Walther’s Cornerstone Merchant’s Row II

tower2Let me just put it this way: this build was a major learning experience. I don’t think I quite realized what I had gotten myself in to when I chose it. It did turn out pretty well in the end, although halfway through I was starting to wonder if I had just completely wrecked a $34 dollar model. It still ended up being a little bit of a sloppy build, but I think the paint job and the wealth of details go a long way to disguise the “an idiot assembled this” glue job.

The one thing that I’m really rather upset about is the windows. They’re a flat-out mess, and it’s completely my fault. First of all, I did a brain-dead job of installing them, putting waaaaaaaay too much glue on, and then inexpertly positioning them so that they ended up with glue webbed around in random places and seeping out the edges. My sister thinks it looks like spider webs and “old windows”, but I know what it really is, and it looks crap. 😛 To add insult to injury, I did the matte clear coat “absolutely last” with the intention of sealing everything, and it made a right mess of all the windows that I hadn’t screwed up already. I would have pulled them all out and replaced them completely, but they were so VERY THOROUGHLY glued that it would wreck the model to remove them with the tools that I have available.

benchbackThe actual assembly on this model was a bit of a logistical difficulty. When I started, it was only the third model I’d ever built, and it did not go together as smoothly as I had envisioned or experienced in the past. I don’t have a lot of the “extra” tools like scale calipers and angle clamps and miter thingies and razor saws and airbrushes etcetera, etcetera that a lot of the “how-to” guys on the internet have… I didn’t even know that you’re supposed to wrap a rubber band around the model while it dries to keep the joints tight. Additionally, this model takes a little work to get to fit together correctly, and it’s really very flimsy as far as internal support and the usefulness of the base. Getting the main walls to stand straight and strong enough to start installing the corner tower was quite a challenge. I ended up tearing it apart and re-building it at least three times, which led to warped pieces and broken corners. To a certain extent, it works because I painted and weathered it to look a bit rundown, but the corners in the final iteration are rather weak. The butyl tape I used for light-sealing the corners of the building went a long way in strengthening and reinforcing all the joints: especially in the tall corner building. In a kind of funny and unexpected way, I ended up using it on the outside of the building to help both light seal and improve the look of the back side of the tower. Ironically, I used it for its intended purpose – albeit on a 1:87 scale. It blended very nicely with my faux roof tar, too.

streetfrontI did a lot of experimenting with this build, because there is a lot of room for it! One of the major things that I wanted to incorporate was a personalized storefront for a little girl who “helps” her dad with his layout (probably with similarly destructive consequences as with my little people). I had originally offered to build something that she wanted and she had suggested a church, but then the plan kind of morphed in to this particular model. I thought for several weeks about what kind of shop she could have, and ended up settling on what I decided ought to be a tiny, high-end sweet shoppe. I created the logo in Photoshop and saved/printed it in the right size for the intended windows. I mis-measured by a few millimeters so they don’t fit perfectly, and they’re rather difficult to see.

I (very carefully!) painted white acrylic on the back of the transparency to highlight the lollipops and their sticks. The lettering really needs it as well, but I don’t have the hand steadiness to even attempt that! I’m pretty sure getting the lollipops would qualify me to be a laparoscopic surgeon. 😛

This shot is what the windows looked like before the matte finish…windowbefore

This is what they looked like afterwards…



I am not pleased about that. But, anyway!
streetsideSince she had originally wanted a church and I was playing with stained glass for the cathedral build, I decided to put a storefront church in as well… That’s “supposed to be” what’s next door. I left the other two shop fronts empty for their final owner to customize (or not) as he desired.

For a model with so many great architectural details elsewhere, this one is surprisingly devoid of roof detail. The roofs are completely plain slabs of styrene, molded in black. I ended up priming them white (because I had white primer) and then using a coarse brush and black acrylic to put a thin, streaky coat of black on each of them.  After that dried, I used an Xacto knife and a straight edge to score lines about 10mm apart lengthwise along all the pieces, and then free-handed lines across each row in a generally alternating fashion.

I procrastinated on the roof for a long time because I wanted to find a combination of media and application method that gave me a tangible thickness, shininess and generally great effect for the ‘tar’ on the roof. I saw a guy on YouTube who had a really nice thingy that was originally for glue and laid a tiny, consistent, thin line of paint, but I couldn’t come up with an equivalent for myself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmnpeVo4Xoo This is the video I’m referring to, and the thingie he’s using is showed very well at aout 14:29. It’s pretty much perfect, but I don’t have and/or can’t think up an equivalent.

So, I ended up mixing Elmer’s glue and black acrylic paint (the cheap stufff from Wal Mart) 50/50, and then using a pipette and one of the tiny tips that came with my Testors glue multi-pack. It was clunky and imperfect and I was very much not happy about how straight the final lines were, but the effects were great.

crossroofsIronically, after all that, the roof is kind of my favorite part. It definitely needs some more detail, but the details I have are sort of great. The roof access shed and the ladder give it such great character! I would like to find a ‘domestic roof details’ pack for a decent price because I have some other projects with flat roofs that need help as well, but I haven’t found one yet. There is the roof detail kit from Walther’s, but most of it is details for industrial complexes, and my scene is primarily small-town commercial/residential.

I see that one of the shop door windows fell off somewhere along the line – I’ll have to replace that – and I wish the windows weren’t so wrecked, but like I said…. This was a major learning experience. I love the look of the model architecturally and liked how it fit on my layout when I  stuck it there to see how much space I had. I think I’ll repeat it for my own layout at a later date, but it has some major known issues. At least now I know them, I guess!

And at the end of the day, an enormous thank you to Jay and Maddie for letting me do my experimenting on their layout. May you enjoy it as much as our family enjoys the “Candy Train”!

windowsafter windowbefore tower2 streetside streetfront streetback crossroofs cornertower bside benchfront benchback towerinside





























A note about the photos: My ‘good’ camera died a horrible death 1/3 of the way through this project. I’m still grieving… But that is why some photos are good and others are really kind of awful. I’m working to replace it, but it may take a few years. (5 to 7 frowny faces…)

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