Monday, March 23, 2009

Bunn's Feed & Seed, Part 2: Basic structure

The basic tools for this project are pretty simple: an x-acto knife with a sharp #11 blade, a steel-scale with inscribed HO-scale units, a sanding stick of medium coarseness, and a pair of scissors. A razor-saw, small steel-square, and a pair of tweezers will come in handy, but you could get along without them. I like to make sure that I have lots of new, sharp blades on hand because the work goes faster and easier - as well as safer - with a sharp blade.
As far as glues go, I used an everyday, white school glue, Testor’s glue for styrene (I'm partial to the gloppy Testor's tube glue - apply it sparingly and it creates smooth, strong joints), and some thick super-glue with an accelerator spray. You really don’t need the super-glue, but I’m spoiled and use it for lots of bonds where I don’t want to wait for the adhesive to setup and dry. Spraying a little of the accelerator on the super glue bond makes it dry instantly if you’re like me and sometimes can’t even wait the 10 or 20 seconds for the glue to dry. Mr. Moore doesn’t mention what type of glue he used on the project, I guess it was just common knowledge at the time about what was appropriate for use on a project such as Bunn’s that this could go without saying.

I started by building the basic forms for the barn / office and the addition from sheet styrene. For this part of the project you only need a few of the tools: the x-acto knife, the steel-scale for laying out and cutting the pieces, a sharp pencil or two, the styrene glue, and the steel square to help keep the corners perpendicular while laying-out, cutting and assembling.
The walls of the barn / office are made from 0.040 inch thick Evergreen Scale Models 0.100 inch styrene clapboard siding instead of the wood clapboard that Mr. Moore recommends in the materials list. The reason I went this way is that I just couldn't find any HO-scale wood clapboard at the local stores, but the plastic material was readily available. It turns out that the styrene worked just as well. The sides of the building were laid-out on the material using the dimensions in the article, and then were cut out using the x-acto knife loaded with a fresh blade. They were then glued together and the inside corners were reinforced with square-section styrene strips. This part of construction is always satisfying to me because I can quickly see the basic shape of the building take form after a relatively small amount of work.
For the metal-sided addition, Mr. Moore recommends building the walls from 1/16 inch sheet balsa. I bought the balsa, but after the barn / office was built, I decided to substitute with 0.040 inch plain, sheet styrene since I'd already gone down the styrene route with the barn / office and it went together fairly well. Like the barn, this assembly went together quite fast.

When you are cutting the outlines of the walls, use a couple of light strokes of the knife against the steel ruler when it’s lined up against the wall edge to score the material. You don’t need to cut right through the plastic. Just a few strokes, then snap along the score, and you’ll get a nice, clean break. The window and door openings take more work. You’ll need to cut right through. Always make sure your blade is new and sharp and you’ll get a good cut. Use several strokes of moderate pressure to cut out the openings. Don’t use heavy strokes - this will make it easy to slip and mess-up the cut or even cut yourself. Use the sanding stick to cleanup any roughness on the edges after they are cut.
I guess the only downside at this stage is there are a lot of window and door openings that have to be cutout. I tend to find that tedious work.

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