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



  • Continuing on p. 17, we begin the installation of the 8" stripwood that you have spent a great deal of time preparing. Brett suggests that we install the stripwood on the left wall by section.
    Here is what you will need.

    Since the first row of stripwood needs to be perfectly aligned with the edge of the cardboard, I use the large stripwood provided in the kit to act as a straight edge. This is something Bill Obenauf taught me. You also want to secure the cardboard so it doesn't slip.

    As you glue the stripwood, use the picture on p. 14 to guide you. You will see that some of the boards are butted against other boards. Let me show you how I do it.

    First, lay down the stripwood where you want it and choose the location of the break in the wood. Take your razor blade and mark the spot, but don't cut it.
    Take the stripwood and place on your cutting mat and make a square cut where you marked the wood.
    Once I cut the stripwood, I take my sanding stick and bevel the edges a bit to show wear. I then weather where I beveled and glue the pieces on the cardboard.


    For sections 1 - 4, first lay out the stripwood to make sure it fits in the section in question. Substitute in the 5/64" stripwood where needed.

    My progress after Section 2.


    My progress after Section 3.

    My progress after Section 4.

    After finishing Section 4, we need to change the straight edge to the other side and we need to change our approach to the stripwood. For large sections, laying out the stripwood first is cumbersome, so we go back to an older method which involves laying a piece of stripwood on both edges and working towards the middle. Alternate putting stripwood on both sides. When you get to the middle, you can determine what you will need to finish without splitting any wood. Along the way, apply some 5/64" wood intermittently.


    Here is the finished left wall.


    Practice Tips:

    1. Brett calls for dirting the boards with 408.5 chalk. This is a great look, but it is easy to overdo. I put a small amount of chalk on my finger and rubbed it on the board. A little goes a long way.
    2. Don't overthink which board you will use next. Except for the 5/64" boards, I just randomly pick up a piece of stripwood and use it. This leads to a great deal of variety in the look.
    3. Once I glue down a strip, I take a larger piece of wood, lay it over the strip and press down to make sure I get good adherence of the glue.

    Next time: The rear wall.

    Thanks for following along. Phil
  • Ed, I’ve been called worse!!! Phil
  • edited October 2020
    Ed, I’m messing with you. I took it as an extreme compliment. Thanks. Phil
  • Graining & staining tonight! My hands are a bit tired!Graining
  • but that's the fun part....
  • So on target, easy to follow and done the way Brett instructs. Were you a teacher at some point? Very well done Phil.......Rick
  • Rick, I’ve done a lot of training, but never a teacher. I definitely follow what Brett says, but I believe it’s nice to show more “how to” pictures and discuss practice tips. Phil
  • The pictures are a big help.
  • I let the left wall dry overnight before I cut away the excess stripwood. When I do this, I like to put weights on top to make sure the wall is absolutely flat. I used my Xuron cutters to trim the excess. Work slowly and make sure the blade is parallel to the cardboard. You do not want to cut into the cardboard!!

    Here is the result.

    One wall down, three to go. Phil
  • There is precision here !!!!!
    What a wonderful tutorial. Scale doesn't matter.
    Thanks for that Phill.
  • Looks great Phil. Wonderful tutorial on my techniques and the application extends well beyond O'Neills for sure!
  • Really appreciate all the detail you've been going into on this build. Keep up the momentum!
  • edited October 2020
    We now move to the back wall. You will use the same techniques that you used on the left wall, but there are differences.

    Here is what you need for the first step.
    There is an area on the bottom of the back wall that will be covered by the dock, so there is no need to prep this wood. You can easily locate this wood in bag #1 because it's the only untreated stripwood left. There are ten pieces but you will only need four. Here is how I prep to put on this untreated stripwood and make sure its below the opening of the dock doors.


    Completed with the green liner and frames in place. Please note that you only use the 1/16" square wood around the frame of the freight doors. No shims. The window was prepared exactly like the left wall.


    We are ready to install the stripwood, using the section method we used on the left wall. I also use the large stripwood to insure proper alignment of the strip wood with the cardboard backing.


    Now, let's take a step back and think about what we are doing. The rear wall is the wall where the loading dock is located. Since this is going to be a very busy area, you would expect some wear and tear on the wall. However, at the same time, we don't want to spend a great deal of time modeling wear and tear on the wall because most of it will be covered by castings. Let me show you a very simple way to get great wear and tear with not much effort.

    Step #1: At the end of the stripwood that will be at the bottom of the wall, make some small cuts with your exacto knife, followed by a light brushing with your Micromark brush. Wipe off the fuzzies and any loose wood with your steel wool.
    Step #2: After installation I "homogenize" the wear and tear with my tweezers to make sure it is consistent.

    Step #3: Apply AI (which you prepared according to Brett's instructions on p. 2 of the instruction manual).
    I use this mixture because it brings in the darker look in small increments. In this case, I applied the AI in three coats to get the look I was trying to achieve.

    Getting back to the rear wall. Because one side of the stripwood is butted against the untreated wood, be sure to square up the ends of the stripwood with the true sander before installing. Here is my section 1.

