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



  • Staples has a BIG laminator. Hmmm.
  • They make a 11x17 size laminator, but I dont own it yet.
  • Absolutely fantastic tutorial. Loving every post!
  • Thanks Brett. I appreciate the comment. Sorry for the lag in posting, but Thanksgiving did get in the way a bit. Also, it always good to get away from the bench from time to time to regenerate those creative juices.

    We left off on the bottom on p. 30 in the instruction manual. We need to build the loading dock overhang which will go on the rear wall. But first we need to grain and stain a bunch of wood that will be used in this step as well as future steps. Just follow the directions and use the techniques I've showed you and you will be in good shape.

    Here is what you will need for this step.


    The first step is to cut the overhang support header using the template and marking the three support locations. I do the marking using a mechanical pencil.

    Next, using the template, cut 10 base pieces from the 7" long wood. As we learned in the last lesson, using the chopper and true sander makes cutting multiple pieces of the same size stripwood very easy.

    Now, it's time to prep the template so we can glue the pieces together. They will be glued edge to edge. No glue goes on the bottom. Place two-sided tape on the template to hold the pieces.


    I started to use the square, but I found using the stripwood guides was easier.


    Because we are using stripwood to fit a particular dimension and there is always a chance that they may not equally fit, I always start with whole pieces on both ends and work towards the middle.


    Sure enough, there is a space that is smaller than the width of the stripwood, so I need to rip a piece to fit. I showed you how to do this when I was putting siding on the left wall. Go check it out.


    Now it's time to add the rafters. We'll be cutting 13 rafters. We can't use the chopper to do this, but I found you can eliminate some of the variances in your cutting if you place a stripwood guide on one end.


    Practice tip: Any time you are cutting rafters, make sure they properly fit and are the right length. You can avoid errors if you cut one rafter and see how it fits. If it doesn't, make the necessary adjustments and note it on your template. It's not fun to cut multiple rafters and then find out you have to adjust each one to fit.

    We want to make sure (i) we glue the rafters in the correct position, (ii) that the rafter is straight, and (iii) the rafter is in the right direction (i.e. top to top and bottom to bottom). Brett has built in multiple aids to help you with this step.


    First, the template has dotted lines to aid in the placement of the rafter. Second, use a drafting triangle to keep the rafter straight as well as 90 degrees. Third, the template clearly shows you which side of the rafter that needs to be glued. Finally, the stripwood guide keeps each rafter in the proper position.


    As you can see, my rafters are straight and evenly spaced. I certainly love these aids. They make me look good as a crafter.

    Once you have all the rafters in place, you need to glue the header in place. The header should be placed so that the dotted lines line up with the center of the header.


    You can see my marks for the supports.

    Once everything is thoroughly dry, carefully pull the overhang from the template. As I showed you in the last lesson, this can easily be done with your razor blade.

    Now it's time to install the tar paper roof. Grab the paper you previously spray painted black. We'll use just a small part of it for the tar paper pieces. Template A provides a guide for cutting the four pieces to a particular length and width.


    I use the square and my exacto knife with an 11 blade to cut the tar paper.

    Place the first piece of tar paper on the bottom of the overhang. This is where you weathered the ends of the rafters. There needs to be an overhang of 1/32" and the tar paper strip needs to be even on both ends. The best way to do this is place glue on one side of the tar paper with a brush and then place the overhang on the paper.


    This way you can ensure it's straight with the proper overhang.

    Now, it's time to glue on the other strips. Before doing this, you want to make sure you have an even spacing of the strips. I place the pieces on the overhang without glue and figure out the spacing. Then I place a mark where the top of each piece should be.


    Here is the completed strips. The tar paper needs to overlap at the top 1/16". I followed the same procedures that I used to glue the first piece.


    Follow the directions on p. 31 of the instruction manual to glue down the edges and front. You will not glue down the back and need to bend it up.

    The final step is to test the fit on the rear wall.


    It looks good. I'm ready for the next step.

    Next time: Installing the overhang.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Nice tip on lumber at each end of the template Phil. I'll keep that in mind, though I didn't run into any issues with the sign templates. Just like "measure twice, cut once" axiom, test fit on the template before gluing! Thanksgiving got in the way here too, and I needed a little time away myself, just to catch a breather. Sometimes you get a little fresh perspective too.
  • thanksgiving does that to everyone....
  • Great photographic documentation Phil, not to mention the work you're doing! Effort is appreciated by all.
  • It's time to install the overhang on the rear wall. The first step in the installation of the header. Using the same technique as the other walls, I used drill bits in the holes as a backstop for the proper placement of the header.


