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Station building woes

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JRamsden

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You may remember that I started to document my scratch build of the Hawkhurst station building in this blog entry. You may also be aware that I never actually completed both the blog posts and the actual building. I thought I'd explain what happened before the final version is completed... hopefully!

 

Despite the prototype having a devilishly simple and cost-effective design, the model version proved to be anything of the sort! I've never been interested in pinpoint accuracy, but believe that I should try and get things as close to real life so long as doing so requires only reasonable effort. Being typical of the sort of railway infrastructure favoured by Colonel Holman Fred Stephens, the building consists of a brick base, corrugated iron clad walls over a brick (or presumably) wooden structure. The roof itself would have also been corrugated iron.

 

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What strikes me as most prominent are the windows. I figured the cream/green Southern colour scheme, combined with the corrugated panelling and large sash windows would get across the overall flavour of this building. Luckily, the book The Hawkhurst Branch by Brian Hart, published by Wild Swan Publications, features 3mm plans of this building and others. These can easily be scaled up to 4mm and make this build much easier. I also found that the Wills SS86 pack of windows features elements which are almost perfect in size.

 

Attempt 1

The walls of my building were two-sided; corrugated plasticard on one side, plain plasticard on the other. Some areas would also have an interior so I opted for wood panelling inside the booking hall and waiting rooms. I cut apertures in the wall to accept the Wills windows. As these were designed to be attached to the back of a wall they have a very large surface area. The idea then was to create a frame out of plastic strips, paint separately and glue over the top. Sound theory, but not so good in practice...

 

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Not only are the outer frames too thick, the window frames inside them are too thick too. Plus, in this image, the window and door frames collide in an error that would never have passed planning stages! You may also note that the door didn't even need an extra frame as the moulding already has one! What a disaster. 

 

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The interior is also very clumsy with even more over-thick frames. I also added some Das Clay to the brick foundation to act as a mortar line. I added far too much and decided once it was painted that it was no good. PLUS I painted the window frames with a white enamel using a brush. It didn't set at all like I wanted and looks awful! OK, start again!

 

Attempt 2

I decided to change my approach to the build. Instead of putting a frame over the windows, I would actually build a frame around the window, just as it would be in real life. This was achieved using much thinner but deeper plastic strip. I cut the same Wills windows down and built frames around them. This looked much better and resulted in much finer frames. Unfortunately I also got a little over-confident and my cutting suffered as a result. It was around the same time I had discovered Deluxe Materials' Perfect Plastic Putty and I was under the illusion that there was no mistake that it couldn't solve. This attitude was hazardous.

 

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These are actually two of the better windows, but most of them were cut down using the NorthWest Short Line Chopper II, In ideal piece of kit for any scratch builder... until you realise it's not great at cutting straight lines! Maybe it's just my particular version. All windows ended up slightly skewed, not something you'd really notice until all assembled in a line. You can also see quite clearly the amount of filler required around the windows. I also needed to add a strip of plastic to the underside of this wall as I had cut my original sheets poorly and it didn't sit level!

 

Another issue was the fact that I tried to paint the elements all together rather than individually. My personal rule is usually to paint elements of different colours separately and then assemble. You just can't beat the finish that method provides. Even with lots of masking tape I just couldn't get the crisp lines I wanted, particularly with so much filler working against me too - it tended to lift right out when the masking tape was removed!

 

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The interior looks much better on the second version and is possibly the only part I was actually happy with!

 

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This side by side comparison shows the stark difference between the two versions. I just knew I could do better. Luckily I was still at the stage where the exterior walls and some interior was assembled and OK to go. I literally only needed to re-make two walls... again! When I started on this layout I wanted buildings that would look good even in close-up photography. I can't say either of these builds would pass.

 

I have a new process for my third version. It's a mixture of both methods with a big dose of "don't bloody rush" added in! I hope to share some photos of that build once it is completed and I'm finally happy! There's a lesson to be learned here... somewhere.

 

All for now,

Jonathan

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