Mount Union Development Commitee



Such amazing work. And what a photo spot with a train just poking its nose into the scene from the foreground street.

I know what you mean about numerous tries. I made an O scale tackle box once (twice, …).



Aug 13

Here is a sneak peek of work on the Miner’s Union Hall. This is the next structure along Railroad Ave in Mount Union. It is a 3 story brick building. The first floor is the Offices and meeting hall for the local United Mine Workers of America. The top 2 stories are boarding rooms.

For the interiors I am using my standard printed textures that will be supplemented with 3D details like desks and chairs.

Printed curtains in the upstairs windows will limit the interior views of those rooms, but there will be enough texture and detail to look right.!


I deleted post 63 because I noticed I had already posted the exact same information and picture around post 40!

“Move on; nothing to see here!”


Here is a wider shot of the whole block minus the still to be started diner. As you can see the sidewalks and curbs are in progress too. The hardware store is finished minus the LEDs still to be built and installed.


Looks awesome Rick!!!

Where did you find the 1913 sign for the building. That is a great touch!!!


Hey Craig, I missed your question! Sorry dude!

The 1913 placard is a Grandt Line (now San Juan Shops?) detail. There are a couple different plaques and a mix of numbers. All styrene. I’m pretty sure these are available in HO too.



For the second and third floor interiors of the Union Hall I decided to try my “cassette” design. Basically this is a stand-alone box structure that contains the interior scene which is built separate from the building and added or plugged in to complete the scene. This allows me to finish the building exterior and add glass and lights without burying each floor under layers of construction.

The cassette is made from .040 sheet styrene formed into a simple box structure. I reinforced the walls with styrene angles and strips. The reinforcement is on the outside of the box. This kept the inside surfaces free of any obstructions. I trimmed all of the joints along the outside of the cassette with aluminum ducting tape to form a light seal at all of the joints. The size of the Union Hall structure will require several different light sources to imply multiple rooms and floors. I don’t want any light to “leak” form one enclosure to another and the tape takes care of this. I determined the position of the floors as well as the overall box size by trial and test fitting as I went. My priority was to maintain visual continuity through the building windows first, and then work around the internal reinforcements of the overall building. The cassette naturally rests in place behind the windows. As of now, there is no need to actually attach the cassette to the building. The entire cassette is spray painted flat black. This hides any edges and helps prevent light leaks.

I used my standard photo prints for all of the interior walls and floors. They are cut to fit and laminated in place. I added a few 3D details like chairs, tables, and desks. The total amount of detail parts is relatively few because the limited viewing perspective through the windows (and curtains) is pretty small so too much detail will be lost. I aimed more for the suggestion of detail with no un-natural gaps in the background. The viewer will assume more on their own. Remember the goal is the overall picture!


Moving down the block, the Rexall Union Pharmacy is next. Same photo based interior design with a mix of photo details and 3D objects. I will have to admit, the magazines on the shelf are not correct for the 1967ish time period!


Very cool Rick. I think your idea on the cassette is a fantastic one. Let’s you do the work you need to in the open…then shove it in once done!


I sure hope you’re goi g to bring these to the club contest in November. :slight_smile:


all very impressive and, I think, innovative. But can you build a train? (G)


Finally finished the mortar for the Union hall and pharmacy. Same old drywall spackling spread with my finger and wiped off with a damp sponge. It took several hours over 2 days to clean it all up! I hand painted the windows and door using craft paints. After a complete sealing with Dullcoat, I used my favorite black gauche and Windex wash to start the weathering. More weathering to go plus several signs and the awning for the front of the union hall. The very last steps will be window “glass” and shades or curtains.


The interior cassette for the 2nd and 3rd floor of the union hall received LED lights. The LED for the 1st floor will also be attached to the cassette. All of the LEDs are tiny surface mount type supplied by Bob Sobol so they will be color matched to the Mothership standards. I typically mount them to a piece of copper clad to ease working with them.


The pharmacy interior cassette is ready to insert after the overall building weathering is done.


Bravo Rick!!! That’s awesome!

I’d like to hear more about how you do the guash wash. How much paint to windex ratio?


The photo harvesting is incredible, adding a level of detail not otherwise attained. But, how are we going to get operators to not drool while switching Mt. Union? - which has it’s first switch job on Friday, BTW.
The Mothership


A busy bunch of details for Mt Union is the variety of street signs. Once again I am going to my fallback, multi-purpose, and simple printed detail technique! Hey, if the shoe fits…

Here is a montage of how I do it:


Step one; artwork. Web search for “vintage street signs” images will yield a ton of pictures of every imaginable sign. I copy the picture and crop and resize them to fit my needs. If I imagine something that isn’t on the web, I either modify what I find, or make one from scratch. When I scratch build my signs I prefer to use Office PowerPoint but any graphic tool will work. It is really just shapes, colors, and letters!



Step two; assembly. I print my art work on glossy photo paper; it prints sharper, and the gloss surface makes nice “metal” or “porcelain” signs. I cut my prints out with scissors or a straight razor blade. I color the back of the sign silver with a silver Sharpie marker. For white/light colored signs, I don’t bother coloring the edge of the photo paper. If the sign is dark, or will be mounted flat on a surface like a wall, I color the edge of the paper to hide the white edge. This looks better! Finally I glue the sign to a suitable pole of post using either ACC or epoxy. For my Mt Union street signs, I am using .033ish steel rod that I salvaged from those little yard flags that are intended to mark off underground obstructions like sprinkler heads. Be careful, the steel rod WILL damage normal cutting tools. I use a pair of heavy lineman’s pliers designed with hardened edges for cutting steel wire. I make my sign poles 2 ¼ inches tall, this works out to a scale 8 ft. pole with a quarter inch for mounting in the scenery. Other pole or post material can be used, and some variety may enhance the scene. For all my Antioc & Dover RR signs, I’ll be using a round wood dowel that scales out to about a 6 in. post.


This is the type of detail that is best done in an assembly line fashion while watching TV. My best guess is that the Mt Union scene will consume around a hundred individual signs when it’s all said and done! My cost for all of these signs is below $5 cash, one Super Bowl, one Daytona 500, and a half dozen lunch breaks surfing the web!


So far, all of the buildings in Mt Union are a similar brick store front type construction. I have tried to break up the sameness by using a mix of classic vs modern door and window treatments. I also have varied the number of floors and heights of the false fronts. Another trick I’m going with is to “pop-out” the Union Hall building façade with a canvas awning. It seems common that these awnings have an alternating stripe pattern and often a business logo. I “drew” a stripe pattern in PowerPoint and added the United Mine Workers of America logo in the center. This artwork is set up to print to scale on photo paper. I made sure to print plenty of pattern to wrap all 3 sides of the awning. When I cut the wrap out, I took the time to cut the tiny point fringes along the bottom edge! There is probably a machine for this but I used a straight razor blade. It only took about 30 minutes and I had an indention in my right index finger that lasted a couple hours! Oh well; it looks good!