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



  • Another thing to point out for the beginners. I purposely have not try to create any rot or dilapidation (other than on the dock). However, due to weathering, applying knot holes and such, you usually get some "accidental" dilapidation. I prefer this to deliberate dilapidation that can easily be overdone. My wife really likes the color of the wall. It reminds her of a barn. Phil
  • Great progress Phil. Woodwork is excellent!
  • We have now made it to p. 20 of the instruction manual in less than a month. Not too shabby. We need to add corner trim to the right and left walls using the 1/16" square wood. Here is my setup for this step.
    I almost had a stripwood crisis!! I had only three 6" strips of 1/16" stripwood left and thought I needed four. However, I did some measuring and found that if I cut each strip in half (3"), the length is just long enough for the corner trim.

    I then squared the bottom of the stripwood using the true sander and dirtied it up with the chalk and glued to the side of the wall. To ensure the 1/16th square stripwood was even with the stripwood side to create a small lip, I used weights to keep the pressure on the stripwood and I used tweezers to make sure it was flat to the stripwood side.
    After drying, I trimmed away the excess.

    Now it was time to mark the header locations (remember the headers? That's right, I put them in the pill container). There are holes on the back of the wall that need to be drilled.

    I started on the back with my nifty pin vise.
    Once the hole was made, I defined the hole a bit better by running the bit through the front.
    The hole is there, but very obscure.
    I then continued to drill all the marked holes.

    Now came the moment of truth. Brett suggests that you test fit all the walls to make sure they properly fit before proceeding to the doors and windows. I did this and had to make a few adjustments by further sanding the 45 degree angle on the cardboard. Here are the results. Of course, the wall is not glued together. It's pretty nifty that the walls will stay together by just standing them there.

    Practice tip: Do not go any further until you get the walls to fit perfectly together. Brett has done a great job of building in lips and things to help join two walls together seamlessly. If you don't take the time to do this step properly, the walls just won't look right. This is very critical.

    Now it's time to take a step back and admire all the hard work over the past several weeks.

    Next time: Doors and windows!!
  • Looking sharp Phil. Mine all fit too. Thanks for the tip on the I-Phone, and the taping the walls tip. I like the 1-2-3 blocks. I have about half a dozen of them here. I also had to adjust the 45 degree bevel in the walls a couple of times, but that's pretty easy to do. I'm not there yet but I predict that bevel will get a little more interesting with the tower walls! So far we've done pretty much everything the same way. Nice to know I've done everything right so far!
  • Alan, I'm glad we are doing the build together. Safety in numbers. You're doing a great job on your build. Looking forward to future discussions. Phil
  • Outstanding information. fyi.... you're writing my next manual.
  • Ha!! BTW, I get paid by the word!!! Phil
  • Very good Phil. If you go at that speed you catch up with me.
    Lately I've made little progress, I'm very lazy.
  • Jose, good to hear from you. I just hope my O’Neills will look close to your build. You have a beautiful model in progress. Phil
  • We now proceed to the doors and windows of the main building. I have to confess - this isn't my strongest area of building, but I strive to get better and I want to go over what I've learned along the way to help us all get better in this area. After all, the doors and windows are what sets Brett's kits apart from others.

    Here is what you will need to get started.


    You will also need to locate the mylar sheet you sprayed with dullcote. The mylar sheet guide is found on p. 111.


    We need to cut out the main building windows and doors from the template. Be very careful because they are very fragile. I use my single edge razor blade over my exacto knife because it is easier to use and I try to cut them so there isn't any tab that I have to sand.

    Next, we want to apply a thin coat of paint on them. Locate a piece of cardboard and your double-sided tape.
    As you can see, I divided the cardboard into the four different walls. We start with the front side down. How can you tell which is the front side?? Look for the detail, which will be on the front. The back side is pretty mundane. Now it's time to go to the paint booth. The corner of each piece is placed on the double-sided tape and should not be pressed down.

    I put the cardboard on a rotating platform and spray the Camo khaki at a low angle and fairly far away to keep a very light spray. Keep rotating to ensure all sides are covered. Let this dry. Once dry, carefully remove each piece and flip over. You can use the same place on the double-sided tape. IMG_2321
    Again, be very careful in removing each piece. You don't want to scratch the freshly painted surface and you do not want to bend the piece. If you have any trouble getting the piece to release, slide your single edge razor blade under the piece and slowly free the piece. Make sure you don't cut into the piece.

    Now, spray paint the front side of each piece and let dry. Once dry, repeat the process of releasing the pieces from the cardboard.IMG_2322
    I chose to put the pieces for each wall into separate containers.

