American Steel Pipe

Clever Models P/N S43 American Steel Pipe Works
american_steel_pipeFrom the blurb on the Clever Models website – “American Steel is typical of mill buildings found all over the U.S. It is a low-relief kit, meant to fit against a backdrop. That doesn’t mean that it has less detail. Another great kit for experienced or beginning modelers. This is a relatively big model as illustrated by comparing it to the HO vehicles in the picture. (Not included) This kit is easily modified and extended. It combines with other Clever models industrial kits to create large complexes. It’s also available on the “steel industrial bldg” DVD.The piping shown is also something added by the builder of this model.

The model is available in O, S, HO and N scales. I will be building the HO version for my buddy Gary Wise.

Methods
Thom and David Miecznikowski design the Clever Models kits to be complete – cardstock also acting as internal stiffeners resulting in a nice, sturdy model. I’m pointing that out since I follow a different path – just the way I prefer to build these models and in no way saying my method is better.
Foam Board
B&W2bI like to use Foam Board that I purchase at WalMart. This allows you to quickly assemble any size or complexity of model that is quite strong. I then apply the Clever Model texture as a veneer.

NOTE: I started out by printing out a sheet showing the full building on my laser printer. This black and white version then acts like a template for cutting the foam board – and also as a guide for gluing on the colored textures later on. Also .. I can notch and tab to my heart’s content as they will be covered by the colored print.

I cut along the perimeter of the building and then along the fold lines so I had the front and two sides. I could then use some 3M 77 spray contact cement to bond the paper to the foam board. With that done I cut through the foam along the edges of the building.

Very quickly I notch the ends of the front the depth of the foam board and at random intervals. I can then align the sides and make matching notches and tabs. The building will now snap together and hold pretty securely even without gluing. To make the bond permanent I will use white glue but you can see how well everything aligns.

B&W2Pulling the camera back a bit so you can see the structure overall. This took perhaps 15 minutes total from printing to gluing up.

I let the glue set up overnight and this morning I have a strong sub-structure to work with.

B&W1.. a view from the front. The tabs you may notice are different on either side. That’s because there isn’t any ‘rhyme or reason’ to their placement other then enough to lock those edges together.
B&W3…. and the view of the back side. This morning I will add a strip of foam board at the bottom and top to reinforce the structure and for the top a place for the roof texture to glue to.
Stiffeners
StiffenI added a strip across the lower portion and a couple at the top to form the roof.

You might well ask – “Why is that lower stiffener up so high? The answer is simple – I’ve found that if you glue a piece of foam to the layout so the structure straddles it .. it holds that structure in place nicely but allows it to be removed if necessary. One of the corollaries to Murphy’s Laws (or I suppose it might be a law itself) is that – “If you will never have to work on a structure ever again – and glue it permanently to the layout – you will have to work on it .. again.

Opening the Windows
WindowsCutOutThis is the opening you can see if the prior photo – I cut around the windows and framing. Notice that there is VERY LITTLE between the top of the large doors and the bottom of the window. These kinds of buildings the walls are there to provide a place to stick the windows, doors and keep out the weather so you don’t have (at least in this case) a structural member separating that door and window. That means I need to reinforce this area before cutting any more.
Finished
stackFinished up the build. This is the point that I will pass this off to Gary Wise and let him finish any added pipes, vents and weathering.

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