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HOn30 Co-op: Whateley’s Garage

HOn30 Co-op: Whateley’s Garage, Pt.1
From Larry Rickert
Sat, 1 Jun 1996

Whateley’s Garage Part 1
or Out of the Armchair and Into the Fire!

When I started out to build DPM#201, I thought this would be easy. What I forgot was how long it’s been since I’ve done any modeling! I didn’t think I’d have to buy too much in the way of supplies, since I had a stash of paints, glues, etc. Unfortunately, when I went to use them, I found most of the paint dried up. Also, no sandpaper or #11 X-acto blades. Well, glue was still good.

Next step was to make a shopping list. After reviewing the responses I received from my post on painting brick, (thanks to all who responded), I decided to try Brick Price’s method, with a slight variant. I dug out an old article from RMC about using a combination of plaster and dry tempera color to finish brick with, so I added dry tempera to my shopping list.

This method calls for mixing the tempera with the plaster. You then wet down the wall you want to treat and brush on the dry mix. Next wipe off the excess with a dry cloth until you achieve the results desired. In my next post I’ll report on the results.

I went to the local paint store, and of course they didn’t have any dry tempera, so I ordered some. It’s due in today (I hope). I also bought sandpaper, Krylon dulling spray (they didn’t have Testor’s Dull-cote), a small bag of plaster, knife blades, etc.

I cut the walls, windows and doors from their sprues and removed any flashing. I sanded the beveled edges and bottoms of the side walls flat as per instructions, then test fitted the windows and small doors. There are two large doors in the kit which I plan on replacing with scratchbuilt ones, so they fit the period and can be modeled open.

I’m still not sure how I’ll treat the roof. For awhile I considered changing it from the peaked roof of the kit to a flat roof. Now I’m leaning more towards building it peaked. Decisions, decisions!

Hopefully I’ll have decided by my next post, which will cover treating and assembling the walls, adding the windows and small doors, and adding the roof.

In the meantime, two questions:

Any special tips or techniques for modeling tar paper roofs?
If my tempera colr doesn’t come in, can I use Tintex fabric dyes to color the plaster?


HOn30 Co-op: Whateley’s Garage, Pt.2
From Larry Rickert

Welcome to Part 2 in the Whateley’s Garage series.

For those new to the group or who have missed earlier posts, the HOn30 Co-op is a series of articles posted by Jon Piasecki ( and myself ( describing our modeling efforts with two different Design Preservation Models kits. I’m assembling a garage structure, and Jon is building a small hydroelectric power station. We’re both experimenting with different modeling techniques in an effort to make the commonly available DPM kits more unique and individual, and are posting our progress here on the Mail Car.

1. In Search of the Ultimate Brick Finish

I wanted to try something new (to me) for simulating the brick and mortar walls of the building. I posted a request here for techniques that could be used for this purpose. Thanks to all who responded. I decided to use the method Brick Price described. The basic technique is to mix up a soupy slurry using plaster and water. A bit of color can be used as well. You would then ‘paint’ the walls using this mix. Let the plaster set for awhile (10-15 minutes) then wipe off using a clean dry rag. The plaster will remain in the mortar lines. If too much comes off, slop on more plaster and try again. When you are close to the effect desired, let the walls dry thoroughly. You can then go back with a damp cloth and rub the walls from top to bottom to removed any excess plaster on the brick.

In addition, I wanted to use dry tempera colors to tint the plaster mix. I ordered some dry color from a local hardware/paint store. I then got the runaround from them for 3 weeks, until finally I just gave up. I decided to try using Tintex black fabric dye instead to get a dark mortary effect. This worked out fairly well, though it was hard to control what the final color would look like.

Before I applied the tinted plaster mix I assembled the walls and sprayed them with Testor’s Dullcote. I mixed the plaster and dye to a dark gray color. After applying and wiping off several coats of the plaster soup, I ended up with a very grimy looking building, which I hadn’t intended to do, but I liked the result and decided to stick with it.

To summarize, this is an easy technique to use and gives a very nice simulation of mortar to the brick. One mistake that I made initially was after applying the initial coat and wiping with a dry cloth, I didn’t allow the walls to thoroughly dry before wiping vertically with a damp cloth. When the building finally dried, it looked quite different than I had thought, as I had rubbed off too much of the plaster. This was remedied by applying another coat and following instructions ;-)

I will definitely use and experiment with this technique again. Thanks, Brick!

2. Raising the Roof

With the walls assembled and treated, I turned to the roof. Unlike most other DPM kits, #201 has a peaked roof rather than a flat one. I decided to build the roof per the instructions. I cut the two roof halves from the sheet styrene provided using the template in the instructions. I placed the ridge support and roof stops, and test-fitted the roof. I found it to have a higher peak than shown in the photo of the completed kit, but I liked the effect and left it that way.

