O'Neills Fabrication - HO Scale - An in-depth tutorial for building SWSM kits



  • Phil, I will once we get a little further.... otherwise I might get shot lol!
  • It's time to create some flashing for the roof and to glue down the roof on the main building and the addition.

    First, we need to create some flashing from plain white paper.


    As you can see, I used a square to create three 1 3/4" x 1/8" flashing. Once you have it marked, use your No. 11 blade to cut out.


    Take these three strips and spray paint them black on both sides and the edges. Once you do this and they are dry, we want to make them look more like flashing. Here is how I did it.

    First, I took some Reaper Aged Pewter and dry brushed on the Pewter. You want the Pewter look but you don't want to "paint" it on. Since the three strips were on the cardboard I used to paint them, I decided to use this to dry brush them.


    I then pulled the strips off of the cardboard. Here is how they look.


    Now we need to rust them up a bit. First, I applied a little brown chalk on the strips, followed by my rust mixture. Here is how they looked after this treatment.


    The strips look great and are ready for application onto the side of the tower and the addition. To help with the placement on the Tower, I put the roof on temporarily and made an alignment mark with a pencil.


    I then glued the flashing where indicated in the instructions on p. 48 and then proceeded to glue on the roofing. To hold the roof in place, I used a tip given by Karl Allison, who suggested a ziplock baggie with sand. I didn't have any sand, but I did have a bottle of BBs.


    It worked great. Next, I glued down the wall to the addition. Be sure to make sure the roof is snug with the main building wall. Here is what the building looks like so far.


    Next time: Completing the main building and addition.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Roof is looking good
  • Really nice work on the tutorial, I really enjoy using Brett and Karl’s techniques , I’m a firm believer of the Rembrandt chalks for everything.
  • Thanks Bryan and Lynn. Phil
  • We are now ready to put the final touches on the main building and addition. These are critical steps, but if done correctly and with patience and determination will really make your model exceptional. I will do my best to explain each step and show you some practice tips on how to get the best results.

    The first step is to prepare and install the fascia and rafters on both buildings. This requires precision cutting and fitting to get the best possible look. Using Brett's wonderful templates as a guide for cutting is a good start. However, no one is perfect and it may be that a precisely cut fascia board or rafter doesn't fit exactly right. That's because everyone will have some variances in their building. However, don't worry about it. Anything can be adjusted and I'm here to show you how.

    Start by cutting a piece of the facia or rafter and cleaning up the ends. Take this piece and place it where it needs to go. Does it fit? Is it too short? Is it too long? Is the mitred end the right angle? This is the time to make the necessary adjustments. Once this is done, you can go ahead and weather the ends and glue in place. Most of all, take your time!!!

    Here is an example of my fascia and rafter on the main building.


    It's certainly not perfect, but I like the fit.

    Here is the main building and addition.


    Now we need to install 26 rafter tails to the main building and 8 rafter tails to the addition. I don't know of a modeler on this forum that loves installing rafter tails. Even Karl Allison lamented installing rafter tails in his recent entry. I know Alan struggled with his rafter tails on his O'Neills. I agree with Karl and I feel Alan's pain, but I am going to attempt to show you how I do it to alleviate some of this pain. This is definitely not the best way to do it, but it works for me.

    Step #1: Cut each rafter tail using the template, clean up the ends, and weather the end that will be showing.


    Step #2: Using your various weights, place your model into a position that will accommodate easier access to the location where the rafter tails will go.


    Step #3: Locate the notches below the metal roofing. These mark the location of each rafter tail.


    Step #4: The right tool for the right job means everything. I use a curved tweezer to put on rafter tails because it can get the rafter in the right position easier than other tweezers. Using the tweezer, and before you glue, place the rafter tail into position. Is the tweezer holding the rafter tail in the right position? How's the length of the rafter tail? If it's too short, no problem, but if it is too long, problem. Make the necessary adjustments to the rafter tail.


    Step #5: Place glue on the top and back of the rafter tail and place it into position. At first, don't worry if it is not exactly straight up and down, but make sure it is in the right position. You need for it to dry a bit. Once you place the next rafter tail, go back and straighten up the previous rafter tail. The curved tweezer is perfect for doing this.


    Keep going and before you know it, you are done with one side. Here is some of my work, using the above procedure.


    Next time: Installing the roof caps and vents.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Now we need to install the roof cap and vents. First, the roof cap.