    It's time to weather and further paint the pieces. Here is what you will need.
    IMG_2323 (2)

    First, you will apply some dry chalk to bring out the detail in each piece. 408.3 is used to do this.
    IMG_2324 (2)
    You can see the difference between these two pieces. The piece on the right has been weathered with chalk and the detail has popped out. Do this for all the pieces.

    Now it's time to paint each piece (except for the left side wall window) with the green paint we used to paint the door and window trim. Brett suggests using a terry cloth method. I've seen others use a sponge instead, but I decided to try the terry cloth method. I thought about it and decided to come up with an instrument to make this process easier and one that would not use a lot of paint.
    Let me explain how I made it. I took an old sock (yes, Ed, I did wash the sock before using - LOL!!!) and cut out a piece. Most manufacturers put terry cloth in the heel of sports socks. I wrap this piece around an exacto handle with blue tape. This instrument acts more like a stamp. I tried it out on some scrap material and liked how it worked.
    Then came the moment of truth. I lightly dabbed the instrument with the green paint, then blotted it on the paper to remove most of the paint. I then started dabbing paint onto the door. It's important to dab sparingly, then go to another piece and then come back and dab some more.
    IMG_2328 (2)
    I believe I achieved that "mottled" look.

    Next, I lightly dusted on some 408.5 chalk.IMG_2333 (2)
    You can see the difference between the two pieces.

    Now comes the hard part - the assembly of the door and transom. Here is what you will need.IMG_2334
    I had no trouble putting the door together following Brett's instructions on p. 22. However, the transom was another story. First, I had trouble getting it to glue together. I suspect the placement of the CA glue was not in the right place. When I finally got it glued, it didn't fit in the opening. As instructed, I used a file to sand the sides to get it to fit. As I did this, the transom fell apart. More than likely, I didn't let it dry long enough.

    Practice tip: 1. During any build, disaster, whether large or small, will occur. A good modeler is one who can either start over and request new parts or who can improvise. I've seen many examples of this in the various builds in this forum.
    2. Following any disaster, figure out what went wrong and how to prevent the disaster from happening in the future.

    In this case, I improvised. I decided not to use the back piece of the transom and glue the mylar to the back of the front piece. However, I made sure the front piece fit the opening before gluing the mylar.
    IMG_2337 (2)
    I believed it turned out ok.

    What did I learn from my root cause analysis? First, transoms are very small and I should have anticipated the fit would be tight. I should have test fit both the back and the front piece before I assembled the transom. It is a lot easier to trim one piece than a whole assembled piece. Second, I should have let the assembled transom dry adequately. That way, it probably wouldn't have fallen apart when I sanded it to fit.

    As I always say, live and learn.

    Next time: We will continue with weathering and assembling the rest of the windows and doors. Thanks for following. We have eclipsed the 2,000 view mark.
  • Doing a banner job Phil. I think it is important to first admit to errors and difficulties, then discuss the correction/replacement process. We make due all the time. The end result is what counts, not perfection. Keep it going!!!!!! Rick
  • Thanks Rick.
  • Keep up the great work on the how to's. Seems like there was a surge of Oneill's threads too.
  • Great tips on the windows Phil. I find them challenging as well. Would it help to use some kind of accelerator for the drying time?
  • edited November 2020
    The doors and windows were shall we say, an interesting process, the first time for me on this type. I used thin CA on the windows, and this was complicated by the curling my sheet of mylar did while the kit sat. I switched to medium thickness and was able to control where it went a little better. I also used canopy glue in the door and window frames. I didn't lose any pieces , but I also had to enlarge openings to get things to fit. I did try some thin CA to glue door and window inner & outer halves together with mixed results. Some touchup painting and re-weathering was necessary, but I didn't damage any parts. I did discover to my relief that an additional dusting of chalk will hide small to moderate sins. The final appearance is worth the effort though. No plastic or metal casting is going to look as good as these do when you're done.
  • I'm going to try the sock tool.
  • edited November 2020
    Ditto on the sock tool! I still have the tower and welding shop windows to do. They're still on their card. I considered doing them all at once, but figured if I made a mistake I'd make it on all of them at once (how my luck runs), so I chose to do mine as needed. Keeps me from losing stuff too!
  • Thanks for the comments. Tom, I haven't had much luck with accelerators. I just need to be patient and let it dry adequately. Alan, I tried the thin CA, but it wouldn't transfer to the toothpick. I settled for medium viscosity. Also, I'm like you - an additional dusting of chalk can hide a lot of sins!!