I was still unsure if I wanted the roof to be removeable, so I added two triangular braces cut from sheet styrene for extra support just in case. I used 3M silicon carbide sandpaper (the dark stuff) #302-extra fine to simulate tar paper. I think this has a very realisitic tar paper appearance. I cut the strips to a scale 3 foot width. I applied them from bottom to top using Elmer’s Glue-All and slightly overlapping each strip. I capped the ridge of the roof with a slightly narrower strip. After everything had dried I applied several washes of Poly S Grimy Black paint. I’m quite pleased with the overall result. I added a metal smokestack rather than use the chimney casting that came with the kit. I may also add a stovepipe coming out of the sidewall where the front office would be so old Whateley doesn’t freeze come winter.

3. Windows, Doors and Other Matters

In a crude effort to show the door and window placement, I present my attempt at ASCII art:

  ___]    dd   [___ w ___
 |                       |
 |                        w
 |     Garage            |       w = window
 w                        w      d = door
 |                       |      dd = large double doors
 w                       |
 |             __________ w
 d            |          |
 |            |          |
 |            |  office   w
 |            |          |
 |_          _|_ d  __ w_|
   ]   dd   [

Unlike the majority of DPM kits, #201 comes with separate door and window castings. On the front wall there’s a large door (which I’m changing to an open double door) that leads into the garage area, and a small door and window where the office is located. There’s also a large door on the rear wall. The castings for the large doors appear to be too modern for my purposes, so I’ve decided to scratchbuild two sets of double doors to replace these. The front double doors will be modeled open, the rear ones at least partially closed. More on this in my next post.

I decided to paint the small door and window castings with Poly S MOW Gray in keeping with the utilitarian appearance of the building. I removed the castings from their sprues, removed flashing and trimmed them to fit. Before gluing them in place I carefully scraped off any of the plaster mix from the window openings and painted any areas that would show in a medium gray. I then p[ainted the castings and glued them in place….nothing fancy here!

If you’ve been following Jon Piasecki’s posts in the HOn30 Co-op series, you know he’s building his DPM kit with interior detailing. Since this is the first kit I’ve built in close to twenty years, I decided to keep it simple. I may add a few minimal interior details for those areas that can be easily seen, but that’s where I’m drawing the line.

In my next post I’ll cover scratchbuilding the large double doors and building the foundation and base, as I initially plan this to be a small sceniced diorama.

Also still to come will be detailing the building’s exterior and adding a little bit of scenery and other detailing. Since the building is fairly dark and grimy looking, we’ll take a look at adding a bit of color via details.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this installment in my attempts to reacquire my modeling skills. Your comments and feedback are welcome.


HOn30 Co-op: Whateley’s Garage, Pt.3
From Larry Rickert

Welcome to Part 3 in the Whateley’s Garage series.

For those new to the group or who have missed earlier posts, the HOn30 Co-op is a broad subject heading that can be used by any Mail Car members to describe their efforts at a particular modeling project. Jon Piasecki ( and I ( started by describing our modeling efforts with two different Design Preservation Models kits. Joerg Seiler ( has joined the HOn30 Co-op banner and is writing an account of building one of Brick Price’s Forney conversion kits.

I’m assembling a garage structure (Whateley’s Garage), and Jon is building a small hydroelectric power station (H & L of B Generating Station). We’re both experimenting with different modeling techniques in an effort to make the commonly available DPM kits more unique and individual, and are posting our progress here on the Mail Car. If you missed any of our previous posts, just contact us for ‘back issues’.

Part 3: Delay’s Halt Construction of Whateley’s Garage!

In this installment I was planning on covering door and foundation construction, but delays have forced me to hold off on this. It all started when I became unhappy with the idea of having detailed large garage doors next to the rather plain regular doors that come with the DPM kit. These doors didn’t even have doorknobs! How the heck could my HO scale folk get in and out of the building?

So, the quest was on for HO scale doorknobs. I posted messages and scanned through back issues of the usual model publications. The only reference I could find to modeling doorknobs was one article in the NG&SL Gazette. This suggested using a pin, but I found the pinhead to be much too big. I tried to find pins with smaller heads, but to no avail.

Jon Piasecki mentioned that someone manufactured HO doorkobs, so I turned to the Walthers catalog. Lo and behold, Master Creations listed not only doorknob & plate sets, but larger door handles as well that would work well on the larger garage doors. I called Martha at Train & Trooper, and she placed some on order from Walthers for me. I also ordered a Grandt Line hinge assortment and some other detail items.

So, the necessary parts should be arriving this week. It’s a good thing, as the construction crew was getting a bit antsy!

Another delay was caused by the foundation treatment. Initially, I added a foundation (about a scale 4 feet) to the building using cardstock and H&R stone sheet. I wasn’t totally happy with the results. Then I received an article from John Saxon on using foam board to model brick and stone.

Since I plan on making all of my structures removeable, the foundation has to be strong enough to stand up to some handling. The foam board seemed ideal for this. In addition, this technique allows for interlocking corners that look much more realistic. So, I removed the first foundation and am now experimenting with foam board.

And then, the Fall semester started, so I’m back to work teaching computer courses four evenings a week.

My next installment will detail the garage door construction, regular door detailing and foundation construction. Hopefully, it won’t take another 2 months ;-)


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