    Get a sheet of white paper and square and draw out the dimensions given on p. 49 of the instruction manual.


    Cut out the two roof caps and paint them with your rattle can primer. While the caps are still on the cardboard, weather the caps following Brett's instructions on p. 49.


    Take each cap and bend it like shown below and test its fit on each roof.


    Now you can glue each one. Don't press down too hard and create an indention.


    Next, we need to make the supports to the main sign. Just follow the instructions on p. 50. It's pretty easy. Then glue on the main sign.

    Now, it's time to put the main sign on the main roof. Again, get the model in position to make positioning the sign easier.


    After rafter tails, another problem area is the installation of roof vents. As everyone know, the epoxy glue is not instantly tacky and it's hard to get the vent in the right position and stay there till it's dry. Alan made a comment about alternatives in his build of O'Neills and I gave it a try. Here is what I did.

    Step #1: After blackening the roof vent, take a pin vise and using a #61 drill bit, carefully drill a small hole in the base of the vent. If the surface is at an angle, start perpendicular to the surface and then slowly angle the bit where it needs to go.


    Step #2: Using superglue, glue a 1/32 piece of wire into the hole.


    Taking the same pin vise, drill a hole in the roof. Again, start with the angle of the roof and then work it to the angle of the vent. If you don't do this, you get the scratch marks you see in the picture.


    Take the roof vent and epoxy into place.


    I found this technique very useful and with the wire pin, it was very easy to get the vent at the right angle while the epoxy was drying. Thanks Alan for the tip!!

    Next it was time to weather the vents and fix the damage caused by the above steps.

    Here is where I stand.


    I really like the look but I am definitely ready to move on to something else.

    Next time: The Repair and Welding Shop Siding.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Continued excellence in both modeling and instruction.....Rick
  • edited January 2021
    Nice Phil! I'm glad the stack placement tip worked for you. I was surprised at just how much of the work on this kit the build the main building turned out to be. I've started on the welding shop siding which is a bit more labor intensive than the wood prep we've done so far. I'm going slow here as this building is going to be very distinctive.
  • Thanks Rick and Alan. I can always count on you for great feedback and encouragement. It’s nice to know you are following the build. Phil
  • I'm working now on the repair and welding shop siding. With this larger siding, Brett suggests some addition detail to be added to the strip wood. One of these details is saw blade banding. This is something I have never understood how to do. Therefore, I would like to open it up to my fellow builders to show me how they do this.

    Please comment and step me through the process. I would appreciate it. Thanks. Phil
  • I should have known - there is a video on the Sierra West site concerning "Adding details to stripwood." This includes saw banding. Just click on "videos" under "University." Phil
  • KCSTrains said:

    I should have known - there is a video on the Sierra West site concerning "Adding details to stripwood." This includes saw banding. Just click on "videos" under "University." Phil

    I viewed that one as well. Answered a bunch of questions. Brett says do about a third of the lumber this way. I split that between boards that would receive knots and those that wouldn't. Be careful of the glue when doing your knots. Stain won't stick to any smears! I also used a single edge blade as you might use a plane and shaved random areas on some boards to enhance the gaps that show on the finished structure.
  • As I reach a break in the action of my building of O'Neills Fabrication, I've had time to reflect on whether a detailed tutorial of my build has been useful. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of effort to not only build the kit, but to take the necessary pictures and explain each step in detail.

    All I have to go on are the comments and the number of views. I certainly have a group of supporters, Rick, Kevin, Ken, Alan, Bryan, Tom, Ed, Mike and Brett. Thank you for your support. It also appears to me that 7,100 views is just under 4 months is pretty good. At least folks are looking at what I have to show and say.

    When I started this build, I told Brett I wanted to do a build where I went deeper into each step of the process of building a Sierra West kit. I wanted to do this because I knew it would be very beneficial to the beginner as well as someone who was hesitant to start that first kit. Brett also told me it would be beneficial to the experienced builder as well.

    I was also hoping some of the more experienced master builders would contribute their knowledge of the process being explained. With a few exceptions, this hasn't happened. In fact, I don't hear much from the master craftsmen.

    I'm still contemplating whether to continue with the tutorial. At any rate, I will get O'Neills built within a year of starting!!

    What do you think? Phil
  • edited January 2021
    I was actually just here to catch up and comment... and then, there you are.

