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



  • i completely agree.
  • i can sense the excitement building....
  • Jose, thank you for the compliment. As Ed says, it is beautiful. Happy to do it. I like teaching. Phil
  • Drum roll please.
  • The effort is appreciated Phil and the quality of the build is exceptional.
    Thank you.
  • Thanks Tom.
  • I'm now working on the siding for the O'Neill's Tower. This tower is what really sets O'Neills apart from other kits. I'm not going to show you many pictures on how I am doing the tower siding because it is exactly like the addition.


    As I did on the addition, I prefer to cut out the windows and doors as I go with a chisel blade. Don't forget to add some damage to the siding, but don't overdo it.

    This will take a bit to do. Thanks for following. Phil
  • Outstanding as always....Rick
  • Phil you are crushing this build, what beautiful modeling.
  • Thanks Rick and Brett. I'm really enjoying the build. Very different from my other builds. Phil
  • Continuing to add siding to the tower walls. Here is the left wall.


    These tower walls are beasts. I figured it out. Each wall take 60 runs of stripwood which uses 15 strips. While we are on the subject on applying siding to walls, let me bring up a couple of practice tips.

    Practice tip #1: When cutting your stripwood using the chopper, especially when you are cutting similar lengths, put your scraps in piles according to size.


    You may think this is a bit anal, but it makes it a lot easier to find the right length of wood when you need it and this minimizes waste.

    Practice tip #2: When cutting, weathering, and gluing the siding ad nauseum, I came up with a routine which makes the process a bit faster. I work on about 6 - 9 runs at a time. If I go ahead and plan how I want to put them on the siding and prepare each piece of stripwood before gluing, I find that I can glue them on in pretty fast order. See the picture below.


    Next time: On the the front and back walls. Thanks for following. Phil
  • I just wanted to let you know I'm still progressing on my build. I had to obtain and stain some additional siding for the tower. I'm now on the last wall of the tower, but I have also painted the windows and doors as well.


    Please remember when painting the windows and doors, start by painting the backside of the door or window first and then the front second. That way, the side that will be weathered is on top and unblemished by the process.

    Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. Phil
  • great point phil
  • It's time for another update before Christmas. It's been a bit, but putting siding on the Tower does take time. However, if you take your time and add some dilapidation here and there, it really looks good.

    Here are my four walls and a closeup of the variations I used in the siding.


    I really like the yellowish siding.

    BTW, as you know, I use Canopy glue. I got tired of using their bottle, which kept clogging up. I went to a new type of bottle with a 16 gauge needle on the end. I really like it. It delivers exactly what I need and if I need to lay down a bead line, it can do it.


    Now, it's time to prepare the doors and window. The first step is to grain, stain, and lightly dab on some white paint to the 6" .020 x 1/16" wood. This wood will be used for the insets in the doors.


    Above is a comparison of the stripwood before and after the paint. I can tell you that I went back and put on more paint to make it look better.

    The next step is to paint the doors and windows. I showed you how I did this in my last update. Once the paint is dry, you want to weather the doors and windows and then apply some more white paint. I found that keeping the windows and doors on the cardboard helped in doing this.

    First, I weathered with brown dry chalk.


    Then I followed Brett's directions and dabbed on white paint, using a dry brush method.


    The freight doors are assembled first. Here is what you will need.


    The first step is to take a base and cut the 6" stripwood to fit. If you have been following my build, you know how to measure the first piece to fit and then use the Chopper and True Sander to duplicate each piece. If you do this, it is very simple to finish this task.


    You will note the four pieces will not fit exactly. That's ok because it allows you to create some intentional gaps in the door, which really looks good. Once you have done both doors, you need to glue the top piece on.


    Next, I weather the door.


    Here is a comparison. Of course, the final look is entirely up to you. Here is the what the freight doors look like with the transom is place. (BTW, the transom is made by sandwiching the mylar between two identical pieces.


    I really like the doors. Just another innovative idea by Brett to add realism.

    Next, you proceed to the other doors. Here is what you will need.


    You build these doors the same way as the freight doors. Here is the final product.


    The windows are even simpler. Just add the mylar to each window. Make sure you match up the right mylar to the right window. Here is my final product.


    That's all for me. I'm going to enjoy the rest of Christmas eve and Christmas.

    Next time: Lining and Trimming the Tower Walls

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Nice work Phil! I agree, I love those bottles also. I use them for both alcohol and my 50/50 glue for scenic work. Puts it exactly where it needs to go.
  • You can get a package of them with several different sizes of bottles and needles from Amazon.
  • Good tip as I need to get some more...
  • Phil, you are doing a stellar job of explaining the processes involved in building this great kit. Your photo work is also excellent. Thanks for taking the time to go through the processes.
  • Continued excellence in both the build and instruction....Rick
  • I'm with Rick !!!
  • Thanks guys for your comments and suggestions. We are now on p. 38 and will line and trim the Tower walls. Using the 6" stripwood from Bag 3, I grained and stained it the same color as the siding on the Tower, which is the yellowish color.

