A start on the St. Williams house

St Williams House photo StW-House-01_zps3cc05621.jpg

My snow plow project has been delayed until I get my mitts on some sanding sealer. In the meantime, I’ve had a couple of quiet days so I’ve been able to start working on something else: The house for the St. Williams scene.

For this, I’m using an S scale kit from Branchline Trains – the Finley House. I like the manufacturer’s model in white, so I started by airbrushing a lacquer-based white on all the wood parts (except the two main roof panels, which I did with black). I used a lacquer-based paint to seal the wood without the warping that a water-based paint would cause. I was able to start construction the following day.

I like laser-cut kits, but in general I don’t like the peel and stick trim. I can live with it for things like the frames around windows, but I can never get the corner trim to look nice. There’s always a dark line where the pieces don’t quite meet. So for this laser-cut kit I decided to do something about it. I borrowed a technique I learned for making corners while building many Campbell Scale Models craftsman kits in my formative years in the hobby.

Here’s a view of the front of the house, labelled to explain the changes I made to the trim:
St Williams House - Trim photo StW-House-02_zpsfc433b9d.jpg
(Click on the image for a larger view)

As it suggests, I cut the tabs off all four walls – including the edges that slot into the roof. On the roof edges, I also measured in six inches from the edge and trimmed back the end walls. This made space for 6″ x 6″ scale lumber to form the trim.

I glued the square strip wood to the edges of the end walls, working on a piece of glass and making sure that the strip wood was lined up with the inside face of the wall. I added the vertical side pieces first, then trimmed them to the angle of the roof. I then added one trim board to the roof line, trimmed it, then added the second and trimmed it as well. Some light work with an emery board cleaned up my trimming.

Next up: making all those windows and doors. I’ll tackle that as time allows – and will replace the kit’s clear acrylic window glazing with my own glazing cut from microscope slide cover glass. Stay tuned!

8 thoughts on “A start on the St. Williams house

  1. Hi Trevor,

    I also use the assemble on a sheet of glass technique, with one modification. I lay an old overhead projector film sheet on the glass and build on that. It gives the same flat smooth surface as the glass, but allows me to peel the film off the back of the wall where the adhesive (I use ACC) seeps through. Much easier than trying to take a wall off a piece of glass without damage!


  2. Hi Trevor,
    I have been enjoying your blog for a while and am currently working towards a New Haven RR layout in N.
    I’ve nearly finished a small laser-cut yard office kit (from Laser-Kit) that has the peel-and stick trim so this post is of particular interest to me. I have used the trim as is but run a small bead of glue up the gap and hold it together while the glue sets, which seems to work reasonably well (I pre-painted the trim though).

    I wondered how strong the completed building would be in N if using your method of construction due to the smaller size of everything; however I have just looked at an even smaller kit (from JL Innovative design) that I haven’t yet started and it seems to use the same technique that you have so presumably all will be ok provided I build the thing square!

    I’ll see how it goes once I’ve finished the yard office……..

    Many thanks again for an interesting and thought provoking blog.

    Simon in Hastings, England.

  3. I hope to see your technique for cutting the glass. I have used a bit of the cover glass in rolling stock, but was not good at getting straight lines.

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