Grandt Line "smoke jacks" (part #4060) on the far left side wall and in the front, center; a Banta Modelworks "electric meter" (part #5024) next to the door on the right hand side; a left-over N-scale curved vent on the left side by the company's name; and a piece of sprue (barely visible behind the brick chimney in the middle roof section. I then did some weathering around those installed details. All the details were painted and weathered before installation.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
I noticed that the front of my structure was bowed. To straighten it out and to provide a way for me to install a floor in the visible part of the interior, I measured and cut a piece of 3/4" plywood. There are triangular support pieces installed in the structure that are in the way. I used my table saw to cut a groove matching those pieces in either corner of the plywood, so that the plywood piece would slide into the structure.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
Then, using yellow carpenter's glue and some creative clamping, I glued the plywood to the structure. This makes the structure a bit easier to handle, as well as give it some weight (so that it isn't as easy to tip over).
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
Since part of the interior will be visible through the open freight door, and perhaps due to interior lights that will be installed, I decided to make a floor. Using available strip wood, I determine which I could use to get them to line up with the decking. I first installed three "furring" strips to act as the base for the flooring.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
After I glued the strip wood pieces on top of the furring strips, I used straight black dye to stain the wood. I ran out of strip wood (1-scale foot wide boards), so I left open some of the areas that I determined wouldn't be visible from the main viewing angle once the structure is in place.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
External Reference:
I decided to add exterior and interior lighting to this structure. I bought Ngineering's O-scale Gooseneck Light Kit (part NK013). The lamp shades come out to 24" wide in S-scale. This is kind of large, but it does look appropriate for an industrial building, I think. I tried to follow the kit's instruction in making the gooseneck out of the supplied material, but I just couldn't get it to not kink. The stainless steel tubing is very nice material, but I couldn't get it to make that nice curve you see in their photo. I then tried using some brass tubing I had on hand. I got it to bend by annealing (i.e. heating the tubing with a butane torch), but I then found that the magnet wire wouldn't go around the complex curve. I finally gave up and decided on the simple design you see in the photo below. The lamp shade had a hole drilled into its top matching the outside diameter of the brass tubing I used, and it was superglued to the tubing. After that I attached two magnet wires to the (surface mount) LED, covered its electrical connections with liquid electrical tape, and later on superglued it to the inside top of the lampshade (after pulling the wires through the tube, of course). I drilled a matching hole in the structure and used 5-minute epoxy to glue the lamp fixture to the structure. The photo below shows the lamp above the main entrance door. I also made two more for above the two freight doors. By the way, the way I got the brass tube to bend nicely was by heating it up, and then slowly bending it over a larger diameter brass tube using a pair of pliers. You have to kind of roll the tubing of the other tube to prevent it from kinking or closing up on you. A little practice helps here. Also, by using the larger diameter tubing you can get a consistent bend in the brass tubing, so that all the lamps look alike.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
The next photo shows two interior SMD LEDs installed (highlighted by the orange circles). I glued those to the interior using Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue, because superglue just didn't work. I also stripped two pieces of electrical wire and glued them to the inside of the structure to act as the feeder wires for the power to the LEDs. After soldering the SMD resistors that come in the kit to the LEDs' wires, I soldered all wires to the feeder wires, testing each one as I went along (because it is darn near impossible to tell which lead is positive and which is negative on these LEDs).
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
The two feeder wires were then routed through a hole in the base, which will be connected to the 12-volt "accessories" bus wires on the layout. If you look closely at the next photo, you might be able to make out the SMD LED in the lamp shade above the freight door on the right.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
Here are a couple of photos where I am testing the lights, and seeing what they look like under layout lighting and with the layout lighting off. The exterior lights work really well.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
The halo effect against the backdrop is caused by the two interior LEDs. The interior LEDs don't show up well in the photo above, but in-person, they do add to the effect. I think they will be effective once I have some sort of interior.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
This layout-lighting-off close up of one of the freight doors looks a lot like Ngineering's ad photos seen in magazines. Installing the lights took about a week of modeling time, but I think it was worth it, even with the layout lights on.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
Since the back of the building is open, I needed to figure out a cheap and easy way to cover it. There is still about 3/4" of space between the structure and the layout backdrop. I didn't like the way the structure looked flat up against the backdrop, and, besides, it would have been too far away from the track. I used a piece of foamboard, held it behind the structure and traced the building's outline onto the board. I then used a razor blade and cut around the outline, with the blade at an approximate 45-degree angle, inward. This makes the edges of the foamboard not visible. Next, I spray-painted the board with flat black paint. While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I found and printed some black-and-white photos on the Internet of factory interiors. I scaled them down so that they would fit inside the structure. I then sprayed glue on the board and carefully glued the prints to the board. There are some out-of-proportion items in the foreground in the photos, but they are actually going to wind up being behind the 3/4" floor of the structure. In this case, they don't have to be accurate; just add to the "ambience".
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
Next, I selected and painted a few interior details. The non-figure details are from Model Tech Studios. I airbrushed the parts with some Floquil primer paint and then hand-painted the various colors.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
I then glued the detail parts into the structure. The crate in the foreground was needed to hide some layout lighting coming through the back of the structure. The other parts were strategically placed so that you cannot see the parts that shouldn't be seen when looking through the various windows and doors. The interior lighting of the structure spot-lights some of these details. It is really just a bit of an acting stage.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
With the structure's backdrop in place and its lights turned on, this is the view into the open freight door. The illusion is complete.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
The other figure can be seen through the window next to the closed door. You can see the workbench and the background photo too.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
The first thing I did to enhance the exterior of the building was to build and install rain gutters. I installed two of them, one each under the roofs over the decking area. The shorter of the two is shown in the photo below. I made them using 0.060" styrene channel (Evergreen part #261). I glued tiny strips of styrene to the ends and filed those down to represent the ends of the gutters. Next, I painted them using Polyscale "Flat Aluminum". I glued them such that one edge of the channel made contact with the underside of the roof. The glue I used was Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue. It held the gutters in place with little or no support. Next, I cut and trimmed a piece of stainless steel tubing to represent the down-spout. These were shaped, cut, and then attached with superglue, on the tops and bottoms; not on the parts that contacted the building, because I didn't want to risk a big glob of glue on the walls. Note that you can see into the building through the window here.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
Here's a close-up of the down-spout on the right side of the structure. I glued it to the outside corner of the structure.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
I added some details on the outside on the decking. There are several 55-gallon drums, some of their lids, and a scratch-built wooden crate. I also glued the building down to a piece of plywood that acts as the base. I then covered the exposed plywood with N-scale fine PRR ballast mixed with some "ground", both by Arizona Rock & Minerals (I covered the plywood with full-strength white glue first before sprinkling on the scenery material). I also worked it under the decking, which was quite time-consuming. The edge between the plywood and the track subroadbed was covered with "ground goop", which is what I used for the scenery base. Should I need access to the area under the structure, I can break away the "ground goop" and lift the plywood base up. You can see a couple of automobiles in the parking lot on the other side of the building in the photo below. The first load of structural beams manufactured by O'Brien are ready to be shipped out.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.
I couldn't resist including this next photo. It came out perfectly. It really shows off what can be done in larger scales, such as "S". The structure project is now finished. I plan on adding a chain link fence around the property, and add some more exterior details.
O'Brien Steel Construction Co.