Sunday, May 12, 2013

WSMoftheWBB* gets a roof

With the rain we're getting, the roof installation happened none too soon:-) 
The roof lights that overhang the sidewalk are made from Model Power HO scale street lights. They aren't particularly realistic, so I guess they aren't too well thought of, which probably accounts for why I have been able to buy a couple dozen or so at various swap meets and resale bins over the past few months.

The only modification I made to the lights was to cut off the bases.
Around the upper wall perimeter I glued in some styrene Z-channel to hold the roof slab in place. Jumping ahead a bit, some double-sided tape was applied to the channel to hold the roof in place. It isn't a permanent bond and allows for the roof to be carefully pried off to turn the lights on and off.
The building had a rather pronounced warp in it causing the front wall to bow out a bit. To fix it, I cut a strip of 0.020 inch styrene and used to connect the front and back walls together where the bow was worst. The strip is in tension and straightens out the walls.
The above picture is the roof slab after the holes were drilled for lights. The slab itself is made from two pieces of 0.060 inch styrene glued together to create a 30 inch long piece that snuggly fits into ledge created by the Z-channel styrene. That broken piece of styrene inside the building near the tension strip is my first attempt at taking out the wall warp - it didn't work and I had to cut the piece and try again with a new idea.
Here are the 6 roof lights glued into their positioning holes. Each is supported by a small triangular piece of styrene that wedges into the base of the light and is glued to the roof slab and light pole. These triangular pieces aren't very realistic, but were needed to give the light stands some strength. Once painted, they are fairly unobtrusive.
I wanted the building to be battery powered so it wasn't dependant on an external power source, so the lights use two 9-volt batteries for juice. Battery holders are glued onto the back corners of the roof and 3 lights are connected to each battery. This produces a warm, gentle glow that doesn't compete with the sign. The lights are connected in parallel to the batteries, and a small slide switch is soldered into each circuit.

When I went shopping for battery holders and little switches I discovered that an era had recently come to an end. A few years back the Radio Shack chain here became 'The Source', and became even more focused on consumer electronics. Some electronic hobbyist parts were still available, so even though the price was a little high, if I really needed something immediately, I could pop down to the mall and get it. Not so now. It turns out that just a few weeks ago, the chain got rid of the last remnants of the hobbyist gear and is now more-or-less all consumer goods. Definitely the end of an era. Luckily, there is still a family run electronics parts store not too far away and they came to the rescue.
I didn't texture the roof, just painted it with some very loose washes of flat black, oily black, gray, and mud colours. The air conditioner is a Walther's item.

That's it for major construction on this project. There are just a number of detail items that I need to wrap up.
*World's Smallest Model of the World's Biggest Bookstore

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