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Scratchbuilding stone structures A better technique for masonry buildings/Greg Condon


ly 300 structures, but until a few weeks ago not one of them was a model of a stone building. I either did not like the materials available or just didn’t think I wanted to deal with the corners and window recesses. I have now, however, changed my mind. Upon completing one stone structure, I found a method so simple and enjoyable that I quickly built another one just for the fun of it. The idea occurred to me as I was fin- ishing a stone retaining wall on my HO scale Mineral Point & Northern layout. If the retaining wall had been straight I would have used the cast stone re- taining wall castings that Chooch and others have been offering for years or another “stone” wall material. Howev- er, this retaining wall supported a curved portion of the roadbed. An ex- ploratory trip to the hobby shop re- vealed packages of Chooch flexible stone material with a peel-and-stick backing. This turned out to be the per- fect material for the stone retaining wall. It was easy to cut with scissors and readily conformed to the curving location on the layout. That’s when I had one of those “Aha moments!” For a long time I had wanted to


A


scratchbuild the stone store building at Placerville, Colorado, which faced the narrow gauge Rio Grande Southern. With the Chooch flexible stone materi- al in hand, it was now obvious how to proceed. First I drew each of the four walls on plain Evergreen Scale Models white .060″-thick styrene. The .040″ thickness would have been easier to cut but would have required a bit more bracing. It is a toss-up as to which thickness would have been better. The walls were cut from the styrene sheet, and the door and window openings were cut from the walls. The word “cut” is a misnomer; I actually scribed the walls for their en- tire length and width around the open- ings, snapped them apart, and glued the pieces back together without the win- dow and door opening portions. Next, a piece of Chooch flexible re- taining wall was cut slightly oversize


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fter more than 50 years as a se- rious scale model railroader I have scratchbuilt approximate-


PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR


for each wall. The backing was peeled away and the stone wall was placed face down on the work surface. Then the plastic wall was placed face down onto the sticky back of the stone mate- rial taking care to ensure that every- thing was square. The third step was to use a hobby knife with a sharp No. 11 blade to cut out the unwanted material from the


wall openings and trim the excess stone material around the edges. This was done with the laminated wall firm- ly placed face down on a cutting board. One easy pass of the knife was suffi- cient to complete each cut. The fourth step was to paint the plastic door and window castings and glue them in the openings. These were placed inside, of course, as such wood-


SEPTEMBER 2012


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