    The sock tool really worked well and I could easily control the amount of paint. I'll use it again.
  • Thanks Alan. I'll give it a try. Phil
  • I really thought about how to make the installation of windows and doors easier. What else was I going to do - watch election results till 1:00 am?? I believe I found a solution which started with my statement - I need to make sure the pieces fit into the space before I put them together. That's true, but then I realized that I can take it one step further which involves the statement - the best template for the window was the space itself. Let me explain with pictures.

    I took the base piece and sanded the sides to make sure it fit into the space. Then, I glued it into place.
    I then took my CA and applied dots at the four corners and placed the mylar over the base piece. I then placed a little weight on it and went and visited with the grandkids who had just arrived.
    Finally, I sanded the top piece for fit and weathered it. I then glued this in place. A perfect fit!!!!
    Even the back of the window is perfectly in place.

    Now, this is a much easier and stress free way to fit in windows. The other part of the window system will be easier because it is glued behind the first window unit. No fit involved.

    Try this and see how you like it. I certainly do. Phil
  • Very helpful tip. Windows can be a pain
  • Ed, it's pretty easy. You spray the mylar with dullcote. This gives it the tooth necessary for the chalk. If you dab the chalk on the mylar, it weathers pretty easily. Phil
  • Continuing with the left wall, the installation of the second part of the window went very smoothly. I also decided to add a feature Ken Karns put on his model - that rusty can holding up the window!!
    The can was easy to do. I found some copper tubing and selected the smallest diameter that would look the most like a can. I cut it with my razor saw, used a file to smooth the edges, blackened it using JAX blackener, then dusted it with 411.3. I then used CA to glue it to the window sill before installing the second part of the window.

    I then proceeded to the rear wall which involves freight doors and a window. Here is the final result.
    I'm not going into too much detail because Brett does a great job explaining how to do things. A couple of notes however:

    1. Unlike the door on the left wall, the mylar is glued to back of the freight door base.
    2. It is very important to make sure the insert properly fits in the freight door base. A little sanding will help. This is also the time to take out any panels as suggested in the instruction manual. I chose not to take out anything.
    3. If you chose to take out a pane of glass, I found that if you place the freight door top on the mylar (before you glue the mylar to the base unit), you can take a marker and trace the window pane. Then remove the mylar and cut around what you traced. That way the opening is properly lined up with the pane.
    4. Install the .020 x 5/32 wood first, then test fit the freight doors before gluing.

    This wall went a whole lot easier than the left wall, but I attribute this to learning from my mistakes.

    Next time: Assembling and installing the front wall and the right wall.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Can't agree more. !!!!
  • Phil, that last pic speaks volumes!...really nice.
  • Keeps getting better
  • We now proceed to the last two walls of the main building - the front wall and the right wall. After working through the issues on the left wall and rear wall, these two walls went a lot smoother. However, that's the way it goes for craftsman building.

    Here is my back wall.
    I did exactly what I did for the front wall. The freight doors fit very nicely. Remember to glue in the .020 x 5/32" piece first before fitting the doors.

    Here is my right wall.
    As I did on the left wall, I built the door and window in place to make sure they fit exactly as they should. As you recall, I made sure each piece fit into the space and then I glued in each piece in the door or window space. I had to really sand down the window to fit. The true sander wasn't working fast enough for me, but I discovered I could use my sanding stick in the true sander to get a faster and even sand.
    Here are the four walls with all doors and windows in place.

    Now, let's take a step back and review where we've been. It's been about one month since I started this build. We are 25 pages into the instruction manual, which is a very nice pace. BTW, there has been over 2,500 views of the build.

    Practice Tip: What have we learned so far?

    1. How to grain and stain stripwood.
    2. How to damp brush on a color to get a really neat peeled paint look.
    3. How to precisely apply stripwood to a cardboard base including how to frame windows and doors.
    4. How to accurately trim excess stripwood to ensure the walls fit together nicely.
    5. How to paint, assemble and install doors and windows.
    6. How to be patient, innovative, creative, and strategic.

    The skills you have learned will easily translate to the rest of the build, especially #6.

    Homework: 1. We are proceeding to the clapboard addition. This is a new skill set for me. Carefully read pp. 26 - 30 of the instruction manual.
    2. It's time to clean your workspace and replace the razor blade and No. 11 blade.
    As you can see, I've cleaned my space and I'm ready for the next step.

    Next time: The Clapboard Addition

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Your approach to teaching is perfect. Very informative, especially the little things that are never covered in any manual. Great work so far. Quite the audience for good reason.........Rick
  • Thanks Rick. I appreciate your comments. Phil
Sign In or Register to comment.