    When you trim, use the same technique I showed you with regard to the green trim at the beginning of the build. Since the trim needs to be flush with the front of the wall, I found that installing the trim from the back of the wall made this very easy.


    This is what is looks from the front.


    I did the same thing for the doors.


    Once you have all the trim installed, you need to line the edges of the right and left walls with the siding you put aside. I used an oversize piece and trimmed it after the glue was dry.

    The siding needs to be flush with the front of the wall, so when gluing it on, make sure (i) the wall is flat, and (ii) the trim is flush with the front. This can be done by placing the wall upside down and making sure the trim pieces are pushed down. Because the trim will cause the walls to flatten, it's best if you put weight on the walls and let dry overnight.

    I then followed Brett's instructions to install the doors and windows. It's the same procedures as the Main Building. Once everything was installed, I weathered the trim pieces with some of the chalk I had left over from staining the siding.

    Here are my results.


    Notice you don't glue on the trim to the second floor door yet.

    Next time: Detailing the Tower rear wall.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Looks great Phil!
  • Phil, your walls look terrific. I am glad that you have the patience to present this detailed instructions.
  • Thanks Ken and Steve. Now we get to the really fun stuff and the details that make Brett's kits soooo much better than other kits. The first thing we need to do is construct two bases for two signs. We will use the same construction techniques that we used to make the loading dock overhang.


    Use template B and locate the two bases. Put down double-sided tape and lay down the "L" ruler. Using the template, cut one piece of the stripwood and use your Chopper and Sander to duplicate the first piece. To make sure they are the same length, I use the true sander with all the pieces of stripwood.


    Below is a progress shot.


    Once the base is completed you need to start working on the smaller of the two signs. This is the first time I've done this, but I used sanding sticks as shown below.


    I started with 150 grit and then went to went to 320 grit. Work carefully with a light touch. You do not want to overdo this. I found that I was close when I could clearly read the sign through the back of the sign.


    The next step is critical. Put the sign on the base before gluing to get an idea of how it fits. Use your finger to spread glue evenly and completely on the back of the sign. Make sure it's smooth and rub the sign so it can sink into the wood on the base. Let dry.


    You will find that by rubbing the sign with your finger or lightly with a burnishing tool can create some interesting wear patterns. I had an edge come up, but I was able to glue it down.

    The next step is to use a No. 11 blade and cut some slits between the boards. Don't overdo this!! Finally, weather the sign with some brown chalk. Here is my small and large sign. The construction and technique are the same.


    Practice Tip: When weathering the edges of the sign, it's best to do this before the construction of the base. Why? You can get the same results, but dousing the edges with an A/I mixture can create havoc with the glue you used to put together the base.

    Now it's time to blacken the two small quarter round metal vent castings. Here is how I blacken white metal castings:

    Step #1: inspect the metal casting for any signs of flash. Use a No. 11 blade or a metal file to eliminate any of the flashing. Fortunately Brett's castings have very little flashing.

    Step #2: Prepare the blackening solution for the metal castings. Here is what you will need.


    The plastic container is a Sargento Balanced Break snack. I like it because it has two sides. One for the blackening agent and one for water. I use Jax Pewter Black for white metal castings. I have another one for brass. I use a glass dropper bottle for ease of use and I can recycle the leftover blackening solution. The metal parts settle to the bottom of the bottle and I can reuse the top liquid. Therefore, over time, I use very little Jax.


    Step #3: Put the white metal casting in the blackening solution and use a small brush to brush away the black crud that develops.

    Step #4: When the casting is good and black, place it in the water to wash off the blackening solution. Then place the casting on a paper towel to dry.


    Step #5: Buff the casting. I use a rotary tool to do this.


    It's really an easy procedure.

    Now it's time to epoxy the sign and the vents on the Tower's rear wall. Once the epoxy is dry, apply the rust chalk powder I showed you how to make in a previous post and use black chalk to create some streaks below the vents. Finally, using epoxy and black chalk and following Brett's instructions, apply this "tar" solution around the vent.

    Here is my finished wall.


    I really like the wall except for the tar around the vents. It is very difficult to work with epoxy glue as it is setting up and not overdo it a bit. However, I did get the look I was looking for, just a bit too much. I'm not going to redo this. It's on to the next step.

    Next time: Gluing the Tower Walls together.

    Thanks for following. Phil
  • Sign looks just right. Do you have any problems with pieces flying off when buffing?
  • that's my question too. how do you hold the casting when you try to buff it with the dremel tool?
  • Yes, I have had issues with this. However, if you keep the rpms down, it’s less of a problem. Also, do it in a contained space like a box so you can easily find the casting if it does fly off. Phil
  • you can also polish small pieces without the dremel! use just the felt polishing wheel to buff the casting. ez for the smaller castings
  • I use one of those fiberglass pencil brushes to polish small detail parts. They have less risk of flying off into who knows where.
  • You can also use the applicators that are used for the Pan Pastels for buffing........they even have handles....
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