    It's definitly alot of work to detail a build as deeply as you are and can slow the build down.
    The step by step of how you are building this great kit will answer questions and help many builders now and in the future as they build.

    Of course the incredibly detailed and clear manual on its own will guide any builder of any level through every stage of the build, but, its always beneficial to builders to see someone actually following those steps. Plus, its great to watch it all come together at someones hands.

    Although you are obviously following the manual its still informative to readers to read your thoughts and see your own touch on certain things.

    As for the reads to posts ratio just worry about the reads, I know a lack of posts seems frustrating sometimes, but, if people are reading they are interested.
    Many readers arent members and cant comment, many readers dont feel they can add anymore than you already have shown, they are following you.

    I realise a confirmative post is always encouraging and since day one of the forum we have always encouraged people to do so, however there will always be a majority of members who just like to follow along, and that is completely fine.

    If people stop reading, that's when you need to worry... haha
    (incidentally your reads/posts are at about 4%... 4%-5% is the average for an active thread.)

    Your take on this kit, and the way you are building it and documenting it is appreciated by all of the readers, whether they say so or not, keep up your great build !!!
  • Phil,
    I have not posted much as I don't have my O'Neils yet, but be assured I look at and look forward to each and every posting you add. Being a novice, I can only say WOW so many ways :smile: It truly is great that you and others show their incredible talents and ideas. I truly believe it helps all of us learn and become better. Without tutorials like this, I doubt my interest would be nearly as high as it is. Manuals are great and all, but pictures and comments really stick in ones head.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to do this!!
  • Hi Phil,
    Great work on documenting your build. Never seen it so thoroughly presented. It was a bit daunting to see I missed over 200 posts but I finally read through it and am impressed with your build and will try to stay up to date from now on.
    Thanks for taking the time to organize all this.
  • edited January 2021
    I hope you continue Phil, especially now that we're closer together as far as progress goes. I tend to work in "fits and starts" Several days or a week of inactivity followed by a weekend at the bench. Some of this has to do with my work schedule, and some with falling asleep in my chair after dinner. I have noticed that we think somewhat differently and approach things differently enough that I find your posts most useful.
    I would venture the opinion that if you haven't heard much, you're meeting everyone's expectations. I enjoy writing and passing on my experiences. This is more work for some than others, but rest assured, your efforts aren't going unnoticed. Please proceed!
  • edited January 2021
    All right Phil, you asked for it.

    On page 1, you said you scraped your chalk towards you. I scrape mine away and you can't make me change.
    On this page, I would find a suitably sized piece of trim (maybe a 1x4 or 1x6) to cover the chipboard under the front and back edges of roof that is underneath the ridged seam roof. This would hide the cuts in the chipboard.

    Let's not let these slights happen again or I will have to be equally harsh in my review.

    All kidding aside, thank you for putting this together. It is a big help for all skill levels.
  • I am an experienced modeler, but would not consider myself a master. I'm not sure what I could contribute. Your tutorials do such a good job of expanding and demonstrating what Brett says in the manual. In other words, more in depth. Brett's manual would have to be twice as thick to show this depth. I know I have had head scratching moments when reading the manual, mostly on me for being tired or less focused at times, but your tutorial gets me past that quicker. It is of great value to everyone of all skill levels.

    We may vary our techniques occasionally with what works better personally such as the chalk slurry you mentioned earlier. Those are few and far between though.

    I know it is a ton of extra work on your part, but man is it appreciated by all of us.....Rick
  • Phil, you have quite a large and enthusiastic audience, I am confused why you would consider abandoning this thread?
  • Thanks everyone for your comments and support. It is greatly appreciated. Brett, sometimes you just don't feel the support, but in this case, I was mistaken in my interpretation. I just thought folks were growing tired of the long and detailed descriptions in my thread. Boy was I wrong.

    I will definitely continue in my quest. It was good to have a short break and I am now ready to carry on. Look for my posts in the future. I'm feeling the support now.

    Bryan, I'll try to do better, but I'm telling you, try scrapping that chalk towards you. It will change your life!! LOL

  • It's time to get back to work!! We are now working on the repair and welding shop siding on p.51. This is nice wide stripwood and this gives you a chance to show your skill level at adding details to the stripwood.