    In section 2, you have an area that requires an exact measurement. Let me show you how I mass produce stripwood that is the same length.

    Step #1: Measure and cut one piece of stripwood that fits perfectly in the space.
    Step #2: Using the chopper, lower the blade to act as a stop. Place the measured stripwood on the pad and make sure it is lined up with one of the lines on the mat. (A word of caution - don't place the wood against the top rail of the chopper because it places the wood to the edge of the razor blade. I found the cuts are better in the middle of the razor blade). Once the stripwood is in place, place the metal stop behind it and tighten the screw to keep it in place.

    Now, you can cut multiple pieces of stripwood very rapidly to the same length as the measured stripwood. This makes life so much easier.

    Here is my Section 2.
    Here is my Section 3.

    In working on Section 4, I ran into a problem. Despite all my planning, I ended up with a space that was more narrow that the stripwood I had.

    You try to avoid these situations, but they will happen. Now it's time to custom cut a piece to fit into this area. First place a piece of strip wood on the gap to determine how much you will have to slice off the piece. You will see that a very thin slice will have to be taken.

    Here is what I need to custom cut this piece.

    Place the square on the stripwood and expose what you plan to cut off. Then, taking your exacto knife with a new blade, slowly run it along the square with very little pressure. If you apply too much, the square will move and you will have to start over. It took me about 6 - 7 passes before the slice was made.

    Here are the results!! Impressive isn't it!! Not so fast ... I got this after I cut too much the first time and had to do it again. Oh well ... no one is perfect!!

    My rear wall before I cut away the excess. That will be tomorrow after I let the wall sit overnight under a weight.
    Next time, we go the to right wall. Thanks for following. Views are up to 1,300. Looks like we have a lot of folks following along. That's great. Phil

  • I have been following this and love it, just have not chimed in. It sure is a great build. These tutorials are extremely valuable to those of us newer to the game. Thank you very much for taking the time to do these!!!!
  • Phil, your chipped paint effect is superb. You sure have a lot more patience than I in your presentation here. Great job.
  • Geesh Phil...I agree with Stephen, your wood is outstanding! Wonderful technical build and tutorial.
  • Thanks all for the wonderful comments. It really makes a difference when you have a bunch of folks looking over your shoulder!!! I have to really think things through. However, I absolutely love doing this. If I can convince just a few folks to pick up a SWSM kit and start building, I will have accomplished my goal.

    BTW, a lot of the techniques I'm showing are not my own, but plagiarism of other great modelers in this forum. Phil
  • Very nice work....
  • Looking great ,enjoying reading about this build !
  • edited October 2020
    Here is the finished back wall.

    I was mistaken - the front wall is next. I'm working on that but need to take a small trip down to Little Rock. I'll be back to you on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you are following along, keep working on those walls. Phil
  • Phil, that is one of the great things about this forum is taking the experiences of other modelers and incorporating them in your work. So we all plagiarize or at least I must confess to it.
  • Agree 100% Phil
  • Nice looking wall. All your efforts are paying off.
  • edited October 2020
    Now we turn to the front wall. It's construction is pretty much like the other walls.

    You have to be mindful that the stripwood does not interfere with the bottom of the door opening. To make sure, I cut a piece of large stripwood and put it at the bottom of the door using 2-sided tape.


    After completing section 1, I wanted to make sure the stripwood fit cleanly around the door, so I glued a piece of stripwood on the left side of the door to accomplish this.


    Here is my finished front wall before trimming the extra.
    Next time: The Main Building Right Wall.
  • edited October 2020
    Not sure what happened. Here are the edited pictures.
  • Here is the finished front wall. Now, on to the right wall.
  • We now turn to the 4th and last wall of the main building.

    Here is my setup after framing the door and window as instructed in the manual. It may seem overkill, but by establishing a straight edge and making sure the cardboard doesn't move, you are assured the stripwood will go on straight.


    I would also like to cover another best practice to ensure proper alignment around the doors and windows. As you will see in the following picture, I line up a piece of stripwood along the window. There is nothing worse than having to cut a piece of stripwood to go around a window or a door. This way, you don't have to do it. If you have to custom trim a piece, it will be in the middle of the run.

    I then switched sides to make sure the stripwood is lined up on the left side as well. Again, I made sure the left side of the door was properly covered.

    Finally, here is the finished right wall. You will notice that I've added the unstained wood that will be covered by the tower.

    Now it's time to put the wall under a weight overnight to ensure it is perfectly flat and no warpage.

    Practice Tip: I believe precise modeling comes from good and repetitive modeling practices and patience. In HO Scale, it is very difficult to free hand things, so take advantage of all alignment aids, the true sander, and the chopper. You will like the results.

    Next time: We'll add the corner trim and test fit the walls. Thanks for following.
  • Phill, you are writing a second manual, you do realize...Thanks for that work. It is very helpful .
  • Robert, kinda!! Consider it a supplement to Brett's great manual. Phil
  • Below is the trimmed right wall.
    I really like the way this is coming together. If you notice, the stripwood fits very well around the door and window. I attribute this to the practice tips I provided above. It's easy and ensures great results.
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