Monday, March 30, 2020

Progress on highrise facade

While I'm squirrelled away at home I thought I'd make some progress on the new highrise.

That's the current state of the front facade in comparison to the prototype. I've done considerable selective compression to get the model down to a size that won't overwhelm the layout, but still have it come across as tall. 

The technique I've used is a similar to that used on the previous highrise, but now that I've got a little experience, construction has gone a bit faster.

The first step was to draw locating lines for the horizontal panels on the acrylic pieces. A black, fine-point Sharpie pen was used.

On this model only the front and one side will have the prototype's signature horizontal and vertical elements. The other two sides will be simple brick walls. 

The horizontal panels were cut from a scrap of black construction paper. At this stage I've just laid them on the blanks to check the count and sizes.

They were then attached to the blank with 3M transfer tape. This is an excellent double-sided tape, but you've got to be careful when bonding pieces because it grabs immediately and doesn't allow much wiggle room for adjustments.

Once all the panels were stuck down they were trimmed and a roller was used to make sure all were bonded down tight.

Next, placement lines for the verticals were drawn on the horizontals with a sharp pencil. I scribbled in an X to mark each piece that would need to be cut out to make room for the verticals.

Vertical lines were then scribed on in accordance with the pencil lines. I had to make sure each line cleanly cut through the horizontals so that the Xed pieces could be removed without tearing.

All I can say is that you can feel when the knife has cut through the paper and is making contact with the acrylic. Once you've done that there's no need to scribe any further.

The Xed pieces can be lifted out by sliding a knife blade under each one. One thing missing from the photo is that I used the pointer finger on my left-hand to push down the blade just a little to help the blade slide along the acrylic instead of pushing into it - I had to use my left-hand to take the photo, hence the inaccurate picture :-)

Removing the Xed pieces doesn't take long, and when it's done you're left with a panelled surface ready for the verticals to be attached. 

There's probably an easier way to do this, so don't take any of this work as definitive. These highrises are way out of my comfort zone, and I admit to making things up as I go along.

The last step was to attach the verticals. They're pieces of Evergreen 3/16" styrene channel.

I painted them an aged concrete colour, and then a thin flat black wash. When dry I stuck a length of transfer tape on the back of each, and then attached them to the acrylic. 

Problem was I thought I had enough channels, but it turned out I'm 6 short. With the local hobby shops closed, I'll try ordering some online somewhere. That's not my favourite thing as I like to try and support local businesses.

After close examination it looks like some of the horizontals are a bit short and will need replacement, and I'll need to do some touch-up painting to prevent light leaks. Overall though, compared with the prototype it seems to be coming along.


  1. Wow! That appears to be a sure-fire solution to the paneling conundrum. Looks great.

    As for buying local, often times I can't. But I can support other local mom & pop sellers on eBay, and buy from second-hand book sellers on Amazon. Sure, the corporate overlords take their cut, but most of the money goes to a local seller...just not local to me.

    What concerns me more than the cash flow are the carbon emissions required to ship the items across the globe to my home. But that problem is solvable, we just need the will to solve it. Maybe this crisis will bring about a renewed interest in doing so, as well as shopping locally.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I think I'll move on to the other part of the neighbouring building that has the square windows. There are fine window dividers on that one, as well as two-layer horizontal panels, which are a challenge I need to figure out before moving on to the Newhart Tower.

      I was doing some online research to see who I could order from here in Ontario, and there are a few places that appear to have what I need. At least I'll keep it local to the province. I think the only things I directly order from other parts of the planet are used books, and they mostly come from the UK. The weird thing is that shipping from the UK is much cheaper than from the US, and much, much cheaper than from sellers in Ontario - and don't know why that's the case, maybe there's a subsidy in there some where.

    2. I've noticed the shipping price disparity as well. Odd.

      Sorry, but I can't read 'Newhart Tower' without hearing that jazzy horn lick from the opening to the theme music. Now you can too...heh heh...

    3. I think I'll be watching an episode of the show tonight to refresh my memory :-)