    Before going into the details, you will need to grain the 8 inch, 4 inch, and 3 inch wood in bag #3. Be sure to grain the sides of the 4 inch wood because it is very thick. When you are graining the wood, you will notice you get a wood residue. I collect this because it can make great-looking sawdust for future scenes.


    Now, let's get into the various details you can add to stripwood to make it even more realistic.

    1. Simple knots:

    Simple knots are added using a burnishing tool like the one below.


    There are two types of simple knots. First, you can make simple round knots by pressing the burnishing tool into the stripwood.


    Second, you can make an elongated knot by pressing the burnishing tool into the wood and then rocking it back and forth in the direction of the grain.


    2. Toothpick knots:

    I have already gone over the procedure to make toothpick knots. Look at my earlier post. However, I want to point out something to you. When you make a toothpick knot, you will notice that on one side of the stripwood you will have a larger knot and on the other side you will have a smaller knot.


    Large knot


    Small knot. Depending on the situation, I use both.

    3. Sawblade banding:

    This is a new one to me. Take a straight razor blade and gently stab at the wood. Too much pressure will cut the wood.


    4. Enhancement of grain:

    Using a dull No. 11 blade, drag the blade in the direction of the grain. Then, wipe the stripwood with your steel wool. This enhances the grain.


    5. Rotting the ends:

    Using a No. 11 blade, stab the ends of some of the stripwood to the point of removing some small pieces. This gives the stripwood a rotting look, especially after you add A/I to this end.


    Be sure to add each of these details to your stripwood, but remember - don't overdo it and randomly spread out the details amongst the stripwood.

    With all of this knowledge in mind, get busy detailing that wood.

    Next time: Staining and painting the detailed stripwood.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Phil, your detailed tutorial is great! Besides enhancing the instruction manuals detailed descriptions, the use of pictures is very helpful. Also you interject tips and ideas that make it that much more worthwhile. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
  • I have found that the best way for me to randomly select boards to get the treatments above is to grab 1/4 or so of the boards and add detail 1. Mix them back into the bundle then grab 1/4 or so and add detail 2. And so on.
  • Thanks Tom.

    That's a good idea Bryan. I'll give it a try. Phil
  • Continuing with the preparation of the stripwood for the Repair and Welding Shop Siding.

    Sometimes you just have to trust Brett knows what he is talking about in the instruction manual. Because I'm doing this detailed tutorial, I wanted to try all of the different details Brett discusses on P. 52. As I was doing it, I was wondering to myself, is this really going to work? Doesn't look like it would do much. Especially with regard to the burnishing tool. All it looked like was a dent in the wood.

    I then stained the wood. After it dried, I always like to lightly run each piece through some steel wool. As I was doing it, I was amazed at the end result of all my detail work.


    It then occurred to me. Putting a hole in the wood, putting a dent in the wood, adding extra grain, etc. and placing toothpick knots is providing a receptacle space for the chalk. As you see, the end result is very believable.

    Practice tip: I know most of us believe we know what we are doing and like to add our own flare to a kit, but don't forget - you have someone, Brett, who is tremendously experienced in designing, creating, and building these kits. Also, most kits have been developed in collaboration with some of the best modelers in the world. Therefore, you can't go wrong by just following the instructions and trusting in what is said in the instruction manual.

    That being said, there is always a method or approach that can enhance the look of your kit, especially the stripwood. At this point, in addition to the additional details on p. 52, I believe you are ready to take the next step in stripwood preparation.

    Homework: Go to "Working with Wood" in this forum and look at Ken Karn's wonderful tutorial, "The Dr. Grunge Advanced Wood Clinic." It will introduce you to more detail about how to get the most from your stripwood. If you don't believe me, go to Ken's build of O'Neills and look at his preparation of the stripwood for the repair and welding shop siding. It's the most realistic-looking stripwood I've ever seen.

    Next time: Painting the stripwood and starting the welding shop walls.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Great stuff Phil, it always amazes me all the different effects we can get with a few brushes and a couple shades of chalk.
    Good work on the strip wood, looking forward to the paint.
  • These boards are the best you have done so far. I like the idea of a steel wool finish. I usually do a very fine grit sandpaper as the finish. I'm going to try this.
  • Thanks Karl and Bryan. I agree Bryan. These are the best that I have produced. I wasn’t using all to tools available to me. That’s why it is important for everyone to continue to learn by following Brett’s suggestions and following other builds. You never know what you may learn. Phil
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