    The next step is to cut three identical supports using the 1/16" square stripwood. As I mentioned in the last update regarding the rafters, it's best to cut one support using the template and test its fit. This proved to be very cumbersome. Trying to hold the overhang on the header and at the same time test fit the support was very difficult. Therefore, I made an executive decision. Since it is very important that the rafters line up correctly on the header, I decided to first glue the overhang to the header without gluing the supports. I used a weight to hold the overhang in place.


    I believe this is the better way to go because I can always adjust the supports to fit properly. When the overhang glue was dry, I cut one support and test fit it. I did have to make some small adjustments to the angle of the cut. I then made two additional supports using the first support as a template.


    I think it turned out pretty well.

    Now it's time to give the top of the overhang some character and there is some definite character for this overhang.

    The next step involves the cutting and weathering of corrugated aluminum panels. Let's carefully go through each step to make sure you get great-looking and flat panels.

    Step #1: I chose to cut out the corrugated panel cutting guide so I could tape it to my small cutting mat.


    I believe I get better cuts on the mat versus other surfaces. Also note I used double-sided tape to keep the panel in place on the template.

    Step #2: Using a steel ruler, make a horizontal cut were indicated on the template.


    When cutting this material, it is very important that you use a new #11 blade and use light pressure and make multiple passes.

    Here is what it looks like when you are finished.


    Step #3: Start making vertical cuts as indicated on the template. Place the cut pieces on a piece of cardboard with double-sided tape. This will be used for painting the panels.


    When cutting I have found out there are two things you need to do to make good cuts and not have to switch out blades too much. First, make sure the blade is perpendicular to the panel and not at an angle. Second, keep the angle of the exacto knife low. This exposes more of the #11 blade.


    When you are through cutting, use your razor blade to remove the panel from the double-sided tape. This ensures you don't bend the panel when removing it.


    Step #4: When you are through cutting all the panels, spray them with grey primer paint on both sides. When dry, transfer the panels to a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.


    Step #5: Once the panels are cool, lightly brush the panels with grey chalk.


    The grey chalk brings out the ribs of the panel. The panels will be used on this overhang as well as other parts of the kit. I put the extra panels in a medicine bottle and don't do any other weathering until I need them. Keep out 5 panels for the overhang.

    Step #6: Rust the panels following Brett's instructions on p. 33. As an alternative, I do it a bit differently to better bring out the rust. I take the rust powder and using alcohol, I create a slurry on my glass workbench. I then dab it on the panel fairly thickly at the bottom and then brush it up the panel. This may look fairly heavy, but I use a dry brush to eliminate the rust chalk where I don't want it. That means that I heavily brush the upper portion of the panel and lightly brush the lower part of the panel. This give the same effect as suggested by Brett.

    Step #7: Dust the overhang with grey chalk. Ken Karns, in his forum build, has a great way to do this. First, take a larger round brush and dab into dry grey chalk. Put the brush above the overhang and tap it to get random splotches of grey chalk on the overhang. Once you have this over the entire overhang, use a round brush and lightly brush from top to bottom. This will leave random streaks of grey on the tar paper.


    Final Step: Get creative and put some stuff on top of the overhang roof. Study the picture in the instruction manual, as well as Ken Karn's picture in his build. I also studied the pictures from Jose, our friend in Spain. The idea is not to duplicate what they did (You can if you want), but to put your own touch on it.

    I have found that it is better to start at one end. Here is my sequence of how I did it.


    We are now done with the overhang. What a great-looking wall.

    Next time: Detailing the front wall.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Looks great Phil. You know what works great to cut the corrugated roofing is a chopper.
  • Nice subtle rust tones on the corrugated
  • Continued excellence........Rick
  • big thumbs up. looks way better than what i did.
  • Thanks for the suggestions on the cutting of the corrugated panels. I’ll have to give it a try. Phil
  • This is an amazing build thread, I know there’s a lot of work involved with documenting and taking pics while building is going on, you’re doing a great job and it’s so helpful.
  • "
    Step #4: When you are through cutting all the panels, spray them with grey primer paint on both sides. When dry, transfer the panels to a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes"

    What does this do? Thanks.
  • baking the paint cures it and makes a permanent bond to the corrugated. Won't flake off. I use a cheap toaster oven since it gives off fumes. Better done outdoors or in the garage.

    Had a friend bake some mud in the oven to dry it out for scenery. Got caught by the boss lady and I decided it best if I left - if you know what I mean.
  • Once more Phil, excellent tutorial!...your step-by-step is amazingly detailed and illustrated...well done.
  • Thanks all. I appreciate the comments and the encouragement. It's made the build more interesting because I'm constantly thinking, what would the persons following this build want to see. After I'm done, I'll have no crafting secrets. I'll be an open book!! LOL

    Thanks Brett for stepping in on the explanation of the baking of the paint. I did my baking when my wife wasn't home!! Phil
  • I always bake mine when my wife isn't home! :wink:
  • I need to do something while waiting for Kevin to finish the HOTEL
    Than we will go forward with a SWMW kit.
    Our 2021 project. Hopefully.

    sorry dude.
  • In detailing the front wall, we must first glue the headers where indicated. I used the same technique that I previously used, using the drill bits as guides.


    Now we need to locate two resin castings and place them on a popsicle stick with double-sided tape so they can be painted a flat black. I explained this technique early in this build.


    Now, you will get your first chance at painting a casting. I am going to walk you through how I painted and weathered the resin bumper so you can get an idea of how I do it.

    First we want to dry brush on a wood-colored paint on the wood parts of the bumper.


    As you can see, I used SW Roof Brown from Brett's paint kit. He does a great job explaining dry brushing and how to get the paint on the raised part of the casting to make it look more like wood. As you can see, the mixture of brown and the black of the casting make the wood look very realistic.

    Practice Tip: When dry brushing, less is more. It's easier to go lighter on the paint by brushing most of it off and repeat it to get the look you want than to apply too much paint and have to scrape it off. It can be a slow process, but the results make a huge difference. Practice dry brushing when you can because you will use it a lot in building Brett's kits. More to follow as we go further into the build.

    Next we need to apply rust to the bolts of the casting. Let me take you down a rabbit trail to show you how I make my rust mixture.

    Here are the Rembrandt chalks that I use to make my rust mixture.


    I don't have a specific formula, but you want less brighter colors than darker colors. Here is what it looks like before and after mixing the chalks.


    Rust color is in the eye of the beholder. You may not like this particular mix. It's really up to you. The point is to make plenty of the rust color you choose and put it in a bottle cap for use any time you need to apply rust.

    Back to the bumper ... Here is what the bolts look like after applying the rust color.


    Practice Tip #2: When applying colors, I learned a very valuable lesson from Joey Ricard, owner of Track Side Scenery. Joey has a video on his website that shows how to paint and weather track. He starts with very bright colors, but then dulls them down later. The results are fantastic. I still use this lesson today. Don't be afraid to paint brighter colors then you can tone them down with chalk. If you start with muted colors, you will have even more muted colors when you dust them with chalk.

    Back to the bumper ... Following the instruction, you dust the tires and the metal with grey chalk.


    Then you dust the entire casting with a brown chalk.


    Here is the other casting already weathered. I chose to rust the bar holding the tires.


    Notice, I keep the casting on the popsicle stick until it is finished and ready for installation.

    Once I install the casting, I need to prepare some signs for the wall. Brett goes into details about signs on p. 30. I use a gatorade bottle cap when weathering the signs to keep them from wandering off. I also discovered a really easy way to take care of the white edges. Instead of using a colored pen or brush, take your chalk stick and rub it along the edge. It lays down a very nice color.


    Here is the completed wall.


    Now the time has come that I have been anxiously awaiting - gluing the main walls together!! Before doing this, locate the 8 interior corner braces from the laser cut sheet. If you did like I did, you already know the wall will fit together nicely.


    You start with the rear wall and left wall. First you glue the walls, then wait a few minutes and glue the corner braces. This is a very critical part of the build and I want to make sure the walls are perpendicular to each other and in the right position. I use a square and weights to make sure.


    Here is a picture with the lower brace attached and a picture of the third wall with bottom and top braces.


    Here is a picture with all walls and braces glued.


    We need to add black paper stock so you can't see through to the other side from openings. I diverged from the instructions and applied the black paper as shown below.


    Finally, here are pictures of the main building.


    I'm very pleased with the results.

    Next time: The Tower Siding.

    It has now been two months since I started this build. I believe I have made significant progress for two months. The main building is finished and I am on p. 36 of the instruction manual. Not bad. Also, views of this build are almost 4,700. This keeps me motivated to continue this detailed instruction. The feedback has been wonderful and I believe modelers are benefitting from the detail. At least I hope so. Thanks for following. Phil
  • Excellent modeling and definitely excellent instructions.....Rick
  • Another fine installment
  • Wonderful modeling and tutorials !! Greatly appreciate your diligence and information sharing Phil ....
  • Thanks guys. Much appreciated. Phil
  • Great work Phil! Your explanations and tips are certainly a welcome addition to this forum.
  • Well done Phil. Love the the tire bumper detail work.
  • We're all very pleased with your results Phill.!! Great build and tutorial .Thanks.
  • Thanks Ken and Robert. Phil
  • Phil, what you are doing in this tutorial is extraordinary, I don't know what qualifiers to say that all the classmates haven't already said.
    It is extraordinary not only because of the work involved in the construction and patina of the model, but also because of the fact of stopping in the middle of the process to take the relevant photos, take notes and continue with the process.
    It is very difficult for me to have to stop for photos. It is admirable what you